Rolling Stone Magazine Publishes First Spanish-Language Section On Latino Music And Culture

On Friday, for the first time in its 45 years, the magazine published a special Spanish-language section on Latino music and the cultural figures that presently influence the over 50 million Hispanics in the United States.Daniel Craig’s 007 may be the face of the Nov. 22 issue, but a flip to the back of the magazine will reveal a secondary cover featuring crossover rapper Pitbull.

Donning a bright red blazer and signature shades, “El Rey de la Fiesta” (The King of the Party) covers the special 15-page section which centers around the “10 Best Latin Rock Albums of All Time” as well as the work of Dominican Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Junot Díaz, Puerto Rico’s hip-hop duo Calle 13, and Colombian actress Sofia Vergara, among others. Seventeen percent of Rolling Stone magazine’s readership is Latino, according to GfK MRI audience research reported in the New York Times. With that in mind, the magazine filled their unprecedented section with articles written in English and Spanish interview sidebars with no translation attached. “The whole idea of the content being in both English and Spanish is that the acculturated Latino is using both Spanish and English in the house and outside of the house,” Matt Mastrangelo, the publisher of Rolling Stone, told the New York Times. An April 2012 study by the Pew Hispanic Center surveyed language use among Latinos and found that among adults 38 percent were classified as bilingual, while the same percent were Spanish dominant and 24 percent were considered English dominant. CONTINUE READING..

A Look At The Black Actors Who Might Contend For The Best Actor Oscar + Some Interesting History

It’s that time of the year, as prognosticators at every level start handicapping the Academy Awards, which are set to take place on February 24 (nominations will be announced on Januray 15, 2013). As much as some of us might dismiss the Oscars as an indication of where black cinema is, or where blacks in cinema are, we can’t ignore their overall industry relevance. I can already hear the chants: who cares about the Oscars; they’re not for *us.* Well, a lot of folks in the industry (and out) do certainly care, and see value in the recognition. I plan to post a follow-up piece that looks at the history of the awards show, and how (or if) it’s impacted the careers of those black entertainers who’ve won trophies.Today, I’m focusing on black actors who just might make the short list of Oscar nominees in the Best Actor (male) category when they’re announced in January; and as you’d expect, there aren’t many of them.In fact, of the 600+ films that would have seen Oscar-qualifying USA theatrical releases by the end of this year, I counted a total of 19 that feature a black male actor in a leading role. How pathetic is that? Doing the math, that’s about 3% of total volume. It shouldn’t be shocking however; it’s a rare occurrence when we cover a film (especially a studio-backed project) that features a black man in the lead role. Very, very rare. 19 times rare. Actually it’s less than 19, because I’m also including indie features in that number.19 out of well over 600 films! It’s a white man’s world, in case you needed that clarification. The overwhelming majority of films with male leads (the bulk of movies made by studios today) star white male actors. And if you take a closer look at the list of 19 films, you’d very quickly dismiss most of them as potential Oscar contenders, given what we know of the criteria for Oscar-caliber movies. In fact, I’d say of the 19, only 3 really stand a chance of making the short list of nominees for Best Actor. First, here’s the list of 19: Red Hook SummerThe Magic of Belle IsleWuthering HeightsMIB 3Safe HouseThink Like a Man, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness ProtectionFlightRed TailsTyler Perry’s Good DeedsAlex CrossA Thousand WordsThe Man with the Iron FistsThe IntouchablesWoman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th DayUnconditional2 Days in New YorkThe Last Fall, and Django Unchained.Am I forgetting any films? I used Box Office Mojo as my primary source. I don’t think there are any glaring ommissions though.And of those 19, the only 3 that I think have a shot at nominations are: Denzel Washington in Flight (he’s probably a sure-thing), Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained, and Omar Sy in The Intouchables.  The last 2 are Weinstein Company movies, and we all know how well Harvey Weinstein does when it comes to ensuring that movies he wants on the ballot, make it on the ballot.The Omar Sy pick might seem out of left field to you, but, as we’ve noted in past posts, there’s been a definite push to get him an Oscar nomination for his work in that film. He already won the French equivalent of the Oscar (the César) for Best Actor, so why not the Oscar as well.”We definitely think this is an Oscar movie, and we think that Omar, like Jean Dujardin before him, is in this race,” Harvey has said. Of course he’s referring to Jean Dujardin who won the Best Actor Oscar earlier this year, for his work in The Artist (one of the most over-rated movies I saw in 2011).Maybe he’ll make it a a double, with Omar Sy this year. I doubt it, given the competition; but a nomination isn’t entirely out of the question.But if I were to pick one of these 3 actors who I thought was guaranteed to make the short list of 5 nominees, I’d go with Denzel without any hesitation. Django Unchained isn’t out yet, but even when it is released, I don’t know if Jamie’s peformance will match the overwhelming buzz that’s surrounded Denzel’s work in Flight since it was released.And I think Omar Sy would need even more of a push. I’m not really hearing his name mentioned as a real contender.As for the other 16 films on the list, the only other title that I’d say has some potential is Wuthering Heights, which stars James Howson as Heathcliff. There just hasn’t been enough buzz to help elevate awareness of the film. It was released on October 5, and was met with mixed reviews. It hasn’t even reached $100,000 in box office, despite having been in theaters for over a month. And I haven’t Howson’s name mentioned at all as a potential awards contender. It would help if he’d been up for other awards, especially as the film traveled the festival circuit, but he hasn’t picked up any.

I should mention that I considered other films with black actors in starring roles, but none of them featured what would be traditionally referred to as a male lead, so I didn’t include them on the list of 19; these are roles that, if nominated, would likely be in the Best Supporting Actor category. For example: Omari Hardwick and David Oyelowo in Middle Of Nowhere (it’s really Emayatzy Corinealdi’s movie); I’d say the same for the male characters in Sparkle, and also Beasts Of The Southern Wild (specifically, Dwight Henry). CONTINUE READING..

So that’s it!

It was almost exactly 1 year ago, when we announced that Qasim Basir (on the heels of the home video release of his feature film directorial debut Mooz-Lum) had officially begun prepping his next film – a drama titled simply Destined. Since then, little has been publicly available about the project, other than a synopsis and early poster art, which were shared on the film’s Facebook page last year, with the tagline, “One man. Two stories. One choice that changes everything.” Skip ahead a year later to today, as I’ve learned from both Qasim and Tommy Oliver (the project’s producer) that the film has been filling its cast, and is set to begin production at the end of December in Atlanta, with Qasim directing from his own script, Oliver producing, and Hill Harper executive producing through their new production company, Confluential Films. I’m told that Omar EppsMekhi PhiferEmayatzy Corinealdi, Keri Hilson and Michael Rainey Jr are all currently attached to star in the film, with a few more actors circling, and who will be announced later. In Destined, a pivotal moment in 13-year-old Rasheed’s life splits off into two possible outcomes: in one, he becomes an up-and-coming architect being used by cynical real estate developers to gentrify and destroy his old neighborhood, and in the other he becomes a powerful drug lord who rules his surroundings but may regret what he’s built. Intrigued? I am; the parrallel worlds/lives angle is attractive and I’m looking forward to seeing how Qasim builds this universe on screen. CONTINUE READING…

Andre 3000 Speaks on Jimi Hendrix Biopic

NEW YORK — In order to capture his best version of Jimi Hendrix for an upcoming biopic, Andre 3000 said he had to think of him as a regular dude and not a rock star. “I didn’t look at him as an icon because when you’re in it, you don’t know you’re an icon. You don’t know you’re an icon until another people say you’re an icon,” the 37-year-old said in an interview Tuesday. “So I had to take it as a person, you know what I mean? And I just tried to say, `Well, what would Jimi want people to know that they can’t get off of YouTube?’ And that’s how I approached it,” he said. Hendrix died at age 27 in 1970. He was ranked No. 1 on Rolling Stone magazine’s greatest guitarists of all-time list. His band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, is known for iconic albums such as “Electric Ladyland” and “Are You Experienced.” “All Is by My Side,” which focuses on the early days of Hendrix’s career, will be released next year. Andre 3000 is excited to see the film, which he’s finished shooting in Ireland. He believes the public “will be pleased.” Andre 3000, one-half of OutKast with Big Boi, has been out of the music scene in recent years, although he’s been featured on songs by Beyonce, Frank Ocean, Rick Ross, Ke$ha and Young Jeezy. CONTINUE READING…


You got to hand it to the Game. The Compton rapper has been a self-promoting machine plugging the Dec. 11 release of his fifth album, Jesus Piece. It started with the who’s-who of features on the LP’s lead single, “Celebration.” Game wrangled Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa for the track and video. Then there was the album’s controversial cover art, followed by several freebies that included the LP outtake “Holy Water” and the Shyne-dissing freestyle “Cough Up A Lung.” Along the way, Game saved a guy’s life and threw some punches at Lil Wayne’s 30th birthday bash. With all the action on Game’s Twitter page in recent weeks, it’s hard to believe that the Jesus Piece tracklist has remained elusive…until now. Twelve tracks and assists from some of the biggest names in hip-hop — Kanye West to Kendrick Lamar to Rick Ross to J.Cole and more — show up on the Jesus Piece tracklist. Jamie Foxx makes a cameo on “Hallelujah,” while the Dr. Dre-produced “Dead People” is an added bonus for those picking up the album on iTunes. Song titles like “Heaven’s Arms,” “Pray” and “See No Evil” keep with the album’s gospel concept. CHECK OUT THE REST OF THE ARTICLE