Tag: Michael Kenneth Williams

Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, John Ridley, Key & Peele and Neil deGrasse Tyson are Among More Than 20 African-Americans Nominated for 2015 Primetime Emmys

2015 Primetime Emmy Nominees Viola Davis, John Ridley (top), Keegan-Michael Key and Taraji P. Henson (bottom)
2015 Primetime Emmy Nominees Viola Davis, John Ridley (top), Keegan-Michael Key and Taraji P. Henson (bottom)

The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced today, and it’s clear that diverse casting in television is finally impacting more than ratings. Eighteen African-American actors and actresses were acknowledged by the Television Academy for their work on the small screen this past season, including best actress in a drama nominees Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”), Queen Latifah for the HBO movie “Bessie”, Angela Bassett for limited series “American Horror Story” and Cicely Tyson for her guest turn on “How To Get Away With Murder.”

Other acting nominees include David Oyelowo for the limited series “Nightingale”, Anthony Anderson and Don Cheadle for their respective comedy leads in “Black-ish” and “House of Lies”, Uzo Aduba for “Orange Is The New Black”, Khandi Alexander for her guest role on “Scandal”, Andre Braugher for his supporting role in the comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, Keegan-Michael Key for his comedy sketch show “Key & Peele” Niecy Nash for her supporting role in “Getting On”, Tituss Burgess for his supporting comedic role in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” , Michael Kenneth Williams for his supporting dramatic role in “Bessie”, Regina King for “American Crime”, Mo’Nique for her portrayal of Ma Rainey in “Bessie”, Tituss Burgess  and Reg E. Cathey for his guest role on “House Of Cards.”

Additionally, Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave”) scored big with 10 nominations for his critically-acclaimed ABC series “American Crime”, including Best Limited Series and Writing for a Limited Series.  Additionally, writer/director Dee Rees (“Pariah”) is nominated for writing as well as directing for “Bessie.”

More writing nods went to Key and Jordan Peele for “Key & Peele” and the “Key & Peele Super Bowl Special”.  Key & Peele were also acknowledged in the Short-Form Live Action category for “Key & Peele Presents Van And Mike: The Ascension”.  Beyoncé continues to dominate all media with a nod in the Special Class Program category for “Beyoncé and Jay Z On The Run.”

Astrophysicist-turned-television personality and host Neil deGrasse Tyson was rewarded for his ventures into the entertainment space with two nominations: one as narrator for “Hubble’s Cosmic Journey” and the other for his nascent talk show “Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.”

The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on September 20, hosted by Andy Samberg and broadcast live on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

To see a full list of all the nominees, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Queen Latifah’s Bessie Smith biopic “Bessie” Set to Debut May 16th on HBO (VIDEO)

Official Still of Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in HBO's biopic
Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in HBO’s biopic (Courtesy: HBO)

Queen Latifah stars as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO Films drama “Bessie,” which is directed by Dee Rees, from a screenplay written by Rees, Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois.

With a story by Rees and Horton Foote, the film focuses on Smith’s transformation from a struggling young singer into “The Empress of the Blues,” one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s.

HBO has announced its movie will debut on Saturday, May 16 at 8PM.

The cast includes Michael Kenneth Williams as Bessie’s husband, Jack; Khandi Alexander as Bessie’s older sister, Viola; Mike Epps as Richard, a bootlegger and romantic interest; Tika Sumpter as Lucille, a performer and romantic interest; Tory Kittles as Bessie’s older brother, Clarence; Oliver Platt as famed photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten; Bryan Greenberg as renowned record producer and music critic John Hammond; with Charles S. Dutton as Ma Rainey’s husband, William “Pa” Rainey; and Mo’Nique as blues legend Ma Rainey.

The film will offer an intimate look at the determined woman whose immense talent and love for music took her from anonymity in the rough-and-tumble world of vaudeville to the 1920s blues scene and international fame, capturing her professional highs and personal lows, and ultimate legend.

Described by HBO as a labor of love for the filmmakers, “Bessie” has been 22 years in the making. The first draft was written by playwright Horton Foote. Queen Latifah was approached by producers Richard and Lili Fini Zanuck to take on the role of Bessie when she was just launching her acting career. She eventually came on board as an executive producer, along with producing partner Shakim Compere.

Director Dee Rees caught HBO’s attention with the buzz around her award-winning film, “Pariah.”

Says Latifah, “I have been excited about this project since the very beginning. When HBO got involved, we were thrilled and we worked together to make something that would capture Bessie’s life honestly and respectfully.”

Watch the telepic’s first full-length trailer below:

original article by Tambay A. Obenson via blogs.indiewire.com