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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: ‘Blackbird’ hits big screen

“I look for stories that are going to not only entertain, but are going to strike conversations that could bring about levels of healing or with a point of view that you never considered,” said actor/producer Isaiah Washington about his new film, “Blackbird” opening April 24th. “I know the film challenges a lot of people’s absolutes and that’s what I loved about it.”

Mo’nique (who is also a producer), Julian Walker and D. Woods star in this coming of age tale of an African-American choir singer coming to terms with his sexual awakening while living in a conservative Mississippi town. The film, which premiered last year at the Pan African Film Festival, was directed by Patrik Ian-Polk who also co-wrote the screenplay with Rikki Beadle Blair.

Washington was frank when asked if its gay storyline within a religious community may turn off the very audience that supported Atlanta resident Tyler Perry and his films when coming out the box.

“Obviously, Mr. Perry has done extraordinarily well catering to [the black church]. The films have also done well in the urban community, which includes young teenage Caucasian boys that think that African-American women put wigs on, roll their necks, pop their fingers and can be very acerbic,” Washington said.

“They think that’s the funniest thing and that all old black women should be acting like that.  You also have to deal with the fact that what you put out there is not just for the black church, it’s for the world.”

He added:  “If I only made films that would only be supported by the black church, and gratefully serve that community, then I guess I would be starring in every Tyler Perry movie he’s ever made,” he said. “From the very beginning when he came to me with his first film “Diary of a Black Woman,” I opted not to participate because I couldn’t see my character physically beating on who I consider the Cicely Tyson of my generation, Kimberly Elise.”

“However that said, I know there are a lot of people out there that will support “Blackbird” that are underserved in the gay community, be they African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Latino, what have you.  The films that I try to make are with a global citizen point of view.”

Washington grew up in the black church and would like to think there are a lot of people who would be progressive about seeing “Blackbird.” “I did a film called “The Undershepherd” that broke record numbers for TV One.,” he said.  “Was there a backlash from pastors and people in the black church? Yes!  But that didn’t stop them from watching.”

“I hope ‘Blackbird’ makes $100 million and then some because I want to leverage that and redo The Ten Commandments, baby.  I want to play Moses.  I want that Charlton Heston role and I want Wesley Snipes to play the Yul Brenner role. That’s my Ramses!”

CLIPPETTES:  After a round of successful nationwide screenings, the Queen Latifah produced film, “Brotherly Love” starring Keke Palmer, Corey Hardrict and Quincy Miller premieres this weekend…

TV Line is reporting exclusively that “Empire” assistants Gabourey Sidibe and Ta’Rhonda Jones (Porsha) have been promoted to regulars for the upcoming second season…

Yasiin Bey (the artist formerly known as Mos Def) is at The Mayan Theatre on Sun, Apr. 26…

BRAVO’s “Top Chef” is returning to Cali for season 13 with shooting to begin next month…

“The Blood of Jesus,” a restored landmark in cinema made in 1941 by Spencer Williams (Andy in “Amos ‘n’ Andy”) is getting a rare screening at REDCAT at 8 p.m. April 27 at 8:30 p.m. Scholar Jacqueline Stewart, who is preparing a biography of Williams, introduces the work…

Also that evening, Saul Williams (last seen on Broadway starring in the Tupac Shakur inspired musical, “Holler If Ya Hear Me”) is leading the group Martyr Loser Kingdom at The Roxy…

Heartthrob Idris Elba, who just wrapped up filming a new two-part installment of BBC’s “Luther,” has set off a rush for tickets with the announcement that he’ll be given an honorary doctorate in fine arts during the Howard University commencement on May 9…

TASTY QUIP: “They don’t know nothing about show business.  I don’t know how y’all get by with some of these artists out here today, man.  They’re really shorting y’all on the material they giving y’all.  And to be playing some of the subject matter at 8 o’clock in the morning?  Man,  Jesus, Man!” – Big Gipp (of Goodie Mob) at SC’s Love, Peace & Hip Hop Festival, before previewing hit single “Beautiful Lovers” with Eric Benet.

TC ON TV: April 24 – “Major Lazer” (FXX): Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Oz,” “Lost”) is the voice of the Jamaican superhero in this trippy cartoon that also features the talents of John Boyega, Aziz Ansari and Oscar winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”)…

April 26 – “Top 20 Hot & Spicy Countdown” (COOKING): With Aaron Sanchez…  “42nd Annual Daytime Emmys” (POP): Tyra Banks hosts… “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (BRAVO): The Reunion, Part 1…

April 27 – “The Voice” (NBC): For one night, former judges Cee-Lo Green, Usher and Gwen Stefani return…

April 29 – “Tia Mowry at Home” (COOKING): Series premiere…  “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” (SCIENCE): The 6th season premiere asks, Are We All Bigots?…

April 30 – “Lip Sync Battle” (SPIKE): Michael Strahan vs. Hoda Kotb.

TASTY QUIP II: “A shift has taken place spiritually and artistically that in the culture of superficial spectacle you can be a first-rate entertainer like Beyoncé but you’re unable to stir the soul the way Aretha, Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway, Luther Vandross, The Jones Girls, the Hutchinson sisters of The Emotions, and we won’t even get into The Dramatics, The Delfonics, Enchantment and The Whispers … because these are love warriors and not just entertainers.

“And that is crucial in terms of that younger generation waking up. What is the soundtrack of the Ferguson moment?  Why do they go back to Curtis Mayfield, Nina Simone, Gil Scott-Heron? Because these are not just entertainers. Why do they yearn for John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme?” That’s not just a song. That’s his soul.” – Professor CORNEL WEST at Grand Valley State University.

“Tasty Clips” is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists on television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to tastyclips@yahoo.com.