Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Calloway Wins 2014 NAACP Theatre Award


Photo Credit: Photo By Foxx

 
(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- A one-woman dramatization of personal letters written by author Zora Neale Hurston that incorporates excerpts from her impressive body of work to tell a most intriguing life story is not the simplest of parts to play, which is why Vanessa Bell Calloway earned Best Lead Female - Equity honors for her role in the stage play "Letters From Zora: In Her How Words" at the NAACP Theatre Awards presented at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA, Monday night.  
Exploring Hurston's controversial views on integration, segregation and social justice, showcasing a life that was filled with artistic triumphs as well as abject poverty and self-doubt, Calloway plays the role of Zora in this provocative multimedia production directed by Anita Dashiell-Sparks and written by novelist Gabrielle Pina, also nominated in the Best Writing category for her work on "Letters From Zora."

"A great actor doesn't simply act, she embodies the soul and spirit of the person they're portraying.  Vanessa Bell Calloway becomes Zora Neal Hurston so much so that audiences forgot that they were watching a performance.  Truly brilliant," said actress Lela Rochon Fuqua of Calloway's one-woman show.  
Calloway (above) as Hurston in "Letters From Zora" 
(Photo Courtesy DSD Publicity)

Motown Singer Jimmy Ruffin Dead At 78

 
Jimmy Ruffin

STATEMENT ON PASSING OF JIMMY RUFFIN
 
"Jimmy Ruffin was a phenomenal singer.  He was truly underrated because we were also fortunate to have his brother, David, as the lead singer of the Temptations, who got so much acclaim.  Jimmy, as a solo artist, had "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," one of the greatest songs put out by Motown and also one of my personal favorites.   He was a wonderful human being, quiet and unassuming, who touched many lives with his music, not just here in the states, but overseas, as well.  
 
Jimmy Ruffin will always be a part of the Motown legacy, and I extend my sincere condolences to his family, friends and fans."
 
Berry Gordy, Founder
MOTOWN
 
November 19, 2014

Essence® Winner Greta Prince Signs With SRT


Jackson, MS - SRT ENTERTAINMENT recently announced the signing of ESSENCE R&B Star winner Greta Prince and the release of her new single, “Forever.” (Available Online Today)

Written and produced by “who’s got next” producer/songwriter Daniel Bryant, “Forever” is filled with a pulsating and driving bass line characteristic of the southern R&B/Hip Hop familiar to Greta’s hometown of Atlanta, GA and reminiscent of 80’s Hip Hop live beat boxing.

“I wanted to sing about love, relationships, and finding your lifelong partner in a healthy, positive way”, Greta says of her new release.
 
“I commend ESSENCE® for creating this R&B Star platform which is very vital to the perpetuation of R&B music and the development of new stars for future generations," said D.A. Johnson, president of SRT ENTERTAINMENT.

“Forever” is the first single from Greta Prince’s forthcoming self-titled EP slated for release in 2015.

About SRT ENTERTAINMENT
SRT ENTERTAINMENT is a premiere multi-media entertainment company and content provider. It’s comprised of record labels, distribution, syndicated radio shows, television shows, feature films, marketing & consulting, booking & artist management, public relations, concert & event promotions, music festivals, internet web portal, fashion, literature, and women hair products. With over 25 years of entertainment business leadership experience, creativity and innovation, SRT Entertainment is poised to become a leader in new media. “One Company… A World Of Entertainment.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

'Selma' Execs Participate In Q&A In San Francisco

 
Director/Executive Producer Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey


 
David Oyelowo, Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey

The upcoming film Selma had a special screening yesterday at the historic Castro Theatre in San Francisco followed by a Q&A where Director/Executive Producer, Ava DuVernay, Producers Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, and Actor David Oyelowo (who plays Martin Luther King) participated. Selma, from Paramount Pictures, Pathé, and Harpo Films, is in select theaters on Christmas Day and opens wide on January 9th, 2015.   

 
David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey

Selma Opens In Select Theaters December 25, 2014
In All Theaters January 9, 2015

Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.  The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.  Director Ava DuVernay’s Selma tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

Starring David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.”
 
Directed by Ava DuVernay
Written by Paul Webb
Produced by Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey
Executive Producers Cameron McCracken, Nik Bower,
                                  Diarmuid McKeown, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes, Nan Morales

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Love Story At Center Of 'Beyond The Lights'



By Darlene Donloe

Stardom is a fickle lover. It adores you one minute and kicks you to the curb the next. You’re the flavor of the month and then it won’t even take your calls.

The perils of stardom, the ability to trust in yourself and, of course, love, are the core of the new film, Beyond the Lights.

It’s the story of Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a music superstar who has allowed her mother (Minnie Driver) and the pressures of the business to push her to the edge. Feeling invisible, she makes a fateful decision, but is brought back from the brink by Kaz Nicol, a young cop and aspiring politician (Nate Parker) who “sees” her.

One things leads to another and a tender relationship develops. But not everyone is happy for the couple. Kaz’s father, played by Danny Glover, would prefer that his son concentrate on his bid for office.  Noni’s mother wants her to concentrate on being the biggest entertainer in the world.

It all makes for an intriguing story helmed by director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of Bees, Love and Basketball).

Mbatha-Raw is believable as the fragile, rebellious superstar. She delivers some respectable concert performances. 

Parker always turns in a worthy performance. This time he’s enlisted to show strength, vulnerability, passion and patience.  He succeeds in producing all four.

This is one of Driver’s best performances ever. She nearly steals the film with a stunning and noteworthy performance as a driven stage mom.

Beyond the Lights is a simple story, but with an intriguing foundation. Its seedy underbelly is engaging.

Trailer: http://pr.mammothnyc.com/BeyondTheLights/Outreach/OfficialTrailer.zip 

Beyond the Lights, written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker, Minnie Driver, Colson “MGK” Baker and Danny Glover.  The film is produced by Stephanie Allain, Ryan Kavanaugh, Amar’e Stoudemire and Reggie Rock Bythewood. It’s executive produced by Tucker Tooley, Matt Alvarez, Robbie Brenner, Ron Burkle and Jason Colbeck.

Beyond the Lights, in theaters Nov. 14, is Rated PG-13.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Beyond the Lights gets an O (oh, yeah).

Can You Pass The 'Selma' Film Literacy Test?



Selma is the story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.  The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.  Director Ava DuVernay’s Selma tells the real story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

The film stars David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey as “Annie Lee Cooper.”

Selma film literacy test: http://www.selmamovie.com/selmaliteracytest/

Committed Will Be 'Home For Christmas'


NEW YORK, NEW YORK (November 11) -- Popular all male a-capella group Committed HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (https://itun.es/us/qMc93) EP is now available for pre-order via iTunes. The group is set to release their holiday album on November 25th via Mixed Bag Entertainment/eOne Distribution.
The 6-track EP release features holiday favorites "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", "Do You Hear What I Hear", "Have Yourself A Merry Christmas" among more.
The group -- Therry Thomas, Dennis Baptiste, Geston Pierre, Robert Pressley and Maurice Staple -- began singing together in 2003, inspired by another a cappella group that originated at Forest Lake Academy and solidified their sound while at school at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.
Upon winning NBC's "The Sing-Off," reaching 9 million viewers Committed earned a contract with Epic Records and released their debut album Committed which since has peaked at #3 on the *Billboard Top Heatseekers chart, #31 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and #171 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The group garnered a 2012 NAACP Image Award nomination* for 'Outstanding New Artist.'