Monthly Archives: February 2016

Actor Forest Whitaker shines on Broadway in Hughie

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Photo used with permission from Hughie on Broadway

With this being Whitaker’s first Broadway run, audiences were especially interested in seeing how well he would translate from film to the stage. The New York Times calls Forest Whitaker, “one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation. Whitaker is a magnetic actor” and the Chicago Tribune says “Forest Whitaker is one of the best actors of our generation.” CBS says “Whitaker doesn’t so much play roles as inhabit them” and Variety calls Whitaker “an acting force.” This is very apparent in his portrayal of this down and out gambler.

As theater buffs may know, the play is set in the summer 1928 in New York City. Beyond the bright lights of the Great White Way, a small-time gambler and big-time drinker returns to the faded hotel he has made his home. He encounters a new night clerk at the front desk and as the early hours of the morning give way to another dawn, he continues to chase the American Dream in order to survive. HUGHIE is a rarely seen theatrical masterpiece that beautifully explores redemption and offers a unique insight into the human condition.

Hughie first premiered on Broadway in 1964 with Jason Robards in the role of “Erie” Smith. The role of “Erie” has been played by illustrious actors such as Burgess Meredith, Ben Gazzara and Al Pacino. Now Forest Whitaker can be added to the list of those playing this interesting an complex role. Forest Whitaker quickly makes the role his own and keeps the audience’s attention as he unveils his character.

Tickets for Hughie range from $25 – $149, and are available at: HughieBroadway, Telecharge (212.239.6200), or directly at the Booth Theatre box office. Please note, the show only has a strictly limited engagement so if one waits to long, they may miss the show.

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The Real Housewives of the Potomac; Gizelle Bryant, Karen Huger and Robyn Dixon

60aeea6206aeba1528e7371349a70e21 (1)Even though the title of the show is “The Real Housewives of the Potomac“, these particular ladies are so much more.They are mothers, sisters,daughters, wives and businesswomen who are hoping to empower their own children and others with this show.

As many viewers know by now, “The Real Housewives of the Potomac” premiered on on the Bravo Channel on January 17, 2016. Potomac, Maryland is located just outside of the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. The community is known for its rolling hills, gated mansions, sophisticated prep schools, and exclusive country clubs all serve to keep the area invitation-only. Sprinkled throughout this community are a handful of old-line, wealthy African-American families who have historically broken racial barriers to provide the best life possible for their children.

“The Real Housewives of Potomac” follows the upscale lives of six intriguing, well-to-do women:Gizelle Bryant, Katie Rost, Karen Huger, Charrisse Jackson-Jordan, Robyn Dixon, and Ashley Darby, all of whom have fought for their places in this society by way of legacy or marriage. They live in a town where entry is granted only through class, pedigree, and lineage.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with three of the ladies and they each provided such intriguing information and tips on what they wanted their audience to take away from watching them each week. The chat was with: Gizelle Bryant, Karen Huger and Robyn Dixon. Each of the ladies were intelligent, poised and quite certain of their goals and how they each planned to use this platform to empower others. From their appearances, one would think that they are just pretty faces, but this is so far from the truth. While it is evident that they are all beautiful women, there is a vast degree of major substance that goes along with each of them.

What audiences will learn over the course of the show is how deep the friendship of these ladies go. Many of them have know one another through their philanthropic efforts over the years. One of Karen’s first endeavors is to focus on the importance of Alzheimer’s Disease awareness and the effects of the caretaker as well. As a result of their friendship, Robyn and Gizelle are own board to support her. This is much of the theme with the ladies and what does set them apart.

Whether it through philanthropy, etiquette or education, the goal of “The Real Housewives of Potomac”is to allow others to see their world and how they can benefit from it. And while there will be disagreements that happen among friends, because let’s face it, that is life, this group of women wants to show the world their process for handling a disagreement in a positive and healthy way.

For more on the show, visit: Bravo TV: Real Housewives of Potomac for when the show is aired.

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Let’s “Werk 101” with Author Koereyelle DuBose

371d4f9851bc7c4f66d057e40dd3a913On Wednesday, February 10, 2016 in New York City, invited members of the press and guests had the opportunity to hear from author, educator and speaker Koereyelle DuBose to discuss her new book and book tour. The book is entitled “Werk 101.” and is simply a guide written to empower women and young girls to go after their goals and not settle for less.

Although there are a few books on the market instructing people to go after their dreams. WERK 101: Get-Your-Life-Together Guide is the ultimate handbook sharing health, wealth, and lifestyle lessons for the modern-day woman and it is done with such a unique flavor because of the voice of the writer.

Koereyelle DuBose, that many consider “the voice of single women,” fiercely empowers you to “WERK” for what you want by first WERKing on you. She wants people to actually get ready to let go of the victim mentality and be liberated, but she not only talks about it, she displays this in who she is today. Through each page, Koereyelle shows you how to create a powerful, positive mindset, and design your life’s destiny on your own terms.

She is creative, knowledgeable, and a dedicated, educator and entrepreneur whose goal is to empower women worldwide. As a business owner, she is the founder of The Single Wives Club and a host of a weekly Blog Talk Radio Show, R.E.A.L.

Koereyelle’s choice of work stems from her deeply rooted desire to help create change in the lives of others. A former educator, Koereyelle holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Tennessee State University and a Master of Education degree from Central Michigan University, which have provided a foundation in curriculum design and creating workshops and programs.

Currently based in Atlanta, Koereyelle has her hand in a number of projects across the city and is best known for her work with The Single Wives Club, an innovative organization dedicated to preparing women to become wives, nurturing femininity and protecting family, which was born as a result of Koereyelle’s own life experiences with life and love. After a failed engagement, Koereyelle realized that in order to prepare for Mr. Right, she needed to become Mrs. Right. Her goal is to educate and empower single ladies to become better women before becoming a wife. Through her organization, Koereyelle encourages, educates, and provides resources for “single wives” to sharpen skills in the areas such as health, beauty, finance, and spirituality.

Although the book does require work, the goal is for like minded women to enjoy life and become all they were created to be. For more information, check out Koereyelle DuBose’s website and like the book says, Werk 101.

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“Smart People” on Broadway at The 2econd Stage Theater in NYC

9b89c18c832d77c5b1dfaa0172622516Thought provoking plays on Broadway are always a treasure. The stories often leave the audience with so much to think and talk about even if the subject is one that is quite uncomfortable. This seems to be the case for “Smart People”, new play by Lydia R. Diamond (Stick Fly), helmed by Kenny Leon (The Wiz), the Tony Award®-winning director of the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun.

Within the context of the story, there is the quest for love, achievement and identity. This is universal subject, but the underlying question is what role does race play in the story of our lives?

 The journey is set on the eve of Obama’s first election, and deals with four Harvard intellectuals that find themselves entangled in a complex web of social and sexual politics. The interactions are provocative and funny but will leave many to question if things have gotten for the better to worse in America. The cast includes:

Mahershala Ali who is best known for his role on the award-winning Netflix series “House of Cards,” as lobbyist and press secretary Remy Danton. On stage, he plays Jackson, a smart and charismatic doctor working hard to help others, set goals and prove his place in this competitive medical world. He is sometimes frustrated by his superiors.

Joshua Jackson who is well-known for many movie and television roles, but probably most notably for when he came on the scene in the hit TV show “Dawson’s Creek.” He takes on the character of Brian. As a part of his research study, he takes on the stereotypes of race in society. During his research, he soon discovers that many of his findings are some of the things he actually feels himself.

Anne Son has acted and can be seen on various television shows such as “My Generation and “Fargo”, She plays the role of Ginny. She is the very intelligent. sexy, shopaholic doctor who wants to help others and also fight the stereotypes she sees that are imposed on her by others. She is a bit abrasive, but her heart is in the right place.

Tessa Thompson plays Valerie and is best known for her lead role as Dear White People” and “Creed.” She is a beautiful and artsy grad student/actress who is still figuring her way out. Her parents want her to strive for more, but acting is her passion. She has to deal with her studies, her parents and finding herself in the world.

They are lead separate lives for a while, then circumstance happen and they come together as two, then finally as four at a dinner setting. This meeting of the four causes secret thoughts and prejudices to erupt. The play is perfect for this particular time and racism seems to be out front and center even in this Presidential Race. Audiences will leave with many thoughts and may even have to look within themselves to see what they indeed feel about others.

For more information on the play, visit the 2econdStageTheater website.

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The 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival from February 4- 15 in LA

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Photo used with permission from Pan African Film Festival. Actor Don Cheadle in Miles Ahead.

This year’s 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) is filled with various interesting films and documentaries for all to enjoy. The festival began on Thursday, February 4th and has highlighted film selections for opening, centerpiece and closing night films. From director Patrick Gilles, “America is Still the Place” made its worldwide premiere as the Opening Night film selection on February 4, 2016. “Agents of Change” is to be highlighted as the Centerpiece selection on Thursday, February 11th and closing the Festival on Sunday, February 14th is a special screening of “Miles Ahead”, directed by and starring Don Cheadle. All films will screen at RAVE Cinemas 15, located within the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at 4200 Marlton Avenue in Los Angeles, CA 90008.

PAFF  always selects and showcases films that entertain and address current topics surrounding political and socioeconomic issues, as well as subject matters which include arts & culture which affect and tell the stories about people of African descent.

 About the 3 Films:

“America is Still the Place” uncovers a story about a giant oil spill on the beaches of northern California and the institutional racism that Charlie Walker has to overcome in order to finally achieve the “American Dream.” Based on a true story of one Black man’s courage and perseverance to provide for his family, the film takes us on a journey during the Black Power and civil rights era in San Francisco in 1971. This seemed like a good place for a Black Korean War veteran and his family to realize their dream of economic and cultural independence and his chance to be his own boss. In the pursuit of his dream, Charlie Walker finds himself in a city full of impostors and naysayers. He refused to take “no” for an answer. When a catastrophic oil spill opened a door that had never been open to a black man before, he decides to step through the door with both feet and claim the “American Dream.”

Violence against African Americans has been at the forefront of national media headlines and the subject of debates and conversations around the world. “Agents of Change” is a ‘movement’ film which follows young men and women who were at the forefront of the student union takeover at Cornell University in 1969, as well as highlighting the graphic footage of student demonstrators at San Francisco State in 1968 being beaten and arrested by police. Directed by Abby Ginzberg and Frank Dawson, Agents of Change introduces a cast of largely unrecognized but remarkable people, whose commitment to justice and equality paved the way for the opportunities that followed, while also reminding viewers about the work yet to be done to achieve full equity and dignity on campus and in society. Stars of the film include: Danny Glover (a leader of the Black Student movement at San Francisco State), Harry Edwards, Irene Smalls and more. Music composed by Patrice Rushen.

The closing night film is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Oscar nominated actor Don Cheadle does double duty as director and star in Miles Ahead, a film based on a chronological arc of events inspired by the life of the great jazz musician Miles Davis. This is a wildly entertaining, impressionistic, no-holds barred portrait of one of 20th century music’s creative geniuses. In the midst of a dazzling and prolific career at the forefront of modern jazz innovation, The film focuses on a period of five years in the late 1970s. While away from the public light and celebrity, Davis was stifled with personal challenges. During this time, Davis meets a wily music reporter, Dave Braden, who forces his way into Davis’ house and, over the next couple of days, the two men unwittingly embark on a wild and sometimes harrowing adventure to recover a stolen tape of the musician’s latest composition. By the late 70s, plagued by years of regret and loss, Davis flirts with annihilation until he once again finds salvation in his art. Working from a script he co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Cheadle makes his directorial debut with co-stars Emayatzy Corinealdi, Lakeith Lee Stanfield, Ewan McGregor and Michael Stuhlbarg. Miles Ahead will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in theaters on April 1, 2016.

For more than two decades, the Pan African Film & Arts Festival has premiered a host of top black films over the years. Each year, PAFF presents awards of recognition to key industry players and rising stars who have soared in the film industry. This year’s filmmaker awards will be held on Monday, February 15th and will recognize films in the categories of Best Feature Narrative, Best Director-First Feature, Best Documentary Feature and Best Short Narrative. This intimate awards breakfast will also present the Audience Awards, Programmers’Awards and Founders’ Awards.

PAFF also collaborates with festivals from around the world, expanding their influence and audience globally. Not only is PAFF the largest and most prestigious Black film festival in America, but PAFF is the largest Black History Month event in the United States, during the month of February. The Pan African Film & Arts Festival is the quintessential Black festival, celebrating films, actors, filmmakers and fine artists.

Sponsors for the 2016 Pan African Film & Arts Festival are: HBO, WRD, Film LA, UMC, Sony Pictures, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airlines. Festival passes and tickets are on sale now. For more information on PAFF, including screening schedule and events, please visit www.PAFF.org. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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