Category Archives: Hip Hop

Chance the Rapper will be honored with the BET Humanitarian Award

Muhammad Ali, Alicia Keys, and Dwayne Wade are just a few of the celebrities who have received the BET Humanitarian Award. Now, 24 year old Chicago artist, Chance the Rapper will be added to this list of artist who have used their platform to bring change within the black community.

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Chance has been very adamant about helping out the city he was raised in. In March, he donated a million dollars to Chicago public schools and then raised 2 million dollars for the schools in the following months. Back in November, Chance led thousands of people to the polls to cast their vote, he frequently helps with solutions for violence in Chicago and he even started his own non-profit for the youth entitled SocialWorks. He’s shown that he’s more than a photo-op and is very deserving of this prestigious award.

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BET also announced that New Edition will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards are set to air on Sunday, 25 June.

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Will Nicki Minaj’s 7 Year Winning Streak Break at this Year’s BET Awards?

In the past, the BET Awards have had predictable winners in the Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Best Male R&B/Pop Artist, and Best Female Hip Hop Artist categories. This year’s nominations include some tough competition for past champions Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, and Drake. Beyoncé is nominated for 7 awards including Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Best Video, and Best Album. She’ll be competing against sister Solange who garnered 4 nominations for her unique and potent album, A Seat at the Table with accompany visuals to Cranes in the Sky. This year brings some stiff competition in the Male R&B/Pop category with both the Weeknd and Bruno Mars’ stellar year of chart topping singles. With a combination of viral memes and shout-outs, Rae Sremmurd’s, Black Beetles and Migos, Bad and Bougie are tough choices in the Best Collaboration category. The Best Male Hip Hop category has always included the biggest and best mainstream male rappers like J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake so it should be up in the air on who takes the award.

The most interesting category will be the Best Female Hip Hop Artist winner. Nicki Minaj has been the reigning champ for the past 7 years with last year being the first time she was not present at the awards. At one point, I felt the category should have been replaced with Best Hip Hop Artist and just include female and male rappers until a bigger pool of female M.C.s charted. This year, Minaj will be up against some talented rappers for the first time in years including Remy Ma, who most deemed the winner in their very public beef, newcomer Young M.A., legendary M.C. Missy Elliott and popular reality star, Cardi B. I’m thinking it’s between Minaj, Remy and Young M.A. Both Remy and Young M.A. had at least a couple of hits last year over Minaj but Nicki dropped at least 3 singles in March of 2017. Missy’s awaited comeback was a little underwhelming while Cardi B gained some surprising support for her music compared to other members of the Love & Hip Hop cast. With Remy Ma and Fat Joe’s hit, All the Way Up mixed in with her diss record, shETHER, I think Remy will finally break Nicki’s winning streak this year.

Below are the rest of the nominees including the Film, International and the Gospel/Inspirational categories. The awards will take place on 25 June at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.

Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
BEYONCÉ
KEHLANI
MARY J. BLIGE
RIHANNA
SOLANGE

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
BRUNO MARS
CHRIS BROWN
THE WEEKND
TREY SONGZ
USHER

Best Group
2 CHAINZ & LIL WAYNE
A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
FAT JOE & REMY MA
MIGOS
RAE SREMMURD

Best Collaboration
BEYONCÉ FT. KENDRICK LAMAR – FREEDOM
CHANCE THE RAPPER FT. 2 CHAINZ & LIL WAYNE – NO PROBLEM
CHRIS BROWN FT. GUCCI MANE & USHER – PARTY
DJ KHALED FT. BEYONCÉ & JAY Z – SHINING
MIGOS FT. LIL UZI VERT – BAD AND BOUJEE
RAE SREMMURD FT. GUCCI MANE – BLACK BEATLES

Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
BIG SEAN
CHANCE THE RAPPER
DRAKE
FUTURE
J. COLE
KENDRICK LAMAR

Best Female Hip-Hop Artist
CARDI B
MISSY ELLIOTT
NICKI MINAJ
REMY MA
YOUNG M.A.

Video of the Year
BEYONCÉ – SORRY
BIG SEAN – BOUNCE BACK
BRUNO MARS – 24K MAGIC
MIGOS FT. LIL UZI VERT – BAD AND BOUJEE
SOLANGE – CRANES IN THE SKY

Video Director of the Year
BENNY BOOM – KEHLANI “CRZY”
BRUNO MARS & JONATHAN LIA – BRUNO MARS “THAT’S WHAT I LIKE”
DIRECTOR X – ZAYN MALIK “LIKE I WOULD”
HYPE WILLIAMS – TYGA “GUCCI SNAKES FT. DESIIGNER”
KAHLIL JOSEPH & BEYONCÉ KNOWLES-CARTER – BEYONCÉ “SORRY”

Best New Artist
21 SAVAGE
CARDI B
CHANCE THE RAPPER
KHALID
YOUNG M.A.

Album of the Year
24K MAGIC – BRUNO MARS
4 YOUR EYEZ ONLY – J. COLE
A SEAT AT THE TABLE – SOLANGE
COLORING BOOK – CHANCE THE RAPPER
LEMONADE – BEYONCÉ

Dr. Bobby Jones Best Gospel/Inspirational Award
CECE WINANS – NEVER HAVE TO BE ALONE
FANTASIA FT. TYE TRIBBETT – I MADE IT
KIRK FRANKLIN FT. SARAH REEVES, TASHA COBBS & TAMELA MANN – MY WORLD NEEDS YOU
LECRAE – CAN’T STOP ME NOW (DESTINATION)
TAMELA MANN – GOD PROVIDES

Best Actress
GABRIELLE UNION
ISSA RAE
JANELLE MONÁE
TARAJI P. HENSON
VIOLA DAVIS

Best Actor
BRYSHERE Y. GRAY
DENZEL WASHINGTON
DONALD GLOVER
MAHERSHALA ALI
OMARI HARDWICK

YoungStars Award
ACE HUNTER
CALEB MCLAUGHLIN
JADEN SMITH
MARSAI MARTIN
YARA SHAHIDI

Best Movie
FENCES
GET OUT
HIDDEN FIGURES
MOONLIGHT
THE BIRTH OF A NATION

Sportswoman of the Year Award
GABBY DOUGLAS
SERENA WILLIAMS
SIMONE BILES
SKYLAR DIGGINS
VENUS WILLIAMS

Sportsman of the Year Award
CAM NEWTON
LEBRON JAMES
ODELL BECKHAM JR.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK
STEPHEN CURRY

Centric Award
FANTASIA – SLEEPING WITH THE ONE I LOVE
KEHLANI – DISTRACTION
MARY J. BLIGE – THICK OF IT
SOLANGE – CRANES IN THE SKY
SYD – ALL ABOUT ME
YUNA – CRUSH FT. USHER

Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award
BEYONCÉ – SORRY
BRUNO MARS – 24K MAGIC
DRAKE – FAKE LOVE
MIGOS FT. LIL UZI VERT – BAD AND BOUJEE
RAE SREMMURD FT. GUCCI MANE – BLACK BEATLES
THE WEEKND FT. DAFT PUNK – STARBOY

Best International Act: Europe
BOOBA (France)
MHD (France)
CRAIG DAVID (UK)
EMELI SANDÉ (UK)
GIGGS (UK)
SKEPTA (UK)
STORMZY (UK)
WILEY (UK)

Best International Act: Africa
AKA (South Africa)
BABES WODUMO (South Africa)
DAVIDO (Nigeria)
NASTY C (South Africa)
STONEBWOY (Ghana)
TEKNO (Nigeria)
WIZKID (Nigeria)
MR EAZI (Nigeria)

Joey Bada$$ Releases All-Amerikkan Badass

It’s here! All-Amerikkkan Badass from one of hip hops young lyric driven and passionate artist, Joey Badass. Joey teased us with his radio friendly single, Devastated back in May 2016 then he dropped, Land of the Free the beginning of this year. The visuals and lyrics for Land of the Free, the three k’s in Amerikkka, and the red, white, and blue bandana patterned cover art symbolizes Joey’s unapologetic stance on race and politics in America. He’s unafraid to speak on the ill-wills of this country and use his platform to speak the truth. The album should hit these dark but truthful issues with features from ScHoolboy Q, J. Cole, Chronixx, and more.

Check out the visuals for Land of the Free below and buy the album to support Joey!

SZA, Kaytranada, Soul II Soul, and more announced in the 2017 AfroPunk lineup

The 2017 lineup for AfroPunk has been released. The unique and unapologetic festival will be held on August 26th-27th in its annual location of Fort Greene’s Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, New York. So far, the fest will include SZA, Sampha, Willow Smith, Thundercat, Gary Clark Jr., Dizzee Rascal, and more along with veteran artist like Macy Gray and Soul II Soul. Rising producer and DJ, Kaytranada will have his own stage, “Kaytranada and Friends”, which will include performances from Sango, Nao, and Jrocc & Karriem Riggins.

The festivals theme for this year will be, “WE THE PEOPLE”, which includes the following words from the fest:

WE THE PEOPLE:

We, the people built this land. Our flesh and blood is present in its buildings, its roads and its bridges. Our souls are its spiritual cornerstone. Our culture is its foundation. Our being nourishes this land — as our ancestors’ beings nourished it before us — yet the land has not always reimbursed us. We, the people recognize the bullshit of the powerful. The injustices they committed in the past have never disappeared from view. The inequalities they perpetrate are there for all but the blind. The inadequacies they’ve paid forward to a future age are appearing over the horizon. Unless…

We, the people have a code:

  • No Sexism
  • No Racism
  • No Ableism
  • No Ageism
  • No Homophobia
  • No Fatphobia
  • No Transphobia

We, the people commit ourselves to uphold and fight for the rights enshrined in our code. Let us honour those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, and hold accountable those who curtail our liberties. Let us walk in the footsteps of warriors who came before us, and strive to create a society based on fundamental human rights. Let us rewrite the universal laws and educate the errant minds. We, the people have the will to heal the divisions that threaten to reduce our dreams to ashes. We believe in resurrecting the creative power of our diversity. We open our hearts and minds, and dance to the rhythm of a brand-new future. Together. Brave and compassionate. And beautiful. May the Goddess protect we, the people.

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Check out the rest of the lineup below and visit www.afropunkfest.com for more info:

AFROPUNK BROOKLYN LINEUP (MORE HEADLINERS TBA)

ST HERON STAGE

FEAT SPECIAL GUEST

SAMPHA

THUNDERCAT

SINKANE

KING

& more

 

KAYTRANADA & FRIENDS STAGE

KAYTRANADA

NAO

SANGO

J ROCC & KARRIEM RIGGINS (LIVE)

& more

GARY CLARK JR

MACY GRAY

MICHAEL KIWANUKA

SOUL II SOUL

SZA

WILLOW SMITH

DIZZEE RASCAL

LITTLE SIMZ

BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR

THE COOL KIDS

PRINCESS NOKIA

PROTOJE

LEIKELI47

THE COOL KIDS

THE SKINS

KEVIN ABSTRACT

SERPENTWITHFEET

SAM DEW

SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS

SON LITTLE

PURE DISGUST

QUIÑ

LOUDER THAN QUIET

& more

Neon Fade Burning Sands Review (SPOILERS)

My first movie review for 2017 and in general will be for the 2017 film, Burning Sands. This review contains spoilers.

Plot

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Burning Sands is the feature length directorial debut from Gerard McMurray and is distributed through Netflix. The film is about 5 young men who are experiencing, “Hell Week” the final week in the pledging process for a fictional black fraternity at an HBCU. The boys go through extreme and abusive hazing in their journey to become members of the prestigious fraternity. The protagonist, Zurich, is played by rising actor, Trevor Jackson. Zurich’s father had pledged in the past but later dropped before he could cross over so it seems that Zurich is fulfilling what his father could not finish. As the hazing process intensifies and starts to affect Zurich’s body, relationship, and school work, he starts to question the process and how bad he really wants it.

Now, I didn’t pledge nor did I have the desire to pledge so my knowledge of black Greek life is small. I’ve seen School Daze which was one of the first films, maybe even the first to bring black Greek life to the forefront in the 80’s and I like many others have heard stories about the extreme hazing and the mistreatment as well as the brotherhood/sisterhood and support for the community. I saw the trailer before watching the film so I knew this would be a dark film.

Visuals

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Pros:

I could tell the cinematography would be amazing from the trailer alone. The aerial shots of the campus and the bodies of water were smooth and gave a sense of the rural location. My favorite scenes in particular were the intro of the pledgees in the woods, the pool scene, and the entrance into hell night. The shot of the pledgees running to get in formation moved perfectly and set the mood for the film; the green and the black were very vivid. The water level cinematography in the pool scene matched the erratic feeling. The scene where the guys enter the barn for the hell night was intense as well. Again, I could feel it even in the trailer. The way the camera went from still to shaky as it followed behind the guys added that level of chaos that followed. A lot of the tracking shots from behind reminded me of the film, Moonlight. It placed the viewer right along the journey with the protagonist.

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Cons:

Some of the scenes were a tad bit dark specifically the party scene and the scene where the guys were confronted by the cops in the woods. I felt like it added a sense of realism but at the same time some of the actors got lost in the sauce with all that lovely melanated skin. During the party scene, I thought the tracking shot that followed Rotimi’s character right before the line dance (?) lingered for a little while.

Music/Sound

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Pros:

I was actually surprised at some of the copyrighted songs that were featured. I didn’t think the film was going to use current popular songs. Ju Ju on that Beat is my little guilty pleasure but the original beat, Knuck If You Buck, got me hyped. I can literally listen to that song every week and still love it. As I read on Twitter, that scene was a little unrealistic because most claimed the fraternities stroll to this song at any given moment. Then, my song Wicked came on! It’s not a party until some Future is played. From what I’m learning, the stroll to Down for My Niggaz, is also a common thing for fraternities. Rapper, Common also contributed an original song entitled, The Cross, which features Lianne La Havas. This came in at the credits after a very emotional moment and it was very fitting. As far as sound goes, the pool scene stood out to me. The thud of the water mixed in with the muddled voice-overs blended very well.

I have no cons about the music

Characters/ Acting/Writing (Toss up of Pros and Cons)

Burning Sands

All of the actors had great performances. Kudos to the line brothers for staying in those menacing characters. It takes a lot of vulnerability and patience to play these characters especially the pledgees. In a way, the actors had to go through the same hazing rituals as their characters did and what I heard in an interview, some of them were actually hit with some real blows.

I would like to personally thank the casting director for choosing the beautiful Trevante Rhodes and all his deliciousness for this film. I loved that his character was included because it gave a sense of normalcy that was missing from the other big brothers. He teetered between going along with the hazing tradition and stepping in when some things got out of hand. My only issue was the inconsistency of his authority. He seemed to stand his ground in the shower scene against Big Country but lost all authority in the paddling scene so that was a little confusing.

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Zurich

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I think Trevor Jackson did very well as the protagonist. He was able to transition from his laid back demeanor to the fraternity sets in a snap. His delivery in the last shot perfectly captured the emotion of the tragic ending. Zurich’s lack of urgency and common sense was a bit much. I understand that he is young but he made a lot of stupid mistakes that he and his line had to ultimately pay for (they would have probably went through it anyway so idk). He didn’t have as much growth as I thought he would.

My biggest issue is the fact that Frank had actual growth that was missing from Zurich. In the beginning, he made it known that he didn’t have or want a brotherhood with the rest of his line brothers. As the film progressed, he changed and ultimately sacrificed his life for his brother which was devastating.

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The Line Brothers

I understand that the film is not going to dig too deep into all 5 of the line brother’s lives but I would have loved to see more from the Christian pledgee. He literally had around 5 lines. I thought the scene with Toya could have been a perfect moment to show the pressure of sex for his character. This could have highlighted another extreme action that many young men have to endure.

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The Women

The women in the film were just meh to me. The sorority girl, Angel, was very unnecessary; she seemed intrigued by Zurich but it went absolutely nowhere. Her little dance scene with him was awkward and she showed how delusional she was for thinking he wanted her. Alfred Woodard’s character, Professor Hughes, was ok. I liked that she showed support without beating him over the head but I felt something was missing. I would have liked to have seen a conversation between her and Dean Richardson as they seemed to have different views on pledging.

Zurich’s girlfriend, Rochon, was beyond annoying. I get it, you want to spend time with your man but it’s literally a week! It would have been nice if she worried more about the bruises on his stomach and why he was having difficulty breathing but her character took a cliché narrative. The only thing I could think of is that she was completely oblivious to what pledges have to go through. At one point, she asks, “What do they have you doing?” So, maybe she didn’t understand that he had to be attentive at any point of the day for his frat.

Jackson-and-Hakim

Now, Toya. Toya, Toya, girl. Right off the back, I was annoyed by her intro as the black girl popping gum with a slight attitude. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this but it’s getting old. At first she comes off as a thirsty groupie but her scene with Zurich showed she had some depth, I guess? I don’t really find using the word “noble” mind blowing but the scene was funny. My biggest issue with this scene is her nonchalant attitude about the sex with the whole line. I think it’s fine to be sexually free but the film ignores the mistreatment and more than likely rape that happens to women during this process. I understand that there are tons of women who are ready to do whatever for the attention of the frat but I feel the film could have explored the concept of women being pressured or forced into having sex with these men. Maybe the director didn’t want to add anymore negative images of the frat life or maybe he didn’t want to emulate that pivotal scene from School Daze.

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Other Issues

My main issue with the film was the overall goal of Zurich. From the look of the trailer, I thought throughout the process he was going to finally taking a stand to the harsh treatment of the hazing. At one point, Professor Hughes tells Zurich that he should lead his brother’s from the underground back to where his fraternity was meant to be. This line should have been introduced earlier and ultimately been the goal of Zurich. He grew to an extent by telling his line brothers that they were worth more and should change the future of the hazing tradition but it fell flat when he continued to hell night. This could possibly open a door for a sequel. Another note, I understand the concept of, “We come from Kings and Queens”, in the context of how people of African descent have been treated in America. We have to use different methods to uplift our people but at the same time with every King and Queen came thousands of workers, peasants, and even slaves so we might want to use a different method.

Another issue I had was understanding some of the fraternity language and actions. I didn’t understand what being on the yard meant. Maybe it’s just me. I didn’t know what GDI was until Angel broke it down. Also, the relationship with the big brothers outside of the college was confusing. At first, I thought they were members of their family who happened to pledge but then I realized these were mentors who were part of the fraternity.

Overall

The visuals, acting, and music of the film were great. The casting made sense. Some of the female characters needed more depth or should have been excluded altogether. The same goes for some of the big brother’s who put them through hell. The growth of the protagonist could have been fleshed out better. The ending was very emotional and brought a sense of realism to the film. I think that this film is very important in hopefully putting an end to the extreme hazing issues across all fraternities and organizations outside of college. Hopefully, no current pledges are getting it worst because of the film. I think Gerard McMurray and all involved made a great piece and I hope to see more from him if he’s still breathing after the backlash of the film.

My rating for this film: 7/10

The Full List of Winners at The 48th Annual NAACP Image Awards

The 48th annual NAACP Image Awards honored the best in film, television, music, and literature. There were little to no surprises for this years winners including Anthony Anderson for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series and his co-star wife, Tracee Ellis Ross for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. Taraji P Henson won for the second time in a row for Outstanding Actress in a Drama series, Denzel Washington won Outstanding Actor for his role in Fences, and Queen Sugar won for Outstanding Drama Series which was a nice surprise. Some amazing actors and actresses were not in attendance including Mahershala Ali who won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and Viola Davis who won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

The honorable Chairman’s Award was given to professor, author, and founder of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Charles J. Oletree Jr. and the NAACP President’s Award was given to educator, historian, and founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History, Lonnie Bunch. Outstanding Motion Picture went to Hidden Figures and Entertainer of the year went to Dwayne Johnson, who is rarely in attendance to this award show. Everyone knows this should have went to Beyoncé, who was also snub last night at the Grammy’s but that’s another article. Check out the full list of the winners below.

 

The Chairman’s Award: Charles J. Ogletree Jr.

NAACP President’s Award:  Lonnie Bunch

Entertainer of the Year: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Outstanding Motion PictureHidden Figures

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures

Outstanding Drama SeriesQueen Sugar

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Outstanding Comedy SeriesBlack-ish

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series: Taraji P. Henson, Empire

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Denzel Washington, Fences

Outstanding New Artist: Chance the Rapper

Outstanding Male Artist: Maxwell

Outstanding Female Artist: Beyoncé

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration: “Freedom,” Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar

Outstanding Jazz Album: Latin American Songbook, Edward Simon

Outstanding Gospel Album (Traditional or Contemporary): One Way, Tamela Mann

Outstanding Music Video: “Formation,”  Beyoncé

Outstanding Song (Traditional): “I See A Victory,” Kim Burrell and Pharrell Williams

Outstanding Album: Lemonade, Beyoncé

Outstanding Song (Contemporary): “Freedom,” Beyoncé feat. Kendrick Lamar

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Laurence Fishburne, Black-ish

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Tichina Arnold, Survivor’s Remorse 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Jussie Smollett, Empire 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Naturi Naughton, Power 

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series, or Dramatic Special: The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series, or Dramatic Special: Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series, or Dramatic Special: Regina King, American Crime

Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special): BET Love and Happiness White House Special 

Outstanding Talk Series: Steve Harvey

Outstanding Reality Program/Reality Competition Series: Iyanla: Fix My Life

Outstanding Variety (Series or Special): 2016 Black Girls Rock

Outstanding Children’s Program: An American Girl Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win 

Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited-Series): Marsai Martin, Black-ish

Outstanding Host in a News, Talk, Reality, or Variety Program (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble: Roland S. Martin – NewsOne Now with Roland S. Martin 

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Viola Davis, Fences

Outstanding Independent Motion PictureMoonlight

Outstanding Documentary (Film)13TH

Outstanding Documentary (Television)Roots: A New Vision

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Kenya Barris, Black-ish

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Ava DuVernay, Queen Sugar

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television): Charles Murray, Roots–Night 3

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film): Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series: Donald Glover, Atlanta–Value

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: John Singleton, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story–The Race Card

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television): Rick Famuyiwa, Confirmation

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film): Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television or Film): Idris Elba, The Jungle Book

 
Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction): The Book of Harlan, Bernice L. McFadden

Outstanding Literary Work (Nonfiction): Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly

Outstanding Literary Work, (Debut Author): Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah

Outstanding Literary Work (Biography/Autobiography): Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Trevor Noah

Outstanding Literary Work (Instructional)The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage, Daymond John, Daniel Paisner

Outstanding Literary Work (Poetry): Collected Poems: 1974-2004, Rita Dove

Outstanding Literary Work (Children): Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas, Gwendolyn Hooks, Colin Bootman

Outstanding Literary Work (Youth/Teens): As Brave As You, Jason Reynolds

The Jackie Robinson Sports Award: LeBron James

 

17 Films and Series to Watch in Honor of Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, check out my list of films and television series celebrating and exploring black life throughout history including captivating documentaries, quality biopics, and recent theatrical releases. Remember to celebrate Black History beyond these short 28 days!

 

I am not your Negro (2017)

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The potent words of writer, activist, and playwright James Baldwin on race still rings true decades later. This 2017 documentary, directed by Raoul Peck and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, explores race throughout the years and visualizes Baldwin’s words about close friends, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers. Look for this film in your local theaters or local art house.

African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr (2013)

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Follow scholar, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he ventures back in time to discuss the history of African-Americans from the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Civil Rights era to the Nations first black president.

Black in Latin America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2011)

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Henry Louis Gates Jr. travels south to explore the largely hidden history of black Latin Americans. Through interviews and discussions in countries, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico and Peru, Gates tackles issues of race, colorism, and the slave trade that still affects the black community in the present.

Paris is Burning (1990)

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The birthplace of, “throwing shade” and O-P-U-L-E-N-C-E. Paris is Burning is an early look at the underground LGBT scene centered on fashion, sex appeal, and voguing. Created by people of color, this film delves into the energetic scene and how class, family, and illness affected young gay people of color in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Hidden Figures (2016)

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This blockbuster hit was deserving of its $100 million earnings at the box office. The film tells the seldom heard story of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, the three black women who were the brains and strength behind the US sending a man to space.

The New Edition Story (2017)

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BET and the creators of The New Edition Story took their time with this amazing biopic. The 3 part miniseries follows the iconic group from their humble beginnings in Orchard Park projects to their most successful sold out tours. The series doesn’t sugar coat the intense drama that went on behind the scenes, detailing financial rip-offs, drugs, and physical altercations between the members. The acting, story, and of course the music are all on point.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011)

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A cultivation of found footage and interviews of Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Louis Farrakhan and others associated with the black power and anti-war movements, all from the perspective of Swedish journalist and filmmakers.

The 13th (2016)

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Ava Duvernay explores America’s exploitation of the 13th amendment and how policies throughout time have disproportionately targeted black men and women in America.

Dark Girls (2011)

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A discussion and stories about colorism and how it immensely affects the lives of black women across the nation.

Barry (2016)

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Follow Barack Obama as he enters Columbia University to world of self discovery, love, and perseverance.

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

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Unapologetic, talented, and beautiful describes Nina Simone. Through vintage interviews, performances, and stories from her family and friends, you’ll learn the vibrant yet dark story of the legendary artist.

Queen of Katwe (2016)

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Based on a true story, Queen of Katwe follows 10 year old Phiona as she overcomes huge hurdles to become a world chess champion.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

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Shirley Chilsom was not only the first black woman elected to Congress but the first African American and first woman to run a high profile campaign in the US! Watch as she challenges sexism, racism, and patriarchy in this untimely piece.

 

Unsung and Unsung: Hollywood (2008-present)

Unsung opens the door to all the trials and tribulations of some of America’s most talented but underrated black artist. Debarge, Xscape, Big Daddy Kane, The Whispers, Yo-Yo, David Ruffin, and Al B Sure are just some of the artist who have been documented on the show. Also, check out Unsung: Hollywood for stories on black actors, films, and series who were deserving of more recognition.

Madiba (2017)

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This six hour mini-series chronicles Nelson Mandela, played by Laurence Fishburne, and other leaders of the African National Congress who fought to end apartheid in South Africa.

Fresh Dressed (2015)

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Remember Kangol hats and gold rope chains? What about Cross Colours? FUBU, anyone? Fresh Dressed digs up the influential contributions of black style throughout the years and the ups and downs of clothing brands that were for us and by us.

Race (2016)

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Race, the story of American track star Jesse Owens, exemplifies courage and strength in the face of white supremacy. Not only did Owens battle racism in the US but he challenged and then crushed Hitler’s Aryan supremacy fantasy in 1930’s Berlin.

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