John Singleton: Revisit His Storied Career Through Photos

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.

The Marathon Continues: How Nipsey Hussle’s Vision for L.A. Will Live On

“I don’t ever make moves under pressure,” Nipsey Hussle explained to me back in February 2018. His final album, Victory Lap, had been out for less than a week, and he was stopping by New York City for an on-camera interview. The early numbers were looking good on his latest release. Last time that he checked, the project—which would eventually be nominated for a Best Rap Album Grammy—was headed for a top 5 debut.

On one level, the title Victory Lap represented the third installment of his Marathon trilogy. But as he savored the moment, reflecting on his accomplishments to date, Nip unpacked the words more fully. “We was able to become real successful in the mixtape space,” he said, sipping a cup of tea. “And obviously we announced the partnership with Atlantic Records. We established businesses and built an ecosystem around the music with the Marathon Store, with the Marathon Clothing, with the Marathon Agency. One of the things [Victory Lap] means to me now, when I think about it, is being able to stand up in the game. Being clear that Nipsey Hussle has a clear lane in the game, and built it, and took the stairs. We had opportunities to be assisted, but chose to do it on our own.”

In the weeks since Ermias Joseph Asghedom’s senseless murder, his legacy has come into sharper focus. If anything, the man known to many as “Neighborhood Nip” downplayed his impact as an entrepreneur and community leader during our conversation. Any misconceptions have been erased by his memorial service at the Staples Center, not to mention his hearse’s heroic last ride down a street that would soon be renamed in his honor. The intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and West Slauson Avenue—where he came up hustling, invested millions, and ultimately lost his life—will henceforth be known as Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom Square.

The all-too-familiar rap star narrative of diversifying into new business ventures while turning one’s back on the streets that raised him did not apply to Nipsey Hussle. He had a vision that went way beyond handing out turkeys on Thanksgiving. Nipsey was extremely involved in his local community, founding and supporting numerous L.A. businesses and organizations. According to some estimates, the businesses he and his partners built employed over 40,000 people, many of them ex-convicts who might have had difficulty finding a job elsewhere. From the co-working space Vector90 (a business incubator with built-in STEM academy) to local ventures (a FatBurger partnership, Steve’s Barber Shop, Elite Human Hair, the World on Wheels skating rink, and more), Nipsey Hussle put on for his city like no other rapper in history.

Nipsey was just getting started. Plans had been drawn up to open a six-story residential building atop his smart store with a light-rail train connecting the area he dubbed “Destination Crenshaw” to LAX. More than just meeting with LAPD officials to discuss curtailing gang violence, Hussle was also planning to visit Washington D.C. along with T.I. and their business associate Dave Gross for a series of meetings with Congress to discuss the nationwide rollout of Vector90 as part of a larger initiative called Our Opportunity. There was a lot of important work left to be done, which helps explain the widespread sense of outrage at his untimely death.

Back in February 2018, Nipsey spoke about how he dealt with one of the most difficult times in his career, between the end of his deal with Epic Records and the game-changing rollout of his 2013 Crenshaw mixtape, which he famously sold for $100 apiece. “Real-life things,” is what he said he was going through at the time. “Street shit that never really got written about, ’cause it doesn’t belong on the front page. My brother going to jail. Us getting raided. Us having real war in the streets.”

At times like these, this son of an Eritrean immigrant evoked a Red Sea metaphor that may be helpful today. “I tell my daughter don’t let the water in the boat,” Nipsey said. “The boat’ll never go down if you don’t let the water in the boat. And that’s just water—you know what I’m sayin? That’s just rough seas. We got a destination. We trying to get across the ocean to the other country, or to whatever land on the other side of this water. All that other shit, you go straight through the waves. Just don’t let the water in the boat.”

Over the past few weeks, I spoke with some of Nipsey’s family members and inner circle about their plans to carry his legacy forward. Having spent years living and working alongside this visionary artist, thinker, activist and entrepreneur, they were all used to life in Marathon mode. Even as they fought back tears, they all agreed that this particular marathon will continue.

READ MORE: https://www.complex.com/music/2019/04/nipsey-hussle-los-angeles-friends-family-interviews/

‘Madden NFL 20’ Cover Star Patrick Mahomes Is Officially a Very Big Deal

After an MVP season, the Steph Curry of the NFL earned the prestigious honor of being the face of the ultra-popular video game. We talked to the Chiefs QB about his ascent from slept-on college recruit to football superstar.

The football version of a music video shoot is going down in a cavernous studio that’s starting to get warmer than the temperature outside. It’s a picture-perfect day in the middle of April in Hollywood. Meanwhile, inside, it’s dark and a little stuffy as the director barks out orders over the booming beats of a playlist featuring Billboard Hot 100 hits from Gucci Mane and Offset, among others. After at least an hour of capturing the signature movements and mannerisms of the best young quarterback in the NFL, a production crew of almost two dozen still has another hour to go before they’ve logged every shot on their list.

That’s because Patrick Mahomes—decked out in his full Kansas City Chiefs uniform as he stands in front of a gigantic screen flashing blindingly sharp red and yellow graphics—has a lot of signature moves. He’s asked to flex and fake scream for the camera after he pretends to throw a bomb for a touchdown. Between takes, he bops to 21 Savage. Next up, Mahomes darts across the studio like he’s on the run and throws across his body to a PA playing receiver. Stylists and hangers-on move to the other side of the studio so they aren’t blown up by a pass the PA can’t handle from Mahomes’ rifle of a right arm. After that, he tosses some of those preposterously accurate sidearm passes the NFL hasn’t seen on the regular since Brett Favre’s Green Bay heyday. The only thing the production squad seemingly fails to document is one of his absurd, improvised left-handed throws.

Mahomes spends half a day at Line Studios doing take after take, because capturing his uncanny improvisational skills with cameras only a few feet away ain’t easy. The director, acting like a coach, asks Mahomes to give him more energy.

“That was 50 percent. I need 75 percent on this one,” he says.

“I got you,” Mahomes replies.

More energy, more angles, more takes until the right shot is captured. It’s important they nail it because what they get on film here will be seen by millions tuning into the NFL Draft. That’s when Mahomes will be anointed as a very big deal among a specific segment of football fans.

READ MORE: https://www.complex.com/sports/2019/04/madden-nfl-20-cover-star-patrick-mahomes-is-officially-a-very-big-deal

Why 5G Mobile Requires A New Handset And Why It’s Not Worth Upgrading Yet

5G, which stands for fifth-generation mobile technology, is the talk of most towns in the developed world right now.  There is no doubt that when it finally launches to the global mass market it will transform the technological landscape. That bit is easy to comprehend. What is perhaps harder to understand, is that it really isn’t worth upgrading your cellphone to a 5G device any time soon.

Existing handsets cannot be upgraded to 5G with a simple software download, the hardware required for a 5G phone is different from that used by current 4G phones. Users will be required to purchase a new 5G-enabled device outright or to take out a new contract that includes a 5G cellphone handset.

Is It Worth Upgrading To A 5G Cellphone?

5G phones should have a longer battery life than current handsets and offer faster data speeds, but in the short term, unless the user is based in one of the few 5G testbeds that are running worldwide and their network supports it, the cellphone user will not be able to harness the benefits of 5G.

Despite all the hype surrounding 5G, it is only available in small pockets of cities where it is being tested around the world. The technology is most efficient in built-up areas, it may never reach rural areas of the globe at all because it just doesn’t make economic sense to deliver it there.

Plus, the current 4G phones are pretty speedy, so the higher speeds associated with 5G are unlikely to be noticeable when using existing streaming services.

5G technology is currently focused on improving business and manufacturing services and the devices associated with the Internet of Things, such as automated vehicles. Cellphones will eventually benefit from this enhanced technology, but only when it has spread its tentacles over the bulk of most of the countries that it is being introduced in and when 5G specific cellphone services, such as enhanced gaming, come to market. Stick with 4G until that time comes.

Review: New doc shows how Beyoncé changed Coachella, forever

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.