10 items from 2015
Bill Duke has signed up to direct a dramedy centered on a wealthy, dysfunctional African American family, titled "Killing Daniel," from newcomer screenwriter Matthew Dressel, set up at Darius Films. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the story follows a young man seeking to reconnect with his siblings after their father’s death, only to find out that they all want to kill him for his sizeable share of the estate. Nicholas Tabarrok is producing "Killing Daniel." An early 2016 shoot date is eyed. No word on casting yet. Duke is currently attached to direct and executive produce a feature film on the life of Mahalia Jackson, which will be based on the biography »
- Tambay A. Obenson
One Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series Museum of Modern Art, NYC hrough September 7, 2015
One of the most startling impressions that one takes away from seeing the reunited Migration Series at the Museum of Modern Art is how current the paintings still feel current in a way that Céline still does, or Christopher Isherwood, or John Steinbeck -- documenters of a very specific moment of transition, faithfully recording sensitive observations. Jacob Lawrence’s cycle of sixty paintings on the subject of the Northern Migration is both a landmark work for an artist who was just twenty-three years old when he began it, and it is a work of historical importance in American art of the 20th Century.
Lawrence, who had dropped out of school when he was sixteen, was encouraged by his single mother to take art classes and visit museums. He studied at the Harlem Art Workshop, in the »
I actually first learned of this a few weeks ago, but I was waiting for some official confirmation, as well as other details on the project (like casting) before mentioning it here. However, checking Bill Duke's Twitter page, he's been retweeting articles written about it, which suggests that it's valid. I did ask him (via Twitter) about it previously, pressing for more details, but he hasn't replied. So this is all we've got so far... Duke is attached to direct and executive produce a feature film on the life of Mahalia Jackson, which will be based on the biography "Just Mahalia, Baby," written by Laurraine Goreau, which chronicles the life of the woman who rose »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Welcome to the February 12, 2015 edition of Outrage Watch, HitFix's daily rundown of all the things folks are peeved about in entertainment. Today's top story? Beyonce gets a smack-down from Huffington Post contributor Kim Lute. Oh boy, does Kim go after Beyonce here. In an impassioned article posted today, the Peabody-winning journalist takes aim at the singer's performance of the classic Mahalia Jackson gospel song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" at Sunday's Grammys: "The performance of this iconic song, of which Beyoncé and her family apparently believes is uniquely theirs alone -- though it's sung almost universally at black funerals and churches -- should have been fraught with significance," she writes. And then, more damningly: "And if, as Beyoncé contends, this song means so very much to her why hasn't she sung it on any of her 200 albums? Could her performance have merely hinted at an exaggerated sense of self-worth that »
- Chris Eggertsen
There was a lot more to Beyoncé's emotional Grammys performance than met the eye. The crooner shared a behind-the-scenes video of her rendition of "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" on her website for the Beyhive to drool over and Bey revealed some of her own personal connections to the gospel track. "The first time I heard 'Precious Lord,' I was a kid and my mother sang it to me. My mother played Mahalia Jackson's version and she sang the song with her eyes closed. She was a vessel and it was like God speaking, using her body to speak and to heal," Blue Ivy's mama shared in the clip. She added that she "wanted to find real men that have lived, have struggled, cried »
Despite all the controversy, Beyonce totally delivered with her amazing rendition of the gospel standard "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" at last night's GRAMMYs, and now we're getting a behind-the-scenes look of how the stunning performance came together.
In a stunning black-and-white video on her website on Monday, the 33-year-old superstar explains her surprisingly subtle performance.
Video: All of the 2015 Grammy Performances, Ranked
"The first time I heard 'Precious Lord,' I was a kid and my mother sang it to me," she recalls. "And my mother played me Mahalia Jackson's version and she sang the song with her eyes closed, and she was a vessel, and it was like, God speaking, using her body to speak and to heal."
The performance, part of a Selma tribute also featuring rapper Common and John Legend singing their song "Glory", also took on a more poignant message given the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and the »
Selma might have been snubbed by the Academy (feel free to argue that out in the comments section), but the Ava DuVernay-directed film got plenty of love Sunday night at the 57th annual Grammy Awards.
PhotosGrammy Awards Red Carpet
When word spread that Beyonce would take the Grammy stage instead of Ledisi, fans felt the 42-year-old R&B singer wasn't getting her due. "No one is saying Beyonce shouldn't perform at #GRAMMYs. What we're saying is it should be Ledisi performing the song for #Selma perf," one tweet reads. "Ledisi sung it in the Selma film, so they should have asked her. Beyonce doesn't have the chops for that one. She'll over do it," another angry tweeter chimed in.
Pics: The Stars' Best Looks at the GRAMMYs 2015!
Ledisi, who plays gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic, responded to the controversy on the Grammy red carpet Sunday – and admitted that she “had no clue” why Beyonce was performing it over her.
“What I will say and what I’m excited about is that »
Ever since standing inside a frozen moment at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis – looking across to where the bullet must have issued, taking the life of an icon of nonviolent resistance – the image of Dr. Martin Luther King has become something more intimate to me. Black and white schoolroom footage becomes flesh, the voices less distant, when you stare into the full horizon of the cultural landscape that fought against basic life rights for African Americans in the South and those who began to turn the tide. Ava DuVernay’s Selma takes us to that headspace, shows us the familiar under new lights, ruminates on American history without histrionics.
Kitchens, bedrooms, churches, and the slim streets of Selma are the backdrop of an American revolution, one that seemed far too faded and familiar before Selma took the tactical back room approach to the legend of King’s organized protests for Black voters rights in 1965 Alabama. »
- Gregory Fichter
Written by Paul Webb
Directed by Ava DuVernay
UK / USA, 2014
Selma is a shining example of how to create an informative biographical drama that still packs an emotional wallop. Rather than trying to portray the entire life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, director Ava DuVernay captures the essence of King by wisely focusing on three tumultuous months in his life. David Oyelowo delivers a mesmerizing performance as the civil rights icon, showing us a man whose passion is rivaled only by his intellect and political cunning. Selma takes an unflinching snapshot of American history that, sadly, feels more relevant today than ever before.
Nestled between the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a perilous 13 month period that would forever define America’s cultural identity. Racial segregation was legally dead, but Jim Crow was still alive and well in the American South. »
- J.R. Kinnard
10 items from 2015
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