‘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.

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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.

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

The 30th Anniversary Screening of ‘Do The Right Thing’

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

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At the TCM Film Festival, I had the opportunity to attend the 30th Anniversary of Do The Right Thing at the TCL Theater in Hollywood. It was the World Premiere screening of the newly remastered version of the film. A conversation before the film included Academy Award Winning Costume Designer, Ruth E. Carter, Legendary Casting Director Robi Reed, and Spike Lee’s sister, Joie Lee.

Rewatching the film 30 years later was amazing and to see the all the of the actors whose careers started from this film. Such a great thing for Spike Lee to give so many people their first gig. This was Robi Reed’s first time casting. Robin Harris, Martin Lawrence, Joie Lee was their big acting break. Also, while watching it, it was a sign of things to coming. Da Mayor kept referring to Ruth and the kids had Black Panther comic books. 30 years later Ruth E. Carter wins an Oscar of Black Panther.

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Rest in Peace to Bill Nunn, Ruby Dee, and Ossie Davis.

FILM REVIEW: THE BEST OF ENEMIES

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

So, went to an advanced screening of The Best of Enemies. After the screening, there was a conversation with one of the stars of the film, Taraji P. Henson and the writer/director/producer Robin Bissell.

The true story of the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater, an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a local Ku Klux Klan leader. During the racially charged summer of 1971, Atwater and Ellis come together to co-chair a community summit on the desegregation of schools in Durham, N.C. The ensuing debate and battle soon lead to surprising revelations that change both of their lives forever.

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Let me start off and say that Taraji did a good job on this film and in this role. But, to be honest this was yet another “White Savior” film and it is clear that it was written by a White man. The movie was longer than it should have and spent too much time telling a one-sided story. The character arc was never developed for Ann Atwater, unless you read the back story on your own for her you did not know she was an activist. She was painted as a poor Black woman who just spoke up for her community. The only thing that you knew about her family is that she had a daughter that we didn’t see her interact with a lot. No back story or anything. But what you did get a lot of was C.P. Ellis and his back story. They spent a lot of time building his character, his family, and how he ticked. We knew that he had kids and a wife, the classic American family, while they painted Ann as a Black woman with a broken family because we didn’t know where her daughter’s father was. His wife, played by Anne Heche was instrumental in showing the human side of this KKK President and what led him to join. Showing that he had a bad, sad life and he was just looking to belong to something. Way to humanize a white supremacist and diminish what Ann was trying to do in the community back then. Thanks, but we don’t need a savior.

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Why do White writers always tell these stories from one point of view, it would be helpful to have a Black person during the writing process to have it balanced. The problem with Hollywood is they think these types of movies support the Black community when it does the exact opposite. But let me step off my soapbox and hope that in the future these stories are told from both perspectives and not just the one. But shout out to them for at least bring awareness to the story that people did not know that much about.

The Best of Enemies stars Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell and premieres in theaters on April 5.

THE HATE YOU GIVE Q&A

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Had the opportunity to attend the screening of The Hate You Give to celebrate the film’s release on DVD, Blu-Ray and all digital platforms. This film gives an opportunity to start the conversation on race with those in your family, community and your friends. This film had me laughing and crying, but it also provoked feelings on how this could be changed and what we as a community can do to change the narrative. After the screening there was a great Q&A with Russell Hornsby and moderated by CNN commentator Symone Sanders. In these Trump days it is important to have this conversation and show your kids how to conduct themselves out on these streets because it will get real, real quick and then what.

If you have not seen this amazing film directed by George Tillman Jr. make sure you buy it or stream it wherever you get your movies.