BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Fresh off her Oscar, Viola Davis takes on ‘Custody’

Hot on the heels of her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “Fences,” Viola Davis’ next project, “Custody,” will have its timely premiere March 4 on Lifetime.

The original movie, executive produced by Davis along with her husband and partner Julius Tennon, revolves around three women brought together when the children of a hard-working single mother (portrayed by Academy Award nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno) are taken from her when she is suspected of injuring her son.

A recent law school graduate, (“Nashville”’s Hayden Panettiere), is assigned to represent her case before Judge Martha Schulman (Davis), a veteran of the family court system. Outside the courtroom, each of these women must deal with the complexities of their own lives as they wrestle with an imperfect system that tries to define what constitutes good parenting.

“Custody” is written and directed by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine (“Into the Woods”) and also stars Academy Award winner Ellen Burstyn and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Tony Shalhoub.

Davis next will jump into filming “Widows,” the Steve McQueen project we reported on last week, and a previously announced Harriet Tubman movie.

POWER IN MOTION: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will return to the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a five-day engagement (March 8-12) including the West Coast premieres of five works. The company’s signature masterpiece, “Revelations” also will be presented each evening.

“r-Evolution, Dream.,” choreographed by veteran Ailey company member Hope Boykin, is inspired by the speeches and sermons of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  “Untitled America,” created by MacArthur genius grant winner Kyle Abraham, shines a light on the impact of the prison system on African American families. “Deep,” choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, is a soulful and elegant work set to music by rising global music stars Ibeyi.

Robert Battle’s “Ella” and Billy Wilson’s “The Winter in Lisbon,” celebrating the birth centennials of jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie, respectively also will be performed.

TASTY QUIP: “My fear was that I wasn’t showing all sides of myself, to the point where if I wore a Snapback, which I’ve worn for more years of my life than I’ve worn suits, then suddenly people will be like, “Oh, that’s not him.” I wear T-shirts when I’m out and about sometimes. I don’t sleep in a three-piece suit.” – “Classic Man” singer JIDENNA on his image to Rolling Stone.

CLIPPETTES: One of the perks of winning an Oscar is we all now know how to pronounce Mahershala Ali.  Much like we had to learn to say Quvenzhané Wallis …

Leela James and Daley perform on March 4 at the Regent Theater

Rege-Jean Page, who wowed audiences as Chicken George in last year’s “Roots” remake, and Vondie Curtis-Hall have been cast in the pilot for Shonda Rhimes’ new ABC legal drama

Red Hot Chili Peppers, with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, are at the Staples Center for a two-night stand, March 7-8

Bobby Brown, After 7 and Tony! Toni! Tone! are about to embark on the road together for the R&B Remix Tour with dates to be announced

Shemar Moore (“Criminal Minds”) is returning to CBS in a reboot of “SWAT”

Show-stopping and stylish singer, songwriter, and trumpeter Spencer Ludwig will support Warner Bros. Records label-mate and pop disruptor Bebe Rexha at the Fonda on March 8. Also, that evening, it’s The Whispers with Lakeside at the Novo DTLA

Congratulations to ABC’s Kendis Gibson for being named “America This Morning” and “World News Now” co-anchor, joining Diane Macedo. The Belize native used to host yours truly during the Tasty Clips segments on CNN.

The Netflix comedy express continues with the announcement that Tracy Morgan will headline “Staying Alive,” a stand-up special premiering May 16. He joins Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer on the network’s high-paid roster.

TC ON TV: March 3 – “The View” (ABC): Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Beals; “Wendy Williams” (Syn): Fat Joe and Remy Ma who may have something to say about that Nicki Minaj diss

March 4 – “Queen Boss” (Centric): The winner is crowned. “SNL” (NBC): It’s a big weekend for Octavia Spencer, who hosts this show and plays the Almighty in the movie adaptation of “The Shack” opening in theatres.  Father John Misty is the musical guest.

March 5 – “Little Big Shots” (NBC): Steve Harvey’s junior talent show returns.  “2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards” (TBS/TNT): Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and Big Sean. “Saints & Sinners” (Bounce): The hit church family drama is back for a second season with Afemo Omilami, Christian Keyes, Clifton Powell, Gloria Reuben, Keith Robinson, Richard Lawson and Vanessa Bell Calloway. “Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards” (OWN): Gabrielle Union hosts this ceremony honoring Janelle Monae, Issa Rae, Aja Naomi King and Yara Shahidi. “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” (VH1): 50 Cent and Bella Thorne cook up pizzas and October London performs his hit single “Shoulder to Lean On” in the season finale.

March 7 – “People Icons” (ABC): “Celebrity Love Stories” opens this series with a look at the relationships of the Obamas, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, the Estefans and others.

March 8 – “Survivor” (CBS): The long-running series’ most memorable players return for another shot. “Late Late Show” (CBS): Samuel L. Jackson, Sting.

DVD ALERT: “Moonlight,” the Oscar winning best picture, is now available on DVD and digital platforms.  “Fences” will be released March 14 along with the unsung Will Smith starrer “Collateral Beauty.”

TASTY QUIP: “This year’s Oscar flub was not as bad as the 1977 Oscars when I won for “Car Wash” and they announced Peter Finch as the winner for “Network.” Pure racism, and that was never corrected or even reported by the media — which was and still is the enemy of black people. Getting that Oscar would’ve changed my whole career. Denzel has been the greatest beneficiary of that grave injustice — getting all the scripts that would’ve been mine.  Imagine how much better “Training Day” or “Malcolm X” would’ve been with me in the lead. And people wonder why I’m bitter and living in exile in Australia.”  – FRANKLYN AJAYE to Tasty Clips

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to or via Twitter @tastyclips.


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