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A spirited tete-a-tete with ‘The Book of Negroes’’ Aunjanue Ellis & Aminata Diallo

Aunjanue Ellis in The Book of Negroes

Aunjanue Ellis (AE) starred as Aminata Diallo in The Book of Negroes, the hit TV-miniseries based on Lawrence Hill’s award-winning best seller of the same name. Here, she and the picture’s director, Clement Virgo (CV), share their thoughts about the adaptation of the historical novel chronicling the life of an 11 year-old girl kidnapped in Africa and enslaved for decades in the U.S. until she manages to escape to Canada. Continue Reading →

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Cable networks using Black sitcoms to draw more viewers

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

According to Nielsen, Blacks watch almost 40 percent more television than any other group. As a result, Black-themed sitcoms and reality shows seemingly are now hot properties on cable. But not on just BET, TV One and Centric, three Black-oriented channels, but several mainstream outlets as well: TV Land has The Soul Man. Nick at Nite has Instant Mom. Tyler Perry’s House of Payne has been on TBS since 2007, and Meet the Browns debuted on the same channel two years later in 2009. Continue Reading →

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Few acting roles for Black females

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

Final installment of a four-part series

12 Years a Slave made five out of nine top-10 films of 2013 lists by movie critics, and Fruitvale Station made two such lists; these two movies featured Black males as leads.  However, only two Black females — Halle Berry (The Call, Sony Pictures) and Paula Patton (Baggage Claim, Fox Searchlight) — were leads in movies released by major Hollywood studios in 2013. “Critics don’t look at a film and notice that every one of the lead roles is White,” Uptown Magazine Editor Ronda Racha Penrice said in an October CNN.com article. A UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies released the “Hollywood Diversity Brief” in October and it stated that there is “a dearth of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in film and television — both in front of and behind the camera.”

Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) are the only Black female leads on prime time network television this season. “I’m 5’1 and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would have me to play the cop,” said Beharie of her character in an Essence magazine interview. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment spotlights!

 

 
Fourth of July Celebrations

• Powderhorn Park, 1-10 pm • 3400 15th Ave. S. Mpls. • Music, dancing, food and fun for the entire family.  

• Red, White and Boom • Downtown Minneapolis riverfront, 6-10 pm • Free family activities and entertainment at Father Hennepin Park and Mill Ruins Park • Fireworks 10 pm

 

Downtown St. Paul Fireworks • Near Harriet Island Regional Park, dusk (about 10:15), http://Stpaul.gov/ • Watch from Harriet Island or other spots including Indian Mounds Park, Raspberry Island, Kellogg Mall Park and the stairs of the Science Museum of Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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Don’t fall for the ‘deception’: Lack of Blacks on TV still a ‘scandal’

Meagan Good (Deception) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) are two Black women who are starring in their respective prime-time dramas. LL Cool J co-stars in another network series. And Jada Pinkett Smith was executive producer and star of her own series on cable for three love webseasons. Continue Reading →

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Conference brings Black environmental thought to Twin Cities

Everyday Black folks missing from the eco-dialogue

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Tuskegee University hosted the first-ever Black Environmental Thought (BET) conference in 2007. The University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Center hosted last weekend the second such event on September 21-23. The U-M’s African American and African Studies (AAAS) department, the Institute for Advanced Study and St. Paul-based AfroEco were key organizers of BET II, which was billed for Black scholars, activists, farmers and other environmentalists “to engage in translocal and transnational dialogues about environmental justice.”

“It took us five years to do this again,” proclaimed U-M Professor Rose Brewer in her welcoming remarks. AAAS Chair Keith Mayes added that too often “Black folk and people of color are left out of the [environmental] discussion.”

Environmental issues are “fundamental Black issues,” noted AfroEco’s Sam Grant. Continue Reading →

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From KMOJ to BET: Local radio personality steps into national TV spotlight

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Miss Georgia entertains her on-air radio audience every midday at KMOJ-FM. She recently took her local celebrity status to the Big Apple as a guest judge on BET’s 106 & Park show. Georgia Ellyse, a St. Paul native, appeared on the cable network’s June 8 broadcast as one of three judges. “They have a segment on Fridays called ‘Freestyle Friday,’ she explains in an interview with the MSR prior to her appearance. Continue Reading →

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