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MOVIE REVIEW: Get Out this week and see Get Out!

They’re an attractive young couple, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams). She who is white, assures him as they plan a visit to meet her parents, that they won’t care that he’s black. She adds that her father would have voted for Obama for a third term. When they arrive at the Rose’s parents’ stately home in its picturesque, bucolic setting, her father, Dean (Bradley Whitford) and her mother, Missy (Catherine Keener) greet Chris and extend their best efforts to make him feel comfortable. Chris also hears it straight from Dean: he would have voted for Obama for a third term. But after his first night there, Chris begins to realize that there are some occurrences that go way beyond the expected awkwardness of his being in Rose’s family home.

As I left the theater after seeing Get Out, I found myself thinking of the title of the New Zealand group OMC’s hit song, How Bizarre. While the film’s genre is horror, and it contains all the elements of that genre, there is so much more to this story. That’s what makes this film exceptional is it takes a common format and intertwines issues of race in the form of stereotypes about black men and white women, and the physical attributes of black people, to create a truly unique film going experience. And that makes it a See It!

Written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele, who takes viewers on an entertaining journey giving them clues to the underlying mystery and then fits all of the pieces together in some expected and unexpected ways. Additionally, the cinematography effectively enriches so many of the scenes and is a key to telling this fascinating story.

Get Out has some familiar horror film flaws. Chris, like many protagonists in this type of film, is sometimes a little slow to figure things.

There are other defects as well. Chris shares his growing-up experience which is a key to some of his reactions. He never knew his father and lost his mother to a hit and run accident when he was 11-years-old. And at one point he tells Rose, she is all he has. The problem with that scenario is 11-year-olds don’t raise themselves. Further, he’s a fairly polished young man and an accomplished photographer, indicating that at least one if not more adults invested time and money in his development. It’s unlikely that those “investors” would have disappeared from Chris’ life now that he is an adult, resulting in Rose being all he has.

As I discussed in my review of Fences, it is troubling that the ubiquitous portrayal of black families as dysfunctional is a theme often perpetuated by black writers. Peele creates Chris’s story as one with an absentee father, even though Peele’s own father was in his life.

As to cast diversity, Get Out gets an “A-“. When it comes to black and white characters, you won’t find a more diverse film. However, there is only one Asian-American and one Hispanic, each with a small speaking role.

Get Out is Rated R for violence, bloody images, language and sexual references, and is 104 minutes in length. Get Out is a unique film you’ll think about and talk about. And it’s a See It!

THE NYLON PROJECT FIGHTS HOMELESSNESS DURING NYFW FALL 2017

Jordana Guimaraes, founder of the Nylon Project; combined philanthropy, fashion, beauty, and entertainment at launch event during NY Fashion Week 2017

The Nylon Project, an undertaking created to aid the rapid homeless epidemic in NYC, founded by Jordana Guimaraes, CEO of ACL PR & Marketing and Cosmo Life, held its buzz-worthy philanthropic launch event at the popular nightlife spot, The Delancey in Manhattan during NY Fashion Week Fall 2017.

This Nylon Project during NYFW was no ordinary affair. The show combined philanthropy with entertainment, beauty, fashion, celebrity, and influencers. Not to mention that it was filled with plenty of excitement, anticipation, live performances, plenty of networking, and sponsored brands aplenty.

Celebrities ripping the runway for this important cause were Christina Milian, JWoww, Peter Madrigal of Vanderpump Rules, and Miss New York 2016 Nicole Kulovany, just to name a few. The fashion portion of the show ended with performances by the FAULKNER, Che'Nelle and Wé McDonald of The Voice, Season 11.

After the show, I spoke with Jordana about the Nylon Project’s fight against the homelessness epidemic in New York.

Q. What inspired you to create The Nylon Project?

A. I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. It's a place with lots of poverty. From when I was a little girl, there was something innate within me that always made me want to ask my parents for money or to buy gifts to give to the less fortunate. I remember walking down the streets with my parents, and them telling me I'd never have money in my account, as I would always give it away to the needy. Now that I'm older and have been in the fashion/entertainment world for 13 years, I’ve decided to take the three things I love, lifestyle and helping others, and creating relationships, and create The NYLON Project.

Q. The Nylon Project’s launch event mixed charity/philanthropy with fashion, music, the arts, and entertainment. We don’t generally see the charity-fashion mix often during NY Fashion Week. Why did you choose NY Fashion Week for a launch event for the Nylon Project?

A. I created The NYLON Project and created the launch event surrounding NYFW since the initiative is: aiding the homeless - giving a face to homelessness - via fashion/entertainment tactics surrounding a viral #ItCanBeYou campaign. It goes hand-in-hand because fashion/entertainment is one of the largest industry where the masses - whether it’s those who are in it or those who appreciate & follow it - connect and relate! If you get those millions of people to start posting + conversing about the homeless problem, they will stop being invisible (which is what has come to happen), and we will start to show them that we are behind them!

Q. The event was a success, is there anyone you would like to thank for their participation and involvement?

A. Yes!! It wouldn't have happened without the support and love of my husband who helped me with making my ideas come to fruition, as well as encouraged me when everyone else said, "it’s a big job... you sure you can do it?". Of course, the sponsors and influencers/celebrities who gave their time were fundamental! Rodrigo Faustino of CommGroup who branded and created the logo design for the project!

Q. Do you have any more events coming up in the future?

A. Yes! It starts with New York City (since it's where I reside) but it will go internationally! June 2017, we are joining a magazine in L.A. for their one year anniversary (taking the project to L.A. next year in 2018) and a bigger NYFW show in September 2017.

Q. How can someone donate or become involved?

A. Simply follow us on IG @thenylonproject1 or visit www.thenylonproject1.com. All of our contacts are on both; drop us an email and become a part of history!

Samba Gadjigo Remembers Ousmane Sembène

WATCH VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH SAMBA GADJIGO

What's The 411's Kizzy Cox chats with Samba Gadjigo, Professor of French at Mount Holyoke College and Ousmane Sembène's biographer, at the 20th Anniversary of the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF).

Gadjigo reflects on Sembène's influence on his life and African Cinema.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) teamed up once again for the 20th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), presented under the banner theme LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD: 20 YEARS OF THE NEW YORK AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL.

This year's lineup will pay homage to master Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène, the Father of African Cinema.

Opening Night includes a screening of Guelwaar, Sembène's powerful and politically charged 1990s film that cemented his reputation as the Father of African Cinema and opened the very first NYAFF—and the first generation of African filmmakers, while passing the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers.

Some of the VIPS in attendance were: NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti; African Filmmakers Abderrahmane Sissako (Life On Earth and October) and Frances Bodomo (Boneshaker); and the legendary dancer, choreographer, actress, and mentor, Carmen de Lavallade.

Carmen de Lavallade Attends New York African Film Festival

VIDEO INTERVIEW: CARMEN DE LAVALLADE

What's The 411 reporter, Kizzy Cox, had a great time talking with the legendary dancer, choreographer, actress, and dance mentor, Carmen de Lavallade at the 20th Anniversary of the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF).

Ms. De Lavallade, a legend in her own right, was grateful for the invitation to attend the New York African Film Festival as it gave her an opportunity to experience another aspect of Black culture, African cinema.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) teamed up once again for the 20th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), presented under the banner theme LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD: 20 YEARS OF THE NEW YORK AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL.

This year's lineup will pay homage to master Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène.

Opening Night includes a screening of Guelwaar, Sembène's powerful and politically charged 1990s film that cemented his reputation as the Father of African Cinema and opened the very first NYAFF—and the first generation of African filmmakers, while passing the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers.

Some of the VIPS in attendance were: Mahen Bonetti, Founder and Executive Director, New York African Film Festival; Samba Gadjigo, Professor of French at Mount Holyoke College and Ousmane Sembène's biographer; African Filmmakers Abderrahmane Sissako (Life On Earth and October), and Frances Bodomo (Boneshaker).

Filmmaker Frances Bodomo Helps to Celebrate 20 Years Of The New York African Film Festival

WATCH VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH FRANCES BODOMO

What's The 411's Kizzy Cox talked with African filmmaker Frances Bodomo, director of the film, Boneshaker at the 20th Anniversary of the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF).

The Ghanaian-born Ms. Bodomo talks about how the experience of living in Hong Kong, Norway, and California has influenced her life and thus, her new film Boneshaker. She also talks about working with Academy Award-winning actress Quvenzhané Wallis and how Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène, the Father of African Cinema, shaped her views on filmmaking.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) teamed up once again for the 20th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), presented under the banner theme LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD: 20 YEARS OF THE NEW YORK AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL.

This year's lineup will pay homage to Sembène.

Opening Night includes a screening of Guelwaar, Sembène's powerful and politically charged 1990s film that cemented his reputation as the Father of African Cinema and opened the very first NYAFF—and the first generation of African filmmakers while passing the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers.

Some of the VIPS in attendance were: NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti; Samba Gadjigo, Professor of French at Mount Holyoke College and Ousmane Sembène's biographer; African Filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako (Life On Earth and October); and the legendary dancer, choreographer, actress, and mentor, Carmen de Lavallade.

Mahen Bonetti Celebrates 20 Years of New York African Film Festival

WATCH MAHEN BONETTI'S VIDEO INTERVIEW

What's The 411's Kizzy Cox interviewed New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) Founder Mahen Bonetti; at the Opening Celebration for the 20th NYAFF.

Ms. Bonetti discusses the genesis of the New York African Film Festival, the brilliance of Ousmane Sembène, the Father of African Cinema; up-and-coming African filmmakers, and the next 20 years.

The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) teamed up once again for the 20th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), presented under the banner theme LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD: 20 YEARS OF THE NEW YORK AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL.

This year's lineup will pay homage to master Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène.

Opening Night includes a screening of Guelwaar, Sembène's powerful and politically charged 1990s film that cemented his reputation as the Father of African Cinema and opened the very first NYAFF—and the first generation of African filmmakers, while passing the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers.

Some of the VIPS in attendance were: Samba Gadjigo, Professor of French at Mount Holyoke College and Ousmane Sembène's biographer; African Filmmakers Abderrahmane Sissako (Life On Earth and October) and Frances Bodomo (Boneshaker); and the legendary dancer, choreographer, actress, and mentor, Carmen de Lavallade.

New York African Film Festival Celebrates 20 Years

WATCH VIDEO: NY African Film Festival Luminaries

The Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC) and African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) teamed up once again for the 20th New York African Film Festival (NYAFF), presented under the banner theme LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD: 20 YEARS OF THE NEW YORK AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL.

This year's lineup will pay homage to master Senegalese director, Ousmane Sembène.

Opening Night includes a screening of Guelwaar, Sembène's powerful and politically charged 1990s film that cemented his reputation as the Father of African Cinema and opened the very first NYAFF—and the first generation of African filmmakers, while passing the baton to a new generation of African visual storytellers.

What's The 411's Kizzy Cox interviewed NYAFF Founder Mahen Bonetti; Samba Gadjigo, Professor of French at Mount Holyoke College and Ousmane Sembène's biographer; African Filmmakers Abderrahmane Sissako (Life On Earth and October) and Frances Bodomo (Boneshaker); on the question of Ousmane Sembène's impact on African filmmaking. The legendary dancer, choreographer, actress, and mentor, Carmen de Lavallade spoke about the importance of the New York African Film Festival as it takes us beyond the familiar and exposes us to African culture through its filmmakers.

Moreland's Review: The Trip to Bountiful

On the stage at Stephen Sondheim Theatre, Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts (Cicely Tyson) yearning to return to the days of her young adulthood, where things were happier and simpler. Not being able to actually return to those days, she seeks the next best thing: returning to Bountiful where those days were spent.

At this point in her life she lives in Houston with her son, Ludie (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and his wife, Jessie Mae (Vanessa Williams). Poor Ludie constantly tries to keep peace between the two women in his life. Jessie Mae hates her mother-in-law's hymn singing and snooping while Carrie finds her son's wife to be demanding and pampered. And Ludie and Jessie Mae will have none of this nonsensical notion of visiting Bountiful.

Knowing that her son and daughter-in-law will never escort her there, Carrie decides to take off on her own, and with the help of kind strangers, she heads to Bountiful with her family in hot pursuit.

The story of an old woman wanting to return to her hometown is not in itself an interesting tale. But with the excellent writing of Horton Foote and the lively characters he creates, this story blossoms into a thoroughly fascinating adventure.

He takes the age-old conflict of the battling mother and daughter-in-law with the son caught in the middle and spins it into something entertaining and almost original. Foote's script would be nothing but words on a page without the exceptional performers to give them life. And Tyson, Williams and Gooding do just that.

In the earlier scene, the three characters interact in their apartment with each participating in the development and telling of this story. But once Carrie takes off to Bountiful this becomes Cicely Tyson's play and she is outstanding! Dancing and singing and carrying this play like Atlas with the world on his shoulders. This production is further enhanced by a superb set, which while modest compared some of the more elaborate Broadway settings, the backdrop serves this story well, supporting but not overwhelming it.

At this point, it's a cliché to say: Take this trip to Bountiful; but it is nevertheless true. It'll be worth your time and money.

The Trip to Bountiful is about two hours in length.

A Memorable Trip to Bountiful

On Wednesday, August 14th, I had the privilege to attend a showing of the critically acclaimed revival of Horton Foote's masterpiece, The Trip to Bountiful. Starring Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, and Cuba Gooding Jr., it tells the story of Carrie Watts (Cicely Tyson), who is living in a small Houston apartment with her soft-spoken son (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and very out-spoken daughter-in-law (Vanessa Williams).

Carrie dreams of returning to her home in a small gulf coast town called Bountiful where she grew up and raised her family. Sneaking away with her latest pension check, Carrie heads to Bountiful for the journey of a lifetime. The result is an unforgettable play about the idea of home and its power to sustain us.

This being the first Broadway show I have ever attended I was amazed and in awe of the performances, set design and overall experience. From the serious moments to the downright hysterical, I was enchanted by it all. The main cast and ensemble were a sight to behold.

After the show's end, the audience was treated to a special post show talkback with cast members Vanessa Williams, Tom Wopat and Adepero Oduye. The event, moderated by writer and critic Caryn James, gave a behind the scenes look at the creative process of the show. The actors were very candid with both the interviewer and the audience and were open to any questions, which was a real treat for all in attendance.

I highly recommend this show and strongly encourage you to join the list of celebs that have seen the production. They include: Denzel Washington, director Kenny Leon, Whoopi Goldberg, Diahann Carroll, and Harry Belafonte.

Go see it before it ends on October 9th, 2013.

There is currently a 2 for 1 ticket sale going, get tickets while you still can! http://bit.ly/14tzodB

Cicely Tyson Receives Surprise at Final Curtain for The Trip to Bountiful

WATCH VIDEO: Students Seranade Tony Award-winning Actress Cicely Tyson

At the closing curtain call of The Trip to Bountiful, students from the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts (East Orange) paid tribute to Cicely Tyson,the Tony Award-winning actress by singing Blessed Assurance, a hymn that featured prominently in the show.

Fellow show stars—Vanessa Williams, Adepero Oduye, Leon Addison Brown and Tom Wopat—were in attendance. Directed by Michael Wilson, the show's cast also includes Devon Abner, Pascale Armand, Curtis Billings, Pat Bowie, Arthur French, Billy Eugene Jones, Bill Kux, Linda Powell and Charles Turner.

 

Videography by Alexis Williams

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