Posts made in May 2021


A four-part series chronicling four of boxing’s greatest prizefighters—Roberto Durán, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard.

THE KINGS spotlights boxing’s evolution from the end of Muhammad Ali’s era to the era of the Four Kings, set against the seismic political and socio-economic shifts taking place in the United States. The Four Kings rose to fame as the presidency of Jimmy Carter and economic recession gave way to the boon of 1980s capitalism and excess harnessed by the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Through in-depth interviews and archival footage, the series also examines the very personal battles that each man waged on his unique journey to the center of the sports world.

“These four men defined an era in boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, SHOWTIME Sports. “Their individual stories, forever linked by the spectacular battles they waged, reflect a tumultuous period in American culture and history. THE KINGS takes the viewer beyond the glorious action of some of history’s most memorable prizefights to illuminate each man’s dramatic journey and the societal context that made them stars of sports and popular culture.”

Following a brief fallow period in the wake of Ali’s retirement, boxing was revitalized when Leonard became a world champion in 1979 and waged his first battle with Durán in 1980. From that point, the Four Kings engaged in a decade-long run of riveting fights that far outperformed any other sport in attention and revenue. They were the most popular stars of sports and American culture.

From 1979 through 1985, as a mark of their incredible achievements, the Boxing Writers Association of America bestowed these men the coveted title of “Fighter of the Year” annually with the lone exception of 1982 – with Leonard, Hagler and Hearns each winning twice. In the nine world title fights between them, there were four knockouts and three of the bouts were recognized by The Ring magazine as “Fight of the Year.” The Ring magazine “Round of the Year” (and to many, the round of all time) from round one of Hagler-Hearns is, perhaps, the most iconic single round of boxing of all time. Fittingly, THE KINGS premieres in the 45th anniversary year of Leonard winning an Olympic gold medal, and the 40th anniversary year of the welterweight world title unification battle between Leonard and Hearns, widely considered their greatest fight and a symbol of the era.

THE KINGS is produced by Box To Box Film in association with Ingenious Media. The series is executive produced by James Gay-Rees (Amy, Senna, Drive To Survive) and Paul Martin (Diego Maradona, Drive To Survive), produced by Fiona Neilson (Oasis: Supersonic, Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams) and directed by Mat Whitecross (Oasis: Supersonic, Road To Guantanamo, Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams).

The Underground Railroad

From Academy Award® winner Barry Jenkins and based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad chronicles Cora Randall’s (newcomer Thuso Mbedu) desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.

Over the course of her journey, Cora is pursued by Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), a bounty hunter who is fixated on bringing her back to the plantation she escaped; especially since her mother Mabel is the only one he has never caught.

As she travels from state to state, Cora contends with the legacy of the mother that left her behind and her own struggles to realize a life she never thought was possible.

The Underground Railroad stars Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon and Joel Edgerton. Aaron Pierre, William Jackson Harper, Sheila Atim, Amber Gray, Peter De Jersey, Chukwudi Iwuji, Damon Herriman, Lily Rabe, Irone Singleton, Mychal-Bella Bowman, Marcus “MJ” Gladney, Jr., Will Poulter and Peter Mullan round out the cast.

Barry Jenkins serves as showrunner and directs all ten episodes of the limited series. He executive produces alongside Adele Romanski, Mark Ceryak, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt, Richard Heus, Jacqueline Hoyt and Colson Whitehead. The Underground Railroad is a production of Plan B, Pastel and Big Indie with Amazon Studios.


It is 8pm on March 11th, 2021, nearly a year to the day that I walked off the set of The Underground Railroad unsure (and yet undeniably sure) that the virus ravaging the world had come to ravage our production. Tonight, I am listening to Toni Morrison’s Nobel lecture because after 116 days of being relied upon to direct it is important to be directed, to give myself over to someone else’s doctrine.

The lecture, if you haven’t read or heard it, is a thesis, a grappling with everything framed through fable. In this fable, Ms. Morrison recites the story of a wise, blind woman visited by children. The children are holding a bird and have questioned the woman of whether the bird is living or dead. The children, in their cruel game, are here to test the blind woman, to smash away her clairvoyant esteem.

Ms. Morrison writes –

Finally she speaks and her voice is soft but stern. “I don’t know”, she says. “I don’t know whether the bird you are holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands. It is in your hands.” Stepping outside the fable she has created, Ms. Morrison continues –

Speculation on what (other than its own frail body) that bird-in-the-hand might signify has always been attractive to me, but especially so now thinking, as I have been, about the work I do that has brought me to this company. So I choose to read the bird as language and the woman as a practiced writer. She is worried about how the language she dreams in, given to her at birth, is handled, put into service, even withheld from her for certain nefarious purposes.

As a student who believed this medium to be the vessel of their voice – to be language – I was forced to reckon with D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation. In a time where information was beyond my control, I was sat down to watch this film and not told its true title (The Clansman), but instead made aware of the artistic significance of the work as a reasoning for the continued presentation (nearly a century forth) of its horrendous imagery. Of the significance of its language.

Two decades on, I remain a student but of my own volition. In the hundred years since its creation, The Birth of a Nation has seen the impact of its language rise and fall. As the vanguard of a new medium, its insistence on a radical new form has given it a speed upon which its demagoguery has metastasized and endured. In reflecting upon what we’ve done in transporting Colson Whitehead’s searing work from page to screen and the gambit set forth by Griffith’s magnum opus, I find myself returning to Ms. Morrison’s thesis: language. Whose language? What language? And to what purpose?

From the beginning, I’ve feared this show. Before my second feature, Moonlight, ever premiered and through the production and release of my third, If Beale Street Could Talk, it has been the thing haunting me; stalking me, waiting for me in the shadows of dim rooms, at the edges of conversations. For so long, the notion of imagery such as those contained within this show has elicited feelings of shame, of trauma. The trauma arising from depictions of the American institution of slavery are so great that the very thought of creating such images is enough to bring forth this shame. And this shame is enough to mute, to taint those images to the point that the ethical questions regarding the efficacy of their existence potentially disallows their existence. In my ragged and incomplete sampling of peers and family, we simply are not ready to deal with these images. In my samplings, it was made clear to me that I should not make The Underground Railroad.

But if not now, when? As a student in this country educated in the public institutions created by the nation to educate and form its citizens, the imagery I speak of, if presented at all, is abridged, amended, curtailed and coded to protect the legacy that leads to the siren call of “making America great again.” Throughout my schooling in this country, if the topic of slavery was broached at all it was done so pithily, shoddily and, heinously, solely from January 15th to February 28th.

I’ve asked myself, who does this serve? The people clinging to States rights and monuments to men who fought to preserve the enslavement of my ancestors? For decades, the fight to correct the American historical narrative and create a more truthful history has been waged within the halls of academia and in the pages of literary works and journalistic periodicals. Between 1936 and 1938, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) collected more than 2,300 interviews with formerly enslaved people. The memories of these octo and nonagenarians were crisp time-capsules of a history that had been purposely disregarded as they lived out the balance of their lives. Imagine having lived as an enslaved person and in your lifetime enduring half-a-century of a nation’s industrial proliferation without even cursory debate regarding the legitimacy of reparations for victims of enslavement… to say nothing of their descendants. In 2019, Nikole Hannah-Jones launched The 1619 Project on the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans’ arrival on our nation’s shores, a sweeping (and ongoing) endeavor that fills in redacted cavities of our historical record.

When I was a student, the WPA Slave Narrative Collection was not taught nor stocked in the libraries of my public school. If the state and local governments such as those in Arkansas, Iowa, and Mississippi (and counting) prevail, neither will The 1619 Project. The fact of both these withholdings from the students who will become the citizens shaping the future of this country weighs on me as I once again wrestle with the trauma and shame of creating images that speak to this dark history and whether that shame and trauma outstrip the efficacy of such images. To put it bluntly: Do we need to be reminded of the horrors of American slavery? Is it ethically or morally right to do so? And if so, why?

A possible answer was shown to me in a different form. In addition to The Birth of a Nation, the Film 101 syllabus included Schindler’s List, Night and Fog, and The Pawnbroker. The critical analysis of those films bridged out to The Diary of Anne Frank, Shoah, Come and See (and many others). There are differences here and I do not wish to compare or contrast the atrocities of the Holocaust with those of American slavery; the Holocaust occurred during a time in which the tools of reportage, documentation and archiving were plentiful and readily employed. However, it is not lost on me that roughly fifty years after the genocide that threatened the future of his ancestors Steven Spielberg made Schindler’s List… while roughly fifty years after the conclusion of the genocide perpetrated by his ancestors, D.W. Griffith gave us The Birth of a Nation. Discarding Griffith’s racist agitprop and finding communion with Mr. Spielberg’s noble effort makes one thing abundantly clear: the trauma is real but… the shame is not ours.

Which brings me back to the question: “If not now, when?” As a nation, we are watching far more than we are reading. Despite the abundance of thorough, engrossing and illuminating work composed on the subject of American slavery by academics and journalists alike, the subject of reparations for the descendants of enslaved people has never been given due process and the slogan “Make America Great Again” both catapulted a trickster into the White House and emboldened his acolytes to wave the flag of the Confederacy in the halls of Congress and erect a hangman’s noose on the steps of the nation’s capital. If not now, when? When will it be appropriate to unravel the myth of American exceptionalism perpetrated through the manipulation of history and language by wielding a more truthful presentation of history through clear and unflinching language?

Language can never “pin down” slavery, genocide, war. Nor should it yearn for the arrogance to be able to do so. Its force, its felicity is in its reach toward the ineffable. – Toni Morrison

The ineffable. There are hard images in this show, images that speak forthrightly to the injustices inflicted upon my ancestors in the great making of this country… and yet they could never truly sum the hardness of this most horrible condition, the American institution of slavery. And while I have done everything I can to present them forthrightly and without over-sensation, the fact of their existence is a hard thing to bear. It is for that reason that alongside those hard images I have also strove to pay respect to softer ones whose existence is no less emphatic. Whether that be a formerly enslaved woman marveling at her sublime reflection in a mirror… or an enslaved man sitting on a porch mending a toy for the children he did not conceive but whom he will raise as his sons; that same woman crying with joy at discovering her ability to love and be loved, to make love, images that are testament to the deep wells of fortitude that had to have been present in order for the descendants of those people to persevere and retain agency that they may one day use language to create testaments in their ancestors’ image.

I must end this now. When I was a child, a teacher spoke the words “Underground Railroad” and I saw images of Black folks building and working and thriving on vessels of their own creation far beneath the ground. In that moment, everything felt possible. Despite the shoddy conditions of my impoverished life at the time and what felt like a constant closing, the entire world opened to me. In that moment, I placed no limitations on my ancestors and the magic they were capable of making. To this day, it is the one of the most whole feelings I’ve experienced in my forty-one years of life. For me, this show is a return to that feeling with the eyes of an adult in place of the innocence of a child, a memory of conjuring soft images where hard ones were stricken from the record, hidden from view. This balancing act, the tension between hard and soft images, the need to tell the truth without being devoured by the barbarity of that truth, is without question the hardest undertaking I have ever attempted in my creative life.

On a location scout, I stood in a cotton field and a wave of anger and sadness took hold of me. In that moment, I debated whether to film the field or purchase the land and burn it to the ground. I saw the conundrum as a thing my ancestors who stood in that very field could never have imagined and then… I realized they must have imagined it. How else could they have endured?

They imagined it the same as I had when I heard the words “Underground Railroad” and imagined them, without question or hesitation, piloting themselves through will and grit and savvy and might. Here was that feeling again, all around me as I stood on blood-soaked Georgia soil listening to my ancestors. Something clear before solidified then – This show… is for them.

Follow The Underground Railroad:
Twitter + Instagram: @TheUGRailroadTV



LOS ANGELES, CA, May 21, 2021 – YouTube Originals Kids and Families today announced the second season pick-up of “Super Sema.” The African animated series, produced by a female-led team including Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, features a young superhero girl named Sema and follows her world-changing adventures. Since its debut in March, “Super Sema” has become a global hit reaching millions of viewers around the world. The 12-episode order of season two will premiere later this year. The season one finale of this free-to-stream series is available today, Friday, May 21 at 8:00AM PT / 11AM ET, on Super Sema’s official YouTube channel.

Watch the season one finale here.

“Since the debut of this show earlier this year, kids around the world have fallen in love with Sema and her heroic adventures,” said Nadine Zylstra, Head of Family, Learning and Impact for YouTube Originals. “The success of the show is due to both the creative guidance of its all-female led team and the relatability of the characters to our diverse, global audience of young viewers.”

“We’re thrilled to bring more authentic African, STEAM-powered Sema stories to millions of kids around the world,” said Lucrezia Bisignani, CEO of Kukua, the Nairobi-based edutainment company behind Super Sema. “The enthusiasm and engagement from kids, parents, and educators has been nothing short of phenomenal. More ‘Super Sema’ episodes, and accompanying STEAM activities, means we can help keep kids ‘technovating’ and dreaming of becoming whatever they want to be.”

In the season one finale, “The Dunia Dash,” Sema’s journey continues with no roads and no rules! Sema and MB are convinced they’re going to win Dunia’s annual off-roading race with their high-tech van until they discover they’re competing against the evil AI robot Tobor, who is driving his fancy Predictorocket and is not afraid to play dirty.

Fueled by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), and set in an African-futuristic world, Sema, along with her brother MB, uses her “technovating” powers to save her village from the villainous Tobor and his army of mischievous Bongalala robots. A heartless artificially intelligent ruler, Tobor meets his match in Sema, who knows that with determination, creativity, and a helping hand from the amazing worlds of science and technology, anything is possible. “Super Sema” was written by four-time BAFTA winner Claudia Lloyd (“Charlie & Lola,” “Mr. Bean,” “Tinga Tinga Tales”) and directed by Lynne Southerland, the first female African-American director for Disney (“Mulan II”). Oscar-winning actress and author Lupita Nyong’o is Executive Producer and the voice of Mama Dunia (the spirit of Sema’s deceased mother).

“Super Sema” is created and produced by Kukua. Overseeing the project for YouTube is Zylstra, along with Daniel Haack on the YouTube Originals kids development team.

About YouTube Kids & Family Originals:
“Super Sema” joins a growing roster of YouTube Originals focused on kids and family, including the award-winning Lockdown,” and recent hits such as “Pinkfong Wonderstar,” “Kid Correspondent,” “Sherwood,” “We Are Savvy,” “Hyperlinked,” “Fruit Ninja Frenzy Force, “Kings of Atlantis” and DanTDM “Creates A Big Scene.” Shows on the YouTube Originals for Kids & Family channel can be found here.

About YouTube Originals:
YouTube Originals are award-winning, creative and engaging scripted and unscripted series and films across music, personalities and learning for fans all over the world. Spotlighting both YouTube creators alongside Hollywood’s biggest stars, YouTube Originals provide an experience that only YouTube can offer. By tapping into the platform’s growing global community, fan engagement product capabilities, and innovative content mixed with pioneering live-streamed specials, there is truly something for everybody. Fans experience YouTube Original content through ad-supported YouTube as well as YouTube Premium, a subscription service that offers access to YouTube Original series and movies, a streaming music platform, and an uninterrupted, ad-free experience across all of YouTube. YouTube Originals are available in nearly 80 countries worldwide.

About Kukua:
Founded by Lucrezia Bisignani in 2015, Kukua is a Nairobi-based children’s edutainment startup with an award-winning female team working at the intersection of technology, entertainment and education. Its first franchise, Super Sema, was introduced to children in Africa through literacy apps, available on both iOS and Android. In 2019, Kukua launched Sema’s Lab, the first African kids’ DIY and science experiment series. The Super Sema animated series is the franchise’s most exciting development to date and will be accompanied by real science and DIY experiments that children can do at home.


The Billboard Music Awards Air Live Sunday, May 23 at 8 P.M. ET / 5 P.M. PT on NBC

Los Angeles, CA (May 20, 2021) – dick clark productions and NBC today announced that Doja Cat & SZA have been added to the superstar lineup of performers for the “2021 Billboard Music Awards” (BBMAs). Hosted by Nick Jonas, the BBMAs will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.

The powerhouse duo will wow fans with the world television debut of their hit single “Kiss Me More,” from the Xfinity Stage. Doja Cat, a finalist in five categories this year, could take home her first BBMA. SZA, a 2018 BBMA winner for Top R&B Female Artist, could claim her second win in this category.

Xfinity also presents a special bonus performance by Noah Cyrus, available on Xfinity’s YouTube channel now. Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex customers can say “Billboard Music Awards” into the Voice Remote to enjoy Cyrus’ bonus performance on the TV, along with a new and never before seen interview with the artist, and also take a look back at the best moments from past BBMAs, listen to music from nominated artists and more.

About the 2021 Billboard Music Awards:

  • Hosted by Nick Jonas, the BBMAs will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.
  • PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED: AJRAlicia KeysBad BunnyBTS, DJ Khaled ft. H.E.R. and Migos, Duran DuranGlass AnimalsJimmy Jam & Terry Lewis with Sounds of Blackness ft. Ann NesbyKarol GThe Weeknd and twenty one pilots are set to perform at the “2021 Billboard Music Awards.” Trae Tha Truth will receive the Change Maker Award. Global superstar P!NK will perform and receive the distinguished ICON Award. Drake will receive the Artist of the Decade Award.
  • This year’s awards are based on the chart period of March 21, 2020 through April 3, 2021. “Billboard Music Awards” finalists and winners are based on key fan interactions with music, including audio and video streaming, album and digital song sales, radio airplay, and social engagement, tracked by Billboard and its data partners, including MRC Data and Next Big Sound.
  • Fan-voted categories include Top Social Artist and Top Collaboration. Voting is open from May 10 at 9am PT to May 21 at 11:59pm PT on Twitter For more information,
  • For more than 30 years, the BBMAs has celebrated music’s greatest achievements, honoring the hottest names in music today. Unique among music awards shows, finalists are determined by performance on the Billboard Charts. Since 1940, the Billboard Charts have been the go-to guide for ranking the popularity of artists, songs and albums, and are the ultimate measure of success in music. 
  • The annual live broadcast showcases spectacular performances, unexpected collaborations, buzzworthy pop culture moments that keep fans talking all year and the prestigious ICON Award, which honors record-breaking artists and their impact on music. 
  • The “2021 Billboard Music Awards” is produced by dick clark productions. Barry Adelman and Robert Deaton are executive producers.

About dick clark productions:

dick clark productions (dcp) is the world’s largest producer and proprietor of televised live event entertainment programming with the “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “American Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” and the “Streamy Awards.” Weekly television programming includes “So You Think You Can Dance” from 19 Entertainment and dcp. dcp also owns one of the world’s most extensive and unique entertainment archive libraries with more than 60 years of award-winning shows, historic programs, specials, performances and legendary programming. dcp is part of MRC Live & Alternative, a division of diversified global entertainment company MRC. For additional information,


Initiative Will Extend Through 2023, Telling Hip Hop’s Legendary Stories
Across Premium Long-Form, Digital Content, Podcasts and More

LOS ANGELES – May 19, 2021 – SHOWTIME today announced HIP HOP 50, a multiyear, cross-platform programming initiative celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop in collaboration with entertainment company Mass Appeal. HIP HOP 50 will encompass unscripted series and features, podcasts and digital shorts by and about some of the foremost names in the genre, driven by Mass Appeal partner Nasir “Nas” Jones and Mass Appeal Chief Creative Officer and partner Sacha Jenkins, writer, director and producer of the Emmy® and Peabody-nominated SHOWTIME series WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN. HIP HOP 50 programming will begin airing later this year on SHOWTIME, running over the next three years and culminating with the 50th anniversary of the genre in 2023. The announcement was made by Vinnie Malhotra, Executive Vice President, Nonfiction Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.

To watch and share the teaser, visit:

“HIP HOP 50 will be an unprecedented multiplatform experience that is going to be absolutely essential, not only as a celebration of the genre but also as a cultural touchstone for our world,” said Malhotra. “SHOWTIME and Mass Appeal have curated a remarkably insightful – and emotional – series of programming, bringing new depth to the giants of Hip Hop and new exposure to the most important untold stories. We can’t wait to roll this out.”

Said Jones: “Hip Hop’s growth and rise over what will soon be 50 years is staggering. I’m proud to present Mass Appeal’s latest incredible initiative – HIP HOP 50 – honoring our movement’s undeniable impact. With influential partners like SHOWTIME, we are poised to bring Hip Hop’s greatest stories to life and inspire a multitude of generations in the process. It is truly a blessing to be a part of this movement that gives due praise to my community and the culture.”

Born as a style of music in the Bronx in the early 1970s, Hip Hop exploded beyond beats and lyrics to reach mainstream domination and become what is now a global culture with influence on all touchpoints of society, including politics, social issues, fashion and sports. As part of the HIP HOP 50 announcement, SHOWTIME Documentary Films announced a quintet of projects premiering on the network under the umbrella:

PUSH IT will tell the multi-dimensional stories of women in Hip Hop, the industry and behind the scenes, exploring their journeys from the past, present and future. The project will take a deep dive into the ever-changing landscape and history through monumental dialogue from some of the most coveted talent in the game. Each piece will speak to the many stories of the women at the center who, while often silenced, pushed the boundaries of a male-dominated industry, choosing to fight and conquer the confinements built around their careers and artistic expression.

HITS FROM THE BONG (Dir. Estevan Oriol), the definitive Cypress Hill documentary, will track the lives and careers of the groundbreaking West Coast group whose unique sound, built on a hill of social consciousness and self-awareness, is cemented in the musical landscape of Hip Hop. From cultivating the flower to smoking it, Cypress Hill invented a movement with a unique sound that has cemented itself, forever etched in the musical landscape of Hip Hop, capturing an intensity yet calmness that the world was waiting for. HITS FROM THE BONG is produced by Sony and Mass Appeal for SHOWTIME.

UNTITLED RALPH MCDANIELS DOCUMENTARY (Dir. David Shadi Perez) is a story about the longest running New York City-based TV show, Video Music Box, helmed by Ralph McDaniels. Since its debut in 1983, Video Music Box has remained a Hip Hop mainstay, with McDaniels (or “Uncle Ralph,” as he’s known to legions of fans) serving as a leading Hip Hop tastemaker and introducing viewers to names like Jay Z, Nicki Minaj and Nas long before they were icons of the genre. With four decades of never-before-seen footage, the film will take viewers back on a journey through Uncle Ralph’s professional triumphs while examining his personal scars. UNTITLED RALPH MCDANIELS DOCUMENTARY is produced by Mass Appeal for SHOWTIME.

ROLLING LIKE THUNDER (Dir. Roger Gastman) plunges into the secret underground world and history of freight train and subway graffiti culture, uncovering stories of myth-like artists, fallen soldiers, oddball romances and battles with the law. As this art form’s widespread integration bursts through into mainstream vibrancy via subway and freight trains alike, the message of Hip Hop spreads far and wide across the country. The film explores the train graffiti subculture from turn-of-the-century markings to modern-day masterpieces, forever linking the art form with America’s landscape. ROLLING LIKE THUNDER reveals the anonymous outlaws of fright writing who put life and limb on the line for an obsession while giving voice to their opposition. ROLLING LIKE THUNDER is produced by Mass Appeal for SHOWTIME.

RICKY POWELL: THE INDIVIDUALIST (Dir. Josh Swade) tells the against-all-odds-story of New York City photographer Ricky Powell, who rose to worldwide fame while capturing one of the wildest, most electric times in popular culture. Documenting the music, fashion and art scenes of the ‘80s and ‘90s in downtown New York, Powell became known as “The Rickster” – a man who wasn’t just covering the scene, he was the scene. RICKY POWELL: THE INDIVIDUALIST is produced by TIME Studios and MaggieVision Productions.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc., owns and operates the premium service SHOWTIME®, which features critically acclaimed original series, provocative documentaries, box-office hit films, comedy and music specials and hard-hitting sports. SHOWTIME is available as a stand-alone streaming service across all major streaming devices and, as well as via cable, DBS, telco and streaming video providers. SNI also operates the premium services THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as on demand versions of all three brands. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®. For more information, go to

Mass Appeal is an entertainment company dedicated to telling stories from the perspective of those who shape and shift culture. Since 1996, we have documented the emerging movements that influence popular ideas. Today, Mass Appeal is the elevated voice of Hip Hop and its ever-expanding sphere of influence. Integrated offerings in content, music and creative services stoke Mass Appeal’s ability to maximize the impact of our output. Our diverse school of thought separates us from friends and foes alike.

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New Documentary To Include Highlights From Hall of Famer’s Induction Ceremony This Weekend


NEW YORK – May 13, 2021 – SHOWTIME Sports has announced the title and premiere date of the upcoming documentary KEVIN GARNETT: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, chronicling the career of one of the NBA’s all-time greats. The film will premiere on Friday, July 30 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME and will include scenes from Garnett’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, taking place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut this Saturday. To watch and share a teaser of the upcoming documentary, go to

“Kevin Garnett was a culture-changer,” says former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers in the clip that also features NBA stars Allen Iverson, Isiah Thomas, Paul Pierce, Matt Barnes, Rajon Rondo and more. “He is the best superstar teammate in the history of the game.”

KEVIN GARNETT: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE spotlights Garnett’s remarkable career and the progressive moments that defined it. The film explores how Garnett’s decision to become the first player in two decades to go to the NBA directly out of high school changed the face of the NBA and ushered in a phenomenon that reverberated beyond the league and even the sport. In addition to Garnett, the film features a range of dynamic voices and characters including the aforementioned luminaries, as well as Snoop Dogg, Sam Cassell, Pau Gasol and more.

SHOWTIME Sports is the home to an unparalleled lineup of premium basketball content. Additional titles in the lineup include IVERSON, KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE, QUIET STORM: THE RON ARTEST STORY and SHUT UP AND DRIBBLE.

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Here Today – Opens Today Only in Theaters!

When veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Billy Crystal) meets New York singer Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish), they form an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of love and trust.

Directed by:
Billy Crystal

Screenplay by:
Billy Crystal
Alan Zweibel

Based on the short story “The Prize” by: Alan Zweibel

Produced by:
Fred Bernstein
Billy Crystal
Dominique Telso
Alan Zweibel
Tiffany Haddish

Executive Producers:
Rick Jackson
Claudine Marrotte
Samantha Sprecher

Billy Crystal
Tiffany Haddish
Penn Badgley
Laura Benanti
Louisa Krause
Anna Deavere Smith
and Nyambi Nyambi

This film is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association
for the following reasons: strong language and sexual references.




​​​​​​​Official Site


Crawford’s Third Stand-Up Comedy Special For Network To Premiere Friday, May 28 At 10 PM ET/PT

LOS ANGELES – May 7, 2021 – Lavell Crawford returns for his third SHOWTIME comedy special LAVELL CRAWFORD: THE COMEDY VACCINE, premiering Friday, May 28 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. In the hour-long special filmed at the Tempe Improv in Arizona, Crawford reflects back on a tumultuous year of living through a global pandemic with an added punchline. From the panic of looking for toilet paper to attending virtual church services and wearing masks, Crawford brings levity to the many shared lifestyle changes we’ve experienced during a life in lockdown while also touching on his own quarantine frustrations with whimsical banter.

To watch and share the trailer from LAVELL CRAWFORD: THE COMEDY VACCINE, go to:

A beloved comedian and actor by audiences far and wide, Crawford is quickly climbing the comedic ranks to become one of the hottest stars. His numerous television appearances include Better Call Saul, New Girl, Workaholics and Breaking Bad along with his previous standup specials on SHOWTIME: NEW LOOK, SAME FUNNY! and HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Additionally, his film credits include Compton’s Finest, Love Is Not Enough, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, American Ultra, Beverlyhood and The Ridiculous 6.

LAVELL CRAWFORD: THE COMEDY VACCINE is directed by Brian Volk-Weiss (Pete Davidson: Alive From New York, Ali Wong: Baby Cobra), who produced with Cisco Henson for Comedy Dynamics. Justin Edbrooke serves as executive producer.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc., owns and operates the premium service SHOWTIME®, which features critically acclaimed original series, provocative documentaries, box-office hit films, comedy and music specials and hard-hitting sports. SHOWTIME is available as a stand-alone streaming service across all major streaming devices and, as well as via cable, DBS, telco and streaming video providers. SNI also operates the premium services THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as on demand versions of all three brands. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®. For more information, go to

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Gunner (Lonnie Chavis) sets out on a quest to save his ill mother (Rosario Dawson) by searching for a mythic figure who possesses the secret to immortality, the Water Man. After enlisting the help of a mysterious local girl, Jo (Amiah Miller), they journey together into the remote Wild Horse forest — but the deeper they venture, the stranger and more dangerous the forest becomes. Their only hope for rescue is Gunner’s father (David Oyelowo), who will stop at nothing to find them.

David Oyelowo, Rosario Dawson, Lonnie Chavis, Amiah Miller,
Alfred Molina and Maria Bello

David Oyelowo

Emma Needell

In theaters nationwide on May 7, 2021

PG for thematic content, scary images, peril and some language

92 Minutes

BET Executive Jon Marc Sandifer Launching Harlem Hall of Fame

Veteran Black Entertainment Television (BET) programming executive Jon Marc Sandifer (American Gangster: Trap Queens, Ruff Ryders Chronicles, A Thousand Words with Michelle Obama) announces the formation of the Harlem Hall of Fame.

The Harlem Hall of Fame will honor the legends and icons that have made significant contributions to Harlem’s iconic and historic reputation around the globe. The Hall of Fame is set to make its inaugural debut in August 2021, with a stellar line-up of inductees, via a multimedia execution that will include a virtual induction ceremony/documentary looking at the impacting lives of some of Harlem’s Living Legends (set for broadcast in August) as well as a physical Harlem Hall of Fame exhibition – featuring replicas and personal defining items of the honorees, set for Black History Month February 2022.

Legendary actor Billy Dee Williams will be among the first to be inducted. Williams, who was born and raised in Harlem, is an alumnus of New York City’s High School of Music & Art. Known as one of Hollywood’s original Black sex symbols, Williams has starred in motion pictures such as “Brian’s Song,” “Mahogany” and “Lady Sings The Blues.” He starred on Broadway in “A Taste Of Honey” and later “Fences.” His smoldering presence on television could be seen on “Dynasty,” where he played the love interest to the equally iconic Diahann Carroll. With all of this as a stellar career, he is likely known to most movie-goers as Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars movie franchise. Williams’ voice could be heard in many commercials and he is also a noted painter.

Former Congressman Charles Rangel was born and raised in Harlem USA. He retired from the NY House of Representatives in 2017, after a lifetime of public service that spanned more than 35 years. Rangel served in the Korean War, where he earned both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. After earning an honorable discharge, Rangel returned home to New York to work as a lawyer and an assistant U.S. attorney before being elected to and serving in the New York State Assembly from 1967 to 1971. Rangel was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1971, where he not only became the 2nd longest serving official in U.S. History, but where he also held several major offices – in addition to help fight the war against drugs, provide better housing opportunities to minorities and poor people, and to, until his retirement, make a difference.

Audrey Smaltz is a trendsetter and visionary that many designers love to invite to sit front row at their one-of-a-kind fashion shows. Born in Harlem and raised in the Harlem River Houses, Smaltz got her first modeling job with the New York Giants, NYC’s-then baseball team. She would later model and do fashion commentary for Bloomingdale’s and Lane Bryant. In 1969, Ms. Smaltz moved to Chicago and joined the legendary Ebony Fashion Fair soon after. Her revolutionary ideas organized and shaped the Ground Crew Team that handled backstage management for fashion shows. She has worked with the best–Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass – as well as corporations such as Nike, Vogue, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s. Audrey Smaltz has also been a contributing editor to Vogue and Mirabella and serves on the Black Fashion Museum.

The goals of the Harlem Hall of Fame are to create a visual experience that authentically celebrates the genius cultivated within the Harlem community and shared around the world and to provide a resource for those within the community.
For media inquiries contact Angelo Ellerbee of Double XXposure –