QUEEN SUGAR IS BACK!

Queen Sugar is Back! Premiering on June 12th on OWN. The trailer has me excited and knows this will definitely be a great season.

The drama series is back for the fourth year, following the Bordelon family as they discover Nova (Rutina Wesley) is publishing her memoir which divulges long-held family secrets. Tension festers at home as Nova embarks on a book tour and unexpectedly encounters significant relationships from her past along the way. Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) remains in the thick the tension in both her personal and professional life as she continues to battle the Landry family while also trying to ensure the safety and future of her teenage son Micah (Nicholas Ashe). Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) is managing fatherhood and his complicated relationship with ex-girlfriend Darla (Bianca Lawson) after learning he is not the biological father of his son, Blue (Ethan Hutchison), is encouraged by an old friend to create opportunities for formerly incarcerated men.

“Queen Sugar” is produced for OWN by Forward Movement and Harpo Films in association with Warner Horizon Scripted Television. The executive producers are Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Paul Garnes and Anthony Sparks. The series is based on the book by Natalie Baszile.

QUEEN SUGAR PREMIERES JUNE 12 AT 9 PM ON OWN!

‘WHEN THEY SEE US’ Drops Official Trailer

 BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

30 years ago, today a woman was raped in Central Park and five teenagers of color were framed for it.

Netflix has just release the full trailer for Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” a four-part series about the wrongly convicted Central Park Five.

Based on the true case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit, the show follows the young men (Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise) in the spring of 1989 when they are first questioned about the brutal assault of a Caucasian female jogger in New York’s Central Park. The later part of the series will also see them as men, spanning 25 years and highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement they reached with the city of New York in 2014.

_h_14477862_v2

The series stars Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Dascha Polanco, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Marquis Rodriguez and Asante Blackk.

7I4XLXDBCRGEPN2OXFUP7QI7F4whenheader
“When They See Us” launches on Netflix on May 31.

WHEN THEY SEE US – NETFLIX

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Ava DuVernay’s upcoming limited series on the brutal crime and false accusations of five teenagers that shocked NYC and the nation 30 years ago will be available to stream on Netflix on May 31. The four-part series formerly known as The Central Park Five will now be called When They See Us released an explosive trailer this morning. Just the title alone is powerful. For the many Black deaths that has spawned the Black Lives Matter movement, for the many false accusations of people of color over the years, When They See Us is a very fitting title.

_h_14477862_v2

With this series Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef get to tell their story of young people of color unjustly handled by the criminal justice system.

For those that are unfamiliar with the case, these five teens, four Black and one Hispanic were apprehended in connection to the assault and brutal rape of Trisha Meili, a White female jogger on the night of April 19, 1989. Before the trial began, the FBI tested the DNA of the rape kit and found that it did not match any of the boys but as fitting as the title suggests they were in the park so they must have done it, right? Regardless of the evidence to clear them the teens were convicted in 1990. In 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted murder and serial rapist serving a life sentence in prison confessed to the crime and DNA evidence confirmed that he was indeed the attacker on the night in question. However, Reyes was not prosecuted for the rape and murder due to statute of limitations expiring by the time of his confession.

when-they-see-us-netflix-image-1

The teens now men convictions were overturned in 2002. In 2003, they sued the City of New York for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination, and emotional distress. The city refused to settle for over a decade until new Mayor Bill de Blasio took office and supported the settlement, the city settled the case for $41 million in 2014 and their names were finally cleared.

This whole case and what’s happening in society has me singing the old Michael Jackson song “They Don’t Care About Us”.

Written and Directed by Ava DuVernay. This series will go beyond 1989 and what happened after.

whenheader

The series stars Emmy Award® Nominee Michael K. Williams, Academy Award® Nominee Vera Farmiga, Emmy Award® Winner John Leguizamo, Academy Award® Nominee and Emmy Award® Winner Felicity Huffman, Emmy Award® Nominee Niecy Nash, Emmy Award® Winner and two-time Golden Globe Nominee Blair Underwood, Emmy Award® and Grammy Award® Winner and Tony Award® Nominee Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Storm Reid, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Marquis Rodriguez, and Asante Blackk.

Thank you Ava for continuing to expose the injustice of people of color.

VAYA (To Go) Comes to Theatres

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Vaya released in 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival has been acquired by Ava Duvernay’s Array and scheduled for theater release in October as well as Netflix on November 1. Directed by Akin Omotoso and written by Craig Feimond, Tshabalira Lebakeng, Antony Mafela, David Majoka, Madoda Nthuli, Harriet Perlman and Robbie Thrope. Vaya gained Akin Omotoso the African Movie Academy Award for Best Director.

download-1-

Vaya (To Go) is about three people who board the train bound for Johannesburg. Strangers, each on their own mission, with a simple task to complete and in search of a family to help them. But when they are betrayed by the very people whose protection they sought, they find themselves trapped in the city. Vaya weaves in all three plots, that intersects in a gripping, moving and funny story about struggling for survival and dignity in the city.

Akin-Omotosos-Vaya-To-Be-Submitted-For-2018-Oscar-Consideration-800x445

VAYA’s ‘To Go’ Screening Tour Dates:

LOS ANGELES | October 26 – November 1 | Laemmle Music Hall

NEW YORK | October 27-28 | RAW Space presented by Imagenation Cinema

NEW YORK | October 29 | National Sawdust

GARY, IN | October 13 | Indiana University Northwest presented by Gary International Black Film Festival

SEATTLE | October 25 | Ark Lodge Cinemas presented by Sankofa Film Society

LAKE PLACID, NY | October 26 | Lake Placid Film Festival

BLOOMINGTON, IN | November 1 | Indiana University Black Film Center/Archives

HOUSTON | November 8 | Houston Museum of African American Culture

KATY, TX | November 14 | Alamo Drafthouse LaCenterra

BOSTON | November 16-18 | ArtsEmerson

unnamed-15

Visit Arraynow.com/Vaya to request a screening and to buy tickets.

WHY BRONZELENS?

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

BronzeLens Film Festival has got to be my favorite Film Festivals. I look forward to it each and every year. BronzeLens is one of those things where it’s big, but it’s small. It’s not so big that you feel out of place and you can’t talk to people. It is a very approachable environment. From the moment, you step in you are treated like a VIP whether you are or not.

IMG_1204

BronzeLens gives the opportunity to be exposed to films: short, feature, student, and even web series that you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. Being in the presence of these amazing filmmakers, cast and crews are priceless. I still support these people to this day. The networking is an added bonus to the price of admission.

IMG_2536IMG_1448IMG_2557

From the workshops, Masterclasses, special screenings, awards show, Women’s Superstar Luncheon and Brunch with the Brothers there is something for everyone. In the past at the Women’s Superstar Luncheon, Ava Duvernay and Queen Latifah were both honored. Brunch with the Brothers always brings an interesting perspective. Hearing from the guys on their experiences in the industry gives us ladies a one up.

Queen_Latifah_and_Will_Packer__4.feature-photo3

 

One of my favorite memories from the Festival was about 2 years ago. Issa Rae was in attendance to screen her new HBO show, now in its third season. I can remember the HBO executive tapped me on my shoulder and asked if I wanted to interview Issa Rae. My eyes got super big and I was screaming on the inside but kept it together, and while I had no questions prepared I confidently said yes and was escorted to an area to interview her. That was my first big interview and it was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. After posting my interview, Issa Rae reposted it, yes, she reposted it. Greatest moment. My world was filled with joy.

IMG_1182IMG_2523

You never know what will happen at BronzeLens, so you don’t want to miss a minute of the action. First class treatment all the way down to the volunteers. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. Even if you are an inspiring filmmaker, actor, actress, writer, or just starting out, this Festival is for you.

bronzelens-2018

THE PHENOMENON OF SCANDAL

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

When Scandal first premiered six years ago it was unlike any other show that was on TV at the time. It was a show that we would have a love/hate relationship with and we loved every minute of it. Scandal told stories boldly and unapologetically. That moment when we rooted for Olivia and Fitz and some later rooted for Olivia and Jake and we realized that she had a type; dating married men. Yes, Jake was married if you remember in Season Five we learned that he was married. Finally, that moment when we rooted for the White Hat and wanted to be a “Gladiator in A Suit” and get justice by any means necessary.

scandal-2

The premiere of Scandal brought about a first, which we are experiencing a lot of these days. This drama helped bring in a new era of diversity on the small screen. Kerry Washington became the first African- American to be lead in a TV drama, something that hadn’t happen since 1974. She was also the first African-American woman in 18 years to be nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. This opened up the door for so many other African-American female leads, including Being Mary Jane with Gabrielle Union and another ShondaLand show How To Get Away with Murder with Viola Davis.

olivia-pope-kerry-washington-ftrScandal

As I am re-watching Scandal from the beginning I am loving how Shonda Rhimes has given opportunities for actors to act on not only one of her shows, but several. Kelly McCreary appeared in Season Three as a friend of Columbus Short before he was killed in the series. Kelly later landed on Grey’s Anatomy as the fierce bad-ass Dr. Maggie Pierce, half-sister of Meredith Grey. Jerrika Hinton appeared in Season One as a coroner and later landed on Grey’s Anatomy as the seemingly heartless intern Stephanie Edwards. Bellamy Young appeared in a cross-over event with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice as a patient and we all know she ended up on Scandal as Mellie Grant: First Lady, Governor, and President. Scott Foley appeared as Teddy’s patient and later husband on Grey’s Anatomy and later moved on to be the none other than Command of B6313 on Scandal.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Scandal has tackled so many issues that have impacted lots of lives. From military rape to Black Lives Matter this show has tackled it all. One of my favorite episodes is “Vermont is For Lovers”, Episode 308. Not only was it a great episode, it made TV history as well. It was the first primetime show with an African-American showrunner, Shonda Rhimes, first-time TV director at the time Ava Duvernay and lead Kerry Washington. The famous episode where Fitz and Olivia were on the outs and he flies her to Vermont to show her the house that he had built of her. Such a classic and touching episode for me because you really felt the love that he had for Olivia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Deciding how to end a show is easy. Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually, going through with it? Actually, standing up to say: This, is it? Not so much so. We are leaving everything on the table with this finale. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our Scandal family: all together, white hats on, Gladiators running full speed over a cliff.” – Shonda Rhimes

gettyimages-666684142

Shonda never saw this show as a long lifespan. She always saw it as a season-seven show. Tonight, on ABC at 10 pm, Scandal will say its final goodbye and hang up the white hat for good; and the entire country will be watching and tweeting with the cast for the very last time. I will definitely miss the ride and rollercoaster that Shonda Rhimes gave us with this show.

Farewell Scandal and thank you to the cast and crew for such a great ride!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.