A few weeks ago, it was announced that groundbreaking filmmaker John Singleton had passed away following a stroke that he had earlier this month.
Singleton, the first Black filmmaker and the youngest director to ever be nominated for the Academy Awards’ Best Director trophy, had a storied career, helming films such as Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Baby Boy and Four Brothers. He also jumpstarted the acting careers of names like Taraji P. Henson, Cuba Gooding Jr., and numerous others.
To honor the acclaimed director, Shadow And Act has gathered select photos from many different phases of his prolific career.
Beyoncé is extremely private, and only lets you know what she wants you to know, when she wants you to know it — typically, in a surprise post be it on her website or Instagram. But throughout the years, she’s slightly cracked open her door to reveal parts of her life and personality — apart from what she gives through strong singing and extraordinary dance moves — to help remind us that though she is epic and flawless, she is still mortal. “HOMECOMING: A film by Beyoncé,” which premiered Wednesday on Netflix, captures the human side of the superstar singer with behind-the-scenes, intimate moments of a mother, wife and artist tirelessly working on what’s already become one of most iconic musical performances of all-time: Beyoncé’s headlining show at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The performance marked the first time a black woman headlined the famed festival and made Beyoncé just the third woman to score the gig, behind Bjork and Lady Gaga. Beyoncé took on the role seriously — as she does all live performances — giving the audience a rousing, terrific and new show highlighted by a full marching band, majorette dancers, steppers and more that is the norm at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The film takes it a step further to showcase what was happening to get to the historic moment: you see a mother bouncing back from giving birth to twins via an emergency C-section; an African American woman embracing her family’s history and paying tribute to black college culture and honoring black art; and the world’s No. 1 pop star defying the odds yet again and pushing herself to new heights, creating an even wider space between herself and whoever is No. 2. Simply put, Beyoncé changed Coachella — forever — and performing after her is like trying to out-ace Serena Williams or dunk better than Michael Jordan: You won’t win. Woven into the film are audio soundbites from popular figures to help narrate the story: Nina Simone speaks about blackness, Maya Angelou talks about truth, and Tessa Thompson and Danai Gurira explain the importance of seeing people who look like you on large screens. Beyoncé speaks, too, saying that she dreamed of attending an HBCU, though she explains: “My college was Destiny’s Child.” She also says the importance of her Coachella performance was to bring “our culture to Coachella” and highlight “everyone that had never seen themselves represented.”
So many people were represented during those performances last April — her stage was packed with about 200 performers, from dancers to singers to band and orchestra players. Beyoncé kicked of the performance dressed like an African queen, walking up the stage as the jazzy, soulful big band sound of New Orleans is played. After letting her dancers and backing band shine, she emerges again, this time dressed down — like a studious, eager, hopeful college student. The musical direction and song selection flows effortlessly and was purposely crafted to tell a story: the first song is 2003’s “Crazy In Love,” a massively successful No. 1 hit and her first apart from Destiny’s Child. It also was Beyoncé’s first of many collaborations with Jay-Z. But then comes “Freedom,” representing the Beyoncé of today, unconcerned with having a radio or streaming hit, but more focused on the art, and the message. And her message was loud and clear on “HOMECOMING”: Her performance is a homage to the culturally rich homecoming events held annually at HBCUs, but also showcases Beyoncé’s own homecoming — her return to her roots, and how she’s found a new voice by reinterpreting her music through the lens of black history. Young, gifted and black, indeed.
“HOMECOMING: A film by Beyoncé,” a Netflix release, is rated TV-MA. Running time: 137 minutes. Four stars out of four.
LOS ANGELES —
Thousands of mourners are expected to gather in downtown Los Angeles on
Thursday to honor the life of Nipsey Hussle, the Grammy-nominated rapper
who was fatally shot last month and whose success and commitment to
redeveloping South Los Angeles made him a local hero.
funeral, billed as a “celebration of life,” will be held at the Staples
Center. All tickets for the event, which were free, were claimed online
within minutes of being made available earlier this week. The arena’s
capacity is 21,000.
Tens of thousands
of fans are expected to gather around the venue, where a public
memorial for Michael Jackson was hosted in 2009. The two-hour service
will begin at 10 a.m. local time and will be followed by a procession
from the Staples Center through South Los Angeles.
Hussle, born Ermias Joseph Asghedom, channeled his upbringing and adolescence as a gang member into music that spoke powerfully to many who live in Los Angeles’ most vulnerable neighborhoods. As his star rose in recent years, Hussle brought investments and attention back to the area, earning the adoration of his neighbors and fans.
Though he developed a following far
beyond Southern California, his death last week struck a particularly
painful chord among residents of the Crenshaw District, where he grew
up. His clothing store on Slauson Avenue in South Los Angeles, The
Marathon Clothing, had become a potent symbol of local success
and black entrepreneurship, a theme he addressed regularly in his
music. His fans clung to lyrics that melded familiar rap bombast with
exaltations about self-discipline and long-term financial planning, a
break from a music culture that often emphasizes flashy spending.
The store transformed into a makeshift memorial on March 31 after Hussle was gunned down there over a “personal dispute,” according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The suspect, Eric Holder, was apprehended by authorities two days after the shooting.
For days outside the store, fans prayed,
lit candles and left hand-written letters addressed to Hussle. One of
the mourners was Candace Cosey, 32, who remembers him as Ermias from
their time attending Hamilton High School together in the early 2000s, a
magnet school on the West Side of Los Angeles. She recalled how Hussle
would sell mix CDs to her and others at school, and how he later started
selling music in the neighborhood out of his trunk.
came close to tears as she pulled out a picture of him from the high
school yearbook. “If you grew up here, you either knew him directly or
you knew someone who knew him,” she said.
Even as his career took off, Hussle remained approachable and “big hearted,” she said. As he amassed fame and wealth, he continued living modestly while making investments in businesses in the neighborhood. And he could be very generous. When a colleague passed away several years ago, Ms. Cosey approached Hussle’s team to see if he could help with the funeral expenses. He contributed several thousand dollars, she said.
“He was about
uplifting us. He hired people from the neighborhood who wouldn’t have
had a job otherwise. He took care of so many people, and he invested in
what he believed in, here, because he grew up here,” she said. “We have
to keep that work going. It’s what he was about.”
Hussle’s death has drawn attention far beyond the Crenshaw District. Celebrities and political leaders across the country have offered their condolences to Hussle’s family and friends. In an interview last week, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles praised Hussle’s contributions to South Los Angeles, a community that he acknowledged has been historically overlooked by the city’s political establishment.
said Hussle embodied the very idea of black entrepreneurship, a critical
component of lifting the community and its residents.
represented redemption and hope. He had come from the world of gangs
and gotten out,” he said. “This is a devastating shock to the stomach.
He was really ambitious — he wanted to get African Americans into tech,
on top of his music game, on top of his businesses.”
“Then to be killed in such a clichéd way, by guns, for a beef in South L.A., it feeds into too many stereotypes,” he said.
Velma Sanders, 60, said she did not listen to Hussle’s music but, as a lifelong resident of South Los Angeles, she felt pride watching his career grow in recent years. His presence, she said, was felt by everyone.
“He would be out
here. He showed you that he didn’t fear where he grew up. He was proud
of it,” she said. “He was building up this community, giving back to
this community. He took that money and instead of buying something
luxurious, a big home or whatever, he put it back in his community so
these would not be vacant buildings. It’s just beautiful.”
Pastor, a professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University
of Southern California who has researched the demographics and culture
of South Los Angeles, said Hussle’s killing “felt like a kick in the
stomach.” He described Hussle as “a hometown guy lifting up his
hometown.” Nothing illustrated this more, he said, than when Hussle and
his girlfriend, the actress Lauren London, posed for a photo shoot in GQ
in February at locations around South Los Angeles — not Hollywood, not
downtown Los Angeles, not New York.
“This really hit hard. This was a hometown guy who stayed home,” said Mr. Pastor.
Pastor said Hussle had left the gang life but never rejected the
culture of the community. Alienation and the search for identity amid
violence and poverty often feed into gang culture, something Hussle
spoke about openly.
“He did what many
people ask of black celebrities, to come back to their community,” said
Najee Ali, an activist in South Los Angeles who knew Hussle. He said
the community is accustomed to feeling left behind when one of its own
makes it big and finds fame.
all leave,” he said. “Hussle was the only one to stay in the community.
He believed in the slogan, ‘Don’t move, improve.’ That’s what made him
Hasani Leffall, 35, who
knew Hussle, once worked for the rapper’s stepfather at a South Los
Angeles restaurant called Bayou Grille. To emphasize the depth of
feeling over Hussle’s murder within the black community of Los Angeles,
he mentioned the murders of Tupac, Biggie Smalls, even Malcolm X and the
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Even with his fame, money and the support of the community, Hussle couldn’t escape the violence of the streets he rapped about.
Mr. Holder, the suspect in the killing, is an aspiring rapper who knew Hussle when he was younger. Mr. Holder, Mr. Leffall said, “represents a dark side about L.A., and a dark side about just men in L.A., in Crip life. There’s always somebody that just doesn’t like you, doesn’t like the fact that people love you.”
Directed by Joe Talbot and starring Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, and Danny Glover. Winner of the Sundance Best Director and Special Jury Awards. The Last Black Man in San Francisco — Summer 2019
From writer/director Joe Talbot and starring Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, and Danny Glover. The Last Man in San Francisco – In Theaters Summer 2019.
RELEASE DATE: Summer 2019
DIRECTOR: Joe Talbot
CAST: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan, Tichina Arnold, and Danny Glover
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Unveiling a name change for the limited series, Netflix has dropped the first teaser for When They See Us, Ava
DuVernay’s scripted, four-part project on The Central Park Five.
The release coincides with the 30th anniversary of the incident.
a statement, Netflix says in part: “The media dubbed the men The
Central Park Five and they were forever linked to that name. The new
title aims to break them free from that moniker. This is a story told
from the perspective of the five men. It is important to everyone
involved in the project to give these men an opportunity to tell their
story and the series should have a title that represents their story.”
1989, five Black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime
they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that
has followed them since that time. In 2019, our series gives the five
men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full
stories. In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell
the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the
criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our
title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized
moniker,” says DuVernay.
The official description of the series: Based on a true story that gripped the country, When They See Us
will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled
the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit.
The four-part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from
Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana
and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers
were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years,
highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with
the city of New York in 2014.
Portraying the young versions
of the five are Jharrel Jerome, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Asante
Blackk and Marquis Rodriguez. Jerome will also play the adult version
of his character, alongside Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Jovan Adepo and
Justin Cunningham as the others.
Felicity Huffman and Vera
Farmiga will play members of the prosecution team, while Michael K.
Williams, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury,
Storm Reid and Marsha Stephanie Blake play family members of the
accused. Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, Omar J. Dorsey and Adepero
Oduye also have roles.
The series was created by Ava DuVernay, who
also co-wrote and directed the four parts. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King
from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey from Harpo Films and Jane
Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions will
executive produce the limited series alongside DuVernay through her
banner, Forward Movement. DuVernay, Attica Locke, Robin Swicord and
Michael Starrburry also serve as writers on the limited series.
Your boss is going to have to be disgruntled about something else this four-day week, because you’re off work Monday for President’s Day and free to blast Cardi B’s extra-filthy “Thotiana Remix” verse as loud as your neighbors can stand it. The Cardi-fied version of the song comes complete with a new video dropped this weekend, which, of course, features rapper Blueface and a car that gained the power of flight once it heard this verse. Wait a minute. If you’re off work, your kids are also probably off school tomorrow. Will the world never allow you to a moment’s peace to enjoy the things you love?!?!
Listen to ‘Please Me,’ Bruno Mars and Cardi B’s New Colla
Cardi B and Bruno Mars are back with another throwback collaboration.
This time, “Please Me” hearkens to the R&B fuck jams of the
mid-90s. Think “Red Light Special” at a more athletic tempo. Cardi
temporarily deleted her Instagram after her Grammy win,
but she’s back to do promo for the new single. “Ok so I’m back from
retirement to announce I have a brand new song coming out Friday at
midnight with @brunomars,” she wrote on Instagram.
The cover art for the new single features Cardi in a purple leather
fringe jacket to make Prince jealous. Bruno Mars is more understated in a
teal button-down. It’s Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran all over again, no?
now, weed exists in an in-between state. It’s not quite legal, but it’s
not quite illegal either. It’s accepted, but not totally normalized.
It’s not quite medicine and it’s not quite a beer and it’s not quite
green juice, either. Whether the police treat it as a big deal or not
depends on who you are and where you live.
all in flux, so it’s tricky to know the right way to talk about it —
but that’s also why, on this week’s show, we wanted to try. We started
with a very basic question. What do you do when you get high?
Molly: Do you like to go out into the world high or do you primarily like to be at home?
Allison: Be at home. Surrounded by all my comforts.
Molly: Are there comforts that are particularly beloved to you while you are high?
Allison: Yeah, I like my pillows. Sometimes I’ll just bring all the pillows from my bed and lie on them in the living room.
Molly: Like a little nest.
Allison: Like a little nest. I can’t eat like crunchy stuff when I’m high, because I might get dry mouth. So it’s like ice cream — or, honestly, Swiss Miss pudding is the best thing to eat while high.
Molly: A nice wet sweet.
We heard from Jia Tolentino, Aminatou Sow, Ben Sinclair, and Katja Blichfeld of High Maintenance — and a lot of our listeners. A few of the things they like to do:
Watch romantic comedies
Do some personal finance work
Go to the grocery store
Go to hot yoga
Marie Kondo the house
Line up all my bottles and do my skin-care routine