Monday, June 30, 2014

Thriller - Michael Jackson (1982)

This is to me, without question, the greatest music video of all time. Can't believe it's already been 5 years. R.I.P. Mike.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When Love Defeated Virginia

1964 is often seen as a watershed mark in American history. It was the year of the Freedom Summer. It also marked the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which ultimately was the sledgehammer that crumbled the wall of legalized segregation. But it was a case three years following the Civil Rights Act that literally tugged at America's heartstrings.

The case was known as Loving v. Virginia. It centered around an interracial couple made up of Richard Loving (who was a white male) and his wife, Mildred Loving (who was of African American and Native American descent). Under the laws in Virginia at the time, their union violated miscegenation laws that prohibited marriage between whites and blacks. As a matter of fact, when the Lovings were married, their wedding was in a D.C. church, since their union was deemed illegal in their home state of Virginia.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering Ruby Dee

Last week, the world lost not just an actress, but an activist, pioneer and a woman who had left a legacy spanning 50+ years across the arts. Her name, was Ruby Dee.

Ruby Dee began her acting career not on the screen, but the stage. In 1959 she appeared in the play, "A Raisin In The Sun," opposite a young Sidney Poitier. She and Poitier would reprise their roles two years later for the film version of the play.

At the time of her death, Ruby Dee had more than 100 film credits to her name. It wasn't just her passion for acting that she was known for, but also speaking out for civil rights, especially as it related to people of color in America. This culminated in her reading a poem at the 1963 March On Washington.

Ruby Dee was also known for her marriage to fellow actor, Ossie Davis. The two appeared together in Spike Lee's 1989 film, "Do The Right Thing." R.I.P. Ruby Dee.

Will Smith - Just The Two Of Us (1997)

Happy Father's Day everyone.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

20 Years Later Shawshank is Still Cashing In

20 years in, "The Shawshank Redemption" isn't just a great film, but one of the few that still generates generous returns for all involved.

I saw this article on MSN detailing just how 'Shawshank' continues to make money and how some of the actors still get recognized for their roles all these years later.

The article goes on to explain how a film like "Shawshank" is a goldmine for film libraries who license movies to television networks. "Shawshank" might be viewed as the rising tide that lifts all boats when it's packaged with other less desirable films, but yet can still bring back a decent return for the studio. The film has made more than $100 million since its 1994 theatrical release.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Return of Reading Rainbow?

After an eight year hiatus, "Reading Rainbow" appears to be returning.

LeVar Burton was determined to bring the show back and he went to the site Kickstarter to help raise the necessary funds for production. Burton and his crew sought to raise a cool $1 million and did so -- in just 11 hours.

"Reading Rainbow" premiered in 1983 and used the medium of television to stress to children the importance of reading. The show didn't just portray reading as some bland activity only to be done in relation to school work, but also emphasized the power of imagination and just how much one could ascertain from reading consistently.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Remembering Maya Angelou


She was a poet, an author, a dancer, a newspaper editor, a college professor and an American icon. Maya Angelou passed away last week and she leaves us as one of the most accomplished writers and titans of literature of her time.

Her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, was an autobiographical feature that touched the heart of millions. In addition to her literary works, Maya Angelou also left behind a film legacy. According to her biography website, she appeared in Alex Haley's "Roots" in 1977 and John Singleton's "Poetic Justice" in 1993. She directed her first feature film "Down In The Delta" in 1996. Dr. Angelou will certainly be missed.