With Black History Month upon us, there is no shortage of fascinating entertainment options headed our way. Here are but a few of them.
Legendary actress Pam Grier, considered the queen of the blaxploitation era but much more than that, is getting a month-long tribute and marathon on Feb. 13 of her works on the premium channel Epix. Among the iconic films featured are “Coffy;” “Scream, Blacula, Scream!;” “Friday Foster;” “Black Mama, White Mama;” and “Foxy Brown.”
Another of Grier’s movies, “Sheba, Baby,” is getting a glorious release Feb. 9 on Blu-ray and DVD. This two-disc set will include the documentary, “Pam Grier: The AIP Years,” a gallery featuring rare publicity images and lobby cards, a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork, and a booklet on the film illustrated with archive stills and posters.
Bounce TV, the first-and-only over-the-air broadcast network for African Americans, will honor Black History Month with a lineup of critically acclaimed and award-winning motion pictures, all with historical significance and relevance. They include “The Color Purple,” “Amistad,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “Men of Honor,” “Sounder” and “Cadillac Records.” Visit BounceTV.com for complete schedule.
“Pressure Point,” the 1962 classic examining issues of racism is making its Blu-ray debut on Feb. 16 courtesy of Olive Films. Sidney Poitier stars as a psychiatrist on the behest of a young colleague (played by Peter Falk), who is treating a hate-filled young American Nazi patient (Bobby Darin). The company is also releasing the beloved “Beat Street” (1984), which introduced New York City’s hip-hop culture to the mainstream as a legitimate form of artistic expression.
Keith David, Lorraine Toussaint, Gary Dourdan, Tracie Thoms, Gary Cole and Jason George lead the cast of the U.S. debut of Word Theatre’s highly acclaimed original production: “And All That Jazz,” Feb. 6, 7-9 p.m. at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills. This event is free to the public with free parking.
Additionally, a new photography exhibition, Saluting L.A. Jazz: Performance Portraits by Bob Barry, is on view at Forest Lawn during the month. It traces the developing jazz legacy of the city through such musicians as Ernie Andrews, Kenny Burrell, Billy Childs, Johnny Mathis, Bennie Maupin, Barbara Morrison, Dwight Trible and Nancy Wilson.
Original music by Stevie Wonder, James Ingram, Ricky Minor, Arturo Sandoval and Thump is featured in “Freeze Frame,” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for four performances only on Feb. 5–7. This fusion of dance, music, film and theater as written, directed and choreographed by three-time Emmy Award-winner Debbie Allen, takes audiences on a roller coaster ride through some of L.A.’s toughest streets where gangs, poverty, violence and drugs are an everyday reality.
TASTY QUIP: “I think people should do what they want to do [about boycotting] the Oscars, but more importantly when they walk into a theater they need to be open to the experience of the story. I think sometimes people feel stories about people of color aren’t inclusive. They’re very much inclusive.” – VIOLA DAVIS backstage at the SAG Awards
CLIPPETTES: It appears that Kerry Washington, Benicio Del Toro, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Hart, The Weekend and Pharrell Williams are coming as presenters to help diversify the 88th Oscars …
“America’s Got Talent” will host Season 11 open call auditions Feb. 6 at the L.A. Convention Center. Those interested in auditioning can register at AGTAudtions.com …
Bokeem Woodbine, so brilliant as Mike Milligan in season two of FX’s “Fargo,” and Vanessa Bell Calloway have been cast in A&E’s L.A. riots based drama “The Infamous” …
Jazz pianist Jason Moran is bringing hip-hop flair to his Fats Waller Dance Party at the Valley Performing Arts Center on Feb. 9 …
“Masterless,” a movie from director/writer Craig Shimahara that mixes problems from the 21st century with imagery from feudal Japan to tell a timeless story of faith, has been released for the home-entertainment market …
Naughty by Nature celebrate their 25th anniversary on Feb. 11 at the Regent Theatre …
You can’t keep a good character down! Fox announced that Jada Pinkett Smith will return to “Gotham” as the cunning Fish Mooney despite her seeming demise last season.
HASTA LA VISTA, BABY!: Laila Ali, Boy George, Lisa Leslie, Real Housewives Kyle Richards and Porsha Williams and former NFL stars Ricky Williams and Eric Dickerson are among the cast on board for the L.A.-based eighth season of “Celebrity Apprentice.” Arnold Schwarzenegger will be making the cuts with assists from Tyra Banks, Jessica Alba, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Warren Buffett in the boardroom.
TC ON TV: Feb. 5 – “Hannibal Buress: Comedy Camisado” (Netflix): Cosby outer gets a special. “47th NAACP Image Awards (TV1): Anthony Anderson hosts and Tasty Clips will be there! “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall” (Showtime): Directed by Spike Lee. “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO): Michael Moore, Gloria Steinem and Armstrong Williams. “Tavis Smiley” (PBS): Roger Guenveur Smith, director of the L.A. premiere of Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop” now playing at The Matrix Theatre.
Feb. 6 – “The Lineup” (Fuse): Sneak peek of the Lebron James produced series showcasing the music that influences athletes this week like Super Bowl contending Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley and Marcedes Lewis of the Jacksonville Jaguars. “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” (OWN): Sugar Ray Leonard and Nichelle Nichols. “Austin City Limits” (PBS): Leon Bridges and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
Feb. 8 – “Independent Lens” (PBS): “A Ballerina’s Tale,” directed by Nelson George, spotlights Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theatre’s first black female principal dancer.
Feb. 10 – “The Next 15” (TV1): This docu-series follows reality stars – Tiffany “New York” Pollard (“Flavor Of Love”) Claudia Jordan (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”), Jennifer Williams (“Basketball Wives”), Karamo Brown (“The Real World: Philadelphia”), Laura Govan (“Basketball Wives: LA”) and Raymond “Benzino” Scott (“Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta”).
Feb. 11 – Thank God It’s Thursday (ABC) returns with “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” (which is jumping six months into the future) and “How To Get Away With Murder.”
TASTY QUIP: “Open your eyes, Hollywood. It’s time to flip the script.” – REV. JESSE JACKSON in USA Today