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NAACP IMAGE AWARDS NOMINEES: ‘HARRIETT’ SCORES THE MOST NOMINATIONS

Harriet is leading the nominees’ list with a total of 10 nods, including best soundtrack, outstanding motion picture, best actress (Cynthia Erivo), supporting actor (Leslie Odom Jr.), and supporting actress (Janelle Monae) among others.

Jordan Peele‘s Us, Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, Melina Matsoukas‘ Queen & Slim, and Michael B. Jordan-starrer Just Mercy are also up for multiple awards.

The ceremony will air on Saturday Feb.22 on BET. Check out the full list of nominees below!

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
• Angela Basset
• Billy Porter
• Lizzo
• Regina King
• Tyler Perry

TELEVISION CATEGORIES
Outstanding Comedy Series
• “Ballers” (HBO)
• “black-ish” (ABC)
• “Dear White People” (Netflix)
• “grown-ish” (Freeform)
• “the Neighborhood” (CBS)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
• Anthony Anderson – “black-ish” (ABC)
• Cedric The Entertainer – “the Neighborhood” (CBS)
• Don Cheadle – “Black Monday” (Showtime)
• Dwayne Johnson – “Ballers” (HBO)
• Tracy Morgan – “The Last O.G.” (TBS)
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
• Logan Browning – “Dear White People” (Netflix)
• Jill Scott – “First Wives Club” (BET+)
• Tiffany Haddish – “The Last O.G.” (TBS)
• Tracee Ellis Ross – “black-ish ” (ABC)
• Yara Shahidi – “grown-ish” (Freeform)
         
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
• Andre Braugher – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC)
• Deon Cole – “black-ish” (ABC)
• Laurence Fishburne – “black-ish” (ABC)
• T erry Crews – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC)
• Tituss Burgess – “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
• Halle Bailey – “grown-ish” (Freeform)
• Loretta Devine – “Family Reunion” (Netflix)
• Marsai Martin – “black-ish” (ABC)
• Regina Hall – “Black Monday” (Showtime)
• Tichina Arnold – “the Neighborhood” (CBS)

Outstanding Drama Series
• “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
• “Greenleaf” (OWN)
• “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
• “The Chi” (Showtime)
• “Watchmen” (HBO)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
• Billy Porter – “Pose” (FX Networks)
• Forest Whitaker – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
• Kofi Siriboe – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
• Omari Hardwick – “Power” (Starz)
• Sterling K. Brown – “This Is Us” (NBC)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
• Angela Bassett – “9-1-1” (FOX)
• Regina King – “Watchmen” (HBO)
• Rutina Wesley – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
• Simone Missick – “All Rise” (CBS)
• Viola Davis – “How to Get Away with Murder” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
• Delroy Lindo – “The Good Fight” (CBS All Access)
• Giancarlo Esposito – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
• Harold Perrineau – “Claws” (TNT)
• Nigél Thatch – “Godfather of Harlem” (EPIX)
• Wendell Pierce – “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” (Prime Video)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
• CCH Pounder – “NCIS: New Orleans” (CBS)
• Lynn Whitfield – “Greenleaf” (OWN)
• Lyric Ross – “This Is Us” (NBC)
• Susan Kelechi Watson – “This Is Us” (NBC)
• Tina Lifford – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
• American Son (Netflix)
• Being Mary Jane (BET Networks)
• Native Son (HBO)
• True Detective (HBO)
• When They See Us (Netflix)

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
• Caleel Harris – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
• Ethan Henru Herisse – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
• Idris Elba – “Luther” (BBC America)
• Jharrel Jerome – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
• Mahershala Ali – “True Detective” (HBO)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special
• Aunjanue Ellis – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
• Gabrielle Union – “Being Mary Jane” (BET Networks)
• Kerry Washington – “American Son” (Netflix)
• Niecy Nash – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
• Octavia Spencer – “Truth Be Told” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special)
• PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (PBS)
• Surviving R. Kelly (Lifetime)
• The Breakfast Club (REVOLT)
• The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (National Geographic)
• Unsung (TV One)

Outstanding Talk Series
• “Red Table Talk” (Facebook Watch)
• “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
• “The Real” (Syndicated)
• “The Shop: Uninterrupted” (HBO)
• “The Tamron Hall Show” (Syndicated)

Outstanding Reality Program/Reality Competition Series/Game Show
• “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN)
• “Lip Sync Battle” (Paramount Network)
• “Rhythm + Flow” (Netflix)
• “Sunday Best” (BET Networks)
• “The Voice” (NBC)

Outstanding Variety (Series or Special)
• “2019 Black Girls Rock!” (BET Networks)
• “Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones” (Netflix)
• “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé” (Netflix)
• “Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
• “Wanda Sykes: Not Normal” (Netflix)

Outstanding Children’s Program
• “Doc McStuffins” (Disney Junior)
• “Family Reunion” (Netflix)
• “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History” (Netflix)
• “Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest” (Disney XD)
• “Motown Magic” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited-Series)
• Caleel Harris – “When They See Us” (Netflix)
• Lonnie Chavis – “This Is Us” (NBC)
• Lyric Ross – “This Is Us” (NBC)
• Marsai Martin – “black-ish” (ABC)
• Miles Brown – “black-ish” (ABC)

Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble
• Angela Rye – “Young Gifted and Broke: A BET Town Hall” (BET Networks)
• Jada Pinkett Smith – “Red Table Talk” (Facebook Watch)
• Lester Holt – “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” (NBC)
• Trevor Noah – “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
• Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Meghan McCain, Abby Huntsman, Ana Navarro – “The View” (ABC)

Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble
• Iyanla Vanzant – “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN)
• LL Cool J – “Lip Sync Battle” (Paramount Network)
• Regina Hall – “2019 BET Awards” (BET Networks)
• Steve Harvey – “Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC)
• Wayne Brady – “Let’s Make A Deal” (CBS)

Outstanding Guest Performance in a Comedy or Drama Series
• Blair Underwood – “Dear White People” ( Netflix)
• David Alan Grier – “Queen Sugar” (OWN)
• Kelly Rowland – “American Soul” (BET Networks)
• MAJOR. – “STAR” (FOX)
• Sanaa Lathan – “The Affair” (Showtime)

RECORDING CATEGORIES
 Outstanding Album
• “Cuz I Love You” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)
• “Homecoming: The Live Album” – Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia
Records)
• “I Used To Know H.E.R.” – H.E.R. (RCA Records)
• “Sketchbook” – Fantasia (Rock Soul Inc./BMG)
• “Worthy” – India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)

Outstanding New Artist
• Ari Lennox (Dreamville/Interscope Records)
• Lil Nas X (Columbia Records)
• Lucky Daye (Keep Cool/RCA Records)
• Mahalia (Burkmar/Warner Music UK)
• Mykal Kilgore (Affective Music)

Outstanding Male Artist
• Bruno Mars (Atlantic Records)
• Khalid (RCA Records)
• Lil Nas X (Columbia Records)
• MAJOR. (BOE Music Group/EMPIRE)
• PJ Morton (Morton Records)

Outstanding Female Artist
• Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)
• Fantasia (Rock Soul Inc./BMG)
• H.E.R. (RCA Records)
• India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)
• Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Song – Traditional
• “Enough” – Fantasia (Rock Soul Inc./BMG)
• “Jerome” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)
• “SPIRIT” – Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)
• “Stand Up” – Cynthia Erivo (Back Lot Music)
• “Steady Love” – India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)

Outstanding Song – Contemporary
• “Before I Let Go” – Beyoncé (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)
• “Hard Place” – H.E.R. (RCA Records)
• “Juice” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)
• “Talk” – Khalid (RCA Records)
• “Motivation” – Normani (Keep Cool/RCA Records)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration
• “Brown Skin Girl” – Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, Beyoncé & WizKiD (Parkwood Entertainment/Columbia Records)
• “No Guidance” – Chris Brown feat. Drake (Chris Brown Entertainment/RCA Records)
• “Say So” – PJ Morton feat. JoJo (Morton Records/EMPIRE)
• “Shea Butter Baby” – Ari Lennox feat. J. Cole (Dreamville/Interscope Records)
• “Show Me Love” – Alicia Keys feat. Miguel (RCA Records)

Outstanding Jazz Album
• “Carib” – David Sanchez (Ropeadope)
• “Center of The Heart” – Najee (Shanachie)
• “Love & Liberation” – Jazzmeia Horn (Concord Jazz)
• “SoulMate” – Nathan Mitchell (Enm Music Group)
• “The Dream Is You: Vanessa Rubin Sings Tadd Dameron” – Vanessa Rubin
(Vanessa Rubin)

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song (Traditional or Contemporary)
• “I Made It Out” – John P. Kee feat. Zacardi Cortez (Kee Music Group/Entertainment One)
• “Laughter” – Bebe Winans feat. Korean Soul (Regimen Records)
• “Love Theory” – Kirk Franklin (Fo Yo Soul Records/RCA Records)
• “Not Yet” – Donnie McClurkin (Camdon Music/RCA Inspiration)
• “Victory” – The Clark Sisters (Karew Records/Motown Gospel/Capitol CMG)

Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album
• “Hard Place” – H.E.R. (RCA Records)
• “Juice” – Lizzo (Nice Life Records/Atlantic Records)
• “No Guidance” – Chris Brown feat. Drake (Chris Brown Entertainment/RCA
Records)
• “Steady Love” – India.Arie (India.Arie Inc./BMG)
• “Talk” – Khalid (RCA Records)

Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album
• “Harriet (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Terence Blanchard (Back Lot Music)
• “Queen & Slim The Soundtrack” – Various Artists (Motown Records)
• “The Lion King: The Gift” – Beyoncé w/Various Artists (Parkwood
Entertainment/Columbia Records)
• “The Lion King Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” – Various Artists (Walt Disney
Records)
• “Us (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” – Michael Abels (Back Lot Music)

LITERATURE CATEGORIES
Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction
• “New Daughters of Africa” – Margaret Busby (HarperCollins Publishers)
• “Out of Darkness, Shining Light” – Petina Gappah (Simon and Schuster)
• “Red at the Bone” – Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead Books PRH)
• “The Revisioners” – Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Counter Point Press)
• “The Water Dancer” – Ta-Nehisi Coates (One World)

Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction
• “Breathe: A Letter to My Sons” – Dr. Imani Perry (Beacon Press)
• “STONY THE ROAD: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim
Crow” – Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Penguin Press)
• “The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations” –
Toni Morrison (Alfred A. Knopf)
• “The Yellow House” – Sarah M. Broom (Grove Atlantic)
• “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays” – Damon Young
(HarperCollins Publishers)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author
“American Spy” – Lauren Wilkinson (Random House)
• “I Am Dance: Words and Images of the Black Dancer” – Hal Banfield (Author),
Javier Vasquez (Illustrator), (Literary Revolutionary)
• “More Than Pretty: Doing The Soul Work To Uncover Your True Beauty ” – Erica
Campbell (Howard Books)
• “Such A Fun Age” – Kiley Reid (Penguin Publishing Group)
• “The Farm” – Joanne Ramos (Random House)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography
• “Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System” – Cyntoia Brown-Long (Atria Books)
• “Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward” – Valerie Jarrett (Viking Press)
• “More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)” – Elaine Welteroth (Viking Press)
• “My Name Is Prince” – Randee St. Nicholas (HarperCollins Publishers)
• “The Beautiful Ones” – Prince (Author), Dan Piepenbring (Edited by), (Random
House)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional
• “Inspire Your Home: Easy, Affordable Ideas to Make Every Room Glamorous” – Farah Merhi (Tiller Press)
• “Letters to the Finishers (who struggle to finish)” – Candace E. Wilkins (New Season Books)
• “More Than Pretty: Doing the Soul Work that Uncovers Your True Beauty” – Erica Campbell (Howard Books)
• “Vegetables Unleashed” – José Andres (HarperCollins Publishers)
• “Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, And Opportunity For Black Women In America” – Karen Arrington (Author), Joanna Price (Illustrator), Sheryl Taylor (Forward) (Mango Publishing)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry
• “A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland” – DaMaris B. Hill (Bloomsbury Publishing)
• “Felon: Poems” – Reginald Dwayne Betts (W.W. Norton Company)
• “Honeyfish” – Lauren K. Alleyne (New Issues Poetry and Prose)
• “Mistress” – Chet’la Sebree (New Issue Poetry and Prose)
• “The Tradition” – Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children
• “A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation” – Barry Wittenstein (Author), Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator), (Penguin Random House)
• “Hair Love” – Matthew A. Cherry (Author), Vashti Harrison (Illustrator), (Kokila)
• “Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment” – Parker Curry (Author), Jessica
Curry (Author), Brittany Jackson (Illustrator), (Aladdin Books)
• “Ruby Finds a Worry” – Tom Percival (Bloomsbury Publishing)
• “Sulwe” – Lupita Nyong’o (Author), Vashti Harrison (Illustrator), (Simon &
Schuster, BFYR)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens
• “Around Harvard Square” – C.J. Farley (Akashic Books)
• “Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight to Walk” – Meredith Davis
(Author), Rebeka Uwitonze (Author), (Scholastic Inc.)
• “Hot Comb” – Ebony Flowers (Author), Ebony Flowers (Illustrator), (Drawn and
Quarterly)
• “I’m Not Dying with You Tonight” – Gilly Segal (Author), Kimberly Jones (Author),
(Sourcebooks Fire)
• “The Forgotten Girl” – India Hill Brown (Scholastic Inc.)

MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES
Outstanding Motion Picture
• “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
• “Harriet” (Focus Features)
• “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
• “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
• Chadwick Boseman – “21 Bridges” (STX Films)
• Daniel Kaluuya – “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
• Eddie Murphy – “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
• Michael B. Jordan – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Winston Duke – “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
• Alfre Woodard – “Clemency” (Neon)
• Cynthia Erivo – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
• Jodie Turner-Smith – “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
• Lupita Nyong’o – “Us” (Universal Pictures)
• Naomie Harris – “Black and Blue” (Screen Gems/Sony Pictures)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
• Jamie Foxx – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Leslie Odom, Jr. – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
• Sterling K. Brown – “Waves” (A24)
• Tituss Burgess – “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
• Wesley Snipes – “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
• Da’Vine Joy Randolph – “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
• Janelle Monáe – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
• Jennifer Lopez – “Hustlers” (STX Films)
• Marsai Martin – “Little” (Universal Pictures)
• Octavia Spencer – “Luce” (Neon)

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in Motion Picture
• Cynthia Erivo – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
• Jodie Turner-Smith – “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
• Marsai Martin – “Little” (Universal Pictures)
• Rob Morgan – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Shahadi Wright Joseph – “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture
• “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
• “Harriet” (Focus Features)
• “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
• “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
• “Clemency” (Neon)
• “Dolemite is My Name” (Netflix)
• “Luce” (Neon)
• “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
• “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” (Netflix)

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television or Film)
• Alfre Woodard – “The Lion King” (Walt Disney Studios)
• Donald Glover – “The Lion King” (Walt Disney Studios)
• James Earl Jones – “The Lion King” (Walt Disney Studios)
• Lupita Nyong’o – “Serengeti” (Discovery Channel)
• Sterling K. Brown – “Frozen II” (Walt Disney Studios)

DOCUMENTARY CATEGORIES
Outstanding Documentary (Film)
• “Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool” (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
• “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)
• “The Apollo” (HBO)
• “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” (Magnolia Pictures)
• “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality” (HBO)

Outstanding Documentary (Television – Series or Special)
• “Free Meek” (Prime Video)
• “Hitsville: The Making of Motown” (Showtime)
• “Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé” (Netflix)
• “Martin: The Legacy of A King” (BET Networks)
• “ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke” (Netflix)

WRITING CATEGORIES
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
• Cord Jefferson – “The Good Place” – Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy (NBC)
• Gloria Calderon Kellett, Mike Royce – “One Day at a Time” – Ghosts (Netflix)
• Jason Kim – “Barry” – Past=Present x Future Over Yesterday (HBO)
• Karen Gist, Peter Saji – “Mixed-ish” – Let Your Hair Down (ABC)
• Trevor Noah – “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” – Steve King’s Comments
Meet Trevor Noah: Racism Detective (Comedy Central)

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series
• Ava DuVernay, Michael Starrbury – “When They See Us” – Part Four (Netflix)
• Damon Lindelof, Cord Jefferson – “Watchmen” – The Extraordinary Being (HBO)
• Nichelle Tramble Spellman – “Truth Be Told” – Monster (Apple TV+)
• Nkechi Okoro Carroll – “All American” – Hussle & Motivate (The CW)
• Pat Charles – “Black Lightning” – The Book of Secrets: Chapter One: Prodigal
       Son (The CW)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television)
• Cas Sigers-Beedles – “Twas the Chaos Before Christmas” (BET)
• Melissa Bustamante – “A Christmas Winter Song” (Lifetime)
• Patrik-Ian Polk – “Being Mary Jane” (BET Networks)
• Suzan-Lori Parks – “Native Son” (HBO)
• Yvette Nicole Brown – “Always a Bridesmaid” (BET Networks)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film)
• Chinonye Chukwu – “Clemency” (Neon)
• Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham – “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Doug Atchison – “Brian Banks” (Bleeker Street and ShivHans)
• Jordan Peele – “Us” (Universal Pictures)
• Kasi Lemmons, Gregory Allen Howard – “Harriet” (Focus Features)

DIRECTING CATEGORIES
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
• Anya Adams – “GLOW” – Outward Bound (Netflix)
• Justin Tipping – “Black Monday” -7042 (Showtime)
• Ken Whittingham – “Atypical” – Road Rage Paige (Netflix)
• Randall Winston – “Grace and Frankie” – The Pharmacy (Netflix)
• Shaka King – “Shrill” – Pool (Hulu)

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series
• Ava DuVernay – “When They See Us” – Part Four (Netflix)
• Carl H. Seaton, Jr. – “Snowfall” – Hedgehogs (FX Networks)
• Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – “Power” – Forgot About Dre (STARZ)
• Debbie Allen – “Grey’s Anatomy” – Silent All These Years (ABC)
• Jet Wilkinson – “The Chi” – The Scorpion and the Frog (Showtime)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television)
• Codie Elaine Oliver – “Black Love” (OWN)
• Janice Cooke – “I Am Sombody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story (Lifetime)
• Kenny Leon – “American Son” (Netflix)
• Rashid Johnson – “Native Son (HBO)
• Russ Parr – “The Bobby Debarge Story” (TV One)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film)
• Chiwetel Ejiofor – “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” (Netflix)
• Jordan Peele – “Us” (Universal Pictures)
• Kasi Lemmons – “Harriet” (Focus Features)
• Mati Diop – “Atlantics” (Les Films du Bal Presente en Co-Production avec
Cinekap et Frakas Productions en Co-Production avec Arte France Cinema et
Canal+ International for Netflix) 
• Reginald Hudlin – “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Film & Television

‘They’ve Gotta Have Us’ Is a Lesson On Black Cinema We All Needed!

written by Kimberly Jones

They’ve Gotta Have Us created by director Simon Frederick is a three-part docuseries that tells the story and history of black filmmakers and actors in Hollywood. Now available on Netflix, it is just in time for Black History Month. The series provides the audience with an in-depth behind the scenes look at the many struggles that black artists and filmmakers faced and the events that led to Black Hollywood as we know it today.

The documentary opens with a scene from the 2017 Oscars ceremony in which the winner for Best Picture was incorrectly announced as La La Land but the trophy belonged to Moonlight. It was this moment that stuck out to creator Simon Frederick; this pivotal moment and win for Moonlight (which had an all-black cast) had been overshadowed by this mistake. Once again black artists were taking a backseat to their colleagues and not given the full moment of celebration that they deserved.

Image: Getty

Frederick shot the docuseries in three parts. The first focused on the pioneers of the black film industry. Harry Belafonte gives some of his very candid accounts of how difficult it was to become a lead in a film and to also be a love interest of a white actor. Belafonte broke industry barriers in the movie Island in the Sun. When the film came out in 1957, it was not accepted for the interracial relationship displayed on the big screen. Other pioneers who paved the way include Hattie McDaniel who in 1939 became the first black actor to win an Oscar for her role in Gone with the Wind. In 1964 Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win Best Actor in a lead role for Lillies in the Field. The late Diahann Carroll, who was also featured in the documentary, received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for the 1974 film Claudine. The movie highlighted the stories and daily struggles of black women on screen for the first time.

Among the innovators of Black film are Robert Townsend, Spike Lee, and the late John Singleton. After growing exhausted of the roadblocks he had faced in the industry, Townsend produced his first independent film Hollywood Shuffle in 1987 – a comedy about the stereotypes black actors faced in the film industry. Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee took the industry to the next level with his groundbreaking films including She’s Gotta Have It (1986), School Daze (1988) and Malcolm X (1992). John Singleton’s coming of age film Boyz n the Hood earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Director making him the first black and youngest person to have received a nomination for directing. Most of the time the producers had a small budget and often struggled to get funding, but their films had box office success. This sent a clear message to Hollywood – black films were in demand and people wanted to see them. The innovators of the 80s and 90s had a very different approach to filmmaking. By taking matters into their own hands these producers created timeless masterpieces that generations to come could enjoy.

British actor John Boyega became the first black actor to be cast as a lead in the Star Wars franchise – Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Boyega’s role, however, was not accepted well by everyone. In China, for example, on the promotional posters for the film, Boyega’s picture was reduced significantly in size compared to his counterparts. Boyega didn’t let that discourage him, however, he knew he got the leading role based on his talent, not skin color.

Selma (2014), directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo, was a historical drama based on the 1954 voting march from Selma to Montgomery. The film focuses on Martin Luther King Jr, the significant role he and his associates along with his wife Coretta Scott King played in the march, as well as the events that led to it. Before DuVernay got on board as the director, the films’ focus was on President Lyndon B. Johnson, which really did not make sense to Oyelowo and other cast members. DuVernay used her vision to tell a more detailed story of the black people involved in this historic day. This fact goes back to the running theme of the documentary – the importance of having black writers, producers, and directors to tell black stories.

‘They’ve Gotta Have Us’, Netflix

Moonlight (2016) written and directed by Barry Jenkins followed the journey of a young black boy into adulthood. Throughout the film, the main character deals with a drug-addicted mother, struggles with sexuality and searches for his rightful place in the world. Moonlight opened a new chapter for black films – it was the first movie with an all-black cast and also the first LGBTQ film to win an Oscar for Best Picture. Jenkins is considered a trailblazer because of the doors he opened for future artists.

The future of black cinema seems to be bright largely because black artists have taken creative control over the black stories being told in Hollywood. With more up-and-coming black writers and directors black films are starting to get the recognition they deserve. There are more doors opening for creators to tell their stories. Actor Jessie Williams made a valid point about the creative freedom white artists have. He stated, “I lost my dog, here’s a little independent movie of me going to find it and how it reminds me of my mother. And it’s not even good.” Williams’ point was that all artists have the right to create their art, regardless of race. They’ve Gotta Have Us provides a necessary history lesson, shows how far the black film industry has come and excites with what is yet to come.

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Film & Television

Gugu Mbatha-Raw Joins Marvel Series ‘Loki’ On Disney+

According to Deadline, The Morning Show star will play “a prominent character, described as the female lead.” Mbatha-Raw joins fellow cast members Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Owen Wilson and Sophia Di Martino.

In the new series, Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki, the Asgardian god of mischief and Thor’s younger brother. The events of the show will take place in a post-Avengers: Endgame world.

The British actress’ upcoming projects include Misbehaviour, a comedy-drama, starring Keira Knightley and Jessie Buckley, and Come Away, starring Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo.

 Loki will be reportedly released in 2021.

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Film & Television

‘Altered Carbon’: Official Trailer and Key Art Released

Netflix has released the brand new trailer for Altered Carbon season 2 in which Avengers star Anthony Mackie portrays the main character, Takeshi Kovacs, the only surviving soldier of a group of elite interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order more than 300 years in the future. Check out the official key art below.

Season two begins 30 years after the epic conclusion of Season One and finds Takeshi Kovacs (Mackie), the lone surviving soldier of a group of elite interstellar warriors, continuing his centuries-old quest to find his lost love Quellcrist Falconer (Renée Elise Goldsberry). After decades of planet-hopping and searching the galaxy, Kovacs is recruited back to his home planet of Harlan’s World with the promise of finding Quell. Haunted by his past and responsible for investigating a series of brutal murders, Kovacs is stunned to discover his new mission to solve the crime and his pursuit to find Quell are one and the same. With the help of his loyal A.I. Poe (Chris Conner), Kovacs must now partner with new allies to outwit his enemies and find the truth: Who is Quellcrist Falconer?

The new season of Altered Carbon will drop on February 27.

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