By: Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
At the Sundance Film Festival, Howard University graduate Bradford Young won the dramatic-feature cinematography award for his work on the films “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “Mother of George” — his second time accepting the honor, having won in 2011 for the coming-of-age drama “Pariah.” The Sundance recognition reinforces what many in the industry have known for a few years now: Howard University, best known for its law and medical schools, has become an incubator for people whose work with lighting, lenses, camera movement, film stocks and visual textures has profoundly influenced contemporary cinematic grammar.
“The interesting thing about it is that there is no formal cinematography department,” filmmaker Ava DuVernay says. “It’s jaw-dropping that you’ve had so many come out [of Howard] with such distinct styles.”
The floating-camera dolly shot and super-saturated color palette that are trademarks of Spike Lee’s work are the best known among several innovations that Howard-trained cinematographers have contributed to the films they’ve worked on. Early in his career, Lee developed these techniques in close collaboration with a Howard graduate, Ernest Dickerson.
DuVernay, who enlisted Young to shoot her features “I Will Follow” and “Middle of Nowhere,” notes that Howard-trained cinematographers emerge not just with practical knowledge of photochemistry and camera mechanics but an understanding that African American culture “is political, and what we do is important and the way that we see ourselves and the way we’re seen start with the person behind the camera.”
The fact that cinematographers are image-makers both in the cinematic and sociological sense has never been lost on the teachers or students at Howard, which formed its radio, television and film department in the early 1970s and began offering an MFA in film in 1983.
Howard is the only historically black college with a graduate film program; the country’s best-known film departments are at New York University, the University of Southern California, the American Film Institute and UCLA, where in the 1970s and 1980s a group of African American filmmakers formed the “L.A. Rebellion.”
It was out of that revolutionary cadre in 1975 that filmmaker Haile Gerima arrived at Howard, where he has since taught writing and directing, and guided film to becoming a force of substance and bold expression.
“The whole philosophical idea of the program is leaving their destiny to them,” Gerima says. “We try to prepare them and keep talking about the disconnects, especially in motion pictures and on top of that being African Americans, so that when they go out into the world, at least they won’t shortchange themselves in the way they should perform the tasks they happen to be in.”
By: The Associated Press -NEW YORK
Cissy Houston has a few words, and a few more, for Bobby Brown.
In "Remembering Whitney," the mother of the late Whitney Houston writes that from the start she had doubted whether Brown was right for her daughter. And she thinks that Whitney might not have ended up so "deep" into drugs had they not stayed together.
"I do believe her life would have turned out differently," Houston writes. "It would have been easier for her to get sober and stay sober. Instead she was with someone who, like her, wanted to party. To me, he never seemed to be a help to her in the way she needed."
"Remembering Whitney" came out Tuesday, two weeks short of the first anniversary of Houston's death. She drowned in a hotel bathtub in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 48. Authorities said her death was complicated by cocaine use and heart disease.
During a recent telephone interview, Houston said she has no contact with Brown and didn't see any reason to, not even concerning her granddaughter, Bobbi Kristina. She reaffirmed her comments in the book that Whitney Houston would have been better off without him. "How would you like it if he had anything to do with your daughter?" she asked.
A request to Brown's publicist for comment was not immediately returned Monday.
Houston said she wanted the book published so the world would not believe the worst about her daughter. Cissy Houston, herself an accomplished soul and gospel singer who has performed with Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin, describes Whitney as a transcendent talent and vivacious and generous person known affectionately by her childhood nickname, "Nippy." But she acknowledges in the book that her daughter could be "mean" and "difficult" and questions at times how well she knew her.
Brown is portrayed as childish and impulsive, hot tempered and jealous of his wife's success. Cissy Houston describes a 1997 incident when Whitney sustained a "deep cut" on her face while on a yacht with Brown in the Mediterranean. Whitney insisted it was an accident; Brown had slammed his hand on a table, breaking a plate. A piece of china flew up and hit Whitney, requiring surgery to cover any possible scar.
The injury was minor, the effects possibly fateful.
"She seemed sadder after that, like something had been taken away from her," Houston writes.
For years, Whitney's drug problems had been only a rumor to her mother, who writes that concerns expressed by record executive Clive Davis were kept from her by her daughter and others. But by 2005 she had seen the worst. Houston remembers a horrifying visit to the Atlanta home of Brown and Houston, where the walls and doors were spray-painted with "big glaring eyes and strange faces." Whitney's face had been cut out from a framed family picture, an image Cissy Houston found "beyond disturbing." The next time Houston came to the house, she was joined by two sheriff's deputies who helped her take Whitney to the hospital.
"She was so angry at me, cursing me and up and down," she writes. "Eventually, after a good long while, Nippy did stop being angry at me. She realized that I did what I did to protect her, and she later told people that I had saved her life."
Brown and Whitney Houston divorced in 2007, after 15 years of marriage. When she learned that her daughter was leaving Brown, Cissy Houston was "extremely relieved" and "thanking God so much I'm sure nobody else could get a prayer in to Him." Houston has no doubt that if Whitney were alive she would still be singing and making records.
The book, too, was painful and her grief continues. She writes that sometimes she hears a doorbell ring and thinks it's Whitney, or sees a vase in a different place and wonders if her daughter is around. Some nights, Cissy Houston wakes up crying, not sure at first where she is.
"But then I get up out of bed, wipe my eyes, wash my face, and lie back down to my sleep. Because that is all I can do," she writes. "I am so grateful to God for giving me the gift of 48 years with my daughter. And I accept that He knew when it was time to take her."
John Legend receiving Humanitarian award
WASHINGTON (Associated Press wire) — John Legend believes hip-hop played its part in helping Barack Obama become president, and he's proud at how the genre has matured over the years.
"I think hip-hop had a role in making sure we elected a black president in America because we made it so that black people were in people's homes ... through our music and through our culture," the R&B crooner said Sunday night at the Hip-Hop Inaugural Ball.
"I think it made Barack Obama and more people like him possible, so I'm really thankful for hip-hop and the role it plays in society," he continued.
Legend was awarded the humanitarian award at Sunday's event, and it was one of many honors handed out at the Harman Center for Arts.
Wayne Brady & Doug E. Fresh
Hip-hop pioneers MC Lyte and Doug E. Fresh were both given lifetime achievement awards. Fresh even hit the stage, beat boxing while comedian-actor-singer Wayne Brady cooed Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" At one point, Brady even busted out his own rhymes.
Rapper Yo Yo earned a roaring cheer when she hit the stage to honor MC Lyte; Lil Mama also paid tribute to the "Ruffneck" rapper.
2 Chainz, who had a breakthrough year with his Grammy-nominated solo debut and multiple rap hits, earned the street soldier award for encouraging young voters as a spokesperson for the Hip-Hop Caucus' "Respect My Vote!" campaign.
2 Chainz receiving award
"Doing my thing on the charts is one thing, but to be getting honored on another avenue, it just feels like a blessing," he said in an interview. "I'm keeping my head leveled and staying humble."
Actress Rosario Dawson won the vanguard award for her work as chairman of the Voto Latino organization.
"It's time to step out of the shadows. It's time to not just be talked about by other people, it's time to take the leadership ourselves and that first step of leadership is voting," Dawson said of the importance of the Latino vote.
Rappers Swizz Beatz and Meek Mill also earned honors at the event, attended by a few hundred hip-hop fans, including model Tyson Beckford, former NBA star Dikembe Mutumbo and Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. La La Anthony and Terrence J hosted the ball.
Marsha Ambrosius and 2 Chainz
British singer Marsha Ambrosius also delivered a rousing performance, and playful jokes about Obama.
"I got a call from the president and he asked me to perform his favorite song," she said before singing the R&B jam "Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player)."
Then she sang "Butterflies," a song she co-wrote for Michael Jackson's 2001 "Invincible" album.
"This might have been his favorite," she said
By: JESSE WASHINGTON - Associated Press national writer
January 21, 2013
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
This sentence spoken by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been quoted countless times as expressing one of America’s bedrock values, its language almost sounding like a constitutional amendment on equality.
Yet today, 50 years after King shared this vision during his most famous speech, there is considerable disagreement over what it means.
The quote is used to support opposing views on politics, affirmative action and programs intended to help the disadvantaged. Just as the words of the nation’s founders are parsed for modern meanings on guns and abortion, so are King’s words used in debates over the proper place of race in America.
As we mark the King holiday, what might he ask of us in a time when both the president and a disproportionate number of people in poverty are black?
Would King have wanted us to completely ignore race in a “color-blind” society? To consider race as one of many factors about a person? And how do we discern character?
Martin Luther King III beside his father's bust
For at least two of King’s children, the future envisioned by the father has yet to arrive.
“I don’t think we can ignore race,” says Martin Luther King III.
“What my father is asking is to create the climate where every American can realize his or her dreams,” he says. “Now what does that mean when you have 50 million people living in poverty?”
Bernice King mirrors her father iconic pose
Bernice King doubts her father would seek to ignore differences.
“When he talked about the beloved community, he talked about everyone bringing their gifts, their talents, their cultural experiences,” she says. “We live in a society where we may have differences, of course, but we learn to celebrate these differences.”
The meaning of King’s monumental quote is more complex today than in 1963 because “the unconscious signals have changed,” says the historian Taylor Branch, author of the acclaimed trilogy “America in the King Years.”
Fifty years ago, bigotry was widely accepted. Today, Branch says, even though prejudice is widely denounced, many people unconsciously pre-judge others.
“Unfortunately race in American history has been one area in which Americans kid themselves and pretend to be fair-minded when they really are not,” says Branch, whose new book is “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement.”
Branch believes that today, King would ask people of all backgrounds — not just whites — to deepen their patriotism by leaving their comfort zones, reaching across barriers and learning about different people.
Eating at N.O. airport is now an experience.
By: Alex Templer - MSTv Correspondent
Its been a bit of a confusing issue for over a decade. New Orleans - err, I mean Louis Armstrong International Airport, has been the main source of debarkation for visitors to the Crescent city since 1946.
But, despite having the atypical decor you'd expect to see at a "New Orleans" airport, the food sold there was not a good representation of what visitors would get within the city limits. (The airport is 2 cities and a parish away from the city of New Orleans) To be honest, the food options just sucked. But, not anymore..
As usual, money is the wheel that drives change; especially in New Orleans. Tourism dollars reign supreme as several all-new restaurants will be opening for business in the airport this month. Of course, this is another part of the plan to give the city a slight makeover in light of this year's Superbowl.
In an effort to make lives of travelers, to, through and from the city, a little easier, all new airport restaurants will be serving from 5 a.m. to perhaps 8 p.m. In addition, most will offer breakfast.
If you don't want haute N.O. cusine, go lucky dog!
Also, item prices at all the eateries are, for the most part, reasonable. Of the prices listed, it seems that a $16 rib-eye steak at Dooky Chase’s new place clocked in as the most expensive entree.
If you want some good-ole jambalaya, Zatarain’s Kitchen in Concourse B, has the chicken and sausage variety for only $6.99. Or get their signature big shrimp remoulade salad for $9.99.
In addition to Miss Leah celebrating her 90th birthday last weekend, the 1st Dooky Chase "franchise" restaurant has gained a great spot for those newcomers to the city. So, those unfamiliar with her stuffed shrimp, gumbo or shrimp Creole, will be in for a taste and olfactory treat, while waiting for their flight. The restaurant will be run by chef Leah Chase’s grandson.
Chase, who attended an airport press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 15, in her signature red chef’s jacket, was succinct about why she considered opening at Armstrong International.
“The airport is so important for the image of the city,” she said. “We have to improve it. And if you take a sandwich in a bag that says Dooky Chase’s on it, and you board a plane, it can go around the world.
By: Alex Templer - MSTV Correspondent
Two men who admitted hacking into the Sony Music database, and stealing thousands of hours of music tracks, including unreleased material by Michael Jackson, have been spared jail.
The two men, James Marks and James McCormick, who are British citizens, downloaded up to 7,000 files, including music by Beyonce.
After pleading guilty to computer misuse offenses, they were only given a six month sentence suspended for a year and each ordered to complete 100 hours community service.
Apparently Marks and McCormick were not the first to exploit this flaw, but they used an adapted hacker program to speed up the download of numerous music files.
When questioned, the pair claimed they only wanted to gather proof that some Jackson's material released after his death "didn't actually feature" the singer's voice. But Sony Music, in response, has always denied that vocals on some tracks on the posthumous album "Michael" were done by another singer.
Sony, who paid $250m for a seven-year deal for the rights to MJ's remaining songs, announced their acquisition included recorded, yet unreleased duets with artists ranging from the late Freddie Mercury to Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am.
Online conversations released in court between Marks and McCormick revealed they talked about selling the material. But this never came to anything.
Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), head of cyber investigations Mick Jamieson said, "The internet's a fantastic tool for everyone to use, but sadly there are one or two individuals who choose to misuse it. However, authorities are now able to to identify what you're doing, find out who you are, and come and arrest you."
Marks and McCormick admitted to two counts of unauthorised access to computing materials, but due to a plea bargain, their six month jail sentences were suspended for a year with more serious charges being completely dropped.
Speaking outside court, James Marks said he was sorry for downloading the files but was still determined to prove Jackson didn't sing on some tracks on 'Michael'.
Thousands injured overseas due to holiday drinking. Should New Orleans partying be toned down a little?
By: BBC.com Newsbeat
Newsbeat has seen figures showing more than 126,000 16 to 34-year-olds needed hospital treatment because of booze in England last year.
That is a rise of nearly 20% over five years.
Officials say it's risen in Northern Ireland too but dropped in Scotland and Wales over a similar period.
Doctor Zul Mirza from the College of Emergency Medicine says the problem is costing the NHS £3 billion every year.
"That cost comes through occupying beds, medication and treatment," he said.
An alcohol related admission is an injury or illness caused by booze which needs medical attention.
"Broken bones, head injuries to long term things like liver and heart," he added.
"We're not saying you shouldn't drink but alcohol can cause life threatening problems."
The government say they are taking tough action against binge drinking, while Dr Mirza agrees with the idea of minimum pricing on a unit of alcohol.
'More affordable' "There's a combination of factors here," he said. "I think peer pressure plays a part and it's also made worse by alcohol strength being much stronger now.
Figures released to Newsbeat by the NHS Information Centre show there was a 26% rise in the number of females admitted to hospital because of alcohol in the year 2011/12.
"We deal with about 20 patients a night, so that's 20 hospital beds freed up," says Emma Weaver, a paramedic. "Last night we went to 10 patients and nine of them were young females who had overdone it on the drink."
"A&E is for medical emergencies and I'm glad I've been taken here rather than using up doctors and nurses time," she added. "It's good that there is this help but we are buffering these people and maybe these people would learn if less help was available."
With Mardi Gras parades and partying gearing up, should New Orleans and the area consider coming down harder on alcohol offenders to avoid future injuries or problems?
By: Alex Temple - MSTv
Cheaply made and unsafe counterfeit condoms, primarily under the Durex company label, have been popping up strongly in the United Kingdom. As of now, no particular location of the knock-offs location has been found.
The imitations have been proven and tested not to protect users from STD's or unwanted pregnancy. However, with the problem running rampent in Great Britain, should U.S citizens be on alert?
The following excerpt comes from BBC WorldNews:
The government's health regulator has warned there are a rising number of counterfeit condoms being smuggled into to the UK.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulation Agency (MHRA) claims millions have been illegally imported in the last 18 months.
Family planning experts say the bogus condoms don't provide protection against STIs or pregnancy.
Tests carried out on many of the fakes show they have a high burst rate.
Senior investigator Danny Lee-Frost said: "These products are made in the Far East for pennies and then sold over here for pounds.
"They will cut corners. They will cut costs. They will use cheaper ingredients and materials."
Counterfeiters have managed to copy major brands like Durex to convince people.
Danny Lee-Frost admitted: "They certainly look the part. Many people would think it's the proper article."
He says the best way to avoid being caught out is to make sure you buy condoms from reliable places.
"If you're not buying it from a reputable source, it's odds on that it is counterfeit and you shouldn't go anywhere near it."
With this situation running strong in the U.K., are you worried this problem could work its way to the U.S.? Is it possible that the condom you regularly use might be counterfeit?
By: Charlie Schmidlin - IndieWire correspondant
January 3, 2013
Amidst the ongoing flurry of debate over Quentin Tarantino's spaghetti western “Django Unchained,” one can at least declare safely that the hints to the final product on screen were always present. The screenplay -- leaked over a year ago and marked up in the director's handwriting -- contained the full vision of what Tarantino hoped to achieve, and now with disputes over the film's ruthless depiction of violence, the script and the director's words are here to clear the air. With Spike Lee and Antoine Fuqua dismissed, anyone who's actually seen “Django Unchained” will notice in certain scenes a tonal shift, both in style and shown brutality, along the bloody road of Jamie Foxx's retribution.
According to Tarantino, who was interviewed recently on NPR, that approach was painstakingly considered, but he admits that he pulled back in the end. "What happened during slavery times is a thousand times worse than [what] I show,” he said. “So if I were to show it a thousand times worse, to me, that wouldn't be exploitative, that would just be how it is.”
To garner a glimpse of the excised slavery sections he intended “to hurt and be painful,” one simply needs to turn to the original script. The 166-page document (which The Weinstein Company has hosted online for the awards season) showcases a number of extended sequences of violence and horrific behavior, but one specifically shown in trailers (and subsequently removed from the film) was the rape of Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) by the slaver Brittle Brothers.
“[One] of the emotions I wanted you to get to is cheering Django, I wanted you to cheer his triumphs at the end and be rooting for him and if you don't cheer at the end, I haven't done the job,” he explained.
“[When] I watched it with those rougher scenes, like the mandingo [fighting] scene or the dog scene or the castration scene, when they were rougher, I saw that I'd traumatized the audience too much. So their responses in all the other sections of the film were qualified by that trauma."
Fascinating stuff, and if you haven't already, check out both the screenplay and the interview, and see if Tarantino's text points to a different outcome than what his comments suggest.
Do you think the violence in Tarantino's films outweigh his usage of the "N" word? Speak up below.
Jude's Korean adventures
Alcohol in South Korea
All bars and local night establishments are filled to the brim with things you have seen in all other places like Jack Daniels and Jagermeister.
However you may spy a little green bottle with Korean writing on it and you may ask what is that? It's called Soju, my friends or 소주 for the Hangil inclined (Korean Language).
Soju is a spirit primarily made from rice, barley, potatoes or tapioca and has an average alcohol content of 20% ABV however there are some brands of Andong Soju that are upward of 45% ABV.
None the less, they will both get the job done. Soju has a taste very similar to vodka but it is slightly sweeter and easier to consume by itself.
Now we get to the matter of cost and availability; however rest assured the answer will be qiute positive. Soju is available all over South Korea from the local convenience store for 1,000 Won = roughly $1 or in a restaurant for 3,000 Won =$3. So these adult treats certainly won't set you back any considerable amount.
It alco mixes quite well with beer, cider, and energy drinks. Soju has been around since the 13th century and shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon. So when you get the chance come on down to the Republic of South Korea and have a shot of deliciousness.