Tag: Times Square

Spike Lee Leads Gun Violence Protest After “Chi-Raq” Premiere

chi raq premiere gun violence protest
Rev. Al Sharpton and Spike Lee (STEPHEN LOVEKIN/VARIETY/REX SHUTTERSTOCK)

The fact that Chicago’s police superintendent was fired hours before the premiere of Spike Lee’s latest feature, “Chi-Raq,” only reinforced the timeliness of the movie’s message about the senselessness of gun violence and racial discrimination. And instead of an after-party, Lee led many attendees out of Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theater on a march down Broadway to Times Square.

The movie, the first feature produced by Amazon Studios, is a loose adaptation of the ancient Greek drama “Lysistrata.” In Lee’s telling, a group of determined women in Chicago band together to demand that their husbands and lovers put down their weapons, or lose their intimate privileges.

“It was great in 411 B.C. — it’ll work today,” Lee said of the source material Tuesday night. “This film is about changing lives.”

Chicago is among the big U.S. cities that is suffering through a spike in violence and homicides, particularly among African-Americans. Protests have rocked the city in the past few days following the release of a video showing the police shooting a 17-year-old black teenager some 16 times last year. Lee said he hoped “Chi-Raq” would help inspire others to “work harder to make America safer.”

Kevin Willmott, who co-wrote the script with Lee, said the events of the day made for a “surreal” experience at the premiere. The movie was shot in Chicago last summer over a six-week period, which allowed cast members to see first-hand the issues depicted in the story. Chicago is the “epicenter” of violence at present but these issues are hardly isolated to one city, Willmott said. “It’s an American problem,” he noted. “It’s about guns, it’s about race, it’s about jobs. There’s nothing new about the problem.”

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Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision Inspires Massive NY Protest, Feds To Investigate

NEW YORK (AP) — A grand jury cleared a white police officer Wednesday in the videotaped chokehold death of an unarmed black man accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, triggering protests in the streets by thousands  of New Yorkers who likened the case to the deadly police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

Protest in Philadelphia and other cities nationwide mirrored the response after the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown. 

As the demonstrations mounted, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said federal authorities would conduct a civil rights investigation into the July 17 death of Eric Garner at the hands of Officer Daniel Pantaleo.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said the grand jury found “no reasonable cause” to bring charges, but unlike the chief prosecutor in the Ferguson case, he gave no details on how the panel arrived at its decision. The grand jury could have considered a range of charges, from reckless endangerment to murder.

Protesters gathered in Times Square and converged on the heavily secured area around the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting with a combination of professional-looking signs and hand-scrawled placards reading, “Black lives matter” and “Fellow white people, wake up.” And in the Staten Island neighborhood where Garner died, people reacted with angry disbelief and chanted, “I can’t breathe!” and “Hands up — don’t choke!”

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Rally in Times Square Tomorrow To Honor Nelson Mandela Day and Fight Extreme Poverty

46664 Concert: In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela's Life - Performance
Nelson Mandela (Photo: Getty Images)

Friday is Nelson Mandela Day, a day to celebrate the great humanitarian and former president of South Africa. And if you’re in the area, you totally ought to stop by Times Square in New York City and get in on the activist action taking place!

That’s because Global Citizen, Nelson Mandela’s grandson Kweku Mandela and tons of activists will be there to help put an end to extreme poverty. The get-together starts at 4, and at 4:15 they’ll start playing footage of Mandela on the giant billboards. You’ll also be able to watch the “Zero Poverty 2030” movie and you might even get a photo with Kweku Mandela. Plus, if you attend and are able to get 10 people to sign the Zero Poverty 2030 petition, you’ll receive 8 points on Global Citizen, which could help you get to the Global Citizen Festival this fall.

If you don’t live nearby or can’t make it for any other reasons, there are still ways you can take part. You could share a special #DayofAction video on Facebook (which, again, could help you get tickets to the Global Citizen Festival). You can also share on Twitter to help raise awareness.

What Global Citizen is doing on Nelson Mandela Day is a part of something bigger. They’re serious about ending extreme poverty by 2030, and we can all join in and help them. And creating a world without extreme poverty would be a great way to honor Nelson Mandela and continue his humanitarian mission. After all, Mandela himself said, “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

article by Danica Davidson via act.mtv.com

8th Grade Metal Band From Brooklyn Lands Sony Record Deal

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Unlocking the Truth, a heavy metal band comprised of three 8th-graders from Brooklyn, has been signed to a two-album recording contract with Sony. The deal comes with a $60,000 up-front advance and an option for four additional LPs.

The band, made up of guitarist Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, bassist Alec Atkins, 13, and drummer Jarad Dawkins, 12, was founded in 2007 and has been riding the lightning to metal fame thanks to a steady run of heavy-beyond-their-years busking in Times Square and Washington Square Park.  Now the Daily News reports that the boys have finalized a deal with Sony that could net them as much as $1.7 million over a possible six albums.

“What started out as play dates went to Times Square and now this. It’s been one great thing after another,” Dawkins’s mother, Tabatha, told the News. The boys competed in the Apollo Theater’s amateur night (under the name Tears of Blood, no less) and have unleashed their middle-school riffage at venues like Webster Hall and the Coachella music festival. Unlocking the Truth is currently touring the country as a part of the Vans Warped Tour and recently took time off from pre-algebra class to open for Gun N Roses in Las Vegas.

Having scored the deal as minors, the 8th graders’ Sony contract had to be approved and filed in Manhattan Supreme Court. The deal is remarkable on account of more than just the band’s age, band manager Alan Sacks affirmed. “Sacks says the boys have a chance of becoming the new face of rock because they are unique — black artists excelling in heavy metal, a genre typically dominated by white musicians,” the Post writes.

Watch Brickhouse, Atkins, and Dawkins shred Times Square below:

article via gothamist.com