Chess champion Orrin C. Hudson, founder of the Be Someone mentoring organization based in DeKalb County, has been tapped to help promote Disney Studios new film, “Queen of Katwe,” starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo.
The film tells the story of Phiona Mutesi, a 10-year-old girl from the slums of Katwe, Uganda, who learns to become a world chess champion. Nyong’o plays the mother of Phiona.
Hudson spent Sept. 12-16 touring four cities—Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles—to promote the film, which will be released nationwide today (Sept. 30).
Hudson had a chance to interact with actress Lupita Nyong’o during his visit to Los Angeles where they led a children’s chess workshop.
“It was wonderful working with Lupita. She was awesome. She was familiar with the game of chess because she learned at any early age,” said Hudson, who praised Lupita for her Academy award-winning role in the film, “12 Years A Slave.”
Hudson said that he easily relates to the story of the Ugandan girl who becomes an international chess champion as a way of getting out of the slums. A teacher taught Hudson how to play chess just as a teacher taught Phiona Mutesi, the character in the Disney film, how to play. Hudson also grew up with 13 siblings in the housing projects of Birmingham, Alabama.
“My story is the same as hers. We both got the winning edge in life because someone took the time out to change the trajectory of my life,” Hudson said.
“Phiona’s coach told her, ‘Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong. You belong where you believe you belong. Where is that for you?” Hudson said. “Someone took time to guide and inspire me. It changed my life. By challenging and trusting me and helping me to understand that I can do anything I put my mind to. Now, it’s my time to pay it forward.”
For more information about Orrin Hudson and Be Someone, visit www.besomeone.org. 770-465-6445.