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Sandra Evers-Manly Helps ‘Sista’ Directors Show Their Stuff in Hollywood

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At this year’s ‘Sistas Are Doing It for Themselves’ event, host Sandra Evers-Manly vows to “support our sisters” and encourage a new era in Hollywood that fosters a more inclusive landscape.

*The rain will not stop the shine of a strong woman and that statement was proven true at this year’s “Sistas Are Doing it For Themselves,” film screening at Raliegh Studios in Hollywood, California. This year’s theme was “A Celebration of Sistas in Film and Television.”

Hosted by Sandra Evers-Manly, the president of the Black Hollywood Resource Center (BHERC), this 25th annual event brings Hollywood elites together with up and coming filmmakers.

“What started out as an evening of short films produced, written or directed by black women,” stated founder and host Evers-Manly, “has turned into a full day of black women ‘Sista Power Panels’ followed by an evening of seven remarkable short films by emerging black female filmmakers of all ages and diverse stories.”

‘Hey Little Black Girl’ followed four darling little girls as they discovered more about our nation’s civil rights struggle.

I originally made the film [Hey little Black Girl] in a very isolated place at Stanford, with a lot of white students, white professors,” described Lyntoria Newton, Stanford University Graduate and director of ‘Hey Little Black Girl’ about her filmmaking process. “The ‘Sisters Doing It For Themselves’ Film Festival has allowed me to connect with other black filmmakers and allowed me to get in touch with my own community, the people who I want my film to touch the most.”

‘Girls Like Me’ was a powerful narrative about a woman’s role and focus in life.  It covered concepts that revolved around abuse, female empowerment and feminism with stark colorful images and impactful cinematography.  Moving the crowd, it inspired a lively discussion that ended in an uproar of terms that described the passion that was felt by those viewing the short.

sistas - filmmakers panel

Filmmaker Panel: From left to right directors Shawnee’ and Shawnelle Gibbs, director Lyntoria Newton, writer-director Keena Ferguson, writer-director Savannah Treena, writer-director Nicole L. Thompson, writer-director Jabree Webber and at the podium, host Sandra Evers-Manly.

The crowd yelled terms like sisterhood, self worth, resilience, confidence, beauty, intelligence, and spirituality in a emotional tidal wave that poured forth with the truth of what the short displayed. Written and directed by the poet Aisha Raison, this film transcended the screen and spoke to all in attendance.

‘Tokenism,’ a film by writer-director Jabree Webber, was set in a college dorm and focused on a female African-American trying to fit in in a white college.  Continuing with the unofficial theme of the African American women’s post civil rights struggles, ‘Tokenism’s’ comical, yet realistic approach to describing the atmosphere of attending a predominantly white university stood tall next to the other, deeper films in this series.  It is apparent that, all the women directors featured here will go on to create more wonderful productions in the future and Webber is of no acception.

‘Linden Passing’ was a tearjerker that lead the audience on a voyage through the imagination of an expectant mother and her visions of her son’s life before his eventual abortion.  Generating the most emotion ranging from smiles and tears of joy, to disgust, writer-director Keena Ferguson’s intent was to show the human side of the issue of abortion.

Ferguson was intent on seeing her vision through stating, “this is my first time directing a film, so for me it was making sure that my Director of Photography and my producers were very clear on my vision so that although I am in the film as well, and I was also directing it, making sure that they were all clear so that we can work cohesively.”

Clever casting, along with high quality transitions caused this film to stand out with its superior production quality, despite its controversial subject matter.

sistas - Sandra and Filmmakers

Sandra and the Filmmakers: From left to right Shawnee’ and Shawnelle Gibbs, Lyntoria Newton, Nicole L. Thompson, Sandra Evers-Manly, Savannah Treena, Keena Ferguson, and Jabree Webber.

‘Harlem Blues’ was a sad tale of post death redemption as a son battles inner demons in his struggle to accept his role in his father’s death, while simultaneously moving forward with his music.  The title, reminiscent of the title track off the soundtrack of the blockbuster movie ‘Mo’ Betta’ Blues’ starring Denzel Washington and Wesley Snipes, kept with the theme of a musician that struggles with issues that seek to move him away from his love of music. Like ‘Mo’ Betta’ Blues’ music was integrated into the theme and the sound of the film.  Writer-Director Nicole L. Thompson sought out musicians to write and perform original tracks that created a revolving melody that became the theme song of the film.

‘Help Wanted’ by Kiniki Jones-Jones from Wayne State University said, “Acting set her free and allowed her to find her voice.”  Her film described a real, tough, motherly love that forced a son to become a man with a lot of comedy and coming of age points.  This film moved away from the traditional role of a citizen’s obligation to go and beg for a job and featured the son seeking his own path by engaging in entrepreneurship before discovering an opportunity to utilize his gifts.

This film was definitely the comical favorite of the night, and featured physical comedy reminiscent of Charlie Chaplin, who’s larger than life image was displayed outside of the Reighley Studios screening room.  Chapman’s silent films relied on juxtaposition of the characters, cookey sound effects layered on top of physical acting and descriptive facial expressions.  This combination of classic film techniques allowed most of the details of this story to be told without dialogue, but were described with the actions of the actors and their above average performances.

‘Sule and the Case of the Tiny Spark’ is an animated film about a young detective in a fictional African village.  Ment for young kids, the animation style of this short is very creative and engaging.  Unlike typical animated films, even those that feature African characters, directors Shawnee’ and Shawnelle Gibbs use of browns in describing the skin tones of the African characters created a diversity not usually seen.  From mily chocolate browns, to deep reddish brown the skin tones of the characters ranged for light-skinned to blue-black.  Their hair was no different, as each character featured their own unique style of natural hair.  The only thing European in the entire film was Sule’s safari hat that gave him a serious private investigator look.  This short is a must see for all families with young children.

‘Colored Girl’s Restroom’ was about a bathroom in a white establishment in the 60s and the white owner.  During the film, the owner acts rude to the African-American women that use the bathroom telling them to clean up and each one left something that added to the flavor of the room.  The big reveal came at the end when the biased owner discovered the clean and totally fixed up restroom and removed the “colored only” sign, replacing it with the term, “Ladies Restroom.”  Georgia native, writer-director Savannah Treena hopes to continue to produce films about the old stories of the post civil rights 60s on digital platforms like Netflix.

diane watson

Former Congresswoman Diane Edith Watson, who attended this year’s screenings, spoke positively about the short films featured.

Former Congresswoman Diane Edith Watson, who attended this year’s screenings, felt moved by the capacity screening and the gratuitous showing of support for the women filmmakers stating, “During this stage of time, and because it’s Women’s History Month, it is so important that our [African American women’s] works be shown.  They tell in-depth stories about us as a people and being in this country as a female, as a black woman and as a movie maker.  These are areas that others thought that we could not get into and so I’m so pleased to be here with the brilliance of these black women as they are portraying life as it actually is.”

“This event means alot to me.  My very first film in Los Angeles, that I ever did [‘Inspired by…’ (2005) written and directed by Layla Mashavu Sewell], screened here at this festival,” added actress and director Keena Ferguson.  “So to be here all these years later with a film that I actually wrote, directed and starred in, feels very full circle to me.  And has a special place in my heart.”

“This year’s anniversary marks a quarter of a century of BHERC’s efforts to continually pay homage and recognize the struggles, sacrifices, victories, lessons, and journeys yet to come for black women in the film and television industry.” concluded founder Sandra Evers-Manly.

africanamericanfilmmarketplace-bherc

For more information about the Black Hollywood Education Resource Center or the ‘Sistas Doing It For Themselves’ events go to www.bherc.org.

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Nigerian Bread Seller Lands Modeling Contract After Photobombing Rapper’s Shoot

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Olajumoke Orisaguna

*27-year-old former bread seller Olajumoke Orisaguna captured the world’s attention a few years ago when a photo of her carrying a massive bag of bread loafs ontop of her head went viral.

She was discovered on the streets of the city of Lagos by international photographer Ty Bello, who was shooting with English rapper Tinie Tempah. Unintentionally, Orisaguna came out in one of the images.

Days later, Bello shared pictures from that shoot on his social media but with interest of finding out who the bread seller was in the photo.

“WHO IS SHE? Everyone has been asking if this lady is a model… She definitely SHOULD be a model… I’ll find a way to track her down somehow. You guys can also help,“ the photographer captioned the post.

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As PEOPLE notes, from that moment on, her life changed forever. In less than a year, Orisaguna managed to sign contracts with recognized agencies. Earlier this year, she wrapped up her tour of South Africa and she also launched a vlog and reality show.

“I never expected this would ever happen to me,” she told CNN. “My friends have told me they saw me on the TV and they are really happy. My parents cannot believe their own child can become such a success.”

In March, she celebrated the one year anniversary of her discovery. In an exclusive interview with Pulse in January, Orisaguna spoke about the people who have been influential in her rise to fame. During the interview, she thanked Azuka Ogujuiba of ThisDay Newspaper, as she was instrumental in Olajumoke’s success story.

Orisaguna, who left her two children and husband to sell bread, is now being offered by a bank to pay for her kid’s education through college.

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** FEATURED STORY **

‘Origin of Everything’ on PBS Sparks Interest with Controversial & Everyday Topics (EUR Exclusive!)

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Origin of Everything

*“Origin of Everything,” available on PBS.org, has been exploring topics since 2017 that run the gamut. The show jumps into a variety of subjects by investigating daily life like the words we use, pop culture, and why we are hooked on technology.

The show does not shy away from controversial topics such as slavery, race and ethnicity, and mass incarceration of African Americans.

Danielle Bainbridge, Ph.D., the host and lead writer of “Origin of Everything,” told the EUR in a recent interview that the series is about making people think beyond the restrictive ways we have been taught to view history.

“It’s a show about our collective story and how we are envisioning history,” Dr. Bainbridge said. ”How do we think about history that includes all of us and just not the figures and facts that we were taught in school. So, it’s a show about under told and underrepresented history. We’re trying to make history feel very present to the people who watch it.”

She continued, “One of the reasons to watch it is if you’re curious about how did we get to our current moment? How do small things such as why do we eat popcorn at the movies or what is the origin of ethnicity and how do these things still impact the way we think about the world?”

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EUR PBS Danielle Bainbridge

Dr. Danielle Bainbridge, host of “Origin of Everything,” available on PBS.org. (Courtesy of PBS)

Deftly equipped to talk about controversial topics, Dr. Bainbridge holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University and graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English & Theatre Arts. She is also a faculty member at Northwestern University in Theatre and African American Studies

In early 2017, when she was a graduate student, she was contacted by PBS about working on the show and thought it was a joke.

“When they first reached out to me, I thought it was a hoax,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I was thinking how would they even know who I am because I was a graduate student? But I think they found me through a since defunct janky website that I had set up. They reached out to me, I auditioned, did a screen test, and a writing sample and after that I was hired to help develop the show.”

Viewers are encouraged to be interactive with the series because it is digital. With instant commentary from the audience, the show knows immediately what viewers think, which for the most part is positive. However, when it delves into controversial subject matters things can get sticky.

“I would say overall people are pretty positive about the series because most of the folks who watch it are longtime watchers who tune in every week for episodes,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “The only exception is if we cover more sensitive topics like, race, gender, or sexuality we will get some pushback. I think that’s just the cost of doing business with open discourse.”

One of the most controversial shows was about the transatlantic slave trade.

“We did one episode on why Europeans enslaved Africans and that was probably our most viewed episode as well as our most critiqued one,” Dr. Bainbridge said. “I think often times if you view yourself as pretty well versed in history from what you learn in school and then you learn something that goes in the opposite direction it can be jarring or for some people upsetting. We think of it as our value or service to our audience to present accurate history or history that doesn’t get told that often so that people can be informed with the whole picture.”

She added that she has an answer for those who point out that Africans sold slaves to Europeans.

“Slavery was not invented with West Africans and Europeans,” Dr. Bainbridge continued. “Some form of enslavement – whether through war, becoming a prisoner of war, or through different systems – goes back to ancient societies from around the world. So, it is not distinct to West Africa or Europe or any other region of the world.”

Dr. Bainbridge added, “But the difference with this particular moment in slavery was that it intersected with capitalism in a way that was very different with slavery that preceded it. People were taken into the system and their children inherited their status as a slave and that is where the differences started to emerge. We have to think about these things as distinct only because the system that existed with chattel slavery was so radically different than the slavery that existed around the world beforehand.”

With the ongoing protests against police brutality, “Origin of Everything” has also tackled the racist beginnings of United States law. Dr. Bainbridge breaks down the discriminatory history by looking at colonialism, slavery, the Jim Crow era, and mass incarceration.

“I decided to write this episode about legal discrimination, and I didn’t have a particular agenda in mind,” she said. “As I started doing the research it was overwhelming. I started to find (material) that just dealt with legal discrimination about black people in this country from its origin to now. I thought it was something that people needed to know.”

“I was never taught in any history class that I took through high school any of the information from that episode. I was taught that things are fair and that a lot of the blame was placed inadvertently or inherently on black communities, impoverished communities, or communities that struggle. When I saw that in some ways the law was stacked against black people and certain other populations, I thought that was important to bring to light. In this moment, people are looking for reliable sources and this could add to the conversation.”

New episodes of “Origin of Everything” are available on PBS.org and the PBS Digital Studios’ YouTube Channel. Join the conversation by visiting Twitter-@PBSOrigin and Instagram-@pbsoriginofeverything.

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THE REAL: Garcelle is in the Hot Seat About Jamie Foxx! / WATCH

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Garcelle Beauvais1 (the real 09-29-20)
Garcelle Buvais (the real 09-29-20)

Garcelle Beauvais

*On Tuesday, Sept. 29, the ladies of The Real have some follow-up questions for co-host Garcelle Beauvais after her revealing conversation with Jamie Foxx on her podcast.

In an outrageous Girl Chat, Garcelle reveals some shocking secrets, and admits she could be interested in a relationship with her former co-star!

Ravi Patel visits to talk about his new HBO Max docuseries, Ravi Patel’s Pursuit Of Happiness, and reveals how he would like to create his own neighborhood.

Rapper YelloPain drops in to explain what inspired him to come up with the song “My Vote Don’t Count,” and the message he wants to get out to young voters.

And Florida teacher Edith Pride explains why she stood up at a Palm Beach County school board meeting to scold parents on their behavior during their children’s distance learning classes, and the responses she has gotten. The hosts of The Real have a special gift for her!

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The Ladies Have Some Follow-Up Questions For Garcelle About Jamie Foxx!

Loni Love: Last week, Jamie Foxx, who was your coworker since 1996… y’all were in your little Jamie Foxx Show

Adrienne Houghton: I loved it.

Loni: He was on your podcast. Your lovely podcast, Going to Bed With Garcelle. And he admitted that you two probably should have been together! And then – this was all on the podcast, because I was listening, I was like, “Ooh, Jamie, really?” – and he also said that every time like y’all did a movie, and you tried to hook up, you had a boyfriend and he was always mad when you had another dude, and he was acting like real funny. And so then you really responded like –

Adrienne: What?

Loni: …Why didn’t you all get together – oh, y’all gotta listen to her podcast, it was good, right? And then you said that Jamie Foxx – you said, “How we gonna be together?” He hung like a horse! I was like, “What’s wrong with that?” So, I just want to know, Garcelle, what’s going with y’all two?

Garcelle Beauvais (laughing): Adrienne’s face! Oh, look at Jeannie!

Jeannie Mai (ear pressed to the camera): Come on! I got some things to know!

Garcelle: Mind your business, Loni. (laughing). Listen, he and I we have such a great friendship. And when he and I were doing The Jamie Foxx Show we sort of had a pact like we weren’t going to date while we’re working together, right? So two weeks before we were done with our hundredth episode, which was amazing in itself, I got engaged! And he was like, “You couldn’t wait! You couldn’t wait two weeks?” So we’ve had a great friendship, I love him, but you know, sometimes like if we got together we probably wouldn’t be the friends that we are right now. What, what are you doing this for Jeannie?

(Jeannie is raising her hand)

Jeannie: Yeah, yeah, I got a question! Anyway, anyway, Garcelle!

(Garcelle is laughing)

Jeannie: How you know how he’s hung?!

Garcelle: OH!

(Loni starts laughing)

Garcelle: Listen…

Adrienne: That’s what I want to know!

Garcelle: We did a hundred –

Adrienne: That’s what I want to know!

Garcelle: -episodes, right? Every now and then he’d have to like rip off a pair of pants, or some kind of, you know, comedic, you know, act, or whatever, however you want to say it. And it came out, honey. It rolled out.

(So much laughter)

Jeannie: Oh my god!

Garcelle: I love him so much!

Adrienne: Wait! I have more asks!

Garcelle: Never say never! But who knows.

Adrienne: You said what were you gonna do with that! And… and, and.. I’m just curious. Is that not your thing? You’re like, no, it’s too much, like?

Garcelle: It’s a bit much!

Adrienne: Oh Lord Jesus.

Garcelle: I’ve said too much, I’ve said too much.

Loni: OK, all right.

Garcelle: Listen to the podcast! Look at Jeannie!

Loni: Listen to the podcast!

(Jeannie is climbing back into her chair)

Jeannie: Can we end the show?

[EDIT]

Jeannie: Y’all are single now! Why can’t you do the thing?

Adrienne: Yeah!

Jeannie: Why can’t… I don’t get it!

Garcelle: I don’t know! I mean – I don’t know, I don’t know. I think we’re too much in the Friendzone. I don’t know. But let me tell you – he’s a great kisser. Great kisser.

Loni: Ohhhhh.

Jeannie: What are we doing?!!!

Adrienne: These are are reasons for Yes!

Jeannie: What are we doing?

Garcelle (fanning herself): Oh my god, I’m so hot.

Adrienne: You’re literally telling me he’s got everything great about him, but – but… ok, this is real Girl Chat and we keep it very real.

Garcelle: Yes, it’s real.

Jeannie: OK, Garcelle, Garcelle, no, no…

Adrienne: Not just that thing.

Jeannie: Focus this, focus… are you…

Garcelle: So if he asked me out, I would say yes. Can I leave it there?

 

Website: thereal.com

Twitter: @TheRealDaytime

Instagram: http://instagram.com/therealdaytime

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/therealdaytime

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/therealdaytime

 

About THE REAL

THE REAL is a live daily, one-hour, two-time NAACP Image Award-winning and Emmy®-nominated talk show now in its seventh season on Fox Television Stations and in national syndication (check local listings), with a rebroadcast on cable network Bounce. The bold, diverse and outspoken hosts, Garcelle Beauvais and Emmy® Award-winners Adrienne Houghton, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai, all frankly say what women are actually thinking. Their unique perspectives are brought to life through candid conversations about their personal lives, current events, beauty, fashion and relationships (nothing is off limits). Unlike other talk shows, THE REAL hosts are admittedly a “work in progress,” and fearlessly invite viewers to reflect on their own lives and opinions. Fresh points of view, youthful energy and passion have made THE REAL a platform for multicultural women. Produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, THE REAL is led by Executive Producer, Rachel Miskowiec (Good Morning America, Katie, The Tyra Banks Show, Judge Hatchett, The Ricki Lake Show) and Co-Executive Producer Tenia Watson (Judge Mathis, Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court, WGN-TV Morning News, Just Keke, The Test) and shot in Los Angeles, California.

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