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Mary J. Blige to Serve As 2020 American Black Film Festival Ambassador

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Mary J Blige - Andre Michael

Mary J Blige – Photo: Andre Michael

LOS ANGELES, CA – ABFF Ventures LLC., today announced iconic Grammy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, actress, producer and philanthropist Mary J. Blige as the ambassador for the 2020 American Black Film Festival (ABFF), which will be held in Miami Beach June 17 – 21, 2020.

As ambassador, Blige will help bring media awareness to the ABFF’s mission and its 24-year legacy, as well as headline a one-on-one conversation during the Center Stage Talk series on Thursday, June 18th.  The discussion will spotlight Blige’s music career, her transition into film and television and her life’s journey as one of the most successful artists of all time.

“So many incredibly talented Black filmmakers have come out of the American Black Film Festival, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with and many I can’t wait to collaborate with. As an actress and producer, there couldn’t be a more important event to be a part of. I am a longtime supporter and admirer of ABFF and I am honored to be an ambassador and continue to help foster new talent,” said Blige.

Mary J. Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation and empowerment making her one of the defining voices of the contemporary music era. With a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 32 nominations), two Academy Award nominations, two Golden Globe Award nominations, and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, among many other accolades, Blige has cemented herself as a global superstar. Blige will star in Dreamworks’ Trolls World Tour movie, which is set to release this April, as well as MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, which is set to release this October.  She also stars as Monet in Power Book II: Ghost, a spin-off of hit STARZ show, Power, debuting this Summer. Under her production company, Blue Butterfly, she is currently in production on an untitled documentary about her life and legendary career directed by Vanessa Roth.

“Mary J. Blige is a hip hop legend whose artistry has transcended into the film and TV industries. Her body of work personifies the ABFF mission, which is to celebrate and uplift the African American community through entertainment,” said Nicole Friday, General Manager of ABFF Ventures.

Previous ambassadors include Idris Elba, Tracee Ellis Ross, Regina Hall,  La La Anthony, Jay Ellis, Morris Chestnut, Omari Hardwick, Common and Taraji P. Henson.

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abff - 2020 - miami

Going into its 24th year, ABFF’s dynamic program continues to evolve. In 2020 it will expand to include the John Singleton Award for Best First Feature Film; “ABFF Fit,” the festival’s new health and wellness initiative programming; and “ABFF Pride,” this year’s social impact showcase theme centered on the Black LGBTQIA community. In addition, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C., recently acquired ABFF photographs and other archival materials to be included in its permanent collection. With the support of the world’s leading entertainment, media and consumer product companies, the festival continues to lead the way promoting diversity in the motion picture and television industries.

ABFF remains committed to introducing emerging content creators of African descent to the industry at large and is recognized as one of the leading film festivals in the world. Festival passes are on sale now at www.abff.com, and offer three different levels of access to the Festival. Questions regarding registration, sponsorship and programming, should be directed to [email protected]. The 2020 Festival will continue the annual celebration of highlighting Black filmmakers. Attendees will enjoy celebrity conversations, panels, master classes, spotlight screenings and independent films and more. Presenting sponsors include HBO (Founding),  Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, and WarnerMedia.

For more information on ABFF and up-to-date news, go to abff.com and follow @ABFF on Twitter and @AmericanBlackFilmFestival on Instagram and Facebook. Join in on the conversation by using #ABFF20 and #WeAreABFF.

 

ABOUT ABFF:

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to recognizing black talent and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent. Dedicated to the belief that diverse artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts, ABFF founder Jeff Friday conceived the festival in 1997 as a vehicle to strengthen the black entertainment community by fostering resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration.

After 23 years, the festival has become a cornerstone of diversity in Hollywood, providing a platform for emerging black artists – many of who have become today’s most successful actors, producers, writers, directors and stand-up comedians, including Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Will Packer (“Girls Trip”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Kevin Hart (“Night School”), Omari Hardwick (“Power”) and Steven Caple Jr. (“Creed II”). The ABFF is the preeminent pipeline for black artists in front of and behind the camera, and has significantly expanded the range of talent working in the entertainment Industry.

As “the nation’s largest gathering of black film and television enthusiasts” the ABFF attracts a broad audience of celebrity talent, emerging artists, upscale consumers and industry stakeholders. Approximately 7,000 to 10,000 people travel to Miami Beach each year for the five-day event. The festival opens with the premiere of an upcoming Hollywood release followed by a full schedule of intriguing independent film screenings, master classes, panels, celebrity talks, live entertainment, and a variety of networking and hospitality events.

 

ABOUT ABFF VENTURES:

ABFF Ventures LLC (ABFFV) is a multifaceted entertainment company specializing in the production of live events and branded content. Its mission is to entertain and inspire communities of color while promoting diversity in Hollywood. Headquartered in Los Angeles, ABFFV was formed to stimulate business growth through expansion into other events and services. Its tent-pole properties are the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), cited by MovieMaker magazine as “One of the Coolest Festivals in the World;” and “ABFF Honors,” an annual awards gala saluting the top stars of film and television. In creating ABFF Ventures, CEO Jeff Friday channeled his passion for film and television, as well as his discomfort with the underrepresentation of people of color in Hollywood, into an organization with the ultimate goal of advocating for diversity within the entertainment industry. Through his vision and perseverance, ABFF Ventures has become a highly respected enterprise, generating goodwill throughout the Hollywood and corporate communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

source:
MPRM Communications
[email protected]

 

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Nona Hendryx to Host Global Virtual Event with Special Guest Appearance by Angela Davis

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*Singer, songwriter, and activist Nona Hendryx in conjunction with Nubian Q.U.E.E.N.X., have partnered with the international feminist group JASS (Just Associates) to present a “Musical Meditation and Celebration of Radical Healing” on Friday, August 14, 2020. This global, multi-artist virtual online event is designed to share and affirm our connections and power in a time of uprising and crisis through music, dance, poetry, and guided meditations. Featuring female performing entities from around the world, including noted activist, academic, and author Angela Davis, this one-of-a-kind event will be live-streamed on the StreamYard platform beginning at 4:00 p.m. EST/1:00 p.m. PST/2:00 MT/7:00 p.m. UCT.

JASS was founded in 2003 by activists, organizers, popular educators, and scholars from five continents, including Lisa VeneKlasen, who recently stepped down as Executive Director, and Shereen Essof, the current Executive Director, who are connected by their commitment to grassroots feminist organizing and justice through shared political struggles from Central America to Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the Philippines.

Hendryx – a former member of Grammy Hall of Fame trio LaBelle – and VeneKlasen have long wanted to collaborate politically on an event spotlighting women’s often invisible role in the ongoing fight to address unfinished struggles of our liberation – violence, inequality, racism, discrimination, stigma, and more. Initially planning to partner to celebrate Women’s History Month in March, then Black Music Month in June, they postponed plans when the country was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as by the global outcry for racial and social justice. With numerous artists and organizations taking to online platforms for performances and fundraisers, Hendryx and VeneKlasen decided that August was a stronger opportunity for the two women-focused entities to address both the hopeful possibilities and trauma and pain of these times.

“By radical healing, we’re acknowledging the power of music to lift our spirits and connect us across all our differences,” says Hendryx. “We recognize that we can’t build and sustain strong movements for the long haul with broken people who bear the brunt of crises and violence. We need moments of shared joy and connections as much as information and strategy.” Adding that women’s role at the forefront of numerous movements has been powerful and consistent, she also notes, “some of the most amazing music ever created has been birthed from struggle.”

Shereen Essof, JASS Executive Director, adds, “In the face of crises and violence, feminist organizers believe that our collective healing is vital to building strong, agile movements for the future. Songs, music, dancing, and poetry are part of a long tradition of activism and communities organizing for justice globally. We are incredibly excited to co-create this moment of radical healing with these extraordinary artists.”

Hendryx will perform with New York-based collective Nubian Q.U.E.E.N.X. (Quantum, Unique, Evolving, Essence of Nubian Sistas), a musical meditation on the affirmation of healing traumas of the past and present while answering questions and exploring ways to move forward. First presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., in September 2019 with special guests Divinity Roxx, Be Steadwell, Liza Jessie Peterson, the group will be joined by Sophia Ramos for the August 14th performance.  Q.U.E.E.N.X. is a multi-generational, multi-disciplinary blending of music, spoken word, hip-hop, funk, rock, and avant-garde. The group has been hailed for its unique performances that embrace a broad range of audiences, particularly the African American, Latinx, Indigenous Natives, and LGBTQI communities.

Also joining Nubian Q.U.E.E.N.X. for this special presentation in radical healing will be noted women artists from around the globe, including South African actress and poet Lebo Mashile; indigenous Guatemalan singer Sara Carruchich; Zimbabwean singer and Mbira player, Hope Masike; and Filipina theater actress and singer Monique Wilson.

For more information and reservations for this event, please go to https://nona-hendryx.squarespace.com/nubianqueenx and https://www.justassociates.org/

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Evelyn Lozada Gets Emotional Recalling Ochocinco Abuse [VIDEO]

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EVELYN LOZADA, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson

*Evelyn Lozada has responded to the recent comments her ex-husband, former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, made about his 2012 domestic violence case.

“I lost my temper for once in life for 3 seconds & it cost me a lifetimes worth of work,” he tweeted without mentioning the incident. “I got it all back plus some after getting a 2nd chance & NOTHING will ever get me out of that happy space again.”

As reported by thejasminebrand.com, Johnson was arrested and charged with domestic battery in 2012 following an altercation with Lozada. She filed for divorce days after.

He pleaded no contest and struck a plea deal and served a year-long probation sentence.

Johnson was also dropped by the Miami Dolphins after his arrest. He and Evelyn also filmed a VH1 realty show that never aired. 

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The “Basketball Wives” star released a tearful video Thursday in response to Johnson’s tweet.

She captioned the 5 minute clip: “I’m sorry to my kids, my family & friends, my fellow cast-members, their kids & family, the viewers & anyone else I hurt or affected with my actions. I hope & pray my message is received and that this video makes sense. I’m sorry for being so upset but this is HEAVY on my heart. #ILoveAllOfYou”.

In the video Lozada makes clear that Ochocinco was abusive on more than one occasion.

Hear/watch her tell it via the YouTube clip above. 

Evelyn Lozada Cries While Alleging Ochocinco Was Abusive More Than Once [VIDEO]

Johnson’s spoke about his troubled past after social media users asked his advice on how to stay positive.

“What’s the secret? How do you stay so positive? Was it therapy? Not being funny…really asking for myself,” wrote one fan.

Evelyn and Chad were married for only 41 days before she filed for divorce after they had a violent brawl.

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Stephen A. Smith Says NBA Players Will ‘Struggle’ with Sexual Frustration in Orlando / WATCH

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Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

*As the NBA prepares for the conclusion of the season in Orlando, Florida, Stephen A. Smith thinks the biggest challenge players will face in the city is the lack of sex due to the COVID-19 lockdown. 

“Do we really think that the ‘recreational activities’ that these guys are accustomed to are going to be compromised for three months?” said Smith on Tuesday’s edition of First Take, per 97 The Game.

The NBA recently shared a photo of courts for the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic being set up inside the bubble at Disney World, offering a first look at team practice rooms being set up in hotels. 

As noted by CBS News, ” as teams start traveling to Orlando next week, we should start getting more information about how everything in the bubble is going to look,” the outlet writes. Adding, “Teams will practice at staggered times in order to promote social distancing and keep everyone healthy. “

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Smith added, “Forget three months. They’re gonna’ struggle with three weeks. Why you think they wanted Vegas?” asked Smith.

Hear him tell it via the Twitter video above.

Meanwhile, Jesse Pantuosco of 97 The Game writes, “the NBA has made its Orlando accommodations as player-friendly as possible with table tennis, on-site barbers, movie-viewing areas and other entertainment options. But even with all those amenities at their disposal, Smith predicts players will leave the premises to fulfill their sexual appetites.”

“They’re gonna’ violate the bubble. That’s what I’m telling you,” Smith insisted. “Somebody’s gotta’ say it.”

Meanwhile, when asked what he would like to see when the league restarts in Florida, Lakers player representative Danny Green told ESPN.  “We got to continue to speak up, continue to figure out ways to affect change as a group,” said Green. “We’ll be competing against each other and focusing on winning, but we still need to focus on what’s the bigger picture.”

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