Tag: Documentary

‘The Girls In The Band’ Gets A 1-Week Theatrical (Untold Stories Of Women Jazz Instrumentalists)

From Shadow and Act‘s Tambay A. Obenson via indiewire.com:

Web-wide reactions to this when I first wrote about this film in late 2011 was strong; lots of excited folks curious and anxious to see it, and with good reason, given the subject matter.  And some of those same people (specifically those who live in New York City) will be pleased to know that it’s getting a 1-week theatrical run at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, from May 10 – 16, after a lengthy film festival circuit run.

So if you happen to be in or around NYC during those specific dates, and you’re interested in seeing the film, here’s your chance to do so (I suspect there’ll be other similar limited theatrical runs in other parts of the country; but no confirmation of that).

A quick recap:

Director Judy Chaikin’s documentary, The Girls In The Band, highlights the untold stories of women in jazz and big band instrumentalists, from the 1930s to the present day.

I’d say, for the average enthusiast, it’s likely an easier challenge to name women jazz vocalists than instrumentalists. Images like the one above probably aren’t the first to come to mind when most of us think of jazz music. And Chaikin’s doc hopes to influence that, with this poignant narrative, which includes lots of wonderful archival footage, telling the fascinating stories about the lives and careers of these trailblazing women who endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them.

The film also looks at the present-day young women who are following in the footsteps of those who paved the way for them in the male-dominated world of jazz.  For more on the upcoming theatrical run, visit the Lincoln Center website HERE.

Watch the trailer below:

Venus and Serena Release Trailer for Upcoming Documentary

Venus and SerenaThe story of how Venus and Serena Williams grew to become two of the world’s most notable tennis stars is quite fascinating. The sisters, who are only 15 months apart, are finally telling their story from the beginning with the release of the documentary, Venus and Serena.  Watch the super-trailer above to see the sisters give a never-before-seen glimpse into their lives as not only world-renowned champions, but sisters and best friends, too.  The film will be released on iTunes April 4 and in theatres May 10.

article by Nicole Maria Melton via essence.com

New Kevin Hart Trailer for Comedy/Documentary “Let Me Explain” (VIDEO)

Due out in July, comedian Kevin Hart’s “Let Me Explain” movie-length exploration of his life on the road and on stage will be released by Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate.  Find out more about Hart and his projects at kevinhartnation.com.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Bryant Gumbel, Robin Roberts and D.L. Hughley Win Peabody Awards

bryant gumbel

Bryant Gumbel on the set of “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel”

Robin Roberts’ ABC special about her bone marrow transplant and “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” were among the 39 winners of this year’s Peabody Awards honoring the best in electronic media in 2012.  The honorees were announced at a ceremony on the University of Georgia campus, but the awards won’t be handed out until a luncheon event in New York City on May 20.

Also awarded, Comedy Central’s “D.L. Hughley: The Endangered List,” an hourlong special on whether black men should be on the endangered species list; and the Smithsonian Channel’s “MLK: The Assassination Tapes,” which used rare footage collected at the University of Memphis in 1968, to relive the events leading up to the murder of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and its aftermath.

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Eleven Year-Old Prodigy Malik Kofi Set to Take Classical Music World by Storm

Malik Kofi playing the cello: photo courtesy Mario Page
Malik Kofi playing the cello: photo courtesy Mario Page

Malik Kofi is extraordinarily talented; a child prodigy, musical genius, awe-inspiring orator, with intellectual gifts well beyond his years.  Not only is the 11-year-old academically brilliant but his superior musical abilities leaves audiences spellbound.  An impressive multi-instrumentalist, Kofi plays the piano, drums and guitar. However, his passion is for the cello.

“Malik is a musical prodigy,” says Craig Hulgren, a cellist in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, who has been Kofi’s teacher for the past five years. “He has advanced technological and interpretative abilities as a child. Beyond that he also puts in the hard work to develop those talents.”

Born into a working-class family in Birmingham, Alabama, Kofi’s unique story is a testimony to excellence against all odds.  The product of a teenage mom, Kofi’s maternal grandmother, Ruby Cox, has raised him as her own since he was an infant.  She says Kofi came out of the womb curious and eager to learn.

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Whitney Young Documentary On PBS Tells Story Of Unsung Civil Rights Leader

 Whitney Young Documentary

WASHINGTON — Just before the March on Washington in 1963, President John F. Kennedy summoned six top civil rights leaders to the White House to talk about his fears that civil rights legislation he was moving through Congress might be undermined if the march turned violent.

Whitney Young Jr. cut through the president’s uncertainty with three questions: “President Kennedy, which side are you on? Are you on the side of George Wallace of Alabama? Or are you on the side of justice?”  One of those leaders, John Lewis, later a longtime congressman from Georgia, tells the story of Young’s boldness in “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” a documentary airing during Black History Month on the PBS series “Independent Lens” and shown in some community theaters.

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Young Filmmaker Samantha Knowles asks ‘Why Do You Have Black Dolls?’ in her Debut Documentary

Samantha Knowles, 22, surrounded by the subject of her new 25-minute movie.

Sometimes, a doll is not just a doll. It’s a reminder of a child’s beauty and potential.  No one understands that better than 22-year-old director Samantha Knowles, whose experience growing up as an African-American in a predominantly white community was the inspiration for her new documentary, “Why Do You Have Black Dolls?”

The 25-minute debut film about the significance of black dolls has been accepted at five film festivals and a trailer for “Why Do You Have Black Dolls” can be seen on Youtube.com.

“When I was 8, a white friend came over and innocently asked, ‘Why do you have black dolls?” remembers Knowles, who was raised in Warwick, N.Y., and now lives in Prospect Heights. “At the time, I obviously couldn’t really answer the question.”  Fourteen years later, she can.  Knowles, who initially made the film as her honors thesis at Dartmouth College, spent $6,000 and interviewed more than 20 dollmakers and historians, mostly in New York and Philadelphia.

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Tattoo Artist Imani K. Brown Promotes Creativity and Craft in the Body Art World

Imani Brown Tuskegee Airmen Tattoo

One of the oldest and most prevalent cultural practices across the globe, tattooing has become increasingly popular in the African-American community. Yet while this group has demonstrated a growing affinity for receiving tattoos, the number of licensed black artists practicing the profession is much smaller by comparison. Add gender to the mix, and the number dwindles even further.

“I want to believe there are more of us [women], but so far, there are very, very few,” African-American tattoo artist Imani K. Brown, 32, told theGrio. ”I know about two in Detroit. That’s it.”  Being a black tattoo professional has placed the artist in a strange caste. “People think we’re on the darker side of life,” said Brown, referring to misconceptions about her line of work.  ”That we’re all rockstars and worship the devil.”

Yet, Brown is a trained artist who hails from Washington D.C.’s Pinz-N-Needlez Tattoo, one of the few black-owned and operated shops in the country. To add further distinction, she is documented as only the second licensed black female tattoo artist in America. She recently learned of the first accredited black female artist, 66-year-old Jacci Gresham of New Orleans, upon watching the new documentary Color Outside The Linesby black tattoo artist Miya Bailey and filmmaker Artemus JenkinsBrown is also featured in the film.

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First African-American Female Chess Master Could Be Brooklyn Girl

Rochelle Ballantyne is a 17 year-old teenage girl from Brooklyn who is on her way to becoming the first Black female chess master. Ballantyne is one among a group of teens from I.S. 318 middle school in Brooklyn who will be the stars of a new documentary called “Brooklyn Castle”. The documentary chronicles the outstanding achievements of the middle school students.

65 percent of the students at I.S. 318 middle school in Brooklyn are living below the federal poverty level but the school still holds close to 30 national championships and is the highest ranked junior high team in the country. Rochelle is unique because until she joined the team, all the champions had been boys.

Ballantyne has been profiled in Teen Vogue where she shared her story and how she has stayed motivated along her amazing journey to chess stardom. The Brooklyn teen says that her grandmother is the woman behind much of her success.

She says:

“My grandmother taught me to play when I was in the third grade. I was really active as a child, and she wanted to find a way to keep me relaxed and get my brain going. When I first started playing, she introduced to me the idea of being the first African-American female chess master. I didn’t think about it much because for me it seemed like an impossible feat, and I didn’t think it could happen. I wasn’t as focused and dedicated as I am now. I didn’t think I was a good chess player—people told me I was, but it wasn’t my mentality at that moment. But then after she died, that really affected me, because she was the one person that always had confidence in me. She never pushed me, and she always respected me for who I was. I have to reach that goal for her.”

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1970s Martial Arts Star Ron Van Clief Featured In “The Black Kungfu Experience”

Meet kungfu’s black pioneers and heroes who flourished at the junction of African American and Asian cultures. The Black Kungfu Experience traces the rise of black kungfu in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, and resonates in the contemporary martial arts scene in Washington D.C, Los Angeles, The Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Hong Kong. Continue reading “1970s Martial Arts Star Ron Van Clief Featured In “The Black Kungfu Experience””