When “The Best Man” hit theaters, it took over the box office with its unforgettable characters, a dream cast and a hot soundtrack. On Sunday, October 7 at 9/8C, critically-acclaimed biographical series UNSUNG HOLLYWOOD sits down with director Malcolm D. Lee, along with members of the cast, to discuss the behind the scenes details of making “The Best Man.”
“The Best Man” was the directorial debut of Malcolm D. Lee, younger cousin of famed filmmaker Spike Lee, and became the #1 film opening weekend in October 1999. The film featured an African American ensemble cast with a universal story that could reach mainstream audiences. During a time when many Black films were focused on the reality of street life, the film explored themes of love, relationships, commitment and marriage. With popular actors Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, Terrence Howard and Regina Hall, the movie became one of the most beloved films of its time and helped pave the way for more films featuring African American lead actors that showcased love and relationships. Malcolm battled with the studio over creative choices while in production, and despite its universal storyline, it was marketed as a “black film” that ultimately failed to have the mass appeal he sought.
Bushwick Bill, Of Houston Rap Group Geto Boys, Dead At 52
June 10, 201911:27 AM ETHeard on All Things Considered
Houston rapper Bushwick Bill, a founding member of the pioneering rap crew Geto Boys, died on Sunday evening in Colorado, his publicist, Dawn P., confirmed with NPR. A cause was not given pending a medical examination; the rapper was diagnosed earlier this year with pancreatic cancer. He was 52 years old.
Born Richard Shaw in Kingston, Jamaica, the artist moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn as a young child — hence his rap moniker — before relocating to Houston, where he first joined the Rap-A-Lot Records-assembled group in the early-to-mid-’80s as a breakdancer and hype man. But as members came and went, he found his way to the mic.
Known for his brash persona and performative storytelling, Bill’s unhinged, engaging bars on Geto Boys classics like “F*** a War,” “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” and “Mind of a Lunatic” were central to the group carving out its place as a pioneering Southern rap unit in the late ’80s and early ’90s. While Scarface was hailed as the lyricist of the group, Bushwick Bill’s appeal lied in his erratic, say-anything verses. In hip-hop’s Golden Era, Geto Boys is credited with putting Houston on the map by pioneering horrorcore — a rap subgenre rooted in nightmarish imagery, physical abuse and psychological horror. Many of rap’s current stars, from Jeezy and Lil Wayne to Juice WRLD and 21 Savage, have cited Geto Boys as an influence.
In the span of a decade, from 1988 to 1998 — including a three-year hiatus, from ’93 to ’96 — Geto Boys released an impressive six albums. As a soloist, Bill released six solo albums from 1992 to 2010, while Geto Boys reunited for a 2005 album, The Foundation. In 2019, on the heels of Bill’s cancer diagnosis, the members announced they were planning a farewell tour, to be called The Beginning of a Long Goodbye, The Final Farewell. The tour was later cancelled due to Bill pulling out of the performance dates.
Bushwick Bill was born with dwarfism and suffered from joint pain. In October 1991, Bill — drunk on Everclear and arguing with his then-girlfriend as he details in the song “Ever So Clear” — was shot in the eye. Willie D and Scarface posed alongside Bushwick Bill in the hospital halls the night he was shot, a photo which would later be used as the album cover of the trio’s 1991 seminal album We Can’t BeStopped. To date, it remains the group’s best-selling. In 2010, Bushwick Bill was arrested in Atlanta, charged with criminal possession of cocaine and marijuana and facing possible deportation.
Bill first shared the news that he was battling cancer on May 1, 2019. In a video posted to TMZ, the ailing rapper announced he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in February 2019 and, up to that point, had not told his fellow Geto Boys, Willie D and Scarface. Later that same month, Bill was hospitalized with pneumonia and was forced to cancel the remaining shows on the Geto Boys reunion tour. “Now, the rumor is I pulled out on the tour, but if my health was a concern then you would know about my health, not about me pulling out of the tour,” the rapper told fans in an Instagram video shot, speaking from a hospital bed. “This is a health issue. Pancreatic cancer. Chemotherapy gave me pneumonia.”
Speaking to Vice in 2015, ahead of a screening of the horror film Child’s Play that he was set to host in Los Angeles, Bushwick Bill explained the hope he found in fusing rap and the macabre: “There are these little moments in life where if you’re under the right stars and the right light hits you, or when the northern lights are going by you could become a superhuman being. To be able to be bigger than who you are, I think people have always been fascinated with that. That you could turn into a werewolf and be strong, or that you could use electricity and bring something back to life.”
Additional reporting by Andrew Flanagan
Jennifer Hudson Sings the Theme Song to The Jeffersons
Grammy- and Oscar-winning performer Jennifer Hudson sings ‘Movin’ On Up,’ the iconic theme song to ‘The Jeffersons’ live! Watch the full performance of Live in Front of a Studio Audience:
Cheadle to Produce & Star in Movie About First Black Millionaire
After his latest stint in Avengers: Endgame, actor Don Cheadle is set to star in a movie that he will produce himself. The movie, which is entitled Prince of Darkness, will portray the inspiring story of the first Black millionaire, Jeremiah G. Hamilton.
Cheadle will be teaming up once again with Steven Baigelman, who co-wrote the Miles Ahead screenplay with him in 2015. This time, Baigelman will write the script for the movie adapted from Shane White’s book Prince of Darkness: The Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire which won the 2015 Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Best Book Prize.
He worked with white people in the business world, married a white woman, bought a mansion in rural New Jersey, and owned railroad stock on trains he was not legally allowed to even ride. He reportedly accumulated about $2 million until his death in 1875. Hamilton became the richest Black man in the U.S. as he braved the norm during that time. The inspiring story that will be adapted to film is expected to bring more awareness about his life and how became known as the Prince of Darkness.