Runtime83 min

Ex-con turned poet/performer Lemon Andersen fights for an exit from generations of poverty by bringing his life’s secrets to the New York stage. But revisiting his troubled past has more in store than he bargained for, as he is confronted by his demons time and again. Still, Lemon—raised by a drug dealer and a car thief—was born to hustle and survive, so when Spike Lee steps in to produce his show, Lemon believes he might finally find the redemption that he desperately seeks.

Years ago, Lemon Andersen’s hard-knock childhood seemed to pay off when he was a member of Tony Award-winning “Def Poetry Jam” and later, HBO’s Def Poetry, translating his experiences into spoken word poetry. But the spotlight dimmed, the money was spent, and Lemon found himself living with his wife’s family, unemployed and broke. His talent writing about his life and experiences didn’t go away, however. His one-man show “County of Kings” was developed as a memoir of life growing up around drug dealers, including his heroin-addicted mother who he loved fiercely. This film follows Lemon as he develops the show and struggles to get backers to bring it to New York’s Public Theatre. It unfolds before your eyes, and it’s an interesting ride, sometimes raw and always in the moment. Lemon’s persistence, honesty and wish for a better life captivates viewers as he strives to rise above his troubled past.

Mature themes, strong language and references to alcohol and drug use related to Lemon’s life experiences.

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