October 31, 2013

 

By Stacy M. Brown

 

Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

 

Famed film director John Singleton said when movies about African Americans debut, he’s always the first to be called to lend insight.

 

Singleton, who directed the 1991 critically-acclaimed drama “Boyz in the Hood,” said that recently his telephone hasn’t stopped ringing

 

“I’d like to talk about other movies, too,” he said, but acknowledged that he doesn’t mind weighing in on the recent avalanche of black films, including what many view as an Oscar front-runner, “12 Years a Slave.”

 

“I’ve seen it and I can tell you it’s a work of art,” said Singleton, 45.

 

“Steve McQueen, who is black and from the United Kingdom, has created a raw and unflinching look at a black man’s descent into one of the darkest chapters of American history, it’s as authentic as it gets,” he said.

 

Kasi Lemmons, who directed such films as, “Talk to Me,” the 2007 movie based on the life of native Washingtonian and radio personality, Ralph ‘Petey’ Greene and the 1997 love story and drama, “Eve’s Bayou,” said “12 Years a Slave,” and other African-American films have resonated throughout Hollywood and around the globe because of their frank portrayal of the various trials of blacks.

 

“It’s really unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Lemmons, 52, whose new film, “Black Nativity,” will hit the Silver Screen next month. “These films are all different, comedies, dramas, historical dramas, musicals. It really is a whole range of movies primarily directed by and starring African Americans. It’s pretty exciting,” she said.

 

McQueen’s “12 Years” film, which debuted on Friday, Oct. 18, counts as a harrowing and unforgettable tale that takes audiences back to early America where “a peculiar institution” proved to be the norm. The two-hour and 13-minute movie confronts the barbaric reality of this country’s history as it pertains to blacks and slavery.

 

In 1841, Solomon Northup, a free man working as a violinist in Saratoga, N.Y., with a wife and two children, set out on a trip to Washington, D.C. Two strangers approached Northup when he arrived in the Nation’s Capital, and claimed to be businessmen seeking to hire a musician. After dining with the men, Northup wakes up to find himself, bound and chained, captured by slave traders.

 

He’s beaten and shipped to the South to be sold, ultimately to a man named Epps, portrayed in the film by Michael Fassbender.

 

The beatings proved to be so grotesque that Fassbender said that he couldn’t watch the retakes during the editing of the film. “It made me sick, I nearly passed out, that’s how real it was,” said Fassbender, 36, who has appeared in such films as “X-Men: First Class,” “Inglourious Basterds,” and “Jane Eyre.”

 

Violence and degradation dominate the film, including a hard-to-watch scene in which Northup stands all day with a noose around his neck as the ground sinks beneath him and other slaves, slave owners and every day folk pass by without acknowledging that he’s even there.

 

“There should be Oscar nods for McQueen, screenwriter John Ridley, lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who gives the performance of a lifetime; and, hopefully, Fassbender, who plays the most compelling big-screen villain this year,” Singleton said.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 31, 2013

 

ARIES

This week you need to balance keeping your eyes on the heavens and your head here on earth. Much work needs to be done before you can accomplish the task before you. If you let yourself, you can get a lot done this week. Soul Affirmation: I reward myself with high opinions of myself. Lucky Numbers:  18, 21, 30

 

TAURUS

Details might trouble you early in the week, but you don’t have to go with that flow of energy. You can choose to focus your attention on the now and work through each task patiently. Things will clear up quickly if you forego idle dreams. Soul Affirmation: I search for ways to improve the way I see life. Lucky Numbers:  3, 17, 30

 

GEMINI

A slight adjustment in your attitude could create a whole new vista for your outlook. What you think is not in conflict with what you do; it simply describes it. Look for a new way to describe your ideas and thoughts. Soul Affirmation: Happiness rules my week this week. Lucky Numbers:  36, 39, 53

 

CANCER

A spirit of rivalry may have you envious this week. Forget about competition. Celebrate your uniqueness and know that no one really ever competes with you in the matter most essential -your good feelings about yourself.  A good friend is waiting with a great surprise. Soul Affirmation: I allow the world to bring me my surprise. Lucky Numbers: 1, 23, 41

 

LEO

It’s a week tailor-made for your energies, so get out there and let every perfect moment flow toward you. You’ve got an abundance of pleasant feelings why not spread them around? Soul Affirmation: This week I forgive myself for everything that has happened. Lucky Numbers: 23, 34, 52

 

VIRGO

Remember that you are an intensely physical sign, and you need to move your body in order to relax. Take a walk, go for a swim, play tennis, or scrub that kitchen floor. However you choose to move, you’ll liberate your spirit and relax at the same time. Get going! Soul Affirmation: Success is mine because I feel successful. Lucky Numbers: 32, 47, 54

 

LIBRA

You start the week feeling peaceful and wise. Discussions with a close friend may reveal the source of your inner freedom in a very tangible way. So talk about it. You’ve got everything good to gain. Soul Affirmation: I let go of the old in order to make room for the new. Lucky Numbers: 16, 28, 29

 

SCORPIO

A message this week may necessitate travel on your part, and you may feel obligated to do something you don’t want to. Let the energy flow past you and do what you think is best. Who you are is who you are—be glad about it! Soul Affirmation: Time is the greatest peacemaker of them all. Lucky Numbers: 12, 17, 22

 

SAGITTARIUS

Accomplishment gives you a feeling of personal satisfaction this week, and you’ll feel very happy with your abilities. Take care not to quarrel with a friend; be tactful when asked for your “honest” opinion! Let minor irritations pass you by, and you’ll find your way into a very romantic mood. Soul Affirmation: I am willing to do more than my part to get the job done this week. Lucky Numbers: 33, 46, 55

 

CAPRICORN

Avoid getting involved in any office politics or family feuds this week. The week’s energy is excitable, but not necessarily exciting. Do your own thing and be proud of what you do. Let others do their own thing, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Soul Affirmation: A week of rejoicing is upon me. I celebrate. Lucky Numbers:  2, 40, 45

 

AQUARIUS

Do you realize that you are the only one who can tell you what to think and how to feel? Let go of any behaviors that are keeping you from achieving the things you want to achieve. Be creative and positive this week. Soul Affirmation: All that I need is within me. Lucky Numbers:  20, 34, 45

 

PISCES

Any nervous energy you may be feeling can be dispelled with some physical activity. You are doing just fine, so take long walks or try a yoga class and leave your worries behind you. Everything is working out in a perfect way. Soul Affirmation: The grandeur of my presence reflects the sunshine of my soul. Lucky Numbers:  4, 37, 53

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 31, 2013

Special to the NNPA from the St. Louis American

 

1.1 million viewers tuned in for Oxygen’s new docu-series “Prea­chers of L.A.” making it the biggest Wednesday night season premiere on Oxygen to date and the network’s second highest rated series ever.

But one person who wasn’t tuning in was T.D. Jakes.

The mega church pastor took a moment to denounce the show during his Sunday sermon at The Potter’s House.

“Now, I know you been watching that junk on TV. I want to tell you right now, not one dime of what you’re sowing right now will buy my suit. I want you to know my car is paid for. I want you to know I got my house on my own. I want you to know I’m not bling-blinging. I am not shake and bake. I had money when I came to Dallas and I plan to have some when I leave.

You did not buy what I got. I had it when I came here. You know I had it when I came here. The devil is a lie! I have sold enough books and produced enough movies. I don’t need your offering to pay for this little slimy suit. So I rebuke that spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.”

If there was any question about exactly who or what Jakes was referencing he told his congregation,

I’m not from L.A. I’m from Dallas!”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 31, 2013

By Kam Williams

Contributing Writer

 

Rapper Ja Rule was paroled from prison earlier this year after spending a couple of years behind bars for a weapons violation and tax evasion. In a case of art imitating life, he now stars in a faith-based tale of redemption revolving around a hip-hop producer endeavoring to go straight following his release from jail.

“I’m in Love with a Church Girl” was actually inspired by a true story, but not Ja Rule’s. Rather, the autobiographical screenplay was penned by convicted coke dealer-turned-preacher Galley Molina while incarcerated in a California penitentiary.

The movie is set in the San Jose native’s hometown where the ex-gangsta now serves as youth pastor at the Evergreen Valley Church.

Narrated by Ja, the picture’s protagonist is a fictional character called Miles Montego. As the flashback flick unfolds, we find Miles returning to the ‘hood after a stint in the slammer.

He immediately gets a good piece of advice from his Bible-thumping mom (Marjorie Mann), namely, to attend services on Sunday in order to meet a good God-fearing woman who might help keep his nose clean. Sure enough, he soon falls in love at first sight with Vanessa (Adrienne Bailon), a clerk at a store specializing in Christian-oriented products.

The two hit it off, despite her concern about all the bling and his degenerate-looking posse. Eventu­ally, Vanessa becomes convinced that he’s left the life of crime behind, but the same can’t be said about the DEA Agent (Stephen Baldwin) still tailing Miles him with hopes of arresting him again.

Given the film’s spoiler of a title, there’s a sense of inevitably about “I’m in Love with a Church Girl.” This easy to predict morality play is certain to resonate with the Evangelical demographic, and it even has a chance of attracting a mainstream audience because of the presence of the charismatic Ja Rule in the lead role.

A faith-based modern parable with a positive message for both believers and wayward souls ripe for redemption.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for PG for violence, suggestive content, mild epithets and mature themes

Running time: 118 minutes

Studio: Reverence Gospel Media Films

Distributor: Film District 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 24, 2013

Wire Report

 

Funk Icons, Morris Day and the Time, will headline the Brotherhood Crusade’s annual gala this year on November 1, which marks the organization’s 45th anniversary. This year Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, will receive the Bremond Bakewell Award for “establishing new benchmarks for success and achievement,” according BC President/ CEO Charisse Bremond Weaver. Ridley- Thomas, an elected official for more than 20 years has forged beyond the ordinary leadership paradigm in his efforts to address the problems of underserved communities in Los Angeles, she said.

“The country has marveled at his accomplishments as a preeminent civil rights leader and politician in the fight to provide affordable, quality healthcare to underserved individuals,” Bremond Weaver said in a statement released earlier this week.

“He has also been at the forefront of the battle to open the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital.”

Ridley-Thomas won election to the Los Angeles City Council in 1991. In 2002, he began the first of two terms in the state Senate. In 2008, he was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing the Second District. As a city council member, Ridley-Thomas created the Empowerment Congress to give residents a voice in decision-making; he is considered the father of the Neighborhood Council movement. He is also a leader in the effort to add a transit station to the rail line that will travel along Crenshaw Boulevard to the airport, which will improve transportation and create tens of thousands of jobs.

“During his many years of service, Ridley-Thomas and the Brotherhood Crusade have stood on the same side of issues, as they fought to make life better for their constituents,” said a BC spokesperson.

Said Ridley Thomas, “The Brotherhood Crusade’s role in bettering our community and improving lives is well-documented, and to be honored by such an organization leaves me with a sense of deep satisfaction.”

Meanwhile, BC officials gala attendees to gear up for a fun night as, “the man who put the ‘C’ in ‘cool’ will bring the funk and fun with oldies like, ‘What Time is it?’ and ‘Cool,’” they said.

“Our galas are always fun,” said Bremond Weaver.

“The issues we tackle are serious, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.”

Each year the fundraiser attracts about a thousand celebrants: celebrities, elected officials, community leaders, and other supporters, said BC officials.

Guests will learn about the many ways the organization helps improve the lives of residents in South Los Angeles. This year’s theme is “The Gift of Leadership.”

The gala begins at 7 p.m. Chris Schauble, co-anchor of KTLA 5 Morning News, and Pat Prescott, a radio personality with 94.7 The Wave, will emcee. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Brotherhood Crusade’s youth development programs. The Beverly Hilton Hotel is located at 9876 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 90210.

The Brotherhood Crusade thanks its sponsors for their generous support of the gala: The California Endowment; AEG; Nielsen; Southern California Edison; US Soccer Foundation; DirecTV; American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper; Verizon; Bank of America; Microsoft; Wells Fargo; Comerica Bank; Northern Trust; Ivie, McNeil & Wyatt; SEIU ULTCW; Southwest Airlines; and The Berry Gordy Family Foundation.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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