facebook-icotwitter-icogoogle-icorss-ico
connectsubscribearchives
Log in

Entertainment

Leslie Jones’ slave monologue on ‘SNL’ sparks backlash

Leslie Jones_600A portion of Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update featuring Leslie Jones has generated backlash on social media.

During the episode, the writer performed a monologue as an image expert, commenting on People naming Academy Award winning actress Lupita Nyong'o their most beautiful person.

She congratulated the actress, but what followed had Twitter abuzz.

  • Written by Carrie Healey/theGrio

You Gotta see Taraji!

henson 600Taraji P. Henson talks about her new film, "From The Rough," an inspirational biopic where she portrays Catana Starks, the African-American trailblazer who became the first female to coach an NCAA Division-1 men's team when she accepted the reins of the golf squad at Tennessee State University.

Kam Williams: Hi Taraji, thanks for the interview.
Taraji P. Henson: Oh, no worries, Kam.

KW: What interested you in this film?
TPH: Well, first of all, I'd never seen a movie about a female coach before, outside of that Goldie Hawn comedy from years ago, "Wildcats." And I had certainly never seen an African-American woman portrayed this way in a drama. That was the first thing that interested me. Then, when I read the script, I went, "Wow! What an amazing story!" She had all the odds stacked against her, yet she and her team won. And it was all because of the tenacity and belief and passion that she instilled in her players.

‘Stokely: A Life’

Stokely 600"It was Thursday, June 16, 1966... Less than a year before, President Lyndon Johnson had signed the Voting Rights Act... Stokely Carmichael was now in Mississippi to ensure that the federal laws... would apply to black sharecroppers living in plantation communities...

"(Just) released from his latest stay in jail... Stokely's voice broke through the humid Mississippi night... 'This is the 27th time that I've been arrested,' he shouted, 'and I ain't going to jail no more... We want black power!'

"Carmichael made a case for political revolution. 'We have begged the president. We've begged the federal government... Every courthouse in Mississippi ought to be burned down tomorrow!'

The duo at LiveTone Studios

livestudio 600It was close to midnight when I finally made it to LiveTone studios located in what Urban Memphis calls "Blackhaven." The term of endearment echoes the rich pride of the people who live in this part of town and would love nothing less than you knowing that they do.

I came in with a puzzled look on my face after passing by a couple of Memphis famous strip clubs in full swing. Kevin "Sleepy" Plunkett and Tazz Fields were inside taking a break from stirring up music magic and were awaiting my arrival. I kicked back on a couch, ink pen and paper in hand ready to do an interview. I quickly intertwined in a discussion about the state of the music world.

"I like a lot of things about music right now," said Sleepy. "I like the different techniques used now. You can really tell that the people making the beats are giving them a lot of thought. I really do like a lot of the songs that come out. I don't like them all, but I do like some.

  • Written by Kelvin Cowans/Special to the New Tri-State Defender

Kam’s Kapsules: OPENING THIS WEEK

nialong 600For movies opening March 14, 2014

BIG BUDGET FILMS

"Need for Speed" (PG-13 for nudity, crude humor, reckless driving and disturbing crashes) High-octane revenge thriller, inspired by the video game of the same name, revolving around a recently-paroled street racer's (Aaron Paul) attempt to even the score with the wealthy business partner (Dominic Cooper) who'd framed him for manslaughter. With Imogen Poots, Michael Keaton and Scott Mescudi.

"The Single Moms Club" (PG-13 for sexuality and mature themes) Tyler Perry wrote, directed and co-stars in this tale of female empowerment about a support group created by five, frazzled single moms (Nia Long, Zulay Henao, Amy Smart, Cocoa Brown and Wendi McLendon-Covey) whose kids attend the same private school. Supporting cast includes Terry Crews, Eddie Cibrian and William Levy.

"Veronica Mars" (PG-13 for sexuality, violence, profanity and drug use) Kristen Bell reprises the title role in this screen version of the TV mystery series which finds the super sleuth returning home from New York to attend her high school reunion and to assist an ex-boyfriend (Jason Dohring) suspected of murder. With Krysten Ritter, Ryan Hansen and Francis Capra.

J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise help a retired sheriff’s deputy shine on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’

choir 600Retired sheriff's deputy Ezra Harris of Chattanooga, Tenn. gained national headlines after a YouTube video of his mangled rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at a memorial service went viral and gained over 1.3 million views as "worst rendition of the national anthem ever."

Recently, Harris got a second chance of sorts and some backup. The vocal support came from the Stellar Award nominated urban inspirational music ensemble J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise. The group stopped by the New York studios of ABC's "Good Morning America" for a special makeover week music segment.

Producers of the No. 1 rated morning show decided to give Harris a chance to redo the anthem during its "do over" week makeovers this past week. Staffers called in J.J. Hairston and country music star Dierks Bentley to individually coach Harris on how to sing the song and to memorize the lyrics.

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

Nia Long: ‘The Single Moms Club’ interview

NiaLong 600Stunningly-attractive leading lady Nia Long returned to the big screen last fall in the highly-anticipated sequel "The Best Man Holiday" where she reunited with original cast mates Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Morris Chestnut and Harold Perrineau. Early last year, she joined the all-star cast of Showtime's "House of Lies" alongside Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell.

Here, Nia talks about co-starring as May in "The Single Moms Club" opposite her son Massai, as well as Amy Smart, Zulay Henao, Tyler Perry, Terry Crews, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Cocoa Brown.

Oscar Predictions 2014

OscarPredictions 600"12 Years a Slave" is benefiting from the most Best Picture buzz as we approach Oscar night, although this is shaping up as one of those rare years when the award for Best Director will probably go to a different film, "Gravity." Look for "12 Years" to net only a trio of statuettes overall, with "Gravity" likely landing seven.

"12 Years a Slave" is the sort of elaborate historical drama the voters just love to recognize, as reflected in such past picks as "The King's Speech," "Gladiator," "Shakespeare in Love," "Titanic," "The English Patient," "Schindler's List," "Driving Miss Daisy," "The Last Emperor," "Amadeus" and "Out of Africa," to name a few. And since the Anglophilic Academy ostensibly is impressed by English accents, it will also help that "12 Years: is a British production.

Besides forecasting the winners, I also suggest which nominees in each category are actually the most deserving. Furthermore, because some great performances are invariably overlooked by the Academy entirely, I also point out some who should've at least been nominated.