Tag: Wendell Pierce

“The Wire” and “Treme” Actor Wendell Pierce Invests in $20 Million Project to Bring Jobs to Baltimore

Wendell Pierce (photo via macraespeakers.com)
Wendell Pierce (photo via macraespeakers.com)

Actor Wendell Pierce, best known for his role as Detective Bunk Moreland on The Wire, is investing in a $20 million apartment complex in the arts district of Baltimore, he announced during a panel discussion at Columbia University on Saturday. The actor, 49, told Fusion it’s the beginning of a jobs program he intends to expand to other parts of the city.

A portion of the apartments in the building will be offered to Baltimore artists at a discounted rate, Pierce said. Artists living in the building will also have the opportunity to feature their artwork in the building’s galleries. And Baltimore residents will make up a portion of the construction team hired for the apartment project.

“They’re not going to be the entire workforce, but we wanted to put together a jobs program for people from the community,” Pierce said.

Pierce made the announcement alongside three of his former castmates from The Wire: Sonja Sohn, Felicia Pearson, and Jamie Hector. The actors were part of a panel on community activism. Pierce told the crowd it was an appropriate time to make the announcement, given the circumstance of the event.

Sohn and Hector have each started non-profit organizations for inner-city youth. Hector’s organization, Moving Mountains, is a Brooklyn-based theater company that coaches youth from all five boroughs about both the artistic and corporate sides of the industry. Sohn started ReWired for Change, a Baltimore based-organization.

Construction for Pierce’s apartment complex is slated to begin in July, the actor said. The developers are “shooting for the end of 2017” to complete the project, he said. He declined to disclose which other investors he is working with or the development company, but did say that the project is a private venture.

To read more, go to: http://fusion.net/story/289769/the-wire-actor-wendell-pierce-baltimore-project/?utm_content=buffer50b6b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer 

“Selma” Cast, Director Ava DuVernay Wear “I Can’t Breathe” Shirts at N.Y. Premiere

Eric Garner Selma premiere protest I
(RAY TAMARRA/GC IMAGES)

Parties and protests don’t typically overlap, but the “Selma” cast made an exception and a statement on Sunday night following the film’s Manhattan premiere. At one point during the otherwise splashy festivities, director Ava DuVernay took to the steps of the New York Public Library with actors David OyelowoE. Roger MitchellWendell PierceOmar DorseyJohn Lavelle, Stephan James, Kent FaulconLorraine ToussaintAndre HollandTessa Thompson and Colman Domingo, donning “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts over their partywear and raising their arms in the “don’t shoot” pose.

It was not just an unusually sobering photo op, but also a direct acknowledgment of the eerie timing of Paramount’s civil rights drama, with its scenes of organized protest and its urgent plea for justice and reform. The premiere was held the same weekend that more than 25,000 men and women marched through Manhattan, in the largest protest the city has seen since a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

The picture’s timeliness is undeniable, said Toussaint, who plays the civil rights activist Amelia Boynton. “There are no accidents,” she said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this film, and I’m so proud of Ava’s accomplishment. To bear witness to the fact that this voice is being heard at this moment … it speaks to the times and the needs of this time, too.”

Introducing the screening, along with Oyelowo and producers Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, DuVernay noted that the last time she had set foot in the historic Ziegfeld Theater, it was in her capacity as a publicist. That was back in 2006, at the New York premiere of “Dreamgirls.”

“I was on that film for a year,” DuVernay recalled at the afterparty. “I remember what Jennifer Hudson wore. I remember what Beyoncé wore. It was a madhouse of A-list celebrities, and I walked that same carpet.” Is it better walking it as a filmmaker rather than a flack? “A little better, a little better. I’ve got better gear on than that black suit.”

Fortunately for actor Alessandro Nivola, the premiere was held on his one night off from “The Elephant Man,” the Broadway play in which he’s currently starring alongside Bradley Cooper. Nivola had to dash over to the Ziegfeld from the matinee, just in time for the film’s 6 p.m. screening.

“I would’ve walked offstage a little early to get to the red carpet if it had meant that I was going to miss it (otherwise),” Nivola said.

He noted that it was a treat to work again with Oyelowo, with whom he also appeared in “Who Do You Love” and the upcoming “A Most Violent Year.” “He was particularly inspired in this particular role by his faith. Whether or not you believe in God, when you see somebody who feels that drive in him in a performance, it’s a pretty powerful thing.”

Also in attendance were Paramount chairman-CEO Brad Grey, Viacom president-CEO Philippe DaumanJames Schamus and Harvey Weinstein, as well as “Selma” actors Carmen EjogoCommonTim Roth and Tom Wilkinson. Paramount will roll the film out on Christmas Day in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., followed by a wide release on Jan. 9.

article by Justin Chang via Variety.com

BUSINESS: 20 Black Angels Worth Knowing For Minority Startups

FUBU Founder and "Shark Tank" Investor Daymond John
FUBU Founder and “Shark Tank” Investor Daymond John

Daymond John helped revolutionize urban fashion in the 1990s as founder, president, and CEO of FUBU (“For Us, By Us”). He guided the iconic brand into a multimillion-dollar business, placing it at the same table with such designer sportswear labels as Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger.

These days, John is known for being a “shark” on the hit reality series “Shark Tank”. Every Friday night, some seven million viewers tune in to the ABC show that features a panel of investors, or “sharks,” that consider offers from aspiring entrepreneurs seeking capital. John, a member of the cast since the show’s premiere in 2009, along with four other prominent chief executives listens to business pitches (a contestant’s one-hour pitch is edited down to a 10-minute segment) from everyday people hoping to take their company or product to new heights. Using their own money, the sharks have invested more than $20 million, having completed more than 30 deals with an average valuation of $250,000. John is the show’s second leading investor.

Studies show that African American-owned firms are less likely to receive angel investment. In the first half of 2013, only 8.5% of startups pitching to angels were minority-owned; 16% were women-led, according to a report by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. Only 15% of those minority-owned businesses successfully got funded, while 24% of the female entrepreneurs received angel investments. Moreover, ethnic minorities account for less than 5% of the angel population.

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Oprah Winfrey to Play Civil Rights Protester Annie Lee Cooper in Ava Duvernay’s ‘Selma’

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Photo Credit: ANTHONY HARVEY/GETTY IMAGES

Oprah Winfrey has joined the cast of Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.” She is also producing the film.  Winfrey will play Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly woman who tried to register to vote and was unfairly denied by Sheriff Clark. She was a visible leader amongst the civil rights protesters in Selma.  The drama follows MLK’s landmark 1965 voting rights campaign, which is regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement.

The film stars Oprah’s ‘Butler’ co-star David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.; Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King; Tom Wilkinson as Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson; Cuba Gooding Jr. as Fred Gray; Common as James Bevel; Wendell Pierce as Rev. Hosea Williams; Stephan James as John Lewis; and Nigel Thatch as Malcolm X.

Winfrey earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple.” She most recently played Oyelowo’s mother in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” In addition to “Selma,” Winfrey is a producer on DreamWorks’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which hits theaters in August. She’s represented by WME.

article via theculture.forharriet.com

Wendell Pierce Creates Supermarket Chain to Help New Orleans Residents

Wendell Pierce welcomes the first customers inside his 25,000 square-foot store.

Wendell Pierce, best known for his roles on “The Wire” and “Treme” is now launching a chain of grocery and convenience stores in places where fresh food can be hard to find.   As a boy, Pierce dreamed of leaving his hometown one day for the world stage. Today, the veteran actor with global credits has returned on a mission: rebuilding neighborhoods, brick by brick, aisle after aisle.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated this city in 2005, Pierce seized an opportunity to help his childhood neighborhood — Pontchartrain Park, an historic enclave for middle-class blacks — get back on its feet. He started the nonprofit Pontchartrain Park Community Development Corp. with a goal of replacing hundreds of flood-ravaged, 1950s-era houses with new homes.  Now, the next item in his recovery recipe is a long-missing ingredient.

Pierce, 50, and his partners are investing big in something seemingly so small: convenient access to a grocery store. They have launched a chain of convenience stores, Sterling Express, and a full-service grocery store, called Sterling Farms, the latter just unveiled in what is often described as a “food desert,” a neighborhood where residents must travel more than a mile to a store selling fresh food. According to 2011 data, 19 percent of all Orleans Parish households have no access to a vehicle.

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The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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