Fri04182014

Entertainment

Lupita Nyong’o takes Oscar for ‘12 Years a Slave’

lupita 600(The Root) – The "It Girl" is really "It." Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar Sunday night for best supporting actress for her role as Patsey in "12 Years a Slave," which also won the Academy Award for best picture of the year.

After hugging director Steve McQueen, her co-star Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northup) and (oddly) Liza Minelli, the stunning star took the stage to give an emotional and heartfelt acceptance speech.

"It doesn't escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else's, so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance and for Solomon—thank you for telling her story and your own.

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No Oscar nod, no problem: Forest Whitaker works on craft

ForestW 600Although he's won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, it's always been about the craft for the veteran actor. So repeated comments that he deserved a nomination for his leading role in "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and for "Fruitvale Station," which he co-produced, just roll right off.

"I've been doing this for years and my goal is purely to expand the human experience, to expand myself and connection with other people," he said in a recent phone interview to promote his new film "Repentance." "That's my real goal. It's always nice when people celebrate me or my work. But that's not my real marker. It's seems to be more of a marker for others."

Sure, Whitaker was disappointed that "Fruitvale Station" wasn't among the nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture. But he ultimately felt the film didn't need a nomination or an award to validate its success. It was "beautifully done," he says.

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The Civil Rights Movement and Hip-Hop – Part II

CivilRightHipHop 600The best way to recognize and celebrate African American History Month is make more history. I am writing this series on the Civil Rights Movement and Hip-Hop to encourage a new generation of young, committed and talented freedom fighters to take their rightful place in creating African American history.

There are valid and urgent reasons why we need both a revitalized civil rights movement as well as a vibrant cadre of skillful and productive hip-hop artists who are using their God-given gifts and talents to arouse the consciousness of millions of young people to take action in the interests of freedom, justice, equality and empowerment.

With the systematic right-wing attack on voting rights, growing income inequality, persistent poverty and unemployment and the critical need to rebuild and refortify a sustainable economic development of the African-American community, we must advance and support an intergenerational freedom and economic equality struggle that will be effective in meeting the challenges of the next century. No one should be exempt from being an active supporter and participant in today's ongoing freedom and empowerment movement.

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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.

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45th Annual NAACP Image Awards kept us ‘Happy’

naacpimage 600Before 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.

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OPENING THIS WEEK: Kam’s Kapsules

kamkapsule220 600For 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.

 

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Forest Whitaker: The ‘Repentance’ interview

forestw 600Forest 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.

 

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How did Kevin Hart become Hollywood’s new king of comedy?

KevinHart 600A 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.

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We want the funk!

funkyconcert 600Clear 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.

 

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Angelo Henderson: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist dies at 51

henderson 600In 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.

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This week’s DVD releases

dvdrelease 600Top Ten DVD list for Feb. 18, 2014

"Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00C8CQTJY/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"Silver Screen Romances" (8 Movie Collection)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00GOC752E/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"For the Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00GOC7538/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

"The Ellen Show: The Complete Series"
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00H4WGH22/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

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‘About Last Night’

michaelealy 600If you're planning to do anything for Valentine's Day you should at least make plans to check out "About Last Night," which opens in theatres this Friday (Feb. 14th).

"About Last Night" is somewhat of a remake of the 1986 film, which starred Rob Lowe and Demi Moore and was a film version of the 1974 off-Broadway play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." This particular adaptation stars Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy...and yes, it's a great film.

Ealy was in Memphis this past weekend promoting the film at a second sneak screening at the Malco Paradiso. The Red Carpet premiere was set to take place last week before the weather in Atlanta caused all of the flights to be cancelled and his appearance to be postponed.

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