7 November 2022

ILP Invests in the
Estate of Langston Hughes

  • ILP has acquired a significant stake in the Langston Hughes Estate and will manage the prolific work of American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and reporter Langston Hughes
  • Best known as the leader of the Harlem Renaissance; Hughes mentored writers such as Ralph Ellison, Alice Walker and Lucille Clifton.  

International Literary Properties (ILP), the global company that invests in, acquires, and manages literary estates is honored to announce the acquisition of Langston Hughes’ literary estate. ILP looks forward to working closely with the Hughes Estate in growing the awareness of the political and artistic significance of Langston Hughes’ life and bringing his work to a new generation of readers, artists and creatives.

“ILP is honored to have the opportunity to add a portion of the Estate of Langston Hughes to our growing portfolio of literary works. Mr. Hughes’ works are iconic parts of America’s literary fabric, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce a new generation of readers all over the world to his words. We’re particularly pleased to be working closely with Estate Administrators Arnold Rampersad, Ramona Bass-Kolobe, Karen Gormandy, and Advisory Board Member Sidney Clifton to build upon the extraordinary work that has been done in the past, in order to preserve this legacy for the future,” says ILP’s CEO, Scott Hoffman.

Langston Hughes was a poetic innovator and a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance—an arts movement and intellectual revival in the 1920s that celebrated Black cultural expression. Hughes’ work was inspired by his life in New York City’s Harlem, a primarily Black working-class neighborhood at the time. Through his poetry, novels, plays, essays, and children’s books, he sought to honestly depict the joys and hardships of Black lives, avoiding both sentimental idealization and negative stereotypes. Often called “The People’s Poet,” his writing promoted equality, condemned racism and injustice, and helped shape American literature and politics.

In 1958, Hughes recited his poem “The Weary Blues” on Canada’s “The 7 O’Clock Show”, accompanied by the Doug Parker Band. It was one of the many poems that he wrote that utilized a rhythm similar to that of jazz music, founding the style of poetry called “jazz poetry.” Today, Hughes’s poems have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Russian, Yiddish, and Czech; many of them have been set to music.

Langston Hughes’s legacy continues to inspire artists across mediums today. Award-winning illustrator Afua Richardson, who has worked for Marvel, DC, and Image, created a comic book for NPR in 2014 based on one of Hughes most recognizable poems “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” which he wrote at just 17 years old. This year, the new “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” reboot on Peacock also pays tribute to Hughes, using his century-old poem, “Mother to Son” in a trailer for the dramatized remake of the American sitcom.

International Literary Properties, in collaboration with the Langston Hughes Estate, has already begun a comprehensive program of work to champion Hughes’ work globally. This includes forensic rights work to support publishing and audio-visual opportunities, and creative development work to explore new opportunities for Hughes’ work for TV, film, stage and audio. ILP has an exclusive first look deal with BBC Studios and works closely with both BBC Studios and other select international production and talent partners to bring important works to new audiences across the world.