Nov28

Entertainment

kevin hart

Real Husbands of Hollywood

BET has signed a deal to bring Kevin Hart’s sketch Real Husbands of Hollywood into a comedy series. The improv comedy show mixed with scripted material will air 10 episodes and debut in 2013. 

Hart, JB SMoove and Nick Cannon (married to Mariah Carey) will star in the series with Robin Thicke (husband of Paula Patton), Boris Kodjoe (husband of Nicole Ari Parker) and Duane Martin (married to Tisha Campbell-Martin) playing fictionalized characters of themselves. 

The comedy was first seen at the 2010 BET Awards where Hart was joined by Nick Cannon, Nelly and Bobby Brown to make fun of reality shows such as ­Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop and The Real Houswives of Atlanta.

Celebrating the King of Pop

ABC has acquired the television rights to Spike Lee’s upcoming Michael Jackson documentary, the network announced.  

“Bad25” is a documentary focusing the late king of pop’s creative vision during the making of “Bad,” the follow-up to his groundbreaking “Thriller.” 

It is one of two major projects attached to the 25th anniversary of the 1987 hit-filled album. “This will be a very special Thanksgiving for all families to enjoy the genius of Michael Jackson,” Lee said in a statement. “Big thanks to ABC for allowing people to witness the making of Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ album.” 

Lee teamed with Jackson’s estate and Legacy/Epic Records to search their archives for never-before-seen footage, including some shot by Jackson himself. The director also conducted interviews with some of Jackson’s confidants, choreographers, musicians and collaborators, including Martin Scorsese, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, L.A. Reid and Kanye West. “Bad,” the third and final album collaboration between Jackson and Quincy Jones, made history with five consecutive No. 1 singles. 

To commemorate the anniversary, his estate, in collaboration with Epic/Legacy Recordings, will reissue the disc -- the first re-release of an album from Jackson's catalog since his 2009 death. The album will hit stores Sept. 18.

Seeing More of Cee Lo Green

NBC has given singer Cee Lo Green the okay to develop a family sitcom. Green will develop, produce and star in his own scripted and unscripted projects; and is said to be working on a multi-camera comedy loosely based on his own life, showing his troubles balancing his home life and career as a producer and recording artist…Briefly, 'The Houstons: On Our Own' will debut October 24 on Lifetime which will chronicle the struggles since Whitney Houston’s death in 14 episodes…. Basketball player Matt Barnes and longtime girlfriend Gloria Govan have officially wed. The two went for a getaway in Las Vegas where the two got hitched. 

tanya kerseyTanya Kersey’s HBF Festival A Place To Be Discovered

The Hollywood Black Film Festival is a great place to discover and be discovered, according to founder and executive Tanya Kersey.

“I try to stay away from the films that everybody’s talking about,” says Kersey. “It means a lot more for us to choose films that are not studio films—the smaller, independent films with great talent in them that wouldn’t have a chance otherwise. That makes us a different film festival.” 

The Hollywood Career Strategist emphasizes the opportunities presented at HBFF

“The success of the film festival really is in terms of the filmmakers screened there,” says Kersey, “for them to have the opportunity to find an agent, get a distribution deal, to create buzz and to do it in an environment with the people you want to be in business with.”

With a mind for struggling filmmakers, the HBFF offers workshops and panels that can be purchased individually at $30. 

“That sets us apart,” says Kersey. “A lot of festivals don’t do that. They have one package and it’s $750 dollars and that’s that. There are two arguments for that. You can keep it high and make people step up, or you can keep it low and actually serve.”

During her fifteen years running an African American trade paper, Kersey formed relationships with Hollywood’s movers and shakers. The HBFF is her opportunity to utilize those connections for the benefit of black independent filmmakers.

Since the first festival “it was immediately plugged into Hollywood.” So too, was its mission of including a diversity of black films.

Kersey wants HBFF audiences to see that, “[black filmmakers] don’t create just the few films you see released by the studios. We do horror films. We do adult love stories. There are other things that we do. “It’s really important to us that audiences can enjoy seeing other images of themselves.”

RaveReviews

Steel-MagnoliasSteel Magnolias

A remake starring Queen Latifah and Phylicia Rashad about a group of Louisiana women who  come together at a local salon. The story explores the importance of friendship in the face of life's tragedies. On Lifetime on October 7.

middle-of-nowhereMiddle of Nowhere

Rudy drops out of med school in order to focus on her husband's well being after he's incarcerated - leading her on a journey of self-discovery in the process. Starring David Oyelowo and Omari Hardwick. In theaters October 12.

 

 

 

alex crossAlex Cross 

After detective Alex Cross is told that a family member has been murdered, he vows to track down the killer. He soon discovers she was not his first victim. Starring Tyler Perry, Giancarlo Esposito and Cicely Tyson. In Theaters October 19.

 

 

 

cloud atlasCloud Atlas 

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. In theaters October 26.

Nov28

Kirk Franklin Breaks New Ground With The Kings Men Tour

kings menMulti-platinum selling gospel artist Kirk Franklin is once again about to break new ground. Not that groundbreaking is new to the Grammy winning artist who also happens to be the biggest selling gospel artist of all time.

But now for the first time in history, Franklin is partnering with one of the largest tour promoters in the world, Live Nation, to present “The King’s Men” tour. Kicking off this month, the tour will feature four of gospel music’s biggest names—Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Israel Houghton and Donnie McClurkin, collectively known as "The King's Men" —taking to the stage together in the most ambitious gospel tour since “Hopeville.”

“In the Gospel world, this is Springsteen, McCartney, Prince and Elton hitting the road together,” said Kevin Morrow, Senior Vice President of Touring at Live Nation. “It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event for music fans.”

Collectively, Sapp, Houghton, Franklin and McClurkin have taken home more than 100 Grammy, Dove, Stellar BET, Soul Train, NAACP and American Music Award trophies and have sold out concerts all over the world.

“The opportunity to partner with Live Nation is a great honor and responsibility,” Franklin said. “The genre of gospel music having this kind of massive marketing support is monumental, and the talent on this tour makes it a must-see event! I’m very proud of this relationship and I expect it to be a new groundbreaking platform for inspirational entertainment.”

“What makes ‘The Kings Men’ tour so special,” said Marvin Sapp, “is that there are four individuals at the top of their game who get the chance to share the opportunity to minister and be on stage together. Our goal is to take gospel to the next level because of our partnership with Live Nation. This platform will give people the opportunity to see us in a whole other light.”

Franklin is the first to admit that a lot is riding on his success this time around.

"This tour is an extension of all our sacrifice and hard work and its success will continue to open up those doors for other gospel artists."

With their investment of somewhere between $6 and $7 million when it’s all said and done, Live Nation is banking on that.

It was Franklin who approached Live Nation with the idea.

“I was introduced to Kevin Morrow by someone who works at Live Nation. I told him my ideas and visions, the things I thought would be successful and the things that don’t work. I told him that there were a lot of great people in gospel and that it could survive in a format outside of the walls.

To solidify the relationship, Franklin invited Morrow to the Stellar Awards.

“You ought to come to this event so you can smell it, taste it and really see what it is,” Franklin told Morrow.

"I saw how amazing the emotional side of gospel is. I had forgotten how unbelievably great the singers are in gospel," Morrow told the Associated Press. “I went back and told everyone else at Live Nation that we need to get in business with them."

"The hope is that the tour does so well that the demand for it continues to grow," said Houghton, who’s racked up two gold albums, six Dove Awards, two Stellar Awards, a Soul Train Award and four Grammy Awards while also serving as a worship leader at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston. "If we play it right, it's going to be a game changer."

Indeed, Morrow has said that the tour could lead to additional cities for the King's Men, as Live Nation also is looking to promote gospel tours through House of Blues venues for up-and-coming artists in the genre. That, of course, depends on how well the King's Men Tour does.

With a depressed economy, even a star-studded line up is no guarantee. Add to that the enduring partnership gospel has forged with today’s increasing mega church venues that regularly showcase its artists—and superstars— on Sunday mornings as part of church services.

The latter, perhaps, will be Franklin’s biggest challenge.

“We have a dynamic with this type of music that no other style of music has. It’s the Sunday morning church challenge. Sunday, you can see Marvin at a church service for free. You can see Donnie somewhere preach for free. You can see Israel at a Joyce Meyer event and then to turn around and charge people $40 to $50 to see us.”

Franklin understands how it can seem unfair for the church community to have to pay to watch people they can see for free.

“The challenge is that we don’t get to control the price of the venue,” says the host and executive-producer of the gospel talent show Sunday’s Best, the highest-rated gospel program in BET’s history.

Franklin continues, “We can’t control the gas in the tour bus. We can’t control what it costs to have a good lighting package. That’s the challenge—to really put something together for the people that you hope they will enjoy, but still with the understanding that there’s a business model in Live Nation and all these companies have to make money.”

The mission is hardly impossible given Franklin’s track record in this arena.

As with most every aspect of gospel music, Franklin has been an innovator when it comes to gospel touring— instrumental in the success of three of the top five selling gospel tours dating back to 1997 with “The Tour Of Life.”

Al Wash, one of the nation’s top black concert promoters who partnered with Franklin for the ’97 tour, recalls:

“Kirk was tapping a large group of people who just wasn’t in the churches and I thought maybe we could take this music to them. I didn’t pay him (Franklin) anything to do the first tour. He took a gamble like I was gambling and it paid off for the two of us.”

With gross receipts of $7 million, “The Tour of Life” became gospel’s most successful tour to date.

Then in 2002 Franklin made history again, along side Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin, with the “Hopeville” Tour.

Featuring three of gospel’s four (at the time) platinum selling artists, “Hopeville” became the most successful tour in the history of the gospel music, outselling even some of the secular tours of the day and generating an increased interest in gospel touring. It was so successful that in 2004, they had a two-month revival tour.

“I felt that if gospel music had a platform. That if we could find a thin line between performance presentation and ministry, that people would come,” Franklin says of the 88-city tour.

“That was a very interesting machine,” he explains, “because you had three gospel artists and at the same time it was unique because Donnie had a platinum album, Yolanda had a platinum album and I was coming from a catalog of crossover songs.”

The 16 cities for “The Kings Men” tour were chosen based on market research with regards to sales and popularity of the four artists who were called together by Franklin.

Though gospel is a relatively small industry giving Franklin the opportunity to have toured with “almost everybody,” this is his first time touring with Marvin Sapp. A history maker in his own right, Sapp’s seventh album, Here I Am was the all-time highest charting gospel album in Billboard history, debuting at Number 2 on the Billboard 200 chart.

“Marvin’s ministry and his career is smoking hot,” says Franklin. “It made great business sense to try to get one of the great names in the genre right now to go out on the road with us.

“Israel was somebody that I saw live,” he continues. “He was such a great communicator. He has a great body of work and such a diverse audience. We knew he would be really great. And Donnie is just a staple. You just can’t say enough about his incredible gift and ministry.”

Donnie McClurkin was the first Franklin approached while they were on the set of BET’s Sunday Best.

“The thing about Kirk is he doesn’t even know his own pull. He was concerned as to whether we would want to do it or not,” said the platinum selling artist turned pastor who has yielded such classic hits as “Stand”, “Speak To My Heart” and “We Fall Down”, earning three Grammy awards, two Soul Train awards and ten Stellar awards.

The four headliners seem to share the same enthusiasm.

“Every one of us possesses, if you will, greatness in our right as it pertains to successes in the music business and gospel so it’s not going to be a normal gospel production,” says Sapp, who insists that the special effects and lighting will be a sight to see.

And let’s not forget the hodge-podge of talent.

“I’m going to sing on some of Donnie’s songs. He will sing on some of mine,” Sapp continues. “The same with Kirk and Israel. It will be gumbo of sorts.”

McClurkin agrees, “It’s kind of landmark to have the four of us on stage together because it’s going to be so absolutely creative.

“It’s the anointing of the Lord and songs of the kingdom and it’s men really loving God and each other. The one thing I can say about the four of us is that fame is not a situation. Our job is service and we love serving the people of God and the kingdom.”

“It’s something we’re trying to bring to a community that don’t get to see this music, this genre in this particular light,” says Franklin. “And I’m always trying to figure out ways of getting my community excited so that the powers that be can see that there are people who really want it.”

Promoter Al Wash— who saw gospel account for at least 60% of his business at one time— believes that if anyone can pull off a gospel tour of this magnitude, Franklin can, while also understanding the pressure the superstar will be under to see that it works.

“He’s the only one who could headline a tour of that magnitude and it’s a great line up. It could be one that rivals “The Tour of Life” and “Hopeville”, but I don’t know that the chemistry is there with white folks promoting it.”

Acknowledging Franklin as a genius on the stage, Wash worries that he may fall short on the promotion end.

Pointing out some of the challenges “The King’s Men” Tour faces, “the ticket price—$75–100 for a weekday show, the venues they’re playing, the night of the week [bible study night in some cities],” Wash says these guys have their work cut out for them.

But make no mistake, Wash is rooting for them.

“I would love for black people to come out and support it, not just because it would open the doors for me to come out and do another major gospel tour,” says Wash.

“The community should support it because it will be a great show and I’m going to buy a ticket to show my support.”

“Most gospel artists don’t tour. They do spot dates,” says Sapp. “We don’t have promoters out there willing to take the risk of investing into a tour. This is our chance. This is our time to promote the King's music to another level. We need the gospel music fanbase to show up.”

“There’s always fear,” Franklin concedes. “Gospel music has so many things fighting against it that you hope and pray that there is still an audience that will embrace the production value and all the labor that goes on behind the scenes.

But ultimately, what the audience takes from the experience.

“We are putting together a show, a production,” says Franklin. “I really try to make sure people feel they got something that’s really worth their money. This is definitely going to be an event.”

Nov28

Entertainment Joy Bryant

joy bryantJoy Bryant Nabs Lead Role

Parenthood’s Joy Bryant has won the female lead role in the currently untitled Screen Gem’s romantic comedy film remake of the hit movie About Last Night—reprising the role originated by Demi Moore. Bryant will star as Michael Ealy’s love interest—in the role originated by Rob Lowe. Kevin Hart will play the John Belushi role and Regina Hall, in the Elizabeth Perkins role. Based on David Mamet’s 1974 play “Sexual Perversity In Chicago” about a couple who start a romantic affair despite their friends’ disapproval, it is reported that the remake will actually be closer to the stage production than the 80′s movie was, the film however, is to take place in Los Angeles.

The 1989 film Steel Magnolias, starring Sally Fields and Julia Roberts is also getting a contemporary remake with an all-black cast. Lifetime is developing the movie based on the hit film set in Louisiana which explores the bond among a group of six women in the present day. Queen Latifah has signed on for the lead role and is joined by Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashard, Jill Scott and Rashad’s daughter, Condola Rashad. The feature will debut later this year.

Michael Strahan Joins Live With Kelly Ripa

After months of speculation and 59 rotating guest hosts, Kelly Ripa and ABC have officially selected former NFL player Michael Strahan as her new co-host to permanently sit in Regis Philibin’s seat, according to Smart Money. (An official announcement from the show will be September 4). The affable Strahan has the potential to bring new viewers and attract a male audience to the largely female audience talk show.

Currently, Strahan, 40, is the host of “Fox NFL Sunday” and is expected to remain as an analyst, which airs from Los Angeles.

Usher Held In Contempt During Court Battle

The child custody battle between Usher and Tameka Foster is getting more heated as the R&B star has been found in “willful contempt” for violating sections of their 2009 divorce settlement agreement.

Usher has been ordered to reinstate a Saks Fifth Avenue account used by Tameka Foster—who claims she needs the special access card to do her job as a stylist.

The pair is back in court just two weeks after Tameka’s son Kile Glover’s tragic passing from a jet skiing accident. The court has taken sides with Tameka on at least a few grievances, including forcing him to pay $1,300 for a nanny bill.

"I did not file this custody case (January 2011) and was content with the ‘joint custody’ arrangement that we share. Most importantly, nor do I wish to appear in court while I am mourning the loss of my son," Tameka wrote to Global Grind. "But I do not want to delay thus prolong these proceedings either; I'd rather continue this arduous process hoping it will help move me through this most difficult period in my life.”

From Reality TV To Scripted

Up and coming rapper Diggy Simmons has landed his own show on BET. The 17-year-old son of Joseph Simmons (a.k.a Rev. Run) will star in the two-hour original comedy which is to be directed by husband and wife duo, Mara Brock Akil and Samil Akil—the director behind the Sparkle remake. Also slated to star, Teyana Taylor and Eddie Murphy’s daughter Bria.

The Untitled Diggy Simmons Project described as an Entourage-like film, is based on Diggy’s life as a blogger as he makes his way to the top…Briefly, Lauryn Hill has not only been charged with failure to pay $1.8 million in back taxes, she also failed to pay $440,000 in taxes to the State of New Jersey. Hill is scheduled for sentencing in November.

the words thThe Words

A thriller starring Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana, a writer at the peak of his literary success discovers the steep price he must pay for stealing another man's work. In theaters September 7.

unconditional thUnconditional

A woman's idyllic life is shattered when her husband is killed in a senseless act of violence. As she prepares to take matters into her own hands, two unexpected encounters begin to change everything. Starring Michael Ealy. In theaters September 21.

end of watch thEnd Of Watch

Two young officers from the LAPD come upon a startling discovery snd are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop. In Theaters September 21.

wont back down thWon't Back Down

Two determined mothers look to transform their children's failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education of their children. Starring Viola Davis. In

Nov28

Entertainment Drake

drake

Moving On Up

Twentyfive-year-old rapper Drake has handed over $7.7 million for a home in Hidden Hills, Calif.
The beautiful estate features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms and is more than 7,444 square feet. The home features a multi-million dollar pool that boasts cascading waterfalls, an 80-foot water slide and a grotto.

Other exterior features include a tennis court, five horse stall facilities with riding area (remember he said "my aunt, she rode equestrian," so that clearly makes sense), a sand volleyball court, commercial bathrooms, a mechanical bull and viewing pavilions.

The interior features include 24-seat theater, game room, spa/massage room, master suite with his/hers bathrooms, and a spectacular wine cellar/tasting room.

Arsenio Hall Returning to Late Night TV

The 56-year-old comic and recent “Celebrity Apprentice” winner, Arsenio Hall, will attempt a major comeback with a nightly syndicated offering starting in September 2013.

Hall is partnering with syndicator CBS Television Distribution and Tribune Co., which will broadcast the 11 p.m. show from D.C. on its 17 TV stations, giving it instant access to more than half the country.

It’s familiar territory for Hall, who hosted “The Arsenio Hall Show” between 1989 and 1994 — on which, famously, then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton played “Heartbreak Hotel” on the sax — making it safe and hip for serious presidential contenders to make non-serious, image-honing appearances on talk shows in daytime, afternoon and late-night.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be going home to my old friends and colleagues and firing up our night thing,” Hall said in statement. “Let’s get busy … Again!”

2 days in nyNew Chris Rock Sketch Series To Premiere On Comedy Central

A Chris Rock-produced sketch comedy show is in the works for the Comedy Central network.

Deadline reports that the network has ordered a pilot for D-Raw, a sketch comedy show which will star internet comedian Deshawn Raw.

Raw - known for his YouTube videos - has said that he is "just a new comedian trying to make it out the hood with the team. So we don't end up statistics."
The show will feature comedy vignettes and sketches of Raw and his friends living in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The comedian is best know for his 'Rap Battle' videos, which have earned over 13.5 million hits on YouTube.

Rock, who has previously produced the show Everybody Hates Chris, recently starred opposite Julie Delpy in 2 Days in New York. The show is comprised of sketches featuring Deshawn and his diverse group of friends based on their personal experiences as they make fun of themselves and their lives in Rancho Cucamonga. The sketches include rap battles and the guys’ take on all things pop culture.

… Briefly, Mariah Carey will be crowned a “BMI Icon” at the BMI Urban Awards on Sept. 7. Previous honorees include James Brown, Little Richard, Al Green, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Snoop Dogg. Carey has had 18 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, tying Elvis Presley among solo acts and behind only the Beatles, whose singles made it to the top of the chart 20 times. What’s more, she wrote or co-wrote most of her signature hits.

RAVE REVIEWS

total recallTotal Recall

A factory worker, Douglas Quaid (Collin Farrell) , begins to suspect that he's a spy; however, when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man as he finds himself on the run from the police. In Theaters August 3

 

2 Days in New York

Manhattan couple Marion and Mingus (Chris Rock), who each have children from prior relationships, find their comfortable family dynamic jostled by a visit from Marion's relatives. In limited theaters August 10

red hook summerRed Hook Summer

In the latest Spike Lee film, a middle-class boy from Atlanta finds his worldview changed as he spends the summer with his deeply religious grandfather in the housing projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. In theaters August 10

 

 

 

sparkleSparkle

Set in the 1960s, three sisters form a girl group and soon become Motown sensations, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart. Starring Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps. In theaters August 17

Nov28

Entertainment

drake

Moving On Up

Twentyfive-year-old rapper Drake has handed over $7.7 million for a home in Hidden Hills, Calif.
The beautiful estate features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms and is more than 7,444 square feet. The home features a multi-million dollar pool that boasts cascading waterfalls, an 80-foot water slide and a grotto.

Other exterior features include a tennis court, five horse stall facilities with riding area (remember he said "my aunt, she rode equestrian," so that clearly makes sense), a sand volleyball court, commercial bathrooms, a mechanical bull and viewing pavilions.

The interior features include 24-seat theater, game room, spa/massage room, master suite with his/hers bathrooms, and a spectacular wine cellar/tasting room.

Arsenio Hall Returning to Late Night TV

The 56-year-old comic and recent “Celebrity Apprentice” winner, Arsenio Hall, will attempt a major comeback with a nightly syndicated offering starting in September 2013.

Hall is partnering with syndicator CBS Television Distribution and Tribune Co., which will broadcast the 11 p.m. show from D.C. on its 17 TV stations, giving it instant access to more than half the country.

It’s familiar territory for Hall, who hosted “The Arsenio Hall Show” between 1989 and 1994 — on which, famously, then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton played “Heartbreak Hotel” on the sax — making it safe and hip for serious presidential contenders to make non-serious, image-honing appearances on talk shows in daytime, afternoon and late-night.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be going home to my old friends and colleagues and firing up our night thing,” Hall said in statement. “Let’s get busy … Again!”

2 days in nyNew Chris Rock Sketch Series To Premiere On Comedy Central

A Chris Rock-produced sketch comedy show is in the works for the Comedy Central network.

Deadline reports that the network has ordered a pilot for D-Raw, a sketch comedy show which will star internet comedian Deshawn Raw.

Raw - known for his YouTube videos - has said that he is "just a new comedian trying to make it out the hood with the team. So we don't end up statistics."
The show will feature comedy vignettes and sketches of Raw and his friends living in Rancho Cucamonga, California. The comedian is best know for his 'Rap Battle' videos, which have earned over 13.5 million hits on YouTube.

Rock, who has previously produced the show Everybody Hates Chris, recently starred opposite Julie Delpy in 2 Days in New York. The show is comprised of sketches featuring Deshawn and his diverse group of friends based on their personal experiences as they make fun of themselves and their lives in Rancho Cucamonga. The sketches include rap battles and the guys’ take on all things pop culture.

… Briefly, Mariah Carey will be crowned a “BMI Icon” at the BMI Urban Awards on Sept. 7. Previous honorees include James Brown, Little Richard, Al Green, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Snoop Dogg. Carey has had 18 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, tying Elvis Presley among solo acts and behind only the Beatles, whose singles made it to the top of the chart 20 times. What’s more, she wrote or co-wrote most of her signature hits.

RAVE REVIEWS

total recallTotal Recall

A factory worker, Douglas Quaid (Collin Farrell) , begins to suspect that he's a spy; however, when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man as he finds himself on the run from the police. In Theaters August 3

 

2 Days in New York

Manhattan couple Marion and Mingus (Chris Rock), who each have children from prior relationships, find their comfortable family dynamic jostled by a visit from Marion's relatives. In limited theaters August 10

red hook summerRed Hook Summer

In the latest Spike Lee film, a middle-class boy from Atlanta finds his worldview changed as he spends the summer with his deeply religious grandfather in the housing projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. In theaters August 10

 

 

 

sparkleSparkle

Set in the 1960s, three sisters form a girl group and soon become Motown sensations, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart. Starring Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps. In theaters August 17

Nov28

Roland Martin

Roland Martin

Recognized as one of the nation’s most influential black journalists, Roland Sebastian Martin has received over 30 awards for excellence in multiple media platforms. Having appeared on such programs as CNN, TV One Cable Network, the Tom Joyner Morning Show and media outlets in Canada, Columbia, Italy, Australia and South Africa, Martin remains one of the most widely recognized black commentators in print, on the television screen, and on the air.

Despite the demands of his hectic professional life, Martin’s philosophy is sim- ple: “If you do good, I’ll talk about you. If you do bad, I’ll talk about you. At the end of the day--I’m going to talk about you.”

The author of such titles as Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith; Speak, Brother! A Black Man’s View of America; and “The First: President Barack Obama’s Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin,” the seasoned analyst is adamant in his strict adherence to honesty: “I’m not going to shy away from it and hold my tongue just because you’re the pastor. So—absolutely—I will lock and load and won’t apologize for it.”

This is not to say that the syndicated columnist has not experienced his share of hardships having gone through a divorce after six years of marriage, suffering a kidney rupture a year later, and then enduring the fear of almost losing his home to foreclosure and having to file for bankruptcy.

“There have been multiple challenging moments,” he frankly admits. “There is no “one thing” if anybody goes back and looks at their lives. There’s going to be those moments where we are challenged. That is the natural rhythm of life.”

To Martin though, it isn’t about the moment of crisis itself, but about how to maintain a perspective of faith through the moment of crisis and operate from a place of calm in the midst of that turmoil.

Faith, he says, is the answer. “There’s nothing else that explains how you’re able to get through all of it. That, to me, is most important in understanding the kind of person you are and who you are,” asserts the veteran commentator.

As a graduate of Houston's Jack Yates High School, which offered a magnet program devoted to communications, the former executive editor/general manag- er of the Chicago Defender committed himself to journalistic endeavors early on. Then, as an alumnus of Texas A&M University, he began writing Letters to the Editor—a column in the school newspaper, before going on to write for The Eagle—a local newspaper. He explains that when he first started on his journey, “I wasn’t writing about what was happening in my life, but about the issues of the day. I was born in 1968 so I had no recollection of the Civil Rights Movement. My writing was obviously different from folks who were older than me and that’s real- ly the angle that I took in terms of a fresh, different perspective of the world. I was writing about issues that had to do with Affirmative Action and college tuition.”

Since then, he has gone on to be named by Ebony Magazine in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as one of the 150 Most Influential African Americans in the United States. Martin is also the winner of such awards as the NAACP Image Award for Best Interview, the President’s Award by the National Association of Black Journalists, and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television News Directors.

Given his deep interest in public issues, the Houston native has been encour- aged to run for office throughout the years. However, he maintains, “It is not something that interests me primarily because I don’t believe the general public wants that level of honesty. You cannot choose to say what you really want to say about what’s going on. The level of compromise, the level of having to play the game and that’s just not me. I can’t do it.

“I’m a firm believer in terms of how God positions us in what we are supposed to be in. And I know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” says the 43-year- old. “I decided to become a journalist when I was 14 years old and I haven’t changed in 30 years. It’s been the same course since. You do what you’re destined

to do and I’m not destined for political office because it’s not in my temperament.” For Martin, being a journalist is not always about having the largest platform, but rather taking advantage of the moment and going from there, “It is always an evolution based upon the platforms and where you are.” His multiple platforms

have enabled him to speak about things that he is truly passionate about.
Of course, with great renown comes great scrutiny, “I refuse to be defined as a Liberal, Conservative, Republican, or Democrat, because I think those labels are way too limiting and don’t allow you to have a perspective that differs from a tra- ditional view. The biggest challenge is fighting that box or refusing to allow somebody to place you in that box.”

Having been born and raised as a Catholic, when it comes to the issue of com-

bining his faith with his profession, Martin himself candidly admits that he is an unapologetic person. “There are certainly people out there who do not like it when you’re able to profess your faith in a very public way. But frankly, the position I’ve taken in, it doesn’t matter. The decisions that I make are made to my faith as opposed to saying that faith is part of what I do.”

Well aware of the perils of fame and the challenges of having such a broad- based audience, Martin reveals that his saving grace is his fearless attitude in terms of his actions and words. It is a particular strength that has allowed him to reach multitudes of people, which is one of the most powerful and rewarding aspects of his career. Ever the outspoken one, he claims, “I really can’t say there hasn’t been anything that I haven’t talked about, although I’m sure there is.”

“What gives me the most joy about what I do is when someone approaches me and they tell me something that I said that truly impacted their life in a profound way, because you never really know who is listening and how they may take it. It’s always interesting when I encounter people and they tell me their stories. Then you realize that every- thing you say has an impact.”

Currently residing in Chicago with his wife, Reverend Jacquie Hood Martin, his perspective on the future is one that is hopeful, but mingled with uncertainty, steadfast- ness, and room for growth: “I don’t know where I’ll be. The reality is all my initial goals were to be a publisher and editor of a newspaper that happened by the time I was 29-years-old. And those goals change. I alter my goals every year. I certainly want to be in media in five years. I want to continue to have the broad impact, but also be true to myself. That’s the most important thing.” 

First Ladies High Tea
November will mark the 20th Anniversary of our Annual First Ladies High Tea, honoring the contributions of female leaders and women of faith to the Los Angeles community. For more information, visit www.firstladieshightea.com
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