Delite Radio is broadcast in high quality stereo on DAB+ in London and Manchester (UK) and worldwide online deliteradio.com
Here is Thursday 23rd Feb's edition of 'Rhythm N News', my weekly show on Delite Radio, (7pm-10pm UK), where I play classic and new souful, funky, jazzy and urban grooves.
Delite Radio is broadcast in high quality stereo on DAB+ in London and Manchester (UK) and worldwide online deliteradio.com
Here is Wednesday 15th February's edition of 'Rhythm N News' , my weekly show on Delite Radio (7pm-10pm UK), where I play classic and new soulful, funky, jazzy and urban grooves. Today;s show includes a special one hour tribute to the master jazz/r&b/pop vocalist AL JARREAU.
Delite Radio is broadcast on DAB+ in London and Manchester and online www.deliteradio.com
Here is Wednesday 8th Feb's edition of 'Rhythm N News', my weekly radio show on Delite Radio, (7pm-10pm UK) where I play classic and new soulful, funky, jazzy and urban flavours.
Delite Radio is broadcast on DAB+ in London and Manchester, also online www.deliteradio.com
is it 3 times the charm for viola davis who makes history as 1st black actress to receive 3 oscar nominations?
Actress Viola Davis talks to an audience at a preview screening of 'Fences' at the National Film Theatre in London
When the Oscar nominations were announced earlier this week, the talented Tony and Emmy Award winning actress Viola Davis found herself being nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance as Rose in the film adaptation of the Tony Award August Wilson play, 'Fences'.This major achievement arrived mere weeks after winning the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe for the same role. Her co-star, and director of the movie, Hollywood heavyweight, and 2-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington, also finding himself nominated for Best Actor. It is fitting that both actors should be recognised for their extremely fine work in the film as it measures up to the performances they delivered on the Broadway stage in the 2010 production of 'Fences', earning them both Best Actor and Best Actress Awards, respectively. As someone who actually caught the play in New York, I can honestly say seeing these two acclaimed actors deliver their powerhouse performances in the flesh gave me one of my most memorable theatre experiences ever. It is now refreshing to see after the debacle of last year's nominations, with it's distinct lack of people of colour, causing the widespread emergence of #OscarsSoWhite on social media and beyond, Ms Davis and Mr Washington, along with several other non white actors achieve acknowledgement for their outstanding work from the industry.
Amidst all the joy and celebration of a nod from the Academy for Viola Davis is the fact she has made Oscar history. After becoming the first black woman to win an Emmy for a lead actress in a drama series in 2015 for 'How To Get Away With Murder', she is now the first black actress ever to receive 3 Oscar nominations. Her first Best Supporting Actress nod came in the 2008 drama 'Doubt', which starred Meryl Streep (close friend to Ms Davis, even appearing with her when she was given a Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame earlier this month) and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Though her contribution to the film consisted of only two scenes, one being an extended conversation with Streep and the other only appearing on screen for 10 seconds in silence, it was felt her heart wrenching performance clearly warranted a nomination.The Academy chose to highlight her work again in the civil rights 1960's set 'The Help from 2011, and though she did not receive the Best Actress Oscar, her co-star Octavia Spencer (yet another actress of colour who has been nominated this year, in the US surprise box office hit 'Hidden Figures') managed to collect the big prize for Best Supporting Actress. So now we come to 'Fences'. Will the third time be the charm? It has already been stated on many occasions by many of the Hollywood industry, including by the aforementioned Meryl Streep, it is only a matter of time before Ms Davis has that little golden statuette in her hand. I, for one am a believer and simply for what she brings to the film 'Fences', if there is any justice, come 26th February 2017, Viola Davis will join the ranks of Oscar winners, and it will be richly deserved.
Viola Davis discusses her role in 'Fences'
Viola Davis wins Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe 'Fences'
Something definitely seems to be in the air, a yearning to look back at the early days of hip hop. In only a few weeks time the film chronicling the story of the notorious LA rap crew, N.W.A, the hard-edged 'Straight Outta Compton' will finally hit cinemas in America after much anticipation. Already this summer the Sundance Film Festival hit, 'Dope' (about an LA geek obsessed with 90's hip hop) has been entertaining audiences Stateside and there is more to come, including a documentary looking at the fashions of the old-school called 'Fresh Dressed'.
Now comes news that award winning Hollywood film director Baz Luhrmann ('Moulin Rogue!' 'Romeo & Juliet' 'The Great Gatsby') is making an original series for Netflix called 'The Get Down', looking closely at New York in the late 1070's with the emergence of hip hop, disco and the cultural art scene. The story will focus on young dancers, musicians and graffiti artists. Legendary hip hop dj Grandmaster Flash, who serves as an associate producer, will actually have an actor play a younger version of himself on the show. Flash noted that he was highly impressed with Luhrmann's extremely high standard of making sure everything on screen was as authentic as possible, saying "We're talking about a time-span of information that hasn't been asked about by most journalists." He has long felt that this important period during hip hop's infancy in the 70's has not been given the coverage it so richly deserves. He added, "When it comes to hip hop there was always an misunderstanding of (the) who, what, where, why and when".
Just a look at Baz Luhrmann's impressive movie credits will leave no one in any doubt that music has always played a very important role in his work, so expectations are naturally high for this project. I can't wait....
'The Get Down' will be shown on Netflix in 2016.
Well, the saying goes "All good things come to those who wait" and hopefully this will be the case for Golden Globe Award winning actor Don Cheadle, who over a year ago announced he would be making his directorial debut and playing iconic jazz figure Miles Davis in the film, 'Miles Ahead'. Over the years there have been several attempts to bring the colourful and outspoken musician's story to the big screen, most notably actor Wesley Snipes who also wanted to play Davis. However, the accomplished Cheadle (with the Davis family's backing) finally got the ball rolling on this much anticipated project. On top of his aforementioned duties on the film, he also led a campaign of crowd-funding through 'IndieGoGo' which contributed greatly to the movie's completion. Added to this, select images of the actor as Miles Davis were also released which in turn generated even more buzz and increased awareness.
Now comes news that 'Miles Ahead' will receives it's official debut on the closing night of this years New York Film Festival, which will run from 25th September to 11th October.
On learning that the film would be screened at the prestigious New York Film Festival, Don Cheadle made a statement:
"I am happy that the selection committee saw fit to invite us to the dance. It's very gratifying that all the hard work that went into the making of this film, from every person on the team, has brought us here. Miles' music is all-encompassing, forward-leaning, and expansive. He changed the game time after time, and New York is really where it all took off for him."
Above is the official 'IndieGoGo' campaign video with Don Cheadle talking with Miles Davis' son and nephew.
Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone's mega-successful 'Rocky' boxing movie franchise looks set to continue towards the end of the year with the release of a brand new film entitled 'Creed', although this time around the character of Rocky Balboa will not be heading into the ring. Instead the main action will centre on the son of his former friend and rival, Apollo Creed (who appeared in the first four 'Rocky' movies), Adonis, played by Michael B. Jordan, who impressed many with his sensitive performance in the Sundance Film Festival 2013 winning drama, 'Fruitvale Station' and is now set to appear in the big budget summer release 'Fantastic Four'. The story will involve Balboa acting as a mentor to the young boxer.
The first trailer has been released and contains some interesting pieces of information, including the fact that Adonis states that he never met his father, who passed away in 'Rocky IV'. The cast includes Phylicia Rashad who plays Mary Anne Creed (Apollo's widow and the mother of Adonis) and Tessa Thompson ('Dear White People') as the boxer's love interest. All of this alone would have caught my attention, but what really sealed the deal for me was the re-teaming of Michael B. Jordan and director/writer Ryan Coogler who showed much promise with his feature length debut, the searing aforementioned 'Fruitvale Station' with Jordan as the lead. Now, once again his strong directing and writing skills have been put into play for 'Creed'. The decision on whether this movie is a winner or not will be revealed in America on 25th November.
In 1973 Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, a member of The Last Poets, the group of poets and musicians who rose to prominence in the late 1960's commenting on the plight of African Americans during the civiil rights struggle, released a solo album under the name of Lightin' Rod. It would be called 'Hustlers Convention' and its creation would introduce the world to rap music. Though I feel sure Jalal did not realise this at the time, this record would heavily influence many who would follow in his footsteps and go on to enjoy major worldwide success in their own right. Indeed Jalal's intention was simply to tell a visual story on record of one strand of urban African American life, a tale of two hustlers attending the so-called convention and ending up in a shoot out and dramatic police chase. Along the way the rapper brings many colours and textures, such as culture, greed and ambition so skilfully to the fore, that the imagery in listeners minds were made vivid. Many people felt here was an honest view of the street. The impact and popularity was so strong that soon after many people in different neighbours could recite the whole record world for word. Unfortunately, as is so often the case in the music business, the success of 'Hustlers Convention' was stifled before it really began. Rap's 'best kept secret' was known to a 'select' number, but ultimately would be brushed under the carpet and remain unknown to the majority of hip hop fans the world over. Most would be totally unaware of its significance until in recent years.
Director Mike Todd spent 3 years making the documentary 'Hustlers Convention' precisely to redress the balance, not only introducing the record to a brand new audience, but also telling the story of how the record came about and showing the reason why Jamal can truly be called 'The Grandfather of Rap'. The documentary displays the roots of the art form (this was a time long before hip hop was seduced by money, corporations and big business), allowing Jamal the chance to explain the social backdrop on which the record was made. The calibre of the interviews goes a long way to show how huge an album this was. Melle Mel says 'Hustlers Convention' was a direct influence on his ground breaking rap on the Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's classic 'The Message'. Other contributors include Public Enemy's Chuck D (who served as associate producer), Ice-T, KRS-One, MC Lyte and Fab Five Freddy. The documentary shows clear proof that the record changed the course of music in a major way. So it feels only fair and just that its importance and relevance, even to this day, should be acknowledged. Hopefully this documentary will help 'Hustlers Convention' the album it's rightful place in hip hop history.
'Hustlers Convention' is being shown at selected cinemas in the UK right now.
An American release is planned for the autumn of 2015.
A few days ago acclaimed Golden Globe Award winning actor Idris Elba attended the world premiere screening of his new and highly personal documentary, 'Mandela, My Dad And Me' at the National Film Theatre in London. This intimate film, which runs just under an hour, captures an important period in Elba's life and only really came about due to the precarious nature life itself has of delivering extreme highs and lows, at times seemingly in the same moment.. In the actor's case, after finally achieving major success on the small screen with HBO's biting drama, 'The Wire', soon following this up with major Hollywood roles, Elba met his ultimate challenge of portraying South African leader and worldwide icon Nelson Mandela in the movie 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom' with resounding triumph. While still filled with the spirit and emotion of playing the beloved statesman, Elba decided to combine his deep and lifelong passion of music (for many years he has been, and continues to be a dj), along with his strong connection to his own family's African roots by deciding to travel to South Africa and record an album under the title of 'mi Mandela'. However, just before embarking on his journey, tragedy struck. His father died, causing the actor to shelve all plans for the record. While grieving for the man who he so greatly admired and was influenced by, Elba undertook some serious soul searching and came to the conclusion his father would not want his son to dismiss his plans and just wallow in his sad passing. No, on the contrary, he would want him to continue his journey to fruition. This was the moment Idris Elba knew he would not only make the album, but he would also document the event on film, in honour of his father. Thus, 'Mandela, My Dad And Me' was born.
By his own admission, as he freely admitted to the audience at the screening, Elba was not a trained musician, but felt the joyous obsession and passion for music gave him the confidence of taking on the task of producing a worthwhile record. In fact he stated he could quite easily talk for much longer on the subject of music rather than his chosen profession of acting. He knew in his head in what path he wanted his 'labour of love' to travel, with the love of his father firmly in the mix. As seen in the documentary, his love of music sprang from his family environment and especially from his father who was quite clearly a charismatic figure (there is great footage of the man holding court at a party). It is no stretch to imagine this is where Elba gets the smooth charm he so effortlessly exerts to people around him, which is particularly telling as in the film on several occasions we witness this charm being used in order for Elba to achieve his desired goal, be it to get an artist to contribute to the album or quelling what could soon be a full blown argument in the recording studio. Indeed, Elba definitely had his work out for him, coming from a position which meant the thought from some quarters being "Here comes another hot celebrity actor 'playing' at being a musician." He arrived in South Africa with a small close knit musical crew and then set about employing local musicians in order to obtain that authentic sound he so wanted. Some of the doubters of Elba's genuine sincerity could be found among this number, sensing this actor could just be cashing in on the strength of the mantle of the Mandela name. Soon all such doubts would be laid to rest.
It is a well known fact that President Obama is a big fan of the hard hitting HBO drama 'The Wire', which dealt with the turmoil, struggle and tragedies that befell the inner city folk of Baltimore, Maryland, brought about by the influx of drugs within the community. It's creator, former crime reporter David Simon, certainly pulled no punches when depicting the utter awfulness of the system that was causing so many people to die, in particular, young black men. He viewed the problem from all sides and displayed on the show the fact that serious changes needed to be implemented from the lawmakers for any real significant change to take place.
So it was no surprise to discover the two men recently sat down together in Washington, D.C. to discuss exactly that. Sure, 'The Wire' was fiction, but it was based on real situations occurring in many of America's urban cities, causing President Obama to hold talks concerning the criminal-justice system at the Bipartisan Summit for Criminal Justice Reform. Simon, who actually lived in Baltimore during the 1980's, said "people thought they could arrest their way out of the drug problem, and then they actually tried to do that." Both the president and Simon agree there needs to be a new way to deal with the drugs situation and the untold misery delivered to so many (non violent) people. The interview runs for 12 minutes and makes fascinating viewing.
DJ, Remixer, Producer, Writer