Posts from the ‘Film’ Category

Velma, The Girl Who Doesn’t Get It!!!

Living in New York, you get to meet so many talented people. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a very talented young lady. Chicago-born Nihara Nichelle is currently blazing a trail in the New York acting and film scene. The actor/singer/writer has created her own web series, “Velma Doesn’t Get it” and is leaving her imprint in the comedic universe.

She is currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund her series. We all know how difficult it can be to break into the film industry as a woman of African descent, especially into the comedy world, without having to play condescending and stereotypical roles. I’m asking everyone to head over to her IndieGoGo page and support her. This sista is doing big things. Let’s help get her out there.

By the way, meet Velma:

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Jada Pinkett-Smith, daughter Willow, and mom Adrienne Banfield-Jones talk Live and Love

On May 13th, Jada Pinkett-Smith, daughter Willow, and mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones sit down and talk about life, love, relationships, and the industry. In the Red Table Talks presentation, Adrienne admits to Willow that Jada’s childhood is not as easy as hers as well as admits her own lack of parental support for Jada when she was a child. 

Watch the trailer below:

HERstorical Thursdays: Beah Richards (July 12, 1920 – September 14, 2000)

A veteran stage performer and character player, Beah Richards is perhaps best remembered by movie audiences for her Oscar-nominated portrayal as Sidney Poitier’s proud, knowing mother in Stanley Kramer’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” (1967). Like Angela Lansbury, Richards was often called on to portray the mother of actors not much younger than herself (e.g., she was a mere seven years older than Poitier and 11 years older than James Earl Jones who portrayed her son in 1970’s “The Great White Hope”). TV aficionados will recall her from her many appearances ranging from Bill Cosby’s mother on his first sitcom (NBC, 1970-71) to a recurring role as the ailing mother of Dr. Benton (Eriq LaSalle) on “ER” (NBC, 1994-95).

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Richards was graduated from Dillard University and spent three years as an apprentice at the San Diego Community Theater in the late 1940s, early 50s, before moving to NYC to pursue an acting career. The soft-spoken, kindly-faced actress was cast as a grandmother (at the age of 30) in the Off-Broadway production of “Take a Giant Step” in 1956 and understudied Claudia McNeil in the lead role of Lena Younger in the 1959 Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun”. (Richards eventually played the role in L.A. in 1968 and again at the Yale Repertory Theatre in 1983). She garnered critical acclaim for her starring performance in “The Amen Corner” (1965) which earned her a Theater World Award and a Tony nomination as Best Actress. During the 70s, Richards appeared in two plays she had written “One Is a Crowd” (1970) and “A Black Woman Speaks” (1975) and also developed a one-woman show “An Evening with Beah Richards”.

While Richards made her film debut in the feature version of “Take a Giant Step” (1959), she did not recreate her stage role. For the movie, she was cast not as the hero’s grandmother, but as his mother. Subsequently Richards recreated her stage roles of Viney in “The Miracle Worker” (1962) and Idella in “Gone Are the Days!/Purlie Victorious” (1963). 1967 offered Richards three prime roles: as Robert Hooks’ white-haired mother in Otto Preminger’s “Hurry Sundown”; as the town abortionist in Norman Jewison’s Oscar-winning “In the Heat of the Night”; and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”. Despite her Oscar nomination, Richards was cast only sporadically in features in the 70s and 80s, mostly in small roles that hardly tapped her abilities (e.g., “Mahogany” 1975 and “Homer and Eddie” 1989). In 1998, she made a one-shot return to the big screen as Baby Suggs, the mother-in-law of Oprah Winfrey’s Sethe, in “Beloved”.

The small screen has proven more hospitable to Richards’ talents. She began making guest appearances in the 60s and has been featured in regular or recurring roles in five series. She succeeded Lillian Randolph as Bill Cosby’s mother during the 1970-71 season of “The Bill Cosby Show” (NBC) and was Aunt Ethel on “Sanford and Son” (NBC, 1972). Other series credits include a recurring role as a voodoo priestess on “Beauty and the Beast” (CBS, 1987-89) and as Markie Post’s childhood nursemaid in “Hearts Afire” (CBS, 1992). Richards won an Emmy as Best Guest Performer in an acclaimed episode of “Frank’s Place” (CBS, 1987) as the wife of a man whose death in a car accident isn’t what it first appears. She subsequently played the mother of a paranoid schizophrenic Diana Ross in Ross’ TV movie debut, “Out of Darkness” (ABC, 1994). Richards also was amongst the players in the 1990 “American Playhouse” production of the stage play “Zora Is My Name!” dramatizing the life and work of writer and cultural anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. In 2000, shortly before her untimely death, Richards picked up a second Emmy Award for her moving guest appearance as an elderly woman whose daughter was moving to end her mother’s new marriage in an episode of the ABC drama series “The Practice”.

Source: Yahoo Movies

The 1st Annual Oscar Micheaux Awards – The REEL Oscars

Last night, many people were watching the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. I don’t usually watch them, but this year, I intentionally did not watch them. The lack of African-American presence in nominations completely disappointed me. Apparently I’m not the only that feels that way.

SEE:Idris Elba Blasts the Oscars and Tyler Perry; Says Academy Awards ‘Aren’t Designed for us’

While the Academy Awards were going on, another awards show was being held honoring those African-American filmmakers who don’t get the credit they deserved. Broadcasted via Facebook and Twitter, The Reel Oscars, gave out awards to actors and filmmakers who weren’t and might not ever be recognized by Hollywood. Winners included actors Don Cheadle, and Jaden Smith, and filmmaker Qasim Basir, writter and director of the award-winngin film Mooz-lum. The 1st Annual Oscar Micheaux Awards, dubbed The Reel Oscars, was created by Stacey Muhammad an Award-winning filmmaker/documentarian. Her films include I Am Sean Bell: Black Boys Speak and Out of Our Right Minds: Trauma, Depression, and the Black Woman. The Awards are named for Oscar Micheaux, a film director and producer of over 44 independent films and the first African-American feature filmmaker.
This year’s awards were held online, but next year, plans are for the awards to be held in person.

Did you follow the awards? What did you think of them? Leave a comment below!!

Pic: Film Society of Lincoln Center