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The First Week of the Pan African Film Festival Brings Fourth Love, Justice and Action

By Naomi K. Bonman

The first week of Pan African Film Festival is a wrap with just a few more days to go. Last week we seen a plethora of great films from a variety of genres ranging from comedy-romance to social justice to action. The screenings all took place at the Cinemark Rate 15 Theatres at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza located at 3650 Martin Luther King Blvd in Los Angeles.

On Thursday, February 8, the festival opened by with ‘Love Jacked’ featuring Amber Stevens West, newcomer Shamier Anderson, Mike Epps, Lyriq Bent, Marla Gibbs, Angela Gibbs, Demetrius Grosse and Nicole Lynn. ‘Love Jacked’ is a romantic comedy written by Robert Adetuyi and Linda Eskeland, and directed by Alfons Adetuyi. The film follows the love story, or lack thereof, of Maya (played by Amber Stevens West) who takes a trip to Cape Coast, South Africa where she ends up falling in love with after capturing the attention of a handsome African man. Only to later be disappointed by what was supposed to be the most exciting time of her life. Upon returning back home to Los Angeles tries to make things seem glorier than what they are to impress the likeness of her father Ed (played by Keith David). 

“If any dad that has daughters you understand that you just want the best for her,” Keith explained on why he believes this movie is one to see. “And if you have a daughter like mine that you sometimes butt heads with they don’t always agree with you in that moment, so you have to have words about it. But in time they come around.”

On Friday, February 9, premiered a special screening of “Behind the Movement”.  We all heard and know the story about Rosa Parks; however, many do not know it on a deeper level. Most assumed because as it has been stated throughout books and news articles was that Rosa was tired. But she was not tired, but fed up with the treatment towards our people. 

“I always knew who Rosa Parks was and that she was the one who sparked this movement,” Meta Golding explained when asked how it felt to play such an iconic character in history. “This film was really educational for me about Mrs. Parks and Raymond Parks, her husband who she always described as the first real activist that she ever met because he was an activist in the 30s. When I found out I got the role I was initially terrified because I knew how much Mrs. Parks meant to everyone, not just in this country, but around the World, so it was really daunting. But then it became a tremendous responsibility to attempt to try and tell her story and because the power of film can become what we think of us the power of history.”

She continues, “I felt a tremendous responsibility, but more than anything a tremendous honor to step into the shoes of this giant.”

On Wednesday, February 14, the center piece film was none other than a special screening and premiere of “Black Panther”.

For more information on PAFF and the screenings, please visit www.paff.org.

The Paley Center LA Celebrates African American TV Showrunners

By Naomi K. Bonman

These last few years have been booming with African American writers in television. From ‘Empire’, ‘Star’, ‘Power’, ‘Dear White People’, ‘Insecure’, ‘Claws’, and ‘Luke Cage’, just to name a few, these shows all have one thing in common—they are ran by an African American.

To commemorate Black History Month, the Paley Center for Media Los Angeles gathered prominent, Black showrunners, creators and executive producers to discuss the current state of the industry. I was able to attend the panel discussion which I found to be very enlightening and informative. The panelists consisted of: Cheo Hodar Coker, Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner, ‘Luke Cage’; Courtney A. Kemp, Creator/Executive Producer/Showrunner, ‘Power’; Janine Sherman Barrois, Executive Producer/Showrunner, ‘Claws’; Karin Gist, Executive Producer/Showrunner, ‘Star’; Prentice Penny, Creator/Showrunner, ‘Insecure’; and Justin Simien, Creator/Executive Producer, ‘Dear White People’. The moderator for the evening was Nischelle Turner, Entertainment Tonight host.

The discussion ranged from topics surrounding the increase of more African Americans and show business who are calling the shots to the content that we choose to put out there. It is refreshing to see more of our stories told BY US.

“We can now say that ‘I want more people of color as directors’,” Barrois explains. “’I want more people of color in editing jobs. You don’t have to say if they send you all white writers, “I’m not hiring all white writers’, why would I do that?”

The industry is now becoming more diverse to where opportunities are expanding for people of color. No more are we only considered as a possible option.

To listen to the discussion, please click below:

Listen to discussion here

“Only When We Unite Can We Conquer!”

Lou Coleman-Yeboah

Lou Coleman-Yeboah

By Lou Coleman-Yeboah

You see, the phrase “United We Stand… Divided We Fall” has a lot of truth and merit to it! Christ gave us even greater insight when He said in [Matthew 12:25] a house divided, a city divided and a nation divided cannot stand. The reality is that God shows us a powerful principle concerning this truth. It is found in [Genesis 11:6] concerning the Tower of Babel. God said because of their “Unity” there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish if they put their minds to it. Now, if these were ungodly people without the prophetic purpose of God at heart, what could this mean to a people fulfilling the call of God on their lives and pursuing the purposes of God’s Kingdom. Ahh!

Unity a wonderful word, but requires deliberate action. That’s why I appeal to you today as Paul did in [1 Corinthians 1:10] when he said, “let us all agree with one another in what we say and that there be no divisions among us, but that we be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Paul exhort us to unite and conquer by majoring on the majors. You see, when we walk in unity we can accomplish supernatural achievements. We can walk on Water together. It’s a beautiful and powerful thing.

Unity: being one; combining into one; something that is whole; harmony [Psalm 133]. It is only when we come together in one mind and one accord in Jesus that we will have power and will be able to move in Spirit and Truth toward using our spiritual authority that God gave us—that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.  Unity the key to seeing souls saved… Unity the key to living in the Power of God… Unity the key to being used by God…

Let’s make the right choice based on an understanding of truth. Disunity causes great threat to our survival as a people. Without unity everything begins to crumble, becomes weakened, paralyzed, and ineffective. We are called to divide and conquer. This will only happen when we major on the majors, “We as a people.” We must be unified. We must strive and remain as one. There is Power in Unity!

Black History Month!  “All For One and One For All”.