January 09, 2014

LAWT WIRE SERVICES

It has been reported, at the 69th annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Armond White, a well-known and extremely controversial film critic for the New York City culture review City Arts reportedly made disparaging remarks about best director winner Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) as McQueen took the stage.

Like a lot of films he reviews, White – to put it mildly – hated McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” when he reviewed it back in October. But, as we said, he allegedly took things to a whole ‘nother level with his outrageous comments Monday night (01-06-14).

According to Variety, White’s alleged and shocking words were: “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man. F— you. Kiss my ass.”

Well, as we also reported, the NYFCC … which White is a longtime member of and even a past chairman, issued an apology to McQueen.  Also, it’s being reported that the organization has called an emergency meeting to address the incident. If rules permit, and certain members get their way, you can look for a future report saying White is a ex-member.

However, White, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, is claiming that he he’s being slandered. He insists he never made those comments and has a message for his associates in the NYFFC.

Via the Hollywood Reporter, here is Armond White’s full and unedited take on the situation:

The comments that I supposedly made were never uttered by me or anyone within my earshot. I have been libeled by publications that recklessly quoted unnamed sources that made up what I said and to whom I was speaking. Someone on the podium talked about critics’ “passion.” Does “passion” only run one-way toward subservience?

The press has accustomed itself to treating me as a bete noir–so much so that eavesdroppers at the event continually misrepresent my behavior, even to the point of repeating such lies as distorting my cheer for Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd into “heckling” and that I “made Annette Bening cry”–both false allegations. Among some Circle members and media folk, there is personal, petty interest in seeing me maligned. I guess the awards themselves don’t matter. It’s a shameless attempt to squelch the strongest voice that exists in contemporary criticism.

Right now former NYFCC Chairman Joshua Rothkopf, acting Chairman Stephen Whitty, Karen Durbin, David Denby, Rex Reed, Dana Stevens and others have arranged a Communist-style special “Emergency Meeting” supposedly in the interest of legislating “decorum”–a meeting based entirely upon something that none of them actually heard and one that is really intended to purge me from the Circle. Only David Edelstein, with whom I’ve had past public disputes, showed the common courtesy to inquire if the rumors were true.

Did I make sotto voce comments to entertain my five guests? Sure, but nothing intended for others to hear and none correctly “reported.” I don’t even know what it means to call Steve McQueen a “garbage man” or “doorman” even though the racist implications are obvious. None of this makes sense which is what happens when online journalism reports a malicious lie.

As for the group’s craven “Emergency Meeting.” I dont care what they decide. It’s not a meeting I plan to attend. –Armond White

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

January 09, 2014

LAWT WIRE SERVICES

 

NEW YORK (AP) — A musical inspired by Tupac Shakur songs is going to bring gangsta rap to Broadway.

Producers said Wednesday that “Holler If Ya Hear Me” will open at the Palace Theatre in June under the direction of Kenny Leon, who helmed the Broadway hits “Fences” and “The Mountaintop.” The new musical sets Shakur's music to an original story.

Rapper and actor Shakur, who had multimillion-seller albums like “2Pacalypse Now” and “All Eyez on Me,” was known for his raw lyrics that drew on the rage of a coarse urban existence. No casting was announced.

The musical has a story by Todd Kreidler, who was a dramaturg for “Radio Golf” and “Gem of the Ocean,” and choreography by Tony Award-winner Wayne Cilento of “Wicked.” Afeni Shakur, the late artists’ mother, is producing.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

January 09, 2014

LAWT News Service

 

Imani Hakim, best known for her role as Tonya Rock on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, to star as Gabby Douglas in the Lifetime Original Movie “The Gabby Douglas Story” (working title), produced by Sony Pictures Television. The movie details the inspiring true story of the international gymnastics phenomenon, who overcame overwhelming odds to become the first African American ever to be named Individual All-round Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympics.

Hakim will play Gabby Douglas, as a teenager and young adult.

The cast also includes Sydney Mikayla who will portray Douglas during her childhood, Peabody Award-winning actress Regina King as her mother and Golden Globe® and Emmy®-winner S. Epatha Merkerson as her grandmother.

“The Gabby Douglas Story” is set to air on Lifetime in February 2014.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

January 09, 2014

By Pat Hendricks Munson

 

Idris Elba and Naomie Harris who portrays Nelson and Winnie Mandela in the oscar-worthy film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom were in Palm Springs this past weekend to screen the movie as part of the 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival being held now through Jan 13. 

Elba and Harris, who said she was very nervous to play Winnie Mandela but received rave reviews from Mandela’s former wife,  along with U2's Bono and The Edge participated in a question and answer session after the film’s screening Sunday at the Annenberg Theatre in Palm Springs.  Elba taught about the “profound effect” of making the movie, meeting Nelson Mandela and the bitter sweet London premiere. 

Three quarters through the premiere the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, was handed a cell phone.  Her expression and the tears rolling down her face let Elba know that something was amiss as the Duchess handed the phone to her husband Prince William. Elba soon learned what the call was all about; Nelson Mandela had just died. Once the film ended an official announcement from South Africa’s President Zuma was read to those in attendance.

The star of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom felt it would be inappropriate to continue promoting the movie.  However, he was strongly encouraged by Mandela’s daughters that he most promote the movie and help keep their father's legacy alive. Bono, a friend and long-time supporter of Mandela’s wrote the Golden-Globe nominated theme song, “Ordinary Love” for the movie.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

January 09, 2014

LAWT News Service

 

Academy Award winner Mo’Nique (“Precious”) has joined the cast of Patrik Ian Polk’s “Blackbird” and will co-star alongside Isaiah Washington, fresh off his critically acclaimed and Gotham Award-nominated performance in the film “Blue Caprice.” Mo'Nique and her husband Sidney Hicks are also Executive Producing the film through their NAACP Image Award winning Hicks Media production banner.  Producers are Patrik-Ian Polk (Tall Skinny Black Boy Productions), Keith Brown (Kbiz Entertainment), Isaiah Washington (Coalhouse Productions) and Carol Ann Shine.

“Blackbird,” which was shot on location in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is based on the coming of age novel of the same name by Larry Duplechan.

“‘Blackbird’ is a film about the choices people are forced to make as they struggle to figure out how to be themselves. And why should just being who you are be a struggle?” explained Executive Producer Sidney Hicks. “Since Mo’Nique won the Oscar, we have received numerous scripts, but nothing captured our attention until Isaiah, who we have a high level of respect for, sent us Blackbird. We became instant fans of Patrik-Ian Polk and knew we had to get behind this important film.”

Patrik Ian Polk said, “When we wrote the role of Claire Rousseau, we dreamed of attracting an A-list actress. So to actually get an Oscar winner of Mo’Nique’s caliber was literally a dream come true. And she’s quite simply amazing in the role.”

“Blackbird” tells the story of 17-year-old Randy Rousseau (newcomer Julian Walker), a devout high school choir boy struggling to come of age in the small religiously conservative Mississippi town he calls home. Randy juggles his role as star of the church choir with facing the everyday trials of life as a high school misfit – a misfit plagued by eerie visions and premonitions. Complicating matters, his little sister has gone missing and his parents have subsequently split up, leaving him to care for his heartbroken mother, Claire (Mo’Nique). When Claire discovers a shocking secret her son has been hiding, she blames him for the disappearance of his sister. Randy’s father, Lance (Isaiah Washington), who has been keeping a watchful eye on his broken family, steps in to give his son a hand as he struggles to make the difficult transition into manhood.

In addition to Mo’Nique and Washington, the film stars newcomer Julian Walker, Terrell Tilford, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, Torrey Lamaar, Nikki Jane and D. Woods.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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