April 11, 2013

By Chelsea Battle

LAWT Contributing Writer


“Be patient, work hard, know that God’s working for you, and never let your age define your success.”  Carlos King offers up this sage advice from the standpoint of one who has lived its truth.  With his recent success working as Co-Executive Producer for Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, a reality show which attracted an enormous following of more than 3 million viewers with its season premiere alone, King is living proof that patience, faith, and hard work can indeed pay off.

As a young boy growing up in the “Motor City” under the watchful eye of a father who toiled for the Ford Motor Company for twenty long years, Carlos King had already set his sights elsewhere.  He recalls living amongst many plant workers who defined their success by whether or not they worked for one of the “Big 3” plants.   While he respected the work that his father did, he decided early on that Detroit life was not for him. He kept himself sane by watching television, a past time which fueled his dreams of working in the entertainment industry.

“Detroit isn’t really the type of place for entertainment,” King explains. “Being somebody that just knew that I wanted to get involved in the entertainment industry somehow, I was always this kid who just dreamed of making it big and moving to New York City.  I always had this type of ambition because I knew that I didn’t want to just live in Detroit for the rest of my life, and when the opportunity came for me to move to NY you know the rest was history!”

After moving to New York in 2002 and interning for big time shows the likes of The View and 20/20, he eventually went on to work for BET as a production assistant. It was during his stint there that his mentor, Joy Chen, called and offered him the opportunity to work on the then new reality show called The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

“I was like, ‘Oh God—I got to move to Atlanta for like 3 months’, and the money wasn’t going to be good; I was going to have to take a pay cut, so it wasn’t going to be an easy transition for me.  But I always saw the bigger picture because I wanted to do reality. I started working on The Real Housewives of Atlanta and it was the best decision I ever made, because that kind of jumpstarted everything for me.  It has been nonstop for me since 2008. That show really propelled my career to unforeseen heights, and you know I never regretted that decision.”

He continued to work on Atlanta housewives as a producer for four years before moving on to become the Co-Executive Producer for Love and Hip Hop Atlanta with Mona Scott Young, the Executive Producer of the series. Through word of mouth he heard that Young was bringing the then New York based show to Atlanta, and he eagerly jumped at the opportunity. The show became an immediate success, earning recognition as the top rated cable show for women 18-49 years old.

“I called Mona Scott Young myself and I told her that I wanted to work on the show,” King recalls. “We had a meeting like the next day and she fell in love with me; I fell in love with her—and she got me a position as Co-Executive Producer.  When I came on board they were already casting and I cast Carly.  I was like, ‘Mona, Carly is going to be good; she’s messy, trust me!’  I knew immediately after seeing Jocelyn and the whole love triangle that this show was going to be a monster hit. And then it became the number one show on cable!” King proudly exclaims.

As though having the number one cable reality show isn’t noteworthy enough, King also has a few other projects under his sleeve. He has been working on a new show with his good friend and mentor, Tyler Perry.  Called Tyler Perry Comes to OWN, the show premieres May 26th on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. Prior to working on this project, King worked with Winfrey as a show producer for Oprah Behind the Scenes for a year. It was under Winfrey’s tutelage that he learned how to run a production empire as the Oprah Winfrey show was embarking on its final season.

“It was definitely a blessing being able to work with her,” says King, “and just kind of be a sponge and watch how she operates, and just really learn how to run an empire.”

King also has a new production company called Kingdom Reign that he is especially proud of. The company came into fruition in September and has been growing ever since. In addition to developing shows, the company provides consultations for people who are interested in pitching shows.  It also helps develop talent for those who are interested in doing, or are already involved in, reality television.

“I want to continue developing shows that are hot topics discussions for people who love to watch reality TV, explains King. “I don’t think this genre is going anywhere, so I really just want to take things to the next level and have my company be the premiere destination for the reality shows that ignite controversy and conversation [while offering] really quality programming.”

Season 2 of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta will premiere on Monday, April 22nd at 8p.m.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 11, 2013

By Kenneth D. Miller

LAWT Asst. Managing Editor


‘Free Angela’, a gripping documentary reflecting the historic events that catapulted a young Angela Davis into a controversial political icon during the turbulent late 1960’s will made its limited release recently.

In Hollywood there are very few Black distributors and there isn’t one on the level of CodeBlack Entertainment’s Jeff Clanagan.

Moviegoers will see Jamie Foxx, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry on the big screen
and feel sense of connection to their character.

Then there are your successful Black screenwriters such as Tyler Perry, Spike Lee and John Singleton who are also behind the lens directing their projects.

Hollywood has not always been kind to Blacks. Since the turn of the century when Oscar Micheaux became the first Black film star in 1914, the industry has mass-produced a negative perception of Blacks.

Way before the success of current stars, Blacks could only get in front of the camera if they wanted to play the role of the maid or the butler, as white filmmakers such as D.W. Griffith produced such despicable films such as ‘Birth of A Nation’, until an even worse--Black filmmaker- Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry- arrived with the character of ‘Stepin Fetchit.’

Clanagan is determined to embrace the Black market and thus become responsible to it.

“The reality is there have been a lot bad experiences for African Americans because we are trying to assemble in Hollywood instead of creating our own commerce and business,” explained Clanagan in a recent exclusive interview from his Lionsgate office Santa Monica office.

Clanagan is the CEO of CodeBlack Entertainment, the first independent, vertically integrated Black owned film studio, actively engaged in the business of feature film production, film distribution, worldwide DVD and digital assets distribution, urban marketing consulting and production of programs for television broadcast and syndication.

He blames as divide and conquer syndrome and crab in the bucket mentality among Blacks as one of the primary obstacles.

“There are five or six major studios and four or five networks, but they don’t have an obligation to give us anything,” he declared.  “The people who run those studios or networks are descendants of people from the past, so they don’t have an obligation to us. So, we go in with our hands out and we get crumbs as opposed to recognizing our economic power that we have proven and harnessing that power to create our own business.”

CodeBlack Entertainment was created to facilitate positive representations of African-Americans in film. A multi-faceted entertainment organization, CodeBlack provides a consistent stream of urban-themed programming that is distributed across theatrical, digital, broadcast and internet-based platforms.

It owns the larges catalog of Black material in the world, an expansive library that consists of dramatic, comedic, romantic and faith-based titles featuring top African American and Latino talent.

In just a short period of time Clanagan has already established CodeBlack Entertainment as an independent distributor of urban-themed content releasing urban content through theatrical, DVD, and broadcast channels and has further increased its equity by developing a strategic business alliance with one of Hollywood's biggest media conglomerates Lionsgate.

The company has a multi-picture deal with Lionsgate, to produce original urban films targeting the African-American market.

Previously he enjoyed such a relationship with Fox where he produced film adaptations of the 1980s Off-Broadway gospel musical hit Mama, I Want to Sing! as well as the popular play A Good Man is Hard to Find. In June 2009, the entered into a partnership with basketball player Shaquille O’Neal to produce and distribute the All Star Comedy Jam series. Featuring some of the most celebrated stand-up comics.

Most recently CodeBlack has enjoyed enormous success with comedian Kevin Hart and has a long working relationship with Lionsgate.

Clanagan elaborated; “Once you are able to create you own business and can do it on your on, then instead of asking for stuff you are able to create partnerships based on your ability to produce. I am not saying that you have to be in business with studios, but there is a way that you can be in business with them as a partner.”

As he sees it there isn’t a system for Black executives to exist at the studios and networks and conversely when Blacks attend college they are not learning about public relations and marketing jobs behinds the scenes, but instead are taught to go for the more popular jobs in front of the camera.

“The other part of that dilemma is that as actors and producers we fail to arm ourselves with the proper information so that we can go in and intelligently negotiate the best deal for us,” he added. “What I mean by that is we don’t understand the numbers and the economics of the movie business.”

Clanagan decided upon the name CodeBlack to directly deal with the stigma of racism in the industry. He courageously ran to who his race, instead of from it. Studios executive have ultimately respected him for his stance.

So, CodeBlack Entertainment doesn’t just have the right man for it’s job, but Hollywood has the right man to be The Black Power of Hollywood.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 11, 2013


Associated Press


NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets are losing one of their biggest names as they prepare for the playoffs.

Jay-Z owned just a little piece of the team, but was a large presence when the franchise changed homes and identities this season.

The rap mogul is selling his stake in the Nets so he can become certified as a player agent, possibly before the end of the season. The process is underway, with paperwork already filed, a person with knowledge of the details said Wednesday.

NBA rules prevent anyone from being involved in ownership and player representation.

Yahoo Sports, which first reported Jay-Z’s plans, said his Roc Nation company has partnered with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and hopes to compete for players in this June's NBA draft.

Jay-Z owns less than 1 percent of the Nets, but has had a major impact with the franchise's move to his hometown. He had input and in some cases complete control of everything from the interior of the $1 billion Barclays Center to the design of the team’s black-and-white uniforms, which he debuted himself during his run of eight sold-out concerts in September that served as the debut of the arena.

A spokesman for Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, did not respond to a message.

Friendly with LeBron James and a number of sports superstars, Jay-Z could quickly make Roc Nation a force in the agency field. The company recently signed New York Yankees All-Star Robinson Cano. The Nets hoped his reputation and friendships would help them three years ago when James led a loaded field of free agents, but the Nets, then playing in Newark, failed to land any of them.

Jay-Z attended only a handful of games this season, but his affiliation with the franchise provided a necessary buzz for its first season in Brooklyn. He sat in his courtside seat next to wife Beyonce in November when the Nets beat the Knicks in their first matchup as New York rivals, providing the trash talk afterward when he tweeted that the city was under new management.

The Nets have clinched their first playoff berth since 2007 and are in position to have home-court advantage in their first-round series.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 11, 2013



Your enthusiasm has an effect on the outside world on Monday and Tuesday. It's almost as if flowers lift higher out of the earth when you walk by. Midweek, walks are great, and in keeping with your mood, when progress is a concern but speed is not. Thursday and Friday are especially molasses-filled days, but, like molasses, they are not without a certain amount of sweetness. You will reap rewards for your perseverance. Saturday and Sunday, by comparison, are strapped-to-a-rocket speedy. Expect your hair to get wild.



You are of two minds about everything at the beginning of the week. The best advice is to shop around. Don't take the first thing that catches your eye if it's not right. Don't feel pressured to accelerate through the decision-making process. Starting Wednesday, everything will be easier, and you'll feel good just from being in the company of people who know you. Thursday and Friday find you happy as well, appreciative of everything you have, wondering if you've become a glutton, what with all the excess that surrounds you. Nevertheless, this weekend you will be in the mood to shop.



Whatever you're feeling on Monday, you're not alone. The people around you are more complicated (and more understanding) than you may realize, and talking with them -- or finding another way to express yourself -- is a grand idea. Tuesday's great for communicating as well. Wednesday and Thursday are more introspective days (you will have to call on inner resources to get everything handled), and Friday involves an awkward squabble with someone nearby (a coworker or a neighbor). But Saturday and Sunday are bursting with goodness and, possibly, romance.



The slightest suggestion recalls a whole world to you on Monday and Tuesday. A smell, a color, even a word brings you right back to something from your past (and all the attendant emotions). On Wednesday and Thursday, dinner parties, charming people and your house all figure strongly, and Friday is full of crazy ideas and a sense of urgency about generating newer, crazier ideas. Saturday is the kind of day when you'll walk to the store and, on a whim, decide to keep walking -- just to see how far you can get, to make an adventure of your afternoon. Sunday, however, is made for completing tasks.



A nice-to-meet-you attitude on Monday and Tuesday is the way to go. Prepare to shake hands with someone who, in the course of a casual conversation, will change your opinion of something. On Wednesday, you won't see anyone except the people you work with, and on Thursday you won't have much room for thoughts except those related to work. But Friday is a total mixed bag: celebrities, the law, your boss, your ego -- all of these things may figure in. The weekend, conversely, is about none of those things. The weekend is about friends, dreams and hopes.



High-spiritedness can quickly become combativeness when tempers run short. On Monday and Tuesday, keep your head on long-term goals (your relationships with the people around you, for instance) rather than short-term questions (who stole your stapler?). It isn't until Wednesday that you begin to feel truly compatible with others this week. Thursday and Friday find you getting a lot done -- and finding more and more things to do (one door, alas, leads to another) -- and the weekend is loaded with potential. It will be a great weekend or a nothing weekend, depending entirely on you.



Whatever else happens, Monday and Tuesday afford you time to spend with you-know-who -- time stretching into forever. What will you do together? It's entirely up to you. But a dose of selflessness isn't a bad idea. What would this other person like to do? Wednesday and Thursday, your mind is still on other people (attachments and alliances are strong themes), and Friday finds you scrambling to find a creative way to tell someone how much you appreciate them. Saturday and Sunday, expressing yourself comes more easily. You'll come up with so many new ideas you won't remember them all.



While your impulse to deal with issues as they arise is a good one, it's not the right impulse on Monday and Tuesday. Avoiding conflict is the order of the day. Things could easily get out of hand. Wednesday and Thursday are better suited to working things out -- although, to your frustration, the best solution most likely requires that you give in on some point (a small point, a painless concession). Boldness is key to getting beyond the obstacles Friday has in store for you, but this weekend you're better off proceeding on tiptoe. Sunday is deep.



Your checklist is a game on Monday and Tuesday -- a competition with yourself, a true test of your effectiveness. You welcome the challenge. You like creating these kinds of games for yourself, and you like getting things done. The secret to Wednesday is in the details, but Thursday and Friday you'd be wise to take a step back and look at everything through wider goggles. On Saturday there is so much going on that you'll have no chance at depth or meaning in your social interactions -- but you'll be so busy this won't even occur to you. Sunday's busy too.



Your family is in your thoughts on Monday and Tuesday. You are feeling loyal and worried in that loving, protective way, and the best thing to do might be to pay a visit. If that's not possible, try to connect in some other way. Wednesday is much more you-centered -- a creative project will have you grinning -- and Thursday or Friday evening might be right for a small trip somewhere, for a couple of hours or overnight. Camping? A motel with a pool in a no-name town? The weekend returns you very much to the real world, full of flaky people, talkative strangers and faithful, brilliant friends.



You're easing into a new approach to your life. Monday and Tuesday, you're feeling a bit radical, a bit bohemian -- or maybe you're just reading too many French novels. It's changing the way you dress though, no? And the way you interact with people? Your values? Wednesday and Thursday, your self-discovery takes on even more dimensions, and on Friday you are baffled not only by your own strangeness but by the strangeness of life itself. It's a wild week for you, internally. And then it becomes wild externally: An out-of-left-field love affair rocks your weekend.



Everything takes on a certain murkiness on Monday, and by Tuesday you'll have no idea which way is up. That kind of disorientation can be fun, so long as you're in the mood for it. Wednesday and Thursday, find antidotes to the ambiguous abstractedness. Make dinner at home. Put down your thoughts in writing. Play an album you know by heart. On Friday, nothing is as strong as the pull of your heart, which may explain why, on Saturday, you'll open up a book of poetry. Sunday isn't a boring day, but you should try to keep the activities cerebral rather than athletic.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

April 11, 2013


Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House celebration Tuesday night of Memphis soul music is an affirmation of the decades of hard work that went into making it a classic American music sound, said some of the artists tapped to perform.

“I’m proud to do this,” said Sam Moore, half of the Sam & Dave soul duo, known for the hit “Hold On, I’m Comin’.”

Moore said he was kicking off the concert in the East Room after an introduction by President Barack Obama. The 77-year-old said it's his first time meeting Obama and he joked about possibly wearing a diaper — just in case.

“You just hope you don’t slosh in your shoe,” he said in between rehear­sals. Moore did not give away any de­tails about his performance.

Artist William Bell said the concert reaffirms years of hard work that began in the 1960s when Stax Records was created in Memphis, Tenn., and the label cranked out one soul and R&B hit after another for more than a decade.

Among its artists were Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Bell and Sam & Dave.

“As kids coming up, we didn't think it would last this long,” the 73-year-old Bell said of the music genre during a rehearsal break. He said he would perform one of his hits, “You Don’t Miss Your Water.”

Tuesday’s concert is the 10th in the “In Performance at the White House” series. The lineup includes Alabama Shakes, Steve Cropper, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, Justin Timberlake, Bell and Moore, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader.

Al Green was listed in the original lineup but, about an hour before the show, the White House released a statement from the singer’s spokes­man who said Green had suffered a back injury that will keep him from traveling and that he will be unable to perform. Green sent his regrets.

The entire program is set to air next Tuesday on PBS stations nationwide. It will also be broadcast at a later date over the American Forces Network for service members and civilians at Defense Department locations worldwide.

The program also honors Memphis, where whites and blacks came together in the 1960s to make a soulful blend of gospel and rhythmic grooves despite it being a segregated city.

Earlier in the day, the first lady kicked off a workshop featuring Moore, Staples, Timberlake, Musselwhite and Harper for students from 16 schools and organizations in Virginia, California, Memphis, New York City, Maryland, Florida and Washington, D.C.

She noted Memphis’ history as the birthplace of Elvis Presley’s rock and roll and B.B. King’s blues.

“And while you can hear both of those influences in Memphis soul, this music has a style and a story uniquely its own,” Mrs. Obama said, before launching into the story of Stax Records.

She noted that the label also represented “somebody my husband thinks he sounds like” — Green. “Let’s just tell him he does, OK? Since he is the president, we like to boost him up a little bit.”

It was a reference to Obama singing a few bars of Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” in February 2012 during a Democratic fundraiser at New York’s Apollo Theater.

Mrs. Obama also tried to encourage the students, including some aspiring musicians, by noting that the artists perched on stools in front of them have spent decades perfecting their talent to get where they are.

She recalled playing the piano as a young girl and said she regretted not keeping it up. But she said the skills learned through music can be useful in other avenues of life.

“The discipline, the patience, the diligence I learned through the study of music, those are all skills that I apply every single day in my life,” Mrs. Obama said. “I applied them as a student, as a lawyer, as a first lady, and definitely as a mother.”

Started in February 2009, the “In Performance at the White House” series has celebrated the music of Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Hispanic music, music from the civil-rights era, Motown and the blues, Broadway and country music.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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