5 Black Actors Who Should Have Been Nominated For Oscars

Nationwide — Although Cheryl Boone Issacs, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), is African American, the lack of diversity continues when it comes to Oscar nominations. Not only were no African American actors nominated this year, but there were also no Asian, Latino, or Native American nominees.

Some celebrities, like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett, have boycotted the awards show saying that the academy is racist despite having a Black president. Others, however, insist that not enough minority actors are being given leading roles in big films.

Here are 5 Black actors and actresses that we think should have been nominated:

#1 – Michael B. Jordan for his performance in Creed: Jordan stars in this film as Adonis Johnson Creed, Apollo’s son, with Sylvester Stallone reprising the role of Rocky Balboa. It is the seventh Rocky film, both a spin-off from the original series and a sequel to 2006’s Rocky Balboa.

#2 – Sanaa Lathan for her performance in The Perfect Guy: Lathan stars as Leah Vaughn, a successful lobbyist who, after a painful breakup, jumps into a passionate relationship with a charming stranger (Michael Ealy). When her ex-boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) resurfaces in her life she has to figure out who she should trust and who she should fear.

#3 – Idris Elba for his performance in Beasts of No Nation: Elba stars as Commandant in this film about a young Ugandan boy named Agu (Abraham Attah) who is torn away from his family as his country goes through a horrific war. Agu is later recruited by Commandant, who takes a liking to Agu and trains him to be a child soldier.

#4 – Will Smith for his performance in Concussion: Smith stars as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian forensic pathologist who is fighting against efforts by the NFL to suppress his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain damage suffered by professional football players. The film also stars Alec Baldwin as Dr. Julian Bailes.

#5 – O’Shea Jackson, Jr for his performance in Straight Outta Compton: Jackson portrayed his father, Ice Cube in this biopic which chronicles the rise and fall of the 1990’s rap group NWA. It also stars Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, Keith Stanfield as Snoop Dogg, and R. Marcos Taylor as Suge Knight.

Spike Lee + An All Star Cast + A Chicago Modern Adaptation of “Lysistrata” = Spikes’ new movie, “Chi-Raq”.

With big names like: Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Wesley Snipes, John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Harris, La La Vazquez, Dave Chappelle, David Patrick Kelly, D. B. Sweney and Teyonah Parris, how can you go wrong?

images“Chi-Raq” is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes.

Side Note: For those who never heard of “Lysistrata”, here is a quick lesson in ancient Greek plays. During the Peloponnesian War, a beautiful woman by the name of, Lysistrata(meaning “Army Disbander”), persuades the women of Greece to withhold sex from their men in hopes to end to the war.

So this adaptation has the girlfriend(Teyonah Parris) of a Chicago gang leader(Nick Cannon) persuading other frustrated women to abstain from sex until their men agree to end the senseless cycle of violence.

Makes you wonder, could this really work?

Movie Info:
Genre: Drama
Directed by: Spike Lee
Written By: Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott
In Theaters: Dec 4, 2015 Limited
Box Office: $2.1M
Runtime: 1 hr. 58 min.

“The Cosby Show” – Is The Image Shattered

Nationwide — Ebony Magazine, one of the oldest and most respected African American publications, has shattered America’s favorite Black family. The November 2015 issue features a 20-year old picture of the Huxtables from the infamous “Cosby Show”, but in the picture, Bill Cosby’s smiling face is obscured by broken glass. Inside, readers will also find an intense, no holds barred article entitled, “Cliff-Hanger: Can ‘The Cosby Show’ Survive? Should It?”.

November 2015 cover of Ebony Magazine
November 2015 cover of Ebony Magazine

The cover, although controversial, does reflect in reality what has happened to Cosby’s clean image after more than 50 women have recently accused him of drugging and raping them over the past four decades.

Kierna Mayo, editor-in-chief, commented, “I believe with everything that our collective healing (from this and all traumas) is tied to baring truths, confronting selves, and dismantling crutches. We aim to uplift. However, sometimes before you rise up, you break down.”

She told CNN, “Neither Cosby nor his effect on black America, good or bad, can be ignored.” She continued, “Ebony is not shattering anything. We’re just asking African Americans to have an honest, forthright conversation about what (the Cosby scandal) means.”

Meanwhile, social media has been set afire. On the magazine’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, all sorts of comments and tweets can be found. People’s reactions range from: “Who cares?” to “How could you?” to “It’s about time!”

For more details and/or to read the controversial issue, visit:
www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/ebony-bill-cosby-cover-story-november-2015-999

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WALKING WITH GODS – New Short Film by Rapper David Banner

Walking with Gods is a live-action, superhero series. It is about a man whose godly powers are realized only when his inner being is balanced and he truly believes in the power within.

It all begins when Aket Heru, son of a celestial king is cursed.
Aket’s jealous older brother, Liel, becomes aware that their father will ignore natural order and install Aket as king, upon his death.

Angered, Liel invokes the evil spirit Setus. Setus fools Liel and destroys the family, but keeps Aket for entertainment. Aket’s memory is erased and he is forced to travel through the ages not knowing his true God like power.

Setus plays an evil game and Aket murders his girlfriend, Lisa. After the murder, Aket’s true power awakens. Aket must now fight to restore his full power and break the curse. In order to do so, Aket now Alex Light, must believe in his godly power and embrace his true destiny.

If you want to see more you can Donate at www.davidbanner.com. Thank you ALL. Controlling Our Images.

Any inquiries ask for Stephanie at iwantdavidbanner@gmail.com

New Interactive Storybook App Full of Positive Messages For African American Children

– New heroine, Ameka Love, is the newest animated sensation for children age 2-9 years old. Available now on iTunes and Google Play. –

Oakland, CA — Ameka Love, a global brand, is the newest animated sensation for children age 2 though 9 years old. In this first storybook of the Ameka Love©™ series, Ameka takes children on a journey to Crystal Mountain where they will encounter obstacles along the way and are encouraged to use the power of their minds to resolve their issues.

Vibrant imagery and interactive pages throughout the book keeps children engaged while reintroducing educational themes such as basic math, shapes, colors. Ameka Love Journey to Crystal Mountain©™ also ties in unconventional topics such as yoga, meditation, chakras and our connection to nature and the universe.

Ameka empowers young children by showing them that they have their own innate ability to resolve issues for themselves by using their own mental capabilities. Children are also taught to observe their surroundings and analyze situations using their critical thinking skills. Ameka continually reinforces the message of empowerment from within.

For more details, visit www.amekalove.com

 

Download the app on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=937967279&mt=8

Download the app on Google Play:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gmail.ali.ameka.build

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HdMRdiDWEM

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“Selma” – Overdue tribute to MLK. – A must see film!

Nationwide — I was born in the early Fifties, which means the Civil Rights Movement unfolded over the course of my formative years. And like the average black kid growing up in that tumultuous era, I can distinctly recall having a very visceral reaction to the nightly news coverage, since I had such a personal stake in the outcome of the events.

One of the most consequential flashpoints in memory was when a trio of voting rights marches were staged in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Launched by locals with the help of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the first demonstration came to be known as Bloody Sunday because of the way the police viciously attacked the 500+ participants with teargas and billy clubs, all at the direction of a racist Sheriff named Jim Clark (Stan Houston).

Fallout from the shocking media coverage garnered the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) who agreed to get involved. And after an aborted second attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the controversy blossomed into a nationwide cause célèbre with 25,000 people willing to risk their life and limb descending upon tiny Selma, including cultural icons like Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Joan Baez, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter, Paul and Mary.

Three times proved a charm as the third march went off without a hitch, although participant Viola Liuzzo (Tara Ochs), a mother of five from Detroit, was murdered by a quartet of cowardly Ku Klux Klansmen just a few hours later. A couple of other martyrs also made the ultimate sacrifice in Selma, Jimmie Lee Jackson (Keith Stanfield) and Reverend James Reeb (Jeremy Strong). Fortunately, none of them died in vain because, in August, President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signed historic voting rights legislation into law.

All of the above has been evocatively reenacted in Selma, a gut-wrenching civil rights saga directed by Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere). The picture’s release has proven to be oh so timely, given the resurgence of political activism all across the U.S. in the wake of the failure of grand juries to indict the police officers for the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Believe it or not, this moving biopic is the first, full-length feature ever made revolving around Dr. Martin Luther King. That oversight is only apt to further enhance the film’s stock value when it goes wide in theaters right before Dr. King’s birthday and the eagerly-anticipated awards season.

An overdue tribute to a revered icon and to some unsung foot soldiers who played a critical role at a seminal moment in the courageous African-American struggle for freedom and equality.

The film opens on Christmas day in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Washington, DC. It opens everywhere else on January 9, 2015.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, and brief profanity
Running time: 127 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

 

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Are Black Actors’ Roles Improving from ‘Just The Black Best Friend or The Crackhead’

There’s no doubt that things are changing in Hollywood. In an industry where black actors and actresses were once exclusively relegated to roles as servants, or supporting characters or drug addicts, African-Americans have broken barriers and given way to what some have called the Black Hollywood Renaissance.

After the widespread praise of films like Steve McQueens’ “12 Years a Slave,” and the rise of stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Chiwetel Eljiofor and Michael B. Jordan, as well as comedians like Kevin Hart who continue to own the box office, it’s obvious that black actors and actresses are carving out space for themselves in leading and groundbreaking roles.

During an interview on Huff Post Live Friday, the cast of the web series “For Colored Boys” talked with host Marc Lamont Hill about how Hollywood is changing for people of color.

“It’s nice because I feel like there’s starting to become more of a diversity of types of roles,” actress Lauren Hooper said. “It’s not just like the black best friend, or the crackhead or the drug dealer. There’s the young professional, lawyer, there’s so many different types of roles that are up.”

Hooper went on to discuss how more independent pieces are making their way into mainstream media, adding to the diversity of the types of stories being told in films.

But there’s still progress to be made. Actor Taye Diggs recently discussed how black films often face a frustrating double standard in the industry.

“Unfortunately, the business is such that as far as studios are concerned, they judge one quote-unquote black movie on how other ‘black’ movies have done, even if they have nothing to do with each other,” he said.

“We’ve definitely come a long way. But we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “It’s too bad we can’t do well on our own merit when it comes to the studios. They don’t like to take risks and, unfortunately, we’re still considered a huge risk, even though I don’t think we are.”

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Legendary Actress Ruby Dee Dead At 91

NEW YORK — Her long career brought her an Oscar nomination at age 83 for best supporting actress for her role in the 2007 film “American Gangster.” She also won an Emmy and was nominated for several others. Age didn’t slow her down.

“I think you mustn’t tell your body, you mustn’t tell your soul, ‘I’m going to retire,’” Dee told The Associated Press in 2001. “You may be changing your life emphasis, but there’s still things that you have in mind to do that now seems the right time to do. I really don’t believe in retiring as long as you can breathe.”

Since meeting on Broadway in 1946, she and her late husband were frequent collaborators. Their partnership rivaled the achievements of other celebrated performing couples, such as Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.

But they were more than a performing couple. They were also activists who fought for civil rights, particularly for blacks.

“We used the arts as part of our struggle,” she said at an appearance in Jackson, Miss., in 2006. “Ossie said he knew he had to conduct himself differently with skill and thought.”

In 1998, the pair celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and an even longer association in show business with the publication of a dual autobiography, “With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together.”

Davis died in February 2005. At his funeral, his widow sat near his coffin as former President Clinton led an array of famous mourners, including Harry Belafonte and Spike Lee.

Davis and Dee met in 1945 when she auditioned for the Broadway play “Jeb,” starring Davis (both were cast in it). In December 1948, on a day off from rehearsals from another play, “The Smile of the World,” Davis and Dee took a bus to New Jersey to get married. They already were so close that “it felt almost like an appointment we finally got around to keeping,” Dee wrote in “In This Life Together.”

They shared billing in 11 stage productions and five movies during long parallel careers. Dee’s fifth film, “No Way Out” with Sidney Poitier in 1950, was her husband’s first. Along with film, stage and television, their richly honored careers extended to a radio show, “The Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Story Hour,” that featutred a mix of black themes. Davis directed one of their joint film appearances, “Countdown at Kusini” (1976).

Like her husband, Dee was active in civil rights issues and efforts to promote the cause of blacks in the entertainment industry. As young performers, they found themselves caught up the growing debate over social and racial justice in the United States. The couple’s push for social justice was lifelong: In 1999, the couple was arrested while protesting the shooting death of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, by New York City police.

They were friends with baseball star Jackie Robinson and his wife, Rachel — Dee played her, opposite Robinson himself, in the 1950 movie, “The Jackie Robinson Story” — and with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. Dee and Davis served as masters of ceremonies for the historic 1963 March on Washington and she spoke at both the funerals for King and Malcom X.

Among her best-known films was “A Raisin in the Sun,” in 1961, the classic play that explored racial discrimination and black frustration. On television, she was a leading cast member on the soap operas such in the 1950s and ’60s, a rare sight for a black actress in the 1950s and 60s.

As she aged, her career did not ebb. Dee was the voice of wisdom and reason as Mother Sister in Spike Lee’s 1989 film, “Do the Right Thing,” alongside her husband. She won an Emmy as supporting actress in a miniseries or special for 1990′s “Decoration Day.”

She won a National Medal of the Arts in 1995 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000. In 2004, she and Davis received Kennedy Center Honors. Another honor came in 2007, after Davis’ death, when the recording of their memoir won a Grammy for best spoken word album, a category that includes audio books.

The role that brought her an Oscar nomination at age 83 was as the mother of Denzel Washington’s title character in Ridley Scott’s crime drama “American Gangster.”

Born Ruby Ann Wallace in Cleveland to parents who soon split, Dee moved to Harlem as an infant with a brother and two sisters, living with relatives and neighbors. She graduated from highly competitive Hunter High School in 1939 and enrolled at Hunter College. “I wanted to be an actor but the chances for success did not look promising,” she wrote in their joint autobiography.

But in 1940 she got a part in a Harlem production of a new play, “On Strivers Row,” which she later called “one giant step” to becoming a person and a performer.

In 1965, she became the first black woman to play lead roles at the American Shakespeare Festival. She won an Obie Award for the title role in Athol Fugard’s “Boesman and Lena” and a Drama Desk Award for her role in “Wedding Band.”

Most recently, Dee performed her one-woman stage show, “My One Good Nerve: A Visit With Ruby Dee,” in theaters across the country. The show was a compilation of some of the short stories, humor and poetry in her book of the same title.

She is survived by three children: Nora, Hasna and Guy, and seven grandchildren.

Says Film Failed Because Of ’12 Years A Slave’

British screenwriter William Nicholson, who wrote the screenplay for the biopic “Nelson Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” starring Idris Elba, claims his film failed because of the success of “12 Years A Slave.” Nicholson stated that all of the “guilt” associated with the oppression of Black people was “sucked up” by the critically acclaimed film, adding that as reason why his motion picture never stood a chance.

Nicholson, 66, spoke at the Hay Festival in Wales as reported by The Telegraph and shared his thoughts on why his film didn’t garner the respect from the Academy Awards selection committees and the like. Twice nominated for Oscars in the past, Nicholson felt he had a sure thing with the Mandela film but was let down.

Nicholson speaking from the Hay Festival:

“12 Years a Slave came out in America and that sucked up all the guilt about black people that was available. They were so exhausted feeling guilty about slavery that I don’t think there was much left over to be nice about our film.

So our film didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, which was a bit heartbreaking. I really thought it was going to win lots of awards, partly because it’s a good story but also because I thought I’d done a really good job and the director had done a really good job. So it has been very tough for me. Some things work and some things don’t. You just have to soldier on.”

Nicholson labored on the script for the biopic for 15 years, handing in a staggering 33 drafts until it was approved. During the interview, Nicholson also stated that he wrote all but one of the speeches that appeared in the film and added that Mandela’s own speeches were “not very good” by his estimation.