#FREERAYSHAWN

On a remote street in the outskirts of New Orleans, a botched entrapment leaves a police officer dead and an innocent man named Rayshawn (Stephan James) on the run. Rayshawn escapes a breathless pursuit and barricades himself in his home with his girlfriend (Jasmine Cephas Jones) and young son (Danny Boyd, Jr.).

Citing the senseless end of countless Black Lives, Rayshawn documents the ensuing standoff on social media, building a fleet of witnesses who share his desire for respect, accountability, and social justice. As the SWAT team encroaches and #FREERAYSHAWN trends, Rayshawn places his trust in Lt. Steven Poincy (Laurence Fishburne) to find the evidence that will exonerate him. Poincy works against time as both negotiator and lifeline, while perception and procedure block the path to the truth…

Starring: Laurence Fishburne, Stephan James, Danny Boyd, Jr., Skeet Ulrich, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Annabelle Gish, Ana Ortiz

Director: Seith Mann



Executive Producer: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Marc Maurino


Produced by: Fuqua Films, Sony Pictures TV


# of Episodes: 15 Quibi

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook #FreeRayShawn @Quibi

5th Ward

NETWORK:        Urban Movie Channel 

DATE:                  Thursday, July 30th – Available to stream at any time after 12 pm ET

CAST:                  Mya Harrison (Mina Kennedy),  Gary Sturgis (Odell “Blue” Davis ),  Carl Anthony Payne II (Councilman Kendrick Davis),   Omar Gooding (Commander Robert

Kennedy ),  Reginald T. Dorsey (Police Chief Lewis ),  Carter Redwood (Ray Ray Kennedy ) and Chris O’Neal (Bam Stone) 

SEASON 2 SYNOPSIS:

As Blue and Mina await the birth of their first child together, the lovers are haunted by ghosts and relationships from their checkered pasts. Mina’s brother-in-law, Police Commander Robert Kennedy, is trying to mentally recover from the events of a failed operation that left his partner in a coma. Now under investigation by internal affairs, he turns to friend Councilman Kendrick Davis in a search for answers to solve the mysterious criminal world of the 5th Ward.  A new unseen threat follows Councilman Kendrick Davis as he tries to settle into family life.  His back is against the wall as his solving the mystery of this unforeseen foe proves to be literally life or death. The star-crossed lovers, Ray Ray Kennedy and Jazmine Tran, find both their families trying to keep them apart. Bam must deal with shocking changes to his life.

WHERE TO STREAM THE SHOW: 

UMC (www.UMC.tv) is the platform the show is streaming on. UMC is available everywhere you find streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.  On Xfinity go to “On Demand” and search for “Urban Movie Channel” under “networks” then search “5th Ward” on the site.

TRAILER 

https://youtu.be/z4pzxF8hLRs

SEASON 2 SOUNDTRACK:  

Available online via Conscious Minds Entertainment

DIRECTOR/SHOWRUNNER GREG CARTER’S QUOTES:

You created the show 5Th Ward. What was the genesis for it that started you developing it as a series?  Fifth Ward, the movie was my very first feature film and premiered at SXSW in 1998. The film was well received and later got picked up for cable television distribution, airing on BET Action PPV in 1999 then later being broadcast on Black Starz Encore. The movie eventually got U.S. home video release and was called Boyz in the Ghetto in France.    Around that time I wrote a treatment for one season of an dramatic series which would serve as a pre·quel to my first time effort.  I got busy doing other projects and it sat on my laptop for nearly twenty years until Bob Johnson and Sylvia George and the UMC family gave me the opportunity to make the Season 1 happen in 2017.  It’s funny because actress Junie Hoang played the teenage role of My Hahn in Fifth Ward the movie and now nearly twenty years later she play’s the role of Huong, My Hahn’s mother in 5th Ward the series.  Season one did great and the show was renewed for Season 2. 

What about the story lent itself to a TV series over a feature?  As I envision it each season of the show is one third of three trilogies. Each trilogy (three seasons) essentially tells the coming of age story of each of Mina’s sons, Ray Ray, James and Lil’ T.   So basically, I needed the time (nine seasons) to let each of my child actors grow up and come of age in real time.  The story of Mina and raising her three sons in Houston’s 5th Ward is somewhat based on my real mom, two brothers and myself. So as it is in my real family life, each boy is born four years apart. In fact, my oldest brother Mell, paints murals and portraits like the James character in the show. My youngest brother, Lee, is a rap artist and vocalist some what like the Ray Ray character and I followed the path to be a filmmaker and writer as the Lil’ T character eventually does.   So, again, I needed nine seasons to tell the full story as the Lil’ T character is actually telling it to the viewing audience.  A television series was the only practical choice.  

Music is important in 5Th Ward, from the powerful opening song to storylines revolving around rap careers and the use of both diegetic and non-diegetic music. Did you intend for the show to have music at its core and why, or was that a choice that evolved after securing talent like Mya, Carter Redwood, Chris O’Neal and Brittany Bullock aka Just Brittany?  

As the son of Methodist minister, I learned from my father’s sermons how powerful the ministry of music was to conveying his message during Sunday service. This is why I chose to write the back story of Mina, her children and parents to be woven in the lore of church music and thus meant casting triple threat (act/sing/dance) actors like Mya to pull off demanding lead roles like that of Mina. Dedicated actors like Carter Redwood and Chris O’Neal would both record songs for the show in the studio booth then come to work the next day on set, but for me music is even deeper.  Years ago, for poor black folks living in the segregated South, musical expression along with the combination of song, dance and other fine arts was often the only tool of self-expression and political activism.  This is why I believe music has the power heal mind, body and soul.  To that I challenged Charlie Mac, my music supervisor, and Scott Szabo, my composer, to write and find music that drives the narrative home in Season 1. Adding to that for Season 2, we’re planning great soundtrack album which is being produced by Brandon Franklin-Bey of Conscious Minds Records of Memphis and will be available on all platforms online upon release of the show.  

What do you think is the strongest element of the show?  Cast diversity and the audacity of faith.  There are 14 nationalities/cultures represented in 5th Ward’s main characters as well as six distinct spoken languages and four different religions. My characters in 5th Ward are like real people everywhere, right or wrong, they are the sum of the experiences and decisions that they’ve made during their lifetime.  But ultimately, as people, what we have in common is far greater than sum our racial, cultural or religious differences.  In that common humanity, we all basically want the same things.  To feel safe, be happy and loved and hopefully provide a better life for our children.   So whether it’s 5th Ward’s star-crossed lovers, Ray Ray, a good natured black kid who falls in love with Jazmine Tran, daughter of a conservative Vietnamese couple that owns the corner grocery store or to Latino gang leader Carlos as his rival black counterpart Seth, recognize that as in real life, these characters are the hero of their own story, doing what they think is best to defend what they love.  It’s one of the reasons I decided to integrate actual interviews with real people from Houston’s 5th Ward at the beginning and end of each episode.  You see, I never thought the story of 5th Ward was my story to tell alone, but others too.   

Most people live uncomfortably with the fact that secretly, they are a lifetime collection of contradictions, but I do feel that only through faith is it that our humanity can put life into perspective. We are all are part of something bigger, stories can break down walls and spiritually connect us all . 

When does season two drop on UMC.TV, and what’s in store for these Mina and the residents of 5th Ward?  I’ve had to really raise the stakes for all the main characters after Season 1, so expect lots of big twists and surprises. Hopefully you’ll be like… dang!  Why didn’t I see that coming?  This all of course is TOP SECRET! LOL.  

What advice do you wish you’d gotten earlier in your career?  Find a mentor, then find a mentee.  Just don’t allow your work to be critiqued by those that think and see the world the way you do. Although it’s tempting to surround yourself with people who love and admire your work, resist this. Early on in your career you don’t want to be the smartest or best in your peer group. You can’t grow that way.  Instead try to find a good mentor, hell even a bad mentor who’s career you’d like to follow or not follow.  This will help you “sharpen the saw” by learning to recognize the difference between a good choice and a bad choice.  Furthermore, having a mentee to teach or pass your knowledge on to will reinforce what you’ve learned. 

What is next for you?  Developing a romantic comedy and two Christmas scripts with producer Dominique Telson. I’m also acting as showrunner on “A Hip Hop Story” a new dramatic series for the Vyre Network.  I’m also 

What is your favorite part of creating a TV show?  Writing the treatment.  Okay that might sound a bit off, but as a showrunner for those brief moments in the creative process, where it’s just me and the characters in my head. Well maybe my flash cards too, but the possibilities are endless and there’s no creative pushback. I also love putting it all together in post with my editor Sean Henderson.  Yeah, editing is a definitely a close second. 

John Lewis: Good Trouble

RIP John Lewis (1940 – 2020)

After their successful collaboration for the acclaimed four-part docuseries “Bobby Kennedy for President,” director Dawn Porter and producer Laura Michalchyshyn were eager to find another project to work on together. Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films were searching for a team with which to collaborate to develop their team’s concept for a film about the life and legacy of legendary civil rights leader and legislator U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis (D-GA). Entelis and Sexton, production executives valued within the industry for their experience and skill producing documentaries, had recently executive produced the Academy Award-nominated, Emmy-winning feature RBG, about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, another beloved public icon. (RBG was theatrical distributed by Magnolia Pictures and Participant). Entelis had also previously collaborated with Michalchyshyn for two CNN Original Series, HYPERLINK “https://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/category/cnn-u-s-tv/cnn-original-series/chicagoland/” Chicagoland and HYPERLINK “https://www.cnn.com/shows/death-row-stories” Death Row Stories.

“The biggest reason I got involved in this project is because of John Lewis himself,” Porter says. “He’s such a towering figure, and I knew that by partnering with CNN Films, I’d be able to explore not only his past, but his present as well, that we would also have access to the archival resources at CNN Worldwide. John Lewis has consistently delivered a message of doing your best, being honorable, and respecting others for the past 65+ years. I think it’s really needed at this particular moment in history.” Porter reached out to Michalchyshyn and their Trilogy Films began working on the documentary with CNN Films for a development concept.

Shortly after the team determined their development concept for John Lewis: Good Trouble, Porter received a call from filmmakers Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon of Color Farm Media. Alexander and Arnon were already in contact with Lewis’ office about making their own documentary about him. Aware that Porter had interviewed Lewis for both her award-winning 2013 film Gideon’s Army, and for the Bobby Kennedy series, the Color Farm duo reached out to Porter as a potential director for their project.

“When we got her on the phone Dawn said, ‘I need to tell you before we start our conversation that I have my own John Lewis project that I’m working on,’” recalls Arnon. “So, within about 20 seconds, we all realized it would make much more sense to collaborate on a film together. It turned out to be an easy transition right from the start, which was great.” Alexander also praised Porter saying, “Dawn Porter is one of the best documentary filmmakers of her generation. She’s incredibly kind, generous and smart. She’s also a natural-born storyteller. She and Laura have been making excellent films for a long time. Ben and I were thrilled to be making our first film with them. I grew up in Hollywood and as a black woman I was excited to be working alongside Dawn; a talented, strong black woman, who was not afraid to share her expertise and guide us, a young filmmaking team, into a very difficult process.”

Documenting Lewis’ life and work also fit perfectly into Color Farm Media’s mission. “We’re focused on bringing greater equity and inclusion to the media landscape, and our goal is to tell stories that are often overlooked, but deserve to be elevated,” Arnon notes. “So, making a film about John Lewis aligned very closely with our company’s mission.”

Like Porter, Arnon and Alexander saw John Lewis: Good Trouble as a chance to reveal the man behind the legend. “Erika and I have a long history of social activism, and John Lewis is a hero to both of us,” he adds. “But often in the past, whether on film or TV, he’s been depicted as a bit of a side figure in shows about Martin Luther King Jr. or other civil rights leaders. So, we felt it was time to bring Congressman Lewis front and center, because his story is so powerful, and he deserves that.” For Alexander, her path to producing the film was even more personal. “Destiny brought the Congressman and I together. I campaigned in Georgia with Congressman Lewis, Stacey Abrams and Ayanna Pressley in 2016. That’s like the dream team. Ayanna, Stacey and I had the privilege to travel around Georgia and learn from John Lewis, how to be young, gifted and black in American politics. Mr. Lewis was the perfect teacher and a patient host. He was also a gentleman, who opened our doors and helped us up the steps. It was heaven. I didn’t know then that that real world work, and access, would lead to making the congressman’s documentary.

“Dawn is an amazing documentarian who’s been heralded for the important work she’s done, including Spies of Mississippi (2014, PBS’ Independent Lens) and a film called Trapped (2016), about shutting down access to abortion and women’s reproductive rights in the South,” says Michalchyshyn. “She’s dedicated her career to giving voice to the voiceless, and I like to think of my job as an ally, fighting for her vision.”

Porter’s skills, both personal and creative, are evident in the final product, according to Arnon. “Dawn was able to build a really strong rapport with Congressman Lewis. He shares some great details of his life in the film, and that was because of the connection she established with him.” Alexander further praises Porter and in turn Congressman Lewis, “Dawn Porter directed this documentary and she brilliantly puts the spotlight squarely on Congressman John Lewis. Good Trouble is his show. This allows the audience to finally focus and learn about him. He, in turn, gets the opportunity to tell us about his life, in his own words. Now we get to know what it was like for him growing up a black sharecropper in Alabama in a large, loving family. We laugh at how he honed his fiery, oratorical skills, by preaching to the chickens. He tells us how he met Martin Luther King and began his work as a student activist with SNCC, traveling through Jim Crow south as a Freedom Rider. This all leads to the fateful day on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where white policemen stormed their peaceful march and cracked his skull open, nearly killing him. But John Lewis not only survived all of that, and more, he thrived and became a husband to his beautiful wife and political partner, Lillian Miles, a father to his son John Miles Lewis, and was elected the Congressman from Georgia who earned the respect of his red and blue state peers, who lovingly call him, “The conscience of the Congress.” In our documentary, Good Trouble, we get to see Congress John Robert Lewis tell that story. His story. And it’s a good story.

While Porter focused on the creative aspects of the film, Michalchyshyn says that her role consisted primarily of paving the way for the director, raising additional financing, and serving as a liaison between the various filmmaking partners. CNN Films is an executive producer of John Lewis: Good Trouble and retains North American broadcast rights for the documentary.

In addition to CNN Films, leading independent film financier AGC Studios came onboard before production began as one of the two cornerstone financiers of the film. As part of that investment AGC acquired the international rights to the film and served as executive producer for the film. In addition to CNN Films, AGC Studios, and Color Farm, additional partners that joined the project included theatrical distributors Magnolia Pictures and Participant, and executive producers TIME Studios.

ABOUT REP. JOHN R. LEWIS
“John Lewis…is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber.” — Roll Call
Often called “one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced,” John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing civil liberties, and building what he calls “The Beloved Community” in America. His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the United States Congress.

He has been called “the conscience of the U.S. Congress,” and Roll Call magazine has said, “John Lewis…is a genuine American hero and moral leader who commands widespread respect in the chamber.”

He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama. He grew up on his family’s farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama. As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts. In those pivotal moments, he made a decision to become a part of the Civil Rights Movement. Ever since then, he has remained at the vanguard of progressive social movements and the human rights struggle in the United States.

As a student at Fisk University, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. Lewis risked his life on those Rides many times by simply sitting in seats reserved for white patrons. He was also beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.

During the height of the Movement, from 1963 to 1966, Lewis was named Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which he helped form. SNCC was largely responsible for organizing student activism in the Movement, including sit-ins and other activities.
While still a young man, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.

In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council’s voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). Under his leadership, the VEP transformed the nation’s political climate by adding nearly four million minorities to the voter rolls.

In 1977, John Lewis was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency.
In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. While serving on the Council, he was an advocate for ethics in government and neighborhood preservation. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District since then. He is Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, and Chairman of its Subcommittee on Oversight.

John Lewis holds a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from Fisk University, and he is a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary, both in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been awarded over 50 honorary degrees from prestigious colleges and universities throughout the United States, including Harvard University, Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Duke University, Morehouse College, Clark-Atlanta University, Howard University, Brandeis University, Columbia University, Fisk University, and Troy State University.

John Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards from eminent national and international institutions, including the highest civilian honor granted by President Barack Obama, the Medal of Freedom, the Lincoln Medal from the historic Ford’s Theatre, the Golden Plate Award given by the Academy of Excellence, the Preservation Hero award given by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Capital Award of the National Council of La Raza, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, the President’s Medal of Georgetown University, the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the National Education Association Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award, and the only John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for Lifetime Achievement ever granted by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

John Lewis is the co-author of the National Book Award winning and #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy MARCH, written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. The first volume, MARCH: Book One, received a 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Coretta Scott King Book Award Author Honor, an ALA Notable Children’s Book designation, was named one of YALSA’s 2014 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and became the first graphic novel ever to receive a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. MARCH: Book Two was released in 2015 and immediately became both a New York Times and Washington Post bestseller. MARCH: Book Two was awarded the comic industry’s highest honor, the Will Eisner Award, as well as two Harvey awards among other honors. MARCH: Book Three was released in 2016, debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, and became the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award. In January 2017, MARCH: Book Three made history again by winning four ALA Youth Media Awards, including the Printz Award, the Sibert Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award, and the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award, becoming the first book to ever win four Youth Media Awards in a single year and cementing the MARCH Trilogy’s place at the pinnacle of comics and young adult literature.
The MARCH trilogy has been adopted into the core curriculum of school systems across the country to teach the Civil Rights Movement to the next generation, and has been selected as a First-Year common reading text at colleges and universities such as Michigan State University, Georgia State University, Marquette University, University of Utah, Henderson State University, University of Illinois Springfield, Washburn University, and many others. He is also the author of Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, written with Brenda Jones, and winner of the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Best Literary Work-Biography.

His biography, published in 1998, is entitled Walking With The Wind: A Memoir of the Movement. Written with Michael D’Orso, Walking With The Wind is a recipient of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He is also the subject of two other books written about his life: Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement, by Ann Bausum and John Lewis in the Lead, by Jim Haskins and Kathleen Benson, with illustrations by famous Georgia artist, Bennie Andrews.

REP. JOHN R. LEWIS TIMELINE

February 21, 1940
Born John Robert Lewis in Troy, AL

1960
Becomes one of the original 13 ‘Freedom Riders’

1961
Receives a B.A. from American Baptist Theological Seminary

1963
Becomes chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
August 28, 1963
Youngest speaker at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

1964
Mississippi ‘Freedom Summer’

July 2, 1964
Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson

March 7, 1965
Lewis and Rev. Hosea Williams (SCLC) lead 600 demonstrators in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in an event now known as ‘Bloody Sunday’

August 6, 1965
Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson

1966
Lewis leaves SNCC to become Associate Director of the Field Foundation’s Southern Regional Council’s voter registration programs

1967
Receives a B.A. from Fisk University in Religion and Philosophy

December 31, 1967
John Lewis meets Lillian Miles

December 21, 1968
Marries Lillian Miles

April 1977
Loses U.S. Congressional race to Wyche Fowler in special election, becomes his chief advisor

1977
Appointed to associate director of ACTION, a national volunteer program, by President Jimmy Carter

1981
Elected to at-large seat for the Atlanta City Council

1986
Wins bitterly contested run-off election against Georgia State Rep. Julian Bond for U.S. Congressional seat

1999
Co-authors Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement with Michael D’Orso

March 7, 2004
John R. Lewis Monument, which commemorates ‘Bloody Sunday,’ is unveiled in Selma, AL

February 15, 2011
Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

2012
Co-authors Across That Bridge with Brenda Jones

December 31, 2012
Widowed

August 13, 2013
Publishes MARCH: Book One, the first in a series of graphically-illustrated books about the U.S. Civil Rights Movement

THE GOOD LORD BIRD

A new limited series starring Ethan Hawke as abolitionist John Brown, premieres on SHOWTIME® Sunday, October 4 at 9/8c.

Based on the National Book Award winning novel by bestselling author James McBride, the series is produced by Blumhouse Television, the studio behind the Golden Globe® Award winning and Critics’ Choice®, Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild Award®nominated series The Loudest Voice.

THE GOOD LORD BIRD is told from the point of view of Onion (Joshua Caleb Johnson), a fictional enslaved boy who becomes a member of Brown’smotley family of abolitionist soldiers during BleedingKansas – a time when the state was a battleground between pro- and anti-slavery forces – and eventually finds himself participating in the famous1859 raid on the. U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry. Brown’s raid failed to initiate the slave revolt he intended, but was an event that hastened the Civil War.

THE GOOD LORD BIRD weaves a humorous, dramatic and historical tapestry of Antebellum America, spotlighting the complicated and ever-changing racial, religious and gender roles that make up the American identity.

The series also stars Critics’ Choice winner and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Ellar Coltrane (Boyhood), Nick Eversman (Wild), Beau Knapp (Seven Seconds), Mo Brings Plenty (Yellowstone), JackAlcott (Champaign ILL) and Hubert Point-Du Jour (Madam Secretary). And a roster of talented guest starsincluding Tony®Award winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) as abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Emmy® nominee David Morse (Escape atDannemora) as Dutch Henry Sherman, Steve Zahn (War of the Planet of the Apes) as Chase, Maya Hawke (Stranger Things)asAnnieBrown, WyattRussell (Lodge 49) as federal officer Jeb Stuart, Orlando Jones (American Gods) as The Rail Man, among others.

THE GOOD LORD BIRD is executive produced by Jason Blum, Ethan Hawke, Ryan Hawke, Mark Richard, Padraic McKinley, Jeremy Gold, Marci Wiseman, Albert Hughes, James McBride, Brian Taylor, Marshall Persinger and DavidSchiff.

SUMMER’S GOLD STANDARD THE CHAMPS ARE BACK, AND THEY’RE READY TO CHOMP SHARKFEST 2020 BEGINS JULY 19

Celebrate Shark Awareness Day by gearing up for SHARKFEST! This summer,
National Geographic and Nat Geo WILD‘s eighth annual SHARKFEST airs five full weeks of action-packed shark programming with 17 original premieres and the best shark programming from the networks’ massive library as part of its biggest-ever shark spectacular. Showcasing the jaw-dropping science behind sharks, the ocean’s greatest competitors, the epic event begins Sunday, July 19, on National Geographic, followed by two weeks of content on Nat Geo WILD, beginning Sunday, Aug 9.
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Tune in to SHARKFEST with some fin-tastic, shark-related jams! In the Spotify app, go to ‘Search’ and scan the code above using the camera icon in the upper-right-hand corner or simply click the Spotify icon above! 

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In Raging Bull Shark, bull sharks are more strategic with their prey than you may think! Dr. Mike Heithaus explains how bull sharks test the waters by “bumping” their prey before taking a bite. Dive into National Geographic’s five weeks of SHARKFEST beginning Sunday, July 19.
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Most Wanted Sharks dives into the stories of the most sensational shark stars of all time. Of the millions of sharks in our oceans, a select few are so fascinating, they’ve become worldwide celebrities with legions of fans and followers.

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Click the images below to download the SHARKFEST Trading Cards below and share the shark for which you’ll be rooting for on over the next 5 weeks!
#SHARKFEST
   
   
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REV. AL SHARPTON, NAN, MLK III & FAMILIES OF POLICE ABUSE VICTIMS TO LEAD ‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS’ MARCH

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES

JULY 14, 2020

‘GET YOUR KNEE OFF OUR NECKS’ MARCH

Reverend Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III to convene the National Action Network (NAN), Attorney Benjamin Crump and the Families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner & others for a March on Washington in Protest of Police Brutality on August 28

Civil Rights Leaders, Labor, Clergy, Entertainers Amongst Thousands to March Alongside the Families of Police Brutality Victims

WASHINGTON, DC – On August 28, 2020, Reverend Al Sharpton, the National Action Network (NAN), Martin Luther King III, Attorney Benjamin Crump and families of police brutality victims, along with labor leaders, clergy, activists and civil rights advocates, will lead a Commitment March to fight for criminal justice reform in solidarity with those who have lost loved ones at the hands of the police. The march, under the rallying call ‘Get Your Knee Off Our Necks’ will coincide with the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s March on Washington where he delivered his historic “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963.

Speakers will include the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and others to address the senseless loss of Black lives at the hands of police and advocate for issues including police accountability and criminal justice reform, voter protection and more. Protesters and activists will gather at Lincoln Circle to hear the day’s programming before marching to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

WHO:

Rev. Al Sharpton & National Action Network (NAN); Martin Luther King, III; Attorney Benjamin Crump; Families of George Floyd; Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and more

WHAT:

The Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks

WHEN:

August 28, 2020

Gather: 7:00am EST

Pre-Program: 8:00am – 11:00am EST

Program: 11:00am – 1:00pm EST

March: 1:00pm EST

Conclusion: 3:00pm EST

WHERE:

The Lincoln Memorial – Marchers will begin at the Lincoln Memorial and march to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. See route map below.

“This March on Washington shows our commitment to fighting for the oppressed, the marginalized, the neglected people of this country,” said Rev. Al Sharpton. “We are tired of the mistreatment and the violence that we, as Black Americans, have been subjected to for hundreds of years. Like those who marched before us, we are standing up and telling the police, telling lawmakers, telling the people and systems that have kept us down for years, ‘get your knee off our necks’.”

“We are in the midst of the largest civil and human rights movement in history. Now is the time and this is the generation that can realize the dream my father spoke of 57 years ago,” said Martin Luther King, III. “Black Americans are still bearing the same hardships my father worked to eradicate, and the only way we can hope to see the future he dreamt of is by continuing the peaceful and radical work he began years ago.”

Partners of the Commitment March include the NAACP; National Urban League; the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Legal Defense Fund (LDF); Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; The Leadership Conference; American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE); American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AMFSCE); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); Americans for Democratic Action (ADA); A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI); Brady; the Community Action Partnership; Hispanic Federation; One Union; League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); PERIOD.; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.; International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Dream Corps; Hip Hop Caucus; The Obsidian Collection; United Auto Workers (UAW); United Steel Workers (USW); and UnidosUS.

#NANMOW2020

Please note, to protect your health and the health of others, in compliance with COVID-19 Washington, DC Health Guidance for Conservation of Personal Protective Equipment, you are required to wear a PPE mask in public in Washington, DC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges those participating in large gatherings to use face masks.

Map of March Route:

About National Action Network:

National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, nationality or gender.

For more information go to www.nationalactionnetwork.net

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