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Black History Caught on Film: Actress Theresa Harris Deserves All the Credit

by Betti Halsell

The acknowledgment gives artists their purpose. During the early development of motion picture, African American roles were set to subservient levels, and even when the acting was outstanding, Black talent did not see their names in the rolling credits. However, phenomenal actors and actresses like Theresa Harris still pushed for their name to be recognized and for their talent to be acknowledged.

It was New Years’ Eve, the turn of 1906, a star was born to Isaiah and Mable Harris. They were former sharecroppers from Louisiana. Harris was 11-years-old when her family migrated west, to Southern California. She attended Jefferson High School and studied at UCLA Conservatory of Music. Finding her passion in the arts, Harris connected with the “Lafayette Players,” a theatre group that performed comedic musicals.

In 1929, she was attracted to the spotlight, making her debut in the movie Thunderbolt, her voice carrying the soothing remedy to a restless audience, stealing every scene she was in. Harris presented her singing talent as her character of a jazz singer, she serenaded the viewers with, “Daddy won’t you please come home,” no one could take their eyes off of her. Other songs she christened included the “St. Luis Blues,” a masterful piece, showcasing her range and endurance.

Theresa Harris in Baby Face

Although she pushed for more leading roles, Harris was commonly cast as a maid, or in her words “a stooge or servant.” None the less Harris kept acting, with 18 different appearances, Harris played crucial assisting roles to some of the most iconic actresses that were highlighted during that time, yet for most of her acting career, she received zero credit.

Quoting her from IMDb, Harris stated, “I never felt the chance to rise above the role of a maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me. The fact that I was not ‘hot’ stamped me as either an uppity ‘Negress’ or relegated me to the eternal role of stooge or servant. I can sing but so can hundreds of other girls. My ambitions are to be an actress. Hollywood had no parts for me.”

Harris continued to perform for over two decades, until her last appearance in 1958. For a young Black actress, her personal life (that’s recorded) was pretty traditional, she married only once, to a doctor and lived comfortably into retirement from the investment money she made while acting. To watch Mrs. Harris in her prime was enchanting and impeccable; Harris deserves all the credit and more for her cadence, style, and unmatched talent.

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“I Feel Really Bad That He (Smith) Never Apologized”, Chris Rock’s Mother Talks The Oscars Incident

Comedian Chris Rock’s mother Rose Rock spoke about Will Smith slapping her son. She shared her thoughts during her recent interview on WIS’ Billie Jean Shaw.

“You reacted to your wife giving you the side-eye, and you went and made her day because she was mulled over laughing when it happened,” Mrs. Rock said.

According to the mother, her son was looking forward to giving Questlove his Academy Award, and because of Smith, that moment was taken away. “When he slapped Chris, he slapped all of us. He really slapped me. No one even heard his speech. No one was able to just be in the moment because everyone was sitting there like, ‘What just happened?”

Rock’s mother admitted that she initially thought the slap was a skit, but when she heard Will Smith screaming from his seat afterward, she realized it was real.  Rose said she reached out to her son after the incident to make sure he was okay and to commend him on his restraint. 

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‘Martin’ 30th Anniversary Reunion: Here is What We Know

It’s been 30 years since Martin made its TV debut on Fox. And, here we are, three decades later, about to relive some of the most hilarious and memorable moments of the 90s sitcom together with Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, and Carl Anthony Payne II.

“To be able to sit here 30 years later with this amazing cast that has had such an impact on pop culture is truly a blessing,” Lawrence told Deadline. “I am always humbled that the fans still want more of the show and its characters. I am looking forward to the reunion special.”

The taping of the special episode took place last month. Here is what we know so far.

The anniversary episode was filmed on Feb. 20 and will launch on BET+ this summer.

Talk of a reunion of sorts has been going on for a minute, as Arnold and Campbell previously appeared on the Tamron Hall Show last April and revealed that the show likely won’t have a reboot following Ford’s death. Arnold said that  “a show can never be a reboot without the original cast,” but that a reunion was “maybe” possible. (source: complex)

The special will focus on the show’s origin and evolution. Hosted by comedian-actor Affion Crockett, the episode will feature interviews with the cast, original directors, special musical performances, and behind-the-scenes commentary of the show’s influence. (source: ABC News)

The anniversary special is also scheduled to feature some “surprise guests.” Celebrity guests stopped by during the taping, including Tracy Morgan, Kim Coles, Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, and more. (source: The Grio)

It’s still unclear how the reunion plans to honor castmate Thomas Mikal Ford, who died back in 2016. (source: complex)

Martin, which premiered in 1992, starred Lawrence – who played various characters, Campbell as Martin’s girlfriend and later his wife, Gina; Arnold as Gina’s best friend, Pam; and Martin’s two best friends Cole (Payne) and Tommy (played by the late Thomas Ford). The series concluded with season five namely due to the tensions between the two main cast members. People reported, Campbell sued Lawrence for “repeated and escalating sexual harassment, sexual battery, verbal abuse and related threats” in 1997. The two later reconciled, with Campbell announcing in 2020 that she was “so glad that we’re in a good place right now.”

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‘Master’: Regina Hall Stars in New Horror Movie

Amazon Studios debuted the official trailer for its upcoming thriller titled Master, starring Regina Hall. The film first premiered during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival and will be released in theaters and on Prime Video on Friday, March 18.

Written and directed by Mariama Diallo, Master tells the story of three women who strive to find their place at a prestigious New England university whose frosty elitism may disguise something more sinister. Professor Gail Bishop (Hall) has recently been promoted to “Master” of a residence hall, the first time at storied Ancaster College that a Black woman has held the post.

Master REGINA HALL

Determined to breathe new life into a centuries-old tradition, Gail soon finds herself wrapped up in the trials and tribulations of Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee), an energetic and optimistic Black freshman. Jasmine’s time at Ancaster hits a snag early on when she’s assigned a dorm room that is rumored to be haunted. Things get worse when Jasmine clashes in the classroom with Liv Beckman (Amber Gray), a professor in the middle of her own racially charged tenure review. As Gail tries to maintain order and fulfill the duties of a Master, the cracks begin to show in Ancaster’s once-immaculate facade. After a career spent fighting to make it into Ancaster’s inner circle, Gail is confronted with the horrifying prospect of what lies beneath, her question ultimately becoming not whether the school is haunted but by whom.

Watch the trailer below.

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