Ava DuVernay signed a $100 million deal with Warner Brothers, and we’re so ready for this content

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You know her best from directing A Wrinkle In TimeSelma, and the documentary 13th, but uber talented director/producer/documentarian Ava DuVernay is moving into TV in a big way. Deadline reports that DuVernay just landed a $100 million television deal with Warner Brothers. Other high-profile creators like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy have made a splash with insane Netflix overall deals, but DuVernay chose to stick with Warner Bros., with whom she produced the critically acclaimed OWN series Queen Sugar in association with Warner TV.

So what is the multi-hyphenate creator planning to do with her crazy new deal? She’s currently working with Greg Berlanti on a Warner-produced series for CBS called Red Line that follows the aftermath of the accidental killing of a black doctor by a white cop. She also has a forthcoming HBO series called Battle of Versailles about the 1973 Palace of Versailles fashion show, a D.C. Comics-based New Gods movie for Warner Brothers, a Prince documentary, and a docuseries about the Central Park Five (the latter two for Netflix). Phew. And all this was announced before she landed the Warner Brothers deal. We can’t even imagine what other good content is to come our way.

DuVernay told Deadline that she was thrilled about the partnership and said that “Warner Bros. is a terrific partner about matters of visibility and belonging for all kinds and cultures of people, which is our mission at Forward Movement. I couldn’t be happier to call Warner Bros. TV my production home.”

Continue onto HelloGiggles to read the complete article.

Taraji P. Henson: A Real-Life Heroine

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Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage during the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards. TOMMASO BODDI/GETTY IMAGES

By Lori Denman-Underhill

Not every actor or actress has the privilege of telling a story on screen whose message is completely synergetic with their own. Actress Taraji P. Henson would tell you it’s no accident. Films that cover controversial subjects, female achievements or human rights within the African-American community are exactly her cup of tea.

Much like her role in the acclaimed drama Hidden Figures, where Henson plays the brilliant Katherine Johnson, an African-American female mathematician whose calculations as a NASA employee were critical to the success of one of the greatest space operations in history.

“I feel like it’s my obligation,” Henson explained in an interview with Ebony.com. “I’m an artist. I want to tell stories that matter. I’m always interested in movies that move humanity forward, change perspectives of people you know.”

The Golden Globe winner and Academy Award-nominated Henson, 48, is conscious about picking projects that speak to her heart and further her own message of equality and progress for the African-American community.

She addresses the historic yet still relevant topic of race relations in her latest non-fiction film, The Best of Enemies. Set in Durham, North Carolina, in 1971, the film—based upon the novel by Osha Gray Davidson, The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South—centers around a two-week-long discussion of ordinary citizens on the subject of school integration.

Based on a true story, the film brings together members of the black and white community—most dramatically the two main characters; Ann Atwater, played by Henson, a local firebrand of a Civil Rights activist, and Claiborne Paul “C.P.” Ellis, played by Sam Rockwell, the head of the Durham Chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Cast: (L-R) Bill Riddick, Taraji P. Henson, Sam Rockwell and Robin Bissell attend a photo call for 'The Best Of Enemies’. DIA DIPASUPIL/GETTY IMAGES FOR STXFILMS
Cast: (L-R) Bill Riddick, Taraji P. Henson, Sam Rockwell and Robin Bissell attend a photo call for ‘The Best Of Enemies’. DIA DIPASUPIL/GETTY IMAGES FOR STXFILMS

Portraying the true-life character of Atwater gave Henson a chance to show the integral part segregation has played within American society. It also gave the actress a platform for her own civil rights advocacy offstage, she explains in an interview with Oprahmag.com.

“What’s happening today is that everyone is doing a lot of talking, but not much listening. We should try listening to understand the other side…Often, we can find better solutions that way,” Henson said. “But if you try to match hate with hate, you’re not going to get anywhere.

“At the end of the day, we just need to have more compassion for each other and unconditional love, no matter our differences or background,” she adds.

Born and raised in southeast Washington, D.C., Henson grew up watching Solid Gold and was inspired by the likes of such acting legends as Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and Flip Wilson. She studied acting at the famed Howard University and began her Hollywood career guest starring on several television shows before making her breakthrough in the coming-of-age film Baby Boy in 2001. She received praise for her performance as a sex worker in Hustle & Flow (2005) and as a single mother of a child with a disability in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). She also made noteworthy appearances in the action comedy Date Night and the remake of The Karate Kid.

While she is now happily engaged to former NFL quarterback Kevin Hayden and residing in Chicago—her self-proclaimed dream town where everyone is ‘real’—her own life story has not been without its share of strife.

In a recent interview with Variety, Henson opened up about her personal battle with anxiety and depression following two tragedies in her life in 2003—the death of her father, Boris Henson, and also her son’s father, William Lamar Johnson. “We’re walking around broken, wounded and hurt, and we don’t think it’s okay to talk about it,” Henson told Variety’s Elizabeth Wagmeister.

She shared that her depression and anxiety escalated during the skyrocketing success of her pivotal role on the hip-hop TV drama Empire. During that time, she says the desire to pull away from the limelight was strong, as was the longing for more privacy and time for self-care, in addition to caring for her son, Marcell, who was also suffering from depression.

It was while looking for a relatable therapist for Marcell that Henson discovered how tough it was to find one of African-American descent. The experience jump-started her effort to get rid of the taboo associated with metal health, specifically within the African-American community.

“People are killing themselves,” Henson said in the Variety interview. “People are numbing out on drugs. Not everything is fixed with a pill.”

Taking her efforts a step further, the actress created the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in honor of her father, who also suffered from mental issues following his service in the Vietnam War.

Washington DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser (R), honors actress Taraji P. Henson with a Proclamation to the City at the Office of the Mayor. PAUL MORIGI/GETTY IMAGES FOR PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Washington DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser (R), honors actress Taraji P. Henson with a Proclamation to the City at the Office of the Mayor. PAUL MORIGI/GETTY IMAGES FOR PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Henson explains that there is still a lot of work to be done, but the first step is to lift up the carpet and talk about it. Her personal advice for others who are struggling is to find a professional therapist—someone who has no stakes involved so that “when you’re on the ledge, you have things to say to yourself that will get you off of it,” she explained.

Henson remains true to herself and her work. Her latest project will be released in 2020 and promoted later this year—a Netflix original police drama called Coffee and Kareem. Henson will star as the girlfriend of a Detroit cop who aims to clear his name and take down the city’s most ruthless criminal with the assistance of her 11-year-old son.

Henson’s main message was perhaps best summed up during her recent Glamour interview: “The fight continues,” she said. “Just like so many women before us who fought so that we could sit here. Now’s not the time to drop the torch.”

“We have to continue fighting,” she insists, “so the ones coming behind us—maybe one day this is not their narrative. So we have to keep fighting.”

Rihanna Presents Mary J. Blige With Lifetime Achievement At BET Awards

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Rihanna presents Mary J. Blige with award on stage at the BET Awards Show

Mary J. Blige received the highest honor at the 2019 BET Awards on Sunday. While presenting the Queen of Hip-hop and R&B with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the ceremony in Los Angeles, Rihanna praised Blige for the blueprint she set.

She changed the game with her unique style: the backwards cap, the baggy jerseys, y’all know the Mary J. look. She took it there with those thigh-high boots,” Rihanna said, going on to praise Blige for her many successes, including becoming the first person to ever be nominated for an Oscar in both music and acting in the same year.

“Happy Mary, sad Mary … we’re here for all of it,” Rihanna said. “Mary J. Blige, you have set the bar for relatable, timeless, classic music. You opened multiple doors for female artists in this industry. And on behalf of all the women that came after you, like myself, thank you for being you so we can feel comfortable being ourselves. Thank you for pouring yourself into every track and giving us a song for every feeling. Thank you for showing us that love is all that we need. But we didn’t know how much we needed you.”

Blige accepted the award and told Rihanna the feelings of inspiration were mutual. She went on to thank BET, her family, friends, Diddy, Andre Harrell, other collaborators, her team and fans.

“People always ask how do I sustain and stay relevant in this industry,” Blige said. “It’s because although I am a leader, a queen, a living legend, although I’m all of these things, I’m a servant as well and I’m here to serve. Being a servant is not always glamorous or popular, but it’s the job and assignment I was given. It’s because in order to be an authority, I had to learn how to come under authority. It’s because when the glory is placed on me, I give it back to God immediately. This journey has always been bigger than me and my job is not only to survive, right now it’s to thrive and continue to make history while I do it.”

Continue on to Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Rihanna Is Now The Wealthiest Female Musician Alive

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Rihanna poses in red dress and red lipstick

It’s official, Robyn Rihanna Fenty is the world’s wealthiest female musician. Let’s let that sink in.

The 31-year-old singer, actress, entrepreneur, beauty and fashion powerhouse just became the world’s highest female earner in music, according to Forbes. Meaning she’s out-earned Madonna ($570 million), Céline Dion ($450 million) and, Beyoncé ($400 million), three of the most wealthy women musicians alive today.

The financial glow up is real: In 2018 Rihanna ranked number 7 on Forbes list with an estimated $37.5 million. As Forbes notes, she’s now worth an estimated $600 million.

As for the tipping point? In May, Rihanna officially launched her luxury fashion label in partnership with the French luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH. The partnership was historical, she became the first woman of color to lead an LVMH business and Fenty Maison is the first fashion company that LVMH has launched from scratch.

While news of Rihanna’s ascent into the highest tax bracket in her respective field is a major accomplishment, it comes as no surprise. Launched in 2017, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty generated $570 million in revenue during its first 15 months.

Then in May 2018, Rihanna launched Savage X, an online-based lingerie company. During the first 40 days on the market, the company made $100 million in sales. It’s now available in 40 markets. Sheesh.

Work, work, work, work, work indeed.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article

Artist, Icon, Billionaire: How Jay-Z Created His $1 Billion Fortune

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Jay-Z is seated in front of audience clapping his hands wearing a NYN baseball cap

Nine years ago, two unlikely lunch partners sat down at the Hollywood Diner in Omaha, Nebraska. One, Warren Buffett, was a regular there. The other, Jay-Z, was not. The billionaire and the rapper ordered strawberry malts and chatted amiably, continuing the conversation back at Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway offices.

Buffett, then 80, walked away impressed with the artist 40 years his junior: “Jay is teaching in a lot bigger classroom than I’ll ever teach in. For a young person growing up, he’s the guy to learn from.” This moment, which was originally captured in our 2010 Forbes 400 package, made it clear that Jay-Z already had a blueprint for his own ten-figure fortune. “Hip-hop from the beginning has always been aspirational,” he said.

Less than a decade later, it’s clear that Jay-Z has accumulated a fortune that conservatively totals $1 billion, making him one of only a handful of entertainers to become a billionaire—and the first hip-hop artist to do so. Jay-Z’s steadily growing kingdom is expansive, encompassing liquor, art, real estate (homes in Los Angeles, the Hamptons, Tribeca) and stakes in companies like Uber.

His journey is all the more impressive given its start: Brooklyn’s notorious Marcy housing projects. He was a drug dealer before becoming a musician, starting his own label, Roc-A-Fella Records, to release his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt. Since then he’s amassed 14 No. 1 albums, 22 Grammy awards and over $500 million in pretax earnings in a decade.

Crucially, he realized that he should build his own brands rather than promote someone else’s: the clothing line Rocawear, started in 1999 for $204 million to Iconix in 2007); D’Ussé, a cognac he co-owns with Bacardi; and Tidal, a music-streaming service.

Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, the superproducer behind some of Jay-Z’s biggest hits, looks at Jay-Z as something others can model: “It’s bigger than hip-hop … it’s the blueprint for our culture. A guy that looks like us, sounds like us, loves us, made it to something that we always felt that was above us.”

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America Are All Black Women For First Time In Pageant History

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Chelsie Kryst miss usa winner standing on stage holding bouquest of flowers

Cheslie Kryst contributed to pageant history when she was crowned Miss USA on Thursday: For the first time, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America are all black women.

Kryst, who represented North Carolina in the pageant, is a lawyer who practices civil litigation and does pro bono work to help get reduced sentences for incarcerated people.

Miss Teen USA 2019, Kaliegh Garris, was crowned Sunday. The high school senior from Connecticut plans to attend college and pursue a degree in nursing. Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, who won her competition in September, hailed from New York.

Both Kryst and Garris were applauded for wearing their natural hair during their pageants.

“There were a few naysayers saying, ‘You look better with straight hair,’ or ‘You should put in extensions and straighten your natural hair,’” Garris told Refinery 29, later adding, “I feel more confident and comfortable with my natural hair.”

Both Miss USA, Nana Meriweather, and Miss Teen USA, Logan West, were black in 2012. But Miss America that year, Laura Kaeppeler, was not.

At Thursday’s final Miss USA event, Kryst expertly answered a question on whether the Me Too and Time’s Up movements against sexual harassment and assault had “gone too far.”

“I don’t think these movements have gone too far,” she said. “What Me Too and Time’s Up are about are making sure that we foster safe and inclusive workplaces in our country.”

“As an attorney, that’s exactly what I want to hear,” she added. “That’s exactly what I want for this country.”

Continue on to Black Voices to read the complete  article.

Regina King Inks First-Look, Multi-Year Deal With Netflix And Fans Love It

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Regina King

Regina King has just inked a first-look deal with Netflix to produce films and television series, prompting much excitement on social media.

King’s company, Royal Ties (King, Royal ― her mind!!), has partnered with the streaming service for the multi-year deal, which typically gives the company the right of first refusal for unwritten projects. Her sister, Reina King, will be head of production for the new company.

Regina King, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” recently took home an Emmy for her role in Netflix’s limited series “Seven Seconds.”

“Regina King is a multi-faceted talent both behind and in front of the camera. She’s been a trailblazer for years, with boundless creativity and impeccable taste in projects, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that she will bring her formidable talents to Netflix,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer, said in a statement.

King said in the release that she’s “beyond thrilled to join the Netflix family.”

“They are at the top of their game and as an artist, I am so excited to come play in this wonderful sandbox they have created for storytellers,” the actress said.

Fans have been showing love on Twitter, calling King “admirable” and her Netflix deal “well deserved.”

Continue on to Black Voices to read the complete article.

Production Company Founded By the Obamas Announce Upcoming Projects In Partnership With Netflix

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Priya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis, co-heads of Higher Ground Productions, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company in partnership with Netflix, today announced the company’s initial slate of upcoming projects.

The content encompasses a wide range of fiction and non-fiction signature productions for all audiences including scripted, unscripted and documentary series, as well as full-length features and documentaries.

President and Mrs. Obama launched Higher Ground last spring to create content that embodies the core values of celebrating the human spirit through struggles and triumph; facing adversity through resilience, determination, and hope; lifting up new voices and stories to bring about change; and transcending divides to bring us together. The projects selected are a reflection of these values and a commitment to quality storytelling. Higher Ground expects to make additional project announcements in the coming months.

We created Higher Ground to harness the power of storytelling. That’s why we couldn’t be more excited about these projects,” President Obama said. “Touching on issues of race and class, democracy and civil rights, and much more, we believe each of these productions won’t just entertain, but will educate, connect, and inspire us all.”

“We love this slate because it spans so many different interests and experiences, yet it’s all woven together with stories that are relevant to our daily lives,” Mrs. Obama said. “We think there’s something here for everyone—moms and dads, curious kids, and anyone simply looking for an engaging, uplifting watch at the end of a busy day. We can’t wait to see these projects come to life — and the conversations they’ll generate.”

“President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and the Higher Ground team are building a company focused on storytelling that exemplifies their core values,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “The breadth of their initial slate across series, film, documentary and family programming shows their commitment to diverse creators and unique voices that will resonate with our members around the world.”

Projects currently in different stages of development, to be released over the next several years:

AMERICAN FACTORY was acquired by Netflix in association with Higher Ground Productions out of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Directing Award: U.S. Documentary. From Participant Media, the film is directed by Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award®-winners Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” “A Lion in the House,” “Seeing Red”). The acclaimed film takes a deep dive into a post-industrial Ohio, where a Chinese billionaire opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant and hires two thousand blue-collar Americans. Early days of hope and optimism give way to setbacks as high-tech China clashes with working-class America. The producers are Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert, and Julie Parker Benello.

BLOOM is an upstairs/downstairs drama series set in the world of fashion in post-WWII New York City that depicts barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress. BLOOM is written and executive produced by Academy Award-winner® Callie Khouri (“Nashville,” “Thelma and Louise,” the upcoming Aretha Franklin movie at MGM), from an idea developed by Khouri, writer-director Clement Virgo (“The Book Of Negroes,” “The Wire,” “Empire”) and novelist and producer Juliana Maio (“City of the Sun”). Higher Ground Productions, Khouri, Virgo and Maio will executive produce the series.

Higher Ground is producing a feature film adaptation of author David W. Blight’s Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, for which he won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History. The New York Times called the book “an ambitious and empathetic biography of a major American life.”

Adapted from The New York Times’ ongoing obituary column Overlooked, telling the stories of remarkable people whose deaths were not reported by the newspaper, Higher Ground is developing OVERLOOKED as a scripted anthology series with producers Liza Chasin of 3dot Productions and Joy Gorman Wettels of Anonymous Content.

For family programming, LISTEN TO YOUR VEGETABLES & EAT YOUR PARENTS will be a half-hour preschool series from creators Jeremy Konner (“Drunk History”) and Erika Thormahlen. The show will take young children and their families around the globe on an adventure that tells us the story of our food.

From Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of The Big Short and Moneyball, and based on his book The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, FIFTH RISK, a non-fiction series, will aim to portray the importance of unheralded work done by everyday heroes guiding our government and safeguarding our nation.

CRIP CAMP is a feature-length documentary film in production that is supported by the Sundance Institute and acquired earlier this year by Higher Ground and Netflix. Just down the road from Woodstock, in the early 1970s, a parallel revolution blossomed in a ramshackle summer camp for disabled teenagers that would transform young lives, and America forever by helping to set in motion the disability rights movement. The film is directed by former camper Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham. Producers include Newnham, LeBrecht and Sara Bolder, with executive producer Howard Gertler.

About Higher Ground Productions

A storytelling partnership between President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Netflix, Higher Ground Productions is home to a wide range of scripted, unscripted and documentary- style series, as well as feature-length narrative and documentary films. Higher Ground shines a light on timely and timeless subjects by empowering new and diverse voices to create content that speaks to our world today.

About Netflix

Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Aretha Franklin earns posthumous Pulitzer Prize

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Aretha Franklin also known as the ‘Queen of Soul’ is now a Pulitzer Prize winner. Franklin received the special awards for her “indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.’

The award was first issued in 1930 and Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman to receive the award. Prior winners include Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, and John Coltrane. Sadly, Aretha Franklin passed away in August at the age of 76 due to pancreatic cancer.

Her famous legacy of music spans nearly 50 years. She achieved milestones as the first woman in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and having a song in the Billboard Top 100 73 times.

Robin Givens: Standing Up for Women

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Robin Givens, star of the series Riverdale is pictured standing at a podim speaking to an audience

By Jovane Marie

It has been more than 30 years since Riverdale star Robin Givens walked away from an abusive marriage, the traumatic union dissolving in a highly publicized fashion. While it’s a chapter she doesn’t feel the need to dwell on, she has used the experience, along with her platform, to assist and empower fellow survivors of domestic violence and raise awareness for the cause.

Her advocacy has included service as a spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, working in support of the YWCA USA (a leading provider of domestic violence and sexual assault programs and services) and DV Leap, which fights to advance legal protections for victims of domestic violence. Givens also serves as a keynote speaker, donates supplies, and makes personal visits to shelters.

It’s an admittedly hard thing to do, and Givens acknowledges that after decades of dogged involvement, she has eased up on revisiting the past to focus on the future.

“I’ve been fully involved for almost 20 years, and it’s not an easy thing to do, because I have to travel back in time,” she says. “When I went through that moment in my life, I was younger than my oldest son—I was a baby! I don’t want to walk around with the weight or badge of that—no one does. I’m ready to live, thrive, and be all that God intended me to be.”

Riverdale Actors Lochlyn Munro, Skeet Ulrich, Martin Cummins, Robin Givens, Luke Perry, Nathalie Boltt, Marisol Nichols, Mädchen Amick, and Mark Consuelos of CW's 'Riverdale' pose for a portrait.
(Top L-R) Riverdale Actors Lochlyn Munro, Skeet Ulrich, Martin Cummins, Robin Givens, Luke Perry, (Bottom L-R) Nathalie Boltt, Marisol Nichols, Mädchen Amick, and Mark Consuelos of CW’s ‘Riverdale’ pose for a portrait. BENJO ARWAS/GETTY IMAGES

Her eyes may be set toward the future, but her hands remain behind to uplift those battling their way through a storyline she knows too well. It is, she accepts, a part of her purpose.

“We all wrestle with our purpose,” she says. “But why go through something if you can’t use the experience to help someone else? It can be hard, sure. But I try to do what I can, as much as I can, whenever I can.”

Her message to those who are facing or living in the aftermath of abuse is clear, concise, and urgent: “You are not alone, and it is not your fault. You have to leave to be safe. And when you get out, and you’re tired of living just to survive, turn your focus to thriving. Now is your time.”

The Power of the Post

After a recent appearance on the Wendy Williams Show, Givens was asked if she could imagine going through her tumultuous marriage during the age of social media—wouldn’t it have been crazy?

Her first thought? That time in her life couldn’t have gotten much crazier. Her second? That actually, a social media presence might’ve proved to be a useful tool in showing her she wasn’t alone and convincing her to leave earlier.

Robin Givens poses in a purple dress ,standing with son who is in a dark suit, for a charity event
Robin Givens with son attend the 14th Annual Women Who Care Awards Luncheon Benefiting United Cerebral Palsy PHOTO BY DANIEL ZUCHNIK/WIREIMAGE

“I look at the impact that social media has had on the #MeToo movement, and I think the domestic violence issue is closely aligned in that it involves an abuse of power, and there really is something to social media when it comes to speaking your truth,” she said. “I say it’s wonderful in that you can stand up for yourself—if someone says something about you that isn’t true, you can just hop on Twitter or wherever and say your peace. Your voice has a platform, and there’s extreme power in that.”

Givens is far from labeling the societal mainstay as an absolute positive, though, admitting that society’s fascination with the image of perfection has definite setbacks. As a mother, she laments, thinking about the pressure young people in general and her sons in particular must feel to look a certain way and portray a perfect life.

“It’s a tricky thing, and I’ve played it from multiple perspectives—from being out of the spotlight and not caring in the least about followers or posting to being told I need to boost my engagements and post multiple times a day. It’s really hard to wrap my head around,” she says. “When it comes down to it, there’s an upside and a downside to social media—that’s where balance comes in, and we have to do our best to navigate the waters.”

It’s a balance Givens is learning to measure with increasing precision as she spends more and more time in the digital space promoting her current show, Riverdale, and hosting upcoming projects.

Career 2.0
True to form, Givens never planned on landing a role on the hit show Riverdale as the town’s mayor. It’s an opportunity that found her in Houston cheering on her youngest son at a tennis tournament, of all places.

She’d spent the last few months easing back into acting after being challenged by her publisher to make herself her own project.

“It was actually pretty funny. My children were older and preparing to leave the nest, and telling me, ‘you’re always around mom, go do something,’ and I’d respond, ‘you’re what I do—what do you mean?’ So, when I received the call from my agent asking me to come out to audition, I didn’t think twice. I flew out, read, and by the end of the day, I had a job.”

Robin Givens chats on set with Daily Pop Co-Hosts Justin Sylvester and Carissa Culiner
Givens chats on set with Daily Pop Co-Hosts Justin Sylvester and Carissa Culiner. AARON POOLE/E! ENTERTAINMENT/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY IMAGES

Based on the Archie comic strip, Riverdale follows the life of teenager Archie Andrews and his high school exploits in the seemingly idyllic town. If you’re expecting the cookie-cutter storylines of comic strips past, though, you’re out of luck.

“I grew up in the age of Archie and the Pussycats and the whole gang, and I loved them, but in no way is this the Archie I grew up with,” she said. “The creators were brilliant in bringing everything current and dealing with issues that our youth are facing today.”

The best part of the remake by far—and what Givens is most proud of—is the diversity of the cast and the ease with which it’s accomplished.

“The thing I love most is that when you look at the show, you have black people and white people and gay people—so many people are covered, and it’s done effortlessly. It just looks like the world is supposed to look and moves the way the world is supposed to move.”

Riverdale isn’t the only role on her radar. As Givens continues to answer passion’s call, the upcoming projects are starting to stack up.

She stars on ABC’s newly premiered series The Fix, a legal drama co-written and executive produced by Marcia Clark (lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson case) that centers on a famous prosecutor searching for redemption and justice after losing a case and freeing a killer years earlier.

Givens is also set to lead an ensemble cast in OWN’s upcoming family drama Ambitions, produced by prolific producer Will Packer and set to premiere later this year.

What’s next on the list? Without a doubt, Givens has her heart set on two future goals: authoring another book and finding her way back to Broadway. Those plans aren’t written in ink, though—she knows they’ll manifest when they’re meant to—and not a moment before.

“It’s not necessarily part of a plan—those are just things I feel it’s important to do for me,” she says. “I’m at a point in my life where I realize that my happiness and passion for life is more important than having what people deem to be a ‘successful’ career; I’m just going with the flow and working on being the best, healthiest, and most well-rounded person I can be.”

Rockin’ Robin

God, truth, authenticity, and yoga. It’s a tried-and-true combination that has seen Givens through her highest peaks and deepest trials.

She’ll be the first to admit that had just one circumstance changed along her journey, life would’ve looked completely different. If her mother had anything to do with it, we’d have never known Givens as the femme fatale Imabelle in Rage in Harlem, the unapologetically feminist Jacquelyn Boyers in Boomerang, or the militant Kiswana Browne in The Women of Brewster Place—we’d be calling her Dr. Givens instead. But, despite the rollercoaster of ups and downs, she acknowledges her path has molded her into a woman she is proud of today.

“I’m very much a work in progress, and it’s hard to say I’m happy for all the difficulty I’ve experienced in my life, but it’s a big part of who I am now,” she says.

“I truly believe there is opportunity in adversity,” Givens continues. “When we find ourselves in the midst of a storm or some unimaginable circumstance, those are the moments to push and stretch to become all we were intended to be.”

Becoming…now that sounds like a plan.

Music Artist/ Entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle Fatally Shot In Los Angeles

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Beloved rapper, businessman and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot Sunday outside of his Marathon clothing store in Los Angeles’ Hyde Park neighborhood. He was 33.

The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed via Twitter the shooting. “At approximately 3:20 pm there was a shooting reported in the area of Slauson Ave and Crenshaw Blvd. 3 victims were transported to a local hospital where one was pronounced dead.”

With more than a decade of experience in the rap game, he dropped his debut album, Victory Lap, to rave reviews in February 2018. Garnering critical acclaim, the 16-track project earned a No. 4 spot on Billboard’s 200 albums chart and a Grammy nod for Best Rap Album.

In 2013, he introduced the Proud2Pay model for his Crenshaw project. An ode to his neighborhood, Hussle made the mixtape free to download and sold limited hard copies for $100 each. According to MTV News, JAY-Z was so impressed with the rapper’s business acumen that he purchased 100 copies of the project.

In Feb. 2017, he launched the 4,700 square-foot co-working space and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics center, Vector 90, with real estate developer David Gross, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“I just want to give back in an effective way,” he said. “I remember being young and really having the best intentions and not being met on my efforts. You’re, like, ‘I’m going to really lock into my goals and my passion and my talents’ but you see no industry support. You see no structures or infrastructure built and you get a little frustrated.”

He was also involved with the creation of Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3 mile- long outdoor art and culture experience honoring Black Los Angeles.

For the complete article, continue on to Ebony.

African American Fashion at the Academy Awards

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By: Darralynn Hutson

Leading the trend of African American fashion firsts at the Academy Awards was Billy Porter. The star of the new FX series Pose, has made a name for himself as a carpet stunner this season.

At this year’s Academy Awards Porter wore a custom Christian Siriano creation of a black velvet Couture dress masterpiece.

African American fashion at this year’s Academy Awards was a win all the way to the Oscars podium.

Best Supporting Actress winner, Regina King channeled classic Hollywood glamor in her Oscar de la Renta gown.

Mahershala Ali walked the red carpet as a nominee and left an Oscar Winner! The best supporting actor worked with his longtime stylist Van Van Alonso, ahead of the award show for a standout look.

Oscar winner Spike Lee stood out in a purple Ozwald Boateng suit. The “BlacKkKlansman” director dawned a pair of custom gold Air Jordans. He mentioned his outfit was a tribute to African American fashion icon Prince.

Velvet was the fabric of choice for many actors this awards season. It came in all shades ranging from blood red, pale pink, and several other bold colors in between.

Stephen James, lead actor in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” wore an eye-catching blood red velvet Etro suit with a red silk bow tie.

Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan, was a royal revelation in his deep blue velvet jacket.

Congratulations to all of this years African American Fashion trendsetters!

Darius Rucker to Receive to Receive Humanitarian Award at Music Biz 2019

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Darius Rucker

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) will present three-time GRAMMY Award-winning artist Darius Rucker with its Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award during the Music Biz 2019 Awards & Hall of Fame Dinner on Tuesday, May 7.

Rucker is being celebrated for his lifelong philanthropic efforts that include exemplary and heartfelt work on behalf of children at the JW Marriott Nashville Hotel at 7:30 PM.

“Through his tireless efforts to support the youth community of Charleston, not to mention the millions of dollars he has helped raise for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Darius has beautifully honored the legacy of our Humanitarian Award’s namesake, Harry Chapin,” said Music Biz President James Donio. “We truly feel that Harry would be proud to see how Darius has used his platform and resources to benefit those among us in need. We are delighted to recognize him for all he has contributed.”

For years, Rucker has been a continuous supporter of the MUSC Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Since 2010, his annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament has raised millions of dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, Rucker and his bandmates have raised funds for over 200 charitable causes that support public education and junior golf programs in South Carolina.

At the annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament, Rucker performs and plays alongside some of his famous friends in order to raise money for children who are battling cancer. Previous years have seen participation from stars such as Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, and Kenny Rogers.

The annual “Monday After the Masters” (MAM) golf tournament brings together golf pros, celebrities, and their friends to raise money for the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation and the South Carolina Junior Golf Foundation, among others. One of the top-rated junior golf organizations in the country, the mission of the SC Junior Golf Foundation is to teach kids honor, sportsmanship, and character through the game of golf.

Every fall, the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation hosts Hootie’s Homegrown Roundup, an event designed to assist underprivileged children in the Charleston County School District. Through the Roundup, kids receive free annual eye exams, dental exams, new shoes, haircuts, and a backpack full of school supplies to help them prepare for the school year.

Rucker first rose to stardom as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Hootie & the Blowfish, the GRAMMY Award-winning band behind chart-topping hits such as “Hold My Hand” and “Let Her Cry.” The band’s debut album, Cracked Rear View, went platinum 21 times, and the band has charted 16 singles to date. The group is set to return to full-time touring in 2019 as they embark on the 44-city Group Therapy Tour, which will be accompanied by the release of their first studio album since 2005.

During that time, Rucker embarked on a wildly successful solo Country music career that has sparked five albums and nine number one singles on Country radio. His cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” released in 2013 on his third solo Country album, True Believers, earned Rucker his third GRAMMY Award. In 2018, Rucker won the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award from the Academy of Country Music, celebrating his devotion to improving lives through the power of music.

Since its inception in 1981, the Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award has celebrated the legacy of Folk-Rock singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, whose philanthropic work to end world hunger earned him the Congressional Gold Medal. In 1977, Chapin helped create the Presidential Commission on World Hunger. He also co-founded the charitable organization World Hunger Year to which he donated all of the proceeds from merchandise sales at his concerts. The writer of the #1 hit “Cat’s in the Cradle,” top 40 singles “Taxi,” “W*O*L*D,” and “Sequel,” Chapin scored a gold album with 1974’s Verities & Balderdash. Previous recipients of the Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award have included Martina McBride, Dee Snider, Melissa Etheridge, Annie Lennox, Jackson Browne, Norman Lear, and Bonnie Raitt, as well as Rock The Vote, Hands Across America and the T.J. Martell Foundation.

Music Biz 2019 will return to Nashville May 5-8 at the elegant JW Marriott in the heart of downtown Nashville. The music industry’s premier event, Music Biz offers a platform for the commerce, content, and creative sectors to network, get on the cutting edge of the latest trends, and meet with trading partners. Announced thus far, Bebe Rexha and Kane Brown will receive Breakthrough Artist Awards, Sony Music Nashville Chairman and CEO Randy Goodman will receive the Presidential Award for Outstanding Executive Achievement, Record Archive owners Richard Storms and Alayna Alderman will accept the Independent Spirit Award, and The Orchard Co-Founder Richard Gottehrer will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award. The Awards & Hall of Fame Dinner event is sponsored by BuzzAngle Music, City National Bank, Cracker Barrel, Jammber, and TiVo. Attendees can also look forward to keynote presentations from influential industry trailblazers including Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier, and CEO of Def Jam Recordings Paul Rosenberg.

More program and awards announcements will be made in the coming weeks. For the most up-to-date conference information, visit musicbiz2019.com.

To register for the 2019 event, go to musicbiz2019.eventbrite.com. Early bird rates are available through March 22, 2019.

For press registration for Music Biz 2019, please go to music-biz-2019-editorial-press-registration/.

About Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker first attained multi-Platinum status in the music industry as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of GRAMMY Award-winning Hootie & the Blowfish. Since releasing his first country album in 2008, he has celebrated four summits to the top the Billboard Country albums chart and earned a whole new legion of fans. In 2014, Rucker won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance for his 4x Platinum-selling cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” the No. 1 single off his album True Believers.

Rucker’s first two Country albums, Learn To Live and Charleston, SC 1966, produced five No. 1 singles including “Come Back Song,” “This,” “Alright,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” Southern Style, his fourth studio Country album, features his seventh No. 1 single, “Homegrown Honey.”

Rucker’s latest album on Capitol Records Nashville, When Was The Last Time, features “If I Told You” and “For the First Time,” his eighth and ninth No. 1s on Country radio, as well as his latest single “Straight To Hell,” a reimagining of the Drivin’ N Cryin’ classic featuring Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley.

Rucker recently wrapped the co-headlining Summer Plays On Tour with Lady Antebellum as well as a sold-out headlining U.K. run and will hit the road with his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmates for the Group Therapy Tour in 2019 as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of mega-hit Cracked Rear View as well as a forthcoming new album. For more information, visit www.dariusrucker.com and follow on social media @DariusRucker.

About the Music Business Association

The Music Business Association (Music Biz) is a membership organization that advances and promotes music commerce – a community committed to the full spectrum of monetization models in the industry. It provides common ground by offering thought leadership, resources, and unparalleled networking opportunities, all geared to the specific needs of its membership. Music Biz brings a unique perspective and valuable insight into the trends and changes that innovation brings. Today, we put our collective experience to work across all delivery models: physical, digital, mobile, and more. Music Biz and its members are committed to building the future of music commerce – together.

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