Tag: Jay Ellis

“Insecure” Actor Jay Ellis to Serve as 2018 American Black Film Festival Celebrity Ambassador; Submissions Open Until February

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

The 22nd American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will include an exciting lineup of film screenings, events and innovative programming, and will return to Miami from June 13-17, 2018.  The week will include several new experiences, including Smartphone movie screenings, a master class on film financing, music-focused sessions and new networking opportunities for festival attendees.  ABFF continues to be dedicated to introducing emerging content creators of African descent to the industry at large and is recognized as one of the leading film festivals in the world.

Actor Jay Ellis will serve as the 2018 ABFF Celebrity Ambassador. Annually, the festival showcases dynamic content by and about people of African descent from around the world and consists of five competitive categories: Narrative Features, Documentaries, Short Films, Web Series and Smartphone Originals. Submissions are now open and below is a list of film submission deadlines, Awards and direct submission links:

*Narrative Features:
Regular Submissions Deadline: February 15, 2018
Early Submissions Deadline: December 31, 2017

Audience Award–Best Narrative Feature (Prize TBD)

Early Submissions Deadline: December 31, 2017
Regular Submissions Deadline: February 15, 2018
Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary (Prize TBD)
Continue reading ““Insecure” Actor Jay Ellis to Serve as 2018 American Black Film Festival Celebrity Ambassador; Submissions Open Until February”

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

Actor Jay Ellis and Artist Shantell Martin Team with AmfAR to Raise Awareness For “Countdown to a Cure for AIDS”

Jay Ellis and Visual Artist Shanell Martin with AmfAR Towel
Jay Ellis and Visual Artist Shanell Martin with “Be Epic, Cure AIDS,” Limited Edition AmfAR towel

My first memory of being directly affected by the death of someone who lost their life to AIDS was when tennis legend Arthur Ashe died. My father broke the news to me. It was one of those unshakeable things — nearly impossible to process and even harder to understand. In a lot of ways it hit my Dad pretty hard.  My parents had gone to college at UCLA with Arthur and growing up in our household, they made sure we knew he was way more than an incredible tennis player… he was an activist that paved the way for so many.  He was “a great kind guy,” their classmate and hero.

Arthur had certainly had his health challenges… but athletic superheroes weren’t supposed to succumb to an incurable disease at 49.  It was unfathomable.  The news of his death hit over twenty-two years ago… and sadly we still do not have a cure for a disease that affects the black community (Africans & African- Americans) the most.  Statistically, we make up more than forty percent of all new cases… and Jay Ellis (“The Game”) and famed British visual artist, Shantell Martin, know its time to do something about that. Their collaboration with amfAR (the Foundation for AIDS Research) and its “Countdown to A Cure for AIDS” initiative is something I can really get behind.

Out of this amfAR collaboration comes a limited edition beach towel. Designed exclusively for amfAR to help raise awareness and find a cure for HIV/AIDS, the towel’s design features Martin’s black & white illustrations and the inscription, “Be Epic, Cure AIDS,” a nod to amfAR’s “Countdown to a Cure for AIDS” initiative, aimed at developing the scientific basis of a cure by 2020.


This summer, I can’t think of a better accessory. This towel is exclusively sold at Scoop NYC locations and on amfAR’s website: http://shop.amfar.org/shantell-martin-amfar-towel.html for $40 with 100% of the proceeds supporting research to find a cure for HIV/AIDS. Let’s all do what we can.

Did you know:

  • Nearly 37 million people are now living with HIV. 2.6 million are under the age of 15.
  • In 2014, an estimated 2 million people were newly infected with HIV.
  • 220,000 were under the age of 15.
  • Every day about 5,600 people contract HIV—more than 230 every hour.
  • In 2014, 1.2 million people died from AIDS.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 78 million people have contracted HIV and close to 39 million have died of AIDS- related causes.
  • As of March 2015, around 15 million people living with HIV (41% of the total) had access to antiretroviral therapy.

Learn more about amfAR here: http://www.amfar.org/about.html.  If you don’t know her work already, find out more about Shantell Martin and her amazing art: http://www.shantellmartin.com/about/.

And Jay Ellis and his fascinating transition into the acting world: http://www.jay-ellis.com

Lesa Lakin GBN Lifestyle Editor
article by Lesa Lakin
GBN Lifestyle Editor