Category Archives: Reel Blog

The Hidden Winners at the Emmy’s

Article written by Meah Denee Barrington 

The 2017 Emmy’s included a lot more wins than we thought, some of this year’s big wins included Donald Glover, Sterling Brown, and Lena Waithe but the heavy hitter was Ava Durvernay. The Netflix’s original documentary, 13th, directed by Duvernay brung in four Emmys! I know some of you are confused on how you missed this news but no worries you can catch up here.

Were you aware that there are two nights of glitz and glam at the Emmys? The first night, the Creative Arts Emmy, honors the best in animation,  variety, reality and documentary programming followed by the Primetime Emmy Awards. Unfortunately, one of the Emmy’s biggest winners became a hidden figure, but thankfully Duvernay’s work and influence is win enough for us to survive. The documentary, 13th, garnered four wins including Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special, Writing for Nonfiction Programs, Outstanding Motion Design and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “The Letter to the Free” by Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. Common is the first rapper to have won an Emmy, a Grammy and an Oscar. Imagine if he wins a Tony no that would be spectacular. Common would be the 13th person in history to achieve that phenomenal accomplishment of winning the EGOT.

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Alongside Duvernay, winning big was W. Kamau Bell and Ru Paul Charles. The second season of Bell’s show, United Shades of America pulled in an Emmy for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. The show airs Sundays at 10pm on CNN and follows the comedian and political disrupter as he explores cities across America to understand their challenges.

 

Ru Paul Charles’, was another hidden winner with, RuPaul’s Drag Race, having big night winning three Emmy’s for Outstanding Host for a Reality/Reality-Competition Program and Outstanding Costumes For Variety, Nonfiction Or Reality Programming, and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured or Competition Reality Program. It even seems that Ru Paul manifested these wins with the Emmy statue skit he did with Stephen Colbert. Check it out below! For more black film news follow us on Instagram and Facebook!

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Grace Jones Documentary “Bloodlight and Bami” Premiers at TIFF

The iconic model and singer, Grace Jones, exposes herself in a new way in the forthcoming documentary Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami directed by Sophie Fiennes.

The film debuts in September at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) after 10 years of collecting footage from the Jamaican born artist. “This film began in a collaborative creative spirit,” Fiennes said. “Grace had fiercely controlled her public image, but made the bold decision to un-mask. She never sought to control my shooting process, and I didn’t second-guess the narrative of the film as I was shooting. I just gathered evidence.”

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“The stage is where her most extreme embodiments

are realized and her theatrical imagination lets loose:

this is where the musical of her life is played out.”

 

The film includes performances from Jones classic hits Slave To The Rhythm, Pull Up To The Bumper, as well as the more recent autobiographical tracks Williams’ Bloods and Hurricane. It also takes us on a journey with Jones across Jamaica to visit her family during the holidays unveiling her family roots and her rough childhood. Jones has showed it all on stage but this documentary gives fans personal view of Jones off stage. Take a peak at the trailer below and get ready to see Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami hitting theaters in the UK on October 27 and hopefully move to the states soon after.

Wondering what the title means? Well here’s a little background: “In Jamaican patois, ‘Bloodlight’ is the red light that illuminates when an artist is recording and ‘Bami’ means bread, the substance of daily life.”

STEP : Movie Review “Directors Cut”

Taking a trip to Jamaica, Queens is not a journey that is made on a regular for someone that lives in the deepest part of the Bronx but exceptions were made last night. Thankfully no regrets were made either. Movie goers formed a long line inside the theater entrance waiting for a chance to see STEP before it’s release in theaters on Friday, August 4th. The seats filled up quickly to no surprise and unfortunately a few late comers could not see the film because the theater was completely packed and sold out!

The movie starts and you instantly know what step is and why it is so important to these young women. “You mess with my sister you mess with me,” one of the opening quotes in the beginning of the film.

The movie STEP is a true story about high school girls on the Lethal Ladies step team at a Baltimore charter school. STEP follows these ladies during their senior year showing the ups and downs of making it out of difficult circumstances at home and in their community. Empowered by their teachers, counselors, coaches, teammates and family these ladies fight for their dreams of winning a step championship and being accepted into college.

The storyline focuses mainly on the lives of three young women, Blessin, Cori, and Tayla, all with different personalities and backgrounds but with common goals and obstacles.

blessin

Blessin is the fireball, the creative, and at times the screw up. She is the founder of Lethal Ladies, with a beat face intact Blessin seems to always have it together on the outside but battles a lot internally. Her home life is inconsistent, where food is hard to come by and so is support. It seems her family struggles also to support Blessin and direct her in the right direction to succeed and go to college.

“It’s like sometimes I go somewhere else.

It’s like therapy when I step.”

Blessin

 

cori

Cori is the intellect and introvert and stepping allows her to be everything she is not on the outside. She comes from a big family being the oldest of six siblings and is determined to become valedictorian and also receive a full ride to John Hopkins University. Although she has the support of her family, Cori understands that her family cannot afford college let alone her dream school.

“It’s like comfort doesn’t really exist.

It’s not something that ever stays constant.”

Cori

 

tayla

Tayla has the sassiness of the group and her mom is right there along for the ride as the honorary mascot/coach. Tayla also has dreams of going to college and leaving Baltimore and struggles with staying consistent with her grades.

“I’m like a notch down from Beyonce because she doesn’t mess up.

I mess up sometimes.”

Tayla

This film will surely pull at your heart strings from the beginning to end. Seeing how these ladies persevered over so many hardships and continued to support each other as sisters is powerful. STEP is emotionally inspiring and empowering. The fight that everyone in the community has for these young ladies is not shown enough on the media. Seeing the principal, counselors and teachers at The Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women (BLSYW) fight and encourage these young women will encourage you to do more for the youth around you. BLSYW mission was to graduate 100% of their students and have all of them go to college! This is a phenomenal goal and you can tell these adults truly care for the well being of these students, it was not about the numbers or data, it was about changing lives, circumstances and families. Support, empowerment, resilience, and faith was the over theme of this movie and I highly recommend you, your children, and friends go see this movie!

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Is Nike’s “Equality”Ad Misguiding or Trustworthy

Nike has dived into political matters and addressed some of America’s touchiest topics lately. Nike’s recent ad “Equality” includes stars like Lebron James, Serena Williams, Kevin Durant, and more to express the need for everyone (specifically Americans) to be more open minded and welcoming to other cultures. The main message is that every human deserves to be treated equally and with respect. Most human beings can respect and relate to Nike’s message but actually living by those beliefs and giving people respect and equality can be difficult for many.

After watching the ad I was impressed and thought Nike did a nice job at making African Americans and muslims feel welcomed and supported, but then I scrolled down to the comment section. A large majority of those comments totally disagreed with Nike’s marketing tactics and the message of the “Equality” commercial. Hypocrisy was a big concern with this ad, many commented that Nike should not post ads like “Equality” if they are continuing to mistreat there factory workers and underpay them.

Within the past year Noi Supalai a factory worker in Thailand shared her experience working in a Nike factory. She said Nike refused to pay workers because the factory did not meet a purposed deadline. In the article, Supalai spoke about being mistreated, barely receiving breaks and workers not having enough money to support themselves. For two months employees did not receive pay, so they decided to protest and form a union but by the time all of this was established Nike moved on to another factory to finish their orders.

It is not a secret that many big companies that export their factories overseas to third world countries mistreat and underpay their workers. The real question is does the actions of these big companies carry over to their clientele? Are the celebrities and talent that promote Nike also held responsible for the companies actions and the message they present to the world? Does the hypocrisy also lie on those that support Nike regardless of your relationship with the company?

Check out the ad below and #LetsGetReel! We want to know your views and opinion about this topic! Comment below!

Reel Spotlight: Starbucks “Upstanders” Series

Article written by Meah Denee via TheReelReality.com

On a weekly visit to my favorite Starbucks inside my local Barnes and Noble bookstore I came across this new web show called the Upstanders. While connecting to the AT&T wifi through Starbucks website I saw this trailer on their homepage. The title of the show alone caught my attention, what is an upstander? It is an interesting term but it perfectly describes the people that Starbucks showcase in their new web show. Upstanders are everyday individuals that do extraordinary things in their communities. They are lifting up the people around them and being outstanding individuals or an upstander.

Produced by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran this ten episode Starbucks original series shows us the importance of working within our own community to create positive change that can be passed down from generation to generation. Watch the trailer below and catch more of the series here.

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