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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

(Exclusive)’David Makes Man’ Star Arlen Escarpeta Talks Joining Season 2, Black Masculinity, and Working with Director Tarell Alvine McCraney

by Betti Halsell

No one could have painted a picture of Black masculinity more accurately than Oprah Winfrey Network’s (OWN)  TV drama David Makes Man. The series encapsulates the quality of life and its aftermath surrounding men in the Black Community.

Narrated through the lens of a brilliant male character, the audience digests a visual dissertation of unspoken experiences that shape young boys into men. Arlen Escarpeta plays JG, the younger brother of the protagonist. The Oath actor breaks down the message behind the series and the strength of silent love that happens within the masculine gender. 

David Makes Man first streamed on HBO max, but OWN has picked up season two. Director Tarell Alvine McCraney (Moonlight) grasped the eerie tones of movies like A Beautiful Mind and Six Sense, and concocted the internal struggle of a caged life as a young minority, raised below the poverty line. The viewers meet David (Kwame Patterson) as a young adult, a silent and solemn adolescent, but his thoughts are amplified enough to take over his reality. 

Jonathan Greg nicknamed J.G. (Escarpeta) has a different level of mental compression and unwavering love for his brother. He is the peaceful flute playing above the overpowering orchestra that is David’s mind. Escarpeta breaks down that love, and the slew of unspoken nuances that are carefully placed throughout the series, to alert the audience: more was said than just words. 

David Makes Man — 201 — “Barrel of Oranges” — Photo Credit: Rod Millington

David Makes Man is a story of a young adult with no visual assurance of making out of his situation alive, coming into the power of his mind, and then aligning himself with success. The audience has a personal view of one’s personal struggle with their gifts and the application of their power after it’s gained. David battles many versions of himself in hopes of finding peace in his internal war. 

JG (Escarpeta) represents another angle of warfare, one that includes him and his projection of life to other people. The local cop is currently at a crossroads in his love life. Catching up with an old flame brings out his organic nature. However, he already created a sanctity with his wife and teenage daughter. Escarpeta’s character is metaphorically facing a three-headed beast that breathes fire. Between his wife, daughter, and the old flame, someone is guaranteed to be burned by his next decision. 

David Makes Man so far has won the Peabody Award of Entertainment. Full episodes are available on OWN’s streaming service, with new episodes out on Tuesdays, 9/8c. 

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Film & Television

Sex and the City revival adds Nicole Ari Parker, Karen Pittman, and Sarita Choudhury

And Just Like That, HBO’s upcoming Sex and The City revival is bringing new characters into the world of Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte. Nicole Ari Parker, Karen Pittman, and Sarita Choudhury have joined the cast.

According to EW, Parker (Empire, Chicago P.D.) will play Lisa Todd Wexley, a Park Avenue mother of three. Choudhury (Mississippi Masala) will play Seema Patel, a single, self-made powerhouse Manhattan real estate broker. And Pittman (The Morning Show) will appear as Dr. Nya Wallace, a brilliant, yet challenging Columbia Law professor.

The decision to add the trio was made by HBO’s chief Casey Bloys, producer/star Sara Jessica Parker and showrunner Michael Patrick King. Bloys told TV Line earlier this year they did not want “to tell a story with all-white writers or an all-white cast,” and the creators “being very, very conscious about understanding that [the show’s] New York has to reflect the way New York looks today.”

The And Just Like That cast also includes Sex and The City‘s Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Mario Cantone, Willie Garson, and Evan Handler.

The revival is currently in production in New York. HBO Max has not yet set a premiere date.

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Film & Television

Vivica A. Fox, Clifton Powell, and Christina Cooper To Star In Mann Robinson’s New Series ‘On Ten’

Atlanta, GA. – Director and producer Mann Robinson is teaming up with multi-talented actress and TV personality Torrei Hart on a one-of-a-kind drama series titled On Ten.

The series cannot be compared to any other show on television. The audience is introduced to Osaris Warlock, a gifted young man who sees the truest potential of his urban surroundings. He goes to business school to hone his innate ability to grow an empire.

The goal he sets out for himself is to turn his hood into the next Black Wall Street. He enlists his longtime girlfriend, Ebony (played by Christina Cooper), as his right hand and starts to buy the block back. However, The closer the couple gets to the goal, the more challenging it becomes. They both soon find out that you also have to be a killer to be effective.

Warlock’s master plan stems from watching his mother struggle with having a lack of resources, which fell adjacent to him recently learning about the massacre in Tulsa, OK. As a result, the young man is now hellbent on growing a strong financial structure for his community by riding the fine line between illegal and legitimized business practices.

NAACP Image Awards winner Vivica A. Fox was tapped for this project as Mayor Brown. Her schedule has been tightly woven, as she also headlines two FOX SOUL shows – Cocktails With Queens on Mondays and FOX SOUL’s The Screening Room.

Another heavyweight, ABFF winner Clifton Powell, has joined the cast. He will assume the role of Agent Morphan.

Talented newcomer Cooper will portray Ebony, Warlock’s girlfriend. This will mark her first official series as a regular. The actress is taking Hollywood by storm, working in multiple areas of filmmaking. In 2019, the Los Angeles native directed and produced South Central Love, a visual message calling for an end to gun violence – a cause close to her heart, as she pulled from her experiences growing up in South Central LA.

Cooper is also a model and entrepreneur. She owns a women’s wear collection inspired by her Jamaican roots called Island Gal

The cast of On Ten‘s debut season will also include Sean Blakemore (Motives), E. Roger Mitchell (Full Count) and Michael Emory, Reality TV star and attorney Phaedra Parks, Instagram influencer and entrepreneur Jayda Wayda, acting legend Darius McCrary, and many more.

Robinson fortified his talents as a filmmaker and is well known in the Black entertainment circuit for his most recent projects: Super TurntFruits of the Heart, and Troubled Waters (which aired on BET her & BET Plus). The director’s debut film K.A.R.M.A. was released in the early 2000s. Soon after, he dived into producing hit independent films and series. By 2012, Robinson began to put together the strategy to direct On Ten, his TV drama, in multiple locations – Detroit, New York, and Atlanta. 

Director Mann Robinson

The bulk of the upcoming series will be filmed in Atlanta, where Robinson has built a 20,000 square ft space – Mann Robinson Studios – a fully-equipped creative space, a central hub for high-quality projects produced in Georgia.

Robinson’s co-producer, Hart, who will also star in the series, has been building her career as a comedian, writer, producer, and beauty business mogul. She launched her Youtube comedy channel, “PrettyFunnyFish,” in 2012, which had rocket-fueled growth in popularity. 

Hart’s production company is vetted under the same name and captured the attention of business tycoon Russell Simmons. In partnership with Simmons, Hart has contributed creative content for All Def’s digital platform while starring and co-writing in her short films. 

Producer Torrei Hart

Hart also cooperated with Zeus Network to develop the raw and unscripted talk show Talkin Sh%t while simultaneously having a reoccurring chair on Dish Nation.

The upcoming TV series will not be Robinson and Hart’s first collaboration. Both have previously worked on a drama titled TURNT and its sequel, Super Turnt.

On Ten is scheduled to go into production this summer.  The dates of the season one premiere have yet to be disclosed.


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