All Articles Tagged "black actors"
They are some of Hollywood’s best kept secrets. These talented brothers and sisters can hold their own on the screen alongside the industry’s heavyweights and consistently give great performances. Yet when the awards seasons roll around, their names are barely, albeit, rarely mentioned. Here is our list of actors who we think are truly underrated, and not just the usual suspects. Do you agree?
Aunjanue Ellis has captivated audiences with her riveting performances in movies Ray, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and most recently in her role as Yule Mae in the box office hit The Help. She has also earned critical acclaim for her TV work on True Blood, Missing and The Mentalist. With her acting chops, it’s hard to believe she has yet to land a lead role on TV or on the silver screen. The Brown University graduate was recently invited to teach entertainment industry courses as an Artist-In-Residence at Hampton University.
Tee Tee is the quietly hilarious cousin/assistant of Malik Wright on The Game and although he’s a minor character, the actor behind the man, Barry Floyd, knows just how lucky he is to have the rare job of being an actor in Hollywood. Floyd started off as a production assistant on Girlfriends, with no aspirations of becoming an actor. But the constant push by show creator Mara Brock Akil and the show staff inspired him to direct his natural charisma and humor into acting. The actor, who also happens to be a writer, sat down with 24wiredtv.com to talk about his career and why Black Hollywood needs to reinvest in itself.
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You can almost already foresee the Oscar that Idris Elba will someday bring home as the British actor continues to gain notoriety in Hollywood and increasingly stellar roles. Though he;’ enjoying a very successful career run, Idris isn’t oblivious to the barriers of being a black man trying to make it as a thespian, the thing is he just has no interest in talking about it all day.
In an interview with Vulture.com, Idris was asked why he thinks he’s had a slow rise to fame, to which he answered the fact that he’s British and there are already more than enough leading men to go around. But when the reporter asked if whether he thought being black had anything to do with it, he quickly shut him down and said “next question.”
“I’m so bored of answering that,” he added. “Are there differences between black actors’ opportunities and white actors’ opportunities? Yes, there are. It’s been said. I’d rather a young black actor read about success as opposed to how tough it was. I get these roles because I can act and that’s it. Hopefully that’s it. The less I talk about being black, the better.”
Good point. It seems Idris had enough of the “woe is me talk” from a very early age, opting to actually do something about it instead. During the interview he talked about his childhood and the extremist right-wing party, The National Front, saying “Their beliefs are ‘Keep Britain White” and added:
“Walking down the street, someone would call you a black c*nt. I was like, ‘F*** that.’ ”
According to the article, it was around this time that Idris decided to shorten his given name, Idrissa, which means “firstborn son,” because he got tired of beating people up when they told him it sounded too feminine.
“I quickly got well known because I was tall and wasn’t taking any s***.”
He forgot to mention fine, although like the subject of how hard it is for black actors in Hollywood, he’s not too keen on spending a lot of time talking about his looks either. When Vulture asked if he’s ever worried about damaging that face we’ve come to love when he takes on action roles like Prometheus and Thor, he said:
“If I made my living off my face alone, I don’t think I’d be here talking to you now. I don’t have much to lose. Besides, there are characters out there that have crooked noses. I think I’ll get those characters.”
I’m pretty sure he will too, although he insists he’s still relatively unknown in the industry.
“My publicist says a lot of the time people don’t get it. They’re like, ‘Ee-dris Elba?’ And she’s like, ‘The guy from The Wire.’ I don’t see myself as famous. I’m more, ‘What’s his name again?’ And I love that.”
What do you think about Idris’s comments? Is he right that the less he talks about being black, the better off he is?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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In light of Rocsi, Terrence J, Tia Mowry and Pooch Hall recently being thrown in front of the BET firing squad, I’d like to remind them of something: keep your head in the game! It takes no time to become forgettable and despite what you might think, just about everyone is replaceable in Hollywood. They seem to all have different opportunities ahead of them but just in case they don’t, I’d like to remind them of a few people we’ve seen little to nothing from since they were fired from their show or once the show was canceled. (Rocsi, girl you are really going to need to step it up.)
So I am a bit of a cinephile. What’s that you ask?
Well according to Wiki, I am a person who has “a passionate interest in cinema.” In other words, I not only like watching films but I also like dissecting the plot elements and the cinematography. But occasionally I do…ahem…lower my high cinematic principles and indulge in the trivial and lowly.
I will admit to liking the SyFy network Mega Dinosaur versus Giant Crocodile movies of the week. And yes, I have tuned in to once or twice, okay several times for one of those Black gospel plays starring Vivica Fox or Ralph Tresvant or some other d-list celebrities. I admit that I really enjoy the rom-coms about the successful female journalist/bookstore owner/fashion magazine intern falling for the hot yet womanizing/self-absorbed/underemployed male, who doesn’t know that he is in love with the protagonist until a misunderstanding/breakup/seeing her without her eyeglasses and in a beautiful dress for the first time forces him to realize that he loves her too.
Oh did I mention that I absolutely love – with a capital “L” – those direct to video movies from Nigeria? Nollywood? Are you serious? Yes, very.
Yes I know, the clumsy and very low budget cinematography, almost as if it was filmed on a flip camera, the shoddy editing which looks like it was done on Windows Move Maker and the overly dramatic and exaggerated acting and facial expressions is enough to warrant me to lose whatever credibility I have as a person who claims to have discerning taste, especially in films. And while I might never be accused of being next the Siskel and Ebert, I do know what entertains me. And there is nothing better than curling up in a blanket on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, watching the tantalizing tomfoolery that is Nollywood films.
If you never seen a Nollywood production, imagine a BET movie of the week meets a Daytime soap opera – American, Spanish or otherwise. I’m talking about intrigue, plot twists, bad singing, car chases, gangsters, casual sex and juju, wrapped up into four of the most entertaining hours you will ever spend in front of the television. Yes, I said four hours because that is the average length of a Nollywood production. So grab plenty of popcorn because you are going to be there for a while.
Over the weekend, I found a YouTube channel called Nollywood Love, which host dozens of fairly recent films, mostly English-language films, from Nigeria. I started on late Friday night watching a movie called Beyonce and Rihanna,” a film about two singing rivals fighting each other over a chance at stardom – and a dude name Jay. You couldn’t make this up if you tried; however Nollywood can and did.
By Sunday morning I realized that I had spent the entire Easter Holiday weekend on films like African Queen, BlackBerry Babes, the Return of BlackBerry Babes, Jenifa, White Hunters and my personal favorite: The Return of White Hunters, a comedy about gold diggers on the hunt for white husbands, which features probably the most political incorrect theme songs ever made in history.
While the films might be classified as amateurish at best, these Nigerian directors have managed to take only a few thousand dollars, a digital camera, and a couple of local actresses and turn it into a film industry worth an estimated $236 million. In fact, Nigeria has the world’s second-largest film industry second only to Bollywood (India’s film industry). Yes that’s right, Nollywood produces more films than Hollywood in a single year. And with audiences growing beyond the continent of Africa into places like Europe, the Caribbean and the United States, the potential for growth might be enough to push Nollywood to the number one spot in terms of content creation.
Earlier this week The New York based hedge fund group Tiger Global, who is also an early investor in Facebook, has announced that it is investing in iROKO TV, a Nigerian version of Netflix, which has the largest licensee of Nollywood movies, with more than 3,000 titles in its library. It is YouTube’s largest African partner contributing content under its Nollywood Love account. While quality of film remains a concern, not everything coming out of Nollywood is low budget. Recently the New York Times profiled the Nigerian film industry and focused on a film called “The Figurine,” which they describe as an “aesthetic leap,” from what we normally associate with Nollywood films. In fact, critics have praised the film, which actually made it to theaters and is said to hold its own on the international arena of quality filmmaking.
While it is too early in Nollywood film history to declare the second coming of an Ousmane Sembene-type filmmaker coming out of Nigeria, the stories being produced right now provide the type of escapism from the heavier African tales of war and famine we regularly see of Hollywood. This ability to portray a more human and universal image of folks with dark skin – regardless of criticism over quality – might mean that the Black Hollywood that we longed to see in America has already been created and flourishing in the motherland.
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by Marissa Ellis
There are some child stars that aren’t a mystery…like Jurnee Smollett, who has a bigger career these days than she did as a child star on Full House, and Jaleel White aka Steve Urkel who…well, let’s just say he’s always on the radar. But what about the others who may not be so recognizable to the untrained eye? You may have not realized that certain working Black actors today were child stars of yesterday, or maybe you wonder why certain child stars never rode their talents into adulthood. We’ve gathered just a few cases of child stars to see what they look like now and what they’ve been up to.
Kellie Shanygne Williams (36) played Laura Winslow on the beloved ABC sitcom Family Matters for nine seasons. She acted only in a couple of other projects after the show wrapped in the late 1990s including the ABC show What About Joan.
The Washington DC native married Hannibal Jackson in 2009 and had her first child Hannah Belle in 2010 at the age of 34.
One of two things happen when an actor steps outside of him or herself: they either win an Oscar or find it hard to work in Hollywood ever again. Film is a powerful medium and your favorite actors’ on-screen portrayal are exciting, entrenching, and even uncomfortable at times.
Maybe that’s the mark of a good story and stellar portrayal but drama is drama. It’s easy for real emotions to get all wrapped up and influenced by people on screen as if they aren’t fictional characters. You may hate them, love them or simply wish they’d never existed but for the length of the film, make believe personas become flesh and blood thanks to actor portrayals.
The following screen stars dug deep, transforming themselves into characters that couldn’t be further from the truth of who they really are. Case in point:
More than once, Halle has hit the nail on the head as a crackhead (Jungle Fever, Saving Isaiah) and it’s hard to forget her over-the-top homegirl role in B.A.P.S. No, none of these roles are how anyone would most like to remember Halle Berry.
Anthony Mackie, star of the upcoming film, “Man on a Ledge,” shared his opinions about the insanely popular and controversial movie “The Help.” While the film has received critical acclaim and is receiving plenty of Oscar buzz, there are plenty of people, many of them in the black community, who took issue with the movie. Among other things this is what Mackie had to say about the film.
As an African American actor in this day in age, it is our job to portray every time in history.
You can listen to the rest of Anthony’s statement and why it works for him at EurWeb.com.
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Before movies make it to the big screen there are numerous negotiations that take place behind the scenes. Some of our favorite characters in movies were very close to being replaced by other actors. Once I see a movie, I can’t even imagine anyone else playing that role. So to hear that some of Hollywood’s breakthrough roles almost went to other actors makes you think, how would the movie have turned out if the producers went with their first choice?
See what actors had a close call!
Adequate representation of black people and culture in TV and film is a well-chronicled fight in America but most people forget why. If there’s one thing the world can stop producing right this second and still get along fine, it’s actors. So this isn’t as much about numbers as it is about impact.
It’s vital that black people are well represented in film because of the awesome power of moving pictures. The normal human brain is wired to believe what you see, above all else. For centuries, people could reliably believe what was before their eyes i.e. if you see a flying man, then men must be able to fly. But that all changed when movies were invented.
Now you’re forced to cope with images, many more vivid than actual memories, that are merely figments of a producer’s imagination. On a cognitive level, you know that you’re watching TV, and that it is not reality. But on a deeper, sensory level, your brain is processing those images as knowledge and experience, just like always.
Enter millions of Americans watching black people robbing, killing, rapping or serving on TV, all day, every day. Add that to the fact that most of them are white and it’s obvious these TV/Film watchers are going to have fcuked up knowledge and experience of black people.
Why go into all this to bring you a list of Underrated Hollywood Actors?
(A) Reminders are always helpful and (B) when minorities are lumped into a category of an industry already divided by genres and generic award systems, they end up fighting for what’s left. Too often black actors are seen as a homogeneous group rather than unique and talented professionals.
These next few actors are underrated because they forced America to cope with marvelously diverse images of black people. And that is what adequate representation in Hollywood is all about. First up: