Friday, January 23, 2009

Issue #121

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SLOW TO CHANGE...Hollywood must not have gotten the "Dream Fulfilled" memo. Although we are starting to see more diversity reflected in front of the camera, the keys to the industry's financial gates and power are still held by mainstream insiders. Take the much-celebrated film Slumdog Millionaire. While this film explores hardships of life in Mumbai, India, no celebrated Indian director was tapped but rather, Irish Englishman Danny Boyle. Then there's Prom Night in Mississippi, a film about contemporary integration. While noble in its stance, it is told through the eyes of yet another non-diverse filmmaker, Paul Saltzman, a native of Canada. Only when the doors of Hollywood open up and more filmmakers of color are tapped for the all-powerful director's position which obviously comes with economic rewards, shall there truly be change in the industry. And to pull a page from Obama's campaign strategy, the change could come from a grass roots efforts--with ticket buyers voting at the box office.

HOT PROPERTY...Although he's just completed a new documentary short, From MLK to Today, Antoine Fuqua still managed to land the first deal at Sundance. His police drama, Brooklyn's Finest, starring Wesley Snipes was the first film at the fest to be snapped up. for under $20 million Senator Entertainment bought the North American rights to the flick in a co-venture with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group. As exec producer on Brooklyn's Finest, is also not only adds to his credits but his bottom line.

WOMEN IN CHAINS...Some of the women of now-canceled "The L Word" won't be disappearing into TV history. One character Alice Pieszecki (Leisha Hailey) will be heading off to prison in a new Oz-like series called "The Farm." Joining her will be the new Showtime drama are Black actresses Rukiya Bernard, Yolonda Ross as well as Latina actresses Onahoua Rodrigueza and Vanesa Maria Tomasino Rodriguez. Great to see another diverse cast from the L creators, but does it have to be behind bars?! No word on premier date yet.



The percentage of African-Americans who use the Internet increased to 64% as of December 2008, up from 56% in December 2007, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In comparison, Internet users represented 74% of the total US population in December 2008, dipping slightly from 75% in December 2007.The proportion of African-Americans who use the Internet increased by 22 percentage points from December 2000 to December 2008, compared with 21 percentage points for the total US population.


WHAT THEY WANT...Never say die seems to be raptor DMX's motto. Although currently in prison, the hip hop star has announced as reality TV show plans. His "Pain and Perseverance" will follow DMX on the rapper's route back to the top and his studies to become a pastor. Yep, a pastor. No word on if he has inked a production deal, but if DMX is involved viewers surely won't be bored. His BET reality show "Soul Of A Man" was one of the network's highest rated.

READY FOR HIS CLOSEUP...Move over Melissa Rivers, Lil Wayne is taking to the red carpet--as on-air reporter. The rapper, and recently turned actor, has been requited by ESPN The Magazine to be the red carpet commentator for their star-studded pre-Superbowl party on Jan. 30th. Wayne is already a blogger for the pub's website, making him the latest multi-media Hip Hop star--and proving the crossover appeal of the genre.

GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS...It was only a matter of time. A reality show--on E!, of course--about Hip-Hop video girls. Excuse us, video models. Described as a "docu-soap," "Candy Grils" centers around actresses who work for an agency that casts the models in the videos. It is executive produced by Leah Landon, Troy Carter and Jason Carbone. Good Clean Fn and Coalition Media are producing the series. With the newest campaign from Hip Hop insiders to encourage a more socially minded message, "Candy Girls" is sure to endure some backlash and fewer viewers as the reality show audience is trendy toward self-help and "real people" shows.


Rising star Keke Palmer meetin' and greetin' the new First Lady, Michelle Obama, and her two daughters, Malia and Sasha at the KID'S INAUGURAL BALL: "We Are The Future", which aired live from the Historical Society of Washington DC on the Disney Channel January 18th . (Photo credit: Lawrence Palmer)