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December 27, 2012

By Kam Williams


Best Big Budget Black Films


1. “Think Like a Man”

2. “Sparkle”

3. “Good Deeds”

4. “Flight”

5. “Won’t Back Down”

6. “Men in Black III” 

7. “Safe House”

8. “Madea’s Witness Protection”

9. “Red Tails”

10. “Red Hook Summer”   


Best Independent Films


1. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

2. “Middle of Nowhere”

3. “Restless City”

4. “Changing the Game”

5. “Yelling to the Sky”

6. “Unconditional”

7. “We the Party”       

8. “The Intouchables”

9. “Christmas in Compton”

10. “A Beautiful Soul”


Best Documentaries


1. “The Central Park Five”

2. “The Loving Story”

3. “Hoodwinked”

4. “Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story”

5. “Soul Food Junkies”

6. “Marley”

7. “Brooklyn Castle”

8. “Dark Girls”

9. “Bad 25”

10. “Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap”


Best Actor (Lead Role)


1. Michael Ealy (“Think Like a Man/Unconditional”)

2. Denzel Washington (“Safe House,” “Flight”)

3. Will Smith (“Men in Black III”)

4. Tyler Perry (“Good Deeds,” “Madea’s Witness Protection”)      

5. Alassane Sy (“Restless City”)

6. Sean Riggs (“Changing the Game”)

7. Nate Parker (“Red Tails”)

8. Mandela Van Peebles (“We the Party”)

9. Kirk Ponton (“Velvet Elvis”)

10. Omar Sy (“The Intouchables”)






Best Actor (Supporting Role)


1. Dwight Henry (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”)

2. Kevin Hart (“Think Like a Man”)

3. David Oyelowo (“Middle of Nowhere”)

4. Derek Luke (“Sparkle”)

5. Ice Cube (“21 Jump Street”)

6. Mike Epps (“Sparkle”)

7. Don Cheadle (“Flight”)

8. Keith David (“Christmas in Compton”)

9. Chris Tucker (“Silver Linings Playbook”)

10. Cuba Gooding, Jr. (“Red Tails”)


Best Actress (Lead Role)


1. Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) 

2. Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Middle of Nowhere”)        

3. Thandie Newton (“Good Deeds”)       

4. Queen Latifah (“Joyful Noise”)

5. Viola Davis (“Won’t Back Down”)

6. Zoe Kravitz (“Yelling to the Sky”)

7. Gabrielle Union (“Good Deeds”)

8. Jordin Sparks (“Sparkle”)

9. Halle Berry (“Cloud Atlas”)

10. Zoe Saldana (“The Words”)


Best Actress (Supporting Role)


1. Carmen Ejogo (“Sparkle”)

2. Naomie Harris (“Skyfall”)

3. Whitney Houston (“Sparkle”)     

4. Meagan Good (“Think Like a Man”)   

5. Irma P. Hall (“Changing the Game”)

6. Keke Palmer (“Joyful Noise”)

7. Amandla Stenberg (“The Hunger Games”)

8. Jasmine Guy (“October Baby”)

9. Gloria Reuben (“Lincoln”)

10. Gabrielle Union (“Think Like a Man”)


Best Director (Feature Film)


1. Tim Story (“Think Like a Man”)

2. Salim Akil (“Sparkle”)

3. Tyler Perry (“Good Deeds”)

4. Peter Ramsey (“Rise of the Guardians”)

5. Anthony Hemingway (“Red Tails”)


Best Director (Independent Film)


1. Ava DuVernay (“Middle of Nowhere”)

2. Andrew Dosunmu (“Restless City”)

3. Rel Dowdell (“Changing the Game”)

4. Victoria Mahoney (“Yelling to the Sky”)

5. Mario Van Peebles (“We the Party”)


Best Director (Documentary)


1. Janks Morton (“Hoodwinked”)

2. Spike Lee (“Bad 25”)

3. Soul Food Junkies (“Byron Hunt”)

4. D. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke (“Dark Girls”)

5. Ice-T (“Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap”)










Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 27, 2012


Take a positive and sensible stance this week where co-workers are involved. Situations could be tricky, but you’ll do fine if you don’t commit yourself to anything that you really don’t want to do.  Soul Affirmation: The earthiness of my being reflects the sunshine of my soul.



A positive, alert attitude will draw opportunities to you this week.  You’ll see more of the big picture if you take a mental step backward. You’ll hear exactly what you need to hear if you take the time to listen. Soul Affirmation: Jewelry reflects the beauty of my feelings about myself.



 Guard your words this week, and let peace and harmony rule where they may. It’s not the time to point out the character flaws of a higher-up. You can make this a very productive week if you apply your industrious spirit to your work. Soul Affirmation: Facing down challenges makes me feel good about myself.



 Good deeds are in order this week.   Perform all the random acts of kindness that you can. Everything you do this week is going to come back to you in triplicate, so enjoy storing up some future blessings! Soul Affirmation: Another week in which to rejoice is upon me. ah-h-h-h-h!



 You can help out a friend this week if you plan your schedule so that you’ve got time for kindness built in! Embrace your generous side while getting your own work finished.  You are excellent at multi-tasking! Soul Affirmation: Old love? New love? The most important thing is true love!



You may want to make this week a schmooze-fest! Whether you go out to a party or stay in with a friend, you’ll have a good time if you remember that charm is the only weapon that’ll work for you this week. Soul Affirmation: I work hard to combat envy this week.



 Your vibrations could cause you to pause. That’s good, because a pause is just what you need to remember to think of the positive. Reject the negative and you’ll have a wonderful week. Soul Affirmation: I give my mind a holiday again this week.



 Rev up your engines. This is a fine week for making progress with projects that you’ve got in the works. Your energy is high and your mind is clear. Use every advantage this week to finish up your work. Soul Affirmation: What life has given me is sufficient to any task.



A spirit of competition may be troubling you. Let it go. Celebrate differences and get on with the work of creating new hope in the world! Your tendency to speak without considering the full impact on others should be checked this week. Soul Affirmation: I graciously anticipate joy and this gives me the ability to give



Confusion exists over some question, and every time you think you’ve got the answer, circumstances will change and new information will come to your attention. Don’t worry, things are going to clear up and work out. Take it easy. Soul Affirmation: My smile is a radiant light to those I encounter.



Communications flow smoothly this week and your word is golden. A wild idea for money making could come to you, but you should let the strictly material walk on by. Stick to your current plan and use your imagination for ways to streamline your work. Soul Affirmation: Confusion gives me an opportunity to show my love.



Creative mental energy makes this a banner week. An ambition that you thought you had left behind years ago suddenly resurfaces, and you’ll see similarities between what you are doing now and what you dreamed of back then.  Soul Affirmation: I give my brain full power this week.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 20, 2012

By Adam Howard

Special to the NNPA from the SC Black News


 “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us!”

 Twenty years ago, Spike Lee made movie history. His epic biopic of the controversial and complex Malcolm X became a cultural touchstone, made Denzel Washington an A-list superstar and cemented his status as a true auteur to be reckoned with.

Yet the film’s path to the big screen was far from smooth and the movie’s eventual success was anything but guaranteed.

Hollywood had sought to adapt Malcolm X’s story since not long after his assassination in 1965. Legendary author James Baldwin even wrote a draft of the screenplay in 1968. But the subject matter and political climate during the ensuing decades prevented a Malcolm X movie from being made.

Eventually Norman Jewison, who directed one of Sidney Poitier’s greatest films, In the Heat of the Night, was tapped to helm Malcolm X’s story. Rising star Denzel Washington, who co-starred in Jewison’s A Soldier’s Story, was cast in the lead.

Although Jewison was a highly-respected, socially conscious filmmaker, there was widespread concern about a white director bringing the life of a black nationalist to the big screen. After a loud, growing chorus, led by Spike Lee, called for his removal from the project, Jewison stepped aside.

“If Norman actually thought he could do it, he would have really fought me. But he bowed out gracefully,” Lee said.

Once Spike Lee was installed as the director by producers he made no bones about the fact that this would be his “vision.”

“I’m directing this movie and I rewrote the script, and I’m an artist and there’s just no two ways around it,” Lee said. “But it’s not like I’m sitting atop a mountain saying, ‘Screw everyone, this is the Malcolm I see.’ I’ve done the research, I’ve talked to the people who were there.”

Yet Lee, no stranger to controversy himself, was also a polarizing choice for some.

An anti-Spike Lee rally was even held in Harlem led by black radical poet Amiri Baraka.

“We will not let Malcolm X’s life be trashed to make middle-class Negroes sleep easier,” said Baraka.

“Based on the movies I’ve seen,” he said in an interview with Newsweek, “I’m horrified of seeing Spike Lee make Malcolm X. I think Eddie Murphy’s films are better.”

Although Washington had portrayed Malcolm in an off-Broadway production to considerable critical acclaim, there were many who objected to him winning the big screen role because of his lack of resemblance to the real-life icon.

“In real life, Washington, who is about 6 feet tall and the color of mocha, bears little resemblance to the reddish-brown, 6-foot-4-inch Malcolm — a fact that has not gone unnoticed by many who knew the Muslim leader,” the New York Times reported in 1992.

It turns out complaints about the director and star were the least of the production’s problems.

Lee sought to make a truly epic film in the style of the previous year’s JFK or David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. This meant a 3-hour plus running time, elaborate period sets and international location shooting — which would include footage from the holy sites in Mecca.

However Warner Brothers, the studio financing the movie, was only willing to commit to a budget of roughly $30 million. When Lee began to go over budget there was a legitimate threat that creditors would shut the entire production down.

“The budget that we had for Malcolm X… everybody knew it was not adequate. We knew it, the bond company knew it. And Warner Brothers knew it,” Lee said during an appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio.

Desperate, Lee sought out a who’s who of black America’s rich and famous to donate funds to save Malcolm X. Bill Cosby, Janet Jackson, Oprah Winfrey and Prince are just a few of the illustrious names who kept the film afloat.

“I called Magic [Johnson], he wrote a check. Then I called Michael Jordan, told him how much Magic gave,” quipped Lee.

With the movie now solvent again, Lee was able to complete the film as he saw fit and it hit theaters on November 18, 1992.

The movie performed solidly at the box office, earning $48 million domestically, and scored widespread critical acclaim.

The Washington Post‘s critic called Malcolm X “Spike Lee’s most universally appealing film. An engrossing mosaic of history, myth and sheer conjecture.”

In a rave review, film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “Watching the film, I understood more clearly how we do have the power to change our own lives, how fate doesn’t deal all of the cards. The film is inspirational and educational — and it is also entertaining, as movies must be before they can be anything else.”

Ebert would name it the best film of the year and one of the best films of the 1990s.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 27, 2012


In a move that can only be described as historic and unprecedented, the Recording Academy (Grammys) and the Los Angeles Sentinel/Black Press reached a mutual understanding that signaled the end of an ugly era that saw media access being arbitrarily denied to the Black Press in general. 

Neil Portnow, Chairman of the Grammys met with Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Chairman and executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times and mutually resolved the issue equal access for the African American Press to cover the Grammys in the future.





Don Cornelius, the smooth-voiced television host who brought black music and culture into America’s living rooms when he created the dance show “Soul Train,” was found dead at his home in Los Angeles early Wednesday in what appeared to be a suicide, the authorities said. In the early-morning hours of February 1, 2012, officers responded to a report of a shooting on Mulholland Drive and found Cornelius with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead by the Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner. According to former Soul Train host, Shemar Moore, Cornelius may have been suffering from early onset of dementia or Alzheimer's disease and his health had been in decline. Cornelius was 75.







At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the middle 1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world's best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful, and peerless vocals that were rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.

Her success carried her beyond music to movies, where she starred in hits like “The Bodyguard” and “Waiting to Exhale.”

On February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston was found dead in her guest room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, California. Subsequent toxicology reports showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub due to the effects of chronic cocaine use and heart disease. News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards and featured prominently in American and international media. Houston was 48.






Won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Minny, the outspoken maid in the 2011 film, The Help, for which she also received accolades such as the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress.




Less than three years after pleading guilty to felony assault for attacking singer and then girlfriend Rihanna, Chris Brown appears to be back on top—boasting three performances and taking home the 2012 Grammy for Best R&B Album for F.A.M.E.






Contestants Adrian Battle and Beau Williams were the co-winners of the inaugural Starquest Talent Competition at the 7th annual Taste of Soul in October. Both singers appeared to be genuinely stunned after they were declared the winners as the crowd clapped and whistled.






Coming soon to your living room...24 hours of Diddy and Magic Johnson. Cable giant Comcast announced that the company will work with the media moguls to launch their own branded channels, as part of a mandate given to Comcast to support minority-owned networks. The company has said it will launch 10 such networks by 2018.







As the new chair at BMI, Susan Davenport Austin becomes one of the most powerful and influential women in radio.

 Austin was elected by her peers, as chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). She became the first woman and the first Black woman to serve in that capacity; previously, she was the vice chair. 









Best known for his role as George Jefferson on the CBS television series All in the Family and The Jeffersons, and as Deacon Ernest Frye on the NBC series Amen. He also played Earl Sinclair's horrifying boss, a Triceratops named B.P. Richfield, on the Jim Henson sitcom Dinosaurs.








He's already the top-earning rapper, now Dr. Dre is also the highest-paid musician, according to Forbes. The rapper-producer raked in $110 million this year, taking in $100 million before taxes in a deal with HTC and his Beats headphone line.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 20, 2012

By Chelsea Battle

LAWT Contributing Writer


If you’ve ever strolled down the aisles on the 3rd floor of Macy’s at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, chances are you’ve passed right by The Museum of African American Art and didn’t even notice it. The truth is, it’s one of LA’s best-kept secrets.

Now, more than ever, is the time to do a double take as you exit the elevator near the museum entrance. Look for it! That is because LA’s hidden jewel is now showcasing one of its most interesting attractions ever:  “The 90 That Built LA” exhibit.

The 90 That Built LA is a free exhibit sponsored by the Los Angeles Urban League and Time Warner Cable. The league will use this project as a platform to celebrate not only it’s 90 plus years of service to the community, but 90 dynamic individuals who have helped to shape our fair city. From December 13 until February 28th patrons will be able to view an impressive collection of historical artifacts, artwork, and photographs chronicling the contributions of individuals who have helped to shape Los Angeles in the areas of entertainment, education, politics, and community development.

“For several years, the Urban League has dreamed of putting together this exhibit, but we could not make it happen until we had a committed partner, Time Warner Cable,” said Los Angeles Urban League Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Chris Strudwick-Turner.

“Like us, they saw the vision of what this exhibit could be and they have been with us every step of the way as a presenting sponsor to put this exhibit together for the community.”

Given the countless numbers of people who have dedicated their lives to making a difference, whittling the selection down to 90 was doubtlessly a challenge.  At the exhibit’s grand opening last Thursday, project coordinators emphasized that there are certainly more than 90 individuals who have contributed to LA. However, having designated the number of spots, they made the decision to allow the community and project board members to choose the notorious 90. Some of the honorees include Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Councilman Bernard Parks, former mayor Tom Bradley, dance choreographer Lula Washington, community organizer Cesar Chavez, and Danny Bakewell, the publisher for the Los Angeles Sentinel.

It would be hard to come up with a reason to miss this exhibit. From Kwanza through Black history month this free, local exhibit will provide an in depth history lesson that you won’t find elsewhere.  As you plan your visit, remember to grab a child’s hand and bring them along too. 

Photos courtesy of Malcolm Ali

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture