Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Why Did I Get Married Too" NY Press Conference

I was soooo looking forward to attending the LA "Why Did I Get Married Too" press junket this year, but the powers- that-be held it only in New York this time. I'm not mad, just disappointed because Tyler Perry movie junkets can be a lot of fun. Yeah, it's work, but we all laugh a lot too.

But don't despair friends, a resourceful blogger always finds or creates ways of getting the content he or she desires. So get comfortable and listen to the NY press conference as the cast discusses what brought them back to do "Why Did I Get Married Too", the environment on the set, black love in Hollywood and beyond, and audience expectations. And Cicely Tyson shares personal experiences and insight that really gives you something to think about.

Also in attendance were Tyler, Janet, Jill, Sharon, Tasha, Lamman, Michael, and Malik. Just press play!


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Sunday, March 28, 2010

LA Web Series Festival Honors Robert Townsend's "Diary Of A Single Mom"

It's usually nice to be the first to do something, especially when it comes to innovation and creativity. And Friday night I witnessed those things and more at the first ever LA Web Series Festival at Stage 52 Theater in Los Angeles.

Founded by web series producer and channel owner, Michael Ajakwe Jr., the festival ran from March 26th-28th and screened 48 web series across various genres including vlogs, documentary, comedy, horror, and sci-fi.

"We received close to a 100 submissions", said Ajakwe, but only 47 were chosen for the festival. And of those selected, more than one title in a category had the opportunity to receive special recognition.

Said Ajakwe, "We’re open to recognizing multiple stand-outs in a single category as opposed to being married to the convention that says you can only have one winner. Hell, you had to be really good just to get here. We want our creators to view each other as comrades rather than competitors."

So how is this festival different from The Webbies? Festival board member, Rich Halke, explained. "It's not about awards. It's about interacting with others doing what you're doing so you're not alone. You end up creating better content."

Friday's opening night event screened famed tv and film director Robert Townsend's webisode, "Diary of A Single Mom" for a packed house. Shot in Los Angeles, "Diary of A Single Mother" chronicles the life of Ocean Jackson (Monica Calhoun) as she struggles to raise three kids, manage building tenants, and tries to attend college. It also stars screen legends Billie Dee Williams and Richard Roundtree. Truly, it's one of the best things I've seen on the web in this format and well deserving of the festival's "Web Series of The Year" distinction. See its trailer below and watch the first two dynamic seasons exclusively on Pic.tv:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Janet Jackson's Back With "Nothing" For "Why Did I Get Married Too?"

Unless you've been living under rock, you know Tyler Perry is up to multi-tasking again in his new film, "Why Did I Get Married Too". Yes, I've seen it, but there won't be a review until April 2nd per Tyler's and Lionsgate Film's request. So just be patient. I got a lot to say about this one!

In the meantime, Janet is back multi-tasking too as actress and singer for the film. Her new single, "Nothing" is the theme song for the new dramatic flick featuring all of our favorites from the first "Why Did I Get Married?" installment--Jill, Lamman, Sharon, Tasha, Micheal, Malik, and Richard T., and of course, Tyler himself.

But despite what you've heard or read on those "other" blogs this ain't a release from a new album. It's just for the film. For now Janet is focusing on her roles as actress and author of her highly anticipated book, "True You."

The video was shot Wednesday and will be ready next week for us to see, according to Janet's Twitter page. A true anticipation-builder, she's invited us and her "Greatest Ex", Jermaine Dupri--who's also the producer of this lovely ballad track--to the set for a little behind-the-scenes access.

Funny, the first time they worked together on a song--"Someone To Call My Lover"--they ended up together. And now with "Nothing" a song about allowing nothing to break a relationship apart they are back working together. Interesting....that's all I'm saying! Art does often imitate life and vice versa! ( I know, I'm a hopeless romantic!)

Anyway...lyrically and musically, I really like "Nothing", so into the Ipod it goes! Now roll this new video from JD's "Living The Life" series on his YouTube Channel! Then head on over to Janet's website, janetjackson.com, and download it LEGALLY and just "Enjoy!"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Our Family Wedding Director Rick Famuyiwa Talks Making Interracial Comedy

From "Brown Suger" to "Our Family Wedding", film director Rick Famuyiwa is definitely one director to watch in Hollywood. So just how did he go about creating his new interracial romantic comedy starring young Hollywood's America Ferrera and Lance Gross? And considering his unique approach to a "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?" interracial story, what it take to get Hollywood to greenlight "Our Family Wedding?" In this recent press junket interview he answers thos questions and more.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Our Family Wedding Press Junket: America Ferrera

One of the perks of being an entertainment writer and blogger is meeting and talking with the actors of upcoming movies at press junkets. Recently, at the "Our Family Wedding" press junket I had a chance to attend a "roundtable" interview with the film's star, America Ferrera.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Our Family Wedding: Differences Attract

The bride's family will bring the goat, the groom's clan will supply the broom for jumping. Now add something borrowed, something blue, and something new and you've got a comedy worth walking down the theater aisle to see.

Fox Searchlight's "Our Family Wedding" is a humorous reminder that although love sees no color, the rest of us have perfect vision. Directed by "Brown Sugar's" Rick Famuyiwa, "Our Family Wedding" tells the wedding story of Lucia and Marcus (America Ferrera, Lance Gross respectively). Young and in love, when the couple springs the news of their engagement on their families responses vary, but nothing is as hilarious as those from grandparents and extended family.

But at the forefront of the humor is the ongoing culture clashes between the proud "papas", Brandon Boyd (Forest Whitaker) and Migue1 (Carlos Mencia). Having gotten off on the wrong foot, the two must work together to give their kids a wedding they can be proud of. And that's where Angela, Brandon's long time friend, Angela (Regina King), and Miguel's wife, Sonia (Diana-Maria Riva), come into the picture. The ladies try to keep the men's egos in check but neither are very successful and Sonia--as mother of the bride--forgets it's her daughter's special day, not her own.

Of course with so much drama around them, Lucia and Marcus, began to question their love for each other. Is their love strong enough to endure their family's criticism and racism? Family involvement is important to them, especially Lucia, but in the end Lucia and Marcus, have to stand up for themselves as individuals and as a young couple.

Overall "Our Family Wedding" is totally enjoyable. Director Famiyuwa does a great job of making fun of our cultural differences without turning characters into racial stereotypes. You'll definitely laugh and in the meantime see that in the end as people we're often more alike than we are different. If you've seen "Our Family Wedding", tell me what you think of the film.

If you're still planning to see it, take a moment to view these interviews with the director and cast members at the premiere.

Monday, March 08, 2010

"Hurt Locker's" Oscar Winning Kathryn Bigelow On Directing

The 82nd Academy Awards will be remembered for many as a night of historical firsts. At long last the old guard is dying out and those filmmakers and artists we would have never considered to win did just that last night. Undoubtedly, the biggest winner of the night took home Oscars Best Director and Best Picture and HER name....say that again! HER name is Kathryn Bigelow and she is the first woman ever to win Best Director. Indeed, "the time has come!"

If you're unfamiliar with her work do a little research. And to help you with that assignment listen to her ideas on directing "The Hurt Locker," this year's Best Picture winner.

If you've seen "Hurt Locker" what are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Mo'Nique, Screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher Win "Precious" Oscars

Photo: AP, LA Times

"I would like to thank the Academy for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics," she said with emotion...To my amazing husband, Sidney -- thank you for showing me that sometimes you have to forego doing what's popular, in order to do what's right."

Dressed in royal blue with a gardenia in her hair-- a visual tribute to Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American woman to win an Oscar, Mo'Nique accepted her first Academy Award before a standing ovation. She is the fifth African-American actress to win the coveted award.

"Precious" also earned screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher a distinctive place in entertainment history. His adaptation of Sapphire's emotional novel earned him the coveted golden statue and made him the first African-American to win in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.

Friday, March 05, 2010

BlackNLA Mammoth Black Out Ski Weekend:

Skis, boards, fluffy snow, and caravans of love filled with eager BlackNLA Mammoth Blackout participants...What more do you need for a fabulous ski weekend? A party? We had that too, three in fact! We brought the party so hard to Mammoth Mountain, even some of the ski town regulars couldn't resist joining in our fun. Which goes to show we don't discriminate, we celebrate!

So here's one of the first videos from last weekend. Don't look for me 'cause I was behind another camera covering things from a different angle. And oh boy was there a lot to put a lens on *wink*! Yes, the ladies outnumbered the fellas but we're talking quality not quantity, when it comes to BlackNLA. And any camera I'm behind has a discerning eye! Ya feel me? Quality is indeed da business! So I kept it professional...MOST of the time. LOL!

Anyhoo, roll da video to see just how much fun we had during the 2010 BlackNLA Mammoth Blackout! Make plans to join us next year or visit Blacknla.com to see what we have planned in the near future.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Freedom's Sisters Exhibit Honors 20 African-American Women in LA

What do you do when you're in the presence of greatness? Not famous, nor celebrity, but greatness, the kind that stems from extraordinary sacrifice, courage, and determination. Say little and listen a lot is my advice. Last Thursday I asked myself that very question as I stood amongst some of the most dynamic African-American women in history--Myrlie Evers-Williams, Della Reese, and Attallah Shabazz just to name a few--during Ford Motor Company's Freedom's Sisters Southern California Luncheon in Beverly Hills.

One of several events held in conjunction with the following NAACP Image Awards, the event introduced to many "Freedom's Sisters", the Smithsonian's traveling exhibit honoring 20 African-American women of the Civil Rights Movement. It features such legends as Mary Church Terrell, Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chisolm, Sonia Sanchez, Coretta Scott King, and Myrlie Evers-Williams in a multimedia, interactive experience designed to "inspire lives, dare to dream, serve the public, and look to the the future." See how the exhibit came to be:

In the spirit of the exhibit, 20 exceptional African-American local women were selected as Southern California's Freedom's Sisters. On the red carpet I talked to some of the honorees, Artis Lane, Holly Robinson-Peete, event host, Taraji P. Henson, and others about how they defined a "freedom's sister" and her contribution to the world.

During the event, former NAACP Chairwoman, Myrlie Evers-William, gave a keynote address that was less of a speech and more of a proclamation of our overlooked accomplishments in the Civil Rights Movement. She shared personal thoughts, stories, and remembrances of how far we've come as African-American women and the importance of working together. But most inspiring was her passion for life and her declaration to live it to the fullest until her last breath.

And before I end this post, I must give virtual applause to ET's Kevin Frazier for producing a wonderful DVD about "Freedom's Sisters". His great aunt, Septima Poinsette Clark, is one of the 20 women featured in the exhibit.

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