Issue # 114
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OH THE DRAMA...In an unprecedented move, Oprah has announced that GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin is not invited on the "Oprah Winfrey Show"--at least not until after the election. It seems the Florida Federation of Republican Women is quite upset about this booking decision and have called for a boycott and issued a statement that said in part: "Women in Florida helped build Oprah into the icon she is today...We find it to be an abuse of her power-gained on the backs of our patronage of her advertising empire-to use her program to so blatantly support Obama in the face of this historic moment. So, we are tuning out and canceling our subscriptions to O Magazine and encourage other women to do the same." We'd like to know, is this the opportunity for dialogue regarding personalities who wield unusual sway and public pull via a media outlet to consider personal choices affecting their business?
MOVE OVER KING TUT...Could Will Smith be stepping up to yet another blockbuster? One complete with an African theme? Word has just leaked that Smith has signed on to star in the The Last Pharaoh. He'll play the role of Taharqa, a Nubian Egyptian Pharaoh who battled the Assyrians during his 26-year-reign. Written by Randall Wallace (Braveheart, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Pearl Harbor), Smith's production company Overbrook Entertainment will produce the Columbia Pictures project. It will be curious to see if Smith can turn this Nubian legend into a box office hero.
ALI COMEBACK... Smith's former "Fresh Prince" co-star Tatyana Ali is making moves of her own. Ali is launching a TV comeback--well, sort of. With the death of multicultural prime time TV shows, Ali is hitting the Web. She is co-executive producing a Web-based show called "Buppies." Described as a cross between a "Sex and The City" and "Entourage," judging from the trailer Ali must have employed a few soap opera writers. In the mix: jealousy, cat fights, hot fashion, brothers on the downlow, affairs. In other words: High drama. Created by indie writer/director Julian Breece, the series is set in L.A. and Malibu. Obviously the Web has fast become the place to launch new projects in hopes of getting network attention. Considering the power and reach of the Internet, if promoted properly, Ali could have a success on her hands.
WELCOMING SUNDANCE...It's spreading worldwide. The Sundance Institute, that is. The organization recently launched a program in East Africa, Sundance spokesperson Kris Parker tells us. "It is an exciting program, but still being shaped," says Parker. The aim of the program will be to assist East African filmmakers in not only creating their projects, but also helping them have a global reach. We'll keep you up to date on the developing program.
BRINGING HOME THE BACON...Forbes recently compiled the Top 5 Earning Women in Prime Time TV, and Tyra Banks led the pack, pulling in $23 million last year. The dinero came from the two shows she hosts and produces: "The Tyra Banks Show" and "America's Next Top Model," along with a mega deal with Warner Bros, which will involve the 34-year-old ex-model launching "Stylista," yet another reality show. This one is centered around a fashion magazine. Then there's the straight-to-DVD series Banks is developing based on Clique, a popular series of best-selling books for teenagers. What surprised us however was that Eva Longoria came in fourth place. While the "Desperate Housewives" star doesn't take home a mega check like Banks and she hasn't going super branding, the Latina actress still pulled in a whopping $9 million last year, from a combination of the show and her endorsement deals with L'Oreal shampoo and Bebe Sport's athletic wear. Imagine what she might earn given a great global branding strategy that truly utilizes her diversity.
NUMBERS DON'T ADD UP ...No surprise here. Nielsen reports Blacks will again be largest ethnic segment of all TV households for 2008-2009. The number of African-American TV homes increased 300,000 to 13,950,000 in one year, an increase of 2.2%, or nearly twice the national growth rate. The number of Hispanic TV homes is estimated to increase 4.3% from 12,140,000 in 2008 to 12,660,000 in 2009. With all this viewing, Blacks should be getting their money's worth--more content geared toward them, increased opportunities in front of and behind the TV set. But if no one complains, it will be more of the same staid, generic TV shows.
LET'S GET BUSY...He's back..well temporarily. Arsenio Hall will host TV One's "THE BLACKLIST: 100 GREATEST POWER MOVES," a five-hour special chronicling cultural movements and personal achievement that have "advanced" the Black race on Nov. 13. Produced for TV One by Dark Matter Entertainment. With executive producers Jason Bolling and P.J. McSwain, "The Blacklist" will --as the promo info says--"encompass Power Moves from a wide cultural and historic perspective, from unwavering civil rights leaders to Nobel Prize-winning literary giants to independent-thinking film directors to a pop star who 'Beat It.'" Sounds like a worthy project, but we'd still like to see Hall back on late night where the time slot is void of any color.
DO YOU REMEMBER?...Hey Hip Hop Headz? Remember the World Class Wreckin' Crew ("Turn Off The Lights," "Cabbage Patch" and "Dr. Dre to Surgery") out of the West Coast? Well, one of the founders Lonzo Williams, long recognized as the Godfather of West Coast Rap, is now unveiling his storehouse of flyers, photos, and original VHS footage in the Dub-Kris Media DVD release, Once Upon A Time In Compton. Chocked full of historical anecdotes, unforgettable vintage footage and throwback rap classics the DVD is also Lonzo's autobiographical account of himself as a determined young man overcoming the odds to succeed in the music business jungle. Who would have thought that we reached the point where there would actually be "vintage" hip hop footage?
TARIQ ALEXANDER APPOINTED TO PRESIDENT OF RUFF RYDERS FILM DIVISION
Ruff Ryders Records which came to prominence in 1988 and whose roster included Eve, The Lox, DMX and Drag-On, has appointed Tariq Alexander as President of Ruff Ryder Film Division. Alexander, who is also the CEO of TSW Film Production, will help expand the Ruff Ryders brand into the film and TV industry by developing projects that depict real-life urban experiences. Alexander, a former actor and model, created "The System Within" (TSW) a production entity and entertainment community, that produces films and reality shows featuring top entertainers.
The Internet Movie Database, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, has just begun showing more than 6,000 feature films and television shows on its site for free. Col Needham, founder and managing director of IMDb.com, said in a statement, "We're excited to offer our users a simple online experience to watch full-length movies and TV episodes for free. Our goal is to show our users every movie and TV show on the Internet for free on IMDb.com."
Pop Critic and Journalist Elvis Mitchell Takes on the African American Experience
Explain your motivations for creating this show?
How did you go about the selection process for the subjects involved in the project?
They were all indomitable to me, and sometimes that fire was spoken as clearly as Susan Rice's saying that when she got mad she just worked harder and better. Or, on the other side politically, Colin Powell taking affirmative action dismissals in stride and saying that things had been imbalanced towards whites for years, and still working hard. An Olympian amount of discipline, and self-confidence in what they had to offer, as well as a sense of themselves in terms of the history of their fields of endeavor and what they had to contribute. Despite their talents, none took the effort needed to succeed lightly. And they all have healthy sense of humor about themselves, too.
Both Truman Capote and Saint Teresa of Avila made copious notes on the tearful taxes that come with the cosmic payoff of answered prayers. I don't know if the Rt. Rev. James Dobson and his Pharisees-On-The-Family minion Stuart Shepard are aware of the havoc they might have caused by asking their flock to pray for rain in order to sabotage a certain political convention.
Their prayers were answered. Only thing, that "Abundant rain, torrential rain, urban and small stream flood advisory rain" in Shepard's venomous supplication during his "Spotlight" broadcast, pounded the Gulf Coast instead. Not Denver. The powerful eyewall of rain and wind that fell in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Plaquemines Parish, also set its sights on St. Paul, Minnesota, resulting in Hurricane Gustav's collateral disruption of the Republican National Convention's opening ceremonies.
Thus far, Gustav has not been as destructive as his older sister Katrina, but the damage has been done, literally and figuratively. Many who were scheduled to speak at the Xcel Energy Center--including President Bush and Vice President Cheney --have decided to focus on the relief efforts in the hurricane's aftermath. Quoting a story reported in the Sunday New York Times by Patrick Healy and Adam Nagourney:"With the storm expected to hit the Gulf Coast on Monday, Mr. McCain and his team spoke by phone on Sunday morning and, one participant said, quickly decided that there was no choice but to cancel much of the first day of the convention. McCain advisers said the programming for the rest of the four-day convention would be determined on a day-to-day basis, and many questions remained open, such as whether Mr. McCain, of Arizona, and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, would appear here to accept their party’s nominations, or would appear by video from the Gulf Coast."Wow. Memo to Dobson and Shepard:Wrong prayer. Wrong day. Right (wing) convention....TO READ MORE, CLICK HERE