Fri04182014

Entertainment

‘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!'

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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.

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Did ‘Scandal’ success propel Alfre Woodard into presidential role on ‘State of Affairs?’

AlfreWoodard 600Numerous black actors have played the president of the United States over the years on film and television, including Morgan Freeman, Dennis Haysbert, Richard Pryor and Jamie Foxx. But with a new pilot called "State of Affairs," NBC is offering up the first black woman POTUS.

Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress Alfre Woodward will play President Roberta Payton in the drama that is being billed as a cross between "Scandal" and "The West Wing." Woodard is joined by Katherine Heigl, whose character is a CIA operative who does daily debriefings with the president. Heigl's character is also the ex-girlfriend of President Payton's late son.

No further details about the pilot are available, but just the fact that a major network's drama will star a black woman as the leader of the free world is a significant milestone in how black women are depicted in pop culture.

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Study: Violent video games with black characters fuel racism

violentvideogames 600You start your favorite video game, go to character select, pick a black avatar—be it a fighter or gangster—and start playing. As a white person, what effect, if any, does this have on you?

According to a new study, the effect is significant: White players who adopt black characters are more likely to exhibit aggression and express strongly negative attitudes toward blacks, even after ending the game.

"The media have the power to perpetuate the stereotype that blacks are violent, and this is certainly seen in video games," said Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University communications professor and psychologist who co-authored the study. "This violent stereotype may be more prevalent in video games than in any other form of media because being a black character in a video game is almost synonymous with being a violent character."

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

theatrediversity 600The 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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It’s official: Aaron McGruder out at ‘Boondocks’

AaronMcGruder 600Aaron 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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‘Afraid of Dark’ filmmaker hopes to make black men ‘harder to kill’

filmmaker 600Trayvon 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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Have Uncle Ruckus and ‘The Boondocks’ been hijacked?

boondocks 600In 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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Kam’s Kapsules:OPENING THIS WEEK

zoe 600For 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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Chris Brown arrested and jailed, again

chrisbrown 600Embattled R&B crooner Chris Brown is in trouble again.

There are multiple reports out of Los Angeles that Brown has been jailed without bail after violating the terms of his probation.

According to the gossip website TMZ, the 24-year-old singer was booted from the rehab facility where he has been living for the last four months.

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Will Black Twitter help swing the 2016 presidential election?

blacktwitter 600It's been well reported that Black Twitter has become a force to be reckoned with.

This incredibly witty and educated group is responsible for ending the careers of Food Network star and Antebellum South enthusiast, Paula Deen, as well as PR executive Justine Sacco, who famously tweeted before a trip to South Africa:

Going to Africa. Hope I don't get
AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm White
12/20/13, 10:19 AM from Hillingdon, England

When it comes to checking "casual racists" and white privilege, Black Twitter is present and ready to put folks back in their place.

 

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