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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

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

Black Ivy Financial Group Trains Youth Entrepreneurs, Helps Them Expand Their Business

Genesis presents her business plan to a panel of mock investors at the 3rd Annual Black History Expo in San Bernardino. Her business is currently up and running. (Photo credit: Naomi K. Bonman)

Genesis presents her business plan to a panel of mock investors at the 3rd Annual Black History Expo in San Bernardino. Her business is currently up and running. (Photo credit: Naomi K. Bonman)

Entrepreneurship is becoming more relevant, especially among our youth. Youth are seeing the liquidity and benefits of being your own boss. Not only do you set your own hours, but you are in control of how much money you make. There’s no worrying about not working enough hours during the week to make what you made the following week or having your salary tapped to where you can’t make anymore more money, even if you did work an extra ten hours during the week.

However, although this sounds amazing because it is, the steps in starting and a maintaining a business can be quite difficult in the beginning stages. This is why programs, such as Black Ivy Financial Group were created; to assist and train youth on the tools that they need in order to succeed in their business.

Black Ivy Financial Group was founded by Bridgett Myrell. She and her team of experienced licensed professionals specialize in providing a series of financial literacy workshops for parents and students that incorporate the A-G requirements in Math, Language Arts, History, and Critical Thinking. They introduce the students to basic financial terms such as budgeting, debt management, saving and investing, college planning and how to be a savvy consumer.

BIFG was at the 3rd Annual Black History Expo in san Bernardino on Saturday, February 3, where they trained a group of students in how to write a business plan and how to pitch that business plan in 60 seconds to potential investors.

For more information about the workshops or BIFG, please email Myrell at admin@blackuvyfg.com.