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LAUNCH IT BLACK! The Official Birth of Bring It Black

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September 10, 2016 was the official kick off day for Bring It Black, a new organization strictly for African Americans in theatre and film. The organization was founded by Cleavon Meabon, IV with the means of bridging the gap between classic black art and contemporary black art.

The organization quickly became a national center of attention through the auspice of Facebook garnering over 900 followers in a matter of days. Outside of the founding city, Washington, DC, Chicago followed quickly and formed its own branch. Other anticipated branches include New York, Atlanta, and LA.
“I think all in all, one thing a lot of plays seem to be saying is that we need to, as black Americans, to make a connection with our past in order to determine the kind of future we’re going to have. In other words, we simply need to know who we are in relation to our historical presence in America.” – August Wilson

7 Goals of Bring It Black

 

bib-7-goals
Bring it Black is a progressive effort to preserve and showcase black theatre and film productions while being a resource for new age black productions. Bring It Black is a play on the phrase “bring it back.”

The preservation of black theatre and film has long been secondary to the preservation of “American” theatre and film. Shakespeare Taverns and culturally non-inclusive platforms typically leave our work to reside in underfunded HBCU theatre arts programs and off-Broadway productions. We tend to have no place to call home or to play in when we are not in major productions. Workshops and classes are also scarce for working adults.

While mainstream America celebrates August Wilson and cinematic classics like ROOTS, a plethora of our stories go unseen and unheard. Cultural appropriation has taken it as far as monetizing our historic hardships and romanticizing our oppression. We are more. We are powerful. We are classic.

Black theatre dates back to the 1700s and beyond. In addition, Bring it Black stands to be a financial and supportive resource for black artist. There are approximately 89 black owned theaters in America. Places like U-Street in DC, formally known as black broadway, have all but dissipated.

We must take back ownership of black entertainment. We must bring back the classics and bring it black.

For Sisters Everywhere

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For Sisters Everywhere

What’s up, sister,
Heard you were feeling kinda down,
So, I figured I’ll stop by,
Say a few words,
Lift up your spirit,
But first, get a mirror,
Take a good look at yourself,

There’s something about your hair,
The nappiness of it,
The kinkiness of it,
The toughness of it,
The curliness of it,
The Blackness of it,
Be proud of it,
It’s a glorious crown,
Wear it how you want it,
You’re a queen,

There’s something about your eyes,
Their ability to communicate,
Pacify,
Illuminate,
Satisfy,
They’re a wondrous glow,
You’re a light,

Oh, there’s something about your lips,
The wisdom they speak,
The truth they utter,
The strength they offer,
The sexiness they exude,
They’re a blessing,
You’re a treasure,

There’s something about your strides,
The confidence in them,
The courage in them,
The sassiness in them,
The leadership in them,
They’re a redemptive pathway,
You’re a leader,

Sister, there’s something about your skin,
The melanin it it,
The beauty of it,
The strength it wields,
The magic in it,
It’s a masterpiece,
You’re a wonder,

How can I forget about your soul,
It’s beautiful,
It’s resilient,
It’s spiritual,
It’s excellent,
It’s an awesome wonder,
You’re the creator’s finest.

So, the next time you feeling down,
I’d like you to come back to these words,
Remind yourself who you are,
A queen,
A light,
A treasure,
A leader,
A wonder,
The creator’s finest,
Dang, girl! That’s too much sauce,
Now pick yourself back up and press on,
You got some slayage to do,
The world thirsts for your magic,
Yeah, your Black girl magic,
Rock on, sister,
You’re a Black Girl. Always remember that.

-For Sisters Everywhere, from the Love Notes collection.

When I sat down to write For Sisters Everywhere, it was about uplifting and celebrating black women. It’s a new year. Tag a sister who needs to be reminded of this. Share. Inspire. Uplift.

Lysious Ogolo

Available 2/14/2018

#TIMESUP, Unless You’re A Loud, Black Woman

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It was the night of the Golden Globes, our favorite Hollywood elites were dressed to the nines in their courageous black for solidarity, then it happened, Oprah Winfrey snatched our hearts and our edges as she boldly declared “Time is UP!” referring to sexual harassment, pay inequity, and violence against women. We were so shook, it quickly became a twitter Trending hashtag, along with #Oprah2020.Fast forward to this week, the movement is in full effect. Our favorite fashionable girlfriend, Tracee Ellis Ross reveals that she may cut back appearances on her show Black-ish because she is being grossly underpaid compared to her co-star, Anthony Anderson. Social Media and black twitter were here for it!

Ah, but alas, the #TIMESUP movement is still an American movement, and American movements of equality and change have always had silent and sometimes not-so-silent, points of exclusion. Academy-Award winning comedienne, Mo’ Nique makes a video reporting that streaming service and content curator, Netflix, offered her an insulting $500k for a comedy special and called for us to boycott the company. Now, to most of us, $500k would be a beautiful payday, however when you contextualize that Amy Schumer was reportedly offered 13M, and male comedians were given upwards of $20 Million, the offer is exposed for the spit in the face that it is.

Oh, but we were NOT outraged! Firstly, none of us are boycotting, cause let’s be honest, we stopped paying for cable for a reason, and that reason…is Netflix. This however, does not change the merit of Mo’ Nique’s grievance. People quickly spouted, “well she hasn’t had as much commercial success as others”, so some of us took to social media to remind you of her achievements.

Then, the argument became “Well, Mo’ Nique has a bad reputation, she even cussed at Oprah and Tyler Perry *insert collective black gasp*, because everyone knows, you can’t challenge black royalty, even if it is about fair pay. It was around then that it dawned on me, Mo’Nique is far too black, and far too loud to be deserving of equality. I mean, she doesn’t even subscribe to respectability politics. In case my sarcasm doesn’t give it away, I really despise the ways in which we reinforce misynoir. It is so deeply rooted in us, that we don’t even recognize that we’re entrapped in its snares. If we are frank, Mo’Nique’s bad reputation has to do with money. She doesn’t have a history of being late, she doesn’t have a history of being rude to co-stars, she has a reputation for not playing about her money and not being afraid to challenge even the most powerful among us.
It only takes a quick google search of the networth of Black leading ladies like Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, or Kerry Washington in comparison to their white counterparts to see that the issue is widespread. Black women make significantly less in Hollywood and it has nothing to do with their reputation or “character”. See the issue with Mo’ Nique is that she’s not afraid to speak up each and every time she is wronged. Others remain silent to remain working, but that doesn’t make them more noble, that makes them prisoners to the discriminatory system that gives them a fraction of a fraction of the fortune that is being made from their gift.

Yes, boycotting Netflix may be a bridge too far, but let’s not pretend that pay has been based on merit or reputation.

Time may be up for some, but for others, the clock is still ticking.

JOHN LEGEND | LEADS JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR CAST

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Hallelujah! Jesus will be BLACK! on a major television network primetime slot! Music icon John Legend has signed on to play Jesus Christ in NBC’s upcoming TV concert presentation Jesus Christ Superstar Live! in Concert. David Leveaux will direct the previously announced event, slated to take place on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. The concert will be filmed live from Brooklyn, NY.

Legend says “I’m thrilled to join the cast of this production of Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert!,” “It’s such a powerful, meaningful musical and I’m humbled to be part of this performance. We’ve already formed an incredible team, and, as we finish casting, I’m certain we will put together some of the greatest talents around to do this work justice.”

A highly accomplished musician, concert performer, songwriter, actor, and music and film producer, Legend is one of the composers of the new Broadway musical SpongeBob SquarePants. He earned a 2017 Tony Award as producer of August Wilson’s Jitney. Legend is also an Oscar, Golden Globe and 10-time Grammy winner.

Legend joins the previously announced Alice Cooper as King Herod. Additionally casting will be announced at a later date.

Hopefully this team will do something even as close as to what Ron Kellum and his team at Paramount Theater Aurora did this past spring. This is still a huge undertaking on NBC’s part. A Black man as Jesus. Let the count down begin.

Jesus Christ Superstar is based on the final week of Jesus’ life. The 1971 musical opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway and was nominated for five Tonys. Since then, the musical has been considered a classic and has become a staple of theater and music organizations throughout the world. A film adaptation was released in 1973.

SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT | SPIKE LEE REINVENTS HIS DEBUT FOR NETFLIX

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She’s Gotta Have It Original Movie Poster 1986

Growing up in a very BLACK household my palate for culture was always very tasteful and plentiful. Being very young and maybe over my head I remember the 1986 Spike Lee Joint “She’s Gotta Have It.”

If anything I remember my mother calling out to me to cover my eyes every time, there was a sex scene (which was just about the entire film) Girlfriend was having so much sex.

Netflix launched a new promo for She’s Gotta Have It The Series coming to Netflix Thanksgiving Day.

This year I will be leaving the dinner table early and connecting the laptop to the flat screen, seated in my favorite place on the couch, and grabbing plenty of leftovers between episodes as I engage in this brilliance.

Spike Lee without any doubt has always been a writer who has brought social issues right to the front in every film, something we are seeing more of in today’s writing of new popular black shows like Black-ish, Insecure, and Dear White People, just to name a few. We were pleased to learn that Spike didn’t do all the writing for this reinvent of his debut classic, but he called in for help from a few BLACK Girls who rock  Eisa Davis, and Radha Black. Spike only wrote the season premiere and finale, with six of the 10 episodes written by accomplished black women talent. This infusion of predominantly black female voices catalyzed the series’ venture into topics hardly ever discussed on TV. Gentrification in Brooklyn, butt injections, and body shaming are just a few of the issues explored in the Netflix series that expands the original film’s scope while maintaining its core examination of the Black experience. The soul of the Netflix  series is still the film’s dramatic discourse, but now it has a quicker, comedic heartbeat. Lee directed all 10 episodes of the first season, and each feels like a mini-movie.

She’s Gotta Have it Netflix 2017

The interview-based examination of Nola Darling –  a young Fort Green artist who works a number of odd jobs to make ends meet. Is this not every young black artist that currently lives in NYC (inserts heavy sigh.) Spike conveys a potent love for black artists and intellectuals from all corners of the spectrum, and is not timid in his celebration.— Nola is now played by DeWanda Wise, who is able to balance sass, humility, goofiness, intellect, and sexual allure — sometimes all in the same scene — to mesmerizing results. It’s difficult to assess if the series has a plot at all outside of the misadventures and day-to-day life of Nola. Lee’s original film centered on Nola and her three male suitors, and that does account for much of what happens in the series. Jamie Overstreet – Nola’s most business-minded suitor, (Lyriq Bent), then there’s Greer Childs (Cleo Anthony), a vain, self-obsessed photographer, and

She’s Gotta Have It

Mars (Anthony Ramos), a wise-cracking bike messenger who was played by Lee himself in his debut film. Each man reflects a unique kind of attraction for Nola — Mars is the funny one, Greer is a perfect physical specimen, and Jamie is the intellectual and the most familiarly mature of the bunch. Thanks both to the high-caliber of performers that inhabit these roles and the uniformly brilliant writing, none of them are simply defined by what Nola finds attractive about them. They each come off as a complex being with arrays of talents and hang-ups that become increasingly hard to ditch.Spike looks toward the future and is embracing it — but doesn’t pretend like there isn’t still a long way to go. She’s Gotta Have It could be the catapult Lee needs to take more of his films to different places. Lee was quoted in a recent interview

Spike Lee attends Netflix Original Series “She’’s Gotta Have It” Premiere

“My next thing, it’s not going to be any movies, but I have to find time to do School Daze on Broadway.” The trendsetting director, who directed a film of the Broadway play Passing Strange in 2009, has had a School Daze sequel script for years. I say keep the sequel and give us the two-hour and fifteen minuet Broadway Show we have been waiting for.

“She’s Gotta Have It” will be available on NETFLIX THANKSGIVING DAY. Look for our review within the week after the release.

For Bring it Black

  • Frederick Alphonso

www.frederickalphonso.com

Social Media @frederickalphonso

EVERYONE’S FAVORITE BLACK MOTHER ON THE SCREEN | JENIFER LEWIS

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Everyone’s favorite TV/FILM Mother thee Jenifer Lewis, drops her memoir today “The Mother of Black Hollywood” The “Mega Diva” and legendary star of Black-ish looks back on her memorable journey to fame and the unforgettable life lessons she learned along the way.

Jenifer Lewis keeps it real in this provocative and touching memoir by a mid-western girl with a dream whose journey from poverty to Hollywood will move, shock, and inspire readers.Written with no-holds-barred honesty and illustrated with sixteen-pages of color photos, this gripping memoir is filled with insights gained through a unique life that offers a universal message: “Love yourself so that love will not be a stranger when it comes.”

From her first taste of applause at five years old to landing on Broadway within eleven days of graduation and ultimately achieving success in movies, television and global concert halls, Jenifer reveals her outrageous life story with lots of humor, a few regrets and most importantly, unbridled joy. Candid, warm and wonderfully inspiring, The Mother of Black Hollywood intimately reveals the heart of a woman who lives life to the fullest.We’ve got our copy make sure you go get yours today! Available digitally and in stores.

TIFFANY HADDISH | SNL

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Deff Comedy Jam, If Loving You is Wrong, The Carmichael Show, and Girls Trip, are just a few things she’s done. This is a BLACK GIRL who’s Rocking! Tonight Tiffany Haddish makes history by becoming the first Black Female Comedian to host NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Haddish will host Tonight’s Episode (11/11/17) airing at 10:30PM (EST) on NBC. Tonight’s musical guest is Taylor Swift This is How you BRING IT BLACK!

#Who’s Next The Musical | AUDITIONS | CHICAGO

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After 2 successful workshop runs 1 in New York , and the other in Chicago, after reviews like;

“Invites you to live the social justice revolution.”

“Amazingly Powerful & Thought provoking.”

COLLABORACTION Social Action Theater & YCYOD Entertainment will present #Who’s Next The Musical in a full scale presentation Beginning January 14, 2018. The full length musical that speaks out against social injustice based around a family tragedy. Is now holding auditions for its 16 member cast. Please see casting requirements below. Submit headshots and resumes to casting@whosnextmusical.com

JEFF’S So Black? |49th Annual Equity Jeff Awards in Chicago

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The 49th Annual Equity Jeff Awards honored last season’s achievements in Chicago theater Monday night at Drury Lane in Oakbrook, IL

Sweeney Todd” at Paramount was the most honored production of the evening, earning five awards, including the best Production-Musical-Large. Paramount also received three awards for “The Little Mermaid” for a total of eight Jeffs, the most for any institution.

BRING IT BLACK was rooting for everybody black and those results were awesome last night as well possibly due to an attempt to address issues of inclusion and representation. After a JEFFS SO WHITE backlash last year. It was stated last night that the Jeff Committee has begun a process of self-study, Jeff Chair, David Liesse said the survey phase results will be released soon. Hopefully this will include more POC shows on main stages in Chicago.

We are so proud of all the talent in our city congratulations to all of you.

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL

Paul-Jordan Jansen – “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” – Paramount Theatre

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL

E. Faye Butler – “Chicago The Musical” – Drury Lane Productions

ENSEMBLE

“East Texas Hot Links” – Writers Theatre

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – MIDSIZE

“The Scottsboro Boys” – Porchlight Music Theatre

NEW PLAY

Michael Cristofer – “Man in the Ring” – Court Theatre

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY

Orbert Davis – “Paradise Blue” – TimeLine Theatre Company

The adjudicated productions took place between August 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017. The Jeff committee attended the opening nights of 159 productions from 62 producing organizations. Of these, 123 productions were “Jeff Recommended,” which made them eligible for award nominations.

Nina Simone: Four Women | Nov. 10 – Dec. 24 | DC

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By Christina Ham
Directed by Timothy Douglas
Purchase Tickets Here.

Velvet-throated songstress Nina Simone hypnotized audiences with her signature renditions of standards from the American songbook. But on September 15, 1963, a devastating explosion in Birmingham, Alabama rocked our entire nation to the core, and from the memory of the four little girls that were lost in this unimaginable tragedy came “Four Women” — along with Simone’s other activist anthems like “Mississippi Goddam,” “Old Jim Crow” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” Through storytelling and song, Nina Simone: Four Women reveals how this iconic chanteuse found her true
voice — and how the “High Priestess of Soul” helped define the sound of the Civil Rights Movement.

BREATHE: The Musical Auditions | Nov. 17 -18 | DC

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‘BREATHE’ is a raw and enchanting theatric experience that illustrates the many paths in which African American hardships have channeled into cultural forms of art and performance. A great deal of American history has attempted to take African American breaths away through slavery, rape, lynching, Jim Crow laws, KKK terror, and currently injustice and police brutality.

‘BREATHE’ follows an African American family trying to manuver through sharecropping and post slavery issues. The eldest son of the family is lynched and the community pushes anti-lynch laws. The timeline vacillates between the oppression, triumphs, and creative milestones of American culture. Thus, the story transcends the African American story and becomes simply an American story by which all can be inspired.

‘BREATHE’ has done two very successful runs in Atlanta, garnering sold out audiences.


AUDITION DETAILS

Please email admin@breathe-themusical.com for any further questions.

November 17, 2017 | 6:00PM – 11:00PM
Distinctly Creative – 303 Rhode Island Ave, Studio 211
Brentwood, Maryland 20722

  • Acting and Vocal Auditions
    • Please prepare an a cappella spiritual for vocal auditions.
    • Sides from the script will be provided for acting auditions.
  • Callbacks will resume the following day.

November 18, 2017 | 6:00PM – 10:00PM
Location TBA

  • Dance Call/Callbacks
    • Please dress comfortably
    • Be prepared to learn a song as a part of an ensemble.

 

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