All Articles Tagged "documentary"
Last month we told you that über talented sisterly duo Venus and Serena Williams would be starring in a documentary that would recount their remarkable climb to tennis stardom. Venus and Serena, which is scheduled to hit theaters May 10th offers an in-depth look at their humble beginnings and their father’s relentless determination to make them the top two tennis players in the world. A brief description of the doc found on the film’s website reads:
“Ever since Venus and Serena Williams started playing in tennis tournaments, they’ve provoked strong reactions – from awe and admiration to suspicion and resentment. They’ve been winning championships for over a decade, pushing the limits of longevity in such a demanding sport. How long can they last? In Venus & Serena, we gain unprecedented access into their lives during the most intimidating year of their career. Over the course of 2011, Venus grappled with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease while Serena battled back from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Neither Venus nor Serena let their adversities hold them back. They drew their greatest strength from each other.”
Magnolia Pictures has since released their official trailer for the movie and if the trailer serves as any indication of how good the actual documentary will be, fans will not be disappointed. Opening with a young Venus accompanied by her sister on a tennis court, both girls express that they’d like to grow up to be tennis players.
“To Black girls from Compton who probably weren’t ever supposed to play tennis, let alone be really good at it. My Dad had one of the most revolutionary ideas when it came to changing the game,” says Venus.
“I had written a plan before they were born, 78 pages. The plan was for both of them to become number one in the world,” revealed Venus and Serena’s Dad Richard Williams.
Venus went on to laugh about her parents predicting that she’d be number one in the world and drilling it into her so much that she was “brainwashed.” The doc will also offer a peek into some of the life-threatening health woes experienced by the Williams sisters and how they dealt with them.
“I wanted to go out for sure and know that I couldn’t play,” Venus said of her determination to play despite her ailment.
As previously stated, Venus and Serena is available on iTunes and is slated to hit theaters May 10th!
Check out official the trailer below.
Chrisette Michele Talks Being Underrated And Shying Away From The Limelight In New Documentary, ‘Journey To Better’
I will never forget the first time I heard soul singer Chrisette Michele’s voice. I was 16 years old and Nas had just released “Can’t Forget About You” as the second single off of his Hip Hop Is Dead album. I listened to the track over and over as I sat by an oversized window in my living room while I worked on my homework. Nas did an amazing job on the song, but what really drew me to it, was the unique voice of the woman singing on the hook. I eventually came to know the songtress as R&B singer Chrisette Michele. I combed the Internet, looking for details on her. I had to learn more about her! But unfortunately at the time, my Google searches didn’t uncover much. Six years later, Chrisette’s newly released web documentary Journey To Better, which can be found on her website, offers a little insight as to why there wasn’t too much information available about her when she was first “thrown” into the music industry. The New York native reveals that she intentionally flew beneath the radar because she wasn’t sure if she could “get the job right.”
The documentary begins in black and white, showing Chrisette rolling her bicycle down a sidewalk.
“I’ve been afraid. I didn’t always know if I’d be a singer. It takes time to get a job right. When you come into most jobs, you get years to work on getting promotions, raises, to become a CEO, to become great. In the music industry you don’t get that time. You kind of just get thrown out there into this world of stages and red carpets and magazines. And if you aren’t great right away, you’re kind of fired. You don’t really get a chance to come back and do it again the next day,” she begins at the start of the video.
She went on to say that having known how unforgiving the entertainment industry can be, she intentionally stayed beneath the radar.
“I knew that when I first started this, so I did tried really hard to stay just underneath the limelight, people call it underrated. I call it careful. So I kind of just snuck my way through this learning process and I took notes. I carried a composition notebook and literally took notes from everybody from Babyface to Diddy, Kevin Liles to whoever I got to be around, Jay-Z. I would hang out with publicists. People would wonder why I was hanging out the guy who does the mail or the person who does the marketing or the person who is the engineer. Why am I hanging out with the sound guy? Why am I hanging out with the lighting guy? I’m hanging out with these people because I want to learn everything there is to know about the music industry before I put myself out there.”
Chrisette finishes up by saying that she believes that her studying and hard work has paid off because she’s no longer afraid to show herself and is confident enough to call herself an artist.
Skip to the next page to watch Part 1 of her doucmentary, Journey to Better. What do you think of her decision to shy away from the limelight?
It’s been 18 years since the death of Eazy-E but one person is not prepared to let his public image die.
E.B. Wright, the 22 year old daughter of the late rapper, is currently putting together a documentary about the life – and death – of her father, according to BET.com. E.B., a budding rapper herself, says that his legacy has not been properly represented and she wants to change that.
“A lot of people don’t know the truth behind his death. There’s definitely a story out there of how people think he died but a lot of it is a misconception, so I think it’s time to tell the story of exactly what happened.”
E.B. says that the documentary, tentative titled Ruthless Scandal, will have in-depth interviews with celebrities, family members, close friends and others who knew the “real” Eazy. Further, there will be interviews from doctors and lawyers as well as documents regarding the death of the rapper. As most of us know, Eazy reportedly died as a result of complications of the AIDS virus when he was only 31 years old. His daughter hasn’t stated whether or not she accepts this but she clearly has had more questions about it as she’s grown.
E.B. also envisions how important her dad would be were he still alive:
“He started all of this, and honestly I don’t even think his impact can be limited to the West Coast. I feel like, if my dad was alive today, he would be Jay-Z businesswise. He was a true visionary. He started the independent label, he started the idea of speaking your mind…”
Ruthless Scandal is currently slated for a 2014 release.
Were you an Eazy-E fan? Would you check out this documentary?
An hour before the television premiere of Beyoncé’s HBO documentary on Sunday, Oprah called the budding icon the “preeminent mistress of the universe” in their exclusive sit-down interview. This ridiculous group of words barely exaggerates Beyoncé’s place in pop culture. Over the past few years, the media has elevated her to the Queen of Pop, in a lane all her own.
Life Is But A Dream is meant to be film about a pop star finding herself. But it also documents a woman the public associates with perfection and power, in the vulnerable position of starting a new phase of her career.
The first topic Beyonce tackles in the film is her professional split from her father and manager Matthew Knowles, a pivotal moment that marks the official beginning of Beyoncé’s career as a mogul. Moguls don’t just make a living. They architect the deals and strategies that build their empire. The fate of Beyoncé, Inc. now rests entirely on the shoulders of its namesake.
Following the March 2011 announcement that she would take over managing her career, Beyonce sounds like any other new entrepreneur, telling MTV:
“My focus is not bigger; it’s quality, and I want to make sure it’s something I’m proud of years from now,” she says later on. “It’s very difficult managing myself. Every night when I go to sleep, I ask hundreds of questions. I’m making mistakes, and I’m learning from them. I’ve never been afraid to fall — and I say all these things, but now I’m being tested.”
The senior Knowles wasn’t just another stage dad. He was a high-level marketing executive at IBM before leaving the company to market his daughter’s career. From the beginning, the infrastructure and the strategy to maximize Beyoncé’s talent for mass consumption was in place.
Beyoncé talks a lot about her artistry in her film’s narration, but her success can be credited just as much to her ability to view herself as a product. Beyoncé isn’t a person for her audience to get to know. She is an experience to be bought and aspired to. She may have been born to entertain, but she was brought up to be a business.
And just like any other new entrepreneur, her time in business has been marked by highs and lows. Here’s a recap of what Beyonce has accomplished since striking out on her own. How do you think she did?
Sales & Income
- “4” is her first album not to go multi-platinum
- Comes in at number 16 on Forbes 2012 “Celebrity 100″ list, having earned $40 million in the past year.
- Releases “Run The World (Girls)” as first single from album “4,” igniting a debate on whether Beyonce is good for feminism.
- Announces pregnancy during her performance of “Love On Top” at the 2011 MTV VMAs; breaks the “most tweets per second recorded for a single event” Twitter record and makes the “Love On Top” the highest charting single of the album.
- Settles scandal over pre-recorded vocals for the inauguration by singing the national anthem live at Super Bowl press conference.
- Partners with First Lady Michelle Obama to boost her campaign against child obesity.
- Becomes an ambassador the 2012 World Humanitarian Day campaign; her song “I Was Here” becomes the campaign theme song.
- Partners with Pepsi in $50 million creative development deal; critics believe this deal goes against work with First Lady.
- Receives two nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards; Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Party”, and Best Long Form Music Video for I Am… World Tour
- Receives Millennium Award at the 2011 Billboard Awards
- Wins for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Love on Top” at the 55th Grammy Awards.
- Takes the stage at New York’s Roseland Ballroom in “4 Intimate Nights with Beyonce.”
- Became the first solo female artist to headline the Pyramid stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival in over twenty years.
- Stages “Revel Presents: Beyonce Live” over four nights as a comeback after giving birth
- Sings the national anthem at the second inauguration for President Barack Obama.
- Serves as half-time performance at Super Bowl XLVII.
So the question is: Can we call Beyonce a mogul? How do you define a mogul these days?
C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Beyonce’s Siamese Twin Sister Tells All! Exclusive Keyonce Bowles Documentary: ‘Life Is But A Scream’
She’s baaaaaaaack. No longer willing to be outshined by her twin sister, Keyonce Bowles decided to debut a documentary of her own on the same night as her Siamese twin sister. While Bey may have just told the world “Life is But a Dream,” for Key, “Life is But a Scream.” See her exclusive Madame Noire documentary right here.
That’s right, Baddie Bey isn’t the only one with a documentary debuting today. While HBO airs Beyonce Knowles’ “Life is But a Dream” special tonight, her Siamese twin sister, Keyonce Bowles, will be premiering her own documentary right here on Madamenoire.com: “Life Is But a Scream.”
In October, Keyonce came forward with her story of what it’s like to be the unknown sister of King Bey, now we uncover how her life has changed since she entered the spotlight. Watch the trailer for her special and check back for her documentary at 10:30 pm right here.
She Just Thought You Should Know: Beyonce Opens Up About Pregnancy, Miscarriage & ‘That’ Pregnancy Rumor
Before you all get mad at me, let me point out that “Bey season” has officially begun and there will likely be a rise in talks about Beyonce. Just bare with us, okay? This is entertainment news and Bey is…an entertainer. Still mad at me? Well, I tried. Let’s move on!
We’re starting to hear more and more about Beyonce’s documentary Life Is But A Dream which will premiere in February on HBO. USA Today was able to get an advanced screening and apparently, Bey decided to be extremely candid when speaking about pregnancy. By now, most of us have seen the trailer for the doc and know that we get a quick glimpse of her belly in the very early stages of her pregnancy with now one year old Blue Ivy.
But it goes deeper than that. She speaks on her miscarriage and how one week there was a heartbeat and the next week, she heard nothing. If you recall, we first learned about the Carters’ miscarriage on Jay-Z’s song dedicated to Blue, “Glory.” Beyonce says the studio became an outlet for her to deal with the loss.
Oh and about that rumor that she didn’t actually have a baby? Here’s what Bey had to say:
“There’s a stupid rumor. The most ridiculous rumor I think I’ve ever had about me. It’s crazy. To think I would be that vain – I respect mothers and women so much and to be able to experience bringing a child into this world, if you’re lucky and fortunate enough to experience that, I would never, ever take that for granted. It’s the most powerful thing you can do. Especially after losing a child, the pain and trauma from that just makes it mean so much more to get an opportunity to bring life into the world. It seems like people should have boundaries.”
I’m sure this does nothing for those of you who believe she didn’t carry Blue but she’s finally addressed it directly.
It’ll be interesting to see what else she has to say or share because as we learned in the GQ interview, she is filmed 16 hours a day. As much as people may love her, the struggle in her fame is that people still don’t feel like they know her and I’m not exactly sure the filming schedule will make her seem more believable. Still, there’s got to be something in all that footage that makes her feel more relatable, right?
Life Is But A Dream premieres on HBO on February 16th at 9pm.
In 1991, Anita Hill, a young law professor, testified in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee that her former mentor and then-Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas has sexually harassed her in the workplace.
Now after 22 years of silence, Anita Hill tells her story in a documentary, Anita, that debuted this week at the Sundance Film Festival. Over the years, many have tried to get Hill to go into detail about the entire experience, but she declined, preferring to speak on behalf of women’s equality. She moved on to become a professor of law, social policy, and women’s studies at Brandeis University, a position she still holds today.
But when Freida Mock, Academy Award-winning director of Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, approached Hill, the professor finally agreed. “You feel really flattered when someone as accomplished as she is approaches you,” Hill told The Morning Sun newspaper.
“I can never go back to the person I was at that moment,” Hill said during a brief interview inside a lounge on Park City’s Main Street. “We grow. We develop. We move on. Hopefully, we evolve into that person we want to be.”
The film follows Hill’s story from her rural childhood in Oklahoma. “The youngest of 13 children, her parents raised her under the saying familiar to many black children, ‘You’ve got to be twice as good to get half as much,’” reports the newspaper. Hill excelled in school and landed at Yale Law School, where she student graduated with honors in 1980. She was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar that same year. The film goes up to present day, and include her long-term relationship with Chuck Malone.
“Always at the center, though, is Hill’s testimony against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas. It defined her, but also limited her,” writes The Morning Sun.
The film also reveals that in “basement file cabinets, she keeps 25,000 letters that she’s received over the years, both from women with accounts of harassment they suffered and fathers upset over what their daughters have had to endure in the workplace.”
“I still see people who cry when they see me, or they go back to that place where they’re really angry,” Hill says in the film.
After the jump, we’ve got a Sundance interview clip with Hill and Mock.
One of the daughters of Civil Rights activist Malcolm X is planning to produce a documentary on the life of her legendary father. But Ilyasah Shabazz has come up with a unique strategy to fund the project. She is turning to the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar for the $6 million to back the film, reports The Grio.
It is always difficult to find money to make documentary films, especially one about controversial leaders. So Shabazz decided to forgo knocking on Hollywood studio doors. For Shabazz due to the strong ties her father had with the Middle East, it was a natural place to turn to for financing. In an interview with the The Peninsula, Shabazz explains her move.
“My father had traveled across the Middle East and influenced many people in the region. For the documentary, we will interview people in the Arab world who met him personally and cherish memories about his life and legacy,” says Shabazz. “We and Qatar Foundation share similar goals and values in education and youth empowerment.”
The documentary on her father will not be her first experience with filmmaking. She was advising scholar on the award-winning PBS documentary Prince Among Slaves, produced by Unity Productions Foundation in 2007.
Shabazz was two years old when she witnessed with her mother and sisters the assassination of her father in 1965. She is founder and president of Ilyasah Shabazz Enterprises, Inc. And, Shabazz, who holds a master’s degree from Fordham University, is also involved in youth empowerment program The WAKE-UP Tour as a motivational speaker. In 2002, she wrote Growing Up X: A Memoir by the Daughter of Malcolm X.
There have been other films about her father, including the PBS documentary Gil Noble´s Malcolm X: Make It Plain (1994), the James Earl Jones-narrated documentary Malcolm X (1972) and of course, Spike Lee’s biographical motion picture Malcolm X (1992).
2013 Is Bey’s Year: Beyoncé Directed And Produced Documentary Picked Up By HBO, To Premiere In February
As if you didn’t have enough to look forward to from Beyoncé next year after the announcement of her sure-to-be insane Super Bowl halftime performance and the alert of a new album dropping very soon, Bey stans will be happy to learn that she will premiering the documentary on her life via HBO next February–February 16 to be exact. The doc is being directed, produced and executive produced by the singer, actress, designer, and a whole bunch of other things and will not only give us a close up at Bey the performer and musician, but Bey behind the scenes. According to the press release, which we were able to obtain via Shadow and Act, what viewers will see will include a lot more of the intimate images we sometime are lucky to see in her concert DVDs:
The film is a multi-faceted portrait of the 16-time Grammy Award-winning singer, businesswoman, songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, wife and mother, showing off the extraordinary gifts that have made her a global phenomenon, and stripping away the veneer of stardom. It includes extensive first-person footage, some of it shot by Beyoncé on her laptop, in which she reflects on the realities of celebrity, the refuge she finds onstage and the transcendent joy of becoming a mother last year.
The film sheds light on her childhood in Houston, with home movies revealing the close bond she built with her family and charts the challenges Beyoncé felt when she decided to manage her career and build her own company, Parkwood Entertainment. It also captures the intense physical and emotional demands she goes through in the studio, preparing for live performances, running a business and her family life, including her return to the spotlight after the birth of her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, in January 2012.
And both Beyoncé and Michael Lombardo, president of HBO’s programming, seem to be excited about the project, which we’re sure will pull in big numbers for the network. As Lombardo says:
“Everybody knows Beyoncé’s music, but few know Beyoncé the person… Along with electrifying footage of Beyoncé onstage, this unique special looks beyond the glamour to reveal a vibrant, vulnerable, unforgettable woman,“
And Bey added her two cents of excitement with the following statement in the press release:
“HBO has a history of pushing every boundary with class and authenticity… Some of my favorite shows are on HBO, so I am excited that my film will be part of its bold programming. This film was so personal to me, it had to have the right home.
I have to be honest in stating that I’m a tad bit worried that this documentary will be more of the same, especially since the press release said that we can expect some exclusives from Bey, which were shot on her computer, and Lord knows we’ve seen a great deal of those already (i.e,, “Why am I so blessed? Why did God give me this life…?”). But seeing as how Beyoncé is being oh so open these days with her awesome Tumblr and Instagram, she might expose a lot more of herself on-screen than we’re used to. And since we’ll see how she adjusted to getting back out there after having baby Blue, it would be dope to see how Bey moves around as a doting mom (they can keep Blue’s face covered, I get it).
But alas, I won’t hold my breath.
So what do you think? Are you going to be checking for Beyoncé’s documentary on HBO in February? What do you hope to see?