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Exclusive: Andre Benjamin Reveals How He Became Jimi Hendrix

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The often reclusive Andre Benjamin has returned to the spotlight in 2014, stepping into the shoes of rock legend Jimi Hendrix in the upcoming film, Jimi: All is By My Side.

HipHollywood caught up with Benjamin on the red carpet for the film’s premiere to find out how he went from rap legend to rock legend.

“I read a couple of biographies, watched him do some interviews on American television just so I could get his mannerisms down,” explained Benjamin. “So I just took as much found information as I could get my hands on and did my impersonation or my take on Hendrix.”

Benjamin also learned how to play the guitar with his left hand, and went on a strict diet to play the rock star who died at the tender age of 27 years old. Director John Ridley told us he chose to focus on Hendrix’s life from 1966-1967, just as he was making his mark on the London music scene and emerging into an international rock star.

“I wanted to spend as much time as possible examining the individual instead of framing 27 years into 2 hours,” explained Ridley, who also wrote 12 Years a Slave. “I think with this film people will come away with a deeper understanding of this individual, as opposed to us giving them things they already know.”

Jimi: All Is By My Side hits theaters September 26th. So what’s next for Benjamin? He told us he’s not sure yet, but more music from Outkast is not in the plans.

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EXCLUSIVES

Dwyane Wade On New Heartfelt Documentary: It’s A Story “I Never Got A Chance To Tell As A Kid”

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It’s been an epic week for Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union.

It first started with one of the biggest trades of the year with Wade returning back to Miami to finish the rest of the season with the Heat. “I was happy,” Wade told us on Thursday night about the trade.

He added, “The journey of the NBA took me to Chicago, it took me to Cleveland, but it also brought me back to Miami; a place from a basketball sense birthed me.”

Days following the big NBA announcement, the lovebirds then celebrated the release of Dwyane’s documentary, Shot in the Dark, which the NBA champion produced alongside Chance the Rapper.

The film follows the Orr Academy High School basketball team on Chicago’s Westside. Throughout the documentary, cameras capture the journey of individual athletes trying to make it to the NBA despite growing up in the violent streets of Chicago.

During the screening, Wade also opened up to HipHollywood about why the project was near and dear to his heart. “It’s home,” the Chicago native said. “I jumped on board right away because it’s a story being told that I never got a chance to tell as a kid. To be able to shed some positive light on a tough, dark situation for us was big.”

Union added, “I’m so proud. Coming up on Hoop Dreams … It explores so many other topics that are critical to kids in Chicago.”

As for whether or not D-Wade picked up some advice from his TV star boo, not quite. When asked what tips Union gave Wade ahead of the project, the actress told us, “None. You have to learn. Humility and school of hard knocks. Things are not going to go your way and you have to learn through experience just like the rest of us.”

Check out the documentary on February 24 on Fox Sports.

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