David Steward II’s Lion Forge Films (Academy Award®-winning Hair Love), and parent company Polarity, a leading black-owned entertainment holding company, have inked a deal with Scott 34 Racing, creating Wendell Scott Ventures to introduce the iconic and groundbreaking life and legacy of Wendell Scott, NASCAR’s first black racer (and later, owner), to audiences through films, TV series, docu-series, digital content, games, and more through an extensive multi-platform engagement.
Wendell Scott’s awe-inspiring life and career were filled with adversity, which he triumphantly overcame. This started with being born in rural Virginia during Jim Crow times (1921) when racial segregation was enforced by law. Scott’s love and knowledge of cars was passed down from his father, and after serving as a mechanic in WWII (in a segregated division), he was denied access to NASCAR due to the color of his skin. Scott spent nine years in the “Dixie Circuit”, a smaller regional competitor to NASCAR, until he was finally able to persuade NASCAR to grant him a license to race in 1953 – officially breaking the sport’s color barrier. Scott won the Jacksonville 200 race in 1963 –only to see the win given to a white driver on a “clerical error” (later reversed). After competing in 496 NASCAR races, with 147 Top 10 finishes, a horrific near-death crash in 1973 ended his career. Scott died of cancer in 1990 and was officially inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015, becoming the first African- American to do so in NASCAR history.
Wendell Scott’s career was repeatedly challenged by racial prejudice and threats. However, his determined struggle as an underdog would prove to win over thousands of fans and fellow racers. Scott was, and still is, a pop culture icon who was the subject of the film “Greased Lightning” starring Richard Pryor, and inspired the character of River Scott in Disney’s animated film “Cars 3.”
Steward II and his team will work in partnership with Wendell Scott’s son, Frank Scott, and grandson, Warrick Scott, on all initiatives. Immediately being put into development by Steward II and the Wendell Scott Ventures team are a docu-series and a fictionalized limited series for television / streaming that, through the lens of his incredible life, cover themes of family, racism, American culture and racing. These series will tell stories of his upbringing, time in WWII, bootlegging, raising a family, battling racism, breaking color barriers, overcoming adversity, and of course – winning.
The partnership and mission to tell Wendell Scott stories aligns squarely with Steward II’s singular mission to champion diversity and promote underrepresented faces and voices throughout the entertainment ecosystem. His portfolio of companies source, acquire, develop, and produce authentic, diverse content, and are uniquely equipped to create and deliver genuine and diverse stories that meet an increasing market demand fueled by insatiable content consumption and social movements.
Said Steward II, “It’s an honor and privilege to work with the Scott family to bring Wendell’s legacy to life in a multitude of ways, all of which carry the dual obligation to entertain while delivering an important message. What Jackie Robinson did for baseball in breaking the color barrier, Wendell Scott did for NASCAR. However, Wendell’s story transcends his sport, his personality, and his accomplishments to speak about the possibility of hope and drive. These are stories that need to be told – and retold.”
“Wendell Scott built a bridge to diversity in racing, so NASCAR needs to tell that story through the lens of Wendell Scott. He gave people hope because he had a big heart for everyone. He had more love in his heart than (his enemies) had hate in theirs. He did as much for race relations in the South as Dr. (Martin Luther) King,” said Warrick Scott, Wendell’s grandson.
Said Frank Scott Sr., “The creation of this venture is the realization of a dream my father had 60 years ago, it’s everything that he wanted and could never get!”
The Wendell Scott opportunity was brought to Polarity by Jimmy Thomas, a leading member of the Business Development team at Lion Forge, who has strong ties to the Scott family and will lead sales and media efforts around the joint venture. Said Thomas, “This is a very proud moment for me in the sense that I can now be assured that the amazing stories I’ve known about throughout my life, thanks to the bond with the Scott family, will be shared with global audiences through every medium possible. Wendell Scott was an innovator and pioneer inside the racetrack, inside the garage, with his ingenuity and inventiveness, and most certainly outside the track where his legacy transcended the sport altogether.”
In addition to Lion Forge Films, David Steward II’s Polarity includes Lion Forge Animation, which was behind the 2019 Academy Award® winning Hair Love, directed by Matthew A Cherry. The studio contributes to the growth of Lion Forge IP and is one of the only black owned animation studios in the world, but unmatched in size and scale (and the only African-American owned studio with an Oscar®). The deal to bring Wendell Scott’s legacy to life comes on the heels of a busy year for David Steward II’s studio, which saw a stream of major deals including a “Hair Love” spinoff series (“Young Love’” with HBO Max), an exclusive first-look partnership with Imagine Kids+Family, and a multi-year / multi project joint venture partnership with Chinese studio Starlight Media.
About Wendell Scott
The story of Wendell Scott is not only a story of a single man defying the standards of the Jim Crow South, but the story of a man who had a goal, a drive, and a determination to accomplish that goal despite all of the challenges laid in front of him. The Wendell Scott brand is a call-to-action to those who not only desire to compete at the highest level, but desire to be the BEST at the highest level. Wendell Scott embodied a competitive cadence that giving up is way harder than trying.
Wendell Scott believed there is no such word as, can’t. This vision helped to build the vision for The Wendell Scott Foundation. WSF organization was established to commemorate the memory Wendell Scott and his plight of social justice and equality. We believe the values of Wendell Scott is a call-to-action to those who not only desire to achieve, but have the desire to be the best at the highest level. He embodied a competitive credence that giving up is much harder than succeeding.
He was inducted into The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and the National Black Athletic Hall of Fame; is an honorary member of the Black American Racers Association; is lifetime member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
Polarity, LLC is a leading Black-owned diversified entertainment holding company. With expertise in publishing, film & television, and games, Polarity is focused on producing leading-edge, world-class content for a rapidly changing and diverse marketplace. Completely self-financed, Polarity has developed deep value chains across multiple market platforms to nurture individual brands and creator-driven content, and to produce long-lasting asset value across broad channel consumption.
Portfolio companies of Polarity include:
Lion Forge Animation: Independent animation production company partnering with premier creators and developers around the world
Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group: Major independent publisher of graphic novels and comics with a 20-year history of pushing creative boundaries. Channels: 1) Publishing, 2) Entertainment, 3) Games
Magnetic Press: Premium branded publisher of graphic novels and comics
Illustrated Syndicate: IP development and holding company; repository of deep and diverse IP libraries
Find out more at www.polarityltd.com.
Polarity on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/polarity-llc/