Essence to Honor Issa Rae, Janelle Monae, Aja Naomi King and Yara Shahidi at Black Women in Hollywood Awards

(photo via shadowandact.com)

(Issa Rae, Aja Naomi King, Janelle Monae, Yara Shahidi (photo via shadowandact.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Essence, the nation’s preeminent brand for African-American women, will commemorate the 10th anniversary of its “Black Women in Hollywood Awards” by shifting from a daytime luncheon to an evening gala for the first time.

The Awards & Gala will honor Hollywood’s “Next Generation”— young women who are excelling and elevating their crafts—including actress/musician Janelle Monáe (Breakthrough Award); groundbreaking “Insecure” actress/writer/producer Issa Rae (Vanguard Award); “How To Get Away With Murder” Yale-educated actress Aja Naomi King (Lincoln Shining Star Award); and “Black-ish” actress Yara Shahidi (Generation Next).

Actress/Producer Gabrielle Union will serve as the program’s host and the red carpet ceremony will be held at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA, on Thursday, February 23, 2017.

“For the past decade, the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards” have paid homage to our modern image-makers—both in front of the camera and behind the scenes,” said Essence Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca. “This past year has been an exceptional one for diversity in film and television, and with the incredible contributions of Janelle, Issa, Aja and Yara, it is fitting that our 10th anniversary will honor the future of Hollywood and its continued steps on the path to inclusion.”

Also for the first time, internationally acclaimed visual artist and filmmaker Mickalene Thomas will be infusing the event with her elaborate imagery celebrating the power of female beauty as a facet of women’s empowerment.

To check out highlights and behind-the-scenes access to the “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards & Gala,” go to Essence.comFacebookTwitter or Instagram @essence #BlackWomeninHollywood.

“Moonlight”, “People Vs. OJ Simpson”, “Atlanta”, Ruth Negga, Octavia Spencer, Pharrell, Issa Rae and Many More Receive 2017 Golden Globe Nominations

(photo via madamenoire.com)

2017 Golden Globe nominees (l-r) Issa Rae, Naomie Harris, Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton, Tracee Ellis Ross and Viola Davis (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

It seems as if last year’s #OscarsSoWhite backlash has had a marked effect on this year’s pool of projects and talent considered and honored as the 2017 awards season gets underway.

The 2017 Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning, and nominees of color were found in the majority of film and television categories.  Indie film sensation “Moonlight” not only garnered a nod for Best Motion Picture, Drama, but also for directing and screenwriting by Barry Jenkins, in the Best Actress category for Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali was recognized in the supporting actor category.

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were honored for their performances in “Fences”Ruth Negga was nominated for her leading role in “Loving,” and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer grabbed a nomination for her supporting role in the upcoming space race drama “Hidden Figures.”  Additionally, Pharrell Williams is in the running for Best Original Score — Motion Picture, for his work on the music for “Hidden Figures.”

2017 Golden Globe nominees Donald Glover, Pharrell and Riz (photo via billboard.com)

2017 Golden Globe nominees Donald Glover, Pharrell and Riz (photo via billboard.com)

On the television side, Donald Glover‘s “Atlanta” received nods in two categories; Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.  Anthony Anderson provides some competition for Glover in the acting category, and “Black-ish” is nominated for Best Comedy Television Series as well.  Tracee Ellis Ross gained a nod in the Lead Comedy Actress category, as did “Insecure” star Issa Rae.

In limited series, actress Thandie Newton was nominated for Westworld, and Kerry Washington‘s portrayal of Anita Hill in “Confirmation” was also acknowledged.  Emmy winner Courtney B. Vance gained a nod for his work as Johnny Cochran in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”  and the series was nominated in the Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television category alongside Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley’s “American Crime.”

Below is a list of all the nominees:
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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.”

Issa Rae’s ‘Insecure’ Series to Debut on HBO October 9

Issa Rae, star of the HBO series “Insecure,” during the 2016 Television Critics Assn. Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton. (Chris Pizzello / Invision)

article by Greg Braxton via latimes.com

For years HBO has been criticized for its pattern of featuring shows spotlighting the stories of white women while ignoring the creative voices of women of color. While “Sex and the City,” “Girls” and “Veep” have been solid hits, they have also been blasted for sidelining ethnic characters. “Girls,” created by and starring Lena Dunham, has particularly come under fire for its focus on young white characters even though it is set in New York City.

Starting Oct. 9, the premium network will enter more diverse territory, courtesy of Issa Rae, a former YouTube sensation who is starring in and executive-producing “Insecure.”

The half-hour series explores the friendship between two African American women who deal with their sometimes stormy relationship while also grappling with conflicts inside and outside black culture. Much of the humor has a raw flavor, and does not hold back on sexually frank situations and dialogue.

For full article, go to: Issa Rae takes HBO from white ‘Girls’ to black women with ‘Insecure’ – LA Times

Issa Rae’s GoFundMe for Alton Sterling’s Children Reaches Over $660,000

Issa Rae (photo via Facebook.com))

Issa Rae (photo via Facebook.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to theurbandaily.com, Issa Rae, star and creator of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and the upcoming HBO series Insecure, in an effort to take positive action after the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana earlier this week, started a scholarship fund for his children.  t not only exceeded its $200,000 goal within hours, it is currently at over three times that amount, at $664,986.

“Can we get a scholarship fund going 4 #AltonSterling’s son/kids?” she tweeted Wednesday (July 6). “Some of us feel helpless when these things happen, but that’s a small step.”

Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five, was fatally shot by police outside of a Louisiana convenience store on Tuesday. A graphic video of the altercation shows Sterling being held on the ground before being shot multiple times in the chest and back. The incident has sparked national protest, and a civil rights investigation has been opened by the Justice Department, the New York Times reports.

If you would still like to donate, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/2d3eze7g

Issa Rae’s ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Offer “The New Normal Writing Contest” to Budding Filmmakers

ColorCreative

Issa Rae on the set of “So Jaded” – ColorCreative (photo via Shadow and Act)

article by Tambay A. Obenson via ShadowAndAct

Last year, after the revival of HBO’s “Project Greenlight,” Adaptive Studios announced Project Greenlight Digital Studios, an extension of the brand and concept into the digital space, to make Project Greenlight a 24/7 affair, allowing viewers and community members to participate in greenlighting projects, and creators to interact with industry pros. The new operation will provide premium content that will be curated for an online audience, along with a slate of contests and promotions.

One of the offerings is a digital series anthology contest, co-hosted with Issa Rae’s ColorCreative TV, with the aim of finding emerging and diverse writers. The winner will develop and produce a digital series anthology based on a theme to be selected in advance.

Called “The New Normal” Writing Contest, submissions are now officially open until March 1.

From the announcement: “We’re looking for underrepresented voices in media. If you feel like you have a point of view that’s rare in the entertainment world, then here’s your chance to speak up! Three winning writers will be partnered with a seasoned showrunner, director and line producer to create a digital anthology series. Each of the three winning writers will receive a $5,000 prize; one of the winning writer’s pitches will be selected for development.”

Watch Issa Rae break down the details in the just-released video below:

HBO Gives Series Order to Comedy From YouTube Star Issa Rae

'Insecure' hails Larry Wilmore and Rae, the star of the popular web series 'The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.'

Issa Rae (AP Images/Invision)

Issa Rae is bringing her misadventures to HBO.  Insecure, the YouTube star’s comedy pilot, has been picked up to series at the pay cabler.  The half-hour comedy examines the friendship of two modern-day African-American women and their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.

Rae stars as Issa Dee opposite Yvonne Orji (Love That Girl!), who will play Issa’s best friend, Molly. Although she is very successful professionally in the corporate world, Molly is not so successful in her love life.

Jay Ellis (The Game) also stars as Lawrence, Issa’s depressed and unemployed boyfriend who has been trying to get his act together for the past four years. Lisa Joyce (Boardwalk Empire) rounds out the ensemble as Frieda, Issa’s liberal and empathetic co-worker at an educational non-profit firm.

Prentice Penny (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) will serve as showrunner on the series, exec producing with Michael Rotenberg, Dave Becky and Jonathan Berry. Rae and Larry Wilmore co-created the project and the wrote the pilot together. She will co-executive produce, while he will serve as a consultant. Wilmore is now behind the desk on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, which came after Insecure was put in development at HBO in 2013.

Melina Matsoukas directed the pilot.  Rae is known for her award-winning web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, which has helped her amass 200,000 subscribers and 20 million views on YouTube. She is repped by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment and John V. Meigs Jr.

Insecure‘s series pickup comes as part of television’s continued efforts to increase diversity, which have proved successful for networks like Fox (Empire) and ABC (Black-ish).

Insecure joins HBO’s expanding comedy slate that includes Girls, Veep, Silicon Valley, Togetherness, BallersThe BrinkDoll & Em, the upcoming final season of Getting On and the TV movie finale of Looking.

article by Kate Stanhope and Lesley Goldberg via hollywoodreporter.com