PARADISE CITY – LOS ANGELES, CA (NOVEMBER 2020)

LOS ANGELES, CA (NOVEMBER 2020) — After making its World Premiere at Urbanworld Film Festival, the feature drama PARADISE CITY sets a digital release for December 4, 2020, with presale tickets starting on November 20. Starring Chris Petrovski (Madam Secretary) and American rapper Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones, the film will be available to stream on these platforms: iTunes, Amazon, Google, Vudu, Tubi, Pluto, and more.

Inspired by true events, PARADISE CITY follows three men from different walks of life: a young cop with a checkered past (Kareem Saviñon), an ex-con turned devout Muslim (Hassan “Giant” Bradley), and a junkie with affluent roots (Petrovski). Their worlds collide when a plot to justify New York City’s counter-terrorism campaign against homegrown extremists is uncovered. The men find themselves targeted by a corrupt police network led by Chief Frank Murdoch (Sticky Fingaz) and a dynastic family, newly led by the daughter, Bianca (Laura Kamin).

Director John Marco Lopez said: “It’s truly an honor to have my third feature film released to a large audience in 2020. We’re jumping off from the point of view of a crime drama, but we’re going to a number of different places – emotionally & spiritually. We’re also crossing a few different genres in a hopefully, exciting, and fresh way. We’ve put together a lot of challenging productions over the years, but this is certainly the biggest in terms of the epic scale of our storytelling. We shot over two years, over multiple urban and rural locations, with a massive cast and huge set pieces. For an indie film like ours – it doesn’t get much bigger. There’s no question, it’s the most ambitious film we’ve made.”

“Collaborating with John and creating this character together was something really special. It was simultaneously the most challenging and rewarding experience I’ve ever had,” said Chris Petrovski.

“Playing the role of Murdoch gave me a chance to stretch my acting chops by being a character I’ve never been before. Plus the writing and black & white cinematography was amazing,” commented Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones.

Written and Directed by John Marco Lopez, who’s last narrative feature – the political thriller – The Hudson Tribes debuted in 2016 and starred Godrey, Cobra Kai’s Vanessa Rubio, and The American’s Owen Campbell. PARADISE CITY is executive produced by Kevin A. Lopez, with music by Zak Engel, and features Robert Morgan, Gordon Joseph Weiss, Roger Hendricks Simon, Christopher Tramantana, Thaddeus Street, Leslie Lopez, Dexter Strong, and Christopher “Mr. Dead” Davis.

Alyson Williams new release “Summer Nights In Harlem” hit the airwaves Thursday, October 15, 2020

Alyson Williams’s
new single The Romance Of You RC Mix

The Legendary Alyson Williams

Entrepreneur, philanthropist and radio host, are just a few of the hats renowned Harlem raised recording artist Alyson Williams wears. With a voice so hauntingly pure, Alyson is able to transport you to your very own utopia while effortlessly showcasing she really can do it all. Growing up, Alyson was surrounded by and exposed to great music. Her father, celebrated Jazz trumpeter and bandleader, Bobby Booker was a major influence in her life. It was at four years old, when Alyson first demonstrated her stage talents. With a strong passion for performing, Alyson was inspired to study dance under the supervision of, Arthur Mitchell, founder of The Dance Theatre of Harlem. She also studied with Alvin Ailey and performed with numerous other dance companies with the determination to enhance her skills. After years of hard work and dedication to perfecting her craft, Alyson was granted a scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College. She later attended City University of New York, as a member of the Aaron Davis Center for the Performing Arts Program and studied under John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet. It was in college, that Alyson also joined I.N.C.A. (Institute of New Cinema Artists) headed by Ruby Dee, Ozzie Davis and Cliff Frazier. Through I.N.C.A., Alyson was awarded an internship to work side by side with Benny Ashburn, manager of the world famous Commodores. Before she knew it, she was singing background in the studio with iconic artists such as, Melba Moore, Evelyn Champagne King and Kurtis Blow. After a plethora of collaborations with Kurtis Blow, Alyson became the quintessential “hook girl” for the rap and hip hop genre. Alyson’s internship turned out to be life changing. In a short amount of time, her talent was recognized. Alyson became an in-demand studio session singer. She also became a featured member of the 80’s vocal group “High Fashion” on Capital Records.

The new album will be release

Thursday, October 15, 2020

“SUMMER NIGHTS IN HARLEM’

After finding success as a recording artist at such a young age, Alyson was inspired to return to her roots of theatre arts and dance and successfully performed in more than a dozen musical stage plays touring across the country. Aspiring to take her acting to the next level, Alyson pursued Broadway and starred in “Rollin on the TOBA,” “One Mo Time” and the “25th Anniversary Revival of the Wiz” directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner, George Fashion. After landing several prestigious roles, Alyson’s comedic timing, characteristics and true talent once again did not go unnoticed. She soon landed a gig at the country’s most iconic comedy club, Caroline’s as well as the starring role of “Power Woman” in “Menopause the Musical.” Alyson has appeared in numerous musical reviews and stage plays both on and off Broadway working with seasoned professionals such as, Lynn Whitfield, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Carl Payne, Hawthorne James, Clifton Powell, Melba Moore, Maurice Hines, Oba Babatunde, Kim Whitley, Eddie Levert and The Whispers. With every performance, Alyson is motivated to perfect her craft and become greater.

Never one to let grass grow under her feet, after leaving Def Jam, Alyson began to embrace her entrepreneurial side while still practicing her love for music. Alyson collaborated with award winning producer, Marcus Johnson and together they produced Alyson’s third solo album titled, “It’s About Time.” When it comes to entrepreneurship, Alyson is no stranger to confidently pursing her dreams. With an innate business mindset and a heart of gold, Alyson launched her own production company, A.W.P, A Woman’s Prerogative. A.W.P. allows Alyson to write musical stage plays, books, television treatments, produce concert series and much more. Having studied Communications Broadcasting for radio and television, Alyson has most recently embraced her communication roots and become an on-air radio personality on WHCR 90.3 FM The Voice of Harlem. Her show is called Love Notes with Alyson Williams, In The Chill Zone. Alyson’s show airs Tuesday’s from 8pm to 10pm and has featured stand-out musical guests including but not limited to Chaka Kahn, Nancy Wilson, Freddie Jackson, Najee, Terri Lynn Carrington, Gerald Alston, Mary Wilson, Christion McBride, Valerie Simpson, Regina Belle and Manhattan Transfer. Blessed with an extremely rare and prestigious opportunity, Alyson had the honor of being mentored by the late Dr. Maya Angelou. Dr. Angelou gave Alyson the nickname, “Song Bird” and requested her presence to perform for private parties at her homes as well as major events worldwide. Following Dr. Angelou’s death, Alyson was asked by her family to perform at several memorials that were given in her honor. Alyson agreed without hesitation as her and Dr. Angelou shared a very special bond. She went on to perform one of Dr. Angelou’s favorite songs at the 2015 National Black Theater Festival Gala, as an extremely heartwarming video montage celebrating her life played in the background. Alyson was also invited by the United States Postal Service to perform The National Anthem and The Black National Anthem with the National Color Guard as a “Forever Stamp” was dedicated to Dr. Angelou complete with her image and powerful words. One of Alyson’s fondest memories is being chosen to headline a benefit at The Dr. Angelou School in Washington, DC. While hosting, Alyson was excited to perform for the guest of honor, former Attorney General, Eric Holder. Her performance, which included Holder’s wildly unexpected participation, was rich, memorable and received a standing ovation.

Blessed with an impeccable and soulful voice, Alyson is well respected by industry royalty and fans worldwide for her genuine heart, innovative mind, and honest lyrics. Her ambition and determination to create her own opportunities is precisely why she is successful, admired by many and is the next bankable brand. Love and light, peace and blessings, miracles and music all define the Alyson Williams experience.

Summer Nights In Harlem is available now on:

AMAZON APPLE MUSIC SPOTIFY

YOUTUBE PANDORA

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Angelo A. Ellerbee
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TODAY, YOUTUBE ORIGINALS WILL PREMIERE NEW DOCUMENTARY EXPLORING THE U.S. CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, “TRAPPED: CASH BAIL IN AMERICA”

STREAM FOR FREE ONLY ON YOUTUBE

WHAT:

Today (October 12), YouTube Originals will launch the new documentary, “Trapped: Cash Bail in America,” which explores the growing movement to end the inherent economic and racial inequalities of cash bail while highlighting victims impacted by an unjust system, the tireless campaigners fighting for criminal justice reform, and a bail industry lobbying to maintain the status quo. The documentary will be available to stream for free only on the Real Stories YouTube Channel beginning at 7p ET l 4p PT.

 

Every year, millions of American men and women are incarcerated before even being convicted of a crime – all because they can’t afford to post bail. How did we get here? “Trapped: Cash Bail in America” shines a light on our deeply flawed criminal justice system and the activists working to reform it.

 

The film will premiere on the Real Stories YouTube Channel at 7p ET l 4p PT with a live chat and discussion with the filmmakers and cast from the film. Viewers can set a reminder here to be notified.

 

Watch “Trapped: Cash Bail in America” HERE.

 

“Trapped: Cash Bail in America” also gives a face to those who are forgotten behind bars and spotlights the human impact on the individuals stuck in jail before their trial. The harsh repercussions this has on the accused and their families is outlined through the story of a single mother separated from her children for a non-violent felony. With activism starting at a local level, a national conversation is slowly beginning to emerge to combat mass incarceration and free Americans unequally imprisoned.
“Trapped: Cash Bail in America” is produced and written by Chris L. Jenkins and directed and edited by Garrett Hubbard. Nadine Zylstra, Head of the YouTube Originals Learning, Impact and Kids & Families team, and Ian Roth on the Learning and Impact development team oversee the documentary. Malika Saada Saar serves as Global Head of Human Rights for YouTube.

 

The documentary is part of YouTube’s global slate of new and returning projects, dedicated to amplifying Black voices. “Trapped: Cash Bail in America” continues YouTube’s long-standing commitment to celebrate a broad and diverse set of perspectives on the platform. Additional projects from the slate includes a documentary series from Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and a HBCU Homecoming (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) livestream special.

 

“Trapped: Cash Bail in America” won the Social Impact Award at the A Show For A Change Film Festival and is also opening the (In)Justice For AllFilm Festival on December 10, 2020.

 

# # #

 

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.

The Forty-Year-Old Version Netflix

This project is an Instant Classic! A Film Classic, A Social Studies Classic, A Race Relations Classic and yes a Hip Hop Classic!

But there is so much more and we will be unpacking this amazing gift to Entertainment for days and days to come. But right now let’s just get to know the creator “Radha Blank” and find out how she developed this bold cinematic masterpiece.

Radha, a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. But when she foils what seems like her last shot at success, she’s left with no choice but to reinvent herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime.

The Forty-Year-Old Version follows Radha as she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater on a quest to find her true voice.

Winner of the Directing Prize at The 2020 Sundance Film Festival, The Forty-Year-Old Version is a hilariously candid and deeply personal debut from writer/director Radha Blank.

A fresh addition to the New York City slice-of-life canon shot in lush black and white 35mm, Blank’s film is an ode to the unfulfilled, and those whose adversity gives them a one-of-a-kind story to tell.

A Conversation With Radha Blank

THIS IS A VERY PERSONAL AND AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FILM FOR YOU. HOW DID THE DETAILS OF YOUR LIFE WEAVE INTO THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION?

The movie actually started as a web series six years ago and emerged out of my frustration that there wasn’t a place where I could be my full self as an artist. I had gotten fired off of a film and it devastated me. I had been getting great feedback on my work, but at the same time it wasn’t getting produced. So very much like my character, I wanted to create something I was in complete control of so I wouldn’t be rejected by anyone. What is in my real world definitely informs the storytelling in The Forty-Year-Old Version and then the storytelling informs be back. It’s like a mirror.

HOW DID YOU LEAP INTO THIS MEDIUM? IN WRITING, DID YOU FIND THAT THE STORY POURED OUT ALL AT ONCE OR WAS IT A MORE NUANCED JOURNEY?

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 4

One of my closest friends needed someone to put her in a reel and be in a scene with her. We just used an iPhone and I realized that there are so many tools available to help you tell your own story. In starting the web series, I worked with some producers and a cinematographer and we decided we were going to shoot the first two episodes and use that to crowdsource the rest of the series. At the end of the final episode you’d be able to download a mixtape that was created by the character in the web series. I ended up creating all the music myself on GarageBand.

Then two weeks before we went to shoot it, my mom died. It was the first time I felt like I was never going to be an artist again. My most important cheerleader, the person who put the seed of storytelling in me when I was eight years old, was not here. Two months later someone reached out to me to perform my solo show, HappyFlowerNail. I didn’t feel like I could do that and asked if I could try something else. I decided to just perform all of the songs that were con- nected to the web series, just as a catharsis. I had no idea that people would love ‘RadhaMUSprime’ so much. I performed this as a woman turn- ing 40, dealing with the loss of a mother and just trying to figure out what her life means now. I did that for almost two years and then when I got back to the web series, it felt super pedestrian. From there I kept thinking about ways I could transform it. I wrote it as a pilot. And then finally it was a screenplay. So it was a process of me having all this adversity that helped me to deepen the work.

BEING INSPIRED TO CREATE A WEB SERIES FROM AN IPHONE AND THEN DECIDING TO SHOOT ON 35MM FILM IS A BIG LEAP. Yeah, right? Who does that? It’s like, “Oh, this little kitty is cute. You know

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 5

what? Actually, let me get a lion instead as a pet.” I feel like we’ve been kind of conditioned to create a safety net or to not do things as risky. And that is, to me, what is missing. What makes art, art, is when someone trusts that these ideas are coming. The people who inspired me as New York filmmakers are Hal Ashby, John Cassavetes, Kathleen Collins. These peo- ple didn’t have another format to fall back on except to maybe shoot on video. I took note from them and acted like I didn’t have a format to fall back on. The other thing that they did was they trusted actors. I think 60% of it is just hiring the right actor who you know will carry the role through and add a level of nuance that we couldn’t even articulate to them. It’s real- ly made me appreciate what it is that actors do, especially because I’m in their position too in this film.

THE REALITY IS THAT SHOOTING ON FILM IS VERY EXPENSIVE. HOW DID YOU FINANCE IT?

My producers Lena Waithe and Jordan Fudge were my big angels. They never balked. I’ve known Lena for six years and they were constantly trusting my vision and supporting it. It’s been a long road of finding people who didn’t want me to compromise, whether it’s me being in the movie or shooting on a particular format. Once I found them, and I knew they were behind me, I had the freedom to make the movie that I wanted to. Jordan is a young queer black man and Lena is a young black lesbian and I feel like maybe because folks like that live on the margins, it’s not as much of a risk to get behind somebody like me. They know what it is like to be overlooked. That’s not to say they didn’t challenge me—they gave me great notes. I’m grateful for them and I hope that we all continue to work togeth- er in the future.

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 6

DID YOU CONSIDER CASTING SOMEONE ELSE TO PLAY RADHA?

There was no way I couldn’t be in it because it’s me. It’s my story and it’s my New York too. And I really haven’t seen anyone telling that story from the point of view of someone who feels like me. It’s just about the perspec- tive. Why haven’t more people who look like me been up there on that screen? I wanted to challenge something. And through the process, I’ve employed so many artists of color, so many women, and so many people who hadn’t worked on a feature film before in that capacity.

WHAT NEW YORK FILMS DID YOU GROW UP WITH, OR THINK ABOUT, WHILE MAKING YOURS?

Manhattan and Annie Hall were big for me. What struck me was seeing a film where the character wasn’t necessarily likable, but you still liked going on the journey with them. And I think that’s how people would describe native New Yorkers. We can complain every second of the day, but we come from good stock.

Cassavetes is also huge in my life, and Sidney Lumet spoke to me for so many reasons because he went against the grain. And of course I looked at Godard. I even watched Rosemary’s Baby because I wanted to capture the feel of New York in the ’70s when things were less slick. If you go to Times Square now at nighttime, it feels like Disney World. It’s so oversaturated in color. I really wanted to give my New York an old school texture.

I also looked at a lot of hip-hop music videos from the ’90s, like A Tribe Called Quest’s “Electric Relaxation” and Digable Planets. I feel like black and white forces you to focus on the character. Especially where charac- ters from the hip-hop world show up, I wanted to give them a kind of sophisticated and vulnerable treatment. Hip-hop culture is often present- ed as over-sexualized and I feel like taking the color out forces you to see a certain level of humanity.

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 7

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO MUSIC?

I was raised by a painter and a jazz musician, so music was always a big part of my life. Right around the time I hit 12 or 13, hip-hop became the soundtrack to my life. The first time I saw Queen Latifah, my whole life changed. She was all woman and it gave me something to aspire to. Even when music became hyper-sexualized, she became a beacon of another version of black womanhood that’s being celebrated. She didn’t allow me to forget that.

HOW DOES YOUR RAPPER SIDE AND YOUR FILMMAKER SIDE IN- FORM EACH OTHER? CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CRAFTED THE LANGUAGE FOR RADHAMUSPRIME’S VERSES?

You might notice that every time RadhaMUSprime shows up, she looks to camera. She is unapologetically raw and I think the look is about her try- ing to get out. RadhaMUSprime is a darker, more fierce, more courageous, more confident version of myself. I’m a Libra and we’re represented by the scales. One balances the other. Creating that alter-ego saved my life. Rap- ping gave me something to do with my pain, my rage, and grief, and at the same time celebrate my mom, since she was the first person I shared my RadhaMUSprime rhymes with.

I don’t really consider the film a comedy but I think people are just more open to the message because, one, I’m making fun of myself, but I’m using humor to present some very unfunny things to the world, whether it’s mi- sogyny or death or body image insecurity.

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 8

WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT FROM THE MOVIE’S SOUNDTRACK? HOW DID YOU CONNECT WITH PRODUCER KHRYSIS, COMPOSER/PIANIST COURTNEY BRYAN, AND YOUR CLOSEST COLLABORATORS WHO CREATE MUSIC FOR THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION?

Much of the music in the film, outside of the pure hip-hop beats, are songs I’ve collected along the way. Courtney Bryan’s music, Nia Br.XX’s music, this is what I envisioned in the script. I wanted that Heltah Skeltah, Sean Price, Cocoa Brovaz a.k.a. Smif-N-Wessun sound, that Brooklyn sound.

I wanted it to be so undeniably New York but so undeniably Brooklyn.

Guy Routte, our Music Supervisor, worked closely in finding the music.

He found me a bunch of tracks and we would just listen in the studio. The ones that rose to the top were by Khrysis and by Beatminerz. They’ve both produced for some of the best Brooklyn MCs.

It’s important to note that this isn’t really a movie about becoming a rapper. It’s about somebody using rap as a meditation and hip-hop as a way to get through their pain and grieving. It’s really about her leaning on her culture and it showing up in so many iterations. So to me, hip-hop is more of a meditation in the film.

WHAT WAS YOUR PROCESS OF CHOOSING YOUR CAST AND CREW?

This was my first film, so I called on people who had made films before and asked them who are the folks that enliven them and make them feel confi- dent in telling their story. Or there were people I had worked with in differ- ent capacities like my music supervisor, Guy Routte. He’s one of the people who encouraged me to take on RadhaMUSprime and he’s managed all my favorite New York rappers. My casting director Jessica Daniels helped me round out the cast of young people. I’m very proud of this movie. It’s a labor of love and it’s taken every molecule out of me. I hope this will be considered a New York classic one day.

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 9

IN THE MOVIE, YOUR CHARACTER HAS A 30 UNDER 30 AWARD, BUT FEELS LIKE SHE HASN’T QUITE LIVED UP TO THAT. WAS THAT SOMETHING YOU WENT THROUGH AS WELL?

I didn’t get an award per se, but I did have a play called SEED that came out in 2011 that was successful. Because of the response to that play, people would tell me, “You’re poised to be the next theater darling. This

is going to Broadway…” I think I allowed that to define me. I was looking

at a certain level of success and thinking this is what it means to be suc- cessful. I think what my character and I have in common is that you can overlook the real success in your life to value things that other people find valuable. In my own life I got distracted by what I thought was success. It made me lose sight of why I did theater in the first place. It caused me to contemplate if there’s a space for me in theater. I’ve gone through a lot of things my character went through: I felt like I had to compromise my work so it spoke to a broader audience. With black content, you prefer a black director, but there aren’t that many so a lot of black playwrights have to work with who’s interested and who’s available. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it’s a compromise but it’s given me a story to tell and everything happens for a reason.

WHO IS ARCHIE, THE BEST FRIEND CHARACTER, TO YOU

IN REAL LIFE?

My solo show HappyFlowerNail is about the women who call a Kore- an-owned nail salon in BedStuy home and I played all of them. Peter Kim, who plays Archie, came on as my dialect coach. At the end of the play

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 10

I had the Korean woman giving her shop to this young black woman and Peter was like, “Girl, that is beautiful and heartwarming, but that shit wouldn’t happen.” I was blown away by his honesty and we established a rapport. I initially wrote Archie as a young, white, gay agent, but after that experience with Peter I had him play the best friend. He’s the other love story in the film. We’ve become very close friends through this process.

IS THERE A D (THE PRODUCER) IN YOUR REAL LIFE AS WELL?

Well D is an amalgam of a lot of young men I either encountered or dat- ed. I wanted to show somebody who’s like a lot of black men I know, who have a lot of emotions but express them in different ways. He’s an homage to some guys I maybe at the time wasn’t mature enough to love because I looked for love in gestures or language.

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 11

REED BIRNEY, WHO’S A TONY® AWARD-WINNING ACTOR, PLAYS THE WHITE PRODUCER, AND HE WAS SO GOOD

IN THIS TOO.

We got to create the character together and I feel honored that a theater legend would come and be a part of this film. He helps to authenticate the world and he knows a lot of people like his character. From the Reed Birneys to all the background players, I really feel like this is an authentic version of New York.

DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE COMING TO SUNDANCE WITH THE FILM AND WINNING THE U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION DIRECTING AWARD?

Sundance has been such an important chapter in my life as a storyteller. I’ve worked in different formats across television, broadcast TV, cable and stream- ing but it was Sundance who gave me the chance to really experiment in the filmmaking space. Some of the major scenes in the film were ones that I had the opportunity to play with at the Directors Lab. Michelle Satter and her team have been so invested in me, so it meant a lot to get that award because I felt like it was my filmmaking community who was giving it to me. And I’ll be honest with you — I didn’t think that we were going to win. I had other filmmakers mention that if you were in the running for something in a real way, they call you and see if you are coming to the ceremony. I hadn’t received a call so I went into the evening with my guard down and was just enjoying myself. When they announced me as the winner of the Directors Award for U.S. Dramatic, I immediately burst into tears. It was all a blur but it was such an affirmation. I really want to be seen as a director, as an au- teur, as a matter of fact. So that kind of affirmation from this hub of devel- opment, a place where I got to really get my gut around filmmaking, it was just a wonderful moment for me. Overall, it was a beautiful way to start not just the year but the process of bringing the film to the world. I am only the second black woman in the entire history of the festival to be awarded this honor — so we also made a little history that night.

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 12

WHAT’S THE QUESTION(S) THAT THIS FILM IS ASKING THE VIEWERS TO CONSIDER?

The question is ‘What is success?’ Walter Mosley was one of my mentors at Sundance — had asked me the same thing. For the character Radha, like many people, the world says success is by a certain age. But if she’d pivot her head just a little bit to the left, she’d see that she has these students who absolutely adore her. They love her. She’ll see that this guy who has only heard her rhyme one time is determined to help her make music. She has this friend who, in spite of her failures in the theater world, is commit- ted to helping her. She has achieved a certain level of success. She’s just ignoring that for another kind of success. If she would just shift her think- ing, she would see that she’s already made it.

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 13

WHAT THEMES FROM THE FILM WILL RESONATE WITH AUDI- ENCES AROUND THE WORLD, REGARDLESS OF WHERE THEY LIVE OR WHAT LANGUAGE THEY SPEAK?

Just this idea of unleashing your truth, having a voice. At one point one of the lines I was using myself was ‘you don’t age out of your passion,’ and what I hope people will be inspired by is not just the story of the character in the film, but my story of starting a film career in my 40s.

If it’s in you to do something, do it. Don’t let people’s response to your gender, your size, your look, your race, your age, your ethnicity, your past, impact this thing that you want to pursue. I’ll be real with you.

I know people use the word ‘universal’ a lot. I don’t. As a playwright,

I feel like a lot of my playwright friends of color were encouraged to write universally. To me it’s just about writing honestly. If people con- nect to it, that’s fine. If they don’t, that’s fine, too. It’s good to just be reminded that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but for the people who connect with it — like I wrote this love letter for people of my genera- tion, people who love hip-hop and New Yorkers. u

A Conversation With Radha Blank | 14

Hubie Halloween Netflix

Adam Sandler continues to deliver quality Entertainment. This time he has brought along an all star cast of comedy greats to make sure we all have a Happy Halloween!

Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) thanklessly spends every Halloween making sure the residents of his hometown, Salem, celebrate safely and play by the rules. But this year, an escaped criminal and a mysterious new neighbor have Hubie on high alert.

When people start disappearing, it’s up to Hubie to convince the police (Kevin James, Kenan Thompson) and townsfolk that the monsters are real, and only he can stop them.

Hubie Halloween is a hilarious family film about an unlikely hero with an all-star cast including Julie Bowen, Ray Liotta, Noah Schnapp, Steve Buscemi and Maya Rudolph, produced by Happy Madison.

COMCAST AND REVOLT SIGN AGREEMENT TO EXPAND THE NETWORK’S AVAILABILITY TO MILLIONS MORE VIEWERS IN OVER 30 MARKETS

Companies Also Commit to Create Programs Supporting Black Content Creators and Cultural Content

PHILADELPHIA AND HOLLYWOOD — September 24, 2020 – Comcast and REVOLT,  the unapologetically Hip Hop content platform from Sean “Diddy” Combs dedicated to the creators of this generation, have reached an agreement to significantly expand its availability to Xfinity TV customers across the country in new and existing markets.  

On September 29, REVOLT will be added in HD to the Xfinity Digital Starter package in Philadelphia, Northern New Jersey, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Tampa, Knoxville, Indianapolis, Charleston, and Augusta, making the network available to millions more Xfinity customers. Additionally, in markets where REVOLT has been available in standard definition as part of the Xfinity Digital Premier package, the network will be moved to Digital Starter in HD, beginning September 29.  

“REVOLT exists to tell our stories and empower our community,” said Sean “Diddy” Combs, Chairman, REVOLT Media & TV. “As one of very few Black-owned media platforms, it is important that we can reach our audiences wherever they are. We are excited to continue to grow with Comcast and deliver our content to millions of additional homes.” 

“Comcast was one of the first television distributors to carry REVOLT to millions of its customers when it launched in 2013, and we are very pleased to bring its creative music- and social justice-focused content to even more Xfinity TV customers across the country,” said Dana Strong, President, Xfinity Consumer Services. 

As part of the new agreement, the companies will collaborate to create impactful cultural content. The first program, “Black Voices on Mute,” will feature original content that bridges the past with the present to illuminate the importance of voting and the history of voter suppression in the Black community. This short form content will amplify narratives around social justice, empowerment, and voter turnout leading up to the November 3rd national election.   

This original content will also be featured in Black Voices. Black Stories, a specially curated content collection on Xfinity X1, Stream and Flex featuring a wide variety of movies, documentaries, TV series and more. Designed to educate and drive awareness, the collection of curated content specifically reflects the country’s long history of racial discrimination and injustice along with bold movies and specials featuring some of the most recent efforts by the Black community to attain social justice and create inclusive movements towards equality.   

“There is no better time than now to amplify Black stories and content, and we are excited to bring new programming from Revolt to our platform and recently launched content collection, Black Voices. Black Stories,” said Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. 

The broader relationship with Comcast also comes on the heels of REVOLT’s expanded commitment to social justice. In the past few months, the network aired a live and urgent town hall, “State of Emergency,” hosted by Combs, with notable guests exposing the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on Black communities; partnered with NAACP, Sankofa, March for Our Lives, and Hip-Hop Week MKE for notable social justice livestream events; and launched “REVOLT Black News,” a weekly news show hosted by Eboni K. Williams that presents an unfiltered conversation about current events with the leaders of Black culture, including artists, activists, politicians, experts, and more. REVOLT has remained steadfast as an unfiltered platform and home for content by artists including its recently launched “The Fat Joe Show” and Guapdad 4000’s “The Valentino Vlog,” as well as “The Breakfast Club,” “Drink Champs: Happy Hour,” and series partnerships like “Anatomy of…”  and “What’s Good Africa.” 

With just weeks until the November election, REVOLT will air its second “State of Emergency” virtual town hall on Thursday, September 24th at 9pm EDT/6pm PDT with confirmed guests Dr. Cornel West, Kerry Washington, Tamika Mallory, Jeff Johnson, Cordae, Vic Mensa and others in a Vote or Die discussion.

About Comcast Corporation 

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq:CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest high-speed internet, video, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information. 

About REVOLT TV: 

REVOLT is unapologetically Hip Hop, leading and living Hip Hop culture. REVOLT is the voice of the culture across platforms, engaging Millennial and Gen Z audiences, on REVOLT.tv, across social, TV and live events, through original and live content. Attracting over 50 million young people, REVOLT is accessible 24/7 on digital, TV and on demand. Founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs, REVOLT launched in broadcast in October 2013  and is available on AT&T DirecTV platforms, Charter Spectrum, Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FiOS, CenturyLink, Altice/Suddenlink, Frontier Communications, Comporium and Cincinnati Bell, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom, Hotwire, as well as OTT platforms AT&TV Now, Sling TV, Fubo TV and Philo TV. REVOLT is also available internationally in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados, Nevis, Anguilla, Monserrat, Bermuda, Aruba, St. Maarten’s, Trinidad and the U.S.V.I. Check local listings athttps://revolt.tv/listings

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TO BROADCAST FIVE-PART CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED SERIES CITY SO REAL FROM ACADEMY AWARD®-NOMINATED FILMMAKER STEVE JAMES IN AN UNPRECEDENTED ONE-NIGHT, FIVE-HOUR, COMMERCIAL-FREE EVENT THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29 AT 7:00 P.M. ET/PT

National Geographic Also Commits to Airing I am a voter. PSAs During the Broadcast of CITY SO REAL and Across the Network Leading Up to the Election as Part of Walt Disney Television’s Civic Engagement Campaign

All Five Episodes Will Be Available Next Day on Hulu – Friday, October 30

OFFICIAL TRAILER PREMIERE:

https://youtu.be/QyQ85DEVpbc


(WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. 24, 2020) National Geographic Documentary Films announced today that the critically acclaimed five-part documentary series from Participant and Kartemquin Films, CITY SO REAL, will air in an unprecedented one-night, five-hour, commercial-free event on Thursday, October 29 beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. All five episodes will then be available on Hulu the following day – Friday, October 30. 

From twice Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Steve James (“America to Me,” “Hoop Dreams”) and his longtime producing partner Zak Piper (“Life Itself,” “The Interrupters”), the fascinating and complex portrait of contemporary Chicago delivers a deep, multifaceted look into the soul of a quintessentially American city, set against the backdrop of its history-making 2019 mayoral election. 

CITY SO REAL was an official Indie Episodic selection at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival where it had its world premiere. Vox hailed the series as “an engrossing portrait of a city -and a country -at an inflection point, and a love letter to Chicago, too,” while IndieWire raved that CITY SO REAL is “substantial, engrossing, and declarative.” The premiere on National Geographic will exclusively feature an epic fifth episode that follows the COVID-19 pandemic and social uprising following George Floyd’s death. 

As part of Walt Disney Television’s civic engagement campaign, National Geographic is partnering with I am a voter. to encourage viewers to vote in the upcoming election. Across the network leading up to the election including during the five-hour, commercial-free broadcast of CITY SO REAL, I am a voter. PSAs will air and National Geographic will leverage its social media accounts to promote the important message of voting. 

To further spark critical conversations surrounding voting and other significant themes from the series, National Geographic is also launching an educational campaign which will provide CITY SO REAL to classrooms across the country through virtual screenings. Educators will be equipped with a discussion guide to help further the dialog, voter resources and a voter guide to highlight the importance of local elections.

In the five-part documentary series CITY SO REAL, Oscar®-nominated documentarian Steve James (“America to Me,” “Hoop Dreams”) delivers a fascinating and complex portrait of Chicago, America’s third-largest metropolis and his longtime hometown. 

The series begins in the haze of mid-summer 2018 as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, embroiled in accusations of a cover-up related to the police shooting of an African American teenager, Laquan McDonald, shocks the city by announcing he won’t seek reelection. An unprecedented 21 candidates emerge in a diverse and crowded field as they engage in a no-holds-barred battle for a chance to shape the city’s uncertain future. 

The final episode of the series picks up a year after the mayoral election in 2020, as the city simultaneously grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread social upheaval following the police killing of George Floyd. An already fractured city is further divided by the economic, political and social fallout, which plays out on the city streets as police clash with protesters, bringing rise to a generational moment that promises to change the city forever. In candid interviews with residents throughout the city, the series captures Chicago’s indomitable spirit as well as its seemingly insurmountable challenges. CITY SO REAL is a gritty and loving depiction of a quintessentially American city that is at once fiercely unique and a microcosm of the nation ⎯ and our world ⎯ as a whole.

Official episode descriptions are as follows:

Episode 1 – “Welcome to Chicago”
Facing a growing chorus of activists, incumbent Rahm Emanuel must choose whether to run for reelection against a large and diverse field of candidates in the most contested mayor’s race in Chicago history. Influencing his decision is the beginning of the high-profile trial for the murder of Laquan McDonald by a white police officer.

Episode 2 – “Blood Sport”
The Laquan McDonald trial unfolds and dominates media attention. With Rahm Emanuel now out of the race, a record 21 mayoral candidates submit their petitions to replace him. They must navigate the highly politicized and contentious petition challenge process to make the ballot. Chicago is famous for its rough- and-tumble politics that is considered a “blood sport.”

Episode 3 – “With All Due Respect to the Candidate”
During a bitterly cold Chicago winter, the petition process results in a mayoral ballot with a record 14 candidates. A historic verdict is reached in the Laquan McDonald murder trial, and the longest-tenured city alderman in Chicago history is federally indicted on corruption charges.

Episode 4 – “If You Want to Break the Machine”
No clear front-runner emerges in the historic mayoral race. Over a dozen candidates intensify attacks on each other and jockey for votes, culminating in a surprising and historic outcome that promises to profoundly shape the city’s uncertain future.

Episode 5 – “You Gotta Make It or You Gotta Take It”
One year after the mayoral election, the mayor and city residents must grapple with both the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread social upheaval following the police killing of George Floyd. An already fractured city is further divided as police clash with protesters, giving rise to a generational moment that promises to change the city forever.

For more information,visit Citysoreal.film or our press site www.natgeotvpressroom.com, or follow us on Twitter using @NatGeoPR.

National Geographic Documentary Films and Participant Present a Kartemquin Films Production: CITY SO REAL –  Directed by Steve James; Produced by Zak Piper and Steve James; Cinematography by Jackson James and Steve James; Edited by David E. Simpson and Steve James; Field Producers – Sylvetta Christmas, Janea Smith; Executive Producers – Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Alex Kotlowitz, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, and Jolene Pinder; Original Music Composed by Will Miller and Resavoir; Music Supervisor – Dawn Sutter Madell. 

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About Steve James
Director, producer, cinematographer and editor Steve James is a two-time Academy Award nominee who has earned four Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award nominations, winning for 1994’s Hoop Dreams. That film marked his first Oscar nomination (Best Film Editing), as well as an Independent Spirit Award win, and James received his second Oscar nod (Best Documentary Feature) for 2016’s Abacus: Small Enough to Jail. The latter film was named one of the National Board of Review’s “Top 5 Documentaries of the Year” and won Best Political Documentary at the Critics’ Choice Awards.  James’ other notable credits include Stevie, an Independent Spirit Award nominee and Sundance prize winner; The Interrupters, which won an Emmy, Independent Spirit Award and the duPont-Columbia Journalism Award; and the Roger Ebert biography Life Itself, named best documentary by the National Board of Review and the Producers Guild of America (PGA), as well as winning an Emmy winner for Best Editing. The director’s Starz docuseries America to Me premiered at Sundance and was one of the most acclaimed TV shows of 2018.

About National Geographic Partners LLC
National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo WILD, Nat Geo MUNDO, Nat Geo PEOPLE) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 132 years, and now we are committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for our consumers and reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month as we do it. NGP returns 27% of our proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit natgeotv.com or nationalgeographic.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
 
About Participant
Founded by Chairman Jeff Skoll and under the leadership of CEO David Linde, Participant (www.participant.com) combines the power of a good story well told with real world impact and awareness around today’s most vital issues. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing the well over 2 billion consumers compelled to make meaningful content a priority focus.
 
As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 30 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake. Participant’s more than 100 films have collectively earned 74 Academy Award® nominations and 19 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight and Green Book, Best Documentary Feature for An Inconvenient Truth, The Cove, CITIZENFOUR and American Factory, and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting content that reaches an audience of more than 9 million fans. Follow Participant on Twitter(@Participant) and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter(@soulpancake) and on Facebook and Instagram.

About Kartemquin Films
Sparking democracy through documentary since 1966, Kartemquin (www.kartemquin.com) is a collaborative center empowering filmmakers who create documentaries that foster a more engaged and just society. The organization’s films have received four Academy Award ® nominations, and won six Emmys® and three Peabody Awards, among several more major prizes, including multiple Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA and DGA awards, and duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards. In 2019, Kartemquin was honored with an Institutional Peabody Award for “its commitment to unflinching documentary filmmaking and telling an American history rooted in social justice and the stories of the marginalized.” Recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, Kartemquin has helped hundreds of artists via its filmmaker development programs and championing of the documentary field. Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago. Follow Kartemquin on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo.

BAY AREA RAPPER PARIS REVEALS COVER ART FOR UPCOMING ALBUM SAFE SPACE INVADER

Album drops next Friday, September 25

New York, NY – Bay Area incendiary political rapper Paris revealed today the album cover and track list for the upcoming album Safe Space Invader set to drop next Friday, September 25.

 

Entirely self-produced and released on his own Guerrilla Funk Recordings imprint, Safe Space Invader is a brutal commentary on Black life in 2020 America, touching on the topics of police brutality, racism, gentrification, economic inequality and cancel culture, among others.
 
Safe Space Invader – Track List
 
1   Bang Bang
2   Why Reconcile?
3   Press On
4   Nobody Move
5   Chain Reaction
6   Return Of The Vanguard
7   Turned The key
8   Baby Man Hands
9   Walk Like A Panther
10 Somethin’ ‘Bout The West Coast
 
On September 11, Paris released the video for the song “Nobody Move.” The clip pays homage to graphic artist Emory Douglas whose work for the Black Panther Party became a symbol of rebellion and popular uprising in the 1960s. The clip is available on YouTube and has so far garnered over 300k views!

 

 

Watch “Nobody Move” here:

PARIS - Nobody Move 

Safe Space Invader will be released globally Sept 25.
 

Pre-order it now:
https://orcd.co/safespaceinvader  – All digital platforms
 

Follow Paris
– instagram.com/paris_gfr 

www.guerrillafunk.com