All Articles Tagged "james brown"
Reason 1,000,001 why we love Jill Scott: she acts just as well as she sings.
Not many artists successfully make the music-to-movies transition, but Jill Scott certainly has. Just one month after her latest theater film, Baggage Claim, hit theaters, the über talented Philadelphia native has snatched up yet another movie role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Scott has been cast to play one of James Brown’s wives, in the highly anticipated biopic, Get On Up!
Though Jill seems to have mastered both acting and singing, a few months back she confessed to Shadow and Act that it’s pretty difficult to balance the two.
“Balancing is hard. I’ve lost roles that I really wanted because I had set up a tour. I cancelled tours to do roles before. But I have to find the time to make that up to my audience. I made a commitment to them. Singing and acting suit me. I made a vow to myself, to do everything that I can do with this life that I have, and I have to find the time to do this. Sometimes I need to be an actress. Sometimes I don’t need to be Jill. However, everyone is always looking for the Jill in everything. People say that they like the characters that they believe that I am. But, I don’t as much. I like the characters that I believe that I am not. Like my role on Law and Order. That character unnerved people. And I loved every second of it. I want to continue growing as an actress. There are ways that I can reach quicker, or deeper, with acting,” she said.
Back in August we told you that 42 actor Chadwick Boseman has been cast to play the role of James. And just last month we delivered the wonderful news that The Help actresses Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis will also be reuniting on the set to create some more of that on-screen magic. In case you missed it, Viola will be playing James’ mother, Susie Brown. Octavia will be playing the late singer’s aunt, Anne Tunney aka Aunt Honey.
As previously reported, Get On Up is scheduled to hit theaters October 17, 2014. This sounds like such an amazing line-up. We will continue to keep you posted as more celebrities are added to this all-star cast.
In an op-ed piece for The Hollywood Reporter, director John Singleton spoke about the problem with black stories in Hollywood being told without the help of black folks behind the scenes, and particularly, black directors being an afterthought. In recent years, white directors have been bringing to life a lot of the big films that have done well at the box office, and while Singleton lauded the movies that got it right (Taylor Hackford directing Ray, Norman Jewison for The Hurricane, and recently, Brian Helgeland’s 42), he shared some inquisitive thoughts about the importance of black folks being the behind the scenes to authentically share the stories of our icons and our people in general. Here are some tidbits from the piece that definitely stood out:
Hollywood’s black film community has always had a one-for-all-and-all-for-one attitude, openly cheering the success of any black-driven movie in the hope its box-office success will translate into more jobs and stories about people of color. But, at the same time, the success of black-themed movies like The Help and this year’s 42 points to a troubling trend: the hiring of white filmmakers to tell black stories with few African-Americans involved in the creative process.
What if the commercial success of “black films” like 42 and The Help, which also had a white director, are now making it harder rather than easier for African-American writers and directors to find work?
That is exactly what people in certain Hollywood circles are debating. When I brought up the issue with a screenwriter friend, he replied, “It’s simple. Hollywood feels like it doesn’t need us anymore to tell African-American stories.” The thinking goes, “We voted for and gave money to Obama, so [we don't need to] hire any black people.”
…I could go on and on about the white directors who got it right and others who missed the mark. But my larger point is that there was a time, albeit very brief, when heroic black figures were the domain of black directors, and when a black director wasn’t hired, the people behind the film at least brought on a black producer for his or her creative input and perspective. Spielberg did that on The Color Purple(Quincy Jones) and Amistad (Debbie Allen). Tarantino had Reggie Hudlin on Django Unchained.
…But now, that’s changing; several black-themed movies are in development with only white filmmakers attached, including a James Brown biopic. That’s right, the story of “Soul Brother No. 1, Mr. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” is being penned by two Brits for Tate Taylor, director of The Help…it gives one pause that someone is making a movie about the icon who laid down the foundation of funk, hip-hop and black economic self-reliance with no African-American involvement behind the scenes. One of Brown’s most famous lines was, “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing; open up the door and I’ll get it myself.” How is that possible when the gatekeepers of this business keep the doors mostly locked shut in Hollywood?
What Hollywood execs need to realize is that black-themed stories appeal to the mainstream because they are uniquely American. Our story reminds audiences of struggles and triumphs, dreams and aspirations we all share. And it is only by conveying the particulars of African-American life that our narrative become universal. But making black movies without real participation by black filmmakers is tantamount to cooking a pot of gumbo without the “roux.” And if you don’t know offhand what “roux” is, you shouldn’t be making a black film.
Of course, the usual audience for The Hollywood Reporter (predominately white folks) gave Singleton’s piece the thumbs down, but he makes some very honest points that black folks have been talking about for years. I don’t even have to always have a black director behind a major film (because directing is not for everybody), but the concept of doing a black story with no black people involved definitely sounds preposterous. But what do you think?
Check out his full piece over at THR.
When you think of Al Sharpton there are a few things that come to mind. Civil Rights. Reverend. Weight loss. And most prominently, hair. Al Sharpton’s hair is his brand, his trademark. After all, it’s not everyday in this day and age that you see a black man with a perm or maybe a press and curl. But Al has been rocking the flowy tresses for decades, surely as long as he’s been on the public scene. Check out the the styles he’s rocked over the years.
The James Brown biopic is happening and Universal Pictures has found the man they want to play the “Godfather of Soul.” According to Deadline, Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played Jackie Robinson in “42,” will be taking on the lead role in this film.
The biopic is to be directed by “The Help’s” Tate Taylor, so it should be no surprise that Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer’s names are being thrown into the mix for this movie as well. According to The Wrap, Taylor wants to reunite the Academy Award nominees along with Nelsan Ellis, who played Henry the Waiter in “The Help,” in supporting roles for the biopic.
Though details are slim on this long-overdue project, The Wrap did mention that in the biopic, “Boseman will portray Brown over a period of several decades, from his disadvantaged youth to his status as a bonafide music icon.” Much of the filming is to take place in Mississippi, but there’s no word yet on who else might show up in the flick as of now. The Wrap notes that so far no offers have been made yet to “The Help” trio and their representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
What do you think about Chadwick Boseman portraying James Brown?
With the BET Awards fast approaching, it’s only fitting to relive some of the most memorable BET Awards show moments ever. You know BET is the only channel that can have gospel sets mingled in with rappers dropping expletive bombs every other second while censors struggle to keep up with the bleeps. The BET Awards has never failed to be the highlight of a conversation with the hairdresser, over lunch with a girlfriend, or at the Sunday dinner table with family. Check out these most memorable moments.
There’s no doubt that music is a form of self-expression. And many artists not only use the recording booth as a hit-making platform, but also as a medium to impact social change and connect with their fans across the globe.
In celebration of Black Music Month we decided to highlight a few songs that have made an impact on Black culture throughout history.
From James Brown’s 1968 classic, “I’m Black and I’m Proud” and Queen Latifah’s tribute to sisters, to Kanye West praising Jesus, each song’s message has gone on to resonate with legions of listeners.
Read, See and Listen more at BlackVoices.com
Michelle Obama kicked off her Memorial Day weekend with soul. On Friday, while most of us were sitting at the desk, waiting for the clock to strike five, Mrs. Obama visited Mrs. Lyons Pre-K class, in Washington, DC, for a “funky good time.”
While she was there she played “Freeze Dance” with the students as they danced along to James Brown’s “Doing It To Death.” You would think the kids would be a little hesitant to dance in front of the First Lady of the United States, but these kids, from Savoy Elementary School, were ready to shake something. The kids were singing along, hopping around, looking at Mrs. Obama for approval and encouragement, and one student did his version of “The Jerk” the entire time. In between dance moves, they looked at their teacher to know when to freeze.
Savoy Elementary was one of the eight schools in DC that participated in the President’s Turnaround Arts Initiative. The goal was for these once underperforming schools to use the arts to transform the culture, climate and academic success. Savoy, which used to be the lowest performing school in the district, is now improving with rising test scores, increased enrollment and higher teacher-student attendance.
The students, along with their teacher explained that they play Freeze Dance because it allows them to exercise, focus and have fun. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Check out the video of the students getting down on the next page.
While interracial relationships are not nearly as uncommon as they once were, we’d be lying if we said that the dating and marriage histories of some of the nation’s most outspoken black social activists didn’t come as a surprise to us. Let’s take a gander at socially and politically active black men who dated outside of their race.
For anybody who ever tuned in to “Showtime At The Apollo” back in the day, you know brutal it can be for contestants to get booed off the stage. If you’re horrifically bad and don’t realize it, not only will the crowd let you know, but they’ll send the Sandman on you; the tap-dancing man thirsty for his own 15-20 seconds of notoriety during each airing. And while most people who get booed, denied a W and even kicked off the stage at the sound of the loudest horn go on to fade into obscurity, there have been a few celebrities who managed to get through the embarrassment and blow up big by cultivating their talents. Here’s nine comedians and singers who got the last laugh.
There is something about R. Kelly.
Sure, there is the whole sex tape that allegedly shows R. Kelly engaging in sex with an underage girl, thing, which landed him in Chicago court for 14 counts of child pornography, unlawfully videotaping the acts, and producing child pornography. Not to mention, the drama made him the subject of the infamous “Piss on You” skit by Dave Chapelle. And then there was the non-payment of taxes to the tune of $5.8 million dollars. Do you know how many schools districts and garbage men that could fund?
Not to mention his cheesy explanation (not that we needed one so why even bother) as to why he divorced his wife: The Notebook, the love story starring Ryan Gosling. Said Kellz in his new memoirs entitled Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me:
“As the film credits started to roll, I couldn’t move. I burst into tears. People walking past me patted me on the back, trying to console me. ‘The Notebook’ was beautiful, and I was crying because its hero and heroine had died together,” the 45-year-old writes in the memoir. “But I was also crying because I remembered a Valentine’s Day — when a helicopter dropped a rainfall of roses — that had come and gone … My marriage had died. And there was nothing I could do to bring it back.”
Buahahahaha…. Somebody needs to snatch Kellz’s Netflix account before he gets “inspired” by any more touching romances. Also, I’m sure his ex-wife, who has claimed domestic violence and adultery during their marriage might have something different to say about why they parted, and about his interpretation of The Notebook. So you see, there are plenty of reasons to dislike R. Kelly. Even a bunch of dudes calling themselves, Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women, have started a petition to rid and protect the community of R. Kelly once and for all.
However, there is something about R. Kelly that keeps him on top. What could that thing be? Oh yeah, he makes great music.
And I mean really damn good music. For instance, last week, I saw R. Kelly’s new video for “Feelin’ Single” for the first time and I have to say that the song and the video are both off the chain. The song is just straight-up soul. Who else but Kellz could make a song about cheating on his cheating girlfriend sound so damn smooth? It’s got that old-school Michael Jackson “Rock with You” vibe to it, where you just want to slide back in your rolling chair from the desk and get up and do a two-step around the office. But you can’t, because you are at work. So instead you head bop and hum it while you are waiting at the Xerox machine for your copies. Oh yeah, I’ve been there. And did I mention that there is a very hot salute to Broadway in the middle of the video? *Squeal* I thought I was the only one who occasionally sings R&B and even hip-hop songs using a Broadway voice? Oh, you say I am? Okay I can live with that.
At any rate, R. Kelly has a strange way of making the most harden anti-Kellz critic into fans again. I know, I have gone off once or twice, or a few times, about the black communities undying support of him – even applauding after his acquittal of those child pornography charges. But best believe songs like “Happy People,” “Step In the Name Of Love” and a lot of his older stuff still gets regular rotation on my mp3 player (for those who don’t know: an mp3 player is for those who can’t afford the cost or the restrictive nature of an iPod). How is that possible?
Well, it was Mohandas Gandhi who once wrote in his autobiography that is was our duty to, “hate the sin and not the sinner.” It is coincidental that this message comes from him, considering that Gandhi, most revered for his non-violence approach to civil rights and freedom across the world, was also really bigoted to people of darker skin. But those character flaws are not how we choose to remember our heroes and artistic geniuses. Instead, we immortalized Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, James Brown and yes, R. Kelly too, even as their personal misgivings at times overshadowed their talent. Some of us even go as far as to make excuses for their transgressions. How many times have we heard someone say, “Well, yeah the girl was too young, but you can’t blame R. Kelly for that. I mean, where were her parents? Surely this girl is no amateur.”
In her book Deals With the Devil and Other Reasons to Riot, Pearl Cleage speaks candidly about her inability to forgive Mile Davis, who had allegedly beat up Cicely Tyson among other women. She writes, “So the question is: How can they hit us and still be our heroes? And the question is: How can they hit us and still be our leaders? Our husbands? Our Lovers? Our geniuses? Our friends? And the answer is…they can’t. Can They?”
Truth is that they can’t. No matter how well they dance or sing or rap or can blow into a trumpet. And it is hard to acknowledge one aspect of someone without it bleeding into the way you feel about them in their totality. While I’m not advocating we hate them and burn their records like Cleage suggest we do, we should be aware that the love for some of our favorites is complex. And more importantly, be able to say, yes, R. Kelly is very talented and on the verge of musical genius–but he is sort of a douchebag too.
More on Madame Noire!
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “The Wiz”
- One Time It Wouldn’t Hurt To Think Like A Man: The Take It Or Leave It Attitude
- Power Couples With Half The Fame: Celebrities With Non-Famous Partners
- Single Black Male: Why Do Men “Settle?”
- Evening Eye Candy: Ryan Reynolds
- No Need To Wonder: 15 Signs You’re Just A Toy To Him
- Where Are They Now? 11 Forgotten, Familiar and Favorite Faces From Some Of Our Favorite Spike Lee Joints