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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: LaKeith Stanfield finds himself with memorable roles

With memorable parts already under his belt in hit movies like “Get Out,” “Selma,” and “Straight Outta Compton,” 26 year-old LaKeith Stanfield is poised to become the next great character actor of his generation.

This week, the California native has two projects debuting – the Netflix anime adaptation “Death Note” and the feature film “Crown Heights,” opening in L.A. theaters this weekend and nationwide Sept. 15.

In the latter, he portrays Colin Warner, an 18-year-old Brooklyn kid who is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The movie follows his endurance and that of his childhood friend who devotes his life fighting for Warner’s freedom. The incredible true story is adapted from the acclaimed “This American Life” segment by writer/director Matt Ruskin, with Nnamdi Asomugha as the diligent Carl King.

When asked about preparing for the role, Stanfield told Tasty Clips that he was grateful in being able to hang out with Warner, who now lives in Atlanta.

“He took me to his house, introduced me to his family and blessed me at his shrine,” the actor detailed. “Taught me about the Yoruba religion and how that was a big thing that kept him moving forward. I was sort of a fly on the wall listening to him tell stories about what he remembered before he went in, the things that he kept in his mind as he was serving his time and how he maintained. I think it was a tremendous help for me to get personal with his family and feel the gravity of his responsibility.”

He described “Crown Heights” as one of the hardest movies he’s had to do.

“This is heavy subject material,” Stanfield said. “It was important to be as accurate as we can because it doesn’t just represent this story but a larger issue. I wanted to make sure we remained true to that.”

“If you’re ready to come into contact with things that are real and grounded in reality, I think you’ll find great beauty in this. But even for people who are detached from that reality, who know nothing about the many people who are in prison for crimes they didn’t commit, you may learn something.”

Up next for the busy Stanfield who has a recurring role on FX’s acclaimed “Atlanta,” and was recently featured in Jay Z’s “Midnight” video, is “Come Sunday,” a TV movie on controversial evangelist Carlton Pearson, and “Sorry To Bother You,” a comedy about a black telemarketer who becomes successful when he discovers a way to make his voice sound “white.”

He would like to do a biopic as either Gil Scott-Heron or Al Green and, though he loves music (Little Dragon, Adele, Tupac, EDM), he got raked through the coals when he stated his distaste for the music of hot rap group Migos.

“Some people got off on me something crazy,” said Stanfield of the reaction. “It was surprising to me how much people try to stifle dissent.”

JUST RELEASED: “Brown Sugar,” the landmark 1995 disc that introduced D’Angelo, has been remastered into a 2-CD deluxe edition with new bonus tracks, remixes from the likes of DJ Premier and Kool G. Rap and a snazzy booklet with photos and an essay by Nelson George.

Saxophonist Najee celebrates three decades in music with his new release “Poetry in Motion.” The Shanachie CD pays homage to two artists the reedman has collaborated with: Prince and Al Jarreau. It also features an all-star line-up including Will Downing, Maysa, Eric Roberson, Bluey of Incognito, Bobby Lyle and more.

CLIPPETTES: Denzel Washington’s upcoming projects are getting clearer with “The Equalizer 2” casting and a return to Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh” set for late March next year

The Brian McKnight Four perform as part of the Summer Series on Aug. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach; while “American Teen” sensation Khalid begins a three night stand at The Novo in downtown L.A.

Richard Roundtree and Samuel L. Jackson are negotiating their involvement in “Son of Shaft,” a more humorous sequel to star Jesse T. Usher (“Survivor’s Remorse”)

Danny Glover and Ben Guillory will host a gala reception kicking off their second annual Paul Robeson Theatre Festival (Aug. 25 – 27). For tickets, call (866) 811-4111

Margaret Avery (“Being Mary Jane”) will MC with Aloe Blacc performing for the California Legislative Black Caucus Black Tie Gala on Aug. 26 at the NBC Universal Studios Globe Theatre. For info, visit http://blackcaucus.legislature.ca.gov

Legendary jazz drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath will be honored and perform with the Richard Sears Septet on Aug. 26 at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Call (626) 449-6840 for info

British singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music fame makes his Hollywood Bowl debut with the orchestra on Aug. 26 with heralded young jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant opening in advance of the release of her third album, “Dreams and Daggers” on Sept. 29

Lebron James will serve as executive producer with Kasi Lemmons, who is also directing a potential Netflix series based on the life of famed entrepreneur Madame C.J. Walker, to be portrayed by Octavia Spencer …

Thelma Houston: My Motown Memories & More” is presented Aug. 27 at the Ford Theatre with special guests Johnny Britt and comic Michael Colyar in a concert choreographed by Damita Jo Freeman and directed by Iona Morris …

Charo opens for Pink Martini featuring China Forbes and Storm Large on Aug. 27 at the Hollywood Bowl; as August Alsina’s Don’t Matter Tour hits The Wiltern

Three hot groups: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and Lake Street Dive fill the bill of the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 30

You’ve got soul Aug. 31 with the Dramatics and Evelyn Champagne King at The Novo downtown

REMEMBRANCE:Dick Gregory was comedy pioneer with a cool, low-key delivery who delivered trenchant commentary on civil rights with great impact, and when I worked with him in 2010, he was a die-hard conspiracy buff. He was also one of the sharpest dressers that I’ve ever seen or met in my lifetime. Very elegant and stylish and made you realize how far today’s men’s fashion sense has fallen.” – FRANKLYN AJAYE 

TC ON TV: Aug. 25 – “Whitney: Can I Be Me?” (Showtime): Nick Broomfield’s controversial new documentary on the pop superstar premieres. “Real Time with Bill Maher” (HBO): Rev. Jesse Jackson

Aug. 26 – “Mayweather vs McGregor: Prelims (Fox): This two-hour special is the warm up to the main event that can only be seen now On Demand or at a discount at select movie theatres via www.fathomevents.com.

Aug. 27 – “Game of Thrones” (HBO): The seventh season is over already?! At least it’s an 85-minute super-sized finale. “2017 MTV Video Music Awards” (MTV): Performers on board are Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, Gucci Mane and the “Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award” winner, Pink.

Aug. 28 – “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” (TV1): Tasha Smith makes her directorial debut for this film inspired by an episode of the network’s “For My Man” series. Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland stars with Lance Gross, Tami Roman, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Big Freedia and Lil Zane rounding out the cast.

Aug. 29 – “Black Love” (OWN): This four-episode docu-series seeks to answer the burning question, “What is the secret to making a marriage work?” Featured couples include Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, Flex Alexander and Shanice, Erica Campbell and Warryn Campbell, and many couples from around the country.

Aug. 30 – “Huang’s World” (Viceland): Eddie visits Dubai in the season finale.

TASTY QUIP: “The truth is: we are living at this time. And we are tolerating it.” – AVA DuVERNAY on Twitter


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 tastyclips@yahoo.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.