Friday, October 27, 2006




DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT...After a sold-out show last year, Dave Chappelle is returning to The Comedy Festival on November 16th at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Also on the bill is Bill Maher, Dane Cook, Sarah Silverman, Don Rickles, Kathy Griffin, Mario Cantone, Bob Saget and “Oh, Oh, Oh . . . The Tom Joyner Comedy Show” featuring Mike Epps, Mo’Nique, Damon Wayans, and Katt Williams. Presented by HBO and AEG Live, the fest takes place November 14-18. For info, visit After hitting the road and getting back his standup chops, we hop Chappelle is ready to return to either the big or small screen.

CHANGE THAT DIAL...The Zulu Nation, one of the country's oldest hip hop culture collectives, has just stepped up efforts in their "Take Back The Radio" campaign for a more balanced radio programming of the urban community. They are gearing up for another big meeting of the minds to form a plan of action and possible advertising boycott on Nov. 11 at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. We'll keep you abreast of the developments. Now this should be interesting given all the hushed payola issues and radio. Could media actually be forced to change an old, old way of doing business at the behest of the people. Let's see. If so, then it could lead to more people power in bringing more balance in the film and TV worlds.

CALL FOR WRITERS...Nickelodeon is offering writing fellowships in live action and animated television to culturally and ethnically diverse new writers. Participants will have hands-on experience writing spec scripts and pitching story ideas. The program, developed to broaden Nickelodeon's outreach efforts, provides a salaried position for up to one year. The next submission period runs from January 2-February 28, 2007. Applications and submission guidelines are available at Judging from the channel's latest efforts at diverse programming, someone with "insider" knowledge could really vamp things up.

AMERICAN IDOL, NOT...Unfortunately, "Oprah's Popstar Music Challenge" contestants didn't hit the same note of stardom as "American Idol" winners and runnerups. But alas, Oprah's winner, Lorenzo Owens is trying to stay the course. Now signed to D-Town/Musicmind Records he recently performed on guess what--"Oprah After The Show," which airs on the Oxygen Network. The singer, after being judged by Grammy Award-winning Alicia Keys, famed music producer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and "American Idol’s" own Simon Cowell, took the top spot two years ago. There was even a Oprah's Popstar Challenge Cast CD and his own debut album. Maybe O should stick to books and entertainment that are more her demo than the younger, hipper music world. Certainly the empire is big enough should this not be quite the success imagined.

DO-IT-YOURSELF CELEBRITY...B'Baller Stephon Marbury will soon become yet another athlete with a TV show. Marbury, however, is taking matters into his own hands. According to the New York Post, Marbury has gone and recorded his own demo of a talk show he wants to do. On it he interviews other basketball stars Kobe Bryant, Chauncey Billups, and Steve Francis, and is set to interview Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as well. Marbury is currently shopping the show. Now, that's what we like to hear--someone actually making use of their own money and connections to create and produce their own project, rather than just ink a deal with a studio or production company.

NOT JUST A PRETTY FACE...Seems "America's Next Top Model" winner Eva Pigford wants to be known for her visage. Look out producing/hosting world, here comes a new addition. She has announced her very own model reality show on BET-J to rival her mentor, Tyra Banks. "My Model Looks Better Than Your Model" will feature contestants who are assigned a weekly fashion theme, which they need to execute on professional models with their personal style and taste, as well as help from fashion industry experts in clothes, makeup artists, and hairstylists. Judges will include noted photog Ezequiel De La Rosa; Trace Magazine fashion editor Daphane Devallie; ex-Vibe Magazine fashion editor-at-large Beverly Smith; stylists Alexander Allen, Phillip Bloch and Misa Hylton-Brimm; former beauty editor for Suede and Honey magazines Mia Stokes; and best-selling author Lloyd Boston (Make Over Your Man). "My Model" premieres November 1st. Let the cat fight begin.



AOL has announced a partnership with Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, that will offer consumers downloadable movies and television shows through the AOL Video portal. This announcement is in addition to the partnerships AOL previously cemented with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. Available on the Web at, the AOL Video portal is a one-stop entertainment destination to find, watch and share millions of free streaming and pay-to-download videos from across the Web, broadcast and cable television, and movies. Through AOL Video, a wide range of movie and television titles from Paramount Pictures are now available for download with prices ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 per movie. Once downloaded, videos can be viewed offline as well as on other PCs and compatible portable devices. New releases, TV specials, library hits and cult favorites will be available from Paramount Pictures including Failure to Launch, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Chinatown at launch and new hits such as Nacho Libre and M:i:III will be available soon.

In other AOL news,AOL Music, ( an online music destination, has just announced the launch of The DL, a signature web program offering a mix of pop culture, music, news and blogosphere commentary. Hosted by standup comic Sara Schaefer, the new video program is part variety show, part blog and all web experience. It offers a unique new take on artist news, exclusive interviews, video premieres, and more. "The DL--which is the first video music show of its kind--has been a long time in the making," says Mike Rich, newly named Vice President and General Manager of AOL Music. "We are confident that Sara's sharp and intelligent humor, as well as her pop-culture obsession combined with the show's interactivity will make for an instant hit among all music fans." Every Thursday, The DL ( will bring pop culture junkies an inside look into artists ranging from Diddy to Regina Spektor to My Chemical Romance --as well as commentary from Sara, bloggers and industry experts.


Mobile Streams has just announced that it has launched the popular youth community "FunkySexyCool" on mobile operators Vodafone Germany, Mobilkom (A1) Austria and Sunrise Switzerland. First launched in Australia, FunkySexyCool is is distributed by Mobile Streams in Europe and following an agreement with MTV Networks Central (Europe) to share cross promotional activities, the social network has been launched in Germany, Switzerland and Austria as "MTV FunkySexyCool." Dubbed "the largest party on your mobile phone,"
MTV FunkySexyCool enables subscribers to participate in the mobile social networking community revolution. To join, users upload photos and videos to their profiles to allow them to contribute in live chat, messaging and other standard "social networking functions." Christoph Reisner, Executive Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Mobile Streams said: "We are pleased to have successfully launched MTV FunkySexyCool with operators in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and look forward to opening the social networking community to mobile users throughout Europe". FunkySexyCool is the world's first community positioned as a "mobile club," providing a mobile and web social network for the 16-24 youth demographic to discover, connect, express and gain recognition amongst their peers. This online community enables members to contact and vote for other people in their space who share similar interests. Each month there is a major promotion with prizes available for the top voted members. FunkySexyCool is the number 1 mobile youth community in Australia--live on Three, Optus and Telstra (i-mode) portals. The site has over 130,000 active profiles and more than 3,000 page views per user a month with an amazing 30 minute average session duration with an equal usage split between the girls and guys. In 2006 deals have been put in place with carriers across Germany, Switzerland and Austria and the United Kingdom. FunkySexyCool is now in the planning stages of the launch into the United States, Canada and Latin America, with advanced discussions taking place with a number of strategic, youth orientated, entertainment and media brands.


On Sunday Oct. 15th, the red carpet was rolled out for the Who's Who list in Black movies and cinema. The 2006 Black Movie Awards, produced by Film Life, was held in L.A. at the Wiltern Theater. This Black star-studded event, hosted by Tyler Perry, celebrated the achievement by those of African descent in feature-length motion pictures. Akeelah & the Bee walked away with four top awards and its young star, Keke Palmer, received the award for Outstanding Actress, beating out veterans Halle Berry (X-Men: The Last Stand) and Sanaa Lathan (Something New). Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett (right) were both were honored for their supporting roles in the film. So deeply touched, Fisburne actully teared up during his tribute. Presley Chweneyagae took the Best Actor prize for his starring role in the South African film Tsotsi. And, Spike Lee left with two awards--the Ossie Davis Humanitarian Award for his work on the HBO documentary When the Levees Broke and a Best Director win for the bank heist caper Inside Man.
Veteran actress Cicely Tyson (pictured left, with Billy Dee Williams) was presented with the Distinguished Career Achievement Award for a career spanning more than 50 years of successful films and television including "Roots," The Autobiography of Jane Pittman, and more recently Madea's Family Reunion.
For 2006 Black Movie Awards head writer Ruth Adkins Robinson, the event was more than successful--it was inspiring. "It was fascinating to watch Tyler Perry for the first time saying words that weren't written by Tyler Perry...If it is true that success only makes you more of what you already are well, Tyler apparently already was, and remains, a kind, considerate gentlemen," says Robinson. "He did such a great job actually on the stage and promoting the show all over the country."

We can't wait for next year, as this event just seems to grow and grow and gain more star power every year. Robinson can't wait either. She says: "I left the Wiltern emotionally drained, yet triumphant. Now what on earth will we do next year?" The awards show was aired on the TNT network October 18th. --Photos and words by Anthony Davis



Any aspiring filmmaker can shoot on video; have a choice of really good movie making/editing software for their PC; along with friends and family with acting aspirations and a willingness to help out behind the scenes; some others donate space – these short cuts go a long way in helping a filmmaker get his vision out there and it’s excellent for the creative, but is it a winning situation for the viewer?

When I go to see a studio film, Indie or wide release, I really don’t think about the fact that I’m watching a movie. When I see one of these “independent” films, I tend to think about it a lot…

John Paxton, Jr.’s directorial debut, Rebecca's Window, was recently screened at the International House in Philadelphia.

The story takes place on the gritty streets of Atlantic City. The lead Josh (DwVaughn Browne) is young black hustler who works for a white, two-bit, gangsta wannabe, Hal (Franz Keller). Not sure why, but Josh thinks Hal is “The Man” and is doggedly trying to be his #1 guy. Hal takes Josh with him to teach another employee whose gotten out of line a lesson. Josh thinks they’re gonna rough him up, but Hal kills this kid & his girlfriend. This sets in motion an investigation, lead by Det. Trevis (Mike Tolbert) Trevis and Hal have prior history, personally and professionally. Trevis has been waiting for Hal to slip up so he can nail him and shut down his operation. Rebecca (Chelsea Crowe) is a run away from an upper middle-class white family. Arriving in AC, she runs into trouble at the bus station. She’s in AC to get a singing audition at a small jazz spot, but immediately gets marked as fresh meat for prostitution, until Josh steps in. This sets in motion Josh’s downfall.

Paxton describes the film as an edgy look into a world of broken dreams, dashed hopes, and nightmarish results. I’d say it hits this target fairly well. The dialog is plausible and realistic. Although, most of the acting… to describe the actors as amateurs is being nice. Although, Crowe does have a lovely voice and Giraard Rudasill, who plays a crazy pimp, has some good moments.

The device of telling the story as a flashback is fine, however, what we think we’re seeing as present tense before the flashback starts is really misleading. Not in a good, clever, didn’t see that coming way. But deliberately different from what happens at the end, without any explanation. I do like the fact that the films sets up a lot of interracial relationships (romantic, antagonistic, loyalty, disloyalty), but race really doesn’t play a factor in the plot or outcome. This is refreshing.

The A-List review rating: C: See it if you’ve got a free ticket or borrow a friend's DVD. --Le Anne Lindsay