Posts made in April 2019


John Singleton at the 2017 AAFCA Awards in Hollywood, CA (credit: AAFCA)

John Singleton was, without question, one of the most important filmmakers of our generation. With his groundbreaking 1991 debut film, Boyz N the Hood, he brought a sensitivity to urban Black life that was unprecedented for the time. With that film — which he wrote and directed — he painted the challenges as well as joys of growing up Black in Los Angeles during one of its most tumultuous times. That film earned him a Best Director Oscar nomination, making him the youngest and first-ever Black nominee, as well as one for Best Screenplay.

John Singleton, Gil Robertson, Ava DuVernay, Robert “RZA” Diggs in 2015 in Hollywood, CA

John would continue to flex his versatility throughout his career, helming 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second installment of the big budget franchise and the biggest grossing film of his career in 2003. However, Singleton was most passionate about films about his community, particularly his native South Central Los Angeles. He immediately followed Boyz N the Hood with two other films set primarily in Los Angeles: Poetic Justice (1993), Higher Learning (1995) and Baby Boy (2001) gave a refreshing and personal lens to the identity of urban Black males that was multi-dimensional and spanned a wide variety of viewpoints.

John was a great friend to the Black press and to AAFCA in particular. To me, he was not only an advocate and treasured ally, but also a personal friend. I began covering his work with his second film, Poetic Justice, and feel privileged to have had a front row seat to his amazing journey. Just last year, AAFCA had the tremendous honor of celebrating the 25th anniversary of that very film with him as part of our annual Summer Screening Series.

Over the years, John never shunned the Black press and personally made sure that African American journalists always got ample opportunity to cover his work. When we started the AAFCA Awards a decade ago, John was one of our first presenters. Filmmaking, they say, is very personal and communal and John embodied that. There are countless members of this community that he helped. He championed Craig Brewer in his debut film Hustle & Flow and introduced such actors as Morris Chestnut, Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Tyrese, Taraji P. Hensonand Angela Bassett to the big screen in leading roles.

Even though he ventured out to do the historic drama Rosewood, telling the hidden story of an all-Black town in Florida that was massacred in 1923, Los Angeles was his forever muse. His most recent co-creation, Snowfall, the FX show chronicling the advent of crack to the city, will premiere its third season in July.

I and AAFCA are not alone in saying that, while our dear friend will be missed, his legacy as a visionary filmmaker and unapologetically Black storyteller will live on forever. We send prayers and continued strength to his mother, his five children and the rest of his family, biological and cinematic, who loved and cherished him. Although we are heartbroken, we are beyond grateful for all that he has given us and the legacy with which he leaves us.

Dear friend, we salute you and we love you.”

– Gil Robertson IV, President/CoFounder, African American Film Critics Association


The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) actively reviews cinema at-large, with a particular emphasis on films which include the Black experience. The organization creates a platform for movies with universal appeal to the African-American community, while highlighting films produced, written, directed and starring, persons from the African Diaspora. Our members are also involved in our advocacy work that includes programming for students interested in film criticism and journalism.

AAFCA members are a geographically diverse cross-section of journalists, covering all genres of the cinematic arts, while representing multiple mediums – including print, TV, radio broadcast and online. Collectively, they have reached a worldwide audience in excess of 100 million.

Follow AAFCA online!
Instagram: @aafca
Twitter: @theaafca

Days Of Summer Cruise Fest Announces Star-Studded Lineup, Headlined by Post Malone, Hosted by DJ Khaled, and With Performances from Cardi B, City Girls, and More

Embarking Miami on June 28th and Returning on July 1st After a Stop in the Bahamas, the Cruise Promises the Opportunity For Fans to See and Interact With Some of Hip-Hop’s Biggest Names

The Announcement:
Promising an all-star array of musical talent coupled with a luxury cruise experience, Days of Summer Cruise 2019 is the rap event of the summer. Today, Days Of Summer announces its full lineup, gathering artists from all over the hip-hop spectrum for a weekend-long sub-tropical extravaganza. The festival promises headlining performances from Post Malone and Cardi B, along with sets by City Girls, Soulja Boy, DaBaby, Flipp Dinero, Dej Loaf, Waka Flocka Flame, Lil Nas X and more, plus special guests to be announced. Hosted by DJ Khaled, who will infuse the festival with a healthy dose of positive energy, Days Of Summer is the ultimate summer getaway for hip-hop heads and late-spring breakers alike

Embarking from Miami on June 28th, the cruise offers fans the chance to get up-close-and-personal with their favorite artists, and will offer a variety of parties and activities, including meet-n-greets, comedy shows, panels, and nightlife. The cruise will make a stop in Nassau, Bahamas on Saturday June 29th, before heading to Half Moon Cay, a private island where the Beach Festival will take place. The cruise returns to Miami on July 1st. With only 70 days until the action-packed weekend of partying and great music, Days Of Summer is a unique event that you don’t want to miss.

Reserve your cabin here.

Check out the recap video from 2017 here.

Check back at the Days Of Summer 2019 official website for up-to-date information about cruise amenities and guidelines:

Please contact MichelleScott, or Kierra for more info.

official site | instagram

Buy tickets to Days Of Summer 2019:


Atlantic Records was the pioneering home of Ray Charles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Otis Redding, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Roberta Flack, John Coltrane, and scores of other great Jazz, R&B and Pop artists. The Coasters, The Drifters, Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett head the list of African-American stars that the label marketed during the 1950s and 1960s.
Aretha Franklin had originally been signed to Columbia Records by John Hammond, who also signed Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. When her Columbia career failed to ignite, Atlantic Records signed her, and under the guidance of Jerry Wexler, Franklin’s career was transformed.
Starting in 1967, her string of hits – “I Never Loved A Man”, “Respect”, “Baby I Love You”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think”, “Don’t Play That Song” – kept Atlantic Records at the top of both the Pop and R&B charts. Franklin’s success disguised the fact that the label was losing touch with its R&B heritage following the death of Otis Redding and Ray Charles’ defection to a rival company.

Love of Soul Music, from the Supremes to Al Green, had united Americans across racial lines. However, by the early 1970s, the Civil Rights movement had fractured coupled with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. This led to the growth of the Black Power movement and a growing alienation of African Americans – and their music – from the white mainstream culture. Labels, like Atlantic Records (which became part of Warner Communications by 1970), saw their future more and more in the exploding market for white rock groups and singer-songwriters.

By 1971, Aretha Franklin was known as the Queen of Soul. In the culmination of five years of chart-topping hits, she and her producer, Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records, decided her next recording would take her back to the music of her youth, to the world of American Gospel music.

Amazing Grace was not intended as a swan song, but it would turn out to be an elegiac moment in American musical history as well as a salute to the gospel heritage that had transformed American music in the 1960s.


When Franklin was planning her album, Warner Brothers agreed to film the session in 1972.
Warner Communications, the parent company of Warner Brothers Films and the Warner, Reprise, Elektra and Atlantic labels, had reaped the rewards of that new buzz-word, “corporate synergy” with the success of the 1970 Michael Wadleigh film and album of Woodstock. Warner had paid $100,000 for the rights and the film grossed $17 million and the album sold three million copies. Warner Communications hoped for Amazing Grace to have that same success.
Warner Brothers’ Director of Music Services, Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Pink Floyd Producer), proposed hiring Jim Signorelli, a documentary filmmaker and his team of 16mm cameramen. However, before Signorelli’s deal could be signed, Warner Brothers’ CEO, Ted Ashley, mentioned the project during a meeting with Sydney Pollack. At the time, Pollack was recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for his film, They Shoot Horses Don’t They. Pollack immediately signed up for the project upon hearing Franklin’s name.
Recorded live at Rev James Cleveland’s church in Watts, California in front of a lively audience/congregation, Amazing Grace would become the highest selling album of Franklin’s career and the most popular Gospel album of all time.

However, the film was never released publicly.
Sydney Pollack was a feature-film director. When recording, sound is usually post-synched on the back-lot. After the remarkable two days of recording, the editors threw up their hands. There were no clappers, no marks to guide the sound into synch with the picture. Pollack hired lip readers and specialist editors but received no luck.

The film languished for almost 40 years before former Atlantic staff producer/Wexler protégé Alan Elliott came to Wexler and ultimately to Pollack. Together, Elliott, Wexler, and Pollack approached Warner Brothers about using new digital technology to match sound to picture and make a film out of the raw footage.
Forty-seven years later, this film is a testimony to the greatness of Aretha Franklin and a time- machine window into a moment in American musical and social history.


How was the process of purchasing the film from Warner Bros like?

Elliott: It was easy! Sydney Pollack and I had been having conversations about the film and then he unfortunately got sick. He called me one day to tell me he wanted me to finish the film and that he told Warner Films the same. So, my agent, Ari Emanuel, made the deal with Warner Films and we were off and running.

How long have you been working on this film?

Elliott: Since 1990

What were the technical difficulties that arose with the film?

Elliott: The film and audio shot in 1972 had no synchronization.

Did you know about the audio issue prior to purchasing the film?

Elliott: No, I did not!

What was it that ultimately fixed the audio?

Elliott: Digital technology from Deluxe Entertainment services and my great friends, Gray Ainsworth and Beverly Wood, helped fix the audio.

Was there anything you had to leave out of the film? What made you decide what to leave out?

Elliott: Yes. My first cut was 3 and 1⁄2 hours. I was in a first screening with a friend who had just had prostate cancer…and so that informed editing choices (we needed to go faster!).

Was there anyone from the film that helped with the post-edit?

Elliott: Many choir members and Alexander Hamilton came to screenings and in all, just having them in the screenings informed my choices.

What is your favorite Aretha Franklin song from the album “Amazing Grace”?

Elliott: That would be “God Will Take Care of You”, and I had to edit it out of the film because it didn’t fit!


More Than Six Decades of Artistry
Aretha Franklin was a giant of popular music and a global cultural icon. One of the best-selling musical artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold worldwide, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” created an amazing legacy of more than six decades. She had sung before heads of state and foreign royals and gained admiration from fans, colleagues, and fellow artists across all genres. She is known all over the world simply by her first name: Aretha.
Her vocal mastery and artistic excellence have been recognized numerous times throughout her distinguished career. Twice voted as the number one Greatest Singer of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine, Franklin is the recipient of the U.S.A.’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, as well as an 18-time Grammy Award winner, and a recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement and a Grammy Living Legend honor. Aretha was the youngest individual ever to receive the coveted Kennedy Center Honor; the first female inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; the second female inductee into the US Music Hall of Fame; and an inductee into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Aretha’s gospel album, Amazing Grace is the biggest-selling album and the best-selling live gospel album of all time. The album, Amazing Grace is enjoying a revival nearly 50 years after it was recorded, which follows the long-awaited documentary about the making of that legendary double live album, which opened to stellar reviews. CBS honored Aretha’s career on March 10th, 2019 with Aretha: A Grammy Tribute for the Queen of Soul.
Aretha has been proclaimed internationally as “the voice of the civil rights movement, the voice of black America,” and a “symbol of black equality.” In 1968, her spiritually uplifting voice was heard around the world singing at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in 1972 at the funeral of the Queen of Gospel Mahalia Jackson. Aretha’s acclaimed voice was declared a “natural resource of the state” in 1985 by the Department of Natural Resources of the State of Michigan. Aretha would later reach a milestone in her historic career by singing at the first inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Night #1
“On Our Way”
“Wholy Holy”
“What a Friend We Have In Jesus” “How I Got Over” “Precious Memories” “You’ve Got A Friend” “Precious Lord Take My Hand” “Amazing Grace”
“My Sweet Lord” (Instrumental)
Night #2
“Mary Don’t You Weep” “Climbing Higher Mountains” “Old Landmark” “Never Grow Old”
“Old Landmark” (End Credits)


Tyler Perry’s Long-Running Series Premieres on Tuesday, May 7 at 9pm ET/PT


To download “The Haves and the Have Nots” hi-res image, click here:

LOS ANGELES – OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s and Tyler Perry’s hit drama “The Haves and the Have Nots” returns for season six with all-new episodes on Tuesday, May 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. The most explosive season yet continues with scandal, destruction, and life-threatening tragedies for the Cryer, Harrington, and Young families.

“The Haves and the Have Nots” ranks among the top three original scripted series on ad-supported cable with OWN’s key demo and is the #1 original scripted cable series on Tuesday nights.

Season six of “The Haves and the Have Nots” culminates in one of the most jaw-dropping finales that Tyler Perry has ever written. Years of behaving badly will have deadly consequences for some of Savannah’s most prominent residents. The series stars John Schneider (Jim Cryer), Tika Sumpter (Candace Young), Angela Robinson (Veronica Harrington), Renee Lawless (Katheryn Young), Crystal Fox (Hannah Young), Peter Parros (David Harrington), Tyler Lepley (Benny Young), Gavin Houston (Jeffrey Harrington) and Aaron O’Connell (Wyatt Cryer).

For a sneak peek of “The Haves and the Have Nots” season six click here:

About Tyler Perry Studios
Tyler Perry Studios (TPS) was formed by actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry in the fall of 2008. The studio develops and produces motion picture films, in addition to drama and comedy television programming for the multi-platform U.S. television market. The 200,000-square foot studio lot is situated on the former Delta Airlines campus of more than 30 acres in the Greenbriar area of southwest Atlanta. The studio consists of five sound stages, a post production facility, a pond, a back lot, a 400-seat theater, a private screening room, and designated areas for entertaining and hosting events. Since its opening, Perry and the studio’s 400 Atlanta-based employees have been hard at work in production of over fifteen films and five television series, with over 90 total episodes per year. In 2015 TPS announced plans to expand operations with the acquisition of Fort McPherson, adding another 330 acres to create another major movie production studio lot.

About OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand and the magnetism of the channel. OWN is a leading destination for premium scripted and unscripted programming from today’s most innovative storytellers. OWN’s original scripted series include popular dramas “Queen Sugar,” “Greenleaf,” “Love Is __,” “The Have and Have Nots, “If Loving You is Wrong,” hit sitcom “The Paynes,” and upcoming drama series “David Makes Man” from Academy Award-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney and “Ambitions” from box office hit-maker Will Packer. OWN’s Saturday night unscripted programming lineup includes “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” “Book of John Gray,” “Black Love,” “Mind Your Business with Mahisha” and the recently announced dating series “Ready to Love.” OWN connects with its audience wherever they are, inspiring conversation among a global community of like-minded viewers on social media and beyond. Launched on January 1, 2011, OWN is a joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications. The venture also includes the award-winning digital platform Access OWN anytime, anywhere on or across mobile devices and connected TVs. For more information, please visit and


“Do the Right Thing” will screen at the TCM Classic Film Festival on April 12 in partnership with AAFCA

LOS ANGELES (April 8, 2019) – Fresh off the heels of their annual AAFCA Awards, the African American Film Critics Association — the world’s largest group of leading black film critics — is continuing the year with an active calendar of events and programs.

On Friday, April 12 at 9pm, AAFCA, in partnership with the 10th TCM Classic Film Festival, will present a screening of Do the Right Thing at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Attending from the film are Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter and actress Joie Lee. Complimentary tickets can be requested by emailing

For Women’s History Month, AAFCA hosted a “Women in Media” discussion series Madeline Di Nonno chats with Ronda Penrice at AAFCA’s Atlanta “Women in Media” event featuring Madeline di Nonno (CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media) and author/journalist Ronda Racha Penrice in Atlanta. Photos from the event are available to view here.

Madeline Di Nonno chats with Ronda Penrice at AAFCA’s Atlanta “Women in Media” event

In Los Angeles, filmmaker Stephanie Allain and actress/critic Carla Renata discussed the new Netflix film Juanita, produced by Allain and starring Alfre Woodard and Blair Underwood. Watch the conversation here or by clicking the image below.

In the coming months, AAFCA will host media meet & greets in New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Stay tuned for details!

Click below to check out a recap of AAFCA’s Atlanta “Women in Media” event

Justin Key interviews Will Packer for the AAFCA podcast

Did you know that AAFCA has a podcast?

Hosted by film and entertainment journalist Edward Adams, the AAFCA Podcast digs beyond the surface to facilitate conversations that not only explore the industry, but also the larger societal impact of that work. Through insightful conversations with the industry’s hottest stars, directors, producers, other key players and a range of prominent influencers, every episode of the AAFCA Podcast will offer keen and timely analysis from leading thought leaders that will keep listeners connected to what is happening now.

The complete Season 1 of the AAFCA Podcast can be found here. Season 2 will launch in September.

Click below to check out a recent episode on “Pioneers in African American and Women Cinema.

Check out the 2019 AAFCA Awards in this
month’s issue of Upscale !

The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) actively reviews cinema at-large, with a particular emphasis on films which include the Black experience. The organization creates a platform for movies with universal appeal to the African-American community, while highlighting films produced, written, directed and starring, persons from the African Diaspora. Our members are also involved in our advocacy work that includes programming for students interested in film criticism and journalism.

AAFCA members are a geographically diverse cross-section of journalists, covering all genres of the cinematic arts, while representing multiple mediums – including print, TV, radio broadcast and online. Collectively, they have reached a worldwide audience in excess of 100 million.

Follow AAFCA online!
Instagram: @aafca
Twitter: @theaafca

Cormega Pays Tribute To Nipsey Hussle and posts poignant message about the legacy he left and you should leave on the world!

“His music will entertain us but his activism should motivate, inspire, and remind us to elevate ourselves and aspire to exude true excellence.” – Mega

“Death is inevitable but what you live for and how you live defines you more than anything. Death should be the last page to your book of life but not the end of your story. We’ve taken a major loss. Malcolm and Martin advocated for the kinds of change that Nipsey achieved. Opportunities in communities, education, economic revitalization, helping end gang violence etc. There are many great artist but how many of them are great human beings? Nipsey was a great human being. We usually mourn celebrities for the talent they displayed in their field. Not many achieve notably out of their field. So many people say black excellence but only display black elegance. Nipsey was black excellence. His music will entertain us but his activism should motivate, inspire, and remind us to elevate ourselves and aspire to exude true excellence. Nipsey was planning on launching STEM programs in inner cities across America and spreading awareness on health and well being. The greatest honor his people could do is carry on the pursuit of such excellence and remember as long as we reach the finish line we all win because it’s not a sprint it’s a Marathon.” – Mega @iamcormega