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‘The Characters’ Star Natasha Rothwell Talks New Show, Tyson Beckford and Writing for ‘SNL’



natasha rothwell*Natasha Rothwell is living proof that at the end of the day, the girl gets the guy.

Or rather the screensaver, as the comedian-writer discovered when Tyson Beckford came to her rescue to star alongside her in a comedy skit for her new series “Netflix Presents: The Characters.”

The show, which premiered Friday (March 11) on Netflix, features the next generation of comedians who put their talents to use creating, writing and starring  30-minute episodes that highlight various sketches which provide humorous takes on everything from bachelor parodies, to music videos, to biblical spoofs. In addition to Rothwell, the show features Lauren Lapkus (“Orange Is The New Black,” “Jurassic World”), Kate Berlant (“The Meltdown”), Dr. Brown (“Dr. Brown)”, Paul W. Downs (“Broad City”), John Early (“Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp)”, Tim Robinson (“SNL”), and Henry Zebrowski (“Heroes Reborn”).

For Rothwell, the occasion marked a rather interesting reunion, considering she never met Beckford prior to the skit. To hear her tell it, the supermodel has been a presence in her life since her days in college.

“It was a really fun scene to do, especially with someone who spent a great part of his ‘90s as a screensaver on my lap top,” Rothwell confessed to EURweb regarding her connection to Beckford. “It was really cool to do a scene with my college computer screensaver. I had Tyson Beckford up as that. It was a real real time machine to be sitting next to him and he hasn’t aged a bit so it was really great.”

The sketch in question takes a jab at romantic comedies as Rockwell and Beckford fall in love while sitting next to each other on a bench. As luck would have it, Beckford’s appearance came courtesy of a casting agency that secured his services.

natasha rothwell and tyson beckford“They were so amazing. I just really wanted someone in the scene that I could really highlight the characterized version of myself, that sort of awkwardness,” she said. “I love Hollywood rom coms and the mute cute where that happens. It’s always so perfect in rom coms and actually like in real life I’m always messing those moments up. So he was the perfect person to bring out that awkwardness.”

As part of “The Characters,” Rothwell is grateful for the opportunity to present her brand of comedy to the masses. In her eyes, the freedom to be as creative as she wanted with her half-hour was a true motivator.

“I think it’s an incredible opportunity for eight comedians to really take a half hour and do what they want to with it,” said Rothwell, who has appeared on MTV’s “Wild ‘n Out.” “For me, my experience of understanding what that meant was at the beginning, trying to figure out how much total freedom it really is. They gave us the ball and told us to run with it. To be able to create something, the complete autonomy, it’s very rarely that it’s ever happened. It’s a great opportunity to flex my muscles creatively and really see where I wanted to take the audience with that journey.”

Although she’s front and center in “The Characters,” Rothwell was making people laugh behind the scenes as one of the writers for “Saturday Night Live.” Although the long-running show has been criticized for it s lack of minority representation, Rothwell had nothing but love given to her with her fellow writers.

“I had an incredible experience on the show. As far as the adjectives that I leave with, I think a writer and a comedienne are first. I have never qualified my experience or gender or my race, although I know that’s a huge component on how that is used. But I think in order for me to do my job effectively, I have to really be the best at what it is I’m doing,” the University of Maryland alum stated.

“I think that Steve Martin has a quote that ends in ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’ And I really do try to abide by that, but being a woman and being a woman of color are huge parts of my identity and things that I’m incredibly proud of. So it’s something that I think being in a room, being aware of the diversity of the room and how useful and beneficial it is to have a diverse room were things that I realized at “SNL” and writing now. It’s something I think that is not gonna be followed overnight, but is something that I think where networks like Netflix give opportunities to women and people of color. I think bit by bit, we’ll continue to make strides.”

In addition to the “SNL” writers, Rothwell obviously made an impression with the stars in front of the camera. Most notably Cecily Strong, who brings her rap skills to help Rothwell celebrate the joys of being an ordinary woman in the digital short-like video for her song “Basic Bitch.” Strong and Beckford are among the celebrities making cameos on “The Characters,” along with Strong’s fellow Not Ready for Prime Time Player Bobby Moynihan and “Broad City”’s Abbi Jacobson.

“She was helping out,” Rothwell said about Strong appearance and support. “Even on ‘SNL,’ she’s been a really great supporter. When I asked her to do it, she said yes without hesitation. It was a real treat to have her.”

To see the trailer for “Netflix Presents: The Characters,” check out the video below:

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The Virtual United Negro College Fund Tour Heads to NY, DC & NJ on Fri & Sat-Nov. 20 & 21 (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)




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*African American students interested in going to college can attend the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Fall 2020 virtual Empower Me Tour. Set for this Friday and Saturday (November 20 & 21, 2020), New York, District of Columbia, and New Jersey will be repped. (This year’s tour kicked off earlier this month in Wisconsin and Illinois). To register, go here.

The Empower Me Tour is an extension of the goals of the UNCF. Founded in 1944, the UNCF, a non-profit, has raised more than $5 billion and helped more than 500,000 students attend 37 private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

The EUR caught up with Stacey Lee, the tour’s director for four years, who discussed the importance of the event.

“The UNCF is the nation’s largest provider of education support to minority students,” said Lee. “The Empowerment Tour has been executed for the past 12 years and last year along we offered over $12 million dollars in scholarships.”

MORE NEWS/RELATED: BMEE Authors: Urgent Steps Are Necessary to Address Implicit Bias in Early Education  

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Stacey Lee, director of the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Lee continued, “I think the great thing is that during these times, even with COVID-19, is that a number of corporations (Wells Fargo/P&/FedEx/Disney/Goldman Sachs) and donors have really been providing opportunity and financial access to our schools and students.”

The tour is packed with information and resources so that students and parents have the right tools to make informed decisions.

“It’s a free event that provides educational support, scholarships, interviews with colleges, empowerment, and information on how to get to and through college. We also provide this information for parents as well. We have a parent section that focuses on financial aid and the things you need to get your students to college.”

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Source: Empower Me Tour

Lee continued, “Sometimes we have students that don’t realize that they can attend college. They can receive scholarships. Some of them don’t even know what an HBCU is. So, it’s inspirational for me to see these students receive this information and the excitement that’s around this tour.”

In addition to college information, panel sessions on issues affecting the community will also take place. Legendary rapper Bun B will be part of a special My Black Is Beautiful panel. The panel will have discussions with girls and boys and the MC will lead the male portion.

“It’s about empowerment,” Bun B told the EUR. “It’s vital for us to lift each other up and amplify each other’s voices. We just talk about now what that role is in this COVID world. And with everything that we are seeing with young Black men on television, we want to keep them motivated and centered. We want to make sure that they are not discouraged in this moment.”

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Legendary rapper Bun B is a panelist at the Empower Me Tour. (Photo credit: UNCF)

Ever since Kamala Harris threw her hat into the presidential race and elected vice president of the United States, a spotlight has shined on the fact that she’s an HBCU grad (Howard University) and member of the African American sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. These facts are not lost on the UNCF.

“Kamala has really boosted people’s awareness about HBCUs and (African American sororities) and the type of people that come out of HBCUs. HBCUS have also provided so many people from science, mathematics, and engineering programs (STEM).”

Bun B added, “We have more than enough examples to show you how beneficial an education from an HBCU can be. So, there is no reason to not be a part of an HBCU because the world is just as available to you as it is for anyone else attending any other type of university.”

Register for the virtual Empower Me Tour on November 20 & 21, 2020 here. Spring tour dates will be announced soon. For general information on the United Negro College Fund, go here.

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(Photo credit: UNCF)

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Apple News

New Music Buzz: Jazzy Rita Shelby’s ‘Goodbye 2020’



Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby
Goodbye 2020 Jazzy Rita Shelby

After all that’s happened this year, it’s time to say Goodbye 2020. New single available by Jazzy Rita Shelby at most digital platforms.

*SB Music presents “Goodbye 2020” a new single for the times we are in.

“Goodbye 2020” is performed by Jazzy Rita Shelby and written by Miss Shelby (ASCAP) and Eddie Lawrence Miller (BMI).

It’s the perfect anthem to end a year that has impacted the globe.

Jazzy Rita Shelby Goodbye 2020 looking up - Copy

Jazzy Rita Shelby is fed up with this year and elated about her new single “Goodbye 2020.” Avail now from SB Music (Written by L. Shelby & E. Miller)

EURweb’s Jazzy Rita is also a prolific lyricist who has teamed up with Eddie Miller for “Goodbye 2020” because it was timely and convenient for the birth of a song such as this.

Eddie Miller is a coveted keyboardist & vocalist who performs regularly with Brian Culbertson and he’s the Rhodes Festival musical director. Jazzy Rita rose to notoriety as host & performer at The Starlight Jazz Serenade, an annual benefit concert in North Hollywood with an A list of stars.  As a teen Miss Shelby was inspired to write songs by the legendary David Porter.

This year has been a year like no other.  “Goodbye 2020” is an ode to the world for the year that we have seen and the hope that lies ahead.  Radio Programmers click here for adds.

MORE NEWS: THE REAL: The Ladies’ Experience With Stereotypes in Hollywood. Plus, Cheryl Hines Is Here!

“Goodbye 2020” is released on the SB Music label and was recorded at Wishing Wells Studio in Canoga Park, CA.  Willie Daniels and Mildred Black perform background vocals along with Jazzy Rita.  The video is produced & directed by Jazzy Rita (LaRita Shelby), filmed & edited by Reggie Simon of Simon Vision Media, with wardrobe styling by Jazzy Rita and Poet Roni Girl’s Army Couture.  “Goodbye 2020” is available on most digital platforms.  Click here to listen on Spotify.


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Celebrate Halloween with ‘Spell’ Starring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine and John Beasley / WATCH




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*Today/TONIGHT is Halloween and what could be a more perfect way to celebrate than with the release of SPELL? Enjoy the clips below to get you in the spooky spirit!

Omari Hardwick (“Power,” Sorry to Bother You), Loretta Devine (“Black-ish,” Crash) and John Beasley (The Sum of All FearsThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) star in the terrifying thriller SPELL, coming to Premium Video-On-Demand and Digital today October 30 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

While flying to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia, an intense storm causes Marquis (Omari Hardwick) to lose control of the plane carrying him and his family.  He awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic, who claims she can nurse him back to health with the Boogity, a Hoodoo figure she has made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to outwit and break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.

WHOA! READ THIS: Disabled Siblings Found Living with Dead Body of Mother Decomposing Under Pile of Clothes

DIRECTED BY | Mark Tonderai


STARRING | Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL PLATFORMS | Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, DirecTV, VUDU, Xfinity, FandangoNOW and more.

Rating | R – violence, disturbing/bloody images, and language







Paige Theall


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