Before the 2014 NAACP Image Awards officially kicked off, we were greeted by the sounds of Pharrell Williams' upbeat hit single, "Happy" coupled with a slew of famous Black celebrities grinning and bopping. One of them, actress Tika Sumpter, asked us during that opening segment, "Can you feel the energy?" We could and it carried throughout the night. Of course, we didn't necessarily need the cue to maintain the "happy" during the award show, though it was a nice touch.
Awards show host Anthony Anderson kept the energy going, noting off the bat that Blacks have "started at the bottom," yet we haven't stayed there — that we've only risen and will continue to. Anderson pointed to the recent cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood issue, which has never had that many shades of Blackness. Ever. Anthony's jokes then shifted to the troubled white people of last year — Justin Bieber, Paula Deen, and Miley Cyrus.
Now, I agreed with Anthony when he said as far as Miley goes, "Stop twerking when you ain't got nothing to twerk." Still, I'm glad that as inclusive as the award's show was in terms of guest and honorees, those types of celebrities only got a few seconds of our attention.
Top Ten DVD List for Feb. 25, 2014
For movies opening Feb. 21, 2014
BIG BUDGET FILMS
"3 Days to Kill" (PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and intense violence) McG directs this espionage thriller by Luc Besson about an ailing spy (Kevin Costner) who grudgingly agrees to crack a terrorist plot when he'd rather retire to spend some quality time with his teenage daughter (Hailee Steinfeld) and estranged wife (Connie Nielsen). Cast includes Amber Heard, Eriq Ebouaney and Richard Sammel.
"Pompeii" (PG-13 for intense violence, disaster scenes and brief sexuality) Romance drama, set in 79 A.D. against the backdrop of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, revolving around the efforts of a slave-turned-gladiator (Kit Harrington) to rescue his soul mate (Emily Browning) before she is forced by her wealthy father (Jared Harris) into an arranged marriage to a crooked politician (Kiefer Sutherland). With Rebecca Eady, Carrie-Anne Moss, Sasha Roiz and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Forest Whitaker is a distinguished artist and humanist. He is the founder of PeaceEarth Foundation, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace and is the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation.
He is also a talented, versatile performer and one of Hollywood's most accomplished figures. Here, he talks about his latest movie, "Repentance," a psychological thriller co-starring Anthony Mackie, Sanaa Lathan, Nicole Ari Parker and Mike Epps.
Kam Williams: Editor/Legist Patricia Turnier asks: "What interested you in producing and starring in "Repentance?"
Forest Whitaker: I'd say the fact that it's a movie that talks about dealing with your past issues and past pain, and being able to move forward in the future from that. I think that's a lesson that we all have to deal with and learn from. In addition, the film offered me a great opportunity to do a really interesting character with an amazing cast of actors, and to be directed by a friend and associate, one of my partners. We own a company together. So, a lot of things came together to make this happen for us.
A few weeks ago in a passing conversation, an acquaintance noted that comedian Kevin Hart has no less than four movies on the docket in 2014. In response, I questioned aloud whether Hart – an undoubtedly funny performer whose screen presence belies his diminutive (5'2" to be exact) – had the requisite chops to draw audiences to four of his movies in one calendar year.
"He's funny and all, but I'm not sure anyone's going to pay to see him four times in one year," I said.
I stand corrected.
Hot on the heels of his runaway January release "Ride Along," the Philadelphia-born comedian emerged as the box office runner-up of the extended President's Day holiday weekend. "About Last Night" solidified the funny man's status as an emerging big screen powerhouse. At a minimum, Hart's double-barreled hit builds momentum for his two remaining feature films this year, and vaults him into a rarefied air of a black comedian enjoying crossover cultural appeal.
Clear Channel's WDIA-V101 "We Love You Valentine Concert" held at Harrah's Casino Event Center in Tunica was funktastic and just what old school enthusiasts like myself needed.
Here's my snapshot review of the Saturday night show.
The Jones Girls were the opening act, treating the packed house with songs such "Runaway Love," "Nights Over Egypt," and "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else." Lead singer Brenda Elaine Jones Williams is the only original member still in the group. Still, this group of "Jones Girls" set a good tone for the rest of the night.
In 1999, Angelo B. Henderson became the only African-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize for the "Wall Street Journal."
The following year, he was honored by Columbia University as one of the nation's best reporters on race and ethnicity in America, the "Detroit News" reports.
He was beloved by members of the National Association of Black Journalists because the singular leadership skills he demonstrated during his 24 years in print and broadcast.