It took eight years after it was founded by executive Kathleen Bertrand, but at long last, Tasty Clips has experienced the offerings of Atlanta’s BronzeLens Film Festival. The nonprofit organization has a mission of promoting the “Hollywood South,” showcasing films and providing networking opportunities for the next generation of filmmakers.
First stop was the signature event, The Women’s Superstar Luncheon at the Marriott Marquis. Spelman film professor Ayoka Chenzira summed up its significance when she shared how she and her dear friends, honorees Julie Dash (“Daughters of the Dust”) and Neema Barnette (“Queen Sugar”) “were almost crying and kicking each other because they remember when most people couldn’t say and didn’t think about the words woman and black and filmmaker being in the same sentence.”
Margaret Avery (“Being Mary Jane,” “Which Way Is Up”) wondered aloud about her status as a legendary superstar. “Why I got to be the old one,” she questioned to laughter. “In Hollywood we don’t embrace getting older, particularly the women. The men get older and then their wives look like their daughters.”
She also acknowledged Tina Turner for turning down the role of her lifetime — Shug in “The Color Purple” — and urged everyone to vote.
They, along with the feted Dawn Gilliam and Nina Yang Bongiovi, set the stage for the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone-Isaacs.
“Things have changed and we’re happy that they have, but we’re still on the road,” she reported to the record-setting crowd that included civil rights icon Andrew Young; actors Tyrese (“Fast and the Furious”) and Kendra C. Johnson (“Love Thy Neighbor”); Judge Glenda Hatchett and TV/radio host Mo Ivory.
“We still have much more to do to get to that place where inclusion is an actual and not just a word.”
Afterwards, many moved to the workshops being led by Terri J. Vaughn (making her directorial debut with “Digital Lives Matter”); and David Banner (rapper, actor and host of Aspire’s “ABFF Independent”), who is moved to work in science fiction because most films in the genre would only show one black person in the whole universe.
“To me, that’s really telling people that they don’t believe we’re going to be here in the future,” he said. “So for our children to want to see more, we have to allow them to dream. It has to be Sci-Fi because everything on this Earth was first created with a thought.”
Dash, who is working on a documentary on the late culinary anthropologist Vertamae Grosvenor, dropped a bombshell during her conversation with producer Roger Bobb when she brought up the controversial “Birth of a Nation.”
“Nate Parker’s film is the best film I’ve seen about the antebellum south,” she said, “but no means no,” referring to his now spotlighted rape charges despite an acquittal.
Other highlights included a producer’s panel with famed executive Reuben Cannon; Issa Rae, introducing her refreshingly funny new HBO series “Insecure;” a screening of “Queen Sugar,” which makes its television premiere on OWN Sept. 6; a talkback with producer-director Deborah Riley Draper; panels on shooting films on iPhones or with drones; youth films; an awards ceremony; and the inaugural closing Sunday Brunch with the Brothers featuring Lamman Rucker (“Greenleaf”), Tobias Truvillion (“Empire”), Dorian Missick (“Zoe Ever After”), Cory Hardrict (“All Eyez on Me”) and Rushion McDonald (executive producer of the “Neighborhood Awards Show.”
His words ended the gathering with a fitting inspirational tone when he hit on the importance of career investment. “When y’all walk out of here, you’re either going to have a career or go work at Burger King,” McDonald said. “I’m cool with it because I need somebody to sell me a hamburger when I walk in. Everybody has a role in life. Your role is what you want to build out of. You can post your dream and watch it go viral.”
CLIPPETTES: Phylicia Rashad has joined the cast of “Empire” for season three as the matron of a powerful NYC African-American family whose son (Taye Diggs) is running for office …
Multi-talented vocalist/musician Raul Midon will astonish you with his performance at the Jazz Bakery on Sept. 2. His much anticipated ninth album is due next spring …
Crystal R. Emery’s inspirational film “Black Women in Medicine,” is screening at Laemmle’s Music Hall, Sept. 2-8 to ensure Oscar eligibility …
Bilal is among the performers participating in the free political music-based fifth annual Power Fest on Sept. 3 …
The L.A. County Fair hosts The Isley Brothers and The O’Jays on Sept. 5 …
Snoop Dogg will headline Working Californians’ fifth annual concert “Nightshift 2016,” on Sept. 5 at Exposition Park with Los Lonely Boys; Poncho Sanchez; Dr. John and others …
Famed Prince recording compound Paisley Park in Minneapolis will launch public tours beginning Oct. 6 with tickets now on sale. Only a few hundred people had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime.
TC ON TV: Sept. 2 – “Narcos” (Netflix): The saga of drug lord Pablo Escobar continues. “Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse” (Amazon Prime): Along with friends like Mario Batali (“The Chew”), and “Chopped” judges Marcus Samuelsson and Aaron Sanchez.
Sept. 4 – “Ringside” (TV1): This original boxing film by Russ Parr stars Tyler Leplay (Bennie on “The Haves and the Have Nots”), Charlamagne Tha God, Jackie Long and Sevyn Streeter.
Sept. 5 – “Louisiana Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Relief” (Bounce): Hosted by former “American Idol” judges and area natives Randy Jackson and Harry Connick Jr.
Sept. 6 – “Atlanta” (FX): Caught a screening of this unique dramedy at the city’s venerable Starlight Drive-In. It’s 32-year-old creator and star Donald Glover and Brian Tyree Henry as hot rapper Paper Boi are perfect foils. Christopher Harvey as a challenged brother in lock-up stands out in episode two.
TASTY QUIP: “Prejudice is reaching new levels. It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray. It makes me afraid for my family. It also makes no sense.” – AZIZ ANSARI in the New York Times.
“Tasty Clips” is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists in television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com. He can also be reached on Twitter @tastyclips.