Category: Entertainment

Director Merawi Gerima Wins Awards for Feature Debut “Residue” at 2020 Slamdance Film Festival

Director Merawi Gerima (photo via blackfilm.com)

According to deadline.com, writer/director Merawi Gerima’Residue  won the Audience Award at the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival, as well as receiving an Honorable Mention for the Grand Jury Prize.

First-time feature director Gerima is the son of acclaimed independent filmmaker Haile Gerima (Sanfoka). Merawi Gerima also produced and directed Residue, and his cast includes Obinna Nwachukwu, Dennis Lindsey, Taline Stewart, Jacari Dye, Julian Selman, Melody Tally, Ramon Thompson, and Derron Scott.  

Check out the trailer below:

Residue tells the story of Jay, a young man who arrives home to find his neighborhood gentrified beyond recognition. Demetrius, his childhood best friend, is missing, but none of the remaining black folks trust Jay enough to provide any answers. Jay’s frustration compounds as he also finds himself alienated in the city at large, attacked from all sides. Jay visits his last friend Dion in prison, but leaves feeling powerless and infuriated. One final, chance confrontation results in Jay succumbing to the same forces as did his friends.

Neveah Woods, 9, Gets Noticed by Mattel for her Clothing Designs for Barbie Dolls

Naveah Woods (photo via Click On Detroit)

Creative 9-year-old Nevaeh Woods from Detroit decided to make her passion for making clothing for Barbie dolls into a business and her designs have gotten attention of a big name company, according to WDIV Detroit.

Woods started making doll clothes out of whatever she could get her hands on and now her creations are getting noticed by the Barbie Mattel team.

“When I grow up, I want to be a fashion designer,” Neveah said. In a way, according to NewsOne, she already is a fashion designer. She makes clothes for her Barbie dolls out of everyday items like ribbon, socks and scissors.

Her mother, Sha’kvia Woods, watches and encourages her daughter, but they still surprised her.

“I just took pictures of them, so I was really amazed,” Woods said. “I shared it to Facebook and then I got a lot of my friends say make this public and when I made it public it just went viral.”

Her designs caught the attention of Mattel, the maker of Barbie. “Barbie sent me this amazing box, but we don’t know what’s inside it yet. Today we’re going to find out,” Neveah said.

Inside the box were plenty of new Barbies to style.

“It made me feel special because I’m achieving my goal to be a fashion designer and that’s what I really want to do,” Neveah said. “So I can be famous and make stuff and encourage people to follow their dreams.”

Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk” Renewed Through 2022 by Facebook, Gets Spin-Off

Willow Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris and Jada Pinkett Smith of “Red Table Talk”

Jada Pinkett Smith‘s “Red Table Talk,” one of the most popular shows on Facebook Watch, will stay exclusively on the platform with new episodes of the talk show streaming through 2022, according to Variety.com. The series features host and executive producer Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris (aka “Gammy”).

In addition, “Red Table Talk” is becoming a franchise: Smith and Westbrook Studios will produce “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” bringing the trademark red table to Miami and feature Grammy-winning singer Gloria Estefan, her daughter and musician Emily Estefan, and her niece Lili Estefan discussing trending and personal topics with celebrity guests and experts.

To quote Variety:

“Red Table Talk,” which was nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy, debuted in May 2018 and has aired 50 episodes on Facebook Watch over two seasons. The show has over 7 million followers on Facebook and spawned a main discussion group with over 600,000 members as well as other group forums. “Red Table Talk” promises candid conversations of current social and cultural issues including race, divorce, domestic violence, sex, fitness and parenting.

“I’m incredibly proud of ‘Red Table Talk’ and thrilled to build upon this franchise with my family and with Gloria, Emily and Lili,” Pinkett Smith said in a statement. “‘Red Table Talk’ has created a space to have open, honest and healing conversations around social and topical issues, and what’s most powerful for me is hearing people’s stories and engaging with our fans in such a tangible way on the Facebook Watch platform. I’m excited to see the Estefans put their spin on the franchise and take it to new places.”

Whitney Houston, The Notorious B.I.G. to Be Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020

2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. (photos via commons.wikipedia.org)

Music icons Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. are among the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame‘s 2020 inductees, the organization announced this morning. The other inductees are The Doobie BrothersNine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and T. Rex.

The 35th annual ceremony will air live for the first time this year — May 2, on HBO, from the Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio. Tickets are on sale Feb. 27; performances and special guests will be announced later.

This year’s performance lineup will likely be filled with tribute performances, as half of the inductees — Houston, Notorious B.I.G., and Marc Bolan of T. Rex — are deceased.

Four of the inductees — Houston, The Notorious B.I.G., the Doobie Brothers and T. Rex — and nine of the 16 total nominees were on the ballot for the first time, with nominees Dave Matthews Band, Motorhead, Pat Benatar, Soundgarden and Thin Lizzy filling out that list.

Chaka Khan, with and without the group Rufus, and Kraftwerk have both been up six times. To be eligible this year, each nominee’s first single or album had to be released in 1994 or earlier.

To read more: https://variety.com/2020/music/news/rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-2020-whitney-houston-nine-inch-nails-notorious-big-1203467065/

Prince to Receive All-Star Grammy Tribute Starring Alicia Keys, Beck, Foo Fighters, Sheila E.

Prince will receive an all-star Grammy tribute featuring Alicia Keys, Beck and H.E.R. along with Sheila E., The Time and The Revolution.
— Read on variety.com/2020/music/news/prince-all-star-grammy-tribute-alicia-keys-beck-sheila-e-the-time-1203461660/

Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx Awarded $3.75 Million Grant by New York State

Universal Hip Hop Museum at Bronx Terminal Market (image via Kevin Ross/radiofacts.com)

New York state officials have approved a $3.75 million grant to help build the Universal Hip Hop Museum, according to cnn.com.

The museum will be located in the Bronx and is the brainchild of local hip hop aficionados. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the $3.75M grant last Thursday to the nation’s first museum dedicated to hip-hop.

To quote from CNN:

Now at a temporary location in the Bronx Terminal Market, The Universal Hip Hop Museum is the brain child of New Yorkers who have been on the hip-hop scene since the very beginning. One of these New Yorkers is executive director Rocky Bucano. Born and raised in the Bronx, Bucano was a DJ as a teenager in the early 1970’s.

Bucano describes the 8-year-old museum as an “ambitious, audacious dream.” Bucano’s co-founders include hip-hop legends Kurtis Blow and Grand Wizzard Theodore, who helped pioneer the popular DJ technique known as scratching.

According to CNN the founding board of directors includes Ice-T and cultural ambassadors include New York natives LL Cool J, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Grandmaster Flash, Fab Five Freddy and Nas.

In 2018, the Universal Hip Hop Museum announced that Public Enemy’s Chuck D would serve as the chairman of the museum’s celebrity board.

Thanks to the state funding, the 50,000-square-foot hip-hop museum will have a permanent place to call home in Bronx Point come 2023. The museum’s construction will begin in the summer of 2020.

The museum will showcase all aspects of hip-hop culture — from fashion and breakdancing, as well as the evolution of hip-hop — highlighting artists new and old, from the late ’70s to today. The museum will offer workshops, mentorships and programming to help area youths.

To visit the museum’s site for tickets or to donate, go to: https://www.uhhm.org

To read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/20/us/new-york-hip-hop-museum-trnd/index.html

Maya Angelou and Rupaul to be Inducted into State of California Hall Of Fame

California Hall of Fame Inductees Maya Angelou, Rupaul

Author Maya Angelou and performer/television series host RuPaul are among the inductees for the 2019 class of California Hall of Fame, according to sfgate.com.

California’s governor Gavin Newsom and his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom announced the inductees on Wednesday.

The class includes civil rights leader James M. Lawson Jr., actor and comedian George Lopez, soccer player and two-time World Cup champion Brandi Chastain, skateboarder and entrepreneur Tony Hawk,  chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck, astrophysicist France A. Córdova, author Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston,and winemaker Helen M. Turley.

The class will be inducted during a ceremony on December 10. The California Hall of Fame started in 2006 and inductees are selected each year by the governor and first partner.

Read more: https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Maya-Angelou-RuPaul-among-California-Hall-of-14832054.php

Howard University Partners With Amazon Studios to Promote Diversity in Entertainment Industry

According to jbhe.com and deadline.com, Howard University and Amazon Studios have announced the launch of Howard Entertainment, a program designed to diversify the entertainment industry by creating a pipeline for African-American students and other under-represented populations to train and study with entertainment executives.

The Howard Entertainment program will be an immersive two-semester experience located in Los Angeles, California, that offers Howard students the opportunity to take academic courses during the spring semester and participate in a fellowship in the entertainment industry during the summer semester.

The coursework will be applied toward the student’s graduation requirements and the fellowship provides much needed hands-on experience and an opportunity to make invaluable networking connections.

“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting, to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” said Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge.

Collaborating with Amazon Studios will enable us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders. With Howard’s proven track record of developing some of Hollywood’s most notable actors, comedians and musicians, this next-level collaboration will enable us to have even greater impact.”

To qualify, students must be enrolled as a Howard University student, must be an upperclassman or graduate student and will have to complete an application and interview to be considered for the program.

Students will be taught by Howard faculty who will be supported by Amazon Studios employees and other industry professionals invited by Amazon. This will give students to work in projects that offer “real world” application and will help students develop “work ready” skills prior to graduating.

The new program is scheduled to begin with the Spring 2020 semester.

Hip Hop Icon Queen Latifah, Artist Kerry James Marshall and C.E.O. Robert Smith Among Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois Medal Honorees for 2020

Queen Latifah; Robert Smith (photos via flickr.com)

Musical artist and Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah, acclaimed artist Kerry James Marshall and Robert Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners are among the honorees being recognized by Harvard University this year with the W.E.B. DuBois Medal for their contributions to black history and culture.

Harvard is set to honor Latifah, Marshall, Smith, poet and educator Elizabeth Alexander, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie Bunch III, poet Rita Dove, and Sheila Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television on Oct. 22, according to Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research.

Past recipients of the DuBois Medal include Dave Chappelle, Colin Kaepernick, Bryan Stevenson, Kehinde Wiley, Quincy Jones, Donna Brazile and LLCoolJ.

Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G., and Rufus feat. Chaka Khan Nominated for 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, Rufus feat. Chaka Khan (photos courtesy Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

Whitney Houston, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan and Notorious B.I.G. are among the 16 nominees for the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

Houston and Biggie Smalls are on the ballot for the first time along with Dave Matthews Band, The Doobie Brothers, Motörhead, Pat Benatar, Soundgarden, T.Rex, and Thin Lizzy. This is the third time Rufus & Chaka Khan have been nominated.

Inductees will be announced in January 2020. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Induction Ceremony takes place at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio on May 2, 2020.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame offers fans the opportunity to participate in the induction selection process. Beginning October 15 and continuing through 11:59 p.m. EST on January 10, 2020, fans can go to Google and search “Rock Hall Fan Vote” or any nominee name plus “vote” to cast a ballot with Google, vote at rockhall.com, or at the Museum in Cleveland.