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Posts Tagged ‘Alfre Woodard’

Still Jill

In Communication, Griot, Music, Networking, News on November 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm

“It really is up to us,” Jill Scott says, “to stop and smell our own damn flowers.” The singer is jet-lagged, y’all. It’s been less than a week since she returned to the States from her European tour, where she made headlines in London simply by rocking a freshly cropped, red-tinted, teen-weeny ‘fro. Now Jilly from Philly is finally back home in L.A., where she’s lived for the last few years. At the moment, she’s tidying up and trying to figure out how she can take a relaxing bath before her son, 3-year old Jett, returns home after staying with family members while she was away.

The conversation shifts to women and empowerment. Says Scott, “I look at us in amazement and think to myself, ‘You are not just your job or your size or your interests or your man o ryour children. You are a bountiful bouquet.” This comes straight from the 40-year old, who celebrated the milestone birthday in April on the set of her latest TV movie, Steel Magnolias. “I owe myself a party,” she says, laughing and remembering the moment. “Something happened. It was like somebody clicked on a light.”

With a NEW MOVIE, and A NEW ATTITUDE
our FAVORITE SISTA FRIEND is…
Still Jill

When Scott’s eyes adjusted to the shine, she saw a few things rather clearly: herself as a single mother “raising a little Black boy in America”; a new start in North Hollywood; and a businesswoman with her own label, Blues Babe Records, complete with a Warner Bros. Record distributing deal.

“I just felt it was time to grow,” the singer says of Blues Babe, inspired by a painful split with former label Hidden Beach. “I didn’t want to be under anybody’s thumb again or have to explain myself so much. That’s the best part of turning 40! I do not have to explain anything to anyone, and I don’t feel the need for approval. I am a lot of things, and to be confined in any way does not fit me. I don’t want to be in any boxes.”

As if.

The most cursory dig into Scott’s discography proves that she’s so original, she can’t be boxed in — musically or otherwise. That would be a silly, impossible notion. Go deep in side the musical crates, and it easy to understand why she is so revered, even beyond her unflinching and undeniable vocal prowess. People love Jill and are on a coveted Black America first-name basis with her because of the woman’s sheer willingness to go there and bring the listener along on the journey she takes in a single song; the shape-shifting and genre-bending, the passion, the theater and the drama. She has wiethin her an almost childlike sincerity and enthusiasm, whether she’s flashing that million-dollar smile or arching one shady brow. As she sings in “So Gone (What My Mind Says),” ‘This ain’t no movie, man. I’m a real woman…’

THIS FALL, SCOTT APPEARED in Lifetime TV’s highly anticipated Steel Magnolias, a remake of the 1989 classic film about the lives and friendship of six women in a small Louisiana town. The all-Black ensemble cast — directed by Kenny Leon– is in some ways an embarrassment of riches, featuring Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Queen Latifah, Adepero Oduye and Condola Rashad, the latter whom Scott described as “ridiculously great. Not only does she live up to her lineage [as Phylicia’s daughter], she exceeds it.”

Scott plays Truvy, a a genial, self-proclaimed “glamour technician” whose home-based beauty salon doubles as the womens proverbial kitchen table. In order to authentically deliver iconic lines such as, “There’s no such thing as natural beauty,” Scott recalled the accents of her family members,m who hail from Rocky MOunt, N.C. And although she says she refused to watch the original film again — “I didn’t want to do a Dolly Parton portrayal of Truvy” — she may have inadvertently taken a page out of the country legend’s book: they both attended beauty school to prepare for their roles. “I went so that I could learn how to hold a comb, put some curls in, move the chair with my leg,” Scott explains. “The simple nuances of a hairdresser.”

Although she has a theater background and several film credits, Scott is aware that, as a musician-turned actor, she is still on proving ground. “People know me as a singer and a writer. I didn’t want anybody to think I was just going to take on this incredible, difficult, challenging craft and treat it like it’s something I’m just trying“, she says. “It’s real work, and that 4 a.m. call never feels good.”

SCOTT HAS FOUR “CAREER” muses: “Whoopi. Barbara. Bette. Diana,” she says of Goldberg, Streisand, Midler and Ross, respectively. “Renaissance women, all. They have no boundaries. Whoopi Goldberg has [won] every award there is: Tony, Grammy, Oscar, Emmy! What’cha want? She’s got ’em. and she earned them.”

Scott’s takeway? “Longevity. Longevity is key,” she says, deliberate in her repetition.

Typically, three to four years pass between Scott’s album releases, during which the singer just … lives. Enjoys her son. Pryas. Falls in love. In her current musical lull, Scott is writing a lot of plays, poetry, “a television show or two” and an opera she’s been mulling over for a decade. And though she has no idea what her fifth studio album may be, she suggests listeners should expect the unexpected. “I’ve done a great deal in the urban contemporary market,” Scott says. “it’s time for me to branch out. ‘Cause I sing jazz, I sing funk, I sing blues, I sing classical music, I sing gospel– I sing. So it’s time to go further. If I’m supposed to be singing in Portuguese, there’s what’s gonna happen.”

Scott will offer no apologies for this, of course. She will be too busy tending to her garden, stopping to smell her own damn flowers.
__________________________________
[Karen Good Marable
Ebony Magazine – October 2012]

He’s a bad mother…

In Communication, Movies, Networking, News, Politics, Self Improvement, Theater on May 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

LaTanya calls him Sam.

LaTanya calls him Sam.

Samuel L. Jackson is a bad mother — and he will never shut his mouth. The multibillion dollar man takes aim at President Obama and Hollywood, and dares you to say something. Kevin Powell [Ebony Magazine] reports:

“Say, man, my wife said you called her. What’s up with that?”

Samuel L. Jackson barks at me, sternly, his almond-colored deep set eyes weighted with history, mythology and Black folktales, scanning me quickly, methodically, as I respond, feebly, “Uh, my friend, the visual artist Radcliffe Bailey said to call…”

Before I could finish, Jackson strips the tension with a devilish smile, shakes my hand and returns to posing for the photo shoot

As Pandora spits a soul medley of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, The Isley Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone, there is Sam, forever in his beloved Armani, firing up smoke, flames dancing from the cigar and the match thisclose to burning his finger. There is Sam tossing hats at the photographer’s lens, his bald head bobbing and weaving with each flick. There is Sam, much taller than I expected — about 6-feet-2 — so at home in his 64-year-old lean and battle tested body that he nonchalantly peels off one set of clothes, down to his white boxers, before changing into a new outfit. With no one batting an eye because this is Sam’s world.

Yes, it is mad corny, at this stage, to call Jackson “cool.” He is way past cool. he is chill, like the chilled ice in a sweet tea on that steamy Chattanooga, Tenn., porch where he inhaled the words and wisdom of his mama, his auntie, his grandmama, his granddaddy, his uncles, the men of his ‘hood. So chill, in fact, that even Sam’s being proclaimed by The Guinness World Records the top-grossing movie actor of all time, with nearly $7.5 billion in ticket sales, leads to a yawning response: “Yeah, I’ve done a couple of popular movies.”

An understatement, clearly a box office total that will balloon with his and Robert Downey Jr.’s star in the wake of Marvel Studios-produced The Avengers (which grossed $204 million dollars in its opening weekend). WOW! But Samuel L. is not just in this game for money or fame, although he readily admits, “The coolest thing about being famous is the free shit.”

This is Samuel L. Jackson’s version of the American Dream, remixed to include everything from his current role of Martin Luther King Jr. on Broadway (with Angela Bassett) in Katori Hall’s play The Mountaintop; to his (crack) smoking away his first shot at Broadway in August Wilson’s masterpiece The Piano Lesson (Charles S. Dutton got the part instead and Jackson was relegated to understudy), to his boyhood Saturday morning trips to the movies and roles in the plays of his schoolteacher auntie; to his lifelong love affair with books that lead him, initially, to oceanography, then to the revolutionary politics of the Black Power era, then to street theater and the power of the spoken word.

No doubt Jackson is the kind of man, the kind of Black man, who is relishing all he has witnessed since the days of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. As a student at Atlanta’s famed Moorehouse College, Sam was an usher at Dr. Kings funeral. Today he gets to freely portray King, very human faults and all, in a play at the same time a Black president is sitting in the White House, no less.

If there is one American Actor who embodies the seismic changes in American politics and popular culture in the years between Dr. King’s death and Barack Obama’s election and has also been a full participant along the way in the best and worst of who we have been — and are — it is Samuel L. Jackson.

“Life is,”
he says inside his tiny Mountaintop dressing room during a quieter moment,
“longer than I thought it would be.”

Especially when, in one lifetime, you’ve survived a ghetto filled with alcohol, drugs, violence and houses of prostitution on both corners of your block; Vietnam War and an extended Black militant period with friends name Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown; getting suspended from college for holding the White trustees of Moorehouse College hostage (along with Black advisors including Dr. King’s father) a year after King’s assassination; and a massive addiction to crack cocaine that not only nearly killed you, but also became the source of your role as Gator in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, (he remains the only performer ever given a special supporting actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for that portrayal).

Jackson smiles a mischievous grin as he reflects upon Jungle Fever and his sudden fame after years of watching peers such as Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes achieve success: “People in Hollywood were suddenly like, ‘Hmmm, whoa! Oh, who’s that nigga?'”
(Click here to continue reading this column)

They’re doing what?

In Movies, Music, Networking, News, TV Shows on May 24, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Sure Halle Berry is looking good and feeling single while doing so – but make no mistake her black book is filled with projects pending and papparazzi snoops who are relentless & neverending.

Vivica Fox has not ever been one to sit idle. I recently saw her in a film with Jean Claude Van Damm in it: “The HARD CORPS“. It was great. It reminded me that there’s more room than a little bit to showcase ones talent. The silver screen is nice, but Vivica also has a love for cable and dvd. Meow! and Look out!

Samuel L. Jackson will be holding it down in Iron Man’s 2012 “AVENGERS” – He’s also working on a few other projects so …production don’t stop per his Imdb listing. Check him out.

John Travolta and Kelly Preston are expecting a new baby! Yeaahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!! Or so recent headlines have printed. Personally, I hope it’s true. Babies yield such radiant joy -by default. Who couldn’t use more of that in an already successful life?

Alfre Woodard is doing pretty good – she’s rarely ever far from “the heat”. In fact as we speak, she’s shooting for the TV Series “Memphis Heat“. Life is sweet!

Prince is all up in the news these days, but not “the artist formerly known as”. 🙂 It’s PRINCE – GS BOYZ & Yung JUICE from Dallas; the producers of “BUBBLE GUM”that southern party music that K104 keeps playing in decent rotation. There’s no moral message to the track, but it certainly is celebratory in delivery. A party jam.

Master P can’t be forgotten…every now and then he comes to mind when I think about Louisiana music and how he opened up ‘the grind’. He’s still in the lime light — still pioneering positive eruptions. Percy Miller is still on the hunt to own his own tv network/production.

Monica has a new CD out: “STILL STANDING” and it is completely jamming. Besides being timeless in her looks her voice hasn’t aged either. Feel young again and jam Monica where she stands.

Jamie Foxx of Terrell, TX is one brother I can rarely get enough of. He sings, he acts, he cracks me up… He’s a winner! His film resume is crazy these days and to think the camera fell in love with him during his stint on the Wayan Bros.IN LIVING COLOR

Vanessa Williams is still a hot talent to me. I hate the industry ever took “the camera” off of her, but she’s a sister full of SOUL FOOD and substance, so I’m sure we’ll see her again.

I just thought I’d run down a few things you may not have known,
I’m Qui
and the updated 411 is now a seed that has been sewn