Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o Continue To Kill It

Photo Credits: Cineralia/ThandieKay.com

Both director Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o were working hard at their respective artistic crafts before 12 Years A Slave, but now they have the mainstream clout and power to create and be a part of passion projects. Earlier this week, it was announced that McQueen’s next film will be about none other than Paul Robeson!

Paul Robeson was a true renaissance man who slayed at everything he set his mind to achieve. An actor, opera singer, activist, All-American football player, and scholar of law at Columbia Law School, Robeson was involved in both the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights movements. He was also investigated during the McCarthy era, accused of being a communist. He retired and passed away in my hometown of Philadelphia.

The first and only film that I ever saw Robeson star in was Oscar Micheaux’s black and white film, “Body and Soul“. This movie debuted Robeson in his first starring role on screen, at the age of 27. If you have never seen “Body and Soul” and ever get the chance to, I suggest that you take the opportunity!. It introduced me to the genius of both Micheaux and Robeson’s work in film and as an artist and film buff, it continues to inform my way of thinking about the art of directing, the business of church, and African-American identity.

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A Paul Robeson biopic helmed by Steve McQueen will be nothing short of extraordinary, especially as THE Harry Belafonte will have a part in making this film happen. What that part will entail of is unknown for the time being.

 

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McQueen has also been tapped to direct a heist thriller movie based from a 1980s British TV miniseries titled “Widows“, which you can watch on YouTube (from what I’ve seen so far, this may be another new British television obsession for me!)

Let’s not forget that McQueen is also working on his first television show to hit the States, “Codes of Conduct“, about a young Black man entering high society in New York. I. Can’t. Wait.

As for Ms. Nyong’o, she has the next Star Wars movie on her plate, as well as being the new face of Lancome Cosmetics.

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However, did you know that she has just scored another new film role in Mira Nair’s upcoming movie adaptation, “Queen of Katwe“? The film will be based on the real life of Ugandan chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi. I am certain that Nyong’o will shine in her portrayal of Mutesi and maybe it could gain her another Oscar nomination….or award!

 

McQueen and Nyong’o….keep working, informing, and inspiring. I salute you!

Brooklyn’s WILLiFEST Is Coming! Will You Be There?

New York Fashion Week is only some days away, but after the catwalks have been dismantled and all of the models have gone back to their homes,  why not check out Brooklyn’s very own WILLiFEST?! Named “one of the top 20 coolest film festivals in the world” by MovieMaker Magazine, the arts festival is five years strong and one of the largest of NYC alone.

From September 18th-21st, WILLiFEST will bring films, music, industry panels, and after-parties to the masses, giving a spotlight to both up-and-coming and established artists.

In past years, celebrities such as Susan Sarandon, Mike Myers, Adrian Grenier, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Matt Dallas, Morgan Spurlock,  Leon, and Donna Drake, host of CBS’s own “Live It Up” TV show.  Some of Brooklyn’s best venues, such as The Knitting Factory, Williamsburg Cinemas, and El Puente Center for Arts & Culture will be the homes for all that WILLifest has to visually and aurally offer during the four day extravaganza.

The current lineup for WILLiFEST will be available soon, but in the meantime, here is some of the content that you can expect on the WILLiFEST channel:

 

“Kitchen Tradition”, starring Elise “Ms. E” Lefteriou:

 

 

Elise will be shooting new segments for her cooking show at WILLiFEST at Foodtown of Williamsburg and Brooklyn Harvest Market on Friday, September 19th.

 

“Beyond Borders”, a must-see new series, will also see its launch at WILLiFEST:

 

 

The WILLifest Channel is launching with UHETV later this fall. UHETVis a Cosby Media Productions (CMP) Company and an indie arts and entertainment channel where viewers will be able to watch movies, music, and arts programs. The channel is actively looking for films and webseries from talented filmmakers and content producers. So if you have content to share and put bums in seats, send away! The lucky producers chosen will be considered for UHETV’s original production lineup.

 

 

Twitter Accounts You Should Follow:

 

R.I.P. Shirley Temple Black

No matter what age you are, if you hear Shirley Temple Black’s voice singing “On the good ship lollipop…” or if you see an image of her cherub face adorned with ringlet curls and can’t bear to wear a big smile on your face, you must have a black heart. She will be forever remembered as one of Hollywood’s shining child stars, lifting Americans’ hope during the Great Depression. May you rest in peace Ms. Shirley Temple Black!

 

Ladies & Gentlemen, This Year’s Vanity Fair Hollywood Cover Is Magical

Listen, I love to read Vanity Fair articles. It’s at the forefront of intelligent and insightful journalism and a leader in discovering the next and now. But, I only buy Vanity Fair if more than one article truly speaks to me and if the cover is a golden ticket winner. This month’s Hollywood issue cover transcends both criteria:

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(click to enlarge)

Let me just first point out that I don’t recall, in my lifetime thus far, ever seeing this many fine Black actors and actresses on the cover of any magazine from any country. To see Lupita Nyong’o, Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Chadwick Boseman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Michael B. Jordan on this year’s cover makes me want to cry. This is ground-breaking, motivating, and beautiful.

Secondly, I co-sign with every single person’s presence on this cover. I mean, Brie Larson is on the cover of Vanity Fair alongside Julia Roberts and Jared Leto. She may look like a fresh face, but Larson has been a working actress since she was a child. If you look at her IMDB page, your eyes will pop out of your head because, like myself, you may just find yourself saying out loud, “She was in that?!” Also, she is a splendid singer. Never forget:

Then you have Margot Robbie and Lea Seydoux who are both BOSS and George Clooney in the mix, arms crossed, looking at us as if to say, “Yes, this is the next generation and I approve.” Julia Roberts is just being Julia, loving life in Idris’ lap. Who wouldn’t?!

I haven’t been this excited and transfixed by a Vanity Fair cover since 2009, when this bad boy came out:

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Ahhh, sweet memories…

But, this month’s Hollywood VF issue is just simply…

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Respect must be given to Vanity Fair at this moment. I will be off to pick up my copy. It’s on newsstands and in drugstores today!