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‘A Most Beautiful Thing’ – A Must See Documentary On Mending the Socio-Economic Gap in the Black Community

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A Most Beautiful Thing

A Beautiful Thing

*EURweb sat down for an exclusive interview with Arshay Cooper, Marie Mazzio and 7 time NBA All-Star Grant Hill to discuss “A Most Beautiful Thing,” the “must see” documentary of 2020! This film, directed and produced by award winning director, Marie Mazzio and narrated and executive produced by Academy Award winner, Common, Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade and 9th Wonder is literally life changing!

Called one of the best documentaries to unveil at South by Southwest by Brian Tallerico of Roger Ebert, an “absolute must watch” by Deadspin, and “a film we could really use right now” by Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter, “one of the best films this decade” by ChicagoNow, A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING, narrated by the Academy-Award/Grammy-winning artist, Common; executive-produced by NBA Stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade along with Grammy-award winning producer 9th Wonder; and directed by award-winning filmmaker (and Olympic rower) Mary Mazzio, chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country (made up of young men, many of whom were in rival gangs from the West Side of Chicago), all coming together to row in the same boat.  An amazing story.  

The film, which was set to debut at South by Southwest and open theatrically nationwide with AMC Theatres in March and again on July 31, is now, due to COVID-19, headed online with our partner Comcast/NBCUniversal.  The film will begin streaming for Xfinity customers on July 31. Starting September 1, the film will stream on Peacock, NBC’s new streaming platform.  The film will also be on Amazon later this fall, with a new companion soundtrack. 

50% OF THE BOX OFFICE and FILM SCREENING PROFITS from A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING WILL BE DONATED TO SUPPORT THE WORK OF ARSHAY COOPER AND ROWING INCLUSION EFFORTS, TRAUMA RESEARCH and the NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND.

What we learn in this documentary, is that in the 1990’s a group of Black men, from the West Side of Chicago, have their lives changed forever! They form the nation’s first all-Black high school rowing team while battling against gang violence, PTSD, gun violence, drug and alcohol dependencies, criminal justice and prison threats; all against the backdrop of just trying to get an education.

In talking-head interviews, teammates including the captain, Arshay Cooper (whose memoir the film is based on), recall getting into rowing because they were offered free pizza at the first meeting. But they somberly articulate why the sport became a saving grace: Out on the water, they were away from the neighborhood’s barrage of gunshots and sirens.

A Most Beautiful Thing takes the viewers on an emotional roller coaster, with the highs and lows of being Black in America! How can Black youth excel and flourish with no support from the powers that be? It takes a village.  It takes a community.  It takes people to give them opportunities and extra curricular activities for their blossoming minds and curiosities.  Given an equal opportunity, underserved and often underprivileged young people of color, can thrive.  This movie shows how not only do these young rowers thrive, but they also excel and then give back to their communities!  Isn’t that the American Dream??

 

Make sure to watch A Most Beautiful Thing, now streaming, on NBCUniversal’s new FREE streaming service, Peacock TV.

 

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#BlackLivesMatter

Misty Copeland: Ballet is Listening after George Floyd

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Misty Copeland
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Misty Copeland

*Ballerina Misty Copeland says her profession has to evolve along with the world’s racial reckoning or else it will cease to exist.

“As the world is changing, as it grows more diverse, if the ballet world doesn’t evolve with it, then it’s going to die,” Copeland told reporter Jenna Adae.

The first black woman to become the principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre said that after George Floyd’s death and the focus on Black Lives Matter, for the first time in her 20-year career, people are starting to believe her when she says the lack of diversity within the global ballet industry is a problem.

“There’s so many communities that are not going to support an art form that they feel doesn’t want them to be a part of it,” she says.

Watch her full interview below or HERE.

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EUR Review: Javon Johnson’s ‘STILL’ – A Captivating Lesson in Blackness

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Javon Johnson
Javon Johnson

Javon Johnson – Photo by Jeff Lorch

*This past week I had the pleasure of watching “Still,” a spoken-word piece starring Javon Johnson and filmed by Playhouse Live.

Still can best be described as a novella brought to life as Javon elegantly shares a number of personal stories from his perspective as a Black man with topics ranging from manhood, toxic masculinity, the American justice system, gentrification, hope and despair, and so on.

Standing in the middle of a stage looking out upon empty auditorium seats, Javon undauntedly showcases his raw talent; effortlessly bringing the same emotion and energy that is desired from a performer if surrounded by a full audience. Javon is truly captivating in his cadence and narrative topics.

If asked to choose which topics stood out most to me, I would be hard-pressed to do so. The sequence “cuz he’s black, a lesson in proper sentence construction, and on healthy masculinity” really resonated.  The latter of which was especially enthralling as Javon poetically explained how the world forces Black men to be a in constant state of war and peace.

As a Black man, I could relate to this and his descriptions of the many conflicts he faced in his adolescent years. Here is a truly engaging storyteller.  Javon paints a picture that brings to mind many of my own experiences when individuals would attempt to test me. It is encouraging to hear someone else share their experiences and struggles with balancing blackness in masculinity.

Still is a fascinating piece of art well worth taking the time to watch it. Javon Johnson’s “Still” performance can be rented through PlayhouseLive for $19.99 and is available through November 1, 2020.  After the initial purchase, Stillcan be watched on any of the PlayhouseLive apps including Apple OS, Android OS, Roku, FireTV and more. Closed captioning will be available in both English and Spanish. 

MORE NEWS: The Pulse of Entertainment: Sought After Singer Charles Martin Goes Solo Again with Single ‘Truth’

Javon Johnson

Javon Johnson – Photo by Jeff Lorch

About PlayhouseLive
PlayhouseLive is a first-of-its-kind digital streaming platform for nonprofit theaters. Powered by Pasadena Playhouse, PlayhouseLive’s “theater on demand” hosts fully realized cinema-quality productions filmed in high definition on stage specifically for the digital platform. It takes online theatrical performances beyond Zoom readings and interpretations to full scale productions for viewers around the world to enjoy. Distribution channels include a standalone website, iPhone and Android apps, AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, and AirPlay, among others.

In addition to theater on demand, PlayhouseLive programming will include staged readings, and cabarets, as well as original series, documentaries, and theater classes. It is a home for a wide array of theatrical voices through new and revisited work.  Additional information about PlayhouseLive and its programming, including new announcements and pricing specials, are available at www.playhouselive.org

EURweb.com, Everything Urban & Radioscope (formerly The Electronic Urban Report) Covering the Culture since 1997.

David Anthony EURweb 20201006_231339

David Anthony is new on the EURweb team. Covering the culture since 1997. Contact David: [email protected]

David Anthony is a new graduate of Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government.  A self-designated history buff and random fact finder, David could rattle your ear for hours with information. Born and raised in the City of Angels he is a huge fan of the city’s culture and hometown NBA team, the L.A. Clippers. A future attorney, businessman, and civil servant, he hopes to be an impactful individual in life.  Contact David: [email protected]

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National Endowment for the Arts Names Terri Lyne Carrington Among 2021 NEA Jazz Masters

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TLCDrumImagePhotographedbyJohnWatson

Terri Lyne Carrington (Photo Credit: John Watson)

*Three-time Grammy Award-winning jazz musician and composer Terri Lyne Carrington has been named a 2021 NEA Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C.  The National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Fellowship is the nation’s highest honor in jazz.

“I am so honored to receive this prestigious award, along with so many heroes, mentors, and of course, masters of the music,” says Carrington. “I will continue my work in furthering the music, and in teaching, mentoring, and advocating for the generations behind me. I am grateful for this incredible recognition, as it will truly remain inspiring through my journey in jazz.”

Terri Lyne Carrington has remained a powerhouse drummer in jazz for four decades and has now vigorously turned her attention over the last 15 years to empowering the next generation. With outstanding versatility, she excels as a composer, bandleader, producer, and educator. Along with Carrington, the NEA will also honor fellow musicians Albert “Tootie” Heath, Henry Threadgill, and arts advocate Phil Schaap for their contributions to the advancement of the art form.

In addition to receiving a $25,000 award, the 2021 NEA Jazz Masters will be honored through a tribute concert, which due to COVID-19 will be available in an online-only broadcast on April 22, 2021. The National Endowment for the Arts will again collaborate with SFJAZZ on this virtual event, which will be free to watch, and no registration or tickets are required. More information will be available in early 2021.

MORE NEWS: Some Texas Longhorn Band Members Refuse to Play Alma Mater Song over Minstrel Ties (Watch)

From a child prodigy to a world-class musician, her current album, Waiting Game, with Social Science, a collaboration with Aaron Parks and Matthew Stevens, boasted a triple-crown win in Downbeat magazine’s International Critics Poll for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Group of the Year, making her the first woman instrumentalist to concurrently win in all three categories in the 68-year history of the magazine. Carrington is not new to breaking barriers; she was also the first woman to receive a Grammy Award in the Jazz Instrumental category.

Carrington has received honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music, where she currently serves as the founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice. The Institute recruits, teaches, mentors, and advocates for musicians seeking to study jazz with gender justice and racial justice as guiding principles, and asks the important question, “What would jazz sound like in a culture without patriarchy?” She also serves as Artistic Director for Berklee’s Summer Jazz Workshop, and Artistic Director of The Carr Center in Detroit, MI. In 2019, Carrington was granted the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award in recognition of her past and ongoing contributions to jazz music.

Terri Lyne Carrington started her professional career in Massachusetts at 10 years old when she became the youngest person to receive a union card in Boston. She was featured as a “kid wonder” in many publications and on local and national TV shows. After studying under a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music, Carrington worked as an in-demand musician in New York City and later moved to Los Angeles, where she gained recognition on late-night TV as the house drummer for both “The Arsenio Hall Show” and Quincy Jones’ “VIBE TV” show, hosted by Sinbad.

To date, Carrington has performed on more than 100 recordings and has been a role model and advocate for young women and men internationally through her teaching and touring careers. She has worked extensively with jazz giants and legends including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Stan Getz, Woody Shaw, Clark Terry, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, James Moody, Joe Sample, Esperanza Spalding, and many more.

ABOUT THE NEA JAZZ MASTERS
Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded 161 fellowships to great figures in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sonny Rollins, Dianne Reeves, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and George Wein. The Arts Endowment’s website features resources and content about the NEA Jazz Masters, including archived concerts, video tributes, podcasts, and more than 350 NEA Jazz Moments audio clips. The National Endowment for the Arts has also supported the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, an effort to document the lives and careers of nearly 100 NEA Jazz Masters.

Nominate an NEA Jazz Master: NEA Jazz Masters Fellows are nominated by the public, including the jazz community. Nominations are judged by an advisory panel of jazz experts, including administrators, performers, producers, and a knowledgeable layperson. The panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the National Council on the

Arts, which sends its recommendations to the chairman, who makes the final decision. The Arts Endowment encourages nominations of a broad range of individuals who have been significant to the field of jazz, through vocals, instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education. NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships are up to $25,000 and can be received once in a lifetime. Visit the Arts Endowment’s website for detailed information and to submit nominations. The next deadline is October 30, 2020.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support give Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.

 

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