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Phylicia Rashad, Mamadou Athi Star in New Amazon Prime Thriller ‘Black Box’

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Phylicia Rashad (screenshot - Black Box)

*The Amazon Studio Original “Black Box” depicts the aftermath of a young African American Male, Nolan Cole, who loses his wife and memory in a car accident.

Cole who is played by Actor Mamadou Athie, undergoes experimental treatment to help regain his memory but instead it causes him to question who he really is.

The Black Box allows patients to re-experience lost memories. However, the experiences Nolan face throughout the film are much darker than he predicted. One of the main themes portrayed in the film is mental health.

“When I was growing up it certainly felt like a type of taboo subject. Therapy was thought of, at least where I grew up, was for crazy people. It’s just like actually a wonderful tool to help yourself. I’m very grateful to explore those kinds of themes,” says Athie.

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Mamadou Athi and Phylicia Rashad (screenshot - Black Box)

Phylicia Rashad and Mamadou Athi (screenshot – Black Box)

The movie takes on an extreme plot twist while Cole is undergoing his hypnosis treatment, which is performed by Dr. Lilian Brooks, played by Phylicia Rashad.

“Let me say, Lilian, she’s a brilliant woman with a scientific mind and she is really bent on research and designing something new. She has a very personal agenda, says Rashaad.”

While the chemistry on set between Cole and Dr. Brooks intensified, off the set for the actors was quite the experience.

“I really love working with her. Just the scenes in the lab and just getting to know her and just the stories that were shared. Yes, there’s a lot of wisdom. Just how she carried herself on set. I’m really grateful,” says Athie.

Blackbox was directed by award winning film director, Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr.

The film is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on October 6, 2020.

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Ross Williams: ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape from Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America

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Ross Williams

Ross Williams

*Ross Williams made it out, and then he wrote a book about it.

Growing up in New Orleans’ 7th Ward can be rife with challenges. The horror stories far exceed the successful ones. Ross’s journey is an exception, and an exceptional one.

Surrounded by a solid family with community values, Williams attended Tulane University where he studied sociology. He has gone on to become the author of two best-sellers within an eight-month span.

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“Made It Out” is testimony not only to his journey, but also to the similarities of surviving the streets and corporate America. His follow-up book, “Crabs In A Barrel: War On Racism,” gives a different perspective on the phrase that focuses more on the barrel than on the crab.

Author is just one of Williams’ many hats. He is also CEO of Williams Commerce Writing Services, which aims to empower job seekers, authors and entrepreneurs.

Photo courtesy of Ross Williams

Zenger News invited Williams for a Q&A session to learn more about his break-out book and journey of discovery.

Percy Crawford interviewed Ross Williams for Zenger News.


Percy Crawford interviewed Ross Williams for Zenger News (Photo courtesy of Percy Crawford)

Zenger: How did you break the cycle, so to speak, and make it out of the 7th Ward in New Orleans?

Williams: Really learned as much as possible. So, really learning what cursed prior generations and trying to avoid those same things. A lot of that came from learning from my parents who were born in the 1940s, so a lot of my family members are older. So, I have a lot of old-school values. I had the chance to learn about life before my era… I was able to accumulate all of that and just learn from every lesson or loss that I had in life and just never settled.

Zenger: What was it like growing up there and seeing some of the things you experienced?

Williams: I had a sense of pride about my community. My mother’s side of the family has been part of the St. Bernard, 7th Ward community since it was established back in the 1930s and 40s. A lot of people talk about the downfall of the neighborhood. Of course, I discuss that in my first book, “Made It Out,” some of the things I experienced. But one of the big things my neighborhood helped with was just building a confidence about myself and my abilities. At first it was basketball and then it became a swag with everything I do. I believe that I can be the best at whatever I put my mind to.

Zenger: What made you decide to even write a book?

Williams: Really to help other people to make it out of situations that they encountered. At first when I was writing my book, it was kind of like making it out of the inner city. I felt my lessons were applicable to any environment that you can grow up in. Like I said, learning from mistakes, gravitating towards positive energy, and learning from your losses. I really just wanted to give people the blueprint because halfway through the book it became about making it out of corporate America and becoming an entrepreneur. As of right now, even just picking up from there, I’m trying to show the world that I’ve made it out since then. Since the book, I’m still making it out.

Zenger: You actually make parallels in the book about the similarities of making it out of the street life and making it through corporate America. As crazy as it sounds, there’s not very much separation, is there?

Williams: I think in society with social engineering, a lot of us feel that if we are a different race or different religion, society has taught us that the next person is very different from us. And we can’t see eye-to-eye just because we come from different worlds or experiences. Gangstas and crooked people growing up in inner cities are no different than white collar gangstas. White collar gangstas are actually more cutthroat because at least in the neighborhood you know who to look out for. In corporate America, a lot of people have ulterior motives, but they project friendly energy. It’s not really necessary. It’s not these people need me to get by like in the neighborhood. It’s just out of malice. That’s why I feel like it’s grimier in corporate America because of how it’s presented to you.

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Zenger: It can be difficult to navigate that.

Williams: Right. And something that my neighborhood taught me, once I started communicating with people in higher level CEO positions or people that made in the upper six figures or north of that, just the intellect and growing the confidence once I interacted with these people, it’s like, “Oh, I can sit in these positions too.” A lot of times we are made to look at certain people as if they are superior to us, especially when we’re coming from inner cities. But we have the same abilities as those people. A lot of those people had easier routes to get there. That’s one thing of just gaining confidence along each step of your journey.

Zenger: Did you anticipate becoming a best-selling author and your books having the kind of impact that they have had?

Williams: Humbly speaking, my mom always told me, “Don’t step at all if you are going to half step.” So, I know the tears, the blood and sweat that I put into each project, or even a client’s book. I put that same energy towards everything. I’m very strategic and I move with a sense of urgency. I visualized the successes that I have had in my career so many times over and over, that all of the excitement is poured into the process each day. So, when it happens, I’m kind of militant about it, so I’m really not surprised. I really put my all into each thing and utilize my natural skillset. I haven’t been surprised so far.

(Edited by André Johnson and Judy Isacoff)



The post ‘Made It Out’ Author Recalls Escape From Streets of New Orleans and Corporate America appeared first on Zenger News.

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‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting’ Star Tamara Smart Stops by / WATCH

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Tamara Smart1 - A Babysitters-Guide-to-Monster-Hunting

*Halloween looks a little different this year for most. If you’re looking for something to get your kids in the spirit of Halloween, the new Netflix film, “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting is a good start.

The film stars Tamara Smart who plays Kelly Ferguson, a babysitter turned superhero. While she is babysitting the young boy she is watching after, he is abducted by the boogeyman, played by Tom Felton (“Harry Potter”). She (Kelly Ferguson) is approached by a secret society of monster-fighting babysitters that help her on her mission to rescue the young boy.

The film isn’t just about the spooky boogeyman and monsters but the movie also focuses on kids from different backgrounds coming together to help one another. Each member of the babysitters’ secret society has a special skill, skills that they could be made for having, or even bullied by others. We talked with Tamara about all the different elements of the movie.

“I love the fact that when Kelly meets with the babysitters, they all have these different strengths that when you put them together their invincible. I’m hoping that kids will each character to relater to in some way,” says Tamara.

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Smart also talks about the weakness that her character has and how the film shows her growth, from being bullied to becoming confident in who she is and not being ashamed of the things that make her, her. While watching this movie may confirm most kid’s fears about the boogeyman, but most importantly like Tamara said,  hopefully kids will see themselves in the characters and can help them overcome any doubts or fears they may have about themselves.

Grab the family and some popcorn, don’t forget the flashlight, and tune into Netflix to check out “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting.” It’s streaming now.  

 

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Actress Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson Talks New Movie ‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting’ / Video

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Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson

*Netflix has a new original film streaming to kick off the Halloween season. 

We mention that because most Americans are dealing with a new normal and going to haunted houses or going to the movies to see a new scary movie isn’t an option.

Enter “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” as an excellent option. On top of that, it is a good family-friendly film that everyone can enjoy at home.

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In the film a young teenager, Kelly Ferguson, played by Tamara Smart,  finds herself in a huge dilemma when the young boy she is caring for is kidnapped by the boogeyman.

She is approached by a secret society of babysitters who are dedicated to fighting monsters and the boogeyman. They all team up to help Kelly rescue the young boy. One of the babysitters, Berna, played by Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, is a genius. Which is good to see because it shows young girls it’s Ok to be a “nerd.”

Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson

Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson (A Babysitter’s Guide To Monster Hunting)

Without the help of Berna, the group would have a very hard time trying to find the missing boy. We got a chance to talk to Troy about her character and the importance of seeing a young girl of color being a tech genius. 

“I think now for there to be a film that’s about women supporting each other, a diverse group of women. I think that’s really important for young girls to see. Especially women of color who are intelligent and they’re not stereotypes,” says Johnson.

The babysitter’s society is mostly young girls and one boy and each one of them has a different strength. Kids watching this movie will get to see these kids from different backgrounds and different interests come together to help a person in need. The lure to watch of course is that it’s basically a scary movie, but there are also a lot of lessons that can be learned.  

“A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” is streaming now on Netflix.  

 

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