Four exciting movies open on MLK weekend

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in "Ride Along."

Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in “Ride Along.”

By Carmen Glover

As families spend time volunteering this weekend in honor of Martin Luther King Jr’s Holiday, four movies, featuring African-Americans, will open in theaters, offering a variety of ways to relax  “Ride Along” starring versatile actor/rapper Ice Cube and comedian Kevin Hart has generated the most buzz because it has been brilliantly marketed across multiple platforms. Having Tika Sumpter, the villainess from Tyler Perry’s television drama, “The Haves and the Have Nots” as the only female in the movie, does not hurt either.

Cuba Gooding Jr., Dennis Haysbert and LisaGay Hamilton star in the chess-themed movie "Life of a King."

Cuba Gooding Jr., Dennis Haysbert and LisaGay Hamilton star in the chess-themed movie “Life of a King.”

But don’t allow the hype of the much-promoted “Ride Along” obscure the fact that Dennis Haysbert, after a long hiatus from films, will head back to the big screen this weekend in the incredibly smart, fun and educational film “Life of a King” which tells the true story of an ex-criminal from Washington D.C, who sponsors a competitive chess club, driven by the desire to illustrate how applicable the game is to everyday life. The film co-stars Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr. and LisaGay Hamilton.

Samuel L. Jackson starts in the legal thriller "Reasonable Doubt."

Samuel L. Jackson starts in the legal thriller “Reasonable Doubt.”

Also returning to the big screen after a long time away is Ving Rhames, who co-stars with Mary Louise Parker and Spencer Lofranco in “Jamesy Boy,” which tells the story of redemption experienced by a misguided youth who ends up in prison. Veteran all-around acting ace Samuel Jackson appears in “Reasonable Doubt,” about a crafty District Attorney who allows another person to accept responsibility for the crime that the DA committed, with disastrous results.

Ving Rhames returns to the big screen in "Jamesy Boy."

Ving Rhames returns to the big screen in “Jamesy Boy,” which co-stars James Woods and Mary Louise Parker.

So try to weave in some movie time this weekend, to go along with the day of service and volunteerism. The films offer too much fun to pass up. -OnPointPress.net.

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“12 Years a Slave,” only black film nominated for Oscars

 

"!2 Years a Slave" Director Steve McQueen with the film's stars and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

“!2 Years a Slave” Director Steve McQueen with the film’s stars Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film’s stars were nominated for Oscars this morning. The film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

By Carmen Glover

“Thor” leading man Chris Helmsworth joined Oscar President Cheryl Boone Isaacs a few minutes ago to announce the films and actors that will compete for Oscar awards on March 2.

The nominations revealed that “12 Years a Slave,” was the only film reflecting the black experience that received Oscar nominations. “Lee Daniels’:The Butler,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “Fruitvale Station,” “42” were all overlooked, despite strong showings at the box office, and stellar performances by the actors, including outstanding portrayals by Forest Whittaker (The Butler) and Idris Elba (Mandela).

Scenes from the plantation

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (third from left) in a scenes from the plantation in “12 Years a Slave.”

“12 Years a Slave” was nominated in the following categories: Best Picture, supporting actor and actress, actor, adapted screenplay and director. Mega-producer Pharrell Williams was nominated for his song “Happy” in “Despicable Me,” while U2 was nominated for best original song “Ordinary Love,” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

Yet, there is no cause to rejoice about the nominations given to “12 Years a Slave,” since the film tied with “American Hustle,” for seven nominations each for the Golden Globes, which aired last Sunday, and was snubbed for every category, except “Best Picture,” which was the last winner to be announced at the end of the show.

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in "12 Years a Slave."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in “12 Years a Slave.”

It would be nice to be able to feel confident that black talent will be respected enough so that they will emerge winners on Oscar night, but judging from the trend in terms of the nominations and those that were snubbed, it would not be surprising if the pinnacle of acknowledgement by black talent ends today, with the nominations, in a statement by Hollywood that blacks should feel grateful to be nominated and perish any thought of actually winning. –OnPointPress.net.

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Penthouse Records turns 25, releases compliation tracks

Penthouse Records celebrates its' 25th anniversary with compilation tracks.

Penthouse Records celebrates its’ 25th anniversary with compilation tracks.

Extraordinary Jamaican producer Donovan Germain and his Penthouse Records label/ production company have made an indelible mark in the history of reggae music. To commemorate 25 years since the founding of Penthouse recording studio, VP Records and Germain have collaborated on the new release Penthouse Records 25 Years:The Journey Continues. The two-CD/DVD collection was released on January 14, 2014.

The Penthouse Records 25 audio discs highlight essential hits, new tracks from its current roster and two unreleased tracks from the legendary Garnett Silk (“My Favorite Song” and a remix of his classic “Everything I Got”). Hosted by Germain, the bonus DVD is an hour and 45-minute journey through the history of the studio and label and features many the key players in Jamaican music. Interviews include original Penthouse crew members Tony Rebel, Richie Stephens, Wayne Wonder, Marcia Griffiths and Beres Hammond.

The Penthouse studio – originally located at 56 Slipe Road in Kingston, Jamaica, produced many of the genre’s biggest hits during the late 1980s and 1990s and has continued to churn out chart-topping anthems since relocating in 1998 to its current address 6 Ballater Avenue. Germain, the founder, produced great recordings alongside the island’s top engineers and studio musicians of the time, including Steven Stanley, Dave and Tony Kelly, Michael “Coolie” Cooper, Steely and Clevie, Sly and Robbie, Firehouse Crew, Steven “Lenky” Marsden and Mafia and Fluxy. He also played an instrumental role in developing the careers of reggae stars Buju Banton, cranking out the most No. 1 singles for the reggae icon to date; Wayne Wonder, Cutty Ranks, Richie Stephens, Beres Hammond, Romain Virgo, Queen Ifrica and many more.

In addition to these artists, the deluxe 47-song collection features today’s crop of Penthouse artists, including Dalton Harris, D Major, Exco Levi, RC and Shuga. Germain’s quest for excellence is evident. He says “it’s all about the next hit song,” and for Penthouse Records, the journey continues. For more information, contact Tiffany@withlovepr.com. –OnPointPress.net

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AFC or NFC, which championship game will be better?

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

Russell Wilson hopes to take the #1 seed Seahawks to the Super Bowl in his second year as a starter in the NFL.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Magic, Earvin Johnson versus Larry Bird or Lakers versus Celtics: Epic individual matchup or dynamic team rivalry? Which was better? Like the great games played by those two competitors, the National Football League (NFL) couldn’t have asked for a better championship weekend. The AFC championship will feature the two biggest stars in the NFL over the past decade as Tom Brady leads his New England Patriots to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Two all-time great quarterbacks facing each other with an opportunity to play in the Super Bowl has to be the best game of the weekend, doesn’t it?

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Colin Kaepernick will have to be at his best to lead the 49ers to consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

Meanwhile, the NFC championship will feature the best rivalry in the NFL, the two best defenses remaining in the playoffs, and two of the best young quarterbacks, who are both African-American, in the game. Combine those factors with two head coaches who have a rivalry that goes back to their days coaching in college (Pete Carroll at USC and Jim Harbough at Stanford) and you have a recipe for a combustible contest. The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks will send a combined 16 players to the pro bowl and both teams play similar styles offensively and defensively. This will also be the third meeting of the season for these teams as both have won on their home field. Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are two of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the game and they have done nothing but win since they took over as starters in the league. The Seahawks can make it to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2005-06 season while the 49ers are trying to reach NFL title game for a second consecutive season.

Peyton Manning's last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

Peyton Manning’s last two trips to the AFC championship game were successful. He looks to add to that success this Sunday.

As intense as the NFC matchup will be, it will not have the historical impact of the AFC contest. Peyton Manning completed a regular season in which he set just about every single season passing record and led his team to the number one seed in consecutive seasons. Tom Brady helped his team overcome a litany of serious injuries as the Patriots continued to dominate the AFC east and reach the AFC title game for 8th time in the Belichek-Brady Era. Manning and Brady will face each other for the 15th time in their careers, with the Patriots beating the Broncos earlier this season. However, the last time they faced each other in the playoffs, Manning and the Colts defeated the Patriots en route to Manning’s only Super bowl win in 2006-07. A win for Manning would put him in the Super Bowl for the third time and allow him a chance at multiple championships. Meanwhile, Brady is trying to join a class with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, four time Super Bowl champion quarterbacks.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Tom Brady attempts to lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl for the 6th time.

Both games should be entertaining, intense, and memorable. All the teams remaining won at least 12 games in the regular season and the winner of either matchup will provide NFL fans with something special to look forward to on Super Bowl Sunday. Will Manning cap off a record breaking season with a Super Bowl win? Will Brady get that elusive fourth title? Will the Seahawks get the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history? or, Will the 49ers tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most Super Bowl victories for a franchise with its sixth win? One thing is sure, the NFL championship round will be one for the ages.–OnPointPress.net–

 

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

“12 Years a Slave” is best picture, black actors, director, snubbed

 

"!2 Years a Slave" Director Steve McQueen with the film's stars and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

“12 Years a Slave” Director Steve McQueen with the film’s stars Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film won Best Picture at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

By Carmen Glover

The announcement that “12 Years a Slave,” which was nominated for seven Golden Globes, deservedly won the Best Picture of 2013 at the awards event Sunday night, took an extremely long time to be made. The big revelation was made at the end of the show after black actors were snubbed in all the other categories in which they were nominated. In a cruel twist, Steve McQueen, the film’s director, was overlooked in the Best Director category to the extent that he was clearly stunned when his film won the top award.

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in "12 Years a Slave."

Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor renders a solid performance in “12 Years a Slave,” but was snubbed for a Best Actor award by the Golden Globes.

“Little bit in shock,” he said as he stood on stage with the film’s cast, gazing at the award. After thanking the actors, he thanked “Brad Pitt, without whom the film would not have been made.” It was surreal watching the broadcast of the Golden Globes as black actors and movies were ignored time and again, despite the stellar performances the actors gave in the movies that epitomized the best of their craft.

Idris Elba, who convincingly portrayed late South African leader Nelson Mandela in the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," was snubbed at the Golden Globe Awards.

Idris Elba, who convincingly portrayed late South African leader Nelson Mandela in the film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” was snubbed for a Best Actor award by the Golden Globes.

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” won a nominal recognition by way of U2’s Bono, who won Best Score for his song “Ordinary Love,” but the film’s star, Idris Elba, who portrayed late South African leader Nelson Mandela with such grace and sophistication, was overlooked for his solid depiction.

Lupita Nyong'o  was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in "12 Years a Slave."

Lupita Nyong’o was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in “12 Years a Slave,” but went home empty-handed at the awards event.

Actors appearing in television series fared no better, with Kerry Washington “Scandal” and Don Cheadle “House of Lies,” both being shut out despite great performances.

It is at times like these when the significance of the NAACP’s Image Awards shines with relevance. The NAACP Image Awards proudly celebrates the work of black actors, showering them with the accolades and respect that they have strongly earned but which they rarely get from their peers. It is important for the mainstream award programs to realize that nominating black performers, only to ignore their talents when it’s time to hand out the awards, is simply unacceptable. It is a slap in the face of professionals who give their all to their work and who deserve to be recognized for the high quality of their work rather than be overlooked because of their skin color. –OnPointPress.net

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Where were caring adults when Myls Dobson needed them?

Little Myls Dobson was beaten, tortured and starved to death in New York City.

Little Myls Dobson was beaten, burned, tortured and starved to death in New York City by his father’s transgendered partner, after the biological mother lost custody in October 2012, due to neglect.

Parents have a responsibility to nurture, protect and care for their children instead of pointing fingers at everyone but themselves when the child dies. The recent murder of four-year old Myls Dobson in New York City, allegedly at the hands of his incarcerated father’s transgendered partner, Kryzie King, 27, naturally causes the blood of parents worldwide to boil. But as anger grows about the barbaric conditions under which the child died, one important question needs to be raised: Where were the family members, including the biological mother, Ashlee Dobson,29, and her relatives who cried copious tears at a recent press conference, when the child was alive?

According to published reports by the Daily News, the child was removed from the mother’s custody and placed with the father, Okee Wade, who has an extensive arrest record, because the mother was found to be neglectful of the child. The father, who was subsequently arrested for fraud, placed the child with his transgendered partner, who tortured, burned, starved and beat the child to death. Even when a child is removed from the custody of one parent, that non-custodial parent has a moral obligation to maintain contact with the child through visits, telephone calls and to make financial contributions to the child’s upkeep.

As soon as the news broke of Myls’ gruesome death, his mother found her way to New York with a group of relatives, sobbing for the child at a press conference and pointing fingers. Where was she and her relatives during the three-week period from late December to January 8, when the child was being tortured and starved to death? Did they come to visit him? Did they talk to him on the telephone? Did they get pictures of him to see how he was progressing? Did they send him care packages, or Christmas cards and presents?

If somehow seems calculating to shed tears and reminisce about the child who lost his life at such a tender age, unless documented proof can be provided that the family members who advertised their tears at the press conference were just as involved in the child’s daily existence. Besides, if they were in contact with the child, wouldn’t they know that he was being abused and therefore found a way to protect him? It seems like the tears and the press conference are simply too little, too late. –OnPointPress.net

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Rooney Rule needed to diversify college coaching ranks

The Texas Longhorns announce the hiring of Charlie Strong for head coach Monday Jan. 6, 2014.

Charlie Strong smiles at the announcement that he is  the new head coach of the Texas Longhorns.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Within a week of Charlie Strong, who is African-American, leaving the Louisville Cardinals head coaching job for the highly regarded head coaching position at the University of Texas, the Cardinals now have their replacement: Bobby Petrino. Petrino, despite his baggage, returns to Louisville, the place of his first head coaching opportunity. Lost in the conversation about both Strong and Petrino is the bigger issue: College football still has a very low number of African-American head coaches, although most of the players are African-American.

It seems as if a Rooney Rule is needed in college football to even the playing field and make it mandatory for African-American and other minorities to be considered seriously for head coaching jobs and given adequate resources and time to succeed when they are hired. At the beginning of the 2013 college football season, there were 13 African-American head coaches out of 120 FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly called Division I-A) universities. While it is reported that Louisville interviewed one its African-American position coaches for the top job, it seems as if the interview was a formality and that Petrino was their first choice all along.

Stanford head coach David Shaw has a successful 34 - 7 records over 3 seasons.

Stanford head coach David Shaw has a successful 34 – 7 record over 3 seasons.

The first major disparity in diversity is the small number of first chances given for head coaching opportunities to African-Americans. Some schools hire African-American coaches in various levels of the coaching hierarchy but are reluctant to appoint them at the highest levels. The next obstacle African-American coaches face is getting a second chance at head coach. To date, Tyrone Willingham is the only African-American head coach to be hired after being previously fired. The third glaring difference is African-American coaches have a hard time receiving support from university boosters, who donate millions of dollars annually to their alma maters. As universities continue to receive healthy contributions from millionaires and billionaires, it will be interesting to see how many Athletic Directors eschew negative booster input about African-American candidates in the future. The Stanford Cardinals’ success (34 wins – 7 losses in 3 full seasons) following the promotion of David Shaw to head coach, stands as a model that demonstrates schools can maintain success with first time African-American head coaches.

In the meantime, the Texas Longhorns’ hiring of Strong has been met mostly with positive skepticism. Although it is acknowledged that Strong is qualified to improve the Texas program, questions have been raised about his personality and demeanor. A senior ESPN writer states in his article on the hire, “the two coaches who won national championships at Texas, Darrell Royal and Mack Brown, possessed the back slapping, shoulder-rubbing personalities that kept a lot of rich, powerful people at bay.” As a result, the rich and powerful did not interfere with coaching decisions but with Strong being more reserved the suggestion is that his demeanor will invite all types of outside interference. So despite Strong getting the top job, he is still being placed under a microscope even before he has a chance to get acclimated to the job.

 

Successful businessman and Texas booster Red McCombs was outspoken about the hire of Charlie Strong this week.

Successful businessman and Texas booster Red McCombs was outspoken about the hiring of Charlie Strong this week, implying that Strong’s hiring is a mistake.

This assessment almost seemed prophetic because a day after that article was published, (1/6/14) billionaire Red McCombs, one of the Longhorns’ most prominent boosters, expressed ‘concern” over the Charlie Strong hire. Concern might be putting it mildly, however. The former San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, and Minnesota Vikings owner expressed in an interview on ESPN Radio that he views the hire as “a kick in the face.” McCombs continued to dismiss Strong’s impressive resume and claims that Strong could “make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.” McCombs, who has donated over $100 million to Texas and bears his name on the Texas University business school, is likely joined with some fellow boosters in his negative view of Strong. However, other public statements have been supportive of the new head coach and his track record speaks positively for the great impact he is poised to have at the University of Texas.

Bobby Petrino returns to the Louisville Cardinals as their head coach.

Bobby Petrino returns to the Louisville Cardinals as their head coach, despite his heavy baggage.

Strong’s former school, Louisville, decided to replace him with the man who previously left them for another job shortly after assuring them he was staying. Petrino has had plenty of success as a college head coach, amassing an 83 – 30 win-loss record over his coaching career. If it weren’t for his character flaws and the circumstances under which he left Louisville in the first place, the hire would likely be unanimously supported.

Those who have followed Petrino’s career have seen him taint his on field success with enigmatic decisions such as quitting on his team mid-season and trying to cover up a motorcycle accident with his mistress on board. The Cardinals are making the statement by hiring him a second time that winning is the most important factor at their program. Louisville’s athletic director said that he is adamant in his desire to make the Cardinals’ football head coach position a “destination job.” It remains to be seen what else comes along with Bobby Petrino as he makes the Cardinals program his next destination.

College football continues to see advances that were previously thought to be unimaginable. The Heisman Trophy has been awarded to redshirt freshmen in consecutive years. Hopefully, Charlie Strong and David Shaw convince decision makers that African-American head coaches can have continued success–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.