Tagged with "film"
Film and Television Actress Kerry Washington
Category: Celebrity Pick
Tags: film tv actress kerry washington scandal series word life production new quality entertainment

Born in New York City on January 31, 1977, actress Kerry Washington started performing during her school years. She earned a degree in performance studies from George Washington University. After making her film debut in 2000's Our Song, Washington starred in such films as Save the Last Dance and Bad Company. She earned wide acclaim for her work in Ray (2004) and The Last King of Scotland. In 2012, she began her run on the TV drama Scandal.

The daughter of a real estate broker and an education professor, actress Kerry Washington was born in New York City on January 31, 1977, and grew up in the South Bronx. She started out with ballet lessons as a young child, but her first career ambition involved a certain large mammal. "I wanted to work with Shamu at Sea World," Washington told Giant. "I thought that was the best job in the world, to care for and feed dancing whales."

Washington attended the Spence School in Manhattan, a prestigious private school. In addition to appearing in school productions, she was a member of a theater group that tackled social issues. Washington soon won a theater scholarship to George Washington University, where she earned a degree in performance studies.

While she made her film debut in Our Song in 2000, Washington had one of her first career breakthroughs the following year. She won over audiences with her role in Save the Last Dance (2001), starring Julia Stiles. Soon after the release of this popular teen drama, Washington moved on to comedy. She appeared in the humorous action film Bad Company (2004), starring Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins.

Washington's career really took flight in 2004; she took on several major movie roles that year, including Della Rae Robinson, the wife of blind singer and musician Ray Charles, in the biopic Ray. Washington received strong reviews for her performance, and her co-star, Jamie Foxx, won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Charles. That same year, she starred opposite Anthony Mackie in Spike Lee's dramatic comedy She Hate Me.

The versatile actress tried her hand at the comic book action genre with 2005's Fantastic Four, starring Jessica Alba, Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis. The following year, Washington once again showed off her skills as a dramatic actress in The Last King of Scotland. She won raves for her nuanced turn as the wife of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin—played by Forrest Whitaker—in the film. Around this time, Washington also had a recurring role on the hit television series Boston Legal.

In 2007, Washington reteamed with Chris Rock for I Think I Love My Wife. She played a vixen who gets involved with a married man (Rock) in the film. The part gave Washington the opportunity to branch out from the many devoted wife roles she had tackled in the past. She went on to explore interracial relationships with Lakeview Terrace (2008), in which she plays an African-American woman married to a white man (Patrick Wilson). The couple is harassed by an African-American cop (Samuel L. Jackson) in this thriller.

With For Colored Girls (2010), Washington worked with an impressive ensemble of actresses, including Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson and Thandie Newton. The film, directed and written by Tyler Perry, was an adaptation of a play by Ntozake Shange. In 2012, Washington moved to the small screen to star on the dramatic political series Scandal. She plays a "fixer," a person who cleans up scandals and other messes for her clients, on the show.

That same year, Washington reunited with Ray co-star Jamie Foxx for Quentin Tarantino's western Django Unchained (2012). She plays Broomhilda von Shaft, a slave married to Foxx's character, Django. In the film, the pair is separated, and Django teams up with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to find her.

Source: Biography.com

 

A Moment in History - Oscar Micheaux
Category: Black Men Rock!
Tags: Oscar micheaux first film maker word life production feature blog black men rock new

Oscar Devereaux Micheaux (January 2, 1884 – March 25, 1951) was an American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films. Although the short-lived Lincoln Motion Picture Company produced some films, he is regarded as the first major African-American feature filmmaker, the most successful African-American filmmaker of the first half of the twentieth century and the most prominent producer of race films. He produced both silent films and "talkies" after the industry changed to incorporate speaking actors.

Micheaux was born on a farm in Metropolis, Illinois on January 2, 1884. He was the fifth child born to Calvin S. and Belle Michaux, who had a total of thirteen children. In his later years, Micheaux added an “e” to his last name. His father was born a slave in Kentucky. Because of its surname, his father's family appears to have been associated with French-descended settlers. French Huguenot refugees had settled in Virginia in 1700; their descendants took slaves west when they migrated into Kentucky after the American Revolutionary War.

Micheaux was born when African Americans were trying to succeed in a world dominated by whites. He struggled with social oppression as a young boy, which he reflected in writing in later years. To give their children education, his parents relocated to the city for better schooling. Micheaux attended a well-established school for several years before the family eventually ran into money troubles and were forced to relocate to the farm. Unhappy, Micheaux became rebellious and discontented. His struggles caused internal problems within his family. His father was not happy with him and sent him away to do marketing within the big city. Micheaux found pleasure in this job because he was able to speak to many new people and learned many social skills that he would later reflect within his films.

When Micheaux was 17 years old, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, to live with his older brother, then working as a waiter. Micheaux became dissatisfied with what he viewed as his brother’s way of living “the good life.” He rented his own place and found a job in the stockyards, which he found difficult. He worked many different jobs, moving from the stockyards to the steel mills.

After being “swindled out of two dollars” by an employment agency, Micheaux decided to become his own boss. His first business was a small shoeshine stand, which he set up at a white suburban barbershop, away from Chicago competition. He learned the basic strategies of business and started to save money. He became a Pullman porter on the major railroads, at that time considered prestigious employment for African Americans, because it was relatively stable and well-paid, secure and gave freedom of travel and acquaintance. This job was an informal college education for Micheaux. He profited financially, and also gained contacts and knowledge about the world through traveling, as well as a greater understanding for business. When he left the position, he had seen much of the United States, had a couple of thousand dollars saved in his bank account, and had made a number of connections with wealthy white people who helped his future endeavors.

Micheaux moved to Dallas, South Dakota, where he bought land and worked as a homesteader. This experience inspired his first novels and films. His neighbors on the frontier were all white. “Some recall that [Micheaux] rarely sat at a table with his white neighbors”. Micheaux’s years as a homesteader allowed him to learn more about human relations and farming, a time in his life full of tests and experiments. While farming, Micheaux wrote articles and submitted them to press. The Chicago Defender published one of his earliest articles.

In South Dakota, Micheaux married Orlean McCracken. Her family proved to be complex and burdensome for Micheaux. Unhappy with their living arrangements, Orlean felt that Micheaux did not pay enough attention to her. She gave birth while he was away on business. She was reported to have emptied their bank accounts and fled. Orlean’s father sold Micheaux's property and took the money from the sale. After his return, Micheaux tried unsuccessfully to get Orlean and his property back.

Micheaux decided to concentrate on writing and, eventually filmmaking, a new industry. He wrote seven novels.[3] In 1913, 1000 copies of his first book, The Conquest: The Story of a Negro Homesteader, were printed.[3] He published the book anonymously, for unknown reasons. Based on his experiences as a homesteader and the failure of his first marriage, it was largely autobiographical. Although character names have been changed, the protagonist is named Oscar Devereaux. His theme was about African Americans' realizing their potential and succeeding in areas from which they were previously excluded.

In 1918, his novel The Homesteader, dedicated to Booker T. Washington, attracted the attention of George Johnson, the manager of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company in Los Angeles. After Johnson offered to make The Homesteader into a new feature film, negotiations and paperwork became contentious between him and Micheaux. Micheaux wanted to be directly involved in the adaptation of his book as a movie, but Johnson resisted and never produced the film.

Instead, Micheaux founded the Micheaux Film and Book Company of Sioux City in Chicago; its first project was the production of The Homesteader as a feature film. Micheaux had a major career as a film producer and director: he produced over 40 films, which drew audiences throughout the US as well as internationally. Micheaux contacted wealthy white connections from his earlier career as a porter, and sold stock for his company at $75 to $100 a share. Micheaux hired actors and actresses and decided to premiere in Chicago was celebrating the return of troops from World War I. The film and Micheaux received high praise from film critics. One article credited Micheaux with “a historic breakthrough, a creditable, dignified achievement”. Some members of the Chicago clergy criticized the film as libelous. The Homesteader became known as Micheaux’s breakout film; it helped him become widely known as a writer and a filmmaker.

In addition to writing and directing his own films, Micheaux also adapted the works of different writers for his silent pictures. Many of his films were open, blunt and thought-provoking regarding certain racial issues of that time. He once commented, “It is only by presenting those portions of the race portrayed in my pictures, in the light and background of their true state, that we can raise our people to greater heights”. Financial hardships during the Great Depression eventually made it impossible for Micheaux to keep producing films, and he returned to writing.

Micheaux’s first novel The Conquest was adapted to film and re-titled, The Homesteader.[5] This film, which met with critical and commercial success, was first produced in 1918. It revolves around a man named Jean Baptiste, called the Homesteader, who falls in love with many white women but resists marrying one out of his loyalty to his race - people of ethnic African descent who were classified as black in the society. Baptiste sacrifices love to be a key symbol for his fellow African Americans. He looks for love among his own people and marries an African-American woman. Relations between them deteriorate. Eventually, Baptiste is not allowed to see his wife. She kills her father for keeping them apart and commits suicide. Baptiste is accused of the crime, but is ultimately cleared. An old love helps him through his troubles. After he learns that she is a mulatto and thus part African, they marry. This film deals extensively with race relationships.

Micheaux’s second silent film was Within Our Gates, produced in 1920. Although sometimes considered his response to the film Birth of a Nation, Micheaux said that he created it independently as a response to the widespread social instability following World War I. Within Our Gates revolved around the main character, Sylvia Landry, a mixed-race school teacher. In a flashback, Sylvia is shown growing up as the adopted daughter of a sharecropper. When her father confronts their white landlord over money, a fight ensues. The landlord is shot by another white man, but Sylvia's adoptive father is accused and lynched, along with her adoptive mother.

Sylvia is almost raped by the landowner’s brother but discovers that he is her biological father. Micheaux always depicts African Americans as being serious and reaching for higher education. Before the flashback scene, we see that Sylvia travels to Boston seeking funding for her school, which serves black children. They are underserved by the segregated society. On her journey, she is hit by the car of a rich white woman. Learning about Landry's cause, the woman decides to give her school $50,000.

Within the film, Micheaux depicts educated and professional people in black society as light-skinned, representing the elite status of some of the mixed-race people who comprised the majority of African Americans free before the Civil War. Poor people are represented as dark-skinned and with more undiluted African ancestry. Mixed-race people also feature as some of the villains. The film is set within the Jim Crow era. It contrasted the experiences for African Americans who stayed in rural areas and others who had migrated to cities and become urbanized. Micheaux explored the suffering of African Americans in the present day, without explaining how the situation arose in history. Some feared that this film would cause even more unrest within society, while others believed it would open the public’s eyes to the unjust treatment by whites of blacks. Protests against the film continued until the day it was released. Because of its controversial status, the film was banned from some theatres.

Micheaux adapted two works by Charles W. Chesnutt, which he released under their original titles: The Conjure Woman (1926) and The House behind the Cedars. The latter, which dealt with issues of mixed race and passing, created so much controversy when reviewed by the Film Board of Virginia that he was forced to make cuts to have it shown in the state. He remade this in 1932, releasing it as Veiled Aristocrats. Both versions of the film are believed to have been lost.

Micheaux's films featured contemporary black life. He dealt with racial relationships between blacks and whites, and the passage for blacks trying to achieve success in the larger society. His films also reflect his ideologies and life experiences. The journalist Richard Gehr said, “Micheaux appears to have only one story to tell- his own- and he tells it repeatedly”.

 

Micheaux sought to create films that would counter white portrayals of African Americans, which tended to emphasize inferior stereotypes. He created complex characters of different classes, and was never interested in simplicity. His own life experiences were the basis for much of his work. Growing up in southern Illinois, which had long been influenced by Southern migrants and culture, he learned about some relationships between African Americans and whites, and their misunderstandings.

he critic Lupack described Micheaux as pursuing moderation with his films and creating a “middle-class cinema”. His works were designed to appeal to both middle- and lower-class audiences.

Micheaux said,

    “My results…might have been narrow at times, due perhaps to certain limited situations, which I endeavored to portray, but in those limited situations, the truth was the predominate characteristic. It is only by presenting those portions of the race portrayed in my pictures, in the light and background of their true state, that we can raise our people to greater heights. I am too imbued with the spirit of Booker T. Washington to engraft false virtues upon ourselves, to make ourselves that which we are not.”

Micheaux died on March 25, 1951, in Charlotte, North Carolina, of heart failure. He is buried in Great Bend Cemetery in Great Bend, Kansas, the home of his youth. His gravestone reads: "A man ahead of his time"

    Midnight Ramble: Oscar Micheaux and the Story of Race Movies (1994) is a documentary whose title refers to the early 20th-century practice of some segregated cinemas of screening films for African-American audiences only at matinees and midnight. The documentary was produced by Pamela Thomas, directed by Pearl Bowser and Bestor Cram, and written by Clyde Taylor. It was first aired on the PBS show The American Experience in 1994, and released in 2004.

    On January 19, 2014, Block Starz Music Television previewed The Czar of Black Hollywood, a six-part 2014 documentary film chronicling the early life and career of Oscar Micheaux using Library of Congress archived footage, photos, illustrations and vintage music. On February 13, The Czar of Black Hollywood was announced by American radio host Tom Joyner on his nationally syndicated program, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, as part of a "Little Known Black History Fact" on Micheaux.

Source: Wikipedia

A STRONG BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS Tags: strong black women doc channel march 29 word life production feature film

BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS will broadcast on The Doc Channel on Tuesday, March 29. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/BEAHdc

Beah Richards' struggled to overcome racial stereotypes throughout her long career onstage and onscreen in Hollywood and New York, she also had an influential role in the fight for Civil Rights, working alongside the likes of Paul Robeson, W.E.B. DuBois and Louise Patterson.

Beah Richards was an American actress of stage, screen and television. She was a poet, playwright and author.

Born Beulah Richardson in Vicksburg, Mississippi, her mother was a seamstress and PTA advocate and her father was a Baptist minister. In 1948, she graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans and two years later moved to New York City. Her career started to take off in 1955 when she portrayed an eighty-four-year-old-grandmother in the off-Broadway show Take a Giant Step. She often played the role of a mother or grandmother, and continued acting her entire life. She appeared in the original Broadway productions of Purlie Victorious, The Miracle Worker, and A Raisin in the Sun.

"There are a lot of movies out there that I would hate to be paid to do, some real demeaning, real woman-denigrating stuff. It is up to women to change their roles. They are going to have to write the stuff and do it. And they will."

Beah RichardsRichards was nominated for a Tony award for her 1965 performance in James Baldwin's The Amen Corner. She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Sidney Poitier's mother in the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Other notable movie performances include Hurry Sundown, The Great White Hope, Beloved and In the Heat of the Night.

She made numerous guest television appearances including recurrent roles on The Bill Cosby Show, Sanford and Son, Designing Women, The Practice, and ER (as Dr. Peter Benton's mother.) She was the winner of two Emmy Awards, one in 1988 for her appearance on the series Frank's Place, and another in 2000 for her appearance on The Practice.

In the last year of her life, Richards was the subject of a documentary created by actress Lisa Gay Hamilton. The documentary Beah: A Black Woman Speaks was created from over 70 hours of their conversations. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Film Festival.

Beah Richards died from emphysema in her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi at the age of 80.

 



 

 

 

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