by TRN Staff Writers,
“Sweet Black Angel”-The Story Behind Angela Davis In the 60’s and 70s, Angela Davis was feared by many and revered by even more. Davis emerged from her deep Southern roots in Alabama to become one of the most prominent activists in history. As the leader of groups like the Black Panther Party, she became an enemy of the government and was even placed on the FBI’s “10 Most Wanted” at one point. Davis was tried (and eventually acquitted) in the connection with the murders of four people in a California courtroom. Her arrest brought liberal support from celebrities both here and abroad and “free Angela” became the mantra of a movement. Her folk hero status was the subject of songs by everyone from John Lennon’s “Angela” to the Rolling Stone’s “Sweet Black Angel” in 1970. Davis’ affiliations with communists and radicalism made her stand out at a time in history when few Black women took such public stands. Efforts to bring a retelling of Davis’ story back to the screen has picked up more momentum with Forest Whitaker now putting his Hollywood clout behind the film. Whitaker says growing up in Compton, he was always around Black Panthers and saw them very differently than the group is usually portrayed in the media. Whitaker says, “My memory of the Panthers, for instance, is very different from most people’s because as a kid I remember them on my street, and how nice they treated me…Free breakfast program, free schools, outreach and community work, gang members working hand in hand, Crips and Bloods.” Whitaker didn’t say how his impression of the Black Panthers will weigh in on this new film about Davis.
Pharrell’s “Romeo and Juliet” Inspired Musical We thought we’ve seen the bittersweet love story of Rome and Juliet’s told in every way possible, but multi-Grammy Award winning singer Pharrell is getting to tell it his way. Pharrell is the the real life inspiration behind this latest retelling of the tragic love currently under development at FOX. The latest production will be titled “Atlantis” and is described as “a Romeo and Juliet style story with a music element) inspired by Williams’ childhood in Virginia Beach.” Joining Pharrell behind the scenes is Tony Award winner Micheal Mayor (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Pharrell will once again take on the title of producer probably encouraged by his most recent producing success with “Hidden Figures” which earned three Oscar noms.
Look for Loretta Devine at “The Lost Souls Cafe” This Easter Sunday, don’t spend too much time looking for “The Carmichael Show’s” Loretta Devine in the pews, instead she’ll be down at “The Lost Souls Cafe”. Devine will star in the film adaptation of the stage play when it airs on TV One this April. The story centers around 70s singer Geneva Branch (Devine) who is now the owner of a restaurant/lounge. Branch discovers that her nephew’s gambling problems threatens the future of her restaurant. The director promises that Devine’s role as Branch will be “fun and challenging and something that she’s (Devine) never played before. “The Lost Souls Cafe” gained critical acclaim when it toured the country as a stage play and reportedly so moved singer Stevie Wonder when attended a performance that he joined them on stage to sing. “The Lost Souls Cafe” airs Sunday April 16 on TV One.
For this week’s look at Black Hollywood, that’s a wrap!