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BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: ‘Negroes’ star dishes on diversity

Fresh from its U.S. premiere in February, BET’s top-rated original mini-series, “The Book of Negroes,” has arrived as a special edition 3-disc DVD with more than three hours of bonuses including in-depth interviews with the cast, author Lawrence Hill, 30 minutes of deleted scenes and a 28-page book.

The slavery set love story, directed by Clement Virgo, stars Aunjanue Ellis as slave chronicler Aminata Diallo, along with Louis Gossett Jr., Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lyric Bent.  For the first time, American audiences will see the lengthier versions of the episodes as broadcast on Canadian television.

Tasty Clips asked Ellis, who had featured roles in “The Help” and “Ray,” and who was filming an ABC-TV movie pilot called “Quantico,” if she was enjoying “The Year of Ethnic Casting” as detailed in an infamous Deadline Hollywood article.

“I think it’s a lot of spin,” she replied.  “What’s lost in the story is when you look at ‘Empire,’ or ‘Black-ish,’ these are series that are created and or executive produced by people of color,” she said. “Before [they] came in to the position that they are in, there hasn’t been a push to have black women or black men as leads of series.  Let’s not even talk about movies.  It’s almost profane how bad it is in film.”

When it comes to movie roles, Ellis said she’s been “auditioning for a long, long time.  They have it in the breakdown: Open to all ethnicities.  And I swear to God they always go to a white woman.  It’s always the white woman who gets the job.  I’m like, ‘Hold up, wait a minute.   I thought you were open to all ethnicities.  Why is it the white woman who gets the job?’ ”

She noted that even though black women star in “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” there are still more white characters than black ones on the shows.  After a laugh, Ellis added: “So that woman who wrote that article complaining [about] white actors getting jobs?  She need not worry.”

FAMILY TIES: “This is an amazing full circle moment for me,” says two-time Grammy award-winning songstress Lalah Hathaway about the announcement that she will continue her family legacy by recording her seventh album at the historic Troubadour in West Hollywood.

The venue was where her father was captured for half of his classic 1972 LP, “Donny Hathaway LIVE!”  A limited amount of tickets are available to the public for the intimate concert event to be held on April 21 via ticketfly.com/purchase/event/815637.  The album “Lalah Hathaway LIVE!” is expected to be released this fall.

CLIPPETTES:  Bobby Brown, Stephanie Mills, El DeBarge and Salt & Pepa are the headliners of The Kinfolks Soul Food Festival, April 11 at Exposition Park.  The colorful Auntie Fee will be among those cooking up the dishes.  Visit ilovesoulfood.com for tickets…

Numerous reports say comedian Dave Chappelle taped a recent performance in Austin, Texas, for an upcoming movie open to bidders who would place it on pay cable or in theatres…

Amid speculation that Mariah Carey and director Brett Ratner are dating comes word that the two are at least collaborating on a Christmas movie…

Due to “major creative differences,” John Singleton is off the Tupac Shakur biopic to be replaced by Carl Franklin (“House of Cards,” “Devil in a Blue Dress”).  Antoine Fuqua (“The Equalizer”) was the first director to bolt…

Guitar savants Kevin Eubanks and Stanley Jordan have joined forces on the aptly titled album “Duets,” now available.  It features a wide range of originals and covers such as “Nature Boy,” “Summertime” and Adele’s “Someone Like You”…   ‏

John Legend will produce Miguel in a dramatic musical film that sounds like a take on “A Star is Born”…

The Billy Mitchell Quartet kicks off the Sunday Best Jazz Series (Produced by Dee Dee McNeil) on April 12 at Maverick’s Flat (4225 Crenshaw Blvd.)…

During their engagement April 15-19 at The Music Center, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will present the West Coast Premiere of Matthew Rushing’s Odetta, a tribute to the legend known as the “voice of the Civil Rights movement”…

TASTY QUIP: “I’ve never felt like I was a light-skinned black woman. Never felt that way because we shared the same culture back home. But when I came to America, that’s when I started to feel that there was a lot of push-back from women. I was definitely made aware that I am light-skinned. I realized that was a thing here.” – Cayman Islands native GRACE GEALY of “Empire” to Details.

TC ON TV:  April 10 – “Live From Lincoln Center” (PBS): Norm Lewis: Who Am I? The Broadway star (“Phantom of the Opera”) honors the stage’s great songwriters…  “Jump!” (LIFETIME): This docu-series chronicles one of the hottest jump rope teams in the country…  “Cedric’s Barber Battle” (CW): Cedric the Entertainer hosts this all-new reality competition series…

April 11 – “SNL” (NBC): Taraji P. Henson hosts with musical guests Mumford & Sons…

April 12 – “The Music in Me” (UP): Gloria Rueben (“Lincoln,” “E.R.”) stars with recording artist Debbie Gibson in this inspirational musical drama.

EVERYBODY REJOICE: Tony award-winning director Kenny Leon will helm NBC’s next live musical event: “The Wiz,” to air Dec. 3.  After this broadcast, the show will be adapted in partnership with Cirque Du Soleil for the Broadway stage next year.  Casting is to be announced, but TASTY CLIPS believes discussions may have begun with Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, Janelle Monae and Samuel L. Jackson for roles.

Jackson will have plenty of time to get pitched as he hits the links for his annual golf competition with Leon in Atlanta benefitting the True Colors Theatre Company on May 16.  Among the celebs confirmed for the game and the “Blues in the Night” gala are Malik Yoba, Dule Hill, Dr. J, Glynn Turman, Mykelti Williamson, Jasmine Guy, Ahmad Rashad, Peabo Bryson, Flex Alexander, Anna Maria Horsford, Phaedra Parks, and many more!  For more info, visit truecolorstheatre.org.

TASTY QUIP: “You guys have been taught, without you knowing, ways to separate yourselves from each other. If you’re separated, you can be easily controlled. If you’re too busy pointing fingers at each other, rather than holding hands, you can’t get anything done.  We have the resources as a civilization to find a utopia, but we’re led by the most greedy and the least noble.” – KANYE WEST at Oxford University.

“Tasty Clips” is an entertainment column published in The Wave to update readers on the activities and accomplishments of black celebrities and artists on television, in music and at the movies. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to tastyclips@yahoo.com.