The impressive acting career of Mary J. Blige continues with a starring role in Paramount Pictures’ new movie “Body Cam,” currently available for screening on digital platforms Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video, FandangoNOW and more.
In this intense follow-up to her acclaimed work in “Mudbound” and the animated “Trolls World Tour,” she portrays Officer Renee Lomito, a cop dealing with personal tragedies who finds herself immersed in a mysterious string of killings targeting the force.
Nat Wolff (“Paper Towns,” “The Fault in Our Stars,” and the upcoming CBS All Access adaptation of “Stephen King’s The Stand”), Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (“The Quad,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” “The Princess and the Frog”), and former New York police officer turned go-to character actor David Zayas (“Dexter,” “Gotham,” and “Force of Nature”) are also featured in the cast of this supernatural thriller directed by L.A. native Malik Vitthal (“Imperial Dreams”).
Blige recently scored record ratings as an executive producer alongside Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot on Lifetime’s “The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel.”
With the launch of her own company, Blue Butterfly, she has signed a first-look TV deal with Lionsgate; and is serving as the executive producer on Vanessa Roth’s documentary on her legendary singing career.
On screen, Blige has completed roles in an adaptation of Kerem Sanga’s “The Violent Heart,” MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” as jazz singer Dinah Washington; and the soon to resume filming “Power Book II: Ghost” for Starz.
Hopefully, she can carve some time to get back in the recording studio before her many devout fans go through withdrawals. The last Mary J. Blige album was 2017’s “Strength of a Woman.”
HE GOT NEXT?: While appearing on Sage Steele’s podcast “The Encore” to discuss the finale of the ESPN Michael Jordan documentary “The Last Dance,” filmmaker Spike Lee and NBA hall of famer Ray Allen dropped that they’ve been discussing a sequel to “He Got Game.”
Allen, who co-starred in the 1998 film with Denzel Washington and Rosario Dawson, was reaching out to New Orleans Pelicans superstar rookie Zion Williamson as a potential lead, though fan feedback seems to prefer Memphis Grizzlies guard Za Morant or Williamson’s teammate Lonzo Ball.
“The story is murky in my mind, but the story is so rich,” said Lee about the project that would not include Denzel. “Things happen when they happen and you try not to force it.”
On the heels of the director’s Oscar-winning “BlacKkKlansman,” his Vietnam set follow-up “Da 5 Bloods” will premiere June 12 on Netflix, starring Chadwick Boseman, Delroy Lindo, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Clarke Peters and Jonathan Majors.
ALL THAT: Big winners of the 25th annual Jazz Journalists Association Awards were announced as writer Stanley Crouch (Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Journalism), drummer and educator Terri Lyne Carrington (Musician of the Year), saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin (Up & Coming Musician of the Year), Miguel Zenón (Arranger of the Year and Alto Saxophonist of the Year), Christian Scott aTundé Adjuah (Trumpeter of the Year) and Branford Marsalis‘ quartet (Record of the Year for “The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul”). For a complete listing of all 39 categories, visit JJAJazzAwards.org.
TC ON TV: May 22 – “Homecoming” (Amazon): Janelle Monáe takes over the lead from Julia Roberts in the second season of the acclaimed mystery series with holdover Stephen James. “The Lovebirds” (Netflix): Issa Rae (“Insecure”) and Kumail Nanjiani (“The Big Sick”) star in this crime caper rom-com that was headed to the theaters prior to the pandemic. “The Big Fib” (Disney+): Yvette Nicole Brown hosts this new comedy game show for kids. “Video Globetrotter: Destination Caribbean” (Lifetime): Special takes viewers through Caribbean destinations including Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua highlighting history, adventure, food and fun.
May 23 – “Spelling the Dream” (Netflix): A documentary exploring the trend of Indian Americans ruling the Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1999. “Home Made Simple” (OWN): Host Laila Ali will be working alongside families as they transform their living, work and play spaces. “Girlfriends Check-In” (OWN): Loni Love
May 24 – “Mr. Champagne and Bubbles” (BET/Revolt): A memorial tribute to Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell presented commercial free with Chris Rock, Mariah Carey, Jamie Foxx, Babyface, Lee Daniels, Clarence Avant, Naomi Campbell, Russell Simmons, Robin Thicke and some surprises. “Tiger Slam” (Golf): Tiger Woods’ march to winning four majors is documented to follow his live televised COVID-19 charity match with Peyton Manning, Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. “National Memorial Day Concert 2020” (PBS): Cynthia Erivo, CeCe Winans, Lawrence Fishburne, Esai Morales, Christopher Jackson, Gen. Colin Powell and more. “Insecure” (HBO): Jay Ellis, who plays Lawrence on the series, steps into the director’s seat for this episode focusing on Molly (Yvonne Orji).
May 25 – “Ellen” (Syn): Kevin Hart “I Was Lorena Bobbitt” (Lifetime): 26 years after the marital mutilation that launched a media firestorm, this original movie purports to tell what got lost in the tabloids. “One Man and His Shoes” (Vice): A two-hour film digging into the phenomenon of Air Jordan sneakers and their societal impact. “To Catch A Beautician” (VH1): Tamar Braxton is teaming up with celebrity hairstylist Johnny Wright to help disgruntled clients confront the stylists who wrecked their strands — and scalps. After busting the perps, they are put through a rigorous boot camp to see if they can redeem themselves. “Songland” (NBC): Four-time Grammy Award-winning R&B supergroup Boyz II Men come to hear unknown songwriters pitch their original material.
May 26 – “Fraggle Rock” (Apple TV+): Common, Tiffany Haddish, Jason Mraz, Alanis Morissette, Neil Patrick Harris and Ziggy Marley join the Fraggles in singing their beloved, classic theme song “Dance Your Cares Away” on this special finale event. “World of Dance” (NBC): Jennifer Lopez, NE-YO and Derek Hough sit once again at the judges’ table in search of the best dance act in the world. “Nick Cannon Presents Wild ‘N Out” (VH1): La La Anthony vs. Lil Keed “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (HBO): Players’ association chiefs DeMaurice Smith (NFL), Michele Roberts (NBA), and Tony Clark (MLB) discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the re-start of professional sports in America. “The Last O.G.” (TBS): Tray is convinced that his mother’s younger boyfriend Carl (JB Smoove) is cheating on her and goes out of his way to prove it by catching him in the act.
May 27 – “Legendary” (HBO Max): Underground ballroom community voguing teams (aka “houses”) must compete in unbelievable balls and showcase sickening fashion in order to achieve “legendary” status. The cast includes MC Dashaun Wesley and DJ MikeQ as well as celebrity judges Law Roach, Jameela Jamil, Leiomy Maldonado and Megan Thee Stallion. “Game On!” (CBS): Celebrity guests Gabriel Iglesias and J.R. Smith join teams led by Rob Gronkowski and Venus Williams to compete in outrageous challenges including a soccer drill with musicians Mark McGrath, Coolio and Macy Gray. “American Soul” (BET): The returning “Soul Train” drama picks up two years later in 1975 with Don Cornelius (Sinqua Walls) becoming a rising star. Big Boi, Ledisi, Melanie Fiona, Demetria McKinney, Darius McCrary, Yung Joc, and D.C. Young Fly carry on the series’ tradition of portraying prolific musicians and visionaries of the era. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC): The final season finds Coulson (Clark Gregg), May (Min-Na Wen), Mack (Henry Simmons) and the force thrust backward in time and stranded in 1931 New York City.
May 28 – “Questlove’s Potluck” (Food): The DJ/gourmand/musicologist/author and drummer for The Roots checks on what’s being served in the home kitchen of his celebrity friends like bandmate Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Bun B., Hannibal Buress, Ashley Graham, Patti LaBelle, Eva Longoria, George Lopez, Kenan Thompson, Tariq Trotter, Gabrielle Union and more for the benefit of America’s Food Fund, an initiative founded by Leonardo DiCaprio and Laurene Powell Jobs. “Top Chef” (Bravo): Michael’s Santa Monica is visited.
TASTY QUIP: “Make no mistake, our times aren’t easy, but they aren’t impossible to alter and positively affect either. Acts of kindness, acts of courage, acts of responsibility, acts informed by wisdom and preparation can help bring stability, clarity and positive vibration back.” – MS. LAURYN HILL
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.