Monday, November 30, 2009

Akira's Hip Hop Shop Director Explores LA's Black & Asian Community

I've often been asked if I've ever dated outside of my race. Weellll...technically...if you consider that these smitten "nice guys" invited me to a restaurant or theater under the guise of "friendship" then paid for the movie AND/OR the meal, then I'd have to say, "yes". And that's all I'm saying! The scandalous details of my love life shall remain unpublished until forever or until I receive a hefty sum from a Hollywood producer to tell it all in a highly anticipated film called, "Didn't Mean To Turn You On."

Love may not see color, but many of us are looking at life through more than rose colored lenses. In the short film, "Akira's Hip Hop Shop", a love of Hip Hop music and Japanese food, bring together an Asian man and African-American woman--an uncommon coupling depending on who you ask.

Set in Los Angeles, "Akira's Hip Hop Shop"introduces Akira (James Kyson Lee), a young Japanese record store owner, and Daphne (Emayatze E. Corinealdi), a pretty African-American woman that begins working there. One night when Daphne's boyfriend is a no-show, Akira fills in for the evening and keeps her company. Soon their discovery of similar cultural interests leads to a budding romance that of course gets tested by opinions and situations outside of their relationship.

I love a good romance and "Akira's Hip Hop Shop" provides that as well as a few laughs. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I contacted the director, Joseph Doughrity, for a little interview. The result was not only informative but fun as we explored an African-American and Japanese historic community along Crenshaw boulevard in Los Angeles. ROLL THE VIDEO!



"Akira's Hip Hop Shop"is available for download at Amazon's Video On Demand. Just click the hyperlink in this sentence and support director, Joseph Doughrity, a young independent filmmaker.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What I'm Thankful for: A Blogger Reflects

Wow! 2009 is almost black history for me. Where did the time go? I swear it seems like the year just began sometimes. But it didn't, so now it's time to slow down and take stock of how far I've come and what I'm thankful for--something I do often:

1. LIFE AND HEALTH. Pure and Simple. So many people didn't make it to see Thanksgiving 2009. I'm extremely grateful that I have. But not only that, I'm grateful for each and every blessing, seen and especially unseen. No I'm not living in the lap of luxury, but I've learned to be content with having my NEEDS taken care of. And those things that I WANT I've learned how to attract them as long as they are Divinely approved.

2. TRUE FRIENDSHIP. I get by with a little help my from my friends. Admittedly, I have an issue with asking for help when I need it. But when I have asked, special friends near and far, have stepped up to the plate. I'm not going to do a roll call, but those special folk know who they are and I'm blessed to have them in my life.

3. NEW TYRONE. If you follow this blog then you know, Tyrone plays a very special role in my life. Earlier this year he was stolen from me, but I was blessed with a tricked out replacement, complete with Final Cut Pro and some other toys. An internet freak under cover like myself has to have a reliable computer for business and pleasure. Tyrone is so good to me I had to name him.

4. A NEW ENVIRONMENT. There are times in life when you know you need to get out of your current surroundings, but you stay cause it's convenient. Living in Los Angeles or any big city, you constantly subject yourself to big city sounds and issues. It's great to have a spot that allows you to escape it and return when necessary.

5. A NEW CAREER PATH. I came to La La land seven years ago to hone my tv production skills on a larger scale. Truly, there's only so much you can do in NC. Who would've thunk that I would have stumbled upon a new career passion while pursuing the other--social media and social networking. It's great to discover that certain skills are transferable and that a new enjoyable career path has evolved.

This is hardly a complete listing. I'm grateful/thankful for so many things, but this is a good start. I pray everyone will have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving and will stop to realize everyday is a day of thanks.

Hold up! Before I roll credits on this post, I want to take a moment too say THANK YOU to my subscribers and frequent visitors. Your feedback is a blessing to this blog. Your comments and sharing of the content here and my YouTube channel is GREATLY appreciated. So I'm very thankful for you too!

SADE IS BACK 2010 WITH SOLDIER OF LOVE

If you don't like Sade's music or her band, Sweetback, and the beautiful music they create together as well as apart then don't even bother reading even further. Thanks for the boost in my web traffic, but this post ain't for you, so goodbye! 'Preciate Ya! Come back soon now, ya hear!

And for you young'ins that don't know who Sade is. She and especially her band, Sweetback, laid the foundation of Maxwell's, Indie Arie's, and Amel Larrieux's, mello- smooth, sexy sounds. Do some musical homework!

Now for you left that learned the hard way "Love is Stronger Than Pride", or have experienced "A Sweetest Taboo" so good as soon as they left your presence you called somebody, sang in "Paradise", or better yet found a devoted "Lovers Rock" then this announcement will make your day. SADE IS RETURNING! FEBRUARY 8, 2010!

As a fan, I almost should be mad. Sade been gone so damn long I don't even remember where my "Lovers Rock" album is....Nevermind, I do remember! So damn crack head in South Central LA is taken it straight to the head to my entire Sade collection right about now. But I'm not angry, not at all! Bull(cough)sh!

Was Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook even a thought when Sade had an album out last? Lord, the music industry has changed a thousand times since "Lover Rock!" That was almost a decade ago. Maaan! I still love that album! It's like a musical Jamaican meal with all my favorite flavors, textures, colors. Y'all know my weakness for things "island."

Not to mention I love Sade's musical approach to issues affecting the world--Racism, poverty, war, etc. She has a perspective and isn't afraid to share it profoundly in her music. However, that's pretty much the only way you'll get her opinions publicly because press interviews are as scarce as the food the woman in Somalia was seeking.

Anyhoo, judging by this pretty album cover it appears Sade may bring us a little Spanish flavor this time round. Truly, whatever kind of music it is, I'm anticipated it! But in the meantime here's a reminder of what we've been missing over the years. They're a few of my favs. And recently this first CLASSIC kept me grooving on aisle 5 in the grocery store like I was in a commercial for way too long.



Now this is one of the sexiest songs known to man or woman! Put this on and you don't have to say nuffin';-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New "Couples Retreat" Poster Racist or Just Show Business As Usual

Source: Moviefone.com



Okay, this ain't a magic trick! Look real hard, see the black people, then you don't! See the US poster (right), then see the one for overseas (left). Black folk have been known to wade in the water since the Underground Railroad, but unfortunately in the promotional poster for Universal's "Couples Retreat", the black couple must wade far in the back if they are to appear in the poster at all. Lawd! They are so far back that they're gonna miss the boat to international shores literally.

"Wade in da water...wade in da water children...God's gonna trouble da water!"

And trouble the water He did--or somebody on his behalf--'cause that old black magic Hollywood does so well has some people crying, RACISM! Those of us inside the entertainment matrix know this practice is really business as usual. But don't get it twisted, I'm not saying it's right; it's just another day in the business of show and show marketing. Read the excerpt from the original article:

"According to England's The Daily Mail, a Universal spokesman said the updated ad was released "to simplify the poster to actors who are most recognizable in international markets.

In the U.S. version (above, left), all eight principal stars, including Hawk and Love, are seen standing knee-deep in water with their names displayed above. For the UK version (above, right), a different backdrop is shown with only the six (white) actors and actresses on display.

Any discrepancy between the posters is cause for alarm because it makes racist assumptions about target markets," says Ann Simonton, founder of the non-profit organization Media Watch. "But this is a somewhat common response to how advertisers target audiences. So much of advertising depends on our ignorance and it's important for the consumer to remain ignorant. When they eliminate diversity, it maintains this false view of our world. It's sickening to think about what the industry's motives are, but it's important that they be called on it.

Daily Mail film critic Jason Solomons weighed in over the weekend, noting, "We don't cater much for the black cinema-going audience in this country, which is a great shame, so it seems strange that when there are black stars in a major feature film, this fact isn't promoted. And, in terms of business decisions, this seems a pretty counter-productive one.

For its part, Universal has acknowledged the omission, saying it regretted offending anyone and is abandoning plans to use the revised poster in other countries."

I'll end this post with this and I've said it before: "Don't get mad, get enlightened." Truly, the fact that a black couple was even included in the film is good, right? They got paid--though I'm sure considerably less than their white co-stars, were featured in the film trailer, and earned their film credits too. So I doubt the actors will make a fuss about being taken out of the poster. Not that they don't care per se, it's just a matter of choosing your battles, feel me? Ask any reputable film distributor about promoting black actors or black films in international markets you'll see what I mean.

Read the rest of the original article HERE.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halle Berry On Domestic Abuse & Why She Supports the Jenesse Center



Visit http://www.jenesse.org to learn more and how you can help. As much as we trivialize the issue of domestic violence in this country (ie...calling an article of clothing a "wife beater") it is a serious issue...dead serious, feel me.

Recently, I read on a male celebrity blog that he knew more women that were more upset about their boyfriends/husbands cheating on them than they were about these men hitting them. I commented and questioned the kind of company he kept.

Still, though his statement may have been a mere conversation starter, sadly, there is an element of truth in his statement. I've witnessed it, not in my own personal life, but through interactions with friends. Too often, regardless of race or economic standing, women feel a piece of a man is better than no man at all. But what profit a woman to gain a man and lose her soul?

At The Heart of The Janet Jackson "Numbers Ones" Flash Mob, The Fans

We came, We saw, We CONQUERED! The Janet "Number Ones" Flash Mob literally took over The Grove and Universal City Walk Saturday. Forget shopping and dining at your favorite eatery, the main attraction was what I call, the "New Millennium Rhythm Nation" sans the military boots and black costuming. That's right! The Flash Mob truly served it up this past weekend--Three great performances, fit for a queen.

Of course, the special appearance by the Pop Queen herself, added to the excitement. High above the crowd, Miss Janet watched her loyal subjects uniformly stomp, clamp, shout, and freestyle, all in tribute to her newest album, "Number Ones," which drops TOMORROW, on November 17th.

Get the point? Good! Then buy or LEGALLY download!

So where was I in all the excitement? Where I usually am, behind my camera. Yes, I was planning to dance but I missed too many rehearsals. So as not to embarrass myself or get my
"Reggae Woman" card snatched, my talents were expressed behind-the-scenes. So roll with me as I hang with the Janet Flash Mob dancers and especially the Janet fans. Wassup Janatics!

And, yes, before you even ask that IS an earring with a key in my right ear. You know I had to represent the Old Skools! Let the videos play!

Video 1: The Flash Mob Experience With The Fans




Video 2: Aerial View of Miss Janet Enjoying The Performance Above The Crowd

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Actress Kerry Washington Directs A Collective Coming of Age

I was led to this by artist Estelle on Twitter. It's an empowering video she's featured in for the 2009 Glamour Women of the Year Awards, directed by actress and activist, Kerry Washington. It also features a lot of celebrity girl power. Roll da video and share this post!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

First Look: Why Did I Get Married Too

I'm looking forward to this! Looks like Tyler added a little suspense to the story!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Precious: A Film That Never Leaves You

As a reviewer/blogger, I see films A LOT so my approach is often "I came, I saw, I write". I share my opinions about plots, performances, and whether it's worth a trip to the theater then move on to the next thing. However, with Lee Daniels' "Precious" I can't act as if this is blogger business as usual.

If you follow my reviews then you know I sometimes write how a film makes me FEEL. Films that pull me in, make me truly engage and connect with the characters and the story are the ones I'm most passionate about. "Precious" is one of those films.

Despite the familiar brown faces in lead characters the story TRANSCENDS race. It's a story of spirit. Yes, it speaks to us culturally as African-Americans, but NOT exclusively. It's raw in its approach and brutally honest in its delivery, yet uplifting at its core. It's so real that at times I found it hard to watch. So real, in fact, it made me reflect on my own life and how I respond to certain things.

Truly, any artistic expression that stays with you long after the credits have rolled and the applause have ended, or potentially changes your way of thinking is one that should be elevated above the rest. Undoubtedly, this film will impact lives of young and old, black, white, human. That said, "Push", the book by Sapphire which the film is based on, must be equally if not more powerful in its impact. Read it!

The celebrity names attached to "Precious", Oprah, Tyler Perry, Mo'Nique, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, definitely get your attention. But what will keep your attention is how these performers are literally in stark contrast to the public personas we are so accustomed to seeing.

The plain-faced Mariah Carey sans the praticed smile, artificial eye lashes, perfect lighting, and exposed cleavage is remarkable as a social worker. She nailed the look and feel of the tired "overworked and underpaid" case workers that have heard it all before.

Paula Patton also delivers a performance that is stellar. As the person who first exemplifies patience and caring in Precious' painful world, she plays her pivotal role not as the savior we often see in films with troubled youth, but as a teacher and counselor that provides a way of coping that helps Precious save herself.

Newcomer, Gabourey Sidibe, is literally astounding as Precious. "Amazing" also comes to mind, but is used so much in showbiz to describes things that are not that I hesitate to use it here. But in this case I AM in awe and amazement at how this college student who dabbled in theater, brought the myriad of emotions needed to make Precious more than poster child for everything that's wrong in our communities.

And lastly, Mo'Nique as the bitter, violent, manipulative monster, Mary, is so thorough in her performance that audiences will be stunned by what they witness in "Precious" this opening weekend. In fact, many may be horrified and that is the beauty of this role.

Admittedly, I am a Mo'Nique supporter and have been since working together on "The Parkers". I've watched her progression from comedienne to actress and nothing prepared me for her outstanding performance. Not even her dramatic role in Daniels' "Shadowboxer" is close.

Yes, her performance in "Precious" is award winning, but more importantly it's life changing. Mary is a reflection of many ills in society that we don't like to talk about, so we ignore them, until they literally slap us in the face.

Thanks to Lee's superb creative direction, use of color symbolism, moments of humor, and the entire cast's dedication, "Precious" is a monumental success. Even after the box offices are tallied, the award shows are over, and the press has moved on, "Precious" will stay with us because we ARE all precious in His sight.

Precious opens in select theaters tomorrow, November 6th. Visit http://www.weareallprecious.com/ to find out where it's playing in your city.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Janet Flash Mob For New Number Ones Release: Rehearsals

Okay people! I'm putting on my dancing shoes! Warming up the joints--can't drop it like I used--and preparing for the big day, November 14th. And why is that day so special? 'Cause that's the day hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people in LA will come together to commemorate the release of Janet Jackson's "Number Ones" album with a flash mob performance.

Growing up I studied the now famous Janet moves created by choreographers Anthony Thomas and Tina Landon. And yeah, I practiced them in PRIVATE then. Well now in my--let's just say I'm grown--I'm about to differently, way different--by dancing to Janet's hits publicly with a group of some new friends. Roll da video!




Wanna participate on November 14th? There's still time! Hit up Flashmobamerica@gmail or the social profiles.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/flashmobamerica

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/flashmobamerica.

YouTube for dance steps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cStEAOFoJz4

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