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Dominique Fishback Talks ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ and Her One-Woman Play ‘Subverted’

by Betti Halsell

Creativity comes from within. Rising actress and writer Dominique Fishback is relishing in her newfound space of alignment. Her performances have shown the depth of her manifestations. During our conversation, the New York native shared a personal view of her journey blossoming in the entertainment industry and explained how what one may internalize eventually manifests externally. 

“Everybody is super excited about the movie…” Fishback said she received overwhelming support for her role as Deborah Johnson in the recently released Judas and the Black Messiah

The movie is a historical drama based on the life of Black Panther leader of the Illinois Chapter, Chairman Fred Hampton. Fishback plays a distinguished character, his fiance and fellow activist, highlighting the significance of Black women involved in the dawning of the civil rights movement.

Johnson, also known as Mother Akua, sat with Fishback and gave her deep praise for the uncanny portrayal. The actress looked back to that day of acknowledgment and said, “…It was a complete love fest that we had, and I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening–since I was in college learning about the Black Panther party, I always cared, and I always held them in high regard…” She went to explain her personal embodiment of the organization and what they stand for. 

Dominique Fishback and Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

As Fishback swims deeper into her acting range, the people around her continue to show genuine support. She shared a story of her loved ones pouring into her after a private screening of the movie. One moment that stuck out to her was when her friend noted that the rising star is always present in all of the roles that she takes on. 

The actress also shows her creativity through her writing. She spoke about her one-woman play titled Subverted, her thesis project to graduate from Pace University. The playwright talked about the diversity within her classroom or the lack thereof – she was usually the only Black person. This caused a lack of understanding from her peers. Rearing into a debate that broke out in one of her sociology classes, a student said if Black men wore “normal clothes,” they wouldn’t get stopped by the police. This sparked the 22-character role Fishback took on with the mission to widen the perspective among the narrow minds, like the one she encountered in her class. 

With all the resources offered at her university, the final production got great feedback, and with her first debut, she was able to pack up a theatre during a movie festival. Subverted is looking to be brought to a grander audience, to voice a wider perspective for everyone to hear. 

Fishback touched on the frustrations of being a creative soul going through life and watching others achieve their dreams while still being on ground zero of one’s career. In a Facebook post from ten years ago, she recalls describing her stress of watching people in previews when she wanted to be there. Now, in retrospect, she talks about the power of alignment and what it means to be in full control of one’s destiny. 

“God could’ve given it to me sooner, but I wasn’t in the place for it.” She went on to elaborate on the need for personal growth and self-examination of the energy that’s surrounding one’s life, “… I’m thankful for learning how to remove ego, and appreciate things a little bit more.” 

God could’ve given it to me sooner, but I wasn’t in the place for it

The actress discussed her gift for gratitude and always staying humble through her faith, “…I feel like inside, I have happiness, and the outside is matching.” She also reflected on her mental state before she focused on her greater alignment to life, “I would book something, and it would be an amazing opportunity, but I would still be sad.” She described sitting with herself and those feelings, asking herself why she felt sad even when she was seemingly on the right path. 

Fishback unearthed the complexities of her journey through meditation, journaling, and reflecting. That is when she realized the process is just as important as the reward. She gives herself the time to meditate and find what she needs to bring out from within. Watch Fishback in Judas and the Black Messiah, now streaming on HBO Max. 

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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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