Issue #4: O&Os
Issue #4, hot off the keyboard....
OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
DESPERATE FOR HIP HOP: Hollywood just can't get enough of the strength of hip hop, but even this latest move is a bit surprising even to The A-List. It's confirmed, raw and raucous rapper Trina has actually just been cast as Alfre Woodard's character's daughter. Trina won't be a regular, but will be in at least four episodes. Things can only get hotter on Wisteria Lane, folks!
IT'S SOOOOUL TRAIN...Just yesterday (Thurs.) the nominations were announced at Spagos in Beverly Hills for the 20th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, to tape March 4 in Pasadena and air later that month on Tribune Syndicate. Vivica A. Fox and Tyrese Gibson will co-host. There will be special appearances by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx, Stevie Wonder, and Quincy Jones. On the noms side: R. Kelly leads the field with three nominations and nine other recording stars including, The Black Eyed Peas, Mariah Carey, Keyshia Cole, John Legend, Missy Elliott, Gwen Stefani, Bobby Valentino, Kanye West and Charlie Wilson, have two nominations each, according to Creator and Executive Producer Don Cornelius.
ABFF HOOKS UP WITH BLOCKBUSTER...In an innovative move, the American Black Film Festival will now offer its award-winning flicks via Blockbuster's Online Service at http://www.abff.com. Pass the popcorn.
A-LIST TIP: Into sharing info with your fellow creatives? Then you might want to check out http://www.blackfilmmaking.com/, a new online forum for, you got it, black filmmakers--and those interested in urban/hip hop cinema industry.
FBI'S NEW "SOURCE": How can any of us escape all The Source take-over drama and knock-out punches this past week between the principals on radio interviews blasted via Clear Channel affiliates across the country. But the latest accusation by founder Dave Mays that board-appointed head honcho J-Mill (aka Jeremy Miller) is the main FBI informant who lead to the turmoil behind Murder, Inc., L'il Kim and others, has to be the final frontier! While all the dirt is being slung, the question really should be if this entertainment brand is still valuable--and viable--among consumers and if it can be expanded profitably into the multimedia entertainment world as it should have been long ago. The fact that BET did not air the magazine's awards show this year, may point to the sign of the times. But it's never over until the fat lady sings--or raps. Stay tuned for more scenes from edge.
BEEN THERE DONE DIDDY: The hype surrounding the anticipated superbowl commercials this coming Sunday has certainly not missed the ubiquitous P. Diddy. He is featured in yet another high-dollar Pepsi commercial that will debut during the game. Madison Ave seems to be loving Diddy. His controversy surrounding an upcoming "too sexy" Estee Lauder fragrance ad campaign featuring his new scent may have been banned in some places, but it was the talk of the town resulting in "free" publicity for the product. Strange though, how ad execs seems to pick up tastemakers of yesterday--we've "been there and done Diddy" awhile ago.
SLAVE WAGES...PBS launches its four-part series on slavery, Feb. 9th. "Slavery And The Making Of America" was produced by Dante James, and narrated by Morgan Freeman. Dante used to work with an A-List favorite, the late filmmaker Henry Hampton at Blackside. Dante also executive produced Hampton's last series, "This Far By Faith: African American Spiritual Journeys." "Slavery And The Making Of America" tells the story of slavery from the point of view of the enslaved. For info, visit http://www.pbs.org/slavery or http://www.slaveryinamerica.com.
SHARP AS A TACK...After ditching the TV sitcom idea, the Rev. Al Sharpton has turned to radio for his latest media fix. Syndication One, a new joint venture of Radio One and REACH Media, has launched nationally syndicated news/talk shows which include Rev. Al Sharpton, author Michael Eric Dyson and Atlanta's Doug & Ryan Stewart--the "2 Live Stews." The programs will be heard in cities where Radio One currently owns stations, including WILD-AM 1090 in Boston, WOL-AM 1450 in Washington, DC., WVCG-AM 1080 in Miami, WERE-AM 1300 in Cleveland, WCHB-AM 1200 in Detroit and WROU-AM 1240 in Richmond, Va. Cox Radio's Birmingham station, WPSB-AM 1320, is also picking up each of the shows.
MOVIE MEN MERGE...L.A.-based Newell Media Group has merged its entertainment operations with Sherman Oaks-based Codeblack Entertainment. The merger reunites former partners Quincy Newell and Jeff Clanagan, who together previously turned UrbanWorks Entertainment into the #1 independent producer and distributor of urban home entertainment. In this new deal, Newell becomes equity partner in Codeblack and assumes the post of Exec VP/GM for the company. Newell Media Group's clients include: Entertainment Rights, 55 Entertainment, and Shout Factory. The company also represents the North American broadcast rights for the Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids original animated series. Codeblack distributes and markets its content through several means--theatrical, television, home video, mobile, live events and the Internet.
OPENING FRIDAY....The Independent Film Channel's theatrical release Manderlay, featuring Danny Glover opens in L.A. today (Friday, Feb. 3), following an opening last week in NYC. The critically acclaimed film has already wowed audiences at several film festivals, including Cannes and Toronto Film Festival. For info, visit http://www3.ifcfilms.com/manderlay/. The second installment in famed director Lars von Triers "USA" trilogy, which began with Nicole Kidman vehicle Dogville, is said to be some of Glover's best and most innovative work to date.
REEL WOMEN...The 9th Annual Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival & Lecture Series will take place March 10-12 at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island Univeristy's Kumble Theater. This year's theme “Jump at de Sun: Exploring Zora Neale Hurston's Reel Life” celebrates the work of Zora Neale Hurston. Julie Dash, director of Daughters of the Dust, will be honored with the Reel Sisters Pioneer Award at the opening night gala. Dash became the first African American woman to have a full-length general theatrical release. For more information, hit www.reelsisters.org.
CELEBRATED AIR WAVES : The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters hosts its 22ND Annual Awards Ceremony, March 10 at Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in D.C. Hosted by Steve Harvey, NABOB 2006 honorees include Alicia Keys and recent Golden Globe winner S. Epatha Merkerson. The NABOB is the only trade organization representing the interests of African-American owners of radio and television stations across the country. Dial into www.nabob.org for more info.
SAY IT LOUD...
Since it is Black History Month, and while we do agree with Morgan Freeman that every month should be BHM, we still thought we take some space to look give a quick shout out to a film great who, without his vision, most of us would not be where we are today.
Born of two freed slaves in Illinois in 1884, Oscar Micheaux went west at the age of 24. Building on his earnings as a homesteader, he also started writing and completed his first novel, The Conquest, which he sold door to door to other farmers in an all-white community. Another one of his books, The Homesteader, caught the attention of the Lincoln Film Company, a black film company, in 1919, who wanted to make it into a film. But when Micheaux deemed the deal insufficient, he decided to make the movie himself. He launched the Micheaux Book and Film Company, selling stock to local folks. Later that year, Micheaux released the first full-length, eight-reel all-black movie. The box office took in $5,000-plus. Micheaux made three more films soon after, all of which he wrote, directed, produced and distributed. They earned a profit of $40,000. After D.W. Griffith's overtly racist film, Birth of a Nation, hit the theaters, Micheaux countered with Within Our Gates, in which he mimicked Griffith's film shot for shot but reversed the casting. Distributors, of course, weren't happy and made cuts to the film. In turn, Micheaux released a "director's cut." Over the years, he continued to make many films for black audiences, including Body and Soul (1924) with Paul Robeson. He died in 1951. His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6721 Hollywood Blvd.
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Kyle and Yvette Bowser, Eunetta Boone, Jeffrey Keller, Robbi Reed and Kelley Bass Jackson at the Hollywood premiere of For One Night, starring Raven Symone and Aisha Tyler.
Well, that's it for now. See ya next week.