Tag: Janelle Monáe

FILM: Uncovering a Tale of Rocket Science, Race and the ’60s in “Hidden Figures”

Janelle Monae (i)Taraji P. Henson (m)and Octavia Spencer (r) and star in “Hidden Figures,” a largely untold story of African-American mathematicians in the space program. (photo via nytimes.com)

article by Cara Buckley via nytimes.com

ATLANTA — Taraji P. Henson hates math, and Octavia Spencer has a paralyzing fear of calculus, but that didn’t stop either actress from playing two of the most important mathematicians the world hasn’t ever known.

Both women are starring in “Hidden Figures,” a forthcoming film that tells the astonishing true story of female African-American mathematicians who were invaluable to NASA’s space program in the Jim Crow South in the early 1960s.

Ms. Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a math savant who calculated rocket trajectories for, among other spaceflights, the Apollo trips to the moon. Ms. Spencer plays her supervisor, Dorothy Vaughan, and the R&B star Janelle Monáe plays Mary Jackson, a trailblazing engineer who worked at the agency, too.

Slated for wide release in January, the film is based on the book of the same title, to be published this fall, by Margot Lee Shetterly. The author grew up knowing Ms. Johnson in Hampton, Va., but only recently learned about her outsize impact on America’s space race.

To read full article, go to: Uncovering a Tale of Rocket Science, Race and the ’60s

Pharrell Williams Joins Fox 2000’s “Hidden Figures” Starring Taraji P. Henson as Producer, Will Write Music

Pharrell Williams (photo via deadline.com)
Pharrell Williams (photo via deadline.com)

article by Dave McNary via Variety.com*

Pharrell Williams will produce Taraji P. Henson’s mathematics drama “Hidden Figures” and write original songs for the soundtrack.

Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Ted Melfi are also producing, and Melfi is directing. Williams will oversee all musical elements for the motion picture and its soundtrack.

Henson stars along with Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as a trio of brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind the 1962 launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit — a key milestone in the space race against the Soviet Union to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

“After my producing partner Mimi Valdés and I heard about this project, we basically begged the producers and studio to allow us to participate,” Williams said. “This is an extraordinary story about black women with genius mathematical minds who contributed to American history. It takes place in Virginia, my home state, and at NASA, a place I’ve been obsessed with since childhood.”

Fox will release “Hidden Figures” on Jan. 13. Also starring are Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge and Kevin Costner. The screenplay is by Alison Schroeder, Melfi and Lori Lakin Hutcherson.

Williams has won 10 Grammy Awards. He’s also known for his musical contributions to the “Despicable Me” films as well as his judging stint on NBC’s “The Voice.”

*(GBN disclosure from Editor-in-Chief Lori Lakin Hutcherson:  the above is an article in which I am mentioned, as I am primarily a writer in television and film, and was fortunate enough to work on “Hidden Figures.” It may be a conflict of interest to have published this, but so be it – it’s an awesome film and Good Black News regardless!)

First Lady Michelle Obama Writes Passionate Essay On Sacrifices Girls Make To Get An Education

First Lady Michelle Obama (SAUL LOEB VIA GETTY IMAGES)

article by Alana Vaggianos via huffingtonpost.com

As a follow up to her #62MillionGirls social media campaign, First Lady Michelle Obama is encouraging people to take the Change.Org 62 Million Girls pledge to help support more girls in school. Obama announced the pledge in an essay featured in Wednesday morning’s Lenny Letter just hours before she took the stage for her SXSW keynote event in Austin.

“So often when people talk about the issue of global girls’ education, they dive right into the policy weeds,” Obama began her essay. And while policy is important, the First Lady explained why experience is just as integral to the conversation.

“It’s also very much about attitudes and beliefs,” Obama wrote. “The belief that girls should be valued for their bodies, not their minds; the belief that girls simply aren’t worthy of an education, and their best chance in life is to be married off when they’re barely even teenagers and start having children of their own.”

Obama explained that the issue is personal to her because she’s met many of these young girls while traveling as First Lady. “They are so smart and hardworking, and so hungry for an education,” she wrote. “I’ve met girls who make long, dangerous journeys each day to school and then come home and study for hours each night. I’ve met girls studying at rickety desks in bare concrete classrooms who are raising their hands so hard they’re almost falling out of their chairs.”

Big stars like Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monae, Missy Elliot and more have already signed the 62 Million Girls pledge. Obama commissioned the artists to create a song about women’s empowerment titled “This Is For My Girls,” produced by MAKERS, AOL’s digital platform that highlights women’s stories.

To Preview “This Is For My Girls”: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-is-for-my-girls-single/id1093266044
Continue reading “First Lady Michelle Obama Writes Passionate Essay On Sacrifices Girls Make To Get An Education”

Janelle Monae Joins Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer in Fox 2000’s ‘Hidden Figures’

article by Jeff Sneider via thewrap.com

Pop star Janelle Monae has landed the third lead alongside Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer in the Fox 2000 drama “Hidden Figures.”

Ted Melfi is directing the movie and producing with Chernin Entertainment and Donna Gigliotti of Levantine Films. The film is based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s upcoming book “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race,” which will be published in September by HarperCollins.

The story follows three African-American women who served as the brains behind NASA’s Friendship 7 mission, which saw astronaut John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth in February 1962.

Henson will play Katherine Johnson, Spencer will play Dorothy Vaughan and Monae will play the youngest member of the trio, Mary Jackson. Kevin Costner will co-star as the head of the space program.

To read more, go to: http://www.thewrap.com/janelle-monae-joins-taraji-p-henson-octavia-spencer-in-fox-2000s-hidden-figures-exclusive/

Janelle Monae, Jesse Williams, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler to Headline #JUSTICEFORFLINT Benefit on Feb. 28

Ava DuVernay and Ryan Coogler in Hollywood on Dec. 14, 2015. (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for Disney)

article by Jaimie Etkin via buzzfeed.com

On Feb. 28, comedian Hannibal BuressCreed director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, singer Janelle MonaeGrey’s Anatomy star Jesse WilliamsSelma director Ava DuVernay, and other entertainment notables will be joining forces onstage for a free event in Flint, Michigan, BuzzFeed News can exclusively reveal. The Buress-hosted gathering, dubbed #JUSTICEFORFLINT, is open to the public and presented by Blackout for Human Rights, an activist collective founded by Coogler which is devoted to addressing human rights violations in the U.S.

For almost two years, Flint’s residents — many of whom are black and impoverished — have been subjected to massive lead and bacterial contamination in Genesee County’s water supply, and forced to avoid tap water.

#JUSTICEFORFLINT will take place at the Whiting Auditorium (1241 E. Kearsley St.) on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m. ET to raise both awareness and funds for those affected by the water crisis. It will also be live-streamed via revolt.tv, and donations will be collected at the event and via text. Along with all the star power, organizers have also invited members of the Flint community to share their stories with the audience.

“With the #JUSTICEFORFLINT benefit event we will give a voice to the members of the community who were the victims of the choices of people in power who are paid to protect them, as well as provide them with a night of entertainment, unity, and emotional healing,” Ryan Coogler told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “Through the live stream we will also give a chance for people around the world to participate, and to donate funds to programs for Flint’s youth.”

Though the event does coincide with the Academy Awards — which largely snubbed Creed in nominations and did the same with DuVernay’s Selma last year  Coogler said Feb. 28 was chosen because it fell on the final weekend of Black History Month, and that the date overlap was a coincidence.

The idea for #JUSTICEFORFLINT emerged at Blackout’s last event #MLKNOW held on Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 28), which took place at Riverside Church in Harlem and drew more than 2,200 attendees and nearly half a million views online.

To read the full article, go to: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jaimieetkin/ryan-coogler-justice-for-flint-event?utm_term=.yt20eLa7#.wo7RP0QW

Lauryn Hill, The Roots, A$AP Rocky, Janelle Monae and More to Perform at ONE Musicfest

(Image: ONE MusicFest)
(Image: ONE MusicFest)

Lauryn Hill, The Roots, A$AP Rocky, Wale, Janelle Monae & Wondaland, Raekwon, Ghostface, The Internet, Raury, SZA, Scarface, and many more will take center stage at ONE Musicfest festival in Atlanta on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

Over the last 6 years ONE Musicfest has pulled together the best of urban alternative legends and contemporaries for a unique experience through music and visual. And this year it gets even better, with ONE Musicfest in partnership with Live Nation, “pulling out all the stops with an outdoor music festival that the media says, can’t be missed, and attracting a generationally and culturally diverse audience. “

Beyond festival-goers having a good old-fashion time at the ONE Musicfest, Jason Carter, the founder of ONE Musicfest, told Black Enterprise.com exclusively, “I want people to walk away knowing that it’s possible for us all to share the same space. ONE Musicfest is a generational festival.  It’s nothing to see a 17-year-old enjoying music along with someone in his or her late 40’s partying just as hard. So many times I think that’s overlooked with festivals. Some people will say, “That’s a young persons festival or that’s old school.” But the way we set up ONE Musicfest is so different—people jump up and dance when they hear a classic New Edition song and in the same breath once they hear the first drop on Kendrick Lamar, they’re bopping their head just as hard.

“The other WIN for One Musicfest is how we’ve brought progressive urban music to the stage. You never see Lauryn Hill on the same bill as Big Krit, but interestingly enough they’re fans of each other, but never get a chance to celebrate each other’s music together. So when they get backstage, they’re snapping pictures together and sharing them on Facebook and Instagram.”

According to a statement released by One Musicfest, the festival will take place on multiple stages and will serve as the ultimate mashup of innovative urban alternative acts with over eleven hours of non-stop music. The festival will feature over 25 of the hottest global DJs whose music crosses over to all spectrums, local vendors, games, and interactive activities. One Musicfest is the only place to see this roster of incredible acts join together for One purpose  – which is to witness a wide variety of sounds, from rock to hip-hop, electro, reggae, funk, disco, house, alternative and soul while having your musical senses stimulated.

Founded by Jason Carter, ONE Musicfest has been one of Southeast’s largest home-grown, musical arts festivals to date including over 10,000 plus attendees. Carter has brought Atlanta music lovers the best and the brightest urban alternative acts performing in a welcoming, hospitable setting, creating an atmosphere where everyone can enjoy and discover music.

Previous artists include Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Jhene Aiko, Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg, CeeLo Green & Goodie Mob, Santigold, Common, Method Man, Redman, Chrisette Michele, Amel Larriueux, Daley, Goapele, Joey Bada$$, De La Soul, Bilal, Quadron and more.

For more information, please visit www.onemusicfest.com and follow @ONEMusicfest | #OMF2015 | #ONLYOMF.

article by Kandia Johnson via blackenterprise.com

Janet Jackson Receives Dance Tribute and Icon Award at 2015 BET Awards

Janet Jackson (l) receives Ultimate Icon Award; Kendrick Lamar opens the BET Awards (photos via Getty Images)
Janet Jackson (l) receives Ultimate Icon Award; Kendrick Lamar (r) opens the 2015 BET Awards (Photos: Getty Images)

Last night, Black Entertainment Television held its 15th annual BET Awards celebration, honoring musical legends Janet Jackson and Smokey Robinson, as well as radio and television personality Tom Joyner with special tributes and awards.  Jason Derulo, Ciara and Tinashe did a tribute in dance to Jackson before she received her Ultimate Icon Award from longtime producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

DSC_2065
Jidenna and Janelle Monae arrive at BET Awards (Photo: Jerome Dorn)

Performances by Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Jidenna, Kendrick LamarTyga and Chris Brown, to name a few, also energized the event, and it was no surprise when Best Acting awards went to deserving “Empire” darlings Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.  To see the full list of winners, read below:

Best New Artist
Sam Smith
Dej Loaf
Fetty Wap
Rae Sremmurd
Tinashe

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
Kendrick Lamar
J. Cole
Drake
Common
Big Sean
Wale

“Empire” Actor Jussie Smollet (Photo: Jerome Dorn)

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
Nicki Minaj
Azealia Banks
Tink
Iggy Azalea
Trina
Dej Loaf

Best Actor
Terrence Howard
Anthony Anderson
Idris Elba
Jussie Smollett
Kevin Hart

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Beyoncé
Janelle Monáe
Jhené Aiko
Ciara
Rihanna
K. Michelle

SEE ALSO: Janelle Monae and Jidenna Perform ‘Yoga’ and ‘Classic Man’ at 2015 BET Awards

Chris Brown at 2015 BET Awards (Photo credit: Jerome Dorn)
Chris Brown at 2015 BET Awards (Photo: Jerome Dorn)

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
The Weeknd
John Legend
Trey Songz
Usher
August Alsina
Chris Brown

Best Group
A$AP Mob
Migos
Rae Sremmurd
Rich Gang
Young Money
Jodeci

Continue reading “Janet Jackson Receives Dance Tribute and Icon Award at 2015 BET Awards”

Usher, Willie Nelson and Janelle Monae Set for Stevie Wonder “All-Star Grammy Salute” on February 10

Janelle-Monae-Stevie-Wonder-Usher

Stevie Wonder will get the all-star treatment next month during a tribute concert in his honor.  The Associated Press reports that UsherWillie Nelson and Janelle Monae will be among the performers paying tribute to Wonder at “Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life — An All-Star Grammy Salute.”

The event, which will also feature performances from Coldplay‘s Chris Martin and Ed Sheeran, will take place at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles on Feb. 10.

The concert is scheduled to be held two days after the 57th annual Grammy Awards. Wonder’s history with the Grammys is a stellar one that includes receiving 25 Grammy Awards during his career.

Tickets for “Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life — An All-Star Grammy Salute” are currently on sale. The show is set to air as a two-hour special Feb. 16 on CBS.

article via eurweb.com

Chaka Khan, Brandy and Lianne La Havas Join Honoree Jill Scott at ESSENCE Black Women in Music

BWIM 2015-

Chaka Khan, Brandy and Lianne La Havas have been added to the lineup for our annual ESSENCE Black Women in Music ceremony.

The three performers join this year’s honoree, Jill Scott, in celebrating the best and brightest moments in Black music over ESSENCE’s 45-year history. The 6th annual event recognizes the achievements of the generations of Black women singers who have inspired and paved the way.

Past ESSENCE Black Women in Music honorees include Mary J. Blige, Kelly Rowland, Janelle Monáe, and Solange Knowles. This year’s event will feature an exclusive performance from Scott as well as several other performances from several classic eras of music. And for the first time, community fans will be able to join in the festivities of this invitation-only event.

Ten-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan has been on the scene for over three decades, racking up accolades and earning the praise of her peers, such as Aretha Franklin and Miles Davis. We’ve watched Grammy winner Brandy grow up right before our eyes since her 1995 debut. She helped shape a generation with songs like “I Wanna Be Down” and “The Boy Is Mine.” Newcomer Lianne La Havas burst on the scene in 2012 with her album, Is Your Love Big Enough? The London-based singer attracted the attention of Prince—the two collaborated for his song, “Clouds.”

The ESSENCE Black Women in Music event will kick-off our year-long commemoration of the 45th anniversary of ESSENCE Magazine, where Black women have always—and will continue to—come first.

Catch these women, along with other music trailblazers, during ESSENCE Black Women in Music on February 5 in Los Angeles.

article by Taylor Lewis via essence.com

Hollywood Agent Charles King Launches Multicultural Media Firm MACRO

Charles King
Charles King (Courtesy of MACRO)

One of Hollywood’s most powerful black agents is making a new start. Charles King is leaving William Morris Endeavor to form MACRO, a startup that will focus on developing content for multicultural audiences.

With an unspecified “eight figures” in funding, Los Angeles-based MACRO initially will focus on developing and distributing feature films, TV series and digital content targeting African-American, Latino and multicultural markets.

King, 45, whose clients have included Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, tells The Hollywood Reporter that MACRO’s goal is to focus on audiences that have long been underserved by the traditional entertainment industry. “I’ve been sitting in these rooms for the last 15 years. The studios aren’t focused on it; the packagers aren’t focused on it,” he says. “There’s a huge void and a huge opportunity.”

He points to the lack of capital available to minority-focused filmmakers and says he’s looking to change that with MACRO, which will leverage crowdfunding platforms and co-financing to target films that range from “artistically inclined independents” in the $1 million to $3 million budget range up to $20 million projects. He points to films such as BarbershopThe Butler and Ride Alongas examples of the types of projects he hopes to produce. “The one underlying theme is ‘premium,’ ” he says. “I’m looking for artistic integrity.”

King already has lined up projects from filmmakers Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) and Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow). Both were represented by King at WME and say they jumped at the opportunity to continue to work with him in a new capacity.

Continue reading “Hollywood Agent Charles King Launches Multicultural Media Firm MACRO”

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