fbpx
Connect with us

Entertainment

Sam Greenlee, Whose Movie “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” Became a Cult Classic, Dies

Published

on

Poet and novelist Sam Greenlee in 1973. His movie, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” based on his book by the same name, became a classic in the black nationalist movement. (AP Photo)

Poet and novelist Sam Greenlee in 1973. His movie, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” based on his book by the same name, became a classic in the black nationalist movement. (AP Photo)

 

(The Washington Post) – Sam Greenlee, a onetime Foreign Service officer whose 1969 novel and a subsequent film, both called “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” became underground sensations during the black nationalist movement, died May 19 at his home in Chicago. He was 83.

The death was confirmed by a friend, Chicago-based filmmaker Pemon Rami, who did not cite a specific cause.

Mr. Greenlee joined the U.S. Information Agency in 1957 and was among the its first black officials to serve overseas. He was stationed in Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia and Greece before quitting in 1965 to focus on writing.

In his novel, Mr. Greenlee drew on his work with USIA but transformed the central character in “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” Dan Freeman, into a black CIA officer who quits the spy agency in disgust. Freeman returns to his native Chicago, where he puts his CIA training to use by organizing street gangs into a paramilitary black revolutionary movement that spreads nationwide.

READ MORE

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#NNPA BlackPress

The Pompano Beach Cultural Center Shines Spotlight on Black Filmmaker

THE WESTSIDE GAZETTE — Montage, a monthly film series at The Pompano Beach Cultural Center, returns in August with Support the Reel. The program showcases four local Black filmmakers and will be moderated by Emmanuel George on August 29 at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at www.ccpompano.org.

Published

on

Support the Real will be Moderated by Emmanuel George (Photo by: pompanobeacharts.org)
Support the Real will be Moderated by Emmanuel George (Photo by: pompanobeacharts.org)

By Katherine Renz

Montage, a monthly film series at The Pompano Beach Cultural Center, returns in August with Support the Reel. The program showcases four local Black filmmakers and will be moderated by Emmanuel George on August 29 at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at www.ccpompano.org.

“Emmanuel George’s platform ties community development with Black creativity to bring forth transformative change,” said Phyllis Korab, Cultural Affairs Director. “We are very proud to bring this inspiring program to Pompano Beach.”

Support the Reel showcases four thought-provoking films from local Black filmmakers in our Tri-County region. These films, and the discussion that follows, will engage the audience in an open-ended conversation about art, history, relationships, policies and women’s rights. This event will be moderated by Emmanuel George, a Miami native who incorporated the Black Broward Film Project in 2018 and is a passionate advocate for history and community activism.

Emmanuel George was born in Miami’s Overtown district and credits his father with teaching him about Afro Caribbean history, African history and African American history. Early on, he became an avid documentary lover and wanted to harness his passion to support his community.

In 2016, Emmanuel conceptualized the “Black Broward Film Project,” a documentary series telling the past, present, and future of Black communities in Broward County, using film as a way to bridge the gap between elders and millennials.

As a member of the Cultural Arts Committee of Dania Beach, Emmanuel worked to help the rise of Art Tourism in Broward County. He’s worked with Al Huggins, the founder of “ArtNSoul” and on the “Sistrunk-A-Fair” exhibition. Emmanuel is also involved with the launch of Broward’s “Artistry N Soul Experience,” an exhibit of local Black artists that pays homage to pioneers from Bro-ward’s historic Black communities.

This article originally appeared in The Westside Gazette.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

THE WORLD IN THEIR HANDS: The Center for Puppetry Arts’ creative African-American ensemble are sharing art and inclusion with international audiences

ATLANTA VOICE — Their hands morph into talking, singing, dancing mop heads. Using recycled materials, African-American puppeteers Greg Hunter and Jimmica Collins know how to command a performance stage, capturing kids’ and their parents’ hearts with each gesture. It’s literally all in the hands, too.

Published

on

Atlanta-based artists Greg Hunter and Jimmica Collins on set for the Center for Puppetry Arts’ 2019 production of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ (Photo: Reginald Duncan / The Atlanta Voice)
Atlanta-based artists Greg Hunter and Jimmica Collins on set for the Center for Puppetry Arts’ 2019 production of ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ (Photo: Reginald Duncan / The Atlanta Voice)

By Candace Dantes

Their hands morph into talking, singing, dancing mop heads.

Using recycled materials, African-American puppeteers Greg Hunter and Jimmica Collins know how to command a performance stage, capturing kids’ and their parents’ hearts with each gesture.
It’s literally all in the hands, too.

“The process starts with the puppet,” said Collins, 27, who is starring as Beauty in Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts’ rendition of “Beauty and the Beast.” “I find my voice, which this puppet’s voice is fun with sass. Then, I work on movements.”

Beauty’s groovy Mama is played by Hunter, who naturally draws from everyone’s Southern hairdresser, aunts, cousins and friends, to develop the urban-dwelling character.

The two puppetry artists’ leading presence in this 2019 summertime love tale signifies a cultural shift in who exactly is telling the world of puppetry’s stories.

African-Americans playing prominent roles both on the stage and behind the scenes isn’t taken lightly at the center — America’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of puppetry. It puts diversity and inclusion at the forefront of its productions and museum exhibits yearlong.

“What we do is universal,” said Hunter, also 27. “It’s not about us. It’s about bringing our puppets to life in a way that’s relatable to different cultures and people coming from different places.”

The Actors

The center’s main stage is where the magic happens.

For the past month, Hunter and Collins have given the popular musical a hip-hop spin in a puppetry style known as Czech black theater. The actors are clothed in all-black attire with a tight light only curtaining the puppets.

The two collaborate with a nearly 15-member crew of other puppeteers and stage/ musical/ lighting/ sound/ scenic designers to pull off the cleverly crafted, well-illuminated performance.

A real “quitting time” horn blows in one scene. In another, leaves actually look and sound like they’re rustling in the wind.

“From the sound to light effects, everything we perform is in sync,” said Collins, an experimental theater artist who also shows off her Baptist church singing vocals as Beauty. “Working together, we’re able to bring the puppets’ world to life.”

In fact, Beauty is so in tune with Mama that young audience members instantly laugh, turn to their own mothers and whisper, “That’s you, momma. That’s you!”

While Collins is in her fifth production at the center, this production is Hunter’s debut regarding his acting and singing chops. They both earn standing ovations and often random fist-led jumps from kid viewers.

“I play a character who says everything our moms say,” Hunter said.

Hunter said he learned of the center’s acting opportunities after participating in a Pinewood Atlanta Studios puppet-animated show called “Moon and Me.” Pinewood, located in Fayetteville, Georgia, is the second-largest purpose-built film and entertainment studio in North America and where many of the Marvel films have been filmed.

“I learned so much about how technical puppetry is,” Hunter said, “and that was something I wanted to continue. That’s how I ended up working here with such a great group of creative people.”

(Left to right) Education coordinator Liz Fagbile, teaching artist Paulette Richards and collections manager Yanique Leonard are a few creative staff members helping to tell puppetry stories in Atlanta. (Photo: Reginald Duncan / The Atlanta Voice)

(Left to right) Education coordinator Liz Fagbile, teaching artist Paulette Richards and collections manager Yanique Leonard are a few creative staff members helping to tell puppetry stories in Atlanta. (Photo: Reginald Duncan / The Atlanta Voice)

 

The Architect

While Hunter and Collins headline the main stage, Yanique Leonard ensures Big Bird and Miss Piggy are fluffed and fancy for public showcasing.

The collections manager is responsible for the care of more than 5,000 artifacts — including 500 Jim Henson puppets.

“I’m all about preventative conservation,” said the 27-year-old, afro-wearing museum professional. “I have to make sure the puppets are comfortable in their cases and in the right environment for long-term preservation.”

With a background in public history and museum studies, Leonard also conducts in-depth research to give museum visitors documented stories connected to the puppets’ creation.

She works between the archives and center’s Worlds of Puppetry Museum, which includes Jim Henson and global collections.

Visit the global collection today and view marionettes from American masterpiece and opera, “Porgy and Bess.” The 1935 Broadway production featured classically trained, African-American singers.

“It’s a cool story who we acquired marionettes Sportin’ Life, Mingo and Peter the Honey Man from the New England Marionette Opera (NEMO),” Leonard said. “NEMO was America’s only opera company performed entirely with marionettes and that staged a full puppetry production of ‘Porgy and Bess’ in 1994. Five years later, the opera burned and more than 200 handcrafted marionettes were destroyed. Fortunately, frozen weather preserved these three puppets.”

Their new home: Center for Puppetry Arts.

Sammy Davis Jr. fans will appreciate marionette Sportin’ Life, who is sculpted after the legendary entertainer and star of the 1959 film.

“I get to care for and experience puppets the average person will never see,” said Leonard. “I encourage anyone to come into this field of study if they’re passionate about culture, history and stories we need to share with our communities.”

The Authorities

Three floors up from Leonard’s puppetry archive and library, Liz Fagbile teaches youth how to build their very own puppet.

“Depending on the show style the puppetry artists are performing throughout the year, I help create puppet projects around each theme,” said the 30-year-old education coordinator. “Some of these kids are experiencing a puppet for the first time in their lives. I’m contributing to an important memory in their childhood.”

After kids finish constructing their puppets, Fagbile provides a colorful curtain for family role-playing and photo ops.
What she’s realized in this position: Puppetry has no age limit.

“For 45 minutes to an hour, the kids aren’t the only ones getting into our learning activities,” Fagbile said. “At first, adults are kind of stand-offish. I encourage their curiosity, and that helps them get involved. They instantly get in touch with their creativity — sometimes reconnecting with talents they lost along the way.”

Outside the classroom, Fagbile orchestrates outreach programming, staff scheduling and the inventory for puppetry supplies.

“I started out as a volunteer five years ago,” she said. “I fell in love with this magical place. I’ve been able to expand my knowledge of puppetry, arts and entertainment.”

Education extends further with teaching artist and docent Paulette Richards. She has served as a docent in the Worlds of Puppetry Museum since 2015. Her introduction to Jim Henson’s animatronic puppets inspired the former English professor to create her own rudimentary robots as learning tools.

“It’s funny,” Richards, 56, said. “I’m really engaged in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — known as STEAM education — in a way I would have never imagined. It’s taken me in so many directions.”
Richards’ work has traveled the nation. She has taught animatronic puppetry workshops at the center, Georgia Tech’s Hollis Innovation Academy and Puppeteers of America’s National Puppetry Festival.

This past year she served as co-curator of the “Living Objects African-American Puppetry” exhibit at the University of Connecticut’s Ballard Institute and Museum. The exhibit analyzed the uncomfortable legacy of blackface minstrelsy in American puppetry.

It also highlighted the work of contemporary African-American artists who use puppetry to reflect a more authentic African-American heritage.

“The research I conduct is crucial to the types of stories we tell or have others tell about our culture,” Richards said. “I want to make sure the stories that came from Africa to our porches and are now part of theater productions are accurate and representative of us.

The Center for Puppetry Arts understands this notion and has put people of color in a position to continue to contribute to puppetry as a whole.”

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Voice.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Straight Crankin’ Featured at Home

THE AFRO — The District of Columbia Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment (OCTFME) recently had their original production and documentary, “Straight Crankin’ A Go-Go Documentary” selected for a second major film festival, but this time right at home. 

Published

on

By Brianna McAdoo

The District of Columbia Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment (OCTFME) recently had their original production and documentary, “Straight Crankin’ A Go-Go Documentary” selected for a second major film festival, but this time right at home.

This year’s DC Black Film Festival is being held from August 15 – 17 at the Miracle Theatre and Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. The Black Reel Awards qualifying festival supports emerging Black artists, whose projects strive to diversify the industry, by exhibiting and highlighting their films, web series and television series for the industry, media and public. Straight Crankin’ A Go-Go Documentary has been selected in the “Documentary Films” category.

The DC Black Film Festival’s selection marks this film’s second major film festival selection this year. Straight Crankin’ A Go-Go Documentary was also selected for Atlanta’s BronzeLens Film Festival, which is set to take place at the end of August. This is the first time an original D.C. government production has been selected for multiple festivals. The selection follows the many recent accomplishments of OCTFME, including their first Emmy Award win in 2018 and their second Emmy nomination this year.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser celebrated the documentary’s success.

“There are so many amazing stories to tell about the history and culture of local D.C., of Chocolate City, and of the many Washingtonians who helped build the vibrant, diverse and inclusive city we live in today,” said Mayor Bowser. “As a fifth generation Washingtonian, I am proud to celebrate the joy and impact of a uniquely D.C. genre of music.  Now, Straight Crankin’ will help us spread the joy of Go-Go nationwide.”

Made by a team proud of their D.C. culture and roots, Straight Crankin’ A Go-Go Documentary draws a spotlight to the history and community of Go-Go music.

The 90-minute documentary features interviews with bands like Rare Essence, Backyard Band, and TCB, as well as managers, promoters and other people in the music industry. The documentary covers the impactful 40-year history of Go-Go music, its global reach, and most importantly, its cultural significance to the people of Washington, D.C.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Lee Daniels to briefly resurrect his cancelled ‘Star’ drama series

DEFENDER NEWS NETWORK — Following news that the Fox Network cancelled the music drama Star after three seasons, comes word from producer Lee Daniels that the series will be making a comeback as a televised movie.

Published

on

By Defender News Service

Following news that the Fox Network cancelled the music drama Star after three seasons, comes word from producer Lee Daniels that the series will be making a comeback as a televised movie.

“The bad news is that ‘Star’ is not getting picked up for series,” Daniels says in an Instagram video post recently, which he captioned “Get ready for a two-hour gag!!”

In the clip, he calls the circumstances surrounding the cancellation “too long of a story to cry about.”

“The good news is: we’re doing a movie of the week to wrap things up for you all,” he says.

As was previously announced, fans were rocked by the news of the Empire spin-off getting the ax, especially seeing as how the season three finale ended on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. The last episode aired Wednesday (May 8), just two days before the cancellation announcement.

At the time, Daniels said he was attempting to shop the series to other networks, but his efforts proved fruitless, as noted by TheWrap. Now the Oscar nominee vows to “make something real special for you to scream about with all of our cast members, even the dead ones.”

Daniels did not say when or on which network the two-hour Star movie will air, although it’s being assumed that the tele-film will be on Fox, which is also wrapping up Daniels’ Empire musical drama series next year. Reps for the network have not yet responded to requests for comment about Star’s resurgence.

The Atlanta-based Star follows the journey of three young women who form a musical group and navigate the ruthless business on their way to success. The cast features Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny. Brittany O’Grady, Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt.

The sitcom averaged 3.5 million viewers for Season 3, compared to Season 2’s 4.1 mill, and hit a series low as recently as May 1, according to TVLine.

This article originally appeared in the Defender News Network.

Defender News Service

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) TV Honors Winners Announced

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” earned four wins from the African American Film Critics Association, who today, announced the winners of its upcoming AAFCA TV Honors. The highly popular Netflix limited series about the infamous Central Park rape case that resulted in the arrest and false imprisonment of five Black youths, received the following group awards: Best Limited Series, Best Ensemble, Best Writing and Breakthrough Performance for Jharrel Jerome who plays Korey Wise in the series.

Published

on

Angela Bassett (Photo by: David Shankbone | Wiki Commons)
Angela Bassett (Photo by: David Shankbone | Wiki Commons)

By Sentinel News Service

Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us” earned four wins from the African American Film Critics Association, who today, announced the winners of its upcoming AAFCA TV Honors. The highly popular Netflix limited series about the infamous Central Park rape case that resulted in the arrest and false imprisonment of five Black youths, received the following group awards: Best Limited Series, Best Ensemble, Best Writing and Breakthrough Performance for Jharrel Jerome who plays Korey Wise in the series.

Other big wins went to the popular Starz drama “Power,” which begins its sixth and final season August 25th, and the CBS comedy, “The Neighborhood” starring Cedric the Entertainer and Tichina Arnold now entering its second season. Angela Bassett and Sterling K. Brown earned Best Performance Female and Male awards for their respective portrayals in the series “9-1-1” on Fox and “This Is Us” on NBC.

In all, the sixteen-year-old association will give out ten awards during its inaugural event, including honoring mega-producer Ryan Murphy with the AAFCA TV Icon Award and big three network, CBS, with the AAFCA Inclusion Award for its diverse programming and talent.

“It is impossible to ignore TV’s popularity and remarkable influence on America’s pop culture landscape today,” says AAFCA president Gil Robertson IV. “As the stature of the small screen continues to expand, it has become increasingly more diverse and inclusive, a movement that we at AAFCA wholeheartedly embrace and champion. The honorees for our first AAFCA TV Honors represent the very best of television programming. They all successfully put a mirror up to our world to tell stories that are refreshingly diverse and authentic. We feel that this new wave of innovative, thought-provoking storytelling is inspiring and deserving of celebration.”

The honorees will be feted at AAFCA TV Honors during a private brunch on Sunday, August 11, 2019 at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA.

AAFCA TV HONORS 2019 Winners:

Best Drama – “Power” (Starz)

Best Comedy – “The Neighborhood” (CBS)

Best Limited Series – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Performance Female – Angela Bassett (9-1-1) FOX

Best Performance Male – Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) NBC

Best Ensemble –– “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Best Writing – “When They See Us” (Netflix)

Breakthrough Performance – Jharrel Jerome, “When They See Us” (Netflix)

AAFCA TV Honors Inclusion Award – CBS

AAFCA TV Honors ICON Award – Ryan Murphy

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Linsey Davis Teaches Celebrating Diversity with Her Second Children’s Book ‘One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different’

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — Linsey Davis Teaches Celebrating Diversity with Her Second Children’s Book ‘One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different’ ABC News Correspondent, author, and mother Linsey Davis returns to the bookshelf with her second children’s book titled, “One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different.”

Published

on

Linsey Davis (Courtesy photo
Linsey Davis (Courtesy Photo)

By Saybin Roberson,

Linsey Davis Teaches Celebrating Diversity with Her Second Children’s Book ‘One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different’

 

ABC News Correspondent, author, and mother Linsey Davis returns to the bookshelf with her second children’s book titled, “One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike Than Different.”

Inspired by her son’s life and growth, Davis began writing books as love letters and life lessons to her son, with an emphasis on creating characters that looked like him. “One Big Heart” focuses on highlighting how our differences bring us all together.

“I felt like for him growing up during this time it was essential to affirm what kids already know, which is basically that they have this ability to find common ground,” she says of her new book. Understanding that children know what makes them different, but not the mindset of placing labels on individuals.

“I think kids are better than adults in that way of setting aside differences and just looking for what we have in common.”

Based on a foundation of love, Davis’s intentions to bring peace and inclusion are prominent within her books. “God gave us all this one special gift, he gave us each a heart and that’s the most important part because that’s where love starts.

As a mother of a five-year-old, fulltime news reporter, and author, Davis wears many hats working around the clock feeding each aspect of her life. Writing both “One Big Heart”and her first, “The World Is Awake: A Celebration of Everyday Lessons,” Davis says brought her closer to her son as he grew, both teaching each other ways to do life.

“I think so much about the theme of this book is that the students can become the teachers, adults can really learn from children,” she states. Noting the differences between children having no preconceived notions of what is bad or good based on appearance. Believing children are taught and observe how to respond to dissimilarities, this book is a reminder to continue growing with a nonjudgmental attitude.

“I think that as life hits, you have to respond and respond right away,” Davis says, believing children should know the truth of the world they live in, adding, “I also think it’s important to let children direct the narrative.”

“It is important for all of them [children] to see each other,” believing that lack of information is what creates fear, it is important to show diversity to promote unity, rather than exclusion, she goes on to say, “it’s about seeing every race.”

“This is just a conversation that really needs to be had about exposure and embracing diversity.”

Growing up, Davis dealt with being one of the few Black girls in her school and she understands the importance of inclusion and the isolation she felt during her years. Expressing her biggest hope is that children who read “One Big Heart” continue to search for common ground as they grow and experience the world.

“One Big Heart” will be available August 6, 2019 at bookstores and online for purchase. Follow Linsey Davis on Instagram @linseytdavis and Twitter @LinseyDavis for updates on her life and career.

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

Continue Reading

Like BlackPressUSA on Facebook

Advertisement

Latest News