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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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A conversation with veteran actress Yolanda Ross

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

Third in a multi-part series

 

Yolanda Ross made her lead screen debut in Stranger Inside, a 2001 HBO feature film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She made her stage debut seven years later as a member of New York’s Labyrinth Theater Company. Since then, the actress have appeared in a dozen films, and her television roles that has reached double figures as well, including five episodes of HBO’s Treme. She also had a couple of roles specifically written for her, such as a part in David Mamet’s The Unit. “I was shocked, thrilled, and thankful — I was really amazed,” said Ross in a recent MSR phone interview. Continue Reading →

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