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NAJEE’S NOTES: Chadwick Boseman plays another real-life hero in ‘Marshall’

“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman plays a real-life superhero, NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall, in the film titled “Marshall.”

Also joining Boseman in this star-studded cast is Emmy Award-winner Sterling K. Brown. Together, both of these actors set the screen on fire with performances that are sure to gather both a serious look at being nominated for an Academy Award once Hollywood awards season starts.

“Marshall” takes an early look at Judge Marshall’s career as a civil rights attorney for the NAACP. The courtroom drama thriller is based on Connecticut v. Joseph Spell. The NAACP sends Marshall to defend a terrified black chauffeur (played by Brown} who stands accused of the rape and attempted murder of his white employer.

I had the honor of attending the Hollywood premiere of “Marshall” this week. It was attended by members of the Marshall family, several celebrities and Mayor Eric Garcetti was present to give the opening remarks.

As the head of what is now the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Marshall spent a quarter century crisscrossing the country trying cases and establishing a network of civil rights lawyers. His cases took him to segregated communities where no hotels or restaurants would serve blacks, where lynch mobs often operated with impunity, and where white judges and law enforcement officials were part of the problem, not the solution.

Marshall’s extraordinary courage and determination helped change the landscape of American race relations. He argued cases challenging discrimination in schools, housing, voting, public transportation and police conduct.

The less well-known part of his life is the basis for the movie, which shows not only his drive for justice, but also his exceptional personal qualities of compassion and humor. Marshall later went on to serve on the highest court in the land, writing landmark decisions on issues of civil rights, civil liberties, criminal justice and the death penalty.

Director, writer and producer Reggie Hudlin, the founder of Hudlin Entertainment best known for “Django Unchained” (2012), “House Party” (1990) and “Boomerang” (1992); Is responsible for bringing “Marshall” to the big screen.

Hudlin is low key and quiet but is a Hollywood superstar whose bio spans over two decades of stellar achievements that includes being the former president of entertainment for BET, co-producing the 88th Academy Awards ceremony in 2016 as well as producing the last six NAACP Image Awards programs.

He currently serves on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors.

In my opinion, Hudlin gets an A plus for his work as a producer and director of “Marshall.” It also stars Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens and James Cromwell. I plan on seeing it again, the movie was that great.

Over the years I have heard many complaints from my fellow activists that Hollywood too often depicts African-Americans negatively as gang members, crooks or low-life individuals. But not this time.

“Marshall” is the true-life story of an African-American legal icon. It is one movie the whole family will enjoy when it is released Oct. 13 by Open Road Films.

Jazz at Drew, an all-day outdoor concert featuring some of the most prolific names in jazz and R&B, is back. Jazz at Drew’s emphasis on showcasing home-grown talent with international appeal has been the distinguishing factor that separates the event from larger jazz festivals in Southern California.

More than any other event, it displays L.A. jazz in a range of styles while being surrounded by a colorful marketplace and health pavilion.

This year’s concert will include performances by: Earth, Wind & Fire, Sheila E., West Coast Get Down featuring Kamasi Washington, Miles Mosley, Cameron Graves, Ronald Bruner and more, DW3, Eloise Laws, and the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Band on the campus of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Now in its second year of operation after a long hiatus, the reemergence of Jazz at Drew signals the return of one of L.A.’s best-kept secrets as an established entity within the local community and the Los Angeles jazz scene.

Jazz at Drew’s mission is two-fold: to support student initiatives at Charles Drew University and to provide the South Los Angeles community with excellent entertainment as a part of its commitment to equip the area with the resources it needs to be a successful and thriving community.

Proceeds from the Jazz at Drew fundraiser go towards enriching the Charles Drew University experience for students by funding university scholarships, student services, campus facilities and pipeline programs.

I’m attending this fundraiser concert and encourage everyone to support Charles R. Drew University and its mission of serving underserved and under-resourced communities. The Jazz at Drew concert is Oct. 7.

For more information, contact: Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, 1731 E. 120th St., Los Angeles, 90059, (323) 357- 3669 or

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