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Court TV Announces Original News Special Exploring the Relationship Between the Criminal Justice System and African Americans

Black and Blue – A Court TV Special Premieres Mon. June 22 at 8pm ET, To be Simulcast Across All Katz Networks

ATLANTA (June 18, 2020) – Court TV, the multi-platform network devoted to live, gavel-to-gavel coverage, in-depth legal reporting and expert analysis of the nation’s most important and compelling trials, announced today an original news special that will take a deep dive into the criminal justice system’s history and relationship with African Americans.

Black and Blue – A Court TV Special will air at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Monday, June 22, and will also be simulcast across the entire portfolio of Katz networks Bounce, Court TV Mystery, Laff, and Grit.

Topics the hour-long special will explore include: An encompassing look at our current justice system that has seemingly empowered civilians to weaponize the police against African Americans; the rise in deadly interactions with unarmed black men and women in custody and what may be ingrained in the police psyche from a legal perspective that often leads them to wrongly target specific groups; how past segregation-era thinking gave way to controversial present-day laws such as the “Stand Your Ground” concept and more. High-profile cases involving Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Drejka, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and others will be discussed.

Black and Blue – A Court TV Special will feature an insightful and thought-provoking discussion with Lawyer and former professional WWE wrestler and personality David Otunga; Marissa Alexander, the Florida mother-turned-activist whose Stand Your Ground warning shot case became a rallying cry for anti-racism movements and survivors of domestic violence; former federal prosecutor and author of Chokehold: Policing of Black Men David Paul Butler, who recently testified at the House Judiciary Committee hearing along with George Floyd’s brother and others on issues of racial profiling, police brutality and lost trust; the Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine  L. Song Richardson and Tim Wise, an activist, and writer on the topic of race who has trained law enforcement officers, teachers, corporate and non-profit organizations in methods for addressing and dismantling racism in their institutions.

Court TV Crime and Justice Reporter Julia Jenae will host Black and Blue – A Court TV Special, with contributions by members of the network’s diverse team of anchors and correspondents that are both seasoned journalists and lawyers. 

About Court TV
Court TV is available to be seen on cable, over-the-air, and over-the-top. Court TV is also live-streamed on CourtTV.com, YouTube TV, and SiriusXM as well as the Court TV app for Roku®, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android and Apple devices. All feature robust and exclusive content from the massive Court TV library, including the nation’s most compelling, high-profile cases over the past 20 years available on demand.  Court TV is part of Katz Networks, a division of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP). 

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YOUTUBE ANNOUNCES “BEAR WITNESS, TAKE ACTION,” A GLOBAL CONVERSATION ON RACIAL JUSTICE HOSTED BY COMMON AND KEKE PALMER — FIRST PROJECT FROM NEW $100M FUND TO AMPLIFY BLACK VOICES

“BEAR WITNESS, TAKE ACTION” BRINGS TOGETHER CREATORS, ARTISTS, AND PUBLIC FIGURES TO SPEAK OUT, HEIGHTEN AWARENESS AND DEMAND ACTION TO PROTECT BLACK LIVES IN SUPPORT OF THE EQUAL JUSTICE INITIATIVE

PANELS WILL FEATURE ROXANE GAY, JEMELE HILL AND SOLEDAD O’BRIEN; MUSICAL PERFORMANCES FROM
JOHN LEGEND AND TREY SONGZ; YOUTUBE CREATORS AMBERS CLOSET, JOUELZY AND PRINCE EA; APPEARANCES BY CARMELO ANTHONY, STERLING K. BROWN AND BRYAN STEVENSON AND MORE

BEAR WITNESS, TAKE ACTION” PREMIERES THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 13 ON THE YOUTUBE ORIGINALS CHANNEL

LOS ANGELES, CA, JUNE 11, 2020 — YouTube today announced “Bear Witness, Take Action,”a conversation aiming to unite and inspire the platform’s global community to take action for racial justice. Premiering Saturday, June 13 at 6:00pm ET / 3:00pm PT, the over 90-minute special will be hosted by Common and Keke Palmer and feature YouTube creators, artists, influential public figures and prominent activist voices. This is the first project from YouTube’s new $100M content fund, also announced today, which will be dedicated to amplifying Black voices on YouTube.

 
“I support the Black Lives Matter movement and I think it’s imperative that we help amplify Black voices and continue the conversation about meaningful change and racial justice,” said Susanne Daniels, Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. “YouTube has a unique ability to unite creators, artists and powerful voices within the Black community to encourage the world to stand up and speak out for racial justice.”
 
“The execution of George Floyd – and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery – has led to unprecedented protests for racial justice in every part of our nation–and globally. And it started in part because 17 year-old Darnella Frazier defiantly and courageously recorded the video that has forced us all to confront what we were seeing and name it,” explains Malika Saada Saar, a civil and human rights lawyer and Social Impact Human Rights Lead at YouTube. “Video can be a powerful human rights tool, for bearing witness to injustice and ‘Bear Witness, Take Action’ will be part of that hope and urgent call for change.”
 
Led by Keke Palmer and Common, “Bear Witness, Take Action” will be structured with roundtable discussions and panels, powerful live moments, musical tributes and more. Moderators include Jemele Hill, Roland S. Martin and Soledad O’Brien; panelists include Ambers Closet, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Patrisse Cullors, Kimberly N. Foster, Alicia Garza, Roxane Gay, Eddie Glaude, Andrew Hawkins, Kimberly Jones, Jouelzy, MN FATS, Prince EA, Rashad Robinson, Bakari Sellers, Michael Skolnik, Chaz Smith and Baratunde Thurston; special guests Tremayne Anchrum, Carmelo Anthony, AyChristeneGames, Danielle Bainbridge, Essang Bassey, Shalom Blac, Asante Blackk, Sterling K. Brown, Hakeem Butler, Duke Dawson, De’arra & Ken, Khadi Don, Rasul Douglas, Teala Dunn, Bryce Hall, Skai Jackson, Jamilla & Que, Jarvis Landry, Alonzo Lerone, Indya Moore, Jeff Okudah, Laviska Shenault Jr., Bryan Stevenson, sWooZie and Wilmer Valderrama. The event will also feature moving musical performances from John Legend and Trey Songz. Viewers will be encouraged to donate to support the Equal Justice Initiative directly on the YouTube livestream.
 
“Bear Witness, Take Action” is the latest project from YouTube Originals. Recent events include “Dear Class of 2020,” a tribute to this year’s graduating class filmed over the course of the last several weeks and centered around the timely themes of hope, resilience, and camaraderie which premiered Sunday, June 7.
 
The special is produced by SpringHill Entertainment, Fly on the Wall and Byron Phillips. Reginald Hudlin serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner.
 
Susanne Daniels is Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. Alex Piper, Head of Unscripted for YouTube Originals; Ben Relles, Head of Innovation for YouTube Originals; Malika Saada Saar, YouTube Social Impact; Connie Knight, YouTube Content Partnerships; and Margaret Burris, Nicole Emanuele, Lauren Celinsku, Cara Casey and Margie Moreno, Development Leads for YouTube Originals, will oversee the project for the global platform.
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.

DA 5 BLOODS

From Academy Award® Winner Spike Lee comes a New Joint: the story of four African-American Vets — Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) — who return to Vietnam. Searching for the remains of their fallen Squad Leader (Chadwick Boseman) and the promise of buried treasure, our heroes, joined by Paul’s concerned son (Jonathan Majors), battle forces of Man and Nature — while confronted by the lasting ravages of The Immorality of The Vietnam War.

INTRODUCTION

In the 1970s, Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin left Vietnam with a lifelong bond. They had been uprooted from their U.S. hometowns as teenagers, summoned thousands of miles to outthink a mysterious foe in its own jungles. At this vulnerable juncture, each was thrust into an Army squad and handed an assault weapon. Under the direction of Stormin’ Norman — a fellow African-American who taught them how to coexist as rebels and patriots — the Men became a surrogate family, Da 5 Bloods. During the Vietnam War, “Bloods” became a brotherly term between African-American soldiers — a casual term of camaraderie. This brotherhood even outlived its patriarch.

Yet their greatest shared pain awaited The Quartet back home. Like countless returning soldiers, the men received no warm welcome in America, where Anti-War activists dominated the public discourse. Although veterans of previous wars had been embraced as heroes, Vietnam GI’s were spat on and derided as “Baby Killers” — even those who were drafted to serve. Da Bloods also still had to contend with systemic racial discrimination, which robbed them of respect and economic mobility.

Despite recent decades apart, Paul (Delroy Lindo) , Otis ( Clarke Peters) Eddie (Norm Lewis ) and Melvin ( Isiah Whitlock, Jr. ) have a stronger connection than ever when Academy Award®-winner Spike Lee opens his new film, DA 5 BLOODS, with their present-day reunion. Hidden beneath backslapping and jokes, these are broken men struggling with the realities of Grief, Illness, Divorce, Addiction, Financial Ruin, Regret and Shame.

By refusing to seek help for his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] symptoms, Paul — a defiant supporter of President Donald Trump — is exacerbating his flawed relationship with his son, David (Jonathan Majors) . When he’s not advocating for Black Lives Matter, Eddie lives in denial of his impending bankruptcy. Melvin chances his happy home life with nights of carefree carousing. A one time Medic carrying a pocketful of pills, Otis, attempts to keep them all grounded.

From a Ho Chi Minh City Hotel, the four — plus David, an uninvited, eleventh-hour arrival — embark on a fateful double mission: find the remains of their Squad Leader, Norman (Chadwick Boseman ), plus a chest of Gold they first discovered during combat. To help with the latter, Otis’ former lover, a Vietnamese Woman named Tiên Luu ( Lê Y Lan ), introduces Da Bloods to her international exports contact, Desroche (Jean Reno) .If the treasure hunt is successful, the French mancan transfer currency from Gold bars into offshore accounts, taking a generous cut for himself. Unaware of the fortune, Local Guide Vinh Tran ( Johnny Trí Nguyễn) accompanies Da Bloods on a tense boat ride to the edge of the brush, so they can locate Norman within. Amidst the landscape of their nightmares, however, individual greed eclipses Blood loyalty. New fears arise from treacherous terrain, wild animals, deadly traps, the elements, shattered trust and two more lurking parties — LAMB [Love Against Mines and Bombs] personnel (M élanie Thierry , P aul Walter Hauser and Jasper Pääkkönen ) and a band of Vietnamese officers (commanded by N guyễn Ngọc Lâm).

DA 5 BLOODS is an Epic Adventure centered on the African-American experience in Vietnam. Lee wrote the script with his BlacKkKlansman co-scribe Kevin Willmott , based on an original screenplay by DannyBilson andP aulDeMeo .A40AcresandaMuleproduction,theNetflixFilmisproducedby LloydLevin ,B eatrizLevin ,J onKilik andLee.Oscar®nomineeT erenceBlanchard (B lacKkKlansman ) composed the score, which compliments several tracks from Marvin Gaye ’s groundbreaking 1971 album “What’s Going On.”

A WAR THAT NEVER ENDS

On both sides of the Pacific, the Vietnam War (1955-1975) remains the defining conflict for a generation. Vietnam was bisected into opposing factions — single families supplied recruits for the North and South — and American ideology was cleaved in two. Generally, Vietnamese citizens are no more hostile toward the U.S. than any of the country’s former adversaries. But in certain U.S. circles today, the Vietnam War remains a taboo subject.

The psychological scars of the Vietnam War are distinctly palpable in The Black community. African-American soldiers made up a disproportionate number of Vietnam deployments and casualties, as well as Post-War Unemployment and Homelessness. Those fortunate enough to return Stateside had to fight their government — the same one they had just defended abroad — for basic Civil Rights.

Lee is among Cinema’s most original and prolific Writer-Directors, and DA 5 BLOODS is the latest entry in an indelible Body of Work that began with 1986’s indie breakthrough, She’s Gotta Have It. Following the tradition of D o The Right Thing (1989), M o’ Better Blues (1990), Malcolm X (1992), 25th Hour (2002) and six-timeOscar®nominee BlacKkKlansman (2018),this Film begins with a collage of photos and footage confronting America’s prejudiced past. An uncompromising creative force, Lee roots his art in facts and social justice.

“I’m a big historian,” Lee said. “I was taught that African-Americans fought for this Country from day one,” citing Crispus Attucks (1723-1770), an African-American Man killed during the Boston Massacre, becoming the first victim of the American Revolution. With 2008’s Miracle at St. Anna , Lee increased awareness of what Black Infantrymen — known as Buffalo Soldiers — endured during World War II . “We’re still fighting for this country today,” he continued.

Conversations about DA 5 BLOODS began when Lee and his writing partner, Kevin Willmott, were approached by producer Lloyd Levin (BoogieNights ) as they prepared to shoot BlacKkKlansman. “No disrespect to any film that’s been done before about the Vietnam War, but we wanted to do this
through the perspective of the Black Soldiers,” Lee said. “Kevin and I felt that the premise was fantastic. We knew that we had not seen Brothers like this in a Vietnam film.”

Thus DA 5 BLOODS evolved into Lee’s first project produced with Lloyd Levin and his wife, Beatriz Levin.Lee made an important addition to the filmmaking team —Academy Award®nominee and prolific producer Jon Kilik (Babel ). In1988, Kilik and Le ewere introduced by then president of Columbia Pictures David Picker. Kilik produced Lee’s first feature to vie for Oscars®, Do the Right Thing , and DA 5 BLOODS marks their 15th collaboration.

Drawing inspiration from classics like Sir David Lean’s Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), as well as John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre ( 1948) and Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), the Writers collaborated on a script that brought Vietnam veterans back to the Far East. Their journey is interspersed with flashbacks to the late ‘60s through 1971; along the way, Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin try to reconcile the men they’ve become in Norman’s absence.

“He was a Malcolm X and a Martin Luther King, Jr. kind of character,” Willmott said of Norman. “He held them together not just in terms of being a leader in the jungle, in the fight, but also being a leader in the fight for civil rights.”
In an innovative conceit thought up by Lee, actors Lindo, Peters, Lewis and Whitlock, Jr. maintain their roles for the flashbacks — and no makeup or de-aging technology is used to hide the fact that they are in their 60s. “The memories of War stay with Veterans as they grow older,” Willmott said. “These are still living memories,” meaning current dilemmas and even ailments color recollections of their former selves. Since flashbacks are told from Da Bloods’ vantage, long-lost comrades always look as young as they did in their final months and moments.

MEET DA 5 BLOODS

Delroy Lindo as Paul
Paul’s most memorable accessory is a red cap brandishing President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.” Only eight percent of African-American voters cast their ballots for the Republican candidate — Paul’s inclusion in said demographic is a point of deep-seated conflict within the Bloods (Lee himself refers to Trump as “Agent Orange”).

“I absolutely do not relate to Paul as a Trump supporter,” said Lindo, a Tony® nominee working with Lee for the first time in 25 years. “It was a stumbling block that I had to negotiate as an actor.” Lindo trusted his past Malcolm X, Crooklyn (1994) and C lockers (1995) director, finding his way into the role after completing his second read of the script. “Paul is a tragic character in every bit the same way as King Lear,” he said. “From a creative and dramaturgical point of view, that deeply attracted me.”

Lindo also responded to the idea that Otis, Eddie and Melvin still embrace Paul as their Brother. “A Deep Seated Love exists between these Men, and it’s stronger than any political endorsement’s ability to drive them apart,” he said. “On many levels, D5B feels to be a Love Story among these Men. The Bloods’ acceptance of Paul in this instance is a significant manifestation of that Love.”

Given Lee’s vocal opposition to the current administration, a Trump-endorsing lead may sound shocking. “By the end of the film, the audience is going to really empathize with him, and see that the man’s not in his right mind,” Lee said.
Willmott concedes that Paul is “probably the most complicated character” in DA 5 BLOODS, but still representative of the resentment felt by many Blue-Collar Americans. “They turn their bitterness on the wrong people,” he said. “Paul’s problem is that he hasn’t learned much from all the bad things that have happened to him.”

The son of a World War II veteran — who came home triumphant following his role in the Normandy invasion—Paul completed three tours of Vietnam duty.Naturally,Lindoc on ducted extensive research to relate his alter-ego. “I had a broadly based, vague notion of this war” — Vietnam — “that was controversial and causing so much social disruption, but I didn’t understand it, because I was young when it happened,” he said. “The importance of having Black Men as protagonists telling this story cannot be overstated.”

Paul’s politics are just the latest factor alienating him from his only child, David, a millennial African-American studies teacher who has been seeking paternal validation his entire life. As David grew up, Paul’s paranoia and agitation increased ( The American Psychiatric Association did not officially recognize PTSD until 1980, when such woes were commonly being observed in Vietnam War Veterans).

“Now that we’re both adults, the son is really trying to get to know the man his father is, after an upbringing that was not cupcakes and sunshine,” said rising star Jonathan Majors, a 2020 Film Independent Spirit Award nominee (T he Last Black Man in San Francisco) . Through his Godfather, Otis, David knows that Paul has faced nonstop anguish since witnessing the death of Norman, his best friend.“You don’t often see black masculinity portrayed in the honest, raw way evident in this film,” he said. Out of concern, David hacks into Paul’s emails, and tracks him down on the other side of the world.

Majors spent his youth on California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base while his father served in the armed forces, and his grandfathers respectively fought in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. “That’ll get you to work six days a week for sure,” he joked. DA 5 BLOODS was an opportunity he accepted “sight unseen” when he heard “the kings” being proposed as his scene partners.

“It’s been like showing up at school everyday,” said Majors, an alum of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Yale Drama School alum. “It’s very rare as a young, black, trained actor that you get to work with the OG who came up the way you came up,” noting that Lindo and Whitlock, Jr. studied at the American Conservatory Theater, while Peters and Lewis also have long lists of influential stage credits. “To watch them, learn from them and be taken in as the young Blood, it’s the best thing that could happen as far as moving forward in an acting career.”

Take after take, Lindo was impressed with Majors’ delivery. “Jonathan has an openness that is wonderful to engage,” said Lindo. “We have found instances in the story in which our love for each other, father to son, is very evident. It has resulted in what I’d like to believe is a finely-nuanced, lifelike relationship. That’s part of the complexity of deep-seated love: having the capacity to love and simultaneously ‘hate’ a human being.”

Clarke Peters as Otis Peters —the actor best known as The Wire’s Detective Lester Freamon—once entertained thoughts of enlisting in the armed forces. “My father was part of the first Black Marine battalion that America had, and when those surviving came over to the house, they would speak of war in a glorious way,” Peters said. “Hearing that as a young man, I thought, I want to do that .”
But once Vietnam emerged as the site of a terrible conflict that left families destroyed, Peters was entirely against the war. “There were other battles to be fought from the early 60s onward,” he said. Peters was raised in New Jersey, yet had family in the American South, where the Congress for Racial Equality [CORE] and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] held voter registration drives. Soon, his anti-Vietnam stance “became the foundation of my political points of view in America, and it was supported by guys like Malcolm [X] and Martin [Luther King, Jr.] and [Muhammed] Ali,” whose speeches are woven into DA 5 BLOODS.

In the film, Peters plays Otis, a Vietnam War Medic who returned to the States with bullet scars and the drive to keep healing people. “He was always compassionate for humanity, despite the circumstances he found himself in,” Peters said. At his most edgy moments, Paul is more likely to listen to Otis than anyone else. When it comes to Da Bloods, Otis has a simple philosophy: “Stick with your Tribe.”

On location in Thailand and Vietnam, the Actors fell into the easy rhythm of lifelong friends. “We share the same jokes and have the same points of reference,” Peters said. “We got into a pretty deep conversation about how being Black Men in America has affected us, and you don’t just do that with any Brother these days. I trust them on Camera, and I can imagine that on a Battlefield, I would trust them, too.”

Peters also has ample faith in Lee, who previously cast him in Red Hook Summer (2012). “I like the way that he handles the set,” Peters said. “Spike doesn’t waste any time. As a Director, he’s also very generous. He knows us, so he can get under our skin with a little bit of cajoling. We are all doing this together.”
Wise and organized, Otis is Norman’s heir apparent in thoughtful leadership. He procured the documents necessary for Da Bloods to legally collect Norman’s remains, and he studied satellite photos of the mudslide that may have unearthed their clandestine gold.

Otis is also good at keeping secrets, like the origins of the gun and opioids in his backpack. Then there’s Otis’ extra incentive to take this odyssey: Prior to meeting his wife, he had a passionate relationship with Tiên. Their affair resulted in repercussions he never fathomed — including a daughter who grew up without him.

Norm Lewis as Eddie An Actor, Singer, and the first African-American to play the namesake role in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway , Lewis met Lee many years ago. DA 5 BLOODS is their first collaboration. “Spike sent me the script and said, ‘No questions. Just read it.’ Then I called him up and said, ‘This is brilliant. Good luck with your project.’” Lewis had no idea he was being offered a part until Lee asked outright if he was interested.

The character Lee had in mind, Eddie, had the misfortune of being drafted to fight in a war he strongly opposed. “A lot of people didn’t believe in the Vietnam War,” said Lewis, a two-time Grammy® nominee. “But pressured into going, Eddie felt like he had to be the best at what he was doing” — Battle Photography. “Especially in a company of Men who were also at the top of their game.”
Ahead of filming, Lewis read a book recommended by Lee, Wallace Terry’s Bloods: Black Veterans of the Vietnam War: An Oral History (Ballantine Books, 1984). In the same tradition as DA 5 BLOODS, the text takes its title from the collective nickname young, politically-engaged, African-American recruits gave themselves during the war’s second decade.

T he Vietnam War was the first major combat where American soldiers were deployed to fight as part of an integrated military. “ For years, we couldn’t fight in certain wars, and even if we did, we were segregated,” Lewis said. “But when it came to the Vietnam War, we were put right up front.”

At first, Eddie appears to be Da Bloods’ biggest success: Cars made him a wealthy Man, and dealerships across America bear his name. In the company of his former comrades, Eddie throws money around as a ruse — he has deep insecurities about his dwindling bank account. A string of divorce settlements, regrettable investments and expensive habits have left on the verge of bankruptcy.

If Da Bloods are able to reclaim gold, Eddie has no desire to horde his portion. Instead, he echoes Norman’s familiar refrain of putting the greater good first. Eddie is determined to put every dollar towards Black Liberation, to the chagrin of Melvin and — especially — Paul.

“The world has crushed all of them in various ways that have made their belief in that collective spirit dissipate,” Wiillmott said. “It seemed right to show how these guys are brought back to a reality that they once believed in.”
Isiah Whitlock, Jr. as Melvin Like his co-stars Paul Walter Hauser and Jasper Pääkkönen, Whitlock, Jr.’s second consecutive film with Lee is DA 5 BLOODS.This particular Actor-Director rapport stretches back six titles, to 25th Hour.

“One of the things I love about working with Spike is that he allows me to try some different things — a certain reading or line inflection that will help a story along,” said Whitlock, Jr. “The excitement comes from getting to do what I want, character-wise. If I miss the boat, he’ll be the first person to tell me. But he usually gives me a very long leash.” Composer Terence Blanchard has enjoyed a similar experience with Lee, and added, “He knows what he wants, but if he trusts you, he gives you a ton of room to express yourself.”

This time, Whitlock, Jr. assumed the role of the youngest Blood. “ Melvin represents a lot of Brothers who went to Vietnam,” he said, citing those who “lied about their age, got into The Army, wanted to get away from home and didn’t really have anything going for them. The military was definitely a way to go.”
Melvin and his wife, Cissy, are happily raising their 18-year-old son. However, there are occasions where he appears flippant towards this domestic stability. A bit indulgent, Melvin has a taste for cocktails and a roving eye. He lives in the moment, and prioritizes having a good time.

“I wouldn’t say he’s the deepest Brother, but in a way, he’s one of the most honest about who he is,” Whitlock, Jr. said. “That’s one of the reasons why the other Bloods like him. He sees things in black and white. I mean, he flies off here and there, but he’s got a nice little soul. He’s grounded.” Contrary to Paul, Melvin adapts a clearer sense of right and wrong as the film progresses.
Whitlock, Jr. tapped into his own adolescent memories to channel his character. “I remember in high school being terrified that I was going to get drafted,” he said. “Some of my friends got drafted. Some enlisted once we graduated and got out of school. I never, ever wanted to go to War. I saw the people coming back, and it was very disturbing. I just didn’t want to be a part of that.” Chadwick Boseman as Stormin’ Norman For the supporting role of Da Bloods’ venerated Squad Commander, Lee turned to an actor who has played legends of sports (Jackie Robinson in 42) , music (James Brown in G et On Up ), politics (Thurgood Marshall in M arshall) and, of course, comics (King T’Challa in B lack Panther and Avengers: Endgame, the highest grossing films of the past two years). Boseman immediately joined DA 5 BLOODS for the chance to finally work with Lee. “I fell in love with the idea of telling stories, at some level, through his movies,” Boseman said.

To the surviving Bloods, Norman epitomized excellence, rising fast through the Army ranks. Norman had no inner conflict about entering a War in the pursuit of peace. He taught his soldiers how to navigate the jungle and discern between truth and propaganda .From him, Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin learned to be proud guardians of African-American history. With Norman’s patient encouragement, the lower-ranking GIs all believed they would see The War’s end. And they did.

Shortly before Norman’s death, Da Bloods were carrying out a mission for the CIA when their helicopter was shot down. Their task: deliver a chest of Gold bars to Indigeonous People who were aiding the American War effort. Norman devised the plan to bury the Gold until they could reclaim it for the benefit of their communities.

Boseman envisioned Norman as a Preacher and Prophet as much as a warrior. “ You’ve got a Nat Turner in there,” Boseman said. “You’ve got a Tunis Campbell there. You’ve got David Walker’s appeal. There’s this idea that God is leading Norman to fight, but at the same time, he’s also a Patriot. He believes in American ideals — ‘If you ain’t doing right by my people, I have to use this moment to fight in different realms.’”

During the Vietnam War, Boseman’s own uncles fought overseas. “I could see the effect of the war — what they brought home or what they carried with them,” he said. Boseman felt the responsibility to honor the sacrifices of those who served, specifically African-Americans. “Part of the reason why I chose to do this movie is because it tells the story of the Vietnam War in a different way. Usually, when they do the movie version, we’re in the background or nonexistent, when in reality, these were the people doing the grunt work, the hard work.”
Norman appears only in flashbacks, but each interaction conveys the abiding and profound influence he had as a mentor. “That dynamic has been fun to play, being the person that they look up to,” Boseman said. “Especially because in reality, I look up to all of these actors. You see who they were when they were younger through my character, and that’s the extraordinarily unique conceit to Spike’s storytelling in this movie.”

VIETNAM REVISITED: CRAFTING AN EPIC

DA 5 BLOODS is hot on location in the cities of Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City in Spring 2019.Spike Lee hired BAFTA Award®nominee Newton Thomas Sigel( Bohemian Rhapsody) ashis Director of Photography. The two previously worked together on commercials, but DA 5 BLOODS is their first joint feature. Although the Cinematographer’s filmography also includes Oscar®-winning The Usual Suspects(1995),Three Kings (1999)and Drive (2011),Sigel began his film career in the ‘80s by shooting documentaries, and he has experience behind the camera in various Central American combat zones.
Sigel looked forward to embracing the specificity of Lee’s creative vision. “Spike has always been somebody that loves to be very bold: experimental with lenses, film stocks, techniques and film trickery, in the best sense of the word,” Sigel said. “We looked at ways to explore the idea of memory, and what it would be like for these guys to come back to a place that was so formative for them 50 years ago, and also happened to have such a distinct place in history.”

One selected avenue was shooting the flashbacks in 16mm Film to replicate period newsreel footage. “It’s similar to the way that you would’ve shot it if you were embedded with the Army in Vietnam in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Sigel said. “They shot predominantly reversal, or what they called news film. So we’ve gone back to that format. We’re also shooting it in 4:3 aspect ratio, which was the shape that televisions had before our contemporary times. We felt that it was a really evocative way to record the memories, by using a lot of the technology of those days.”

Audiences will notice the changing aspect ratio throughout the story. When the Quartet arrives in modern Vietnam, the scenes all play out in a widescreen, 2:40 aspect ratio. Once they reach the jungle, the image opens up farther, with Sigel employing a 1:85 aspect ratio as a signal that The Heroes have crossed into “the more wild and dangerous parts of Vietnam.”

Production designer Wynn Thomas was another key department head responsible for the film’s look and feel. Although Lee has enjoyed a 13 film-career with Thomas, until DA 5 BLOODS, they had not shared a set since the 2006 heist thriller Inside Man. Lee makes most of his films in New York City, and this was his first production in Asia. Shooting across the globe allowed Thomas to conjure the aura of an undeniable saga.

“Spike and I have a really collaborative relationship,” Thomas said. “At the very beginning of the job, we talk about the script in abstract terms, and then he tells me what’s important for him. Usually, it’s within those details that I’m able to figure out what he needs for the movie. We have an understanding of how he’s going to use and move the camera.”

On DA 5 BLOODS, Thomas’s greatest challenge became using the local geography to enhance the storytelling. He spent months scouting the right sites to host the shoot. “The visual journey on this film is through the jungle,” Thomas said. “I had to form a conceptual approach to how we were defining the jungle and what we were seeing. Essentially, when the movie starts, the jungle areas are all very big and expansive and you see a lot of sky and great vistas.”
As the tension in the story escalates, the jungle begins to encroach on the characters — they feel trapped . “The wall of trees begins to thicken, and there’s more leaves on the trees,” Thomas said. “I had to think about how we were going to move the actors through these scenes, and where we’d place the camera. All these choices supported the storytelling.”

Perhaps the most daunting sequence unfolds when Da Bloods’ helicopter is shot from the sky. The scenes were filmed in Chiang Dao, Thailand, on a large field with dramatic views. Yet the same grounds doubled as an area the characters hike through in the current era.

“For the contemporary sequence, we left it as a farm field, because that’s how the land is being used now,” he said. “But when we revisit ’71, it looks completely different. We planted palm trees and banana trees. We filled this huge, open space with greenery. We bought a helicopter, and then essentially had one day to install that helicopter in our field.”
Lee was committed to hiring local talent for all aspects of the production. “You just can’t come with that American imperialism thing,” he said. “I had never been to Thailand before. I had never been to Vietnam before. This is their land. This is their history. I welcomed their participation.”

A Thai team of artists helped Thomas construct a temple for the film’s electrifying climax. The structure was modeled after M ỹ Sơn, a collection of Hindu temples in Central Vietnam, erected between the 4th and 14th centuries. “The level of artistry and craftsmanship by the Men and Women who were working on the film has been extraordinary,” Thomas said. “In my art department, I’m working with people who are the descendants of those folks who built all these great temples here in Thailand.” Lee had his actors undergo a week-long Boot Camp, which included a lesson in handling M16 rifles. Participants also practiced squad movement formations to grasp how they would need to react in a combat scenario.

“When I heard we were doing a Boot Camp, I thought we were going to be wading into mud and climbing over walls,” Lewis said. “It was not that. It was pretty strenuous, though. We learned from some amazing coaches that have been in both the Vietnam War and Afghanistan. It’s been a wonderful process, getting to know the importance of discipline and the regimented hierarchy.”
Actors also received safety training as they braced to zigzag uneven terrain in temperatures reaching 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Filming often commenced around 6 a.m. so that the day’s shots could be completed before the warmest hours. “Then there’s the bugs,” Sigel deadpanned. “It’s not an easy environment by any stretch.”

Lee commends his Cast for roughing it with Mother Nature. “Look, when you go into the jungle there’s going to be bugs and animals and snakes,” he said. “It’s not a backlot. We were thousands of miles away from home. We were up in it. I’ve got to tip my hat to all the Actors — w ho were not 18, 19, 20, the age those young Brothers were when they fought in The War. There’s a lot of physicality to this film. People were sore.”

To lend further authenticity to their performances, Lee brought cultural advisors LaMont Hamilton and Andre Zachery to Thailand to work with the Actors. Curators of The New York Times- praised dance show Dapline!, Hamilton and Zachery gavet the ensemble an education in dignity and pride [Dap]. Dap is a handshake African-Americans originated during the Vietnam War, to emphasize unity and survival.

“It was a very important handshake that showed fraternity, showed togetherness, showed that I have your back and you have mine,” Hamilton said. “It was more than a greeting, more than a handshake. It was basically a sign to signify the burgeoning Black Power Movement. Black Soldiers found themselves fighting Two Wars — they were fighting for Civil Rights at home, and they were also fighting a very unpopular war against other Brown Folks abroad. The Dap creates an understanding. If you weave it tight enough, you become inseparable from your brother.”

Boseman said that learning the Dap for DA 5 BLOODS helped him connect with his co-stars. “There’s a Brotherhood already amongst us as Actors,” Boseman said. “You watch each other’s work. You cheer for each other. Then, Spike added to this movie the swagger of The Dap. We’re all going around, touching each other with The Dap, shaking hands. There’s a fight and a struggle in just trying to keep up with the other person. A lot of times, that’s how Men build brotherhood — competitive spirit.”

As always, Lee moved with precision and efficiency on set, expecting his team of exceptionally talented actors to deliver their best work on each take.
“Spike is somebody who is very intelligent,” said Jean Reno, The French Actor behind Desroche — a businessman with a pipeline of get-rich-quick schemes. “It is a great honor for me to be in the movie because I like his work, and after working with him, I very much like the Man, too.”

AN ALBUM, AN ANTHEM AND BEYOND

The 11th Studio Album from Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On” provided the film’s musical and thematic underpinnings. “One of the greatest albums ever made,” Lee said. “Marvin is a saint. He is godlike. That album spoke to us as the record of the time. I knew that The Music would help the narrative.”
Six of the Album’s Songs are featured in The Film — “Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler),” “Wholy Holy,” “Flyin’ High (in the Friendly Sky),” “What’s Happening Brother,” “God Is Love” (sung by Lindo) and “What’s Going On” — as well as one of Gaye’s later Tracks (“Got To Give It Up”).

“When I saw the first cut and I heard the Marvin Gaye songs, my first reaction was, ‘ Right, this makes total sense,’” said DA 5 BLOODS composer Terence Blanchard, Lee’s collaborator for three decades. “Next I started thinking about growing up in the ‘70s, and all the dudes I saw in my neighborhood that used to walk around with the tattered military jackets and shirts, who fought in Vietnam. They were struggling — emotionally, mentally. It brings me back to that period in time where African-Americans were struggling for certain rights. I still remember as a kid going someplace in Louisiana and seeing the water fountains that said, ‘For Coloreds Only.’ It’s that common theme of just trying to be recognized as equals, generation after generation. Frankly, you get tired of it.”

Gaye’s younger brother, Frances “Frankie” Gaye, served three tours of Vietnam War duty. While working as a Radio Operator during those years, Frankie wrote letters to Marvin, recounting the daily horrors he witnessed. Frankie’s descriptions gave Marvin a starting point for the album.
The entire song cycle shares the perspective of a Vietnam veteran who is shunned when he returns home to the USA. Gaye’s lyrics reference both battleground atrocities in Vietnam, and the concurrent civil unrest in America. With his lilting four-octave range, he discussed Radicalism, Unemployment, Ecology, Pollution and more. Some classify the title track, “What’s Going On,” as a Protest Song, while others claim it as a Love Song. Norman would assert that it’s both — like Lee and Gaye beforehand, the character maintains that those who truly love their country will examine how its citizens are treated.
“You could make a documentary about trying to figure out how many people that music kept alive,” Blanchard said. “When you put the songs into context with this movie, they become even more powerful.”
Prior to filming, Lee led The Cast in a close reading of the album’s lyrics. “Once we started getting into the script and the dramaturge of this whole piece, we had one day where we actually sat down and just listened to Marvin Gaye’s ‘ What’s Going On, ’” Lewis said. “Each song was broken down. It really helped us in developing our characters.”

“What’s Going On” was also a poignant selection because of what happened after its release. Gaye’s life ended when his father shot him on the eve of his 45th birthday, in 1984. As Blanchard worked, he was moved that DA 5 BLOODS explores how the Vietnam War rendered multitudes of men — like Paul and Otis — incapable of being loving, hands-on fathers.
“Sometimes when I’m scoring these scenes, I cry in my studio,” Blanchard said, such as when Paul narrates a letter he has written to David. “The Actors help write the score, they don’t even know it. Paul is very sensitive and very emotional, based on the way he reacts to everything throughout the movie. To hear the resignation in his voice, to hear him admit to understanding that he wasn’t the person his son needed him to be, man, I was a wreck, I’m not ashamed to say it. Because being an African-American Male, sometimes it’s hard for us to find that vulnerable spot in our lives. I try to be honest about how I feel about the characters. Those are moments where I have to allow whatever is going through me to come through The Music — that’s what I want other people to feel.”

Blanchard has written music for more than 15 of Lee films—including Jungle Fever (1991), Malcolm X ,and2 5thHour —but their shared history dates back even further. Spike Lee’s father,musician Bill Lee, was long regarded as one of the world’s preeminent folk bassists, performing with the likes of Bob Dyan, Judy Collin and Simon & Garfunkel. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Blanchard and the second generation of the famed Marsalis family came to New York City as young men. They all sought out Bill Lee, and got to know his son.

After scoring Spike Lee’s student films, Bill Lee did the same for his first four features: She’s Gotta Have It , School Daze , Do The Right Thing and M o’ Better Blues. Blanchard’s working relationship with the Lees dates back to that era — he performed as part of the score on the latter three titles.
Mo’ Better Blues was a milestone for Blanchard, who supplied the respective trumpet and saxophone playing for Bleek Gilliam (Denzel Washington) and Shadow Henderson (Wesley Snipes). During a

recording session, Blanchard briefly sat down at a piano and began playing an original piece. Intrigued, Spike Lee asked Blanchard if he could write a string arrangement for the film.
“Mybrainwaslike,B oy,thisisanopportunity,soyoueithertellthetruth,oryoucantellabiglieand say that you do know how to write for strings, ” Blanchard said. “I said yes. I had never done it before.” Blanchard quickly called his composition teacher for pointers and delivered. “Spike was probably auditioning me for the composer job, I didn’t think about it at the time. He’s given me a chance to do somethingsIn ever wouldhavebeenabletodo,andIlovehimforit,”Blanchardsaid.“Ifitwasn’tfor him, there’s a whole bunch of us who wouldn’t be in this business.”
A Blanchard string composition has even become something of a tradition in Lee’s films: Spike noticed that the original score for DA 5 BLOODS did not feature a string quartet, so he nudged Blanchard to write one to accompany dialogue between Otis and Melvin.

A multi-instrumentalist who has dedicated his life to jazz, Blanchard is the recipient of six Grammys® — themostrecentcamefor”BlutundBoden(BloodandSoil)”fromtheB lacKkKlansman soundtrack,a film that also earned him an Oscar nomination.
“He has a wealth of understanding of music — from what music does to what feelings, colors and shapes it evokes,” Lee said. “Through the years, he’s perfected music to support what he’s seeing in a story, and not a lot of people have that skill. They might be scoring music, but they’re not doing what Terence is doing, in my opinion.”

With their long professional history, Blanchard has a comprehensive understanding of Lee’s needs for each title. “When we first started working together, he told me he didn’t like underscoring, he didn’t like atmospheric music,” Blanchard said. “He used to tell me all the time, ‘I want people to walk away from the theater singing the themes.’ He challenges you.”
After reviewing that early cut, Blanchard came up with groups of melodic lines so Lee could pair musical sequences with narrative slices from the film. “Once we get that out of the way, then the rest of the process is really like research and development for me,” said Blanchard, who paid tribute to the military by incorporating lots of bass drums and snare drums, as well as full, dark, thrumming brass. “I have to go in and find the sound for the film. People don’t believe me when I say this, but once Spike and I finish figuring out what the themes are going to be, he doesn’t hear anything — not even demos — until we get to the studio. This has worked to our benefit, because it makes me check and recheck everything that I do. I want to make sure things are right the first time he listens.”

THE MISSION AND THE MESSAGE

With DA 5 BLOODS, Lee has crafted a thrilling drama where lifelong friends risk their lives on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. A layered s toryteller, he makes art that directly responds to world events of the past and present. By masterfully infusing entertainment and history, Lee demands multiple viewings with the latest addition to his remarkable oeuvre.
Apowerfulandemotionalnarrative,DA5BLOODSco nfrontsAmerica’sHistoryofRacismand diminishing the contributions of Black Citizens. The movie is a call for empathy. To celebrate the exceptional patriotism of African-American Soldiers on the frontlines of the Vietnam War, the

Filmmakers populated the story w ith a collection of relatable, imperfect heroes. In the wilderness, they inspect acre after acre for missing artifacts, when what they actually yearn for is inner peace.
“In doing D a 5 Bloods , you want people to be proud,” Blanchard said. “We stand on some very strong Shoulders. There’ve been a lot of people not only in the Film Business but just in life who have set the stage for us, and opened some doors for us, and it’s incumbent upon us not to let them down. Some of those people gave their life for us just to be able to sit here and be creative.”
Lee demands a more inclusive American definition of “Patriot,” insisting that Patriots can kneel during the National Anthem, or refuse to accept every presidential statement. Slave labor was the foundation for the earliest U.S. economy. African-Americans never stopped building the country up, or fighting to be respected. They have every right to voice critiques, and doing so is a patriotic act.

“I’ve had the pleasure and the honor to screen this film for a lot of Black Vietnam Vets in the New York City area,” Lee said. “They loved the film. For me, that was a thumbs-up. It was very moving to hear them talk about the film and their experience. Many of them were teenagers when they got shipped away to kill people.”

Also lending contemporary resonance to the film is the fictional organization LAMB — aimed at raising awareness to the ongoing problem of Vietnamese landmines — and Black Lives Matter. The chairman of the movement’s greater New York chapter, Hank Newsome, was on set in Thailand to witness filming firsthand. “The man is hot off an Oscar®, and Black Lives Matter is referenced in his next major picture project, starring phenomenal actors — people who I watched growing up? It’s crazy. Spike Lee and 40 Acres and a Mule played a part in inspiring me and giving me tools to go out there and do this work.”
Lewis believes that films like this one can help people feel less divided. “We need to know everybody’s story, just to understand each other,” he said. “A line from Les Misérables is, ‘To love another person is to see the face of God,’ and that’s what I live by.”

DA 5 BLOODS suggests that overcoming enmity in the world is possible, with immense effort. The film ends with a “MAGA” alternative — M artin Luther King, Jr. reciting the Langston Hughes poem “Let America Be Great Again.” Hughes felt that American principles and reality were at odds, and the disparity would continue until greed was curbed.
“History repeats itself,” Lee concluded. “And we can learn from history — if we wake up.”

Written by Danny Bilson, Paul DeMeo, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee
Starring Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Mélanie Thierry,PaulWalterHauserandJasperPääkkönen,J ohnnyTríNguyễn,LêYLan,NguyễnNgọc
Lâm, Sandy Hương Phạm, with Jean Reno, and Chadwick Boseman

DA 5 BLOODS releases globally on Netflix JUNE 12

1/ST PREAKNESS AT HOME – A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND LIVESTREAM EVENT TO CELEBRATE THE PREAKNESS STAKES

D-Nice continues to burn baby burn like disc inferno. And his hot streak doesn’t show any signs of being extinguished anytimeA soon. We consider D-Nice a Hip Hop Legend, Classic EMCEE, Producer and DJ. His insanely popular “Club Quarintine” is an instant Classic! Well deserved from a pioneer who paid his dues perfecting his craft including the work that he has done with KRS ONE and  releasing his own album the Instant Classic LP “Call Me D-Nice” in 1990. 

1/ST Preakness At Home To Include A Safe Drive-InFieldFest 
Exclusively Benefitting First Responders 
 
Baltimore, MD –The spirit of the legendary Preakness Stakes will be celebrated in unique fashion this year with the 1/ST Preakness At Homelivestream event featuring a look back at the fun, festivities and world-class Thoroughbred racing of Preakness past. The one-hour show, hosted by NBC Sports’ Laffit Pincay III and XBTV’s Zoe Cadman, will air on Saturday, May 16that 6 p.m. ETon Facebook.com/Preakness. The livestream event will feature appearances by some of racing’s biggest stars including, Hall of Fame trainer and seven-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert and Triple Crown winning jockey Mike Smith along with special messages from Maryland’s own baseball royalty, Cal Ripken Jr. and Jim Palmer. The livestream will include behind the scenes footage, never before seen content and a mashup of some of the best musical performances from previous InfieldFest concerts along with a special performance by the Naval Academy Glee Club. 

“The1/ST Preakness At Homerepresents our company’s vision to expand and deliver unique entertainment and horse racing content to a new and wider audience,” said Belinda Stronach, 1/ST Chairman and President. “The coronavirus pandemic changed the Preakness celebrations this year, but it gave us the opportunity to enhance an already incredible event and to imagine what new traditions could be incorporated into the Preakness of the future. We look forward to being back at Pimlico when it is safe to do so.” 
 
The1/ST Preakness At Homewill follow NBC’s nationally televised broadcast,The Middle Jewel: American Pharoah’s Run to the Triple Crown, airing on May 16that 5 p.m. ET.  NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico will open the show and will host a segment in which Belinda Stronach, 1/ST Chairman and President and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan will announce the new date for Preakness 145 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness Stakes, typically held on the third Saturday in May, was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
 
The1/ST Preakness At Homewill also feature a Drive-InFieldFest, the nation’s first full-scale safe drive-in concert featuring a live DJ set by D-Nice exclusively benefitting first responders that will take place at 1/ST Racing’s Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, produced by 1/ST Live.  
 
Respecting all social distancing requirements, D-Nice’s set will transmit live via guests’ car radios and will also stream live on YouTube via www.1stlivepresents.com
 
The 1/ST Preakness At Homecampaign was launched in collaboration with Hennegan Brothers Creative on the Preakness social channels featuring vignettes of Bob Baffert, Doug O’Neill and Mike Smith preparing for this third Saturday in May in ways they never have before. Those vignettes can be found here
For more information please visit www.preakness.com. Follow all of the excitement of the Preakness Stakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – @PreaknessStakes, #Preakness, #1STPreaknessAtHome. 
 
About The Stronach Group and 1/ST
The Stronach Group is a world-class technology, entertainment and real estate development company with Thoroughbred racing and pari-mutuel wagering at the core.  The company’s consumer facing brand 1/ST (pronounced “First”) powers The Stronach Group’s forward-thinking 1/ST Racing1/ST Technology1/ST Live and 1/ST Properties businesses, while advocating for and driving the 1/ST Horse Care mission. 1/ST represents The Stronach Group’s continued movement toward redefining Thoroughbred racing and the ecosystem that drives it. 1/ST Racing drives the best-in-class horse racing operations at the company’s premier racetracks and training centers including: Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields and San Luis Rey (California); Gulfstream Park – home of the Pegasus World Cup Championship Invitational Series, and Gulfstream Park West (Florida); and Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course – home of the legendary Preakness Stakes, Rosecroft Raceway and Bowie Training Center (Maryland). 1/ST Technology is horse racing’s largest racing and gaming technology company offering world-class products via its AmTote, Xpressbet, 1/ST BET, XB SELECT, XB NET, PariMAX, Betmix, Monarch and XBTV brands. 1/ST Live blends the worlds of sports, entertainment and hospitality by delivering uniquely curated events such as InfieldFest and Pegasus LIV Stretch Village. 1/ST Properties is responsible for the development of the company’s live, work and play communities surrounding its racing venues including, The Village at Gulfstream Park (Florida) and Paddock Pointe (Maryland).  As the advocate for critical industry reforms and by making meaningful investments into aftercare programs for retired horses and jockeys, 1/ST Horse Care represents The Stronach Group’s commitment to achieving the highest level of horse and rider care and safety standards in Thoroughbred racing on and off the track. For more information please visit www.1st.com

LET’S HELP OUR 2020 COLLEGE GRADS SUCCEED!

CULTURE CREATORS CONTINUE ‘C2 SUMMIT’
HBCU INITIATIVE AS A VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
MAY 18 – 21 FOR GRADS SEEKING CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN BUSINESS & ENTERTAINMENT

Execs from Pixar Animation Studios, Will Packer Productions, Motown Records, William Morris Endeavor, Live Nation, & More Slated to Speak

James Lopez to Host First “Culture Chat” Followed by Frank Abney III and Steve Pamon

The C2 Summit is in Partnership with Morgan Stanley and Powered by Microsoft

(NEW YORK, NY) – May 13, 2020 – Culture Creators, an exclusive platform established to cultivate and highlight the achievements of diverse professionals in entertainment, has announced that its second installment of the C2 Summit Series will take place online as a virtual conference Monday, May 18 through Thursday, May 21, 2020.


Following the success of last year’s inaugural event in Washington, D.C., the 2020 C2 Summit will provide HBCU students with a four-day digital experience that includes panel discussions, one-on-one interviews, speed mentoring, culture chats and a pitch competition. Attendees can take advantage of employment opportunities as well as unparalleled access to job recruiters and seasoned influencers with various backgrounds in business, entertainment, technology, finance, and lifestyle. Huge, a global experience agency, part of Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), has also joined the group of experts. The agency is making members of their team, including their Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy and recruiters available for resume reviews and one-on-one mentoring.

Confirmed speakers are Chairwoman and COO (Atlantic Records) Julie Greenwald, Sports Agent (CAA) Carlos Fleming, General Manager (Motown) Marc Byers, Brands/Marketing (Mastercard) Jeffrey Swierk, Brands/Marketing (Heineken) Kenny Moore, Marketing Executive (Miami Dolphins) Marques Jackson, and Human Resources Exec (Nickelodeon) Courtney Oliver, to name a few. Panels will include entertainment attorneys, execs from William Morris Endeavor, Live Nation, The Coca-Cola Company, Rap Snacks, and more.  James Lopez (President of Will Packer Productions/Film and TV Producer) will host the first Culture Chat on Monday, May 18, at noon, followed by Frank Abney III (Filmmaker/Animator Pixar Animation Studios).  Steve Pamon (President/COO of Parkwood Entertainment) will host his Culture Chat on Tuesday, May 19, at 8:00 pm.  Rich Antoniello, (Founder and CEO of Complex Networks) will hold the last Culture Chat of the summit Thursday, May 21, at 8:00 pm.  Morgan Stanley’s Financial Culture Chats are always a crowd pleaser and will take place over three days during the summit.  Also, the C2 Summit team has created a special session dedicated to mental health awareness.

The C2 Summit is FREE for college students. Sign up now at aka.ms/cc2020.

 
Visit  http://theculturecreators.co/createnow/ for more information.

ABOUT CULTURE CREATORS
Culture Creators was founded in 2015 as an organization designed to celebrate black culture across passion points – music, television/film, visual arts, fashion, sports, tech, and entrepreneurship, specifically those who helped to create it and those who are now the ‘creators.’ The company operates as a national multimedia & experiential organization with a wide range of platforms but primarily focusing on education and digital content. By focusing on connecting the ‘old guard’ and the ‘new guard’ and serving as an outlet to educate, inspire and empower the younger generation of ‘creators,’ the company will build up a strong following of young adults known as millennials and generation Y.

 
In addition to thought leadership events, networking sessions and mentoring, and the annual “Innovators & Leaders Awards brunch, Culture Creators seeks to become the think-tank, talent incubator and pipeline for creatives, companies, and intellectuals who touch black culture in one form or another.

ABOUT MORGAN STANLEY
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management, and lending products and services, annuities and insurance, retirement, and trust services.

 
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: M.S.) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management, and investment management services. With offices in more than 41 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide, including corporations, governments, institutions, and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.

 
ABOUT MICROSOFT
Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT” @Microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

The Architect of Rock and Roll

Richard Wayne Penniman (December 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020), better known as Little Richard, was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. An influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades, he was nicknamed “The Innovator”, “The Originator”, and “The Architect of Rock and Roll“. Penniman’s most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his charismatic showmanship and dynamic music, characterized by frenetic piano playing, pounding backbeat and raspy shouted vocals, laid the foundation for rock and roll.

His innovative emotive vocalizations and uptempo rhythmic music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. He influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come.

Continue to get to know the Legend and share his legacy!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Richard

Andre Harrell

1960 – 2020

Everyone who loved Andre Harrell was introduced to his brilliance at different phases in his career. If you mention him to a diehard Hip Hop fan you will hear stories about how he and his crew mate Alonzo Brown formed the legendary rap group – “Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde “ in the early 80s releasing some of the dopest music ever recorded.

Dr Jeckyll & Mr Hyde were under Russell Simmons’ Rush Management and were known as the suit and tie rappers because of their designer suits, shirts and ties.
Their biggest singles were “Fast Life” (1984) and “Getting Money” (1983). They also recorded underground Classics like “Genius Rap” and the street favorite, the Beat and Lyric driven – “A.M. / P.M.” That song featured
one of the greatest story raps in Hip Hop History! A verse from Mr. Hyde (Alonzo Brown) about a shark who helped him find his magic potion!

https://youtu.be/gLASYMHtfsg

After the crew split in 1987 the duo both went on to do magical things. Brown became a Television and Film Executive and Andre Harrell went on to construct one of the most important music movements the world has ever seen.

In the footsteps of Motown’s Berry Gordy, Harrell is credited with having discovered and signing Sean “Puffy” Combs. In 1988, Mary J. Blige recorded an impromptu cover of Anita Baker’s “Caught Up in the Rapture” at a recording booth in a local mall. Her mother’s boyfriend at the time later played the cassette for Jeff Redd, a recording artist and A&R runner for Uptown Records. Redd sent it to Harrell, who met with Blige. In 1989, she was signed to the label, and she became the company’s youngest and first female solo artist. Uptown also developed and released a healthy roster of Hip Hop and R&B superstars.

The label played a key role in the development of the New Jack Swing style of R&B, courtesy of acts like Guy (featuring the hugely influential producer-performer Teddy Riley), Al B. Sure and Jodeci, Father MC and the late great Hip Hop Legend – “Heavy D” of “Heavy D and the Boyz.”

Harrell had multimedia deal, which involved film and television productions. They developed FOX’s hit police drama series, New York Undercover, which aired from 1994-1998.
Harrell renamed Uptown Records as Uptown Enterprises, and its records were featured in productions for Universal Pictures and Universal Television.

In 1994, Harrell had a son with Wendy Credle, a music attorney. They named him Gianni Credle-Harrell.

In 1995, Harrell was appointed CEO of Motown Records.

Harrell was the Vice Chairman of Revolt, Diddy’s multi-platform music network. On October 17, 2014, he was instrumental in launching the Revolt Music Conference in Miami, Florida, at the Fountainbleau Hotel.

According to IMDB, Andre had been working on a TV miniseries about Uptown that was in the development phase at BET. The three-part miniseries titled “Uptown” had Harrell on board as executive producer and was scheduled to hit the airwaves in 2020.

Andre Harrell is a true pioneer and multimedia super hero.

On May 9th 2020 Andre Harrell passed away at the age of 59. He will be sorely missed.

Media Giant – Earl Graves, Sr. Passes On

Content Curated By by Derek T. Dingle

Black Enterprise founder Earl Graves Sr. passed away at age 85, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Mr. Graves, the quintessential entrepreneur who created a vehicle of information and advocacy that has inspired four generations of African Americans to build wealth through entrepreneurship, career advancement, and money management, leaves an enormous legacy. According to his son, Black Enterprise CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., he passed away quietly at 9:22 p.m. on April 6.
Graves was widely considered to be the ultimate champion of black business, launching Black Enterprise in 1970 to not only chronicle the rise of African American entrepreneurs but also provide the tools for African Americans to succeed in the business mainstream and “achieve their measure of the American dream.” In his award-winning, now classic, business bestseller, How To Succeed In Business Without Being White, Graves stated his life-defining purpose for founding Black Enterprise in simple, direct terms: “The time was ripe for a magazine devoted to economic development in the African American community. The publication was committed to the task of educating, inspiring and uplifting its readers. My goal was to show them how to thrive professionally, economically and as proactive, empowered citizens.”

Driven by that mission, Graves became a trailblazing entrepreneur in his own right, building Black Enterprise from a single-magazine publishing company 50 years ago, to a diversified multimedia business spreading the message of financial empowerment to more than 6 million African Americans through print, digital, broadcast and live-event platforms. As such, Black Enterprise was one of two companies that would appear on the BE 100s—the publication’s annual rankings of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses—each of its 47 years. At one point, Graves would operate two companies on the list, including Pepsi-Cola of Washington, DC, one of the nation’s largest soft-drink distributors owned by African Americans.

Graves’ influence and reach also extended into the mainstream of corporate America. One of the few African Americans to serve on the boards of major corporations such as American Airlines, Daimler Chrysler, Rohm & Hass and Federated Department Stores (Macy’s), he was a staunch advocate for African American inclusion in the C-Suite and corporate governance. Graves was also a tireless champion of major corporations doing business with black-owned companies. Beyond business, Graves was a force in politics, civil rights, and philanthropy. In fact, he played a pivotal role in galvanizing support for the election of the first African American president of the United States, Barack Obama, through his endorsement in Black Enterprise and service as surrogate campaigning on his behalf.

Before that, Graves also championed the historic presidential bids of Rev. Jesse Jackson. Moreover, his fight for racial justice and economic parity earned him the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the organization’s highest honor, in 1999. Graves was also known for his dedication to family, and especially to his wife Barbara Kydd Graves, who passed away in 2012. Together, they raised three sons, Earl Jr., Johnny and Michael, and were blessed with eight grandchildren.

Born in 1935, Graves reaches the pinnacle of power from humble beginnings in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from a Morgan State University with a B.A. in economics, he served two years as an officer in the Army and held jobs in law enforcement and real estate. In 1965, he joined the staff of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy as his administrative assistant. When Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, he decided to start a publication that would provide blacks with the pathway to go into entrepreneurship.

He wrote: “Black Enterprise was just a modest magazine when I founded it—just me, a few brave advertisers like Pepsi, ExxonMobil, and General Motors; and a small but spirited staff. And one other person who did just about everything there is to do to put out a magazine—my wife, Barbara.” The young publisher managed to gain a $250,000 loan from Chase Manhattan Bank and proved so masterful at selling and running the magazine that it became profitable in 10 months — enabling Graves to repay the loan to the major financial institution.

With his wife Barbara at his side, he grew the magazine into one of the nation’s most successful and respected. The world first discovered such business luminaries as Oprah Winfrey, former American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, billionaire dealmaker Bob Johnson, and the late financier Reginald F. Lewis on the pages of Black Enterprise. In fact, Robert Smith, the billionaire CEO of Vista Equity Partners, like so many successful black entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, admitted that he switched careers to high finance after reading Black Enterprise.
“The truth of the matter is that we are humbled by the achievements of the talented people we report on,” Graves wrote. “We are in awe, still, by the courage, it takes to put oneself on the line in an unmerciful marketplace.” Hundreds of thousands express awe and gratitude for the role he played an example of excellence and achievement he set for generations to come. –

20 Seconds or More

Hip Hop Public Health is excited to announce the launch of 20 Seconds or More to empower children and families with information, tools and resources to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19. Like many other diseases, we now know that this virus disproportionately affects communities of color. We also know that young people make up a large proportion of asymptomatic carriers. At a time where misinformation is rampant, we understand how critical it is to create free, engaging, research-based and culturally-relevant educational materials to help save lives.

Central to the initiative is the 20 Seconds or More music video performed by our founding artist and legendary rapper, Doug E. Fresh who co-wrote the song with multi-platinum producer, Artie Green and Gerry Gunn, along with medical oversight from our founder, Dr. Olajide Williams. The 20 Seconds or More song which is now available on Spotify and Apple Music aims to inspire dance/rapping challenges worldwide to share information widely.

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20 Seconds or More ft. Doug E. Fresh, Artie Green & Gerry Gunn

Try watching this video on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yu4jSPNtic

The star-studded music video includes guest appearances by prominent artists, public health experts, athletes, entertainers and families including Ashanti, Adrian “Easy AD” Harris, Artie Green, Big Daddy Kane, Bill Bellamy, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Cedrick the Entertainer, Chuck D, Charlie Mack, Charlamagne tha God, Capone, Cole Anthony, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, Doug E. Fresh, Dredrick Irving, Gerry Gunn, Jamie Foxx, Janell Snowden, Jesse Itzler, Jordin Sparks, Joseph Rev. “RUN” Simmons, Kelly Price, Lisa Raye McCoy,  Maurice DuBois, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Michael Blackson, Monie Love, Pete Rock, Rasheed Wallace,  Sara Blakely, Sky Katz, Teddy Riley, Tori Kelly, Toya Johnson, Dr. Olajide Williams, Lori Rose Benson, NYPD Assistant Chief Juanita N. Holmes, Dr. James Noble and family, LaShawn Jones, Santa Maria-Gronholm family, Rivera-Ezeta family and Dr. Danielle Chase.

We encourage you all to spread the word as a Hip Hop Public Health MC. Next week, we plan on sharing free lesson plans and other health education materials for K-12 teachers and students in collaboration with our partners at the Online Physical Education Network. Check back in and make sure to subscribe to our newsletter below for updates.

Join the movement online using the hashtag #20SecondsOrMore and tag @HHPHorg to get featured on our social media.

Philanthropic support for the initiative has been provided by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and the Bristol Myers Squibb Black Organization for Leadership Development, an employee resource group.

TRUMP MUST BE REMOVED!!!!!

Please take a short break from the many creative and entertaining digital programs and events to read this provocative Article of facts, from the NEW YORK TIMES.

The Times has compiled this important timeline of facts and made it available to us – for free! Read it thoroughly maybe even more than once – SHARE IT!! We must act now to stop this President from killing more of our loved ones!

Be Safe – rapentertainment.com

# thenewyorktimes #Citiesincrisis #RETV

“Is this true?!” Dr. Kadlec wrote back to the researcher. “If so we have a huge whole on our screening and quarantine effort,” including a typo where he meant hole. Her response was blunt: “People are carrying the virus everywhere.”

“These final days of February, perhaps more than any other moment during his tenure in the White House, illustrated Mr. Trump’s inability or unwillingness to absorb warnings coming at him. He instead reverted to his traditional political playbook in the midst of a public health calamity, squandering vital time as the coronavirus spread silently across the country.”

“The uninvited message could not have conflicted more with the president’s approach at the time of playing down the severity of the threat. And when aides raised it with Mr. Trump, he responded that he was unhappy that Mr. Navarro had put his warning in writing.”

“Mr. Trump had agreed to give an Oval Office address on the evening of March 11 announcing restrictions on travel from Europe, where the virus was ravaging Italy. But responding to the views of his business friends and others, he continued to resist calls for social distancing, school closures and other steps that would imperil the economy.”

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE:

He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus

https://apple.news/A4fMB0P14RL2seyOYjG-xCQ