In celebration of Black History Month I’m paying tribute to 28 contemporary history makers. These people have inspired me throughout my life, as well as today, and are making a positive impact on our world.
“The Color Purple” opens on Broadway tomorrow night! Starring Jennifer Hudson as “Shug Avery,” the all around female entertainer performed a segment of the show, on “The Late Show” after taking the couch with Stephen Colbert on Monday night.
Back in the day, “Krush Groove”, was the quintessential hip-hop flick. It was released through Warner Brothers studios in 1985, one year after the success of Prince’s “Purple Rain”, and starred his then protégé and companion Sheila E. Although rap and the culture of hip-hop, are rooted in advocating anti-establishment values and not “selling out”, ever since “Boyz N’ the Hood”, it’s been all about cashing in.
Taraji’s “trending”… Why? Apart from Ms. Henson’s “Empire” success, she’ll soon grace the cover of W magazine, and she’s giving the flavor of “The Boss.” The Inquisiter, People, US Weekly, Extra, Yahoo and Facebook, are all talking about her look.
During the 1970’s Black filmmakers found their voices by making films that spoke to urban audiences in a way that had never been done before. Films like Sugar Hill, Abby, The Zebra Killers and so many more packed theaters with audiences hungry for Horror Movies where the Black Guy didn’t die first. 40 years later, Black horror films have made a lasting impact within the Black community. These films are national treasures and should be a part of any film collection. The Museum of UnCut Funk pays homage to the Blaxpolitation Horror films of 1974.
As music fans, lovers and aficionados are perched and waiting for “Get On Up” and “Jimi: All Is by My Side,” one can’t help but think of musical biopics that have been previously released. This blog was prompted and inspired by a chat with, and query from my wife, as to how many films of this nature have been done — there are numerous. While many are excited for the lives of James Brown and Jimi Hendrix to grace the silver screen, the lives of other music icons have been brilliantly depicted. (click on photo above for full view)
The loss of National Treasures evokes thoughts of one’s own mortality and legacy. THEY DID THEIR WORK; THEY’VE LEFT THEIR MARKS ON THE PLANET; TOUCHED THE LIVES OF MILLIONS! How much time do we/ I have left? What will we/ I leave behind? My/ our child (ren) and/ or future children? This blog, a Facebook post? I believe those of us still here… STILL HAVE STUFF TO DO.
Last night was a historical one for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Headed by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American to hold the position, diversity was exemplary at the Oscars. Hosted by the Fabulous Ellen DeGeneres, the list of winners and nominees was multi-cultural as well as valid, in that they made poignant statements regarding sexual; age; gender; class; and racial discrimination. This was the best thing about the winners and nominees of this year’s ceremony.
Vanessa Williams is headed to Broadway for the fifth time! On April 1st, she’ll begin her run with the production “After Midnight.” Williams made her Broadway debut starring in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” in 1994. Having seen the Oscar award winning film, there was no way I was going to miss her in that production, she was phenomenal.
Horror movies with predominantly Black casts represent a niche segment of the horror genre that has been under appreciated for decades. A number of these films continue to entertain new generations of movie aficionados. These films are national treasures and should be a part of any film collection. The Museum of UnCut Funk pays homage to Blaxpolitation Horror films of 1972 and 1973.
Spike Lee and Spike Jonze both have new films in theaters this fall. Two of today’s most innovative directors, they both have a distinctive style that sets them apart from men behind the camera of yesteryear. In addition to displaying aspects of the human condition, Jonze and Lee get to deliver it in ways Hollywood only, and never dreamed of. Before “Being John Malcovich” was released, there had never been a film quite like it. Once Lee made his way into the fray, more black people began working in the industry of film than ever before.
Holy Summer Blockbusters! Universal’s “The Purge” will lead the box office this weekend for raking in the dough. The film studio is riding high right now, as “Fast & Furious 6” topped the box office last week, making it number-one two weeks in a row! I just knew “After Earth” would take the top spot, since ‘Furious’ was released for Memorial Day Weekend… WRONG!
Oscar Award winning actor, producer and director Forest Whitaker has several projects on deck right now. Soon to be seen as the lead in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” opposite Oprah Winfrey, he has current and upcoming roles in six other films.
This past February, I used a photo of a stamp with the face of Paul Robeson as my “Profile Photo” on Facebook. Although his name is featured on the stamp, a few folks asked me who he was. I had just took it for granted that most people knew him or were aware. Growing up, I can remember seeing documentaries about him and hearing his name mentioned in multiple circles. For years, randomly in a particular setting, one might sing the words “Ol’ man river…” as a means of setting an oppressive tone for the conversation.
The new movie “42” based on the life and sacrifices of Jackie Robinson, is looking like it will be tops at the box office this weekend. Based on the book by Aaron Rosenberg and written directed by Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland, it opened with $9.1m at 3,003 venues on Friday, April 12th, according to studio estimates via Box Office Mojo.
Since I hit 100 blogs without realizing it, I figured I do something special for blog #105. The following list of LPs/ CDs are the FUNKIEST Soundtracks of all time according to www.funkaliciousblog.com – while all albums may not be comprised of all FUNK music, they are unquestionably FUNKY! Now, put on your favorite soundtrack, go ahead put it on… Let’s take a ride down memory lane and reminisce about what made you feel good when you heard any of these musical FUNKY gems.
A brand new “Reality Show,” “Q’Viva! The Chosen” is produced and hosted by now divorced couple Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. Apart from the enormous press, publicity, notoriety and money the two Latin icons stand to garner from the show, I gotta give them MAJOR PROPS!!! Millions of people around the world will be able to witness Latin talent from places thousands will never travel to. In a word, i think the concept of the show is AMAZING!
Seattle native TJ Martin is the first black man to win an Oscar as a Director for his documentary “Undefeated”! Martin was just happy to be among some of his filmmaking heroes according to a recent article in the Seattle Times, now he’s made history. Prior to Martin, the only non-caucassion to win an Oscar for their accomplishment as a Director, was Ang Lee for his film “Brokeback Mountain.”
Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Sean “P-Diddy” Combs have entered in to the world of television. My initial reaction was “Great”, but we’ve been here before. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy, ecstatic, overjoyed that two of our most successful moguls in entertainment are about to grow their existing respective empires – good for them. However, we’ve had such a poor showing on a very short list of accomplishments thus far with Black Television.
Since Whitney Houston’s passing, there have been photos circulating of her engaging in activity the night before. This evening being the precursor if you will to Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy bash, of which Whitney was sure to grace with her presence. A gala attended by many, it’s invitation only, and always well attended. The party still went on last night, Davis was quoted saying “She loved music and loved this night that celebrated music… Whitney would have asked that the music go on,” and so it did. The annual gathering began with a performance by Tony Bennett, followed by Diana Krall, Diddy and Alicia Keys, who dedicated her song “No One” to Houston. Some photos of Houston and Davis from previous years…