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NAJEE’S NOTES: Reggie Hudlin is living African-American legend

Reggie Hudlin is this week’s African-American Heritage Month living legend. Hudlin is a pioneer of the modern black film movement, creating movies like “House Party,” “Boomerang and “Bebe Kids,” which are some of the most profitable and influential films of his generation.

The Oscar-nominated writer, producer and director co-produced last year’s 88th Academy Awards and for the last few year’s he’s also been the producer of the NAACP Image Awards.

Hudlin continues to be a force to be reckoned with after decades of being one of the most successful figures in Hollywood.

Hudlin was born in Centreville, Illinois, the son of Helen Cason, a teacher, and Warrington W. Hudlin Sr., an insurance executive and teacher. His older brother, Warrington Hudlin, is also a film director, as well as an actor and producer.

While an undergraduate student at Harvard University, Hudlin directed a short film entitled, “House Party,” which went on to receive numerous awards, including first place at the Black American Cinema Society Awards. It would serve as the basis for his first feature film of the same name.

He also directed “The Great White Hype,” “The Ladies Man,” “Serving Sara,” two episodes of the TV series “Modern Family,” an episode of “The Office,” an episode of “The Middle” and several episodes of “Outsourced.” He was a reoccurring producer and director of the “The Bernie Mac Show” for three years.

From 2005 to 2008, Hudlin was the president of sntertainment for BET. He was the writer of the Marvel Comics series “Black Panther” from 2005 to 2008, most notable for the 2006 storyline “Bride of the Panther,” which saw the characters Storm and the Black Panther wed.

He was one of the producers of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. On Jan. 10, 2013, Hudlin received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture for the film.

And on a personal note, Hudlin is married to Chrisette Suter, who is now a friend of mine. But it didn’t start out that way. I met her several years ago as I attempted to lead a protest at a Hollywood event she was in charge of. She quickly corralled me and other protestors to hold off on the protest and wanted to have a deeper dialogue concerning our issues. We complied and things did work themselves out. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Hudlin family.

As Hudlin prepares for this week’s Image Awards, it appears to be the best show yet.

Historian, author, curator and educator, Lonnie G. Bunch III will be presented with the NAACP President’s Award at the 48th NAACP Image Awards telecast live from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 11 on TV One.

The President’s Award, chosen by NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Past honorees include John Legend, Van Jones, President Bill Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, the founding Members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association, Kerry Washington and Spike Lee.

Congratulations go out to Hudlin for his decades of success and achievement in Hollywood.

With political races heating up over the next month, I will be highlighting upcoming races and ballot initiatives. One of the most important races, as Democrats continue to take on Trump and the Republicans, involves Dallas Fowler, who swept all the major Democratic Club Party endorsements in a race for the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees.

Democrats in Southern California are lining up behind Fowler. After securing the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party — the largest local Democratic Party entity in the United States, representing over 2.4 million registered Democrats and a population larger than 42 other states — Fowler has announced support from nine additional groups including the Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley, Miracle Mile Democratic Club, Westchester-Playa Democratic Club, Stonewall Democratic Club, San Pedro Democratic Club, North Valley Democratic Club West Hollywood-Beverly Hills Democratic Club, Los Angeles County Young Democrats and the New Frontier Democratic Club.

“I’m proud to have the endorsements of these influential Democratic clubs,” Fowler said. “Democrats understand that after last November we are literally in a fight at all levels of government — local, state and federal — to make sure that we have elected people in office who will uphold our core values and beliefs as Americans.

“At the end of the day there are fundamental differences with my opponent’s party’s agenda with regards to education and fiscal management. The endorsement of these clubs validates my commitment to ensuring that we are making Los Angeles Community Colleges accessible for all to attend.”

Fowler is a candidate for seat No. 4 on the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees. It is the largest community college district in the country, spanning 36 cities in Los Angeles County and serving nearly 250,000 students per year at its nine colleges.

Drawing 80 percent of its enrollment from historically underserved populations, LACCD offers affordable and accredited higher education that empowers students to transfer to four-year institutions, earn associate’s degrees, and obtain training and job skills that open doors to lifelong opportunities.

A Los Angeles native, Fowler served in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s cabinet as a commissioner on the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioner’s Police Permit Review Board. She is a graduate of Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry and a principal of Daltek Global Solutions, a boutique digital and print media firm specializing in outreach, political and business development consulting.

She holds more than 10 years of experience in supplier diversity and community affairs and 15 plus years in project management and event planning. A lifelong Democrat, Fowler has been working on political campaigns for more than 20 years. As a graduate and former alumnae association president for the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute, Fowler currently serves on their faculty providing training in campaign communications. She also currently serves on the boards of the Museum of African American Art and the South L.A. youth outreach nonprofit CHANGES.

Her service to Los Angeles was honored in 2015 by the National Action Network when she was awarded one of the Most Influential Persons Under 40 in Los Angeles. Fowler previously served on the Commission on the Status of Women in the city of Los Angeles as a delegate to the National Association of Commissions for Women.

The election will be held March 7.  For more information on Dallas, please visit dallasfowler.com. 

Najee Ali

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