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Film & Television

Black British Actors Who Are Changing the Acting Scene

by Betti Halsell

British accents have always been cool. A subtle but pungent twang of english seems to send anyone into a frenzy of fascination. Mix that with phenomenal acting and now one has witnessed the creation of a star. One of the hottest trends in Black entertainment right now are the slew of Black British actors putting on unprecedented performances, while keeping their real accents for dessert. Actors such as Daniel Kaluuya, Idris Elba, and Thandie Newton  turned Hollywood on its head with their wide range of talent. Here are the top British actors you should look out for in the next Hollywood trailers, nine times out of ten, the movie is going to be phenomenal. 

Rege-jean page 

 If you seen Bridgerton, you seen Rege-jean Page’s “behind the scenes”, if you know what I mean. Page is bringing back the era of “teenage heartthrobs” in the romantic novel turned tv series. Looking into his background (since we have already seen his behind),  Page is British and Zimbabwean. One of his first break-out roles was playing Chicken George in the mini-series Roots. In one of his more regular roles he played a cast member of the ABC legal drama For the People, he’s for the people alright…

Thandie Newton

Melanie Thandiwe ‘Thandie’ Newton has stolen all of the awards and slayed every red carpet she ever walked out on. She has been awarded a Primetime Emmy, British Academy Film Award, and received two Golden Globe Awards. Newton is known for her performances in Westworld, Mission impossible 2 and Crash. She has been an open book about her frustrations with roles and scenes she was cast to do as a woman. Despite that, she always saved face and played chess, not checkers. Thanks for holding it down for the women, Thandie! 

Daniel Kaluuya

Known for the teary-eyed blank stare in horror film Get Out, Kaluuya was probably the first pop culture trigger to send a shock wave through the nation – he had such a natural American accent in the movie! But when he spoke during interviews it was like, “woah, how long have you been British?!” The Golden Globe Best Supporting Actors was born in London to his Ugandan parents. His name is credited in over 40+ movie credits, including Black Panther, Queen and Slim, and Judas and The Black Messiah. Kaluuya is also a writer – he co-wrote a few episodes of the teenage drama series Skins. He’s a multi-talented deep thinker and a poet by nature.

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett

Nathan Stewart-Jarrett attends the after party for the “Angels in America”/ Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

This man just has that swag, watching him walk is like watching a lion stroll in the pride lands. As the literal embodiment of tall dark and handsome, Jarrett he is best known for his role in Misfits. He has appeared in over 40 credits, and when he breaks the seal in Hollywood showbiz, there will be women lined up to see him on the big screen. 

Idris Elba

Idris Elba at the premiere of “The Mountain Between Us” (2017)

Idris Elba has ‘distinguished grown man’ written all over him, and, as an actor, he steals the show every time. Not only does he act but he is also into the music scene as a producer, rapper, singer, songwriter, and DJ. He is known for his roles in The wire, Luther, playing Nelson Mandela in Long Walk to Freedom, and many more roles. Elba brings energy and heat to each performance – no matter the genre – drama, action, sci-fi – his talent is immesurable.

Kingsley Ben-Adir

Kinglsey is the crown royale of acting. He is best known for his role as a detective in the Netflix series The OA and recently released Regina King-directed One Night In Miami. His father was a musician and his mother a caregiver. Ben-Adir comes from a Trinidadian background. His mother converted to judaism, taking on the last name ‘Ben-Adir,’ which means “son of the strong or mighty.” Although the actor is still relatively new to Hollywood, he is surely joining the ranks of U.S.-famous hot British acting sensations. 

Michaela Coel

Michaela Ewuraba Boakye-Collinson is a daring actress. She is bold and brings life to all of her characters in the most relatable way. Coel is known for her performances in the Black Mirror, British sitcom series Chewing Gum, and HBO’s hit show I May Destroy You. The Award winning writer, director and actor has made every one of her roles memorable. Here’s to many more phenomenal Coel-led projects!

Letitia Wright 

Letitia Michelle Wright is a youthful face of beauty and has already made her mark in the film industry as a staple in the Black Panther . Wright comes from a Guyanese-British background and has been seen in multiple guest roles such as Top Boy, Coming Up, and Black Mirror. She has also received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award. Rumor has it, she will be the Black Panther sequel. Black women on the rise, we love to see it!

Sophie Okonedo 

Sophie Okonedo Evening Standard Theatre Awards/ Photo by David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock

Sophie Okonedo is the British babe that we all grew up watching. Her role in Aeon Flux and Ace Ventura: When nature calls are nostalgic. She was an early representation for the younger generation of Black girls. Okonedo has over 70 movie credits under her belt and she was nominated for a Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. If you ever see her name on the screen, you are in for a treat!

Freema Agyeman

Freema Agyeman brings a spirit to her roles, one that is limitless and bound to run into trouble. Agyemen is from an Iranian and Ghanian background, she known for her role as Martha Jones in BBC science fiction series Doctor Who, as Dr. Helen Sharpe in ABC’s New Amsterdam and the outspoken style editor in The Carrie Diaries. Her characters always seem liberated and dancing to their own beat.  

John Boyega

Recent Critics Choice Awards winner John Adedayo Bamidele Adegboyega has been booked and busy. Boyega’s latest role as Leroy Logan in Amazon’s Small Axe has created a lot of buzz during the 2021 award season. Born from parents of Nigerian descent, the actor and activist is known around the world for his roles in Pacific Rim and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker among others.

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Film & Television

‘Black Panther’ Fans Petition To Recast Chadwick Boseman’s Role For The Sequel

Last year, Marvel Studios announced they would not recast the role of King T’Challa out of respect for Chadwick Boseman’s memory. The award-winning actor passed away in August after a private cancer battle at the age of 43.

Now, thousands of Black Panther fans are asking the studio to do the opposite to “honor” the late actor’s legacy. 

A video petition, posted by film reviewer Emmanuel “E-Man” Noisette, calls Marvel’s executives to reconsider their decision. “If Marvel Studios removes T’Challa, it would be at the expense of the audiences (especially Black boys and men) who saw themselves in him,” it states. “That also includes the millions of fans who were inspired by the character as well. By not recasting, it could stifle the opportunity for one of the most popular, leading Black superheroes to add on to their legacy. The #1 way to kill a legend is to stop telling their story.”

Black Panther 2 is scheduled for release on July 8, 2022. So far, the #RecastTChalla petition has earned over 22,000 signatures.

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Film & Television

“Concrete Cowboy” Movie Review: Taking the Scenic Route Through Netflix’s Newest Addition

written by Betti Halsell

Ricky Staub’s Concrete Cowboy unearths multiple traumas,  both in the broadening range of African-American culture and the complex circumstances of Black men and their perspective within a household setting. 

The film opens up with Cole (Caleb McLaughlin), a 15-year old boy sitting outside the principal’s office. His face bruised and bleeding from a fight he had with another kid – a moment that keeps repeating itself. His mother arrives, looking more discouraged as if she’s been called to the principal’s office one too many times herself.

Cole is a kid unable to see the consequences of his personal choices. He is full of anger and entitlement. Being a child from a broken home, he leads his life with the “right” to act out. His mother, unable to come up with another excuse for her son’s behavior, sees that Cole stays with his father for the summer in Philadelphia. This might sound like a familiar pivot to a teen-angst-driven film, but here is where things get interesting – the 15-year-old finds himself staring at the truth of his reality, coming straight from the horse’s mouth.

His father (played by Idris Elba) takes him in, and the two of them seem to forge an understanding through hardships and repeated history, a not-so-far-off truth between Black fathers and their sons that are looking to become men, Cole comes from a line of Black horse riders that live in the city.

The cinematography captures breathtaking landscapes and frameworks that seem almost otherworldly. Although the movie captivates the audience with its raw truth of reality, many people may know nothing about. Some questions that needed further explanation were left unanswered, for example, how old was Cole when his parents separated and he moved away from Philidelphia? Or when did Cole develop his summer fling when he returned to the city ranch?

Survival is the common denominator in the movie and its message, which spells out how lack of resources affects the living conditions and the quality of a person’s life and their community. 

In Concrete Cowboy, Stranger Things‘ Mclaughlin introduces the viewers to a wider acting range while playing Cole. British chameleon Elba plays Harp, Cole’s father. He also produced the film. Other cast includes Jharrel Jerome as Cole’s childhood best friend Smush, Lorraine Toussaint as the community’s ‘mother,’ Nessie, and rapper Method Man as town sheriff Leroy.

Staub highlights the Black cowboy community through this project. Reports say the director stumbled upon the culture after seeing a man on a horse in Philadelphia. He then researched the Fletcher Street Urban Riding Club, which led him to Greg Neri’s book, Ghetto Cowboy

The truth behind this movie leaves the audience enamored, and the images of beauty found in the concrete prairie of Philadelphia are masterpieces. The sunsets and the grading of color are painted effortlessly as if the setting was no longer the city but rather the natural breeding ground for a cowboy to lay his hat.

Concrete Cowboy is now available for streaming on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.

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Film & Television

Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua Are Pulling ‘Emancipation’ Production From Georgia Due To Voting Restrictions

The production of Apple’s new drama is being pulled out of Georgia due to its new controversial voting rights law.

Director/producer Antoine Fuqua and actor/producer Will Smith, who the film to Apple Studios for $120 million, have announced – they will no longer be filming in the Peach State. Scheduled to begin production in June, the drama I based on a true story of Smith’s character “Whipped Peter,” an enslaved person who emancipated himself from a southern plantation and joined the Union Army. Fuqua will direct with the script by William N. Collage.

Smith and Fuqua released an official statement early Monday, which reads:

“At this moment in time, the Nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access. The new Georgia voting laws are reminiscent of voting impediments that were passed at the end of Reconstruction to prevent many Americans from voting. Regrettably, we feel compelled to move our film production work from Georgia to another state.”

With this decision, Emancipation becomes the first major production to exit Georgia after Governor Brian Kemp signed the controversial bill on March 26, which was deemed racist and undemocratic. The law includes new ID requirements for voters, prohibits the distribution of water at voting sights, and restricts ballot drop boxes, among other provisions. 

At this time, it is unclear where Fuqua and Smith will move their film production work.

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