STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON took hip-hop to the top of the box office again. The N.W.A. rap group biopic was number one at the box office for the third consecutive weekend. Does NBC's TODAY Show know about this hit movie? Here's why I ask. Universal has had a good summer. The Today Show is a product of NBCUniversal. But the network morning news show seems to be treating this Universal release like its a casual acquaintance instead of a popular member of the Universal family.
Universal's Jurassic World, Minions and Trainwreck got a generous amount of airtime and promotion on Today. There were celebrity appearances and interviews. Now Google "Straight Outta Compton The Today Show."
See? Just a couple of box office news mentions. If I was an entertainment news columnist, I'd be curious about that exclusion. Especially in a year such as this in which diversity has been such a hot topic. A hit Universal movie with black actors in the lead roles and a black director got nowhere near the attention as the yellow Minions did from that animated Universal hit. What kind of message does that send out to African-American viewers from NBCUniversal's Today Show? I'm just curious.
Great news a few days ago came from Broadwayworld.com and The New York Times. Tony Award winner and 2-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis will star in a film adaptation of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning play, FENCES. The movie will be directed for 2-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington.
James Earl Jones won the Tony for Best Actor in the original production of Fences. Broadway's hit 2010 revival starred Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.
Yes. It's about time that at least one of the Pulitzer Prize winning plays about African-American family life written by August Wilson made it to the big screen. Fences and The Piano Lesson are vehicles with choice, intelligent roles for black actors.
Viola Davis and her husband started their own production company. Reportedly, she will play Harriet Tubman in a project for HBO. Tubman was the abolitionist and humanitarian who was born a slave. She escaped slavery and was one of mighty forces of the Underground Railway. Also, it's been reported that Tony Kushner -- Pulitzer Prize winner for the play Angels in America -- is writing a movie project for Davis that has already gotten a greenlight from Fox Searchlight. She'd play Barbara Jordan, the first African-American congresswoman from the deep South and the first woman ever elected to the Texas Senate.
I've written before the Whoopi Goldberg and Viola Davis have made Hollywood history as the only black actresses to have two Oscar nominations each to their credit. In the entire history of the Oscars, no black actress has been nominated more than twice. To me, that's a major statement on the lack of script opportunities for good black actresses as compared to white actresses.
I believe that Viola Davis will make history as the first black actress to get a third Oscar nomination.
A new season of ABC's DANCING WITH THE STARS will be upon us.
The DWTS casting format has been as follows: Someone gay, someone with a physical disability, someone well into his or her senior years, a black pro athlete, a "sassy" black female celebrity, a celebrity hunk who will look good dancing shirtless and someone connected to a Disney-owned production because Disney is the parent company to ABC. The dance show reportedly has already booked singer Chaka Khan to work you with her "sassiness." Love me some Chaka Khan!
For the gay contestant, my guesses are: Frankie Grande, a YouTube personality who's shown up on ABC's Good Morning America recently. He's the brother of singer Ariana Grande. If he dances, she'd be in the audience.
There you have it. My guess for new season contestants on Dancing With The Stars. All the new season contestants will be announced this coming Wednesday, Sept. 2nd, on ABC's Good Morning America. One thing's for sure -- I will be totally unfamiliar with a few of those people trotted out as "stars."