November 28, 2013
By Blair Adams
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
During the fifth annual Governors Awards in Hollywood recently the Giorgio Armani team—known for their sleek and unusual fashions—couldn’t tell the difference between a well-known female actress—and a male actor in a “they-all-look-alike” gaffe.
On Nov. 18, stars walked the red carpet, which has historically been linked to a time for celebrities to show off their tailor-made apparel. Alfre Woodard was labeled Idris Elba—a male star—in a caption on its Instagram account triggering howls on Twitter.
“Idris Elba posing in a gorgeous Giorgio #Armani dress at the 5th Annual Governors Award,” the luxury fashion house posted on Twitter when Woodard walked the red carpet and posed for cameras—wearing their gown.
Armani quickly deleted the mistake, but not before several cyberspace followers noticed the error, especially #Black Twitter.
Noting that it was a woman gracing the red carpet in a black, cap-sleeve dress, on-line critics said the confusion between the two was offensive.
According to Rolling Out—a Black entertainment website, “the mistake, which was highly offensive considering that Woodard was mistaken not only for another Black entertainer, but for a man.”
On Instagram, followers posted replies suggesting that incorrect name was embarrassing and a fashion line that held in such a high regard, should have known who she was and not messed up somebody’s name.
Therealqueenofengland posted, “this is seriously embarrassing. Of course they can’t tell one Black person from another. Even if one is a man and this is clearly a woman. Help yourself #armani. Google exists for idiots like the person who runs your IG.”
That same evening, the Armani folks, in another caption gaffe, reportedly labeled a picture of Elba with actress Naomie Harris erroneously, indicating that Harris and Elba are a romantic pair, according to The Grio. It is untrue. Harris is Elba’s co-star in a movie about South African icon Nelson Mandela.
A humanitarian cause may get you out to a meeting with others of like-mindedness this week. You’ll meet some interesting people, and also get a new view of how you are perceived by others if you go. Enjoy! Soul Affirmation: I spend the week celebrating me.
Lucky Numbers: 19, 27, 44
Everybody’s in a full-moon frenzy regarding relationship issues. Listen to what others are saying, and chart your own course through this week. If you are in a relationship, remember what brought you together with this person in the first place, and be glad for what you’ve had. Soul Affirmation: My smile is a radiant light to those I encounter
Lucky Numbers: 8, 21, 29
Your intuition is trying to tell you something. Be still for a bit and let the message come. You know when to exercise caution, and when to let go and revel in pleasure. There’s much pleasure in your life this week. Soul Affirmation: I keep my eyes open for business opportunities this week.
Lucky Numbers: 5, 12, 28
Put one of your new ideas into action this week and see how it feels as you work through your routine. You are in command of how you think this week, so use this beneficial energy to accomplish some of the things you’ve been wanting to do. Soul Affirmation: I paint my world in colors of the rainbow.
Lucky Numbers: 10, 19, 24
Every positive idea you have is likely to be challenged this week, so you may want to keep your brilliance under wraps until at least tomorrow. Your ideas are sound and good; don’t take others’ rude behavior personally. Soul Affirmation: I let go and let the spirit run my life this week
Lucky Numbers: 19, 30, 42
This week’s the week to communicate those ideas. People will seem to be much more receptive and less grouchy. Make sure that your ideas have some practical actions that can be taken, so that people will know how to respond to you. Soul Affirmation: I love many people this week
Lucky Numbers: 6, 12, 19
You are the messenger of freedom this week, and if you are not careful with your words, you’ll find that some people don’t want to be liberated. Not to worry, just go your merry way and enjoy yourself. Others will learn from what you are doing. Soul Affirmation: I let my instincts light my way this week.
Lucky Numbers: 18, 20, 45
Your creativity is pulling you in a wonderful direction. Act on your impulse to create beauty in your life. Pay attention when your nearest, dearest friend is trying to tell you something. Your impatience to get to the next project could cause you to miss a valuable signal. Soul Affirmation: Charm is my middle name this week.
Lucky Numbers: 23, 27, 54
Keep a low profile at a family get-together. Someone wants to scuffle, but won’t be able to if you don’t present yourself as a target. Your checkbook needs looking into; you’ll feel better if it’s balanced. Soul Affirmation: I am patient with all that comes my way this week.
Lucky Numbers: 32, 45, 51
Your home life is important to you this week. Get the family together to take care of some fall clean-up chores and make it a party that everyone will remember with joy. Take the lead on bringing happiness to the occasion. Soul Affirmation: I seek connection with the best that is in me.
Lucky Numbers: 23, 43, 46
Daydreaming will work wonders for your spirit this week. Let your imagination fly freely and follow up on ideas in a leisurely way. You are able to accomplish some very rewarding and life-affirming tasks. Soul Affirmation: I celebrate those around me.
Lucky Numbers: 9, 50, 52
Congratulations on your positive attitude this week! While others may be dragging, your spirit is full of energy. Enjoy the power-surge of good feelings, and you’ll be lifting others’ spirits just by being you. Soul Affirmation: The true path is mapped out by my impulses.
Lucky Numbers: 14, 17, 19
By Sam P.K. Collins
Special to the NNPA
Activist and author Kevin Powell recently announced the launch of BK Nation, a New York-based, multi-chapter national organization that tackles social and political issues through a combination of grassroots activism, technology, and social media, before more than 70 artists, educators, filmmakers, and business owners.
The Nov. 3rd launch event at the Akwaaba Bed and Breakfast in Northwest followed a New York launch event in October and comes before an event in Los Angeles scheduled for early January 2014.
“For the past 30 years, I have watched the right wing create a movement that has changed the direction of this country and I don’t see why we cannot create a similar movement,” said Powell, 47. “We have ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, ‘Stop and Frisk,’ and voter laws that are out of control. Imagine [what could happen] if we replicate what we felt [during the 2008 presidential election] and make it a part of our value system,” said Powell who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Guests spent the evening talking among themselves while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and listening to the tunes of Danté Pope & the Jazz Collective. During his remarks, Powell briefly reflected on his experiences as a political activist and [promoted] the launch event as an opportunity to mobilize people of various age groups, industries, and socioeconomic backgrounds a couple months before BK Nation’s official nationwide launch in January.
“When you have those diverse life experiences and you meet so many different types of people, you start thinking about ways to bring people together,” said Powell. “Anything is possible. A progressive multicultural movement can happen in this country to serve communities, particularly the black community.”
Camille Watkin, a forensic therapist, and Kia Bennett, a singer and songwriter, set out to make connections at the event as they promoted their anti-bullying literature, which they developed for schools, churches, and community organizations. Watkin said Powell’s message of collaboration quickly resonated with her.
“This is beyond any moment. This is a movement,” said Watkin, 41. “It’s very innovative at a time when young people are utilizing social media in so many different ways. We can all benefit from collaboration and networking opportunities,” said Watkin who lives in Columbia, Md.
Donnie Martin, a student and musical producer, said BK Nation’s multigenerational approach and emphasis on the arts as a collaborative tool compelled him to inquire further about the steps the organization will take to expand in the D.C. metropolitan area.
“[This organization] is important for the sake of relating to people,” said Martin, 26, who attends the University of the District of Columbia in Northwest. “This brother has a message and great concern for people at large. He wants to use the arts to get in contact with [my generation]. I’m curious to see what approach he will use,” said Martin who lives in Northwest.
Powell first developed BK Nation in in the early 1990s while working as a senior staff writer for the national hip-hop publication Vibe Magazine. While he initially intended it to serve as a space for political discourse, the historic election of President Barack Obama in 2008 prompted him to reach out to friends and colleagues and begin putting the finishing touches on the grassroots organization.
The organization, as he envisioned it, would provide resources specific to the needs of various inner-city communities across the country.
Powell, a writer and activist for 30 years, likened BK Nation to the Black Panther Movement, saying that he wants to ensure that the greatest priority is given to those living in impoverished communities.
“We are going to be a clearinghouse of information for communities. Every chapter will have monthly forums,” said Powell. “Our folks will go to different cities and show people how to run their chapters. We’re not a top-down organization. There are folks who have different problems. You have to address the needs of the community.”
By CHRIS TALBOTT
Rihanna and her mother took center stage at the American Music Awards as the singer received the first Icon Award.
Monica Fenty presented her pop star daughter with the award midway through Sunday night’s show at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
“Can we talk about how cute Rihanna’s mom is?” Justin Timberlake asked while accepting one of his three awards, before affecting a Caribbean accent. “She’s so proud of the Icon. I am too, Rihanna, I love you.”
Fenty told Rihanna how proud she was of her daughter's success, saying, “I know the journey in your career has not always been an easy one.”
“Just about 20 years ago is when I really started making your life a living hell with my annoying little husky man voice, you would call it,” Rihanna said. “And I mean just disrupting the entire neighborhood. Westbury Road, Barbados, they could tell you that’s the truth. I annoyed every one of my neighbors.”
Rihanna was one of the night’s early competitive winners as well. She took favorite soul/R&B female artist. Timberlake won soul/R&B album, soul/R&B male artist and pop/rock male artist. Taylor Swift, who won favorite country female artist and country album of the year for “Red,” was next with two awards. Both are up for top honor artist of the year.
“‘Red’ is very different than any album I’ve made before and the reason I was able to do that was because of the fans,” Swift said. “I cannot believe what you’ve done in the last year. This album came out almost exactly a year ago and the fact that 6 million of you went out and bought it is crazy.”
Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande was named favorite new artist, Florida Georgia Line won single of the year for “Cruise” with Nelly in something of a surprise, Luke Bryan won favorite male country artist, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis used their rap/hip-hop album acceptance speech to send a message of tolerance.
Ben Haggerty, the rapper known as Macklemore, accepted the award for favorite rap/hip-hop album, then quoted Martin Luther King Jr. in a live satellite feed from the rap group’s latest tour stop.
“Due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it,” he said. “This is really happening. These are our friends, our neighbors, our peers and our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.”
Florida became a focal point after Martin’s killer was freed under the state’s stand your ground law. It was the first win of the night for Macklemore and Lewis, whose album “The Heist” has been an unexpected hit and made them the AMA’s top nominees with six.
Katy Perry opened the show looking like a princess out of a classic Japanese painting. Dressed in a traditional Japanese dress, Perry’s show-starting performance of “Unconditionally” included dozens of colorfully clad dancers waved fans, shadow danced in front of rice-paper screens and played the drums.
Perry was the early focus of the awards show, held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, arriving on the red carpet in a black strapless dress to screams from hundreds of fans. She said before the show she wanted to up her game, given the chance to open, and the whirling stage production was a wash of colors and movements before Perry disappeared in a puff of smoke.
One Direction was at times drowned out by screams during an understated performance of “Story of My Life.” The decibel level was that way from the moment the British boy band arrived on the carpet, all smiles and dapper suits. Harry Styles stopped to take a picture with three fans.
Timberlake strapped on an acoustic guitar and played a soulfully raucous version of “Drink You Away.” Macklemore crowd surfed on “Can’t Hold Us.” Jennifer Lopez absolutely nailed the elaborate dance numbers during her tribute to Salsa queen Celia Cruz, taking two dozen dancers through their paces while wearing a shimmering silver dress.
She winked at the crowd as she finished the number, the dancers sprawled around her on the floor.
Lady Gaga and R. Kelly put on an elaborate production for their song “Do What U Want,” staging a presidential affair. Kelly played the president and Gaga a Marilyn Monroe-like mistress. Kelly gazed upward as Gaga table-danced on his desk, then stormed off the stage as an actor playing a reporter chased him asking about the affair.
By Zenitha Prince
Actor Morris Chestnut will be the face of the 18th annual American Black Film Festival (ABFF), which will be held June 19-22, 2014, in New York City, officials announced recently.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be the ambassador of the ABFF, taking place this year in New York – a city that has inspired and cultivated so much great talent in all areas of film,” Chestnut said in a statement.
As ambassador of the festival, Chestnut, of Best Man and Best Man Holiday fame, will help to promote the four-day event, which showcases films by and about people of African descent.
Author/producer Tonya Lewis Lee (The Watsons Go to Birmingham) will serve as the festival’s Host Committee chair.
Jeff Friday, ABFF founder and CEO of Film Life, which produces the festival, said both Chestnut and Lee are bright lights in the Black film industry and will be able representatives of the event.
“Morris Chestnut is a beloved and charismatic actor,” Friday said in a statement. “The role of the ABFF Ambassador is to broaden public awareness of the festival as well as its mission, and you are about to see Morris everywhere with [the recent] release of The Best Man Holiday – a must-see!”
He added, “I deeply appreciate both Morris and Tonya’s commitment to advance opportunities for Black artists in our industry.”
In 1997, Friday conceived the ABFF as a means of opening up doors of opportunity for Black creators and actors in the television and film industry, which has been slow to diversify its ranks. Now, the event is considered a major channel for Black actors and directors to get a foothold into Hollywood.
The festival will be comprised of Hollywood premieres, indie films, a new Entertainment and Lifestyle Expo, celebrity conversations, master classes, film- and TV-focused panels, plus a comedy show and parties.
Friday said that with the slate of events and the moves to New York, he expects 30,000 visitors this year.
“It’s going to be a great year,” he said.
For a schedule of events, other information and tickets, visit: www.abff.com.
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