Author Paul Beatty Becomes 1st American to Win Man Booker Prize With ‘The Sellout’

Paul Beatty, who won the Man Booker Prize for “The Sellout,” a satire about race in America, at a ceremony Tuesday in London. (Credit: John Phillips/Getty Images)

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Paul Beatty’s novel “The Sellout,” a blistering satire about race in America, won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday, marking the first time an American writer has won the award.

The five Booker judges, who were unanimous in their decision, cited the novel’s inventive comic approach to the thorny issues of racial identity and injustice.

With its outrageous premise and unabashed skewering of racial stereotypes, “The Sellout” is an audacious choice for the judges, who oversee one of the most prestigious awards in literature.

“The truth is rarely pretty, and this is a book that nails the reader to the cross with cheerful abandon,” Amanda Foreman, the head of the judging panel, said at a press briefing in London before the winner was announced. “It plunges into the heart of contemporary American society.”

At a ceremony in London, Mr. Beatty said that writing “The Sellout” had taken an emotional toll.

“It was a hard book for me to write; I know it’s hard to read,” he said. “I’m just trying to create space for myself. And hopefully that can create space for others.”

A raucous tragicomedy that explores the legacy of slavery and racial and economic inequality in America, the novel felt deeply resonant at a moment when police violence against African-Americans has incited protests around the country and forced Americans to confront the country’s history of racism.

In a review in The New York Times, Dwight Garner wrote that the novel’s first 100 pages read like “the most concussive monologues and interviews of Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle wrapped in a satirical yet surprisingly delicate literary and historical sensibility.”

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This Pioneering Comic Shop Owner Gets Her Own Marvel Cover | Colorlines

Colorlines Screenshot of (L to R) the variant “Invincible Iron Man #1” comic, feat. (L to R) RiRi Williams and Ariell Johnson; and a picture of Ariell Johnson, taken from Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse’s Instagram on October 25, 2016.

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Ariell Johnson, the founder of Philadelphia’s Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, is the only Black woman to own a comics shop on the East Coast.  Johnson opened Amalgam Comics to tremendous fanfare in January. Now, her important contributions to geek culture and entrepreneurship for women of color has been immortalized in the most appropriate way possible.

Johnson appears on a store-specific variant cover for Marvel’s “Invincible Iron Man #1,” enjoying a meal with another Black woman trailblazer: RiRi Williamsthe new Iron Man. The comic goes on sale next month, with this alternate cover being available only at Amalgam.

Johnson told ABC News that her colleague Randy Green spearheaded the project. “When the email went out about potential variants for stores, he was really excited and took it upon himself to work out the [details],” she said. “I knew what it was supposed to look like, but having the actual art in front of you is so much different. It’s really exciting.”

“When you are a person of color, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone you can identify with. I always felt like I was watching other people’s adventures,” she said to ABC News. Had she not been introduced to X-Men character Storm, she said, “I might have grown out of my love for [comics].”

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National Museum of African-American History and Culture is Sold Out Through March 2017!

Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC)

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To say the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is on everybody’s bucket list is an understatement. Put it like this. If you were planning to visit the new museum, unfortunately you’re going to have to wait until 2017.

Yep, it’s that popular. The museum has sold out tickets through March of 2017. Admission is free, but date-specific tickets are required for entry.

The museum opened in Washington, D.C. in September, and officials initially expected around 7,000 visitors per day.  Nearly 30,000 people visit the museum daily.

There are only two ways you can gain entry:  Go to the museum website and try to obtain a 2017 pass or line up outside the museum to try for a “day of” pass.

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Barry Jenkins’ Film “Moonlight”, an Adaptation of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Play, Could Be This Year’s Indie Box Office Breakout

"Moonlight" (image via next

“Moonlight” (image via

article by Brent Lang via

“Moonlight” is a film without any big stars. It’s a drama about a shy, gay kid growing up in the inner city, made by a director (Barry Jenkins) whose last credit (“Medicine for Melancholy”)was so long ago many cinephiles feared he’d hung up the camera and retired. It’s the kind of challenging, deeply personal, fiercely urgent look at black life in America that would be lucky to score a video-on-demand berth, let alone a major theatrical release.

And yet, the no-budget film isn’t just a hit with critics, it is poised to be the breakout indie film of the year. This weekend, “Moonlight” scored the highest per-screen average of 2016, debuting to a sizzling $414,740 in just four New York and Los Angeles theaters. There were sellouts and standing ovations, just as there had been when the film announced itself as a serious awards contender at festivals in Toronto and Telluride.

“This puts it on the Oscar map, big time,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore. “They’ve got something really special here.”

The film’s per-screen average of $103,685 is one of the strongest of the decade.  “Moonlight” marks Jenkins’ return behind the camera after an eight-year absence. His previous effort, “Medicine for Melancholy,” earned Independent Spirit Award nominations and was a hit with reviewers when it came out in 2008, but in the ensuing years, Jenkins struggled to find the right vehicle for his talents. A film about Stevie Wonder failed to get off the ground, and Jenkins dabbled in advertising, carpentry, and had an artistically frustrating stint as a writer on HBO’s “The Leftovers.” His years in the Hollywood wilderness appeared to have come to an end.”

In “Moonlight,” an adaptation of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” Jenkins appears to have found the perfect material for his humanistic approach to filmmaking. The picture unfolds in three acts, as it examines Chiron’s troubled childhood in a drug-addled section of Miami, and uses his coming-of-age to illuminate issues of addiction and urban violence. It’s a movie that is of the moment. Jenkins’ film hits theaters as the #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to gain momentum, fueled by a series of shootings of people of color by law enforcement officials. Continue reading

Hip-Hop Legends Eric B. & Rakim to Reunite for 2017 Tour, Album Reissues

Eric B. & Rakim will reunite for the first time in 24 years when the legendary hip-hop duo embark on a 2017 tour. (Waring Abbott/Michael Ochs Archives)

Eric B. & Rakim will reunite for the first time in 24 years when the legendary hip-hop duo embark on a 2017 tour, Eric B.’s representative, Louis “Uncle Louie” Gregory, confirmed to Rolling Stone Saturday. “Back by popular demand,” Eric B. adds.

In addition to the tour, Gregory says the duo will look to remaster all four of their albums alongside filming new videos for classic tracks like “I Ain’t No Joke” and “Paid in Full.” While there are currently no plans to record new material, Gregory says the legendary group is taking it one step at a time.

“All too often we embrace our icons only after it’s too late,” Gregory tells Rolling Stone. “By having such an important group come together now, it’s an opportunity for parents and their kids to go to a show together and see music that created the foundation for what many of today’s artists were built upon.”

The genesis of the reunion began in July when Eric B. attended Rakim’s headlining benefit set for the Universal Hip Hop Museum in Newark, New Jersey. It was the first time the duo was in the same place for years. “They just started talking and organically reconnecting over time and realizing that they needed to do this,” Gregory says.

The surprise announcement seeped out earlier this week when the verified Eric B. & Rakim Twitter teased, “It’s official. You heard it here first. We are back.”

On Saturday morning, the Twitter feed brought news of the reunion tour, with the duo tweeting “Preparations are under way for #EricBandRakim’s return. It’s been a long time…” and asking where the Eric B. & Rakim tour should “jump off”; New York, Las Vegas, London and Australia were the options provided.

Gregory said that the current plan is a worldwide tour to start next year. He admits it’s too early to ascertain venue sizes, but the duo are looking into playing select festivals as part of the tour.

Eric B. & Rakim recorded four classic albums together – including their influential 1987 LP Paid in Full and its 1988 follow-up Follow the Leader – before splitting up in 1993. Rakim, who inspired an entire generation of rappers, including Nas and Jay Z, embarked on a solo career without reconnecting with his former DJ and partner.

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Additional reporting by Jason Newman

High School Soccer Player Reuben Nsemoh Awakes From Severe Coma Speaking Fluent Spanish


Teen Reuben Nsemoh (CREDIT: Fox News)

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Reuben Nsemoh was unable to speak Spanish until he woke up from his coma.  Nsemoh, who attends Brookwood High School in Georgia and has 3.6 GPA, is the goalkeeper for his soccer team. During a game last month, the 16-year-old athlete was kicked in the head by a player when diving for the ball, which resulted in a coma for three weeks.

The teen jock, who was never able to speak Spanish before the accident, gives credit to his friends who always spoke the language around him. “My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” he said.

Nsemoh said he hopes to return to soccer as soon as he is fully recovered. His coach refuses to put him back on the field unless he wears a helmet. Recovering at home he expressed how hard life is for him since the accident. “Sometimes I feel like I’m not here, but I am,” Nsemoh told WSB Radio.

The incident has been extremely hard on Nsemoh’s family as well, due to an extensive medical bill of $200,000. Hopefully, their GoFundMe will aid in some of the medical costs.

Tyler Perry’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” Tops Tom Cruise’s ‘Jack Reacher 2’ at Box Office with $27.6 Million


Tyler Perry in “Boo! A Madea Halloween” (PHOTO COURTESY OF LIONSGATE)

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It was a battle of the sequels at the multiplexes this weekend, as “Boo! A Madea Halloween” narrowly edged out “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” to claim first place at the domestic box office.

The latest film in the long-running Madea series racked up $27.6 million. Comedian Chris Rock may be entitled to a percentage of the gross. Creator Tyler Perry was inspired to take his pistol-packing grandma trick-or-treating after Rock’s comedian character in 2014’s “Top Five” joked that his latest movie, a passion project about a slave revolt, was going head-to-head at the box office with “Boo! A Madea Halloween.” What was once intended as satire eventually became a seasonally appropriate reality.

“This isn’t the end of the series, it’s just the beginning,” said Jeff Bock, box office analyst with Exhibitor Relations, who noted that Perry also scored with 2013’s “A Madea Christmas.” “There are so many holidays left. There’s Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and he hasn’t even done a Thanksgiving one yet.”

Don’t look for “Boo!” to end up in the Oscar race or on many reviewers’ “ten best” lists, but the Halloween comedy is a hit for distributor Lionsgate and reaffirms Perry’s star power. Despite being routinely derided by critics, the film series has an extremely loyal fan base. Collectively they’ve earned nearly $380 million. The latest Madea cost $20 million to make, and attracted a more diverse crowd. Typically the films have an audience that’s between 80% and 90% African-American, but this installment’s crowd was only 60% African-American, with the rest of ticket buyers made up largely of Caucasians and Hispanic movie-goers.

“The film crossed over and it expanded the audience,” said David Spitz, co-president of domestic distribution at Lionsgate. “Madea is such a beloved character and the timing helped. There are not many comedies in the marketplace right now and Halloween is right around the corner.”

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