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Actor Kadeem Hardison Shines in "Panther"

VIDEO INTERVIEW: ACTOR KADEEM HARDISON



Actor Kadeem Hardison sits down with What's The 411TV co-host Roceania to discuss the movie Panther and his role as Judge.

In the interview, Kadeem also speaks about how the death of Huey Newton affected him as he prepared for the movie.

NOTE: Kadeem Hardison was married to R&B singer Chante Moore.

Alia Jones-Harvey Receives Vanguard Award

VIDEO INTERVIEW: ALIA JONES-HARVEY

What's The 411's A Salute to Black Broadway Honors Broadway's Finest

In 2006, Alia Jones-Harvey produced Cat on a Hot Tin Roof for Broadway.

"As lead producers, which is a distinction that Stephen Byrd my producing partner and I are proud to have, we develop the concept, we go after the financing, but then we hire the director we put together the entire company, bringing on the general manger, the company manager, the accountants, the lawyers, so it's really putting together the entire company from the ground up for each production that we do," said Alia Jones-Harvey in describing the role of the lead producers.

Lead producers can get involved with hiring the director and cast and Alia Jones-Harvey and Stephen Byrd were very hands-on with both productions.

"It is our prerogative to be very hands-on in that respect with our current production A Street Car Named Desire and even our last production. We were very honored to work with Debbie Allen on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof..."

As a lead producer of Broadway productions, going in Alia Jones-Harvey thought her sole focus would always be on the money, but something happened to change her mind with her first Broadway production, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

"My mindset was to make money for the investors and then I walked into the room with James Earl Jones and thought this is incredible. I don't believe two months ago I was supporting hedge funds, doing financial statements and investor relations for my hedge fund clients and today I am in a room with James Earl Jones talking about our vision for the first African-American production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway."

Then there is the extra pressure in remaking a classic Broadway production with an all Black cast.

"...there is an added pressure because what we hope for in the mix of audience that we bring to a show like this are the diehard Tennessee Williams fans that know every word that expect a certain interpretation and so we hope to please them as much as a new audience member who has never seen Tennessee Williams but enjoys one of the cast members or is a fan of the cast members."

In commenting about the future, Alia Jones-Harvey would like to produce more Broadway productions.

"I would love to continue to bring other plays to Broadway. There is always a financial consideration and for us as producers we are constantly reaching out for new opportunities to fund classic works. We're looking at more classic works right now that we might do in the future and also looking at what additional life Street Car will have."

Regarding receiving a A Salute to Black Broadway Vanguard Award from What's The 411TV, "I am really honored and it's especially wonderful for me to get a Vanguard Award because I have always looked at myself as someone who would take the path that had not been followed so I feel like this is symbolic of that and I am very honored."

Actor Michael DeLorenzo on What’s The 411 TV

VIDEO INTERVIEW: ACTOR MICHAEL DELORENZO

In her very first interview, What's The 411's co-host, Amelia Moore, talks with actor Michael DeLorenzo, at a benefit for The Valley, a nonprofit organization servicing adolescents in upper Manhattan, led by John Bess.

DeLorenzo talks about his role as Eddie on the hit Fox television show, New York Undercover.

He also talks about how he prepared for the role and his feelings about the police. 

DeLorenzo stars with actor Malik Yoba on this Dick Wolf-produced weekly series.

DeLorenzo and Yoba (who is Black-American) made television history, as the series was the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color in the starring roles.

The interview was conducted around 1994-95.

Hope Springs

Ten Points on the movie: Hope Springs:

After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple from Nebraska travels to New England for an intense, week-long counseling sessions to reignite the zest in their relationship. Steve Carell co-stars as the therapist.

It's good to see story starring baby boomer stars.

Meryl Streep shows why she's one of the great actresses of her generation. While Tommy Lee Jones proffers a solid performance, he is outshined a bit by Streep. Steve Carell is nearly perfect as their analyst.

The film exclusively focuses on Streep's and Jones's relationship and their interaction with their therapist.

It drags hopelessly through the middle portions. It would have been stronger with a stimulating subplot, maybe more involvement by their children – a son and a daughter.

The film has its amusing moments such as when the therapist asks the staid and conservative couple about their sexual fantasies and whether they engage in oral sex.

This is a low budget film, $30 million, (yes, that's low budget by Hollywood standards) which will mean that it won't have to do quite as well at the box office to be profitable.

Hope Springs get's a "C" for cast diversity. The cast is small and not a lot of opportunities to squeeze in many performers of color. But it manages to feature some black performers in bit parts such as the cab driver.

Hope Springs gets a Rent It. Intellectually stimulating and definitely the type of movie that is perfect for a wintry Saturday evening with a glass of wine and popcorn.

It's rated PG – 13 and is just under two hours in length.

Ten Points on Films Rating System:

See It – It's worth the time and expense of going to the movie theater.

Rent it – It has some entertainment value, but wait and see it at home.

Dead on Arrival – Not worth your time!

Actor Malik Yoba Supports The Valley

VIDEO INTERVIEW: MALIK YOBA

Actor Malik Yoba checks in with What's The 411 hosts Roceania and Amelia Moore at an event to benefit The Valley, a nonprofit organization servicing adolescents in upper Manhattan.

Yoba talks about the success of the hit Fox television show, New York Undercover, the expectation of the public, his relationship with Tupac Shakur, entrepreneurial aspirations, and his community service activities.

Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo made television history, as the New York Undercover series was the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color in the starring roles.

This interview was recorded around 1994-95.

Rihanna receives a humanitarian award from Harvard University for her contributions to health, education, and global citizenry

Today, pop star, Rihanna, picks up a Humanitarian of the Year award from Harvard University.

The Peter J. Gomez Humanitarian Award will be given to Rihanna for her contributions to women and children; chief among her contributions is a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer in her home nation of Barbados.

For Caribbean students interested in higher education, Rihanna also created the Clara Lionel Foundation scholarship program - named for her grandparents - for students from the Caribbean who attend college in the U.S.

Rihanna also supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, providing children with access to education in more than 60 developing countries.

Rihanna, shining bright like a diamond.

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).

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