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Character Posters from Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

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Tensions rise when trailblazing blues singer Ma Rainey and her band gather at a recording studio in Chicago in 1927.

Film Photos: Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in August Wilson's ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

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Checkout this photos from the upcoming adaption of August Wilson's 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'. Chicago, 1927. A recording session. Tensions rise between Ma Rainey, her ambitious horn player and the white management determined to control the uncontrollable "Mother of the Blues".The film features Viola Davis as Ma Rainey and Chadwick Boseman as Levee in his final film.

The film is directed by George C. Wolfe who also did amazing work with period films 'Lackawanna Blues' (2005) and 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' (2017).


'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' is a part of the August Wilson adaption project. Washington was given permission by Wilson's estate to bring nine of Wilson's legendary plays to the screen. 
I really love the atmosphere and composition of the photos. The photos looked like colorized black and white photos from the era. I was immediately draw to the colors used because they feel like what August Wilson's stor…

Google Honors Jackie Ormes

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Jackie Ormes is known as the first Black American woman cartoonist.
Jackie Ormes was born Zelda Mavin Jackson on August 1, 1911, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was born to  William Winfield Jackson,  the owner of a printing company and movie theater proprietor and Mary Brown Jackson. 

Ormes's first comic strip, Torchy Brown in Dixie to Harlem, first appeared in the Pittsburgh Courier on May 1, 1937. Although it was not syndicated in the traditional sense, it was read from coast to coast.


Her Patty-Jo 'n' Ginger, a single-panel cartoon would run for 11 years and lead to the creation of the Torchy Togs paper doll and the Patty-Jo doll. Both dolls were represented black girls and women as well dressed and in a positive modern light.

 Jackie Ormes is a trailblazer and I am happy Google honored her in this way. 
I've talked about Ormes before. Take a look!



Emmy 2020 Nominations

This morning Leslie Jones presented the nominations o the 2020 Emmy Awards. There are a few nominations that are very exciting to me as they feature talent from period series!

Drama Series 
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)

Comedy Series
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)

Limited Series
“Mrs. America” (Hulu)
“Watchmen” (HBO)

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”)

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Regina King (“Watchmen”) (Included becasue its Regina (duh!) and because of their flashbacks)
Octavia Spencer (“Self Made”)

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Sterling K. Brown (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (“Watchmen”)
Jovan Adepo (“Watchmen”)
Louis Gossett Jr. (“Watchmen”)

Supporting Actress in a Limited Serie…

Hamilton Trailer - Coming to Disney+

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The trailer for the cultural phenom Hamilton is here! The proshot is coming to the Disney+ streaming service this July 3!! Fans of the history making musical play will get a chance to see the beloved original cast. I firmly believe in Broadway productions becoming more accessible to fans of the medium, so proshots that can reach everyone are a step in the direction.  I am in love with the soundtrack and can not wait to see the OBS in action!!



Hamilton OBS Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler Chris Jackson as George Washington Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan / James Madison Anthony Ramos as John Laurens / Philip Hamilton Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler / Maria Reynolds Jonathan Groff as King George III  Jon Rua as Charles Lee / Ensemble Ephraim Sykes as George Eacker / Ensemble Thayne Jasperson as Samuel Se…

Happy Juneteenth!

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“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

'Till We Reach That Day' from Ragtime the Musical

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I've been listening to this rendition of "Til We Reach That Day' lately. I am in love with the way this casts' voices blend together and how they bring such emotion to the song. 
The Soloists: Piper Jones ('12) as Sarah's Friend Deonte Warren ('10) as Coalhouse Walker, Jr. Jessica Blair ('09) as Emma Goldman James Lombardino ('09) as Tateh Kara Farmer ('09) as Mother

Belmont University Musical Theatre Department - RAGTIME - Fall 2008
Till We Reach That Day  Music by Stephen Flaherty  Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens Book by Terrence McNally

COALHOUSE (spoken): No!
SARAH'S FRIEND: There's a day of hope May I live to see When our hearts are happy And our souls are free Let the new day dawn Oh, Lord, I pray We'll never get to heaven Till we reach that day
MOURNERS: It's a day of peace A day of pride A day of justice We have been denied When a man can live And a child can play We'll never get to heaven Till we reach that day
SARAH'S FRIEND

Check Out the Action Packed Trailer for Showtime's Series 'The Good Lord Bird'

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Based on the 2013 James McBride novel, The Good Lord Bird follows a young enslaved boy as he joins John Brown in Brown's abolitionist mission during Bleeding Kansas.

Newcomer Joshua Caleb Johnson plays Onion (who is a fictional character) and can be heard narrating the trailer. Just like in the award winning novel, the series will be told from the point of view of Onion (Joshua Caleb Johnson).




You will also spot Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame) as abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass.






The seven part miniseries will premier August 9th on Showtime. 

Poster + Cast of Spike Lee's newest film, Da 5 Bloods

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Four African American Vietnam veterans return to Vietnam. They are in search of the remains of their fallen squad leader and the promise of buried treasure.


Cast Chadwick Boseman Delroy Lindo  Clarke Peters   Jonathan Majors Isiah Whitlock Jr. Norm Lewis  Giancarlo Esposito
Crew Director: Spike Lee Music composed by: Terence Blanchard Screenplay: Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott, Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo Producers: Spike Lee, Lloyd Levin
Netflix will release the film globally on Friday June 12th.

Official Teaser Trailer for Lovecraft Country

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Here is the newest teaser trailer for the upcoming HBO series. Lovecraft Country.

"HBO’s new drama series, based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff of the same name, debuts this August. The series follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he joins up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback." 
Lovecraft Country is executive produced by Misha Green (of Underground fame), J.J Abrams, Jordan Peele, Bill Carraro, Yann Demange, Daniel Sackheim and David Knoller.
The first three names of the behind the camera creative team are enough to have me tuning in. The actors and actresses cast were equally compelling. Although horror isn't always my thing (I'm a…

In Memory of Charles Gregory Ross

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Today, we have unfortunately learned that celebrity hairstylist Charles Gregory Ross has passed away of Coronavirus. Hollywood heavy hitters like Tyler Perry, Viola Davis, Ava DuVernay and Lee Daniels wrote heartfelt messages to their friend and colleague. 


View this post on Instagram
I was fortunate to finally work with @charlesgregorytherenowned. He was a BRILLIANT hairstylist and did his MAGIC on @usvsbillieholiday ..Whenever l complained about anyone’s hair he’d say “lemme just slap some grease on it.. it’ll be ok”! 😂.. and it was!!! .. the virus took him today. Please say a prayer for this wonderful man and his family. 💔💔💔 A post shared by Lee Daniels (@leedaniels) on Apr 8, 2020 at 4:27pm PDT
Charles Gregory Ross showed his amazing artistry on numerous films. So often the people behind the screen don't get the praise they deserve. They work that Ross did was crucial to the viewing experience. This is especially true for period films which Ross worked on often. I include…

New Images from Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series, “Hollywood"

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A group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-World War II Hollywood try to make it big - no matter the cost. The series features Broadway darling Jeremy Pope, in his first television role. As well as BlacKkKlansman's Laura Harrier. 







Executive Producer, Writer and Director Janet Mock: “With the present so fraught and the future uncertain, we turned to the past for direction, uncovering buried history to spin an aspirational tale of what ifs. What if a band of outsiders were given a chance to tell their own story? What if the person with greenlight power was a woman? The screenwriter a black man? What if the heroine was a woman of color? The matinee idol openly gay? And what if they were all invited into the room where the decisions are made, entering fully and unapologetically themselves to leave victorious and vaunted, their place in history cemented? Hollywood is a love letter to our little industry town where dreamers dwell, stars are born and magic transcends reality.”
Jere…

Thoughts on Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker

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I gave the limited series two scores. One for history lovers and one for more casual period film fans.



I participated in the watch party that was going on. Viewers watched and tweeted using the hashtag #selfmadenetflix. It was an interesting experience and I really enjoyed watching along with people. It reminded me of how it was during the Roots 2016 premier. Tons of people watching the same thing and having a great time watching period films which is something I love.

I had to talk about the series, because I felt a lot of things while watching it and I’ll start with the good.The Good A major part of the period film experience is the costumes and set decorations. These are absolutely amazing. It isn’t very often that we get to see black characters in Edwardian era clothing. The series started in St. Louis in 1908 and ended around 1918. So that is 10 years that are represented in costume. We can see the change in characters through their change in clothing. This is especially important…