The 4th annual Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network Awards were held yesterday at New York’s Helen Mills Theater, bringing together a who’s who of powerful women in entertainment to celebrate one another. Honorees included Carol’s Daughter founder Lisa Price, radio personality Angela Yee, hip-hop veteran MC Lyte, financial literacy expert Lynn Richardson, fitness motivator Jeanette Jenkins, and singer Sevyn Streeter.
With past honorees like actresses Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long, radio personality Angie Martinez, and broadcaster Soledad O’Brien, the goal of WEEN is to lift up women who aspire to work in the entertainment business, while awarding those who have made great strides. WEEN’s co-founder and chair, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, remembers the first moment when she felt she simply had no choice but to empower women.
“Russell Simmons, Common, Dr. Ben Chavis, and Kevin Liles were guests on Oprah in 2006. There was an audience of women and from satellite they brought in women from Spelman talking about the misogyny in the entertainment biz and the Nelly “Tip Drill” video,” she says. “I felt like I had this huge responsibility to do something. I didn’t know what ‘do something’ meant. But I knew I was too close and too involved to be silent.”
Butterfield-Jones set out to make a difference. Inviting 40 women of power to a rooftop in New York to discuss issues pertaining to women in the business, the turnout more than doubled expectations: 121 women showed up to support, collaborate, and speak up. The success continued. “At the first major WEEN event at the Hammerstein Ballroom, I was super nervous. And when I arrived I saw a line of girls, thousands down 34th Street. And it was another aha moment,” says Butterfield, who served in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011 as deputy director of public affairs for International Trade. “Cause this wasn’t just something we thought could work and thought was needed. The evidence was here. Young women were crying for support and mentorship.”
Continue reading “Lisa Price, Angela Yee, MC Lyte and More Honored at WEEN Awards”
TV One premieres its new comedy series “Belle’s,” with two back-to-back episodes tonight at 10pm (Eastern). Starring Keith David as “William ‘Big Bill’ Cooper,” the show focuses on the life and times of a widower who owns and operates an upscale family soul food restaurant his wife Belle left for him.
But life is a bit complicated because he’s got two demanding, headstrong daughters. Dealing with the girls is almost as controversial as balancing between his sensible business path and his prima donna ambitions. While things at times get a little hectic and out of control, his tween daughter, Pam, manages to keep a cool head and balance in the family.
10:00 PM ET – “One Big Family” – In the series premiere of Belle’s, Jill (Elise Neal) rents out the entire restaurant to the Crawford family for their annual family reunion. Just as the Coopers get ready to celebrate their sudden windfall, Big Bill (Keith David) is tormented when he discovers the Crawfords’ once owned his wife’s family during slavery. Cameron Mathison (“All My Children”) and Steven Williams (“21 Jumpstreet”) guest star.
10:30 PM ET – “Birthday Party” – Pam’s (Nadja Alaya) 12th birthday party could be a complete bust unless her grandfather agrees to a romantic weekend with a woman from his past. Will Big Bill give in? Vivica A. Fox guest stars in the sultry role of Ms. Newbie.
article by Brittney M. Walker via eurweb.com
Tony Abulu, center; with Bern Cohen, left; and Andre Leigh during the filming of “Doctor Bello.” (Ángel Franco/The New York Times)
On the surface the production that commandeered a few dormant rooms at the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital on Roosevelt Island this year resembled many other low-budget film projects in New York City. Crew members were each handling multiple jobs. Those from out of town were spending their short nights on friends’ couches. The catering consisted of a box of Dunkin’ Donuts and a carton of coffee, both empty by late morning.
The film “Doctor Bello” also features Genevieve Nnaji, left; Isaiah Washington, center; and Olumide Bakare.
But despite the production’s humble appearance there was a lot riding on it. Its director and producer, Tony Abulu, and his financial backers say the film, “Doctor Bello,” has the potential to chart a new direction for the booming Nigerian film industry half a world away.
That industry, known as Nollywood, is perhaps the world’s third-largest filmmaking industry in revenues, producing more than 1,000 titles every year. But the industry is known for churning out slapdash films with feeble story lines, amateurish acting and sloppy production values. Nearly all go straight to video and are soon forgotten. Continue reading “Nigerian Director/Producer Tony Abulu Creates Film “Doctor Bello” To Help Legitimize Nollywood”