All Articles Tagged "Black Hollywood"

WANTED! Stars We Haven’t Seen In A Minute!

September 23rd, 2012 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Rachel Worth/WENN

As Hollywood has changed, so have some of our favorite stars.  People we used to see all the time sort of disappear on us and we never hear about them again.  That’s just the way it seems to go for many stars but we just wanted to take a minute to shout out some of the actors we miss!

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Ouch: Harry Belafonte Says Beyonce and Jay-Z Have Turned Their Back On Social Responsibility

August 8th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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When your elders speak, you shut up and listen. Eighty-five-year-old entertainment legend Harry Belafonte has certainly earned his right to call out the younger crowd in the industry and he definitely has a lot to say about the current state of affairs concerning black celebdom. The activist just received the Golden Leopard Honor Award at the Locarno Film Festival to receive the event’s Golden Leopard Honor Award, recognizing his contributions to political activism as an actor. And when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the honor, he didn’t miss the opportunity to call out other celebrities who he feels fail to do their part in society.

When Mr. Belafonte was asked if he’s happy with the image of minorities in Hollywood today, he said, “not at all.”

“They have not told the history of our people, nothing of who we are,” he said. “We are still looking. We are not determinate. We are not driven by some technology that says you can kill Afghans, the Iraqis or the Spanish. It is all – excuse my French – s**t. It is sad. And I think one of the great abuses of this modern time is that we should have had such high-profile artists, powerful celebrities. But they have turned their back on social responsibility. That goes for Jay-Z and Beyoncé, for example. Give me Bruce Springsteen, and now you’re talking. I really think he is black.

It’s interesting that Mr. Belafonte is being asked about this on the heels of similar discussions concerning Oprah’s contributions to the black community, and even President Obama’s. Jay-Z has been criticized quite frequently for not doing anything to build up the community, yet on the other hand the attitude as of late seems to be that these individuals have no social responsibility to give back to black people or society as a whole. Maybe Harry Belafonte is just old school, but he clearly has a different take on things, which he feels makes his latest honor all the more special.

“Such awards, coming from culture and societies where I do not linger, are a validation that there was a global receptivity to the fact that I have taken a stand against war, taken a stand against racism, sexism and so on, throughout the years,” he said. “While at home some people would want to crucify me because of my political position, I am also being honored for what I do, and that validation is extremely important.”

I wonder what he thinks about Bey and Jay’s push to get President Obama reelected?

What do you think about Harry Belafonte’s charge against Beyonce and Jay-Z and other minority entertainers?

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How This Duo of Award Winning African American Filmmakers Are Making Their Mark on Hollywood

June 20th, 2012 - By Rhonda Campbell
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Morgan Stiff and Patina Mabry. Morgans Mark Movie Producers

MEET Morgan Stiff and Patina Mabry:  Tina Mabry and Morgan Stiff aren’t waiting for Hollywood to green light their success. They’ve pulled out the stopper and are going after success in the major motion picture industry with everything they’ve got. Of this dynamic duo, Tina Mabry has an MFA in film production from the University of Southern California. Mabry also co-wrote Itty Bitty Titty Committee, which won Best Feature Narrative at South by Southwest. Her feature film, Mississippi Damned, premiered on Showtime and won an impressive thirteen awards including Best Feature Film at the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2009, Mabry was named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in Filmmaker Magazine. Her feature County Line won the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award in 2011.  She recently completed the FOX Writer’s Intensive, which is a highly selective television and feature program, held at Fox Studios in Los Angeles, CA.

Morgan R. Stiff graduated from the University of Southern California, School of Cinema-Television, with an MFA in Film Production in 2005 after receiving her BFA from New York University in Dramatic Writing in 2002. As a producer, Morgan has produced fiction and documentary films. Producing projects include Porcelain (2004), which is currently being distributed by Iron Rod Motion Pictures, Inc.; Hip Hop Homos (LOGO Networks, 2004); the award-winning Brooklyn’s Bridge to Jordan (Showtime, LOGO, BET J, 2005); the award-winning feature documentary One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story (Ovation TV, 2009), which she also edited; and the critically acclaimed and award-winning Mississippi Damned (Showtime 2011). In 2007, Morgan participated in the FIND Producer’s Lab with Mississippi Damned, which she also edited, as well. Morgan is the Chief Productions Officer of Morgan’s Mark; a production company dedicated to bringing marginalized stories to the mainstream. Morgan’s new feature, County Line, was accepted into FIND’s 2010 Screenwriters Lab as well as their 2011 Fast Track program. In April 2011, the script  won the Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award.

MN:     When and why did you launch Morgan’s Mark?  

TM:      We launched Morgan’s Mark in September 2007 because we felt stories of marginalized groups were being neglected in mainstream media.  We wanted to start an independent film company and editing facility that would focus on producing films that emphasized character and an editing facility that focused on quality over quantity.   Mainstream films mostly center on plot, failing to portray a variety of people.  Therefore, we asked ourselves – who’s listening to the millions of people looking for something more, something that echoes their experiences?  There was an obvious void and we wanted to lift original characters and innovative ideas from the margins and redefine mainstream culture in film.

MN:     Businesses cannot succeed without capital. What resources did you use to finance Morgan’s Mark?

MS:      You certainly have to hustle. Morgan’s Mark is a production company and editing facility and often the editing work allows us to earn the capital that keeps the business running. Early on we often edited industrials as a means to keep money coming into the business while we pursued our fiction and documentary projects.

Hey Tee Tee! Barry Floyd of The Game Reflects On His Acting Career and The Lack of Black Roles

June 13th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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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 to talk about his career and why Black Hollywood needs to reinvest in itself.

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How The Hollywood Equation Is Endangering Black Stories

March 6th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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by Steven Barboza

Great black stories almost never get shown at America’s megaplexes. The reason? They are an endangered species.

In a perfect world, major studios would green-light a dozen films per year with mostly black casts, and audiences of all persuasions would pay to see them. But Hollywood moguls seem stuck on the color of actors’ skin. Either major studios don’t think white audiences would pay to see universal human dramas played out by black actors, or studios are bewildered by black films. Many fail at the box office for a host of reasons, including lack of audience development and badly hatched advertising and publicity campaigns.

“Ultimately, to reach an African American audience, there needs to be a cross-section of tactics,” said Ava DuVernay, filmmaker and publicist. DuVernay, who helped to market such Hollywood releases as “Dreamgirls” and “Invictus,” has formed an alliance that aims to bring more black films to commercial theaters. The African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (or AFFRM) uses social networking and grass-roots tactics to reach its marketing goals.

The alliance hopes to overcome a host of mistakes being made by otherwise savvy producers and film makers. Many black films fall victim to their creators’ good intentions but inept marketing practices. “I think that a lot of people overshoot in terms of the number of screens that they put a film on,” said DuVernay, “and I think that a lot of people undershoot in terms of the type of marketing that they apply toward certain types of films. But in cases where there’s been a happy marriage of distribution and marketing, you’ve seen modest and successfully distributed films that give nice returns to investors.”

The film “Just Wright,” starring Queen Latifah and Common, was “on too many screens,” DuVernay said. “And it was a campaign that didn’t integrate any kind of grassroots effort or real local outreach. They had a very national campaign, and they were relying on their stars. If they would have had some boots on the ground, it might have made some difference.” The film only grossed $21.5 million.

Other black films succeed if producers employ the right marketing mix. “You look at something very successful like ‘Jumping the Broom’ — they had a full-fledged publicity campaign, a very aggressive advertising campaign and local support on the ground — and you get a hit,” DuVernay said. “Same thing with ‘The Help.’ With the right marketing, the right push, the right kind of perfect storm of elements, you can actually have a successful release.”

She herself has left nothing to chance. She has written and directed a film titled “I Will Follow,” starring Salli Richardson-Whitfield, who plays a woman sorting through memories of a dead aunt. The film was the first to be marketed by the AFFRM. “We couldn’t afford big advertising so we upped our ground game,” DuVernay said. “We did more grassroots organizing. We did heavy, heavy publicity. We were in a market for six months, when you’d [customarily] be in a market for 3 or 4 months before opening.”

Star Struck: Black Celebs At Oscar Pre-Parties and Essence Luncheon

February 25th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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Check out the fabulous Black celebs that were hanging out in Hollywood this week like…

Singer Macy Gray arrives at Vertu and Gelila and Wolfgang Puck Celebrate the Oscars and Dream for Africa Foundation at CUT on February 23, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.  

Daddy’s Little Girls: Celebrity Men and Their Darling Daughters

January 9th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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Some of Hollywood’s most wanted men have their fair share of female attention. Although many have reaped the rewards of celebrity in the dating department, we know that their perspectives must have changed when they had their own daughters to raise. Here are some photos of some Black Hollywood celebs and their little (and not so little) girls!

"Jasmine Jordan"


Jasmine Jordan

 The youngest child of Juanita and Michael Jordan has kept a low profile as a sensible and well-grounded teen. She’s set to start her freshman year in college at Syracuse University in the fall. Luckily for her, she not only has a superstar dad looking out for her but two older brothers as well.

Tyler Perry Writes Letter Explaining Kim K. Casting in New Film

November 17th, 2011 - By Brande Victorian
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Kim Kardashian and Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry has written a letter to his fans explaining why Kim Kardashian was given a role in his upcoming film, “The Marriage Counselor,” after receiving a ton of backlash over the casting choice. Tyler Perry already gets plenty of side eyes for his films, but his casting of the reality TV star tocuhed a nerve with many fans, especially after news of Kim’s divorce hit.

In looking over the letter, I’m not convinced this gesture will do anything to halt the grassroots boycott efforts that are popping up. He writes:

About two months ago, long before I even heard about Kim’s marriage or divorce, I was trying to finish up the casting. I said to one of my producers, “who else is out there that young people are looking up to?” One of my producers showed me pictures that his daughter had taken of several hundred kids lined up around the corner to get into a Kardashian store. They wanted to meet Kim. I thought, what better person! She literally has millions of young people following her. I thought and still do think, that it would be very responsible of her to be a part of this film. To have the young people that look up to her, see her in a film that is about, what happens in life when you make the wrong choices.

Tyler seems to equate teen’s fascination with Kim Kardashian with her being a role model and I think there is a thin line between the two. I’m not saying Kim is the worst person on the planet, but let’s not forget how she rose to fame in the first place. If you really want to teach young people what happens in life when you make the wrong choices, you don’t grant more fame to a chic who is in the media on a daily basis because of her sexcapades. That right there is a mixed message sir.

You can check out the full letter on What did you think about Kim Kardashian being cast in Tyler Perry’s latest film? Does this effort do anything to change your mind about seeing the film?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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Black Movie Remix: “Steel Magnolias” to be Remade with All-Black Cast

October 12th, 2011 - By Brande Victorian
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Steel Magnolias With an All-Black Cast

An interesting remake is in the works. Lifetime, in conjunction with Broadway director Kenny Leon and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, is bringing back the 1989 classic “Steel Magnolias” with an all-black cast.

The movie is about the bond between women living in the same parish in Louisiana as they go through different life experiences — pregnancy, marriage, death of a loved one, health risks, etc.  The original movie featured an ensemble cast of highly regarded actresses: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis, and Julia Roberts.

Since the upcoming remake featuring black actresses will still be set in Louisiana, perhaps the directors can throw a little Creole flavor in the mix — I’m seeing Lynn Whitfield and Jurnee Smollett from “Eve’s Bayou.” Since Leon already worked with Phylicia Rashad when he directed “A Raisin in the Sun” in 2004, I hope he’ll make her a part of this as well. I have a feeling the movie could end up as a cross between the original film and Tyler Perry’s interpretation of “For Colored Girls,” but without the poetic style. Maybe “The Women of Brewster Place” would be a better comparison. Either way, as a Lifetime junkie, I’m pretty excited about this.

What black actresses would you like to see fill these roles?

Inspirational Quote of the Day: Gabrielle Union Sponsored By Starbucks

October 11th, 2011 - By Alexis Garrett Stodghill
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Gabrielle Union

Sponsored By:

“Hollywood needs to recognize all shades of African-American beauty.” – Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union is a stunning woman. With her rich brown skin and traditionally black features, she represents African-American beauty unequivocally. Much like First Lady Michelle Obama, a beauty like Ms. Union shows the world that black women are as gorgeous as ladies of any other race. In fact it is our skin and other unique features that make our form of loveliness so special. And not content to be merely beautiful in her own right, Gabrielle is an advocate for the acceptance of our form of pretty by the mainstream establishment.  Union is not just a beauty role model; she is also a black beauty advocate. Be sure to remind yourself today that you are wonderfully appealing as a black woman, even if Hollywood still needs to be educated about the full range of our exceptional natures.

You are gorgeous, Madame Noire denizens! Enjoy your day!