Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield

*Music star and newly minted “American Idol” judge Lionel Richie has been granted the rights to produce a feature based on the life of legendary songwriter and musician Curtis Mayfield.

Richie is developing the project via his RichLion Productions., which acquired the rights from the Curtis Mayfield Estate, according to Deadline.

“It’s an honor for me to bring the life of one of my idols and friend to the screen,” said the former Commodores frontman. “I’m so grateful to be working closely with Altheida Mayfield, Cheaa Mayfield and the Curtis Mayfield Estate and couldn’t be happier to be moving forward on this amazing project about a one-of-a-kind music genius.”

“It’s time to celebrate and re-evaluate Curtis’ legacy,” added Altheida Mayfield, the singer’s widow. “For years, too many others have tried to claim what he alone did. He was a genius, always stood on his own.”

Born in Chicago in 1942, Mayfield began penning songs at age 11 before joining Jerry Butler in the Impressions at age 14. Mayfield went on to write more than 1,900 songs including the Impressions’ hits “People Get Ready” and “Keep on Pushin’” reflecting his awareness of political and social concerns among black people.

In 1990, Curtis Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after stage lighting equipment fell on him during an outdoor concert in New York. Although he was unable to play instruments after the accident, Curtis continued to sing, compose music and record. After an acclaimed four-decade career, Mayfield died in 1999 at 57.