Tag: Martin Lawrence

‘Def Comedy Jam 25’ Special to Be Produced by Netflix to Mark 25th Anniversary of “Def Comedy Jam”

Def Comedy Jam 25 (photos via thegrio.com)

via thegrio.com

Netflix announced on Thursday that it will produce “Def Comedy Jam 25” to mark the 25th anniversary of the comedy show, to air this fall. “Def Comedy Jam” originally ran from 1992 to 1996 before being revived in 2006. The show, which was produced by Russell Simmons, helped to launch the careers of the likes of Martin Lawrence, Cedric the Entertainer and Sheryl Underwood.

The lineup of performers for the special thus far include: Lawrence, Underwood, Bill Bellamy, Cedric the Entertainer, Dave Chappelle, Mike Epps, Adele Givens, Eddie Griffin, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Kid Capri, Tracy Morgan, Craig Robinson, JB Smoove, Sommore, Joe Torry and Katt Williams.

To read original article, go to: Netflix announces ‘Def Comedy Jam 25’ to mark 25th anniversary | theGrio

International Hits “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Straight Outta Compton” Disprove Hollywood Myth That “Black Films Don’t Travel”

(image via latimes.com)

article by Tre’vell Anderson via latimes.com

On his way to winning a best picture Oscar for “Moonlight,” a film made for a minuscule $1.5 million, writer-director Barry Jenkins took time between awards-season red carpet appearances for a six-city European promotion tour. It was time well spent.

“Moonlight,” about a poor black boy living in the projects of Miami and struggling with his sexuality, wasn’t supposed to be the kind of movie that wins the best picture Oscar. Its modest coming-of-age narrative, unconventional story structure and outsider characters with no mega stars made it, as filmmaker Mark Duplass said recently with admiration, “a bit of a miracle” that it even reached U.S. theaters. Certainly, it’s not the kind of movie that was expected to make money overseas. After all, says a longstanding Hollywood myth, black films don’t travel.

Yet as of Tuesday, “Moonlight” has made $28.6 million at the international box office — more than its $27.5 million domestic take — for a worldwide total of $56.1 million. With the film still in theaters, even more is expected.“This black film is definitely selling overseas,” Jenkins said to The Times on the red carpet for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, just after he’d returned from Europe.

“Every time there’s a success, it gets swept under the rug,” says Jeff Clanagan, president of Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films, which primarily produces films with African American casts. “It’s almost like there’s an asterisk on it. They chalk it off as an anomaly.”

For 1988’s “Coming to America,” the anomaly was the comedic genius of Eddie Murphy, who “transcended race” when the film grossed $160.6 million internationally for a $288.8 million worldwide take. (Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, Kevin Hart, Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle are other box office champs for whom the “transcended race” label has been applied.)

For 1995’s “Bad Boys” and its 2003 sequel — which together pulled in a combined $210.3 million internationally and $414.7 million worldwide — it was the fact that the film was an action flick, never mind leads Smith, Martin Lawrence and Gabrielle Union. For 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” a $40.4 million payoff internationally (and $201.6 million worldwide), it was the popular music of rap group N.W.A.

Even as three-time Oscar nominee “Hidden Figures,” with its predominantly black cast, has so far made $48.8 million internationally — helping to push its $166 million domestic sales to nearly $215 million worldwide and counting — the myth persists.

When asked about the myth, Octavia Spencer, Oscar-nominated for her “Hidden Figures” role, responded simply: “I have two words for you: Will Smith.”

“He was told the same thing [at the beginning of his career] — that he wasn’t going to be taken to promote his film,” she said at the annual pre-Oscars Sistahs Soiree honoring women of color in the industry. “Had he not paid for himself to fly all over the world that very first time, he would not be an international box office star. So they have to start investing and taking black actresses and actors across the world just like they do with unknown white actors. They need to do the same thing for black actors. If you don’t know ’em, why would you go support the film?”

To read full article, go to: Disproving the ‘black films don’t travel’ Hollywood myth – LA Times

Will Smith “Definitely Doing” “Bad Boys 3” With Martin Lawrence

Will Smith “Definitely Doing” “Bad Boys 3” With Martin Lawrence

article by Danielle Harling via hiphopdx.com

Will Smith says he “may have gone too far” with the amount of freedom of expression given to his children, talks Bad Boys sequel.

During an interview with BBC Radio 1Xtra’s A.Dot, actor Will Smith was asked about his family, specifically his children and the freedom of expression they’re given. In response, Smith jokingly stated that “we may have gone too far.”

He later spoke on his son, Jaden Smith, who was recently featured in a campaign for Louis Vuitton’s new, womenswear collection.

“There’s a really powerful, internal quality as an artist that as parents we encourage,” Will Smith said. “You gotta get out on the edge. You have to try things. You have to be comfortable doing things that people don’t agree with. And you have to be comfortable doing things that you could fail. And Jaden is one-hundred percent fearless. He will do anything. So, as a parent it’s scary. It’s really terrifying. But he is completely willing to live and die by his own artistic decisions. And he just doesn’t concern himself with what people think.”

Smith later revealed that he was unable to star in the upcoming, Independence Day sequel because of his schedule. He also stated that after seeing fellow actor Martin Lawrence for the first time in two years, a Bad Boys sequel is “definitely” happening.

To read more, go to: http://hiphopdx.com/news/id.37395/title.will-smith-definitely-doing-bad-boys-3-with-martin-lawrence

FEATURE: After 25 Years on the Road, Leslie Jones Becomes a Comedy Star

“This is gonna be kind of a hot one,” Ali LeRoi said.

“I’ve been waiting to sit her ass down for a minute,” Owen Smith said. “One of the funniest women in the game.”

“Funniest comedian in the game,” Jones interrupted. “Not just woman. I hate that shit.” End of introduction.

Comedians are combatants: they “kill,” they “bomb,” they “destroy.” Such bluster can mask insecurity, and Jones had good reason to feel defensive. She was forty-six, and had been a standup comedian for more than a quarter century; her peers respected her, but that respect rarely translated into high-paying gigs. “I remember some nights where I was, like, ‘All right, this comedy shit just ain’t working out,’ ” she told me recently. “And not just when I was twenty-five. Like, when I was forty-five.” She was a woman in a field dominated by men, and an African-American in an industry that remained disturbingly segregated.

Although she had opened for Katt Williams and Dave Chappelle, acted in movies alongside Ice Cube and Martin Lawrence, recorded a standup special for Showtime, and made several appearances on HBO’s “Def Comedy Jam” and BET’s “ComicView,” she worried that the gatekeepers of mainstream comedy—bookers for the “Tonight Show,” casting directors of big-budget films—had never heard her name. “Every black comedian in the country knew what I could do,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean everyone else is paying attention.” Chris Rock, who met Jones when they were both road comics in the late eighties, told me, “Black women have the hardest gig in show business. You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman—if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about.”

Jones spent much of her career performing in what she calls “shitty chitlin-circuit-ass rooms, where you’re just hoping the promoter pays you.” She told me that, around 2010, “I stopped only doing black clubs. I stopped doing what I call ‘nigger nights’—the Chocolate Sundays, the Mo’ Better Mondays. I knew how to relate to that audience, and I was winning where I was, but I wasn’t moving forward.” She lived in Los Angeles at the time, and she began asking for spots at the Comedy Store, where David Letterman and Robin Williams got their starts. A comedian named Erik Marino, who befriended her there, said, “She felt very strongly that she was being pigeonholed as a black comic—a BET comic.”

For a while, Jones performed at the Store at odd hours. Then, she said, “I went to the booker and I threw the race card at him. ‘Why you won’t let me go up at ten on a Friday? ’Cause I’m black?’ ” The booker gave her a prime-time slot. “She destroyed, obviously,” Marino said. “Bookers are the ones who care about black rooms versus white rooms. To us comedians, it’s, like, if you know what you’re doing and you can connect with an audience, they’re gonna laugh.”

Rock saw Jones perform at the Store in 2012. After her set, he told her, “You were always funny, but you’re at a new level now.”

“You’re right,” she responded. “But I’m not gonna really make it unless someone like you puts me on.” Rock took out his iPhone and added her name to a list labelled “Funny people.”

Continue reading “FEATURE: After 25 Years on the Road, Leslie Jones Becomes a Comedy Star”

FX Orders Martin Lawrence-Kelsey Grammer Sitcom

kelsey-grammer-martin-lawrenceFX has given a 10-episode series order to a comedy starring Martin Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer. The series is produced by Lionsgate TV under distributor Debmar-Mercury’s “10/90″ deal format that calls for accelerated production of 100 episodes if the initial 10-episode test run fares well.  The untitled comedy is about two lawyer friends brought together under unusual circumstances was created and is exec produced by sitcom veterans Bob Boyett (Family Matters, Full House, Perfect Strangers) and Robert Horn (Designing Women, Living Single).

Lawrence, Grammer, Brian Sher, Stella Bulochnikov, Michael Green and Sam Maydew also executive produce.

This deal brings Lawrence back to a regular sitcom gig for the first time since his eponymous Fox series ended after five seasons in 1997. Grammer is no stranger to sitcoms (Cheers, Frasier) but was most recently seen in the Starz drama Boss, which earned him a Golden Globe award.

article by Cynthia Littleton via variety.com

The Ten Richest African-American Actors!

African Americans in Hollywood Making Big Bucks

It’s quite obvious how African American actors have taken a prominent place in mainstream Hollywood movies over the recent decade. Quality films with meaty-roles are now casted to African American actors that have proven to draw hordes of fans to the box-office.

Gone are the 50’s and 60’s era when motion pictures where limited to ‘whites only’. Today, some of the highest paid actors making blockbuster hit films are African Americans.

Talk about movies like Training Day and Monster’s Ball that won both Denzel Washington and Halle Berry Oscars in 2002. How about Will Smith’s Men in Black and Training Day; Samuel L. Jackson’s Pulp Fiction, Morgan Freeman’s Million Dollar Baby, and Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson’s Dreamgirls—all top grossing Black films. And the list can go on and on from movie actors, to top producers, and film directors.

With their incredible talent it’s not hard to understand why these African American actors are receiving so much love from movie fans all over the world and raking in big bucks from movie theaters.

Here’s a list of some of the highest paid and consequently richest African American actors in Hollywood today based on the net worth from Celebrity Net Worth,  Forbes and other sources. Tyler Perry, who’s the richest African American in Hollywood with an estimated net worth of $350 million, didn’t feature in our list mainly because he is more of a producer and director. Let’s see who made the list.

1. Will Smith

Estimated net worth: $215 Million
Mention ‘Will Smith’ and movies like Men in Black and Hancock will immediately come to mind. Incidentally, Will pocketed a whopping $20 million talent fee for the latest installment of the hit Men in Black III, and around the same amount for the 2008 superhero film Hancock.

Will’s acting career began in a 90’s TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But his career kicked-off after hit action movies Bad Boys and Independence Day, with the latter earning revenues of more than $800 million. Will also took home Grammy Awards for his rap music, and produced several films including Seven Pounds and I am Legend.

Born to humble parents working as a school admin and refrigerator engineer, Will has come a long way with all the success he has earned. With his millions, Will can practically buy his mom her own school!

2= Samuel L. Jackson

Estimated net worth: $150 Million
Samuel’s most recent box-office appearance were for the Marvel hit flicks Iron Man and Avengers, where he is said to have signed a contract for movie appearances in some nine other Marvel-related comic book movies… hello big bucks! Reports say he earns around $10 million each year.

With no interest in acting, Samuel was active in black student movements for civil rights in his younger years. It was only when he met actor Morgan Freeman that he was mentored in film and acting. His first movie was 1981’s Jungle Fever. Some of his important roles were in the movies Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction where he received an Oscar nominee, and Die Hard III.

Samuel remains a staunch advocate of civil rights especially for African American groups.

2= Denzel Washington

Estimated net worth: $150 Million
Denzel’s striking good looks and amazing acting skills are definitely paying off by the millions. Born and raised in New York, Denzel began his acting career in theater and slowly moved to made-for-TV-movies where he landed a role in St. Elsewhere and stayed with the TV show until its final season six years after. Around the same year, he received his first Oscar nomination for the film Cry Freedom, and the following year won Best Supporting Actor for his amazing performance in the film Glory.

Denzel is the second African American actor who ever won a Best Actor Oscar; he won for the movie Training Day. Denzel is an actor, scriptwriter, producer, and director with an annual pay of around $40 million. Now, that explains his $150 million net worth.

4. Martin Lawrence

Estimated net worth: $110 Million
Whoever said comedy couldn’t earn millions? Martin is popular for his comedic roles as a thief, a cop, or both. He established his name in Hollywood after starring in hit movies Bad Boys, Blue Streak, and Big Momma’s House.

He started as a stand-up comedian with his own TV series in the 90’s called Martin which began bringing in big bucks to his career.

5. Ice Cube

Estimated net worth: $110 Million
O’ Shea Jackson a.k.a Ice Cube began as a rapper and songwriter for the controversial band N.W.A. He was still in high school when his interest for hip-hop started, and he may never have thought he would be rapping his way to becoming a millionaire. His group N.W.A. performed at parties and influential events, until he left to go solo in 1989. He released albums such as Kill at Will that went gold and platinum in the hit charts! Cha-ching! He went on to create music that topped pop and R&B charts.

While earning a great deal in music, Ice Cube began a shift to acting. His first movie was Boyz in the Hood, followed by others such as Higher Learning and Three Kings. And as if he wasn’t earning enough, Ice Cube went on to directing and producing films. Now, he’s worth millions of dollars!

To see the rest, go to:  The 10 Richest African American Actors – EverywhereNigeria.