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(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

‘Bruised’: Watch Trailer For Halle Berry’s Directorial Debut

Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry directs and stars in a new Netflix mixed martial arts drama, Bruised.

The story follows Jackie Justice (Berry), a mixed martial arts fighter who leaves the sport in disgrace. Down on her luck and simmering with rage and regret years after her last fight, she’s coaxed into a brutal underground fight by her manager and boyfriend Desi (Adan Canto) and grabs the attention of a fight league promoter (Shamier Anderson) who promises Jackie a life back in the octagon. But the road to redemption becomes unexpectedly personal when Manny (Danny Boyd, Jr.) — the son she gave up as an infant — shows up at her doorstep.

Bruised also stars Adriane Lenox, Sheila Atim, Valentina Shevchenko, and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

The film is slated to release in theaters on Nov. 17 before dropping on Netflix on Nov. 24. Watch the trailer above.

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Film & Television

Angela Bassett’s Wax Figure Unveiled

Seeing double?

The world-renowned wax museum Madame Tussauds unveiled Angela Bassett‘s new wax figure and we are at a total loss of words! Seriously, how can you tell them apart?!?

The Black Panther star took to Instagram to share the big reveal of her flawless replica. “Oh, lord! I’m a twin,” Bassett said in a video as she admired the stunning model. “Oh, my God, it’s so lifelike. It’s like it’s gonna jump alive and give me a hug.”

This is arguably one of the best work the museum has done. See the photos below and let us know if you agree.

Angela Bassett's wax figure
Angela Bassett's wax figure

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Film & Television

Robin Givens Joins ‘Head of The Class’ reboot as grown-up Darlene Merriman

Robin Givens is reprising her role as Darlene Merriman in HBO Max’s Head of the Class reboot 35 years after the original sitcom aired.

The new Head of the Class is inspired by ABC’s 1980s sitcom of the same title. It will revolve around a group of overachieving high school students who meet their greatest challenge — a teacher, who wants them to focus less on grades and more on experiencing life. Givens’ character, whose last name has changed to Hayward, was a member of the original Individualized Honors Program (IHP) and is now a parent to one of the kids and a lawyer with a degree from Stanford.

Head of the Class CR: HBO Max

In an interview with EW, Givens shared her excitement about reprising her role on the show, “I can’t begin to put it into words,” she said. “It was so much more emotional for me than I could possibly say. It was like a flood of emotions that stuck with me. I grew up on Stage 5. I was younger than my youngest son. Just even talking about it, thinking about it now, it’s just really emotional for me. I didn’t realize that was going to happen. It’s hard to really process. I certainly didn’t think about coming back and being a parent [on the show].”

All ten episodes of the family comedy debut November 4 on HBO Max.

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