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R&B Hit Maker Christopher Williams

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TV One’s award-winning documentary series UNSUNG features R&B singer and actor Christopher Williams this Sunday, March at 10 p.m. ET/9C.  

Christopher Williams is an R&B singer and actor from the Bronx, who emerged during the late 1980s with a New Jack sound and pretty boy look. As the nephew of the late Ella Fitzgerald, music was always a part of his DNA. The baritone singer released his first single “Talk To Myself,” followed by “Promises,” both of which made Williams a fan favorite among the ladies. After the success of his first album, his popularity was further cemented with a starring role in the cult classic film, “New Jack City,” and the number one single “I’m Dreamin” from the film’s soundtrack. Events in his personal life, however,  would soon jeopardize his rising success. With an alleged rape charge and an arrest for child support, Christopher Williams found himself in a dark place. 

### For more information on UNSUNG visit TV One’s YouTube Channel and check out exclusive, behind-the-scenes content on www.tvone.tv. Viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TV One’s TwitterInstagram and Facebook (@tvonetv) and the UNSUNG Facebook (@tvoneunsung) using the hashtag #UNSUNG.
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Black Life Texas

How Many Movies Will it Take to Win an Oscar?

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By Devon Mathews

Well, I don’t even know where to begin. Our beloved Black Queen of the screen, Angela Bassett, has been snubbed yet again by the Academy Awards for her role in “Wakanda Forever” at the 2023 Oscars. The “Black Panther” sequel, which celebrated the memory of the late Chadwick Boseman, is a worldwide phenomenon and nothing less than spectacular cinema as one of the top-grossing films of all time.

After being robbed of an Oscar for the iconic role of “Tina Turner” in “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” as well as portraying powerful roles in “Waiting to Exhale,” “Malcolm X,” “The Jackson 5” movie, and “American Horror Story,” Angela Bassett just can’t seem to catch a break for her amazing skill. She has the ability to bring the vitriol, pain, and no-nonsense prowess of the Black woman to the screen. The role of a strong Black woman and actually being one is a task; and no one can do it like she can. To dismiss her in her element is a dismissal to Black women everywhere and we should take note. It’s as if her 2023 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was “enough for them” since the Academy first looked over her for the role of “Tina Turner” when she was first nominated in 1993. 

Her ill-fated loss succumbed to Jamie Lee Curtis for “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.” Breaking cultural barriers of their own within the Asian community, this film went on to be considered a contender for best of everything since it first premiered at SxSW 2022. And although I’m happy to see Asian actors and creators such as Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh win, I’m a bit on the fence about scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis. 

As a professional actor, director, and producer, I pay extra close attention to performances, blocking and editing when watching TV and movies. Many people close to me refuse to watch anything with me because I watch with a different eye. I criticize, I ask questions, and I always look for context to make sure it all makes sense. Let me say this: I am a Jamie Lee Curtis fan and I absolutely love Michelle Yeoh. “Memoirs of a Geisha” is one of my favorite movies. And Yeoh’s ability to captivate audiences over the years has been remarkable. But so has Angela Bassett.

Instagram and Black Twitter alike are still fuming over the loss as well as all the articles and Tik Tok’s describing Bassett’s Black womanhood and hurt human reaction to Curtis’ initial win. She has been called a “petulant child,” yet no one focuses on how she stood and applauded Jamie after her speech. 

This is why it’s important that we make our voices heard. The Oscars throw rocks and hide their hands. Black women and Black artists should never have to minimize our power to make anyone comfortable in anything. And like Angela, I vow to present with that same fire when I break into Hollywood one day. Oscars still “So White … much?

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Black Life Texas

Legacy of Black Comedians

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hen you bring together four legendary comedians, their friends who are also comics, and some of their most loyal fans, you get a room filled with unbridled laughter and, surprisingly, a few tears. That is what Lexus UPTOWN Honors Hollywood award ceremony attendees experienced Wednesday night at the Sunset Room Hollywood.

The luxury car brand and the culture publication honored Cedric the Entertainer, Kym Whitley, Deon Cole, and Guy Torry for their contributions to American culture, arts, and entertainment. The event coincides with the 50th anniversary of hip hop, as Guy Torry’s iconic documentary Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy explores the intersection of the music genre and Black comedy during a significant time in the 1990s.

“I want to thank Lexus for honoring Black comedians,” Guy Torry said during his funny and sometimes emotional acceptance speech. The “Phat Tuesdays” creator also thanked his older brother, comedian Joe Torry, for paving a path to success for him.

Anthony Anderson was on hand to present Cedric the Entertainer his award. “The Neighborhood” actor/comedian kept the crowd in stitches while paying homage to the comics he idolized, like Richard Pryor, Redd Fox, and Eddie Murphy.

Whitley, the only woman honored, expressed her gratitude through laughter and tears. She told the audience that after 35 years in the business, this is the first time she has been recognized or honored.
Honoree Deon Cole shared how he and his fellow comedians felt about being recognized for their hard work. “This means something to us. We’re excited to be here because we’re probably not going to get this again.”

Actor, comedian, writer, and producer Chris Spencer and award-winning media personality Tai Beauchamp hosted the event. Presenters included Bill Bellamy and Affion Crockett. Other notable attendees were Len Burnett, co-founder and CEO of Uptown Media Ventures, Richard Brooks, Lil Rel Howery, Mona Scott-Young, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Dondre Whitfield, and more.

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Black Life Texas

Chris Rock Breaks Silence with Netflix Special

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Rock the bells or should I say clap back on Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith? The internet is in a tumble as everyone has begun weighing in on Chris Rock’s new Netflix special, “Selective Outrage,” which aired on March 4, 2023. The comedic special, now in Netflix’s US Top 10, has Rock opening up about the night actor Will Smith went on stage and slapped him during the 2022 Oscar’s live broadcast. It was the slap heard around the world as many veterans in Black Hollywood (such as Tyler Perry and Denzel Washington) came to the emotional aid of Smith, who seemed to have a meltdown in response to Chris Rock’s joke about his wife’s bald head.

Will Smith was immediately in the crosshairs of a debate that forced people on either side of “was he right” or “was he wrong”? As African Americans, many of us grew up with our mothers and elders looking us dead in our eyes and saying, “keep your hands to yourself.” That was the lifelong cultural warning to not go around touching other people or their things, starting fights, and most definitely hitting someone unless it’s in self-defense. In this case and on the flip side of things, we were also told that “if someone hits you, hit them back!” Our good friend Chris Rock decided that he wasn’t going to retaliate physically and set himself up for the ultimate revenge… tan do the tune of $40 million.

As most celebrities with something major to share such as baby reveals and casting announcements, this is one hot topic that he bided his time over until the right opportunity came. Enter Netflix to the chat.

Social Media is reacting to the stand-up and with a good amount of controversy. Rock goes in on various subjects including his children, gender identifications, abortion, Meghan Markle, the Kardashian’s, and, of course, his infamous slap.

Yes, it’s great to hear what he has to say but some of his off-color comments have landed him in even more hot water than before. “Going on Oprah, ‘I didn’t know, I had no idea how racist they were,'” Rock said, referring to Meghan Markle’s 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “It’s the royal family! You didn’t Google these motherf—–? What the f— is she talking about, she didn’t know. It’s the royal family! They’re the original racists!” 

Ummm, Chris, you could’ve kept that one. Don’t come for our original Black Princess! I’m sure they are having a royal fit in Buckingham Palace.

He then goes on to say, “The thing I have a problem with is the selective outrage. You know what I’m talking about. One person does something, they get canceled. Somebody else does the exact same thing, nothing. You know what I’m talking about… the kind of people who play Michael Jackson songs but won’t play R. Kelly. Same crime, one of them just has better songs.” 

Can you say cringe?

Head on over to Netflix to watch Selective Outrage and let me know your thoughts.

devon@blacklifetexas.com

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