Black actors

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‘Black Male Frames,’ chronicles Hollywood’s narrow vision

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“Black Male Frames charts the development and shifting popularity of two stereotypes of black male masculinity in popular American film: The shaman and the scoundrel… [The book] identifies the origins of these roles in an America where Black men were forced either to defer or to defy their White masters. Continue Reading →

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Despite its success, AfroPoP series still faces challenges

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

AfroPoP, the successful public television program that shows independent films and documentaries “on contemporary life, art and pop culture across the African Diaspora” is now in its sixth season. “If you would have told me that we were going to have six seasons, I probably would’ve said, ‘I need to get through this first one, I can’t think that far ahead,” jokes Co-Executive Producer Leslie Fields-Cruz.  She also is National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) vice president of operations and director of programming. The NBPC was founded in 1979. AfroPoP is produced by NBPC and co-presented by American Public Television (APT), and shown on the PBS World channel.  Beginning in February, however APT will distribute AfroPoP to additional public television

stations. As a result, TPT Life Channel 2.3 now airs the program on Saturday nights (check local listings for times). 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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Twin Cities Black Film Festival 2013 local filmmakers

 

(Part one in a series of articles about the Twin Cities Black Film Festival)

By Charles Hallman

Staff writer

 

Local filmmakers were featured at this year’s Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF).  The MSR was in attendance at the four-day event held September 26-29 at St. Louis Park’s Showplace Icon Theaters. “We had 11 [local] filmmakers, and his was the only one that sold out,” proclaimed TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow on Ménages, a two-hour film directed by Edith Rene Tchuichoui.  It was part of her “Celebration of Minnesota Filmmakers.”   The movie’s main characters are Samantha, a U.S. citizen and Joseph, a Cameroon immigrant are brought together who are forced to make choices based on emotions or interests. “I started working on this movie in ’09,” said the filmmaker, who added that it was originally filmed as a short, but later lengthened it after audience reactions that saw it were positive. Continue Reading →

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GLBT characters of color on the big and small screens

 

It’s hard enough finding straight people of color — including Black folk — on TV and film, never mind non-hetero depictions. Here’s a thumbnail sketch roundup of positive portrayals. In the interest of being thankful for small favors, let us acknowledge that pitiful as it is, some progress has been made. True Blood, the HBO hit pitting vampires versus werewolves with humans stuck in the middle, against a rural Louisiana backdrop, saw a gay Black man not only as a principal character, but also one with strong dimension. Nelsan Ellis (who, by the by, plays Martin Luther King, Jr. in 2013’s The Butler) plays pragmatic hard-a** with a heart of gold Lafayette Reynolds. Continue Reading →

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