July 10, 2014
Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19
Although you may be on the ball regarding business, commerce, and related plans and projects, you're also eager to enjoy some quiet time. A focus on your home and family sector encourages opportunities for reflection, particularly regarding your future path. Yet the Full Moon at the weekend also stirs up energies, bringing certain issues to your attention. You may be thinking about what you really want to do in life - and what might move you deep down - not what you think you should do.
Taurus Apr 20 – May 20
It's a good week to put your energy into work and financial planning, especially if you need to shop for big-ticket items. An intuitive hunch may let you know where that special bargain is hiding out. Plus, this can be a good week for collaboration on a project that could be quite demanding but worth your while. When the Full Moon comes calling, you may want to pack up and travel, or at least consider going on an adventure. Later, an attraction at work may set your heart fluttering.
Gemini May 21 - Jun 20
An invitation or fun social event could set the pace for the rest of the week, encouraging plenty of mixing and mingling. Along with this, you may hear news of a pay raise or contract that could earn you some extra income. Things are looking up in this regard if you're willing to take on extra work. Romantic options look set to sparkle as a special aspect heats up a budding liaison. You may have stars in your eyes by the time the weekend comes around.
Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22
You may be taking your leisure very seriously as a positive connection encourages you to explore a new hobby or pastime or dive into a luscious romance. In this regard, the Full Moon heightens feelings, enticing you to go with the flow and say it like it is. You may feel vulnerable doing so, but your connection with the special person could deepen as a result. Plus, as Mercury shimmies into your sign, you'll find it easier to sync with your gut instincts and turn them into action.
Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22
Sparkling social options show up, encouraging you to go on an adventure. Moving out of your comfort zone could be a bonus, especially as an instant attraction could be in the cards. But with a focus on your spiritual sector, a part of you needs time to reflect and recharge. No matter what you're doing, give yourself a chance to meditate and generally chill. You'll find that when you do this your best and most lucrative ideas may come to you, as well as a solution to any ongoing problems.
Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22
Career matters show a positive face, especially when you're willing to explore new ideas with a futuristic twist. At the same time, moving in circles with folks who share your interests and ambitions could also help you get ahead. One connection may be particularly useful this week. As Mercury glides into Cancer, networking and other social events can also be an aid to moving ahead and finding success. Finally, the Full Moon on Saturday could be the catalyst to help a romance take off.
Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22
As Mars continues in your sign it's time to assert yourself and push your own interests forward. However, the call of adventure and the thrill of romance might also tempt you away from your plans and goals. Make time for each this week and you can win on both counts. Later, the Full Moon brings feelings to a head on the domestic front. However, the chance to clear the air may help resolve key issues and leave peace in its wake.
Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21
This is a good time to explore learning options or think about increasing your skill set, especially as doing so could improve your chances for a better job and income. Plus, you may want to take travel plans to a new stage by committing to purchasing tickets and booking rooms. Regarding a relationship, your sex life sizzles, and for now things seem upbeat in this department. Take it easy around the Full Moon on Saturday, as hasty words could upset a friendship.
Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21
Romantic options look good as a promising transit brings a chance for an unexpected meeting. Though in its early stages, an attraction could quickly develop as a result. However, thoughts turn to financial management as the focus shifts to your zone of shared resources. A chance to get back on solid footing regarding loans or debts shouldn't be ignored. At the very least, this is a time when planning for the future can not only help ease anxiety but also give you a sound structure for present plans.
Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19
You seem to be forging ahead in your career, with chances to make special connections and encourage profitable partnerships. Networking and other social opportunities are encouraged, as your connections may be a key to a better career and income. Partnerships also flourish, and over this week the Full Moon in your sign may send your feelings into overdrive. If you've been backward about coming forward, you may let it all out into the open over the weekend. Perhaps this is all to the good!
Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18
Long-term relationships can lighten up, especially if you're willing to allow private feelings out into the open. However, someone may not be upfront about issues they're having, which might require some dedicated conversation. Along with this, romance is sweet and playful as someone seems to really care. The weekend may be an opportunity for a very special date night.
Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20
A focus on a more sensitive part of your chart suggests that secrets come to light and intimacy tinged with romance can deepen. There's also fun to be had on the home front, with opportunities for entertaining with family or friends. Romantic options continue to shine. With the Full Moon in your social sector, it could be party time or at least a chance for a great occasion or celebration. Mercury's move into Cancer spotlights creative opportunities and enjoying cultural entertainment.
By Kam Williams
Nick Cannon is a versatile entertainer known as an actor, comedian, rapper, radio DJ, TV host and as the husband of pop dive Mariah Carey. With School Dance, Nick steps behind the camera to add filmmaker to his extensive resume.
His jaw-dropping directorial debut is a raunchy romantic comedy that might be best thought of as Romeo and Juliet gone completely gangsta’. Set at an inner-city high school in Los Angeles, the irreverent romp revolves around diminutive Jason Jackson (Bobb’e J. Thompson), a modestly-endowed virgin with a crush on a cute and curvy classmate.
Trouble is Anastacia (Kristina DeBarge) has never even noticed the nondescript nerd. A bigger complication is that he’s black, she’s Chicano, and their respective ethnic groups don’t mix, let alone get along. Nevertheless, Jason accepts a dare from the dudes in his posse to get into her proverbial panties by the end of the semester.
To that end, he hatches an elaborate plan to impress the girl of his dreams by winning their high school’s annual talent show which features a grand prize of $2,000. But of as much import as the outcome of that contest is the raucous road the flick en route to that fait accompli.
Director Cannon apparently had no trouble casting his first picture, since the screen is filled with top comedians at every turn, from the man of the year Kevin Hart to the resurrected Katt Williams to “Yo’ Momma’s” Wilmer Valderrama to the irrepressible Luenell to the incomparable Mike Epps to George Lopez and Patrick Warburton. All of the above found the elbow room to do their thing, although the production might have benefited from editing out some of their most offensive remarks.
For example, the blasphemous rap, “F*ck the President, Barack f*cking Obama. F*ck that n*gger” was a bit much for this critic to stomach, even if the euphoria of historic Election Night 2008 is just a distant memory. Equally off-putting was this line uttered by Lopez as Anastacia’s overprotective father. “I don’t want some little black baby with a big penis running around this house touching all my shit.”
Still, I suspect that such shocking fare will find a ready audience in a Hip-Hop Generation weaned on a profusion of profanity and fondness for the N-word. A 21st Century update of the beloved Shakespeare classic about a pair of star-crossed lovers from the opposite side of the tracks.
Good (2 stars)
Rated R for crude humor, graphic sexuality, underage drug use, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity
Running time: 85 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
To see a trailer for School Dance, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qKXSL2N0RQ
July 03, 2014
Interactions fuel positive friendships and lucrative deals. This is a great time to sell your goods and services and get your message out to the world. But when it comes to domestic affairs there could be a conflict between worldly duties and family matters. Mercury forges ahead from Tuesday, so you can now proceed with any projects that have been on the backburner. The weekend has a sparkly outlook, especially if you're partying and having fun.
You may be tempted by a few luxuries, but with the current focus on hard work you deserve to treat yourself. Enjoy it! Recent delays and frustrations may come to an end as Mercury turns direct from Tuesday to ease your path ahead. There could be one communication issue that develops into a running battle, especially on Friday. Tempers may be frayed, leading to arguments. However, if you know what this is about, try to deal with matters before they get to this stage.
Good news as Mercury now dances ahead in your sign, putting an end to any troubles you might have encountered recently. Interactions and transactions should be less frustrating and more productive. But you might feel a need for change (or be pushed into thinking about one) on the financial front. Try not to let a money situation get out of hand by first talking to the relevant person or organization. Leisure options look good over the weekend, with the chance of an instant attraction.
You're in your element this week, although you may notice tension developing between you and another. Do what you can to avert a crisis by encouraging a heart-to-heart talk early on. There will be less chance of misunderstanding when Mercury pushes ahead once again on Tuesday. Delays in communication should ease, and missing documents or files may show up, making it easier for business to resume. Relationships may be a little edgy, and this includes any budding romance. Avoid rocking the boat.
Social opportunities continue to be upbeat, with regular networking and other events to keep you connected. Whether you're looking for love or touting for business, the days ahead can help further your agenda. All of this is made easier when Mercury dances ahead on Tuesday. This should put an end to mixed messages and misunderstandings that may have plagued your progress lately. Consider a stress-management program if you've been feeling overwhelmed. You are your own best resource, so take care.
Career matters seem to be going great guns. Mercury, your personal planet, forges ahead on Tuesday, so you can now proceed with plans and ideas that have been on the backburner. You'll also find business and other interactions a lot smoother, too. Chance meetings with key players in your field can help to further your plans. When it comes to your social life, jealousy or other dark emotions could spoil a friendship. It might be best to confront things directly and make your peace.
You may experience ups and downs with folks, especially the unpredictable kind. But travel plans look positive as Mercury pushes ahead on Tuesday. If you've been itching to close a deal or sign a contract, you can now proceed. Yet there may be discontent concerning your work/home balance. You might have to stand firm regarding an important goal or career move, even in the face of opposition. Thankfully, edgy feelings blow over by the weekend to bring a chance to relax.
Mercury turns direct on Tuesday, which could put an end to delays associated with shared finances or loan applications. Whether you're single or in a long-term relationship, romantic opportunities look largely positive. Venus is currently in a more intimate sector of your chart, enhancing your love life in all sorts of fun ways. Try to avoid conflict on Friday, though, especially if you can't see eye to eye with someone. If you want to remain friends, it might be best to walk away from arguments.
f misunderstandings have occurred recently, Mercury's forward dance from Tuesday on offers a chance to make amends. Any frustrations associated with important deals or the signing of contracts begins to melt away, too. Progress can be made at last! However, it doesn't mean that all tensions vanish as finances still need a careful appraisal. Try to avoid impulse purchases, especially if it's a big-ticket item, as you could regret it later. Thankfully, the weekend brings stress relief and an unexpected invite that you might enjoy.
Mercury's forward motion on Tuesday makes a positive difference at work and in everyday affairs. Interactions flow with ease, while delays and frustrations may become a thing of the past. Yet certain relationships could show signs of tension. If you know what this is about, try to nip it in the bud before it develops into an argument. Lifestyle issues also come into focus, particularly if you've been thinking about upgrading your gadgets. A little online research could spotlight some awesome bargains.
Leisure and pleasure options spotlight good times with family, children, and friends. Your fun-o-meter is set to high, so enjoy mingling and any romantic options that might show up. When it comes to your job, feeling energized and on top of your workload may be crucial to a stress-free life. If this is the case, you might want to tweak your routines to give you a little more downtime. A social event over the weekend could encourage a new friendship or instant attraction.
If delays have stymied DIY or remodeling projects at home, these should ease as Mercury forges ahead on Tuesday. Whatever complications you may have experienced should now abate, allowing you to make progress. When it comes to your social life, things may not be so hunky-dory. If you and another have been putting off a conversation, you might want to get it over with this week. It's time to sort out issues and make your peace. An impulsive buy could delight you this weekend.
By Dwight Brown
NNPA Film Critic
In 18 years, the American Black Film Festival has migrated from Acapulco, Mexico, to Los Angeles to Miami and now New York City. The locations have varied; the mission to bring African heritage films to audiences has not.
The 2014 festival started with the Big Apple’s premier of “Think Like a Man Too,” and ended with the first screening of the new Spike Lee horror movie “Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.” In between, the festival hosted a bevy of panels, acting boot camps, master classes and workshops at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street. The screenings took place at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theater on West 23rd Street.
“Blackbird” — This well-intentioned coming-of-age gay Black movie is set in rural Mississippi and burdened by an over-dramatic treatment. The sappy all-over-the-place script (Rikki Beadle Blair, Patrick-Ian Polk), with stilted dialogue and preposterous dramatic moments, is an impediment. Its unsettling mixture of religion and gay pride, certainly a new brew, never rings true. Oscar-winner Mo’Nique plays an angst-ridden mother and Isaiah Washington is an understanding pro-gay dad; neither is believable. The savvy young cast (Julian Walker, Kevin Allesee, Gary LeRoi Gray, Torrey Laamar, Nikki Jane) will go on to bigger and better projects; they are the film’s saving grace.
“Da Sweet Blood of Jesus” —Spike Lee, the old guard of Black indie filmmaking, gets his mojo back with this classy, urbane vampire art film that is a beauty to behold (cinematography, art direction, set design, costumes) and a joy to listen to (gospel, jazz, soul, pop). Dr. Hess Greene (Stephen Tyrone Williams) is a blood-addicted rich man who alternates his time between a swank New York apartment and a tony house in Martha’s Vineyard. He’s smitten with the tough-talking British wife (Zaraah Abrahams) of a victim, and the two are obsessed with hemoglobin. Kudos to the very heady, tense and sensual script: edgy dialogue, unique characters, rampant sexuality, romance and an unfathomable storyline. If the film gets cut by 5-15 minutes it would be Lee’s most gripping and evocative – ever.
“Hard Time Bus” — The cast in this soap-operaish British melodrama must be moonlighting from a Shakespearean theater company. They have perfect diction, laser-focus and great acting chops, which are wasted in a meandering relationship film. Mark (Neil Reidman) is having troubles with his lady-friend Denise (Naomi Ryan), whom he would like to marry. He gets caught up in his friends’ lovers quarrels, misunderstandings and other far-fetched machinations – veering off his own course. The script (Owen Mowatt) is very talky with long, drawn-out scenes that are far more suited for a theater piece than a movie. Dean Charles, in his directing debut, displays a promising talent.
“Una Vida” — In New Orleans, a neuroscientist (Joaquim de Almeida), haunted by images of his mother, a victim of Alzheimer’s, transfers his love for her to an old street singer (Aunjanue Ellis, “Men of Honor”) who suffers from the same disease. Viewing the neighborhoods in the Big Easy is far more engaging than the storyline of this heavy-handed, snail-paced message movie. The beautiful cinematography keeps you engaged when the script lets you down. Bill Cobbs, Ruth Negga (“World War Z”) and Andre Royo (“The Wire”) also star, but Ellis steals all the scenes.
“Think Like A Man Too” — This sequel takes an assorted gaggle of friends to Las Vegas to help a couple (Terrence Jenkins, Regina Hall) with a meddling mother (Jennifer Lewis) get married. The best man, played by the increasingly manic and thoroughly likable Kevin Hart, leads the young men on a myriad of wild bachelor party escapades. The females’ bachelorette festivities are equally roguish. The director (Tim Story) uses a very staccato/MTVish editing style to give the film a rapid-fire pace that is daunting at times. However, there is a method to his rushed, jumpy directing style, which comes to fruition during a strip club melee that is totally chaotic and hysterical. The overall feel is hilarious, romantic and sweet.
LAWT News Service
On June 27, celebrities mingled with environmental advocates on the roof of the Mondrian Skybar/Pool for an event supporting President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and specifically calling attention to the dangerous impacts of climate change on African-Americans.
TV stars Tatyana Ali, known for her role as Ashley Banks in “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and the upcoming “The November Rule,” and Lamman Rucker, star of Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” films and the TV series “Meet the Browns,” headlined the event for Los Angeles’ young environmental community. TheRoot.com hosted the event on the Mondrian Skybar, called “Young, Black and Green,” in order to raise awareness of the stakes for the community in addressing climate change.
“We have a moral obligation to future generations to leave them a planet that’s not polluted and damaged by carbon pollution,” said Lamman Rucker. “We don’t need our kids to develop asthma or even die from living near a power plant to know that too many of us have already been affected. It's time to set a limit on pollution that affects public health, and that’s why it’s so important that the President is rising to the challenge.”
Last month, The Obama Administration released a plan for the EPA to limit the carbon pollution from power plants. Carbon pollution causes climate change, whose rising temperatures worsen health-harming air pollution. According to NRDC, fossil fuel-fired power plants are responsible for 40 percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.
A myriad of social and economic factors put African Americans at higher risk from climate change and carbon pollution, especially from health hazards such as asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments. Especially vulnerable are African-American kids, who often live closest to the sources of carbon pollution like power plants, highways and factories, and have asthma at rates of one in six, compared to one in ten nationwide.
Frequently, the issue comes down to physical proximity to pollution. The 2013 American Lung Association State of the Air Report found that “[n]on-Hispanic Blacks were… more likely to live in counties with worse ozone pollution.” And a study by the Center for American Progress found that nearly 70 percent of African Americans in California live within 30 miles of a power plant. According to CAP, “An analysis of polluting facilities in California found that 62 percent of residents living within six miles of a petroleum refinery, cement plant, or power plant were people of color. And a startling 68 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, compared to only 56 percent of the white population.” [Center for American Progress, 4/20/12]
“President Obama’s climate plan is full of common-sense solutions, starting with his call for the EPA to limit the carbon pollution from power plants,” said Adrianna Quintero of NRDC/Voces Verdes. “While we set limits for arsenic, mercury and lead, we let power plants release as much carbon pollution as they want.”
Throughout the event, several “Green Fact Moments” highlighted different pieces of the President’s climate action plan. For more information about the President’s plan or to pledge to act on climate, visit actonclimate.com.)
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