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Watch Danai Gurira & Demetrius Shipp in First Look Clip from ‘All Eyez On Me’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

In celebration of Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 14, CodeBlack has released a first look clip of Danai Gurira and Demetrius Shipp as Afeni and Tupac Shakur in the upcoming biopic “All Eyez On Me.” The two are sharing a tender moment as mother and son in a scene that coincides with the lyrics to his classic Mother’s Day tune, “Dear Mama.”  Check it out below:

As previously reported, “All Eyez on Me” tells the true and untold story of the prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist—Tupac Shakur—from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices of his generation.  Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing at the age of 25.  The film also stars Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett, Lauren Cohan as Leila Steinberg, and Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls. “All Eyez On Me” is directed by Benny Boom.

“All Eyez On Me” opens in theaters June 16
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RC Exclusive - Ent

Official Trailer + Poster for Tupac biopic, ‘All Eyez on Me’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

The official trailer and poster for the highly anticipated Tupac Shakur biopic, “All Eyez on Me,” dropped today and we are so here for it.  The film stars Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Shakur and was directed by the iconic—Benny Boom.

“All Eyez on Me” tells the true and untold story of the prolific rapper, actor, poet and activist from his early days in New York City to his evolution into being one of the world’s most recognized and influential voices of his generation.  Against all odds, Shakur’s raw talent, powerful lyrics and revolutionary mind-set propelled him into becoming a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow long after his passing at the age of 25.

The film also stars Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett, Lauren Cohan as Leila Steinberg, Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls and Danai Gurira as Afeni Shakur.

Check out the trailer + poster below:

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WATCH 2nd Trailer for Tupac Shakur Biopic ‘All Eyez On Me’ (NSFW)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Tupac Shakur‘s death, a new trailer has been released for his highly anticipated biopic, “All Eyez On Me.”

As previously reported, the film centers on the life of the charismatic yet controversial rapper, poet, actor and political activist, who shot to fame with “2Pacalypse Now.” His politically charged lyrics, inspired by his parents’ activism as Black Panthers in the 60s & early 70s, condemned governmental intrusion in black communities. Tupac’s increased participation in the East Coast-West Coast Rap rivalry became well documented and avidly followed by his fans. He was gunned down a street corner in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996 and died 6 days later. His murder was never solved.

“All Eyez on Me” stars Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as Tupac along with Danai Gurira as his mother Afeni Shakur. Kat Graham stars as Jada Pinkett, Dominic L. Santana portrays Suge Knight, Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls, Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones, Lauren Cohan as Lelia Steinberg, Grace Gibson as Faith Evans and  Harold House Moore as Dr Dre. The film is directed by Benny Boom and is executive produced by Afeni, who passed away in May at the age of 69. The film expected to open in 2017.

Check it out below and tell us what you think!

https://youtu.be/3ZlXHAbX3TY

Photo Credit: Blog.screenweek.it

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RC Exclusive - Music

WATCH 1st Trailer for Tupac Shakur Biopic ‘All Eyez on Me’ (VIDEO)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

Check out the new trailer for the long awaited Tupac Shakur biopic, “All Eyez on Me.” The film features Demetrius Shipp Jr. as the iconic rapper along with Danai Gurira as Afeni Shakur, Kat Graham as Jada Pinkett-Smith, Dominic L. Santana as Suge Knight, Annie Ilonzeh as Kidada Jones, Jamal Woodard as Biggie Smalls, Grace Gibson as Faith Evans and Harold House Moore as Dr. Dre. There will also be appearances by Keith Robinson, Cory Hardrict and Hill Harper.

According to the film’s IMDB page, “All Eyez on Me” centers on the life of the charismatic yet controversial artist—Tupac Shakur. The rapper, poet, actor and political activist, shot to fame with “2Pacalypse Now,” lauded for its seminal underground vibe and still an inspiration for major artists today. Tupac’s politically charged lyrics, inspired by his parents’ activism as Black Panthers in the 60s & early 70s, condemned governmental intrusion in black communities. Tupac’s increased participation in the East Coast-West Coast Rap rivalry became well documented and avidly followed by his fans. On September 7, 1996 he was gunned down on a street corner in Las Vegas, where he died 6 days later. His murder was never solved.

“All Eyez on Me” is directed by Benny Boom and is executive produced by Afeni, who passed away in May at the age of 69.  The film opens on November 11, 2016.

Photo Credit: NewsCult.com

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CASTING NEWS!

Posted by | Ray Cornelius 

“True Blood” star Rutina Wesley has been cast in OWN’s upcoming drama “Queen Sugar.” She will portray Nova Bordelon, a New Orleans journalist and activist whose life is changed when her sister Charley returns home from L.A. to help her run the family’s sugar cane farm. The series is based on the book of the same name by Natalie Baszile and will be written and directed by Selma’s Ava DuVernay.  [SHADOW & ACT]

Versatile actors Jamie Hector and Kat Graham are joining the cast of the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez On Me.” Hector will portray Mutulu Shakur, the stepfather of the slain rapper while Graham will portray actress and close friend Jada Pinkett-Smith. The film chronicles Shakur’s rise to superstardom and features Demetrius Shipp Jr. as Tupac, Danai Gurira as his activist mother Afeni Shakur, Jamal Woolard as rapper Biggie Smalls, and Dominic L. Satana as Suge Knight. “All Eyez On Me” is directed by Benny Boom and is currently being shot in Atlanta, GA. [DEADLINE]

Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx will star as Little John in “Robin Hood:Origins.” The role is being described as “a war-weary veteran of The Crusades who starts out as distrusting of Robin Hood before warming up to him in what is being called a gritty take on the legendary story.” Foxx joins Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Eve Hewson as Maid Marian. “Robin Hood: Origins” is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s company Appian Way Productions. [BLACK ENTERPRISE]
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Recap

#FINALLY…Long Awaited Tupac Biopic to begin filming this summer

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Indie Wire is reporting that Tupac Shakur’s biopic, that is to be directed by John Singleton, will begin shooting this June. According to an interview the film’s producer, Randall Emmett did with the Collider, a lot of progress has been made toward the project and things are finally moving forward.

“Script is great and we’re ready to make the movie…We’re just prepping the logistics.”

Emmett also confirmed that the film will include music from Tupac’s catalog thanks to the involvement of his mother, Afeni Shakur.  She also serves as one of the project’s executive producers.

Emmett also stated that the film will try to stay true to the rapper’s life, highlighting those events that helped shape his professional career and personal life.

“We want to be real and raw about the things and the gangster life that he was involved in, growing up in the way that he grew up […] But we also want to honor the talent that he had because he really was, in my opinion for sure, one of the greatest talents that ever lived in music and hip-hop.”

So far no one has been cast in the film.

Stay tuned…

Photo Credit: CelebrityWallPaper.ws

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Recap

Saul Williams & Tonya Pinkins to star in Tupac Shakur Musical, ‘Holler If Ya Hear Me’

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Casting is finally complete for Kenny Leon’s upcoming hip-hop drama, Holler If Ya Hear Me.  The non-biographical Broadway show is based on the musical and cultural influence of the late rapper,Tupac Shakur.

Headlining the production is award-winning spoken word artist, singer and actor Saul Williams.  The 42-year-old poet  is best known for his work in the award winning 1998 film, Slam.  He will be joined by Award winning-actress Tonya Pinkins, who won a Tony award for her work in Jelly’s Last Jam.  Other cast members include some of Broadway’s brightest stars like Christopher Jackson, Ben Thompson, John Earl Elks, Joshua Boone, Dyllon Burnside and Saycon Sengbloh.

As previously reported, Holler If Ya Hear Me  is a story about friendship, family, revenge, change, hope and the inner city lives struggling for peace against the daily challenges they face.  Through the poetry of one of the 20th century’s most influential and culturally prominent voices, we are given a window into realities of the streets that is still relevant today.

The show is written by Todd Kreidler and produced by the rapper’s mother Afeni Shakur.  The musical begins preview performances May 29 at Broadway’s Palace Theatre with opening night scheduled for June 19.

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Photo Credit: vegs.ro

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Tupac Shakur biopic is set to film in Atlanta

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The life and times of iconic rapper Tupac Shakur will be coming to the big screen after all.  The long-awaited biopic will begin filming in Atlanta in February 2014 and is said to be directed by Antoine Fuqua and produced by Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur.

According to Deadline, the film is being co-financed by Emmett/Furla/Oasis Film and  Morgan Creek Productions and has a $45 million dollar budget. Producers will also have full rights to explore Tupac’s musical catalog which includes his classic albums, 2Pacalypse Now, Me Against the World, All Eyez on Me  and Thug Life: Volume 1.

This is second project centered on the fallen rap star. Last year, we reported that Atlanta director, Kenny Leon was working on a Broadway musical called, Holla If Ya Hear Me.   According to Leon, the show is not autobiographical but is inspired by Tupac’s music.

“I’ve been in communication with Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother. And she has always wanted something on a Broadway stage that would do justice to his artistry and music. So, I found a way to deliver his music. This is not an autobiographical. It’s not about Tupac’s life. It’s not about East Coast versus West Coast. It’s just a musical that’s been inspired by his music.”

No word yet on who might play the coveted role in the film version.  Apparently they haven’t decided on whether Tupac will be played by an established young actor or rapper or a fresh new face. However, acclaimed actor Anthony Mackie has played Tupac in an Off-Off Broadway production of Up Against the Wind  and in the 2009 film Notorious.  They may want to consider him or Fruitvale Station’s  Michael B. Jordan.

RC will keep you posted on both projects as they continue to develop.

Who would you cast in the role of Tupac Shakur?

Photo Credit: thedwarf.com.au

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Up Close with JASMINE GUY (VIDEO)

Written by | Ray Cornelius

It has been said, “That a prophet is received everywhere else but in his or her own city,” but for Jasmine Guy she has all but been the exception to that rule.

Since returning to her Atlanta roots 4 years ago, Jasmine Guy has been creating minor miracles on the stage at the Alliance Theatre, on the small screen in television shows like The Vampire Diaries  and in the director’s chair for Kenny Leon’s True Color’s Theatre Company.

Is this the ‘second coming’ for the award winning actress-dancer-singer?

Well, according to fellow Atlantan and good friend, Kenny Leon, it is and we better get ready!

Jasmine Guy recently sat down with us to talk about her work in Atlanta, her newly established Jasmine Guy Ace Foundation and what it was really like playing Whitley Gilbert on A Different World

RC: You are the Producing Director for Kenny Leon’s True Color’s Theatre Company. How did that come about? 

JG: Yes! Kenny and I have worked on so many plays together. Either he was directing me or he asked me to direct one of the True Color’s productions. Finally he said, “Ok, it’s time for you to have a title since you’re doing so much for the company.” I love working with True Colors. They have become my little Atlanta family.

(Jasmine Guy with Afemo Omilami in the True Colors production of Broke-ology, 2011)

RC: When you and I met four years ago, you were very involved with the Obama campaign. Are you supporting his re-election this year?

 JG: Yes! In fact, I told them, “Call me!” I don’t know what the issues will be this go round. But we’ve got to get people out to vote.  I think that might be the biggest issue because people will assume that he is going to win and not vote. That’s what happened to us in the House. We didn’t show up to vote. We have to continue to support the president. He can’t do it alone. He needs us to just show up and vote like we did when we elected him.

RC: Let’s talk about The Jasmine Guy Foundation…

JG:  Yes! The Jasmine Guy Ace Foundation is for arts, culture and education within our the African-American community—not reinventing the wheel. I want to support pre-existing efforts that are done all over Atlanta , from charter schools that have lost a music teacher to little kids that want to learn dance and need the money. There are so many people and organizations that just need funding. I am really passionate about putting the arts back into our school systems because that’s how I was trained, I attended public school.

RC: “A Different World”  turns 25 this year? Any plans to celebrate?

JG: Yes! It’s a really big year for me. Whitley is 25 and Jasmine is 50! So I’m having a really big fundraising event for my foundation in July to help celebrate. It’s called the Jasmine Guy Roast and Toast. I am inviting all of the show’s cast members and giving them permission to either roast or toast me. Now some of them may choose to toast me. (LOL) But I have a feeling the some of them will remind me of things that I am not going to remember. A few moments I might have gone off! The day Denzel Washington came on the set and I didn’t know!  So, yes I’ve invited all of them and I can’t wait to see them.

RC:  When you look at “A Different World” now. What goes through your mind?

JG: Well a couple of things amaze me like the fortitude of the show. I don’t think you could have told me then at age 25 that it would still have some kind of impact on the world and our community. A lot of kids say, “I went to school because of A Different World and I watch the reruns.” It still has a relevance that I didn’t really appreciate at the time I was doing it.

RC: What is your favorite episode?

JG:  My favorite all time episode is Rudy (Keshia Knight-Pulliam) and the Snow Queen. Rudy comes to the dorm to visit Denise Huxtable and Whitley has to babysit for her. Because that was the first season and I hadn’t been given that much direction other than to come in, drop the bomb, slam the door and leave. Which was fine with me; I was happy. But this was my first time finding how Whitley would act with a little kid. And Keisha Knight Pulliam was such a sweetie. She literally followed me around in and out of character. Played with my hair and brushed it. And it was the first time that Whitley could show another side. I love that episode.

[youtube id=”bpmXGkBVcmo” width=”600″ height=”350″]

RC: What was it like playing Whitley?

JG:  Whitley was a viper. It was fun. First of all, it was such a broad choice of an accent. But I wanted that job and I had auditioned three times and hadn’t gotten it. So I went in as something further away from me and did it on purpose. And I really didn’t think that ‘Whitleys’ existed. I thought it was just a television creation. But I’ve met a few ‘Whitleys’ since then. Some of them right here in Atlanta. (LOL)

RC:  We saw her evolve over time. Was that part of your decision?

JG:  Well, actually the biggest creative shift for the show was bringing Debbie Allen on as producer. If you look at the first season, there was no Debbie. So there was a drastic shift in the direction of the show and even in Whitley.

Debbie being a graduate of Howard University was like, “This is not real Black college life.” And so, she insisted that the writers come down and visit Historically Black College University’s like Spelman and Morehouse . I mean she made huge creative changes. One of which she said, “And everybody is taking out all them weaves!” (LOL) She also wanted The Pit and the character, Mr. Gaines. She said, “There was always some kind of uncle or aunt or mother that looked over you. Yall ain’t just running amuck!” Debbie also brought flavor to the show like, the frat show…the South African show…the date rape show…the AIDS show. And all of these shows, she had to fight for. So that’s a credit to her.

RC: What’s next for Jasmine Guy?         

JG:  Right now I’m writing a play for the Alliance Theatre based on the book I wrote about Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur. I’ve also learned to say, yes and just be open. I’m living in the now and accepting opportunities as they come. And they keep coming!

Photo Credit: Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theater Company