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BLOCKBUSTERS COME AND GO, BUT THE A-LIST WILL ALWAYS BE HERE TO BRING YOU THE HOTTEST NEWS. ISSUE #80.
MOVIE MEET & GREET...Mark your calendars. The International Black Film & Media Conference will be held Sept. 7 and 8 in Philadelphia. The focus this year: Spoken Word, theater and filmmaking. Among the highlights: A live presentation of famed playwright Ed Shockley's play Slave Narratives. For info, check http://www.ibfmc.com/. So go get your network on.
FLASHBACK BLOWOUT...If anyone wanted to document the Urban '80s music scene, then Aug. 18 at the Greek Theatre in L.A. would be the place to be. On the bill: Hip Hop group Force MDs, the Mary Jane Girls, band Lakeside, and Zapp. And the headliner: George Clinton. Watch for our show review next issue.
HIP HOP HOLLYWOOD
DIGGIN' IN THE CRATES...Leave it to The A-List to tell you about the next big thing in Hip Hop Hollywood. Well, look out for new filmmakers Nativ Sunn and Jordan Ocean. Their style? Think Street/Conscious:Jigga meets Common. The pair have just released a DVD of music videos entitled Thank God For Hip Hop. And, we have an exclusive sneak peek. Check out "Baltimore Pity" featuring the first artist from their Sparkplugz Entertainment roster, J. Lynn. And you know as soon as we here deal details, we will be sure to tell you first.
United Artists just closed its $500-million deal with Merrill Lynch, after Goldman Sachs backed out of a $1-billion fund commitment for MGM. Goldman Sachs was one of five banks considering underwriting the MGM fund. But announced MGM CEO Harry Sloan the Goldman Sachs' move -- or any delay in the franchise fund -- would not impact the movies it has in the works.
PAY-AS-YOU-GO:THE NEXT PHONE FRONTIER, Pt. 3
This was to be our third installment in our series on mobile entertainment and Urban content. But the folks at Apple chose not to participate. It seems they don't want to talk just what they have--or don't have--to offer in terms of the multicultural marketplace. According to spokesperson Jennifer Hakes, Apple doesn't discuss such matters with the press.
Issue 82: Boost Mobile
On the political side, the convention made headlines with the appearances of presidential candidates Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but no members of the Congressional Black Caucus, any of the nation's big city Black mayors or other prominent elected officials were on panels dealing with politics or urban issues. This comes at a time when relations between reporters and many Black elected officials have become contentious. Just last week Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums blasted the press for being cynical for asking tough questions about the increasing number of murders in Oakland, including the assassination of Chauncey Bailey. Many Black journalists at the convention questioned why the athletes and entertainers were MIA from NABJ. During past NABJ conventions current and former athletes were regular guests at NABJ conventions, participating in lively panel discussions about how the press covers Black athletes. Some journalists speculated that athletes stayed away from NABJ because this year's NABJ convention was in a city with no baseball team and football training camps are open. NBA training camps don't open for another two months, so b-ball players had no excuse for not responding to NABJ invitations, especially since a bunch of NBA players, including Jason Kidd, Baron Davis, Greg Anthony, Jermaine O'Neal, Spud Webb and Julius Erving were up the Strip at the Mirage for Tracy McGrady's annual charity poker tournament. The only athlete on any of the sports panels was boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. Halle Berry, Russell Simmons, the Hudlin Brothers are just some of the stars who have appeared at past NABJ conventions. At a time when relations between journalists and entertainers have become more strained and the exploits of celebrities no longer exclusively relegated to the entertainment pages, many reporters at the convention were disappointed that celebrities were not at the convention to offer their perspective of the relationship between celebrities and the media. Other reporters found it ironic that no entertainers were on any panels in Las Vegas, which bills itself as "the entertainment capital of America" and is home to entertainers like Toni Braxton, who was performing across the street from the NABJ convention at the Flamingo Hotel. The only entertainer with any official presence at this year's NABJ convention was actress Alfre Woodard, who gave the convention's keynote address on celebrity activism on the African continent. --Harrison Chastang
The plot, action, and directing of Illegal Tender was all to familiar of other Urban films. The twist, Latino characters rather than African Americans. In the film, when brutal gangsters who killed his father come to settle a score, a young college student (Rick Gonzalez) and his mother (Wanda De Jesus) turn the tables on the killers.
Directed by Franc. Reyes (Empire) and produced by John Singleton we were hoping for a bit more. Although the action scenes were power packed, lead actor Gonzalez's tentative acting hampered the film. He didn't seem to trust--or believe--the dialogue. It was, however fun to see De Jesus as a pistol-packing mama.
Perhaps a filler, end-of-summer film when you need to duck into an air-conditioned theater to get away from August heat. But you probably won't remember it the day after. Rating: The C-List. --Jaleesa Brown