Tag: Phylicia Rashad

Denzel Washington Paid for ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman to Study at Oxford

"Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman
“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman (Albert L. Ortega | Getty Images)

by  via cnbc.com

Chadwick Boseman, the 41-year-old star of Black Panther, may have Oscar-winner and 2018 nominee Denzel Washington to thank for some of his success. While studying at Howard University in the late ’90s, Boseman and some of his peers applied to a prestigious summer theater program at The University of Oxford. The group of students got in, but they couldn’t afford to go.

One of their acting teachers at Howard, actress Phylicia Rashad from The Cosby Show, “pushed for us,” Boseman told Rolling Stone. “She essentially got some celebrity friends to pay for us to go.” It wasn’t until after the program when he got a beneficiary letter and found out who funded the program: “Denzel paid for me. I’m sure he has no idea. … I’ve been waiting to meet him, so I can tell him.”

Boseman wrote Washington a thank-you letter, but he didn’t tell anyone else about it for two decades. “I’ve basically been holding this secret my whole career,” he told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, explaining that he didn’t want Washington to feel like he owed him anything else.

Boseman wanted to meet Washington in person before saying anything. He hadn’t met him before the Rolling Stone interview but, after 20 years, he figured it was OK to reveal the detail. As Boseman told Fallon: “I think I’ve made it to the point where he’s not going to think I’m trying to get something from him by saying it.”

Coincidentally, just before the Rolling Stone feature came out, Boseman got to meet his benefactor. Washington came to the New York premiere of “Black Panther,” and, “I met him, before the article came out,” Boseman told Fallon. “So I actually lived up to what I originally wanted to do. It was amazing.”

When Fallon asked how the introduction went, Boseman recalled how he thanked him for paying for Oxford a while back, to which Washington jokingly replied: “Oh, so that’s why I’m here. You owe me money! I came to collect!”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/02/denzel-washington-paid-for-chadwick-boseman-to-study-at-oxford.html

African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Launched to Increase Diversity in Historic Preservation

Madam C.J. Walker’s “Villa Lewaro,” the home of the country’s first female African-American millionaire. (Courtesy National Trust for Historic Preservation/Madam Walker Family Archive)

by via curbed.com

A new multi-year initiative to help preserve more African-American historical sites, and address funding gaps in the preservation of current sites, was announced today.

The African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a partnership between the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations, will establish a grant fund for protection and restoration. Actress and activist Phylicia Rashad, who previously campaigned to protect the Brainerd Institute in South Carolina, a school established in 1866 for freed slaves, will serve as an advisor and ambassador.

“There is an opportunity and an obligation for us to step forward boldly and ensure the preservation of places which tell the often-overlooked stories of African-Americans and their many contributions to our nation,” said Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in a statement. “We believe that this fund will be transformative for our country, and we are committed to crafting a narrative that expands our view of history and, ultimately, begins to reconstruct our national identity, while inspiring a new generation of activists to advocate for our diverse historic places.”

The nascent initiative will seek $25 million in initial funding, and focus on historical sites and buildings that help tell often-overlooked aspects of the country’s history, as well as stories of overcoming intolerance, injustice, and inequality.

“As the scholar Carl Becker once wrote, history is what the present chooses to remember about the past,” said Patrick Gaspard, vice president of the Open Society Foundations. “The events in Charlottesville this past summer are a stark reminder of how one segment of American society chooses to celebrate a brutal past. We have an opportunity, through this tremendous project, to preserve, protect and cherish another history too often neglected—the vital story of African-Americans and their enormous contributions to the idea of America.”

Source: https://www.curbed.com/2017/11/15/16656528/historic-preservation-african-american-cultural-heritage-fund

Cicely Tyson, Oprah Winfrey Recognize African American Achievements In TV During Paley Center Tribute

OPRAH WINFREY CICELY TYSON
Oprah Winfrey and Cicely Tyson at A Tribute To African-American Achievements In Television hosted by The Paley Center For Media at Cipriani Wall Street on May 13, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The Paley Center for Media hosted a star-studded event Thursday evening celebrating the 35th anniversary of BET’s launch, as well as the groundbreaking achievements of African-Americans in television over the years.

The guest list was basically a who’s who of black America. Everyone from Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, Larry Wilmore, Tracee Ellis Ross, Lee Daniels, Kerry Washington, Michael Strahan and Phylicia Rashad. Winfrey kicked off the night with an opening monologue, during which she expressed her gratitude for the evolution of African-Americans contributing to some of today’s most successful shows on television.

“When I was growing up there were so few people of color on television, but when there was one of us we would end up missing it because we would be calling everybody else saying, ‘it’s coming on right now. Turn on ‘Ed Sullivan.’ It’s coming on,’” she said. “So part of the power of tonight’s event will be to appreciate and to honor our history as we continue to be an interval part of the entertainment industry.”

One of the evening’s many heartfelt moments occurred during Cicely Tyson’s speech in recognition of her illustrious career. The iconic actress went on to recall the time where she received backlash for her 1963 role as secretary Jane Foster on the CBS drama series “East Side/West Side.” The breakthrough role — which featured Tyson wearing a natural hair style — marked a first for a black actress and sparked a nationwide hair movement.

“This has been a wonderful evening and an emotional evening for me watching the positive strides we’ve taken over the years. We’re not there yet, but we’re going to get there,” Tyson declared. “I have been especially moved by the moments that were a flashback for me… when I first appeared on the air with a natural and received barrels of negative letters that had to do with the fact that I was disgracing the role of the image of black women when I was in a position to glorify it.”

“Well, finally at last I am ecstatic to say that we as a race of people have come to recognize and accept the fact that our pride and glory is our hair… that doesn’t mean you can’t wear your hair the way you want to.”

article by Brennan Williams via huffingtonpost.com

Phylicia Rashad to Star in CBS’ “For Justice” Drama Pilot

Phylicia Rashad
(KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES)

Phylicia Rashad has been cast as a series regular in CBS’ drama “For Justice.”

“The Cosby Show” co-star will play a gay woman by the name of Georgina Howe in the pilot, set to be directed by “Selma’s” Ava DuVernay.

Rashad’s character is described has a savvy Washington player who has faced discrimination for her race and sexual orientation, and fights to protect the independence and integrity of her high-profile Civil Rights Division.

The project, based on James Patterson’s novel “The Thomas Berryman Number,” follows a female FBI agent working in the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division who finds herself caught between her radical real family and her professional family.

“Law & Order” vet Rene Balcer wrote the pilot and will serve as executive producer, alongside DuVernay, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, James Patterson, Bill Robinson and Leopoldo Gout. Berry Welsh will co-executive produce. CBS TV is the studio.

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

Sam Pollard Directs New Doc on Life & Legacy of August Wilson – Coming to PBS in February

August Wilson - American Masters

Coming to PBS primetime next month, as part of its AMERICAN MASTERS series, is the documentary, “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand,” airing on February 20 at 9pm ET.

Directed by Emmy and Peabody-winner Sam Pollard (long-time Spike Lee editor, as well as a director and producer in his own right), the documentary explores the life and legacy of Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson – the man some call America’s Shakespeare — from his roots as a Pittsburgh activist and poet, to his indelible mark on Broadway.

Unprecedented access to Wilson’s theatrical archives, rarely seen interviews, and new dramatic readings, bring to life his seminal 10-play cycle chronicling each decade of the 20th century African American experience. The film features new interviews with Viola Davis, Charles Dutton, Laurence Fishburne, James Earl Jones, Suzan-Lori Parks, Phylicia Rashad, his widow/costume designer Constanza Romero, and others, sharing stories of the late great African American playwright’s rich theatrical canon.

PBS is premiering the film in honor of the 70th anniversary of Wilson’s birth, as well as the 10th anniversary of his death, and for Black History Month.

The DVD will be available on February 24 from PBS Distribution.

“Having the opportunity to explore Wilson’s creative process and his tenacity in looking at the African American experience in the 20th century was one of the most exciting endeavors I have ever had in my film career,” said filmmaker Sam Pollard.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via indiewire.com

THEATER REVIEW: “Raisin in the Sun” Brings Denzel Washington Back to Broadway

From left, Sophie Okonedo, Mr. Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Bryce Clyde Jenkins and Anika Noni Rose play members of a family pondering whether to move to a suburb. (Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

The spark of rebellion, the kind that makes a man stand up and fight, has almost been extinguished in Walter Lee Younger. As portrayed by Denzel Washington in Kenny Leon’s disarmingly relaxed revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun — which opened on Thursday night at the Ethel Barrymore Theater — Walter appears worn down, worn out and about ready to crawl into bed for good. Frankly, he looks a whole lot older than you probably remember him.

That’s partly because, at 59, Mr. Washington, the much laureled movie star, is about a quarter of a century older than the character he is playing, at least as written. (This production bumps Walter’s age up to 40 from 35.) But it’s also because, as this production of Raisin makes clearer than any I’ve seen before, Walter inhabits a world that ages men like him fast.

Listen to how his mama, Lena (LaTanya Richardson Jackson), describes her late husband’s existence: “I seen him, night after night, come in, and look at that rug, and then look at me, the red showing in his eyes, the veins moving in his head. I seen him grow thin and old before he was 40, working and working like somebody’s horse.”

In this engrossingly acted version of Hansberry’s epochal 1959 portrait of an African-American family, Walter is all too clearly his father’s son. Lena may tell him, shaking her head, that he is “something new, boy.” But you know that her great fear is that he is not. Small wonder she shows such smothering protectiveness to Walter’s 11-year-old son, Travis (Bryce Clyde Jenkins).

A claustrophobic fatigue pervades the cramped, South Side Chicago apartment in which A Raisin in the Sun is set. And despite its often easygoing tone, a happy ending feels far from guaranteed. As designed by Mark Thompson, the Youngers’ living room cum kitchen is a narrow corridor that keeps its three generations of inhabitants in close, erosive proximity.

The production begins with a searing vision of bone-weariness. Ruth Younger (Sophie Okonedo), Walter’s wife, stands frozen center stage in a bathrobe, amid sallow morning light. Her face is harrowed, and her arms are braced against the kitchen counter in what is almost a crucifix position. She is trying to find the strength to get through another day.

Mr. Leon relaxes that initial tautness for the scene that follows, in which the Youngers — who also include Walter’s sister, Beneatha (a first-rate Anika Noni Rose), a pre-med student — go through their usual morning rituals. And the play as a whole has a genial, conversational quality; it always holds you, but without trying to shake you.

Still, that opening scene strikes a note that will resonate. Exhaustion is pulling at the Youngers like a dangerous force of gravity. As Hansberry puts it in her stage directions, “Weariness has, in fact, won in this room.”

Continue reading “THEATER REVIEW: “Raisin in the Sun” Brings Denzel Washington Back to Broadway”

Bill Cosby Returns to NBC for Family Comedy

Bill Cosby
(Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

NBC is re-teaming with Bill Cosby and producer Tom Werner on a family comedy.  While there is no pilot order and no studio is attached, NBC has confirmed that they are hiring writers and Cosby would star “as a patriarch in a multigenerational family.”  The Cosby Show, which Werner produced through his production company with Marcy Carsey, ran from 1984 to 1992 on NBC. The sitcom Cosby, which the comedian developed with John Markus and also costarred actress Phylicia Rashad, ran from 1996 to 2000 on CBS.

Partnerships with 1980s and ’90s TV stars seems to be a theme at NBC, where The Michael J. Fox Show is fairing okay in ratings. (Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing on ABC is doing better). The Cosby news happened a day after NBC announced it was scrapping its Murder She Wrote reboot with Octavia Spencer.

article by Whitney Friedlander via Variety.com

Phylicia Rashad Takes on Directing Role to Mark 50th Anniversary of Alabama Church Bombing

thWASHINGTON – Phylicia Rashad is best known for starring roles on stage and television, but as a director she decided to commemorate a historic moment that helped spur the civil rights movement.

The Tony Award-winning actress directed a reading of the play “Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963” at the Kennedy Center Sunday to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Four girls were killed in the explosion, which was set by white supremacists and helped spur passage of landmark civil rights legislation.

Rashad, who is recognized for her portrayal as the matriarch on “The Cosby Show” TV series and Broadway’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” said she wanted the reading to emphasize the “sanctity of joy, human existence and the value of all life.”

The play, written by Christina Ham, starred students from Howard University and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Rashad, an alumna of Howard University, said acting and directing are both challenging and rewarding. In her role as director, Rashad said she works to keep the creative energy in line with the writer’s vision, “while leaving room for people to add to the vision in a collaborative effort.”

article by Stacy A. Anderson, AP via ca.yahoo.news.com

OWN Offers Special Night of Programming this Sunday with ‘Oprah’s Next Chapter’ and ‘Dark Girls’ Documentary

oprah and womenOprah Winfrey Network will present a night of compelling conversation on Sunday, June 23, beginning with Oprah’s Next Chapter (9-10 p.m. ET/PT) featuring Oprah’s in-depth conversation with some of Hollywood’s most powerful female African-American actresses including Alfre Woodard, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union. In the discussion, the iconic actresses open up about the challenges, criticism and competition they face as African-American women in Hollywood. In the groundbreaking conversation, the women shed light on a topic that is not often discussed in the entertainment industry.

Immediately following is the world television premiere of the groundbreaking documentary Dark Girls (10 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET/PT) from filmmakers Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry. The film explores the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world. Women share their personal stories, touching on deeply ingrained beliefs and attitudes of society, while allowing generations to heal as they learn to love themselves for who they are. From filmmakers Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, Dark Girls made its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. The DVD will be released September 24, 2013.

Sounds like must-see TV to us here at GBN. Be sure to tune in or set your DVRS!

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson