Just in time for some April foolery is this weekend’s release of “The Purge” parody from writer/director Deon Taylor called “Meet the Blacks.” The farce stars Mike Epps and a cast of comedy and pop culture icons including Mike Tyson, Charlie Murphy, George Lopez, DeRay Davis, Lavell Crawford, Paul Mooney, Snoop Dogg, Perez Hilton, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle and Gary Owen.
“[Deon] just let us go,” Owen said of the experience. “We’d always do a take according to the script, but he let me do my thing. I’m always trying to break into the house. I’m like Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway.’ Up until the last scene, I was by myself the whole time. I thought I did something to somebody.”
Though the comic has been working steadily in films like “Ride Along” and the “Think Like a Man” series, Owen thinks there’s still a really long way to go with diversity in the industry.
“For instance, this pilot season, I went on probably 11 auditions and there wasn’t a black person in the room,” he said. “TV is a few years behind society.”
He longs for real interracial sitcoms where the husband and wife are just doing it like a Ray Romano or Roseanne type show. Not with some external drama that doesn’t need to be in there and without trying to bring up race every other word.
“I’m married to a black lady and we got our kid,” Owen said. “From what I can see in the room, [TV execs] just don’t know. There’s a reason there are so many Jewish characters on TV and so many shows based out of L.A. or New York. All the execs are comfortable with that. I don’t hold it against them, but they’re behind.”
Owen may have the answer as he revealed that BET came to Cincinnati to follow his life for a docu-series pilot. “It’s time,” he said, “because if you look at the news, at the Donald Trump rallies, you’d think America is about to be in a race war. We’re not. It’s so far from the truth. People aren’t like that. I mean some are, don’t get it wrong, and media wants to jump on that. With the majority of society, it’s never about race. It’s about class. You know what I mean?”
“You got tattoos on your neck and face and your pants are sagging, I don’t care if you’re white or black, I’m not going to run up on you and just ask for directions. Now if you‘re in a polo shirt and some khakis or a suit, black or white, I’m going to approach you and ask how do I get to Starbucks.”
A REAL MOTHER FOR YA: Twenty years after the date Johnny “Guitar” Watson suffered a massive heart attack while performing “Superman Lover” in Japan, a fund-raising salute of his legacy is planned. The first Johnny Guitar Watson Heart for Music Foundation Celebration will be held on May 17 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, with proceeds going towards providing students with musical instruments. Lenny Williams, Raphael Saddiq, Marla Gibbs, Mary Wilson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Holly Robinson Peete, YoYo and Kool Moe Dee are set with others to be announced.
CLIPPETTES: The Mack Avenue Superband featuring Kirk Whalum, Gary Burton, Tia Fuller and Christian McBride headline April 1 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Singer Jose James opens …
Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus are replacing Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani as coaches on NBC’s “The Voice” for season 11 …
“They Will Have To Kill Us First,” a documentary on Mali’s music scene in the face of ongoing political unrest, opens April 1 at the Laemmle Santa Monica.
TC ON TV: April 1 – “Driven to Love” (WE): Ray J hosts this new dating show on wheels. “The Tonight Show” (NBC): Wendy Melvoin (formerly of Prince’s Revolution band) performs.
April 2 – “Autopsy: The Last Hours of…” (Reelz): Don Cornelius; “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” (OWN): People at the Heart of the O.J. Simpson Case.
April 3 – “Super Soul Sunday” (OWN): Tracy Morgan; “The Real O.J. Simpson Trial” (ESQ): 12 hours of the actual footage. “The 2016 iHeartRadio Music Awards” (TBS/TNT): Jason Derulo hosts Pitbull, Maroon 5, Chris Brown, Fetty Wap, Zayn, Demi Lovato, and others. “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” (NGC): What happens when we die?
April 4 – “The Haunting of” (LMN): Ernie Hudson returns to a remote mountain lodge in Arizona where he and his family once encountered a paranormal force while he was promoting “Ghostbusters.”
April 5 – “Black Girls Rock!” (BET): Rihanna, Shonda Rhimes, Gladys Knight, Danai Gurira, Amandla Stenberg and the founders of Black Lives Matter are honored. “America’s Greatest Makers” (TBS): Producer Mark Burnett (“Survivor,” “Shark Tank”) has created a tech competition series with Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith among the judges. “Chasing Destiny” (BET): Kelly Rowland (Destiny’s Child) goes on a quest to find the next big female superstar group.
April 7 – “American Idol” (Fox): All the winners may return for this series finale that should be crowning La’Porsha Renae – but stranger things have happened here.
BLAST OFF: “Hardcore Henry: The Ultimate Fan Experience” is happening April 7, before the feature’s national release on April 8. The event will include a screening of the revolutionary action-adventure film, a question and answer session with writer/director Ilya Naishuller and star Sharlto Copley (“District 9”), and a limited-edition collectible comic book for attendees. Visit: www.FathomEvents.com for info.
TASTY QUIP: “When I listen to the radio, I hear “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles and I don’t hear my songs being played. That kills me. Fred Astaire says the worst thing is to be overlooked. Beach Boys still get played. Frankie Valli gets played. The Rolling Stones … all these guys from the 60s, their 60s music gets played. I don’t care about them. I care about [“The Twist”]. The No. 1 record in the world [as named by Billboard twice – most recently in 2013] is not [just] a 60s song. It’s a 50’s song. It’s a 1980 song. It’s a 2016 song.” – CHUBBY CHECKER on Sirius/XM’s “Tell Me Everything”
“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 also can be reached on Twitter @tastyclips.