The movie Fences is built upon the strong foundation provided by a superlative cast of Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, and Mykelti Williamson
In playwright August Wilson’s Broadway play turned film, Fences, it is Pittsburgh, Pa in the 1950s. Troy (Denzel Washington) is a middle-aged, former Negro League baseball player who now drives a garbage truck. He bears the scars of his career disappointments and the damage from being a black man in America during that time. His wife, Rose, (Viola Davis) conjures up an image of the line from the Spinners song Sadie “Sweeter than cotton candy, stronger than papa’s brandy.” She keeps the house as well as the peace between her and Troy’s son, Cory (Jovan Adepo) who wants to play football. Troy opposes athletics for his son. Cory thinks his dad is afraid he’ll prove to be the better athlete. The truth is Troy believes his son will be denied a fair chance to compete and end up disappointed. Troy also deals with his WWII injured brother, Gabriel’s (Mykelti Williamson) permanent mental and physical limitations as well as guilt over how he handled his brother’s settlement payment from the federal government.
There’s a lot going on in Fences. The movie, Fences, is built upon the strong foundation provided by a superlative cast. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, to use a baseball analogy, knock the ball out of the park. Together they provide the forceful screen presence that this drama had to have. Denzel Washington also directed the film. Jovan Adepo is angry, intense, and confrontational which makes his character, Cory, absolutely credible. But the true unsung hero of Fences is Mykelti Williamson. As compelling as the other performances are, Williamson more than met the challenge of playing a severely handicapped individual.
This film also captures the essence of working class family disputes where mothers embrace their children’s career dreams, while fathers in their own loving way, want kids to be practical. While dreams are nice, dads think their kids should devote their energies to activities which will help them earn a living.
For these reasons, Fences is a See It!
On the other hand, the dialogue is very wordy, long sentences and soliloquies by the characters. Effective scriptwriting allows the viewers to understand past events from bits and pieces of discourse throughout the film. However, in a lengthy kitchen discussion, Troy and Rose lay out all the details surrounding Gabriel’s war injury. Then they go through the intervening developments before bringing the situation up to date. Viewers are now fully informed. However, in a real-world exchange, there would be no need to rehash facts well-known to both but instead they would address only the most recent issues and maybe cite the past to support a current point of view.
Additionally, as I began to digest this film, I wondered why August Wilson felt it necessary to write a story which encapsulates the worst stereotypes, criminal and immoral behavior for his characters. While I won’t discuss them all, two are worth mentioning.
At one point, when talking to a friend, Troy relates how as a young teen, his father catches him being intimate with a 13-year-old girl. His father begins beating him. Not for what he is doing but so that his father could have a turn with the girl! Is this really how a father would respond? Maybe in a small percentage of cases, but this is not the norm.
Rose shares with Troy how she grew up with siblings in which all are halves, no two with the same mother and father. That might be a tale a character could tell today but based upon the time period of this story, Rose would have been born in the early 1900s. Black families were much more intact then than today. Census figures from that time show that the vast majority of black babies born in the early 1900s were born to mothers and fathers who were married!
Then there’s the N word. It’s actually the first word Troy utters and there’s no shortage of the slur throughout the rest of movie.
August Wilson, an interracial African-American, his father was German, seemed to be willing to stretch credibility to taint these characters. Maybe he thought it made them more interesting. While I recommend Fences, we need more true stories like Hidden Figures and less made up ones like Fences.
Fences is 140 minutes and rated PG-13 for its thematic elements, language, and some suggestive references.
Taraji P. Henson, Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation, and Barbershop 3: The Next Cut, Get No Love from Golden Globes
The nominations for the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning on NBC's "Today" live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Denzel Washington, Ruth Negga, Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Issa Rae, Courtney B. Vance, Thandie Newton, Donald Glover, Kerry Washington, and Sterling K. Brown are among the actors vying for a Golden Globe Award. Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Benjamin Wallfisch are nominated for Best Original Score – Motion Picture for Hidden Figures. The song, How Far I'll Go (Moana), written by Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, is nominated for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.
Although Washington received a nom for Best Actor in a Movie, Drama category for Fences, he failed to receive a Best Director nomination for directing the film. The movie, based on the August Wilson play of the same name, which also stars Viola Davis, who received an acting nomination, also failed to receive a nomination in the Best Picture - Drama category.
Filmmaker Barry Jenkins received a nomination for Best Direction – Motion Picture for Moonlight, and the film received a Golden Globe Best Motion Picture – Drama nomination.
Actors Don Cheadle, Laura Dern, and Anna Kendrick were joined by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Lorenzo Soria, Dick Clark Productions' executive VP of television, Barry Adelman, and the Miss Golden Globe trio — Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet Stallone in announcing the nominees. Yes, the young ladies of the Miss Golden Globe trio are related to actor Sylvester Stallone; they are his daughters and will assist in handing out the trophies during the ceremony.
Produced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Golden Globe Awards will air live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel on NBC on Sunday, January 8, 2017, at 8-11 p.m. ET/5-8 p.m. PT. The ceremony will be hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon.
Here is the full list of 2017 Golden Globe nominations:
Best Motion Picture – Drama:
"Hacksaw Ridge" "Hell or High Water" "Lion" "Manchester By The Sea" "Moonlight"
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
"20th Century Women" "Deadpool" "La La Land" "Florence Foster Jenkins" "Sing Street"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama:
Casey Affleck – "Manchester By The Sea" Joel Edgerton – "Loving" Andrew Garfield – "Hacksaw Ridge" Viggo Mortensen – "Captain Fantastic" Denzel Washington – "Fences"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
Colin Farrell – "The Lobster" Ryan Gosling – "La La Land" Hugh Grant – "Florence Foster Jenkins" Jonah Hill – "War Dogs" Ryan Reynolds – "Deadpool"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
Annette Bening – "20th Century Women" Lily Collins – "Rules Don't Apply" Hailee Steinfeld – "The Edge of Seventeen" Emma Stone – "La La Land" Meryl Streep – "Florence Foster Jenkins"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:
Mahershala Ali – "Moonlight" Jeff Bridges – "Hell or High Water" Simon Helberg – "Florence Foster Jenkins" Dev Patel – "Lion" Aaron Taylor-Johnson – "Nocturnal Animals"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:
Viola Davis – "Fences" Naomie Harris – "Moonlight" Nicole Kidman – "Lion" Octavia Spencer – "Hidden Figures" Michelle Williams – "Manchester by the Sea"
Best Director – Motion Picture:
Damien Chazelle – "La La Land" Tom Ford – "Nocturnal Animals" Mel Gibson – "Hacksaw Ridge" Barry Jenkins – "Moonlight" Kenneth Lonergan – "Manchester by the Sea"
Best Original Screenplay:
"La La Land" "Nocturnal Animals" "Moonlight" "Manchester By The Sea" "Hell or High Water"
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language:
"Divines" – France "Elle" – France "Neruda" – Chile "The Salesman" – Iran/France "Toni Erdmann" – Germany
Best Motion Picture – Animated:
"Kubo and the Two Strings" "Moana" "My Life As a Zucchini" "Sing" "Zootopia"
Best Original Song – Motion Picture:
"Can't Stop The Feeling" – "Trolls" "City Of Stars" – La La Land "Faith" – Sing "Gold" – Gold "How Far I'll Go" – Moana
Best Original Score – Motion Picture:
Nicholas Britell– "Moonlight" Justin Hurwitz – "La La Land" Johann Johannsson – "Arrival" Dustin O'Halloran, Hauschka– "Lion Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – "Hidden Figures"
Best Television Series – Drama:
"The Crown" "Game of Thrones" "Stranger Things" "This Is Us" "Westworld"
Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
"Atlanta" "Black-ish" "Mozart In The Jungle" "Transparent" "Veep"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama:
Rami Malek – "Mr. Robot" Bob Odenkirk – "Better Call Saul" Matthew Rhys – "The Americans" Liev Schreiber – "Ray Donovan" Billy Bob Thornton – "Goliath"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama:
Caitriona Balfe – "Outlander" Claire Foy – "The Crown" Keri Russell – "The Americans" Winona Ryder – "Stranger Things" Evan Rachel Wood – "Westworld"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
Anthony Anderson – "Black-ish" Gael García Bernal – "Mozart in the Jungle Donald Glover – "Atlanta" Nick Nolte – "Graves" Jeffrey Tambor – "Transparent"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy:
Rachel Bloom – "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" Julia Louis-Dreyfus – "Veep" Sarah Jessica Parker – "Divorce" Issa Rae – "Insecure" Gina Rodriguez – "Jane the Virgin" Tracee Ellis-Ross – "Black-ish"
Best Limited Series:
"American Crime" "The Dresser" "The Night Manager" "The Night Of" "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Riz Ahmed – "The Night Of" Bryan Cranston – "All The Way" Tom Hiddleston – "The Night Manager" John Turturro – "The Night Of" Courtney B Vance – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Olivia Colman – "The Night Manager" Lena Headey – "Game Of Thrones" Chrissy Metz – "This Is Us" Mandy Moore – "This Is Us" Thandie Newton – "Westworld"
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Felicity Huffman – "American Crime" Riley Keough – "The Girlfriend Experience" Sarah Paulson – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" Charlotte Rampling – "London Spy" Kerry Washington – "Confirmation"
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Sterling K Brown – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" Hugh Laurie – "The Night Manager" John Lithgow – "The Crown" Christian Slater – "Mr. Robot" John Travolta – "The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story"
Comedian/actor Tracy Morgan made a triumphant return to the Emmy stage. Morgan handed out the award for Best Drama Series to "Game of Thrones." He also thanked his family, friends, and his new wife for their help in his recovery.
Plus French Montana losing no sleep over Khloe Kardashian; London street artist, Pegasus, brings Kanye West's 2020 Bid for US President to the UK; Brooklyn's first ever soca flash mob; and more!
In What's The 411 Episode 63, the panel of host Kizzy Cox and correspondents Courtney Rashon and Onika McLean are talking about ballerina Misty Copeland; Bravo's The Single Project wins an EMMY; Black-owned Restaurant Month; Tracee Ellis Ross and Jessica Simpson hanging out together; tennis star James Blake assaulted by NY police officer; actress Viola Davis joins actor Denzel Washington on August Wilson journey; Chrissy Teigen's ''No Hot Nannies'' Comment Causes an Uproar; K. Milele's New York Fashion Week show; and so much more!
KIZZY: Ballerina Misty Copeland reveals she is engaged to her longtime boyfriend of 10 years, corporate attorney, Olu Evans, who is also a cousin to actor, Taye Diggs. Describing the turn of events in her life, Misty told Essence magazine, 'I can't believe my life right now!'
ONIKA: Of course, I am happy to report, Bravo's, The Singles Project, which followed six New York City singles on their quest to find romance, has officially won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media - Multiplatform Storytelling.
COURTNEY: Pop star Rihanna is always on the scene during New York Fashion Week and this year was no different. Rihanna held her New York Fashion Week Party at the New York EDITION hotel, which was attended by Chris Rock, Timbaland, Pharrell, Wiz Khalifa and others.
Onika: Black-owned restaurants Month kicked off in Brooklyn and Manhattan on September 9. Thirteen restaurants are participating in the event started by blogger Genese Jamilah. She created the event once seeing her I Don't Do Clubs blog post listing 100 black-owned restaurants had become very popular.
KIZZY: London street artist, Pegasus, brings Kanye West's 2020 Bid for US President to the UK with street art featuring the lovely Kim Kardashian in her "break the Internet" photo.
Courtney: It looks like rapper French Montana is not brooding over Khloe Kardashian's new romance with NBA basketball player, James Harden. It's reported that Rich Kids' Dorothy Wang will be joining French Montana on tour.
KIZZY: It is kind of strange putting the names Jessica Simpson and Tracee Ellis Ross in the same sentence, let alone in the same location. Yet the two are joined by the holy matrimony of their siblings Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross and Jessica and Tracee were on hand for a big family celebration, Evan's birthday bash.
Former Tennis Star Assaulted by NY Police Officer
COURTNEY: You have to have been under a rock to miss this item; retired tennis star James Blake experienced a violent assault by the NYPD outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel near Grand Central Station. Blake stated that he was waiting outside his hotel, and five white undercover officers allegedly threw him down to the ground, causing Blake to suffer minor injuries. The police officers never apologized after the incident. Mayor de Blasio stated there will be a full investigation regarding the attack by the officers.
Actress Viola Davis Joins Actor Denzel Washington on August Wilson Journey
ONIKA: Actress Viola Davis is going to work with Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington in a film adaptation of August Wilson's play "Fences." Denzel Washington is directing and Viola will be starring in the film, according to The New York Times. Both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the Broadway version of Fences in 2010 and Viola also won a Tony award for her role in the play.
Chrissy Teigen's ''No Hot Nannies'' Comment Causes an Uproar
KIZZY: The Twittersphere has exploded over this comment Chrissy Teigen made during an interview at Lauren Conrad's New York Fashion Week show:
"No hot nannies, drivers, or maids," she quipped last week. "It's an ongoing joke in my house. I do want to have kids one day, so it's something that I have to think about. But the rule is no hot nannies. I trust John, but you never know with these men."
Some responses were: "Chrissy Teigen Just Said Something Lame About Hiring Women"
Of course, Chrissy is wondering why does she have to defend a running joke?
ONIKA: For years, New York Fashion Week has been the who's who in the hip-hop and all the other fabulous industries. I had the pleasure of attending the K Milele line- please Google her- she has been the brains and beauty behind all the fabulous urban brands. She is currently working on Nikki Minaj's line and working on her own fashion line. It was a fabulous event and what was so special, she had all of her stylist friends styled one swimsuit several different ways.
New York Fashion Week Hair and Makeup Trends
COURTNEY: During NY Fashion Week, the runways were heating up with fresh and sexy hair and makeup trends for the spring looks. The make-up trends included barely-there makeup, bold lines made with eye shadows and eyeliner and lips stained with natural flesh-like rosy tones and face embellishment, such as piercing and decals were also seen on the runway. Thicker, more natural looking eyebrows are also popular this season.
For hair, twists and knots were a huge trend on the runway and the wet sleek hair look either pinned up or in a pompadour style was also a major trend for fashion week.
UNDER THE RADAR
The City of Baltimore Settles with Family of Freddie Gray
KIZZY: Baltimore has reached a settlement with the family of Freddie Gray for $6.4 million. Freddie Gray was the young black man who was fatally injured while in police custody, his death incited protests and riots back in the spring. The criminal trials of the six police officers will continue however and Baltimore's mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is saying that the settlement isn't an admission of liability just a way to avoid a long drawn-out litigation in a civil case. The settlement is more than the payout for 120 lawsuits against the Baltimore Police Department combined since 2011, reports the Baltimore Sun. The police union president called the deal "obscene", but what I think is obscene is that a young man who was in police custody was handled so roughly his spine was critically injured and he was denied medical attention while being transported to jail. What do you think about the settlement?
LeBron James Partners with Project Learn to create I Promise, Too
COURTNEY: Recently we reported that LeBron James' Foundation, "I Promise," has pledged 1100 college scholarships for students to attend The University of Akron in Ohio. According to the Huffington Post, LeBron has expanded his scholarship program by partnering with the adult educational organization, Project Learn of Summit County. The new initiative is called "I Promise Too," which will help parents earn their GED's and prepare them to enter the workforce.
Oba Stephens Bring First Soca Flash Mob to Brooklyn
KIZZY: BROOKLYN recently made history with its first ever soca flash mob! While dancing to Angela Hunte and Machel Montano's song Party Done, soca lovers locked down the plaza in front of the Barclay's Center with some wicked waistline moves, choreographed by dance instructor Kiara Ross. The event was organized by Oba Stephens, a Trinidadian but was an opportunity for people from all over the West Indies to show their national pride and unite for Caribbean pride. Hundreds of people participated and some put the estimates anywhere from 900 to nearly 2000 people. Oba plans to do another soca flash mob in Houston, Texas next month.
Brooklyn's Pre-West Indian Day Parade Festivities Brings Out Good and Bad
KIZZY: Brooklyn was also the site of the annual West Indian Labor Day parade which routinely draws about 2 million people to Crown Heights each year. It's a wonderful display of Caribbean culture with parties and performances by soca artists and steel pan drummers leading up to the parade and beautiful mas costumes and trucks playing high-energy soca music the day of, participants can also sample all types of Caribbean cuisine from fish cakes to jerk chicken from the many vendors who line the parade route along Eastern Parkway.
Unfortunately, the huge crowds also occasionally draw the wrong crowd. And this year at the Jouvert celebration, which takes place in the early morning before the parade, thugs brought violence to the festivities. One person was stabbed to death and 4 others were injured including Carey Gabay, a lawyer for Governor Cuomo's office. Mr. Gabay was shot in the head by a stray bullet around 3am Monday morning and, as of this taping, is in a coma still fighting for his life. Now in the wake of this violence some officials are calling for changes to Jouvert, including marking off the Jouvert route and checking all those who pass through it much like they do during New Year's Eve in Times Square. I was talking about this issue on the Brian Lehrer show and thought that wouldn't be a good idea because there's too many people and more importantly Jouvert takes place in a residential area, who knows who residing in the surrounding apartments might choose to settle a beef at that time--completely getting around those security checks. What do you think we can do to stop the violence?
ON THE CARPET:
George Zimmerman Gets Called on the Carpet, yet again
KIZZY: I don't know how many times we can drag this man on the carpet but here we go or rather here he goes again: George Zimmerman! Zimmerman has been selling paintings of the confederate flag in collaboration with a Florida gun store owner who recently declared his business a Muslim-free zone. Zimmerman tweeted his reason for painting the flags,
"I painted the confederate flag backed by the American flag because I believe that anything can stand with the American flag behind it. "He added: "My confederate flag painting also represents the hypocrisy of political correctness that is plaguing this nation."
A post on the store's website also said Mr. Zimmerman painted it "in honor" of Andy Hallinan, the gun store owner "for being a true patriot and leading the country into a better, safer America." As though being anti-Muslim is a sign of true patriotism! Zimmerman is selling his paintings for $50 a-piece to help with his and Hallinan's legal fees (who's being sued by the Council for American-Islamic relations). It's unclear how many he's sold so far but a painting of the American flag he did sold on eBay for more than $100,000! There is so much wrong with this story: the racism, the profiting off of racism, George Zimmerman is just a mess--he's been in legal issue after legal issue since he killed Trayvon Martin and I really don't understand how he's not in jail by now. For this and everything else, George Zimmerman I'm calling you on the carpet.
REALITY TV RECAP
Caitlyn Jenner Expresses Feelings about "I am Cait" Halloween Costumes
COURTNEY: In a recent episode of I am Cait, Caitlyn Jenner expressed her feelings toward the controversial Halloween costumes inspired by her Vanity Fair cover to Matt Lauer. Jenner states that "she" doesn't care and is not offended. The costumes are already appearing online.
Threesome Talk on Love and Hip
ONIKA: In Love and Hip Hop news. Is it cheating when you agree to a threesome? Ladies, I'm telling you don't open Pandora's Box and I'm not talking about the bracelet company! When you agree to have another woman in your bed, there is no guarantee she will want to leave! In some cases, she could be the Puerto Rican Princess and marry your man!
KIZZY: Actress Vivica A. Fox will play the big sister to Taraji P. Henson's character, Cookie Lyon, in EMPIRE.
ONIKA: The 50 Cent produced drama series, POWER, is shooting its new season all over Brooklyn!
Music Legend, Quincy Jones to Receive the EBONY Achievement Award; Wendy Williams, Audra McDonald, Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, Pharrell and Others to be Honored
EBONY® Magazine's EBONY Power 100 Gala is scheduled for November 19 and will be held at the historic AVALON Hollywood in Los Angeles. For a third consecutive year, Nationwide will proudly present the prestigious affair to celebrate honorees on the 2014 EBONY Power 100 list.
The EBONY Power 100 list salutes the achievements of the most influential African-Americans in the country. Among the game changers honored this year are television producer, Shonda Rhimes; actresses Audra McDonald, Viola Davis, Laverne Cox, and Gabrielle Union; radio personality Rickey Smiley, NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, singer Usher Raymond, talk show host Wendy Williams, producer Pharrell Williams comedian Kevin Hart, ballerina Misty Copeland and Bishop T.D. Jakes.
"This event pays tribute to those who have made it their mission to make a positive impact on their industries and in their communities," said Matt Jauchius, Chief Marketing Officer at Nationwide. "Nationwide is honored to once again present the EBONY Power 100 Gala and celebrate the achievements of these amazing men and women."
Hosting the star-studded evening will be comedian and actor Wayne Brady. Brady is known for his television work on Whose Line Is It Anyhow, The Wayne Brady Show and Don't Forget the Lyrics.
Legendary icon Quincy Jones, will befittingly receive this year's coveted EBONY Achievement Award. Known for his groundbreaking strides in music and film, Jones is arguably considered one of the most innovative pioneers in entertainment.
Paying tribute to Quincy Jones will Queen of Funk Chaka Khan, Grammy-award winning vocalists Patti Austin and James Ingram, hip-hop pioneers Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, soul singer KEM, dance performer Savion Glover and jazz musician Terence Blanchard. At the helm of the evening's musical tribute to Jones will be renowned music director, producer and musician Ricky Minor whose band will serve as the house band.