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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

(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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