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Black theater success is reshaping one of America’s whitest fields

Black theater success is reshaping one of America’s whitest fields

The theater world has long been considered one of the most elite—and least diverse—in American culture. And as I've previously covered for The Root, at present there are only a handful of African-American Broadway producers, despite the fact that 46 new shows opened last season.

Over the years, though, there have been occasional African-American playwriting successes. Lorraine Hansberry was the first black female writer to have a show—the classic "A Raisin in the Sun," produced on Broadway—and it recently returned to Broadway, 55 years after its debut, with Denzel Washington now as the star.

August Wilson became the first black playwright to win a Tony Award for best play in 1987. But when Playbill, the publication best known for publishing Broadway programs, attempted to compile a list of influential black playwrights in the late '90s, the number of those with actual Broadway productions or mainstream crossover success of any kind was uncomfortably small.

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  • Written by Keli Goff/The Root

It’s official: Aaron McGruder out at ‘Boondocks’

It’s official: Aaron McGruder out at ‘Boondocks’

Aaron McGruder, creator and executive producer of "The Boondocks," has had no involvement with the upcoming fourth season of the cartoon, Adult Swim confirms, fueling suspicions that began on Facebook, where McGruder claimed "The Boondocks" page had been "hijacked."

According to a press release issued by Adult Swim, "this season was produced without the involvement of Aaron McGruder, when a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined."

In response to a request for comment, McGruder would only confirm that he has had no involvement with this season of the show.

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  • Written by Stephen A. Crockett Jr./The Root

‘Afraid of Dark’ filmmaker hopes to make black men ‘harder to kill’

‘Afraid of Dark’ filmmaker hopes to make black men ‘harder to kill’

Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant, Jonathan Ferrell.

The news seems saturated with stories of young black men and boys whose lives were cut short — often because they were perceived as a threat.

Moved to action by the trend, one director has set out to investigate the images and myths around black males that feed those negative perceptions.

With "Afraid of Dark," documentary filmmaker Mya B. says she hopes to make real the lives of everyday black men onscreen in hopes it could, "make them harder to kill."

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  • Written by Donovan X. Ramsey/theGrio

Have Uncle Ruckus and ‘The Boondocks’ been hijacked?

Have Uncle Ruckus and ‘The Boondocks’ been hijacked?

In November 2005 the Cartoon Network debuted "The Boondocks" during its late-night Adult Swim programming and gave us a glimpse into the fictitious Freeman family, who had just moved from the South Side of Chicago to the mostly white, made-up suburb of Woodcrest. In the premiere, viewers heard 10-year-old Huey Freeman proclaim that "Jesus was black, Ronald Reagan was the devil and the government is lying about 9/11."

They got to see the penis of Robert Jebediah Freeman – aka Granddad – during an in-home, butt-naked infomercial workout, and they were treated to a stirring rendition of Uncle Ruckus' "Don't Trust Those New Niggers Over There!"

The show was edgy and racy and all the adjectives that can describe supremely well-done black satire. And then, after only three seasons and 45 episodes, it was gone. Fans took to the Internet wondering if the controversial cartoon had been canceled. There was speculation about the creator Aaron McGruder's schedule and how long it took to craft each episode. There was speculation about the liberal use of the word "nigger," and Tyler Perry's alleged anger over his depiction in the "Pause" episode in season 3, as reasons for its sudden disappearance.

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  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

Kam’s Kapsules:OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:OPENING THIS WEEK

For movies opening March 21, 2014

BIG BUDGET FILMS

"Divergent" (PG-13 for intense violence, mature themes and some sensuality) Futuristic sci-fi, set in a supposedly-utopian society where people are segregated by personality, although anyone who fails to fit into one of five groups ends-up condemned to death. Starring Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, Ashley Judd, Zoe Kravitz, Theo James and Maggie Q.

"Muppets Most Wanted" (PG for mild action) Animated adventure set in Europe where the Muppets unwittingly become embroiled in a jewel heist hatched by a Kermit the Frog look-a-like (Steve Whitmore). Voice cast includes Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell, with cameos by Lady Gaga, Sean Diddy Combs, Celine Dion, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Tony Bennett, Usher and Salma Hayek.

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