‘Don’t Try To Understand’ Invites Fans on a Personal Journey Through the Life of DMX

Earl Simmons obtained critical success in the hip-hop world with his first major label single, “Get At Me Dog.” It was released and certified gold in February of 1998 — a month after this writer was born and, more importantly, three months before his debut album, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot released. By May of 1998, the world was officially in the hands of “DMX.”

Continue reading “‘Don’t Try To Understand’ Invites Fans on a Personal Journey Through the Life of DMX”

The Haunting History of Vampires and Blackness is Captured in ‘Black as Night’

In the film Black as Night, screenwriter Sherman Payne pens a haunting and alluring tale of vampires and their victims through a lens not much often looked through. Crafting a story that centers Shawna, a 15-year-old African American woman, as she battles vampires in a modern day New Orleans against a backdrop of not only the history of Hurricane Katrina but also the generational and systemic trauma of being Black in America. 

Continue reading “The Haunting History of Vampires and Blackness is Captured in ‘Black as Night’”

Colman Domingo and Chris Rock Lead the Cast of ‘Rustin’ Biopic

Many heroes are lost to time, but legends never die. Bayard Rustin isn’t a name people know as well as Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X. But much like his fellow Freedom Riders and speakers for justice, that kind of notoriety probably wouldn’t have interested Rustin all that much. Nevertheless, it’s a name we’ll all hopefully be getting more familiar with thanks to a new biopic from the ingenious mind of George C. Wolfe.

Continue reading “Colman Domingo and Chris Rock Lead the Cast of ‘Rustin’ Biopic”

Nothing is Black and White in Monochromatic Trailer for ‘Passing’

Being “white-passing” comes with a certain kind of privilege. One that can mean the difference between a life of discrimination or a life of luxury. Such a privilege is the topic of discussion in Passing, the brand new film based on the book by Nella Larsen, coming to Netflix and select theaters later this year.

Continue reading “Nothing is Black and White in Monochromatic Trailer for ‘Passing’”

‘Candyman’ and the Importance of On-Screen Black Positivity

So it’s August 24, 2021. Well, obviously not today, unless I finally caught a time traveler in the act, but that was the day I saw Candyman in theaters. Which for the sake of this article, is a very important date.

Continue reading “‘Candyman’ and the Importance of On-Screen Black Positivity”

Academy Award-Winning Director Steve McQueen’s New Documentaries

The masterful work of Academy Award winning director Steve McQueen spans an impressive set of genres, from films to anthology series, and now the 12 Years a Slave director has three new documentaries coming to Amazon Prime. Last year, we spoke to the talented leads in McQueen’s anthology Small Axe that examined the real-life experiences of West Indians living in mid-20th century London.

Continue reading “Academy Award-Winning Director Steve McQueen’s New Documentaries”

‘Candyman’ is Horror with Something on its Mind

Candyman (2021) is Nia DaCosta’s conversation with the original 1992 classic. You know the story: in 1870, freed slave Daniel Robitaille (the amazing Tony Todd) was an artist who fell in love with a white woman. Her father had him tortured, mutilated and killed, his left hand replaced with a hook. Say his name five times while looking in the mirror, the story goes, and he will return and seek vengeance.

Continue reading “‘Candyman’ is Horror with Something on its Mind”

‘Unapologetic’ is an Unflinching Exploration of Activism

“What is this helping?” is one of the first sentences uttered by a white restaurant patron unsettled in Unapologetic’s first scene, where protestors express the reality of the recent deaths of Black residents in their community to unsuspecting people eating brunch at restaurants. The scene perfectly encompasses the themes and motives of this documentary: a large and triumphant call to arms to make a more honest and equal world while people sit quietly trying to ignore not only the performance, but the actual knowledge of those who are destroyed and subjugated by these injustices.

Continue reading “‘Unapologetic’ is an Unflinching Exploration of Activism”

‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Puts Black Joy on Full Display

The reviews for LeBron James’ and SpringHill Entertainment’s Space Jam: A New Legacy are rolling in and they paint a considerably dismal picture of the imagination critics go to the movies with today. For some context, Steven Spielberg’s 2018 IP extravaganza Ready Player One sits with a decent aggregate rating of 72% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, particularly because of the way the film sets up its action sequences and because it is a Spielberg flick. A New Legacy, however, is already down to 32% from critics and that’s mainly because there are “too many IPs,” and the film doesn’t make algorithms function the way they should in the real world.

Continue reading “‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Puts Black Joy on Full Display”

Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘An Octoroon’

During intermission while watching An Octoroon (written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and directed by Judith Moreland) at the Fountain Theatre, an old white woman randomly came up to me and asked what I found so amusing in this play. First, I had to get over the shock that a live human being was touching me (without permission) and getting up in my face to ask this question because after all, this was my first time watching a play with a live audience (albeit in an outdoor theater) in 16 months. Second, what WAS I and primarily all the other POC audience members laughing about?

Continue reading “Los Angeles Theatre Review: ‘An Octoroon’”

Regina King and LaKeith Stanfield Lead Dynamite Cast in ‘The Harder They Fall’

Between Westworld, Red Dead Online, and Lil Nas X, there has never been a better time to be a Black cowboy than now, and with the upcoming release of The Harder They Fall on Netflix, I’m going to need to get fitted for my frock coat immediately. Regina King, LaKeith Stanfield, and Idris Elba lead a brilliant cast of some of Hollywood’s most dynamic actors in this Jeymes Samuel (They Die by Dawn and JAY-Z: Legacy) epic, new-school Western.

Continue reading “Regina King and LaKeith Stanfield Lead Dynamite Cast in ‘The Harder They Fall’”

‘Grown-ish’ Returns for Senior Year This Thursday

It’s senior year for the Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) at Cal U.

Freeform’s Grown-ish finally returns this Thursday! After taking some time off school to focus on being a stylist, Zoey is back to finish her final year with her friends and finally graduate. With Aaron and Zoey finally together after three years of “will they, won’t they,” the couple are trying to make it work.

Continue reading “‘Grown-ish’ Returns for Senior Year This Thursday”

Appreciating the Diversity of Late-Generation ‘Pokémon’

When I first caught sight of Pokémon Neo Genesis cards being sold on the Home Shopping Network as a kid, I almost took my mother’s credit card and picked up the phone to put in a few hundred orders. I remember on one such occasion using the spare change from a trip to the gas station to buy a single booster pack. I came home with a gallon of milk and yet another holographic Machamp, all while receiving the admonition I knew was waiting for me at home.

Continue reading “Appreciating the Diversity of Late-Generation ‘Pokémon’”

Nyambi Nyambi Avoids Black Trauma in ‘The Good Fight’

Nyambi Nyambi’s character Jay Dipersia has been through a lot the past four seasons of The Good Fight. From facing deportation to fighting pay gap disparities, Jay has been given difficult circumstances to overcome. But, in the fifth season of The Good Fight, which premiered yesterday on Paramount+, Jay is given multiple obstacles that he must deal with — the aftermath of COVID, Black Lives Matter Marches, and losing three of his colleagues — two have moved (Cush Jumbo and Delroy Lindo left in the season five premiere episode) and his fellow investigator Marissa Gold (Sarah Steele) has decided to study law.

Continue reading “Nyambi Nyambi Avoids Black Trauma in ‘The Good Fight’”

ATX Festival 2021: Black TV Creatives Discuss What Still Needs to Be Done in the Industry

Celebrating all things television, the ATX festival was virtual again this year with a lineup filled with wonderful television series as well as discussions by leaders in television. One of the many panel conversations had a very serious conversation about race discussions in television called Television in an Era of Racial Reckoning, hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Continue reading “ATX Festival 2021: Black TV Creatives Discuss What Still Needs to Be Done in the Industry”

‘Timewasters’ Creator Daniel Lawrence Taylor on His New Series and Time-Traveling While Black

When you think of time-traveling films or television series, the first ones you think of mainly consist of white casts. If someone asked you to name a predominantly black, indigenous or people of color (BIPOC) led time-traveling series, it may take a little bit to come up with one, if any. Thankfully, that’s where IMDbTV’s Timewasters comes in to change the game

Continue reading “‘Timewasters’ Creator Daniel Lawrence Taylor on His New Series and Time-Traveling While Black”

Death Row Records Celebrates ‘Above the Rim’ Deluxe Soundtrack with Exclusive Merch

When we all saw Tupac Shakur in Juice in the ‘90s, not only did we pray to never run into someone like Bishop in our own lives, but we learned the range Pac had outside of the studio. ‘90s and early 2000s Black cinema was marked by a particular era of gangster-laden, hip-hop fueled narratives that sometimes hit the mark, with films like Do the Right Thing, Boyz N the Hood, and New Jack City lending various insights into the cinematic representation of Black Consciousness as it was in the ‘90s and later.

Continue reading “Death Row Records Celebrates ‘Above the Rim’ Deluxe Soundtrack with Exclusive Merch”

A ‘Gaze’ into the Soul of ‘The Underground Railroad’

by Barry Jenkins | Originally published on Vimeo

In my years of doing interviews and roundtables and Q&A’s for the various films we’ve made, there is one question that recurs. No matter the length of the piece or the tone of the room, eventually, inevitably, I am asked about the white gaze. It wasn’t until a very particular interview regarding The Underground Railroad that the blindspot inherent in that questioning became clear to me: never, in all my years of working or questioning, had I been set upon about the Black gaze; or the gaze distilled.

Continue reading “A ‘Gaze’ into the Soul of ‘The Underground Railroad’”

‘Box of Bones,’ An Endorsement

I am a new convert to horror. I was firmly in my comics, SF, SpecFic, fantasy bag for decades until I read Tananarive Due’s My Soul to Keep. After that, I was all in… on horror literature. However, so-called ‘horror comics’ weren’t scary to me. Not even a little. And as a comic fan, it was disappointing. That was then. Now, there are tons of wonderful horror books that speak to my cultural and aesthetic specificity. There’s Image’s Killadelphia and Bitter Root, which just had a huge announcement. And Vault Comics is doing it big.

Continue reading “‘Box of Bones,’ An Endorsement”

‘Yasuke’ is a Beautiful and Bloody Love Letter to the First Black Samurai

Yasuke. A real life folktale. Not so much in the sense that he never existed. It’s more like there isn’t much known about his mysterious life, aside from how challenging it must have been.

All that’s known about history’s first Black samurai is that he was likely born around 1540 in Africa, around the Mozambique area. At some point in his life he came in contact with Oda Nobunaga, a feudal lord of Japan, and became a member of his samurai guard.

Continue reading “‘Yasuke’ is a Beautiful and Bloody Love Letter to the First Black Samurai”

I Am Captain America: Get Used to It

by Thaddeus Howze

While Marvel Comics has never allowed Sam Wilson to remain Captain America, it is good to see they have decided to allow him to hold the title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the comics, they engineered an excuse for him to become Captain America and when they were done with the story arc, Steve Rogers reclaimed his title and his shield.

Continue reading “I Am Captain America: Get Used to It”

An Endorsement: Tim Fielder’s ‘Infinitum’

Afrofuturism is having a moment. First posited by journalist Mark Dery in the early 1990s, Afrofuturism is now a full-blown social, cultural, psychological, technological, and aesthetic movement. And never has this movement, this moment, been more fully realized than in Tim Fielder’s magnum opus, Infinitum. To call it a graphic novel would be to undercut it’s value. It is an enterprise of speculative cultural cartography.

Continue reading “An Endorsement: Tim Fielder’s ‘Infinitum’”

Southern Fried Asian: Dr. David Surratt

On a new episode of Southern Fried Asian, Keith is joined by Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at the University of Oklahoma Dr. David Surratt to talk about growing up Black and Korean in Tulsa.

Continue reading “Southern Fried Asian: Dr. David Surratt”