Longtime local radio host Frank Ski wasn’t letting a pesky lawsuit keeping him from joining the notables at Thursday night’s red-carpet premiere for “Concussion” starring Will Smith. Local rapper-actor Ludacris and his manager, Chaka Zulu also appeared at the private event held at CinéBistro at Town Brookhaven.
“I’m good,” Ski said, making his way down the red carpet. “I’m going to be fine.”
Ludacris, whose premiere for “Fast and Furious 6” was also held at CinéBistro a couple of years ago, was happy to attend Thursday’s event as a fan.
“I can’t wait to see the show,” he said ahead of time. “I’m ready to be inspired.”
“Concussion,” opening Christmas Day, stars Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the brilliant forensic neuropathologist who first diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy – or CTE – a football-related brain trauma.
Omalu was the star of Thursday’s event. He said he was pleased at the awareness a major motion picture can bring about.
“Hollywood is a very powerful agent of change,” he said. “We are one American family. We are one love, one spirit, united by peace. In this country the impossible becomes possible.”
Having Smith portray him in a film has been a thrilling experience. Omalu served as a consultant throughout the process.
“I was involved in every stage,” he said. “I made sure it was a true and accurate depiction.”
Actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje portrays Dave Duerson, the former four-time Pro Bowl NFL safety who played for the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants, and the Phoenix Cardinals, who died in 2011 after battling debilitating symptoms caused by football-related brain injuries.
“This is an important, extremely timely movie,” he said. “It’s important that the public is aware of the risks. It’s a cautionary tale. Hopefully everyone embraces it message to make a game we all love safer.”
Former Buffalo Bills player Robert Hicks attended Thursday’s event.
“I’m glad light has been shed on this issue,” said Hicks, who remembers the dizziness and other symptoms he’d suffer after taking hard hits on the field. “I thought, this is just how it is.”
He advises young players to put their health and safety first.
“The NFL is nice. It’s a nice, temporary job,” he said. “Life is forever. You need all your brain cells.”