Jamie Foxx to Produce Limited TV Series on Marvin Gaye with Suzanne de Passe

Jamie Foxx / Marvin Gaye (photo via rollingstone.com)

article by Ryan Reed via rollingstone.com

Jamie Foxx will chronicle Marvin Gaye’s triumphant, tragic life story in a planned limited series about the soul icon. The actor is executive producing the project alongside Passe Jones Entertainment’s Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones, who will shop the series to various linear and digital outlets, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I’ve been a huge fan my whole life. His brilliance in music is unparalleled,” Foxx said in a statement. “Marvin Gaye’s story has always fascinated me.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr., who signed Gaye to the legendary Detroit label in 1961, offered his official blessing to the series: “Marvin was the truest artist I have ever known,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “I am confident that this is the right team to bring his story to the audience in an authentic and compelling way.”

At Motown, Gaye found success with his romantic musical persona, partnering with duet partners like Mary Wells and Tammi Terrell. But he explored social issues and sexual subject matter on later LPs, including 1971 masterpiece What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On, respectively. After a commercial decline later in the decade, he found a resurgence with 1982’s Midnight Love and hit single “Sexual Healing.” But his story ended tragically in 1984, when he was fatally shot at age 44 by his father in Los Angeles.

While numerous actors, musicians and filmmakers have attempted to produce Gaye biopics over the years, Foxx’s is the first authorized by the late singer’s family. “This project will be a powerful and definitive telling of Marvin Gaye’s life story,” said Gaye’s son, Marvin Gaye III, who will also executive produce the project.

To read more, go to: Marvin Gaye’s Family Approves Jamie Foxx-Produced Series – Rolling Stone

Black Santa, For the First Time Ever, Comes to Mall of America in Minnesota

Larry Jefferson is the first black Santa in the 24-year history of the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. (STAR TRIBUNE SCREENSHOT)

article by Monique Judge via theroot.com

For the first time in its 24-year history, Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., had a black Santa on hand to help spread holiday cheer Thursday.

“This is a long time coming,” Landon Luther, co-owner of the Santa Experience, which has run the intimate photo studio at the mall for years, told the Star Tribune. “We want Santa to be for everyone, period.”

Customers at the Mall of America have two Santa options to choose from: They can wait in line with everyone else at the mall for the free Santa, or they can book an appointment with the Santa Experience. The Star Tribune reports that Luther conducted a national search last spring for a Santa to whom children of color would be able to relate. Santa Sid, who has worked at the Mall of America for 20 years, met Larry Jefferson of Irving, Texas, at a Santa convention in Branson, Mo. Of the 1,000 Santa impersonators in attendance, Jefferson was the only black one.

“It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” Luther said.

Jefferson, dressed as Santa Larry, will greet children, pass out candy and pose for photographs by appointment only from Thursday to Sunday.

To read more, got to: For 1st Time Ever, a Black Santa Comes to Mall of America in Minn.

TCU Safety Caylin Moore Earns Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship (VIDEO)

Texas Christian University senior Caylin Moore (photo via foxsports.com)

article by Sam Gardner via foxsports.com

Caylin Moore sat in the rare books room at the Los Angeles Public Library on Saturday evening, his heart beating out of his chiseled chest, awaiting the news that could change his life forever.

Earlier that afternoon, Moore, a senior safety on the Texas Christian University football team, had interviewed for a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the world’s most prestigious academic honors. He was one of 14 finalists competing for two awards in District 16, which covers Southern California, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands.  The winners — and 30 more honorees from the country’s 15 other districts — would go on to study for two years at Oxford University in England.

And while Moore, a 2011 Children’s Defense Fund Beat the Odds honoree, 2014 Fulbright Summer Institute Scholarship awardee and recent Rangel Scholarship recipient, felt optimistic about his chances, the rest of the room felt at least as good about theirs.“While everyone else is talking and bragging about what they had done, I just sat there quietly,” Moore told FOX Sports this week, recalling the tense three-hour wait between the end of his grueling interview and the announcement of the winners.

“And when they’d ask questions to compare themselves to me, I would just kind of keep it short because I didn’t feel it necessary to do that.“I think half the people that were there, they kind of slept on me,” Moore continued. “They didn’t see me as a threat. They probably just thought I was there for charity.”

If such misguided suspicions did exist among the other finalists, one could understand why.

A child of poverty, Moore is the second of three children, raised in a single-parent home in a gang-ridden neighborhood of Carson, California, and for parts of his life he shared a bed with his mother, Calynn, his big sister, Mi-Calynn, and his younger brother, Chase. His father, Louis Moore, was abusive, Moore’s mother says, both before and after she left him in 2000, when Caylin was 6.

Nine years later, Moore’s dad was arrested for the murder of his then-girlfriend, and in 2012, he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. But there’s far more to Moore’s story than simply using football to escape his own rough neighborhood and hard-luck circumstances. An economics major pursuing minors in mathematics and sociology, Moore carries a 3.9 grade point average and is on track to graduate in May.

While at Marist College, where he played quarterback for three seasons, Moore worked as a janitor. After transferring to TCU, Moore founded an outreach program called S.P.A.R.K. (Strong Players Are Reaching Kids), in which Moore and his Horned Frogs teammates visit elementary schools in disadvantaged Fort Worth neighborhoods, stressing the importance of education.

To read full article, go to: The remarkable journey of TCU’s Caylin Moore from poverty to Rhodes Scholar | FOX Sports

Actor/Director Denzel Washington to be Honored by Santa Barbara Film Festival

Denzel Washington Fences

Denzel Washington (UNIMEDIA IMAGES/REX SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com

Denzel Washington has been selected to receive the Maltin Modern Master Award at the 32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Feb. 2, 2017 at the Arlington Theatre.

Washington will be honored for his longstanding contributions to the film industry, culminating with Paramount’s upcoming movie “Fences,” which he directs, produces, and stars in.

The award is named for film critic Leonard Maltin, who will return for his 26th year to moderate the evening.  Roger Durling, the festival’s executive director, said, “Denzel Washington directing, producing and acting in ‘Fences’ defines the Modern Master for the 21st Century.”

Washington portrays a mid-century Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues began admitting black players. He tries to be a good husband and father, but his lost dream of glory eats at him, and causes him to make a decision that threatens to tear his family apart.

The screenplay is written August Wilson, adapted from Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The film also stars Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson and Saniyya Sidney. Paramount opens “Fences” on Dec. 25.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/festivals/denzel-washington-santa-barbara-film-festival-1201928237/

Civil Rights Activist Dorothy Height to Be Honored on 2017 U.S. Postage Stamp

Dorothy Height U.S. postal stamp, 2017.

Dorothy Height U.S. postal stamp, 2017. BLACK HERITAGE: DOROTHY HEIGHT STAMP IMAGE © 2016 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

article via theroot.com

The U.S. Postal Service just announced civil rights leader Dorothy Height will be honored as the 40th stamp in the Black Heritage Forever series. The painting of Height is based on based on a 2009 photograph shot by Lateef Mangum. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamp.

Height was a tireless activist who dedicated her life to fighting for racial and gender equality. She lived a remarkable life that was in service to her community but African-American women in particular. Although she rarely gained the recognition granted her male contemporaries, she became one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the 20th century. She was the president of the National Council of Negro Women for forty years and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.

In 1990, Height, along with 15 other African Americans, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom. She served as national president of Delta Sigma Theta sorority from 1947 to 1956; was the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; and an honored guest at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 20, 2009, where she was seated on stage.

Height is the 15th African American woman to appear in the series. The stamp will be available in 2017.

To read full article, go to: http://www.theroot.com/blog/the-grapevine/dorothy-height-to-be-honored-on-2017-u-s-postage-stamp/

Halima Aden Makes History as 1st Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Halima Aden (photo via cosmopolitan.com)

article by Gina Mei via cosmopolitan.com

Halima Aden is flawlessly breaking down barriers in the pageant community: Over the weekend, the 19-year-old made history as the first contestant in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant to wear a hijab throughout the competition and a burkini during the swimsuit round. And needless to say, she looked absolutely stunning.

Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)

Miss USA Minnesota pageant (photo via twitter.com)

The Somali-American teenager, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp and moved to America when she was just 6 years old, ultimately made it to the pageant’s semifinals Sunday. But as she told multiple sources both before and after the pageant was over, despite not winning, she hoped her participation would serve as a reminder that beauty comes in many different forms.

“A lot of people will look at you and will fail to see your beauty because you’re covered up and they’re not used to it. So growing up, I just had to work on my people skills and give people a chance to really know me besides the clothing,” she said in an interview with KARE-11. “Be who you are. It’s easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”

To read more, go to: Halima Aden Makes History as the First Miss Minnesota USA Contestant to Wear Hijab

Larry Wilmore Lands Overall Deal at ABC Studios

Larry Wilmore ABC Studios

Larry Wilmore (PHOTO COURTESY OF ABC)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

According to Variety.com, former “The Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore is turning his focus back to writing and producing after his 2016 stint on Comedy Central.

Wilmore recently signed an overall deal with ABC Studios, marking his first major move since his late-night series was cancelled.  Under his new multi-year pact, Wilmore will develop his own projects, plus supervise others and work with executives to target talent for the studio.

Wilmore recently helped Issa Rae created“Insecure” for HBO, which was recently renewed for a second season.  A comedy veteran, Wilmore also created “The Bernie Mac Show” and “The P.J.’s.” He’s also an executive producer on ABC’s hit sitcom “Black-ish.”

“I’m excited beyond words to be back at ABC and look forward to this creative partnership,” Wilmore said. “Disney took a chance on me as a young writer years ago and so I’m thrilled to return to the Mouse House. I hope my room still looks the same.”