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Entertainment

‘(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race’

book 600Traditionally, in America, if you were just a teeny-weeny bit black, you'd always been considered black. This arbitrary color line was even codified by the Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson, an 1896 case brought by an octoroon light enough to pass who sued for the right to sit in the "white only" section of a segregated train traveling through the South.

Much to Homer Plessy's chagrin, the Court sided with the State of Louisiana, taking judicial notice of the "one-drop rule," ruling that "a Negro or black is any person with any black ancestry." In other words, you could be black without looking black.

Fast-forward to the present, the arguably post-racial age of Obama, a time when the country has a biracial president, who nevertheless refers to himself to African-American. The nation's population has more mixed ancestry than ever nowadays, which is reflected in the latest census offering over a dozen race options to check off, as well as "Other," if none of the above is to your liking.

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Kam’s Kapsules: Opening This Week


movie 600For movies opening Dec. 6, 2013

BIG BUDGET FILMS

"Inside Llewyn Davis" (R for profanity and some sexual references) Oscar Issac plays the title character in this Coen Bros musical dramedy, set in Greenwich Village in 1961, chronicling a week in the life of a struggling folk singer. With Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan and Max Casella.

"Out of the Furnace" (R for profanity, drug use and graphic violence) Vigilante crime thriller revolving around a just-paroled ex-con (Christian Bale) who ventures from the Rust Belt to the Northeast to rescue a younger brother (Case Affleck) who's gotten mixed up with mobsters. Ensemble cast includes Forest Whitaker, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard.

 

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Is Kanye West losing it?

kanye 600The colossally egocentric self-proclaimed genius who subjects concertgoers to his "visionary stream of consciousness" rants during his performances may be wearing his audience thin.

On Tuesday, Kanye West's roadside attraction of a hip-hop concert played to fewer than 4,500 people at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, a venue that holds 19,000. It's a paltry attendance number for the man who compares himself to Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, the Kansas City Star reports.

The low numbers are just one in myriad problems on the Yeezus tour. West was forced to cancel several shows on the tour because a truck carrying lighting equipment was involved in an accident that damaged "all of the lights."

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‘Black Nativity,’ ‘Best Man Holiday,’ Madea and parties galore

scene black_nativity_600In the midst of what is turning out to be a very busy holiday season, I have somehow found time to catch a couple of movies! As far as the African-American moviegoer is concerned, this holiday season has been very nice. We have at least three major films that are geared toward "us" that will be in theatres by Christmas day.

Of course, the first was "Best Man Holiday," which was a great film that I'd go see again and you should see at least once. Then there was "Black Nativity," which opened this past weekend and stars Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese, Angela Bassett and Forrest Whitaker. Not quite the blockbuster that I hoped for, however, it still was a really good film.

"Black Nativity" had a lot of good moments, most of which came with music. If you watched the trailers, it should have come as no surprise that this film was actually a musical. If you get to check it out, be sure to pay close attention to Mary J. Blige's scene where she sings. That had to have been the most soulful Christmas music I have heard in a long time. I'm not sure if this was actually lip-synced, but both Bassett and Whitaker's characters sang as well. If it wasn't actually them, it was at least great acting.

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Porsche Carrera GT: 5 reasons the car Paul Walker died in is different

car 600It has three times the horsepower of the average car. It's notoriously difficult to handle, even for professional drivers. And now, it's known as the car actor Paul Walker was riding in when he died.

Both Walker and his driving team partner, who was behind the wheel, died after the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT they were in slammed into a pole and burst into flames. Los Angeles County authorities say speed was a factor in the crash and are investigating how fast the exotic car was going.

So why is the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT so different from other street cars? Here are five reasons:

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Kasi on call

29884 pro_160A proven talent as an actress, writer and director, Kasi Lemmons continues to tantalize creatively with her thought provoking body of work. Her work as an actress includes roles in :Silence of the Lambs" opposite Jodie Foster, and Spike Lee's "School Daze," as well as "Hard Target," "Fear of a Black Hat," "Candyman" and "Vampire's Kiss."

Kasi's magical directorial debut, "Eve's Bayou," was the highest-grossing independent film of 1997. The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and received seven NAACP Image Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Her sophomore offering, "The Caveman's Valentine," opened the 2002 Sundance Film Festival to audience and critical acclaim. And, in 2008, she received an NAACP Image Award for directing "Talk to Me."

 

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Making music in Memphis

IMG-Jaheim 600Soul balladeer Jaheim had the ladies mesmerized as he sang all of his hits at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis on Saturday night (Nov. 30).

IMG Jaheim_2199IMG CM_2014IMG CM_2053IMG Crowd_Shot_1114The opening act was Chrisette Michelle and she was – in a word – sensational.

This week’s DVD releases

518dY 160Top Ten DVD List for Dec. 3, 2013

"The Jack Ryan Collection"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000RZGIPO/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"30 for 30 Gift Set Collection: Season Two, Volume One"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00DSQ40R2/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"Bruce Weber: The Film Collection"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00F1BFKM6/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

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Fans, father grieve death of ‘Fast & Furious’ star Paul Walker

walker 600SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Stunned by his untimely death in a car wreck, fans, friends and family remembered actor Paul Walker – what he meant to them and what he did for them.

His father remembered him as a loving son who wanted to take a hiatus from acting. A fellow actor recalled how he had just celebrated Walker's 40th birthday. And a U.S. military veteran will forever be grateful for a touching act of generosity.

Walker died in a fiery crash in Southern California on Saturday. He was in the passenger seat of a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, driven by a racing team partner, that slammed into a light pole and burst into flames in the community of Valencia, Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood.

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Making music in Memphis: Dana Dane, John Mayer

IMG-Dana-Dane 600Dana Dane was the star attraction Friday night at the Hard Rock Café on Beale Street during the Food Bank Bash Classic 80's Party.

IMG-John-Mayer--0687Across the street at the FedExForum, fans packed the house for John Mayer and his Born and Raised Tour.

IMG-Phillip-Phillips-1368Former "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips was the opening act for John Mayer.

Kam’s Kapsules

kamkaps 600BIG BUDGET FILMS

"Frozen" (PG for action and mild rude humor) Disney animated adventure about a fearless princess (Kristen Bell) who embarks on an epic journey with a gruff mountain man (Josh Gad) in order to reverse the curse of eternal winter accidentally inflicted upon the kingdom by her queen-to-be sister (Idina Menzel) with cryogenic powers. Voice cast includes Ciaran Hinds, Jonathan Groff and Edie McClurg.

"Homefront" (R for graphic violence, drug use, pervasive profanity and brief sexuality) Sly Stallone wrote the screenplay for this adaptation of the Chuck Logan novel of the same name about a DEA Agent (Jason Statham) who retires to a quiet town for the sake of his family only to have their lives turned upside-down by a ruthless meth dealer (James Franco). With Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Izabela Vidovic and Omar Benson Miller.

"Oldboy" (R for nudity, profanity, graphic sexuality, brutal violence and disturbing images) Spike Lee directed this remake of the Korean revenge thriller revolving around an advertising exec's (Josh Brolin) quest for vengeance after being kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years. With Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley and Michael Imperioli.

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Why it matters that Angelina Jolie’s white child plays with black dolls

angelina 600Angelina Jolie is known for her unconventional family, which includes three biological children with longtime partner Brad Pitt and adopted children from Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam. Her multiracial and multicultural family has generated headlines, most notably when critics have felt the need to weigh in on her Ethiopian daughter Zahara's hair. Some challenged Jolie's ability to style and comb it, while others had a problem with her daughter wearing braided extensions.

But the Jolie-Pitt family should be commended for their efforts to be culturally conscious, particularly when it comes to their diverse brood. Pitt once acknowledged using Carol's Daughter products on Zahara's hair and recently explained why he declined the role of a cruel slave owner in "12 Years a Slave," which his company produced, saying, "I didn't want my kids to see me in this role."

A recent photo of the Jolie-Pitt kids seems to reinforce that Jolie and Pitt may be more conscious of racial and cultural diversity than the average parent. The widely published photo captured the couple's biological daughter Vivienne carrying a black doll with short, tightly curled hair. This may not seem like a big deal but it is.

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Jennifer Hudson on the power of faith and family

j.husdon 600"Black Nativity," the highly anticipated movie musical inspired by Harlem Renaissance author Langston Hughes' original stage musical of the same name, opens in theaters on Thanksgiving Day. The musical, which debuted off-Broadway in 1961 with an all-black cast, retells the traditional story of the Nativity. This year's release is a modern twist on an iconic classic.

The film tells the story of Langston, portrayed by actor and R&B artist Jacob Latimore, a frustrated teen who travels from Baltimore to New York City to spend Christmas with his estranged grandparents, the Rev. Cornell and Aretha Cobbs, played by Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett respectively. His single-parent mother, Naima, played by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, stays back home in Baltimore because of financial hardships. Unwilling to conform to his grandparents' rules, Langston rebels. While trying to get back home, he finds himself on the path to discovering the true meaning of faith and forgiveness.

Directed and written by Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou"), this uplifting holiday musical has no shortage of surprising, heartwarming musical performances from the film's star-studded cast, which also includes Tyrese Gibson, Mary J. Blige and Nasir "Nas" Jones.

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