Cast of ‘Selma’ Wears ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts to NYC Premiere

Just one more reason to love Ava DuVernay and the cast of “Selma:”

Here’s David Oyelowo, E. Roger Mitchell, Wendell Pierce, Omar Dorsey, John Lavelle, Stephan James, Kent Faulcon, Lorraine Toussaint, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson and Colman Domingo standing on the steps of the New York Public Library, wearing shirts that read “I Can’t Breathe.” They held up their arms as a sign for “don’t shoot.”

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Marcus Mariota Becomes First Polynesian Heisman Winner

University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota became the first person of Polynesian descent to win college football’s most coveted prize. Mariota walked away with the Heisman trophy on Saturday night, the annual award that honors the best players in the college game. 

The Hawaiian-born Mariota gave a heartfelt acceptance speech:

Mariota told Polynesian children to use his Heisman win as motivation and to “strive for greatness.”

Read more at 

D’Angelo Dedicates New Album to Resistance in Ferguson, Occupy Wall Street

It’s been less than 24 hours since D’Angelo dropped his long-awaited new album “D’Angelo and the Vanguard: Black Messiah,” but it’s already a classic. It’s the first project from the singer in nearly 15 years and, as reported in GQ a couple years ago, is the culmination of years of hardship in the singer’s life. During a listening session for the album last Friday, a lyric pamphlet laid out the album’s inspirations:

[“]Black Messiah[“] is a hell of a name for an album. It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us. It’s about the world. It’s about an idea we can aspire to. We should all aspire to be a Black Messiah.

It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them. Not every song is politically charged (though many are), but calling this album “Black Messiah” creates a landscape where these songs can live to the fullest. “Black Messiah” is not one man. It’s a feeling that, collectively, we are all that leader.

You can stream the album below:

Three Takeaways from Remezcla’s Best of 2014 Lists

Three Takeaways from Remezcla's Best of 2014 Lists

Remezcla has published a series of lists illustrating 2014’s best songs, best music videos, best music trends, best Instagram accounts and best breakout artists. That’s a lot of bests—but well worth the look.

The first pick is gonna require an explanation for those of us who don’t speak Spanish or aren’t familiar with the most hilarious of song requests in 2014. The hook to Corona’s 1993 hit song is: “This is the rhythm of the night.” The thing is, those lyrics could easily sound like, “Esas son Reebok o son Nike?” in Spanish, which translates to, “Are those Reeboks or Nikes?” At some point this year, a Spanish-language listener called the song request in to a station—thinking the song was about a pair of sneakers. His misheard lyrics song request was honored with a good chuckle.

“Son Reebok o son Nike?” went on to live a life of its own in music. So Remezcla included it on its list of favorite music trends of the year. Here’s one remix from Los XL:

No Reeboks of Nikes on the best song list—but check out Princess Nokia’s “Bikini Weather Corazón en Afrika” from the list:

And finally, don’t forget muralist Alexis Diaz’s gorgeous Instagram account:

acrilico y tinta china sobre canvas 2x2 metros para #current @arsenalmontreal Montreal, Canada.

A photo posted by Alexis Diaz (@alexis_diaz) on

Check out all of Remezcla’s 2014 lists—which feature nearly 100 songs, videos and artists you should know about—on their site. It’s seriously worth it. 

Watch J. Cole Perform ‘Be Free’ on Letterman

J. Cole, fresh off of the release of his third album “2014 Forest Hills Drive,” paid a visit to “The Late Show With David Letterman” last night. He treated the audience to a live performance of his song “Be Free,” the track he recorded and dedicated to Mike Brown. The song doesn’t appear on the new album, but it was timely nonetheless given all the recent protests for Brown and Eric Garner. Watch.

(h/t Okayplayer)

A Visual Guide to Global Outrage Over Mike Brown and Eric Garner

Twitter recently released this geotagged map that showed the where, and how often, people across the globe tweeted #BlackLivesMatter, #ICantBreathe and #HandsUpDontShoot. Those phrases became the rallying cries for millions of people who went online — and took to the streets — in anger after the failures to indict police officers in the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

See more at HuffPo.

First Black Woman Nominated for Best Director Golden Globe: Ava DuVernay

The accolades just keep coming in for Ava DuVernay and the cast of “Selma.” The director was just nominated for a best director Golden Globe. “We’re very, very thrilled that the film was recognized,” she told ABC in an interview after learning of the nod. “What a morning!”

And, as Tambay Obensen pointed out at Shadow and Act, she’s making history:

I should note that, with her nomination, Ava DuVernay makes history, becoming the first black woman director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director in the Motion Picture category. She’s on her way to doing the same, when the Oscar nominees are announced next month. Previous nominees of African descent in this category include Steve McQueen for “12 Years a Slave,” and Spike Lee for “Do the Right Thing.” It’s painfully incredible that between the years of 1990 to 2014 (24 looooongyears), there wasn’t a single black director (male or female) nominated for Best Director in the Motion Picture category! 

“Selma” also earned a nomination in the best motion picture drama category. See a full list of all the nominations here.

Shonda Rhimes: ‘I Haven’t Broken Through Any Glass Ceilings’

Shonda Rhimes: 'I Haven't Broken Through Any Glass Ceilings'

Shonda Rhimes spoke at The Hollywood Reporter Women in Hollywood Breakfast on Wednesday about being black and female in Hollywood. Her comments were later published on Medium and, in her speech, she declared that she hasn’t broken through any glass ceilings to get to where she is:

If I’d broken the glass ceiling, that would mean I would have made it through to the other side. Where the air is rare. I would feel the wind on my face. The view from here — way up here where the glass ceiling is broken — would be incredible. Right? So how come I don’t remember the moment? When me with my woman-ness and my brown skin went running full speed, gravity be damned, into that thick layer of glass and smashed right through it? How come I don’t remember that happening?


How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?

So that when it was my turn to run, it didn’t even look like a ceiling anymore. I mean, the wind was already whistling through — I could always feel it on my face. And there were all these holes giving me a perfect view to other side. I didn’t even notice the gravity, I think it had worn itself away. So I didn’t have to fight as hard, I had time to study the cracks. I had time to decide where the air felt the rarest, where the wind was the coolest, where the view was the most soaring. I picked my spot in the glass and called it my target. And I ran. And when I hit finally that ceiling, it just exploded into dust.

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Watch the Only Live Recording of John Coltrane Playing ‘A Love Supreme’

Watch the Only Live Recording of John Coltrane Playing 'A Love Supreme' Play

From Esquire:

John Coltrane recorded A Love Supreme 50 years ago, December 9, 1964, with Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner, and Jimmy Garrison. The album, a four-part suite widely considered to be one of the greatest in jazz history, was released in 1965. As NPR notes, Coltrane presented this record as “a spiritual declaration that his musical devotion was now intertwined with his faith in God.” Coltrane performed the album in its entirety but a single time, in Antibes, France, on July 26, 1965. Watch the first 14 minutes of that performance below.

Sikh Cartoonist Stars in Facebook Video, Racists Go Wild

Cartoonist Vishavjit Singh, known to many as Captain Sikh America, was recently featured in a Facebook Tips video.

But in just 28 seconds, his brown skin seems to have infuriated some users, who spewed plenty of hate in the comments.


Singh wrote a thoughtful response at Salon in which he “share[d] with [Facebook users] the brief arc of my life, which might help lay to rest our simplistic judgment of people at first sight.” Read more

(h/t Angry Asian Man)

TAGS: Facebook Sikhs

SAG Surprises? ‘Selma’ Shut Out of Nominations

SAG Surprises? 'Selma' Shut Out of Nominations

Amid all the praise for “Selma,” not one actor from the film was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award. The list of nominees was released on Wednesday, and while no one from Ava DuVernay’s latest film is up for a prize, there are several actors of color who’ve got a chance.

From Shadow and Act:

- Cicely Tyson picked up a nomination for her performance in the Lifetime movie, “The Trip to Bountiful,” which was adapted from the play - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

- Viola Davis is nominated for her performance in “How to get Away With Murder” - Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series 

- Uzo Aduba picked up a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, for “Orange Is the New Black”

- And “Get on Up” is nominated in the Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture category

See the full list of nominees here

Watch Kendrick Lamar’s Personal Ode to Compton

Watch Kendrick Lamar's Personal Ode to Compton Play

Kendrick Lamar teamed up with Reebok for a commercial that looks at how the rapper’s hometown of Compton inspires his music. It’s directed by filmmaker Anthony Mandler.

(h/t Hypetrak)

Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers Wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-Shirts

Kobe Bryant and members of the Los Angeles Lakers added their names to the growing list of pro athletes who’ve worn “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warm-ups in support of Eric Garner.

But in his post-game comments, Bryant said that the issue isn’t just about race. “I think it would be a serious disservice to limit this to a race issue,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a justice issue.”

He continued: “You’re kind of seeing a tipping point right now, in terms of social issues. It’s become at the forefront right now as opposed to being a local issue,” he continued. “It’s really something that has carried over and spilled into the mainstream, so when you turn on the TV and you watch the news or you follow things on social media, you don’t just see African-Americans out there protesting.”

Bryant also put his demonstration in context with the actions taken by several other professional athletes in recent days. “I think it’s us supporting that movement and supporting each other,” said Bryant after the game. “The beauty of our country lies in its democracy. I think if we ever lose the courage to be able to speak up for the things that we believe in, I think we really lose the value that our country stands for.”

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Diego Luna to Star in TV Mini-Series About El Salvador’s Civil War

Diego Luna to Star in TV Mini-Series About El Salvador's Civil War

Diego Luna, who recently directed this year’s Cesar Chavez biopic, is now working on a television mini-series about The Salvadoran Civil War:

From Remezcla:

So far the word on the show, titled Cortando el Puenta (Cutting the Bridge), is that it will focus on the murder of sevreal high-profile Jesuit priests during the Salvadoren Civil War. It will follow a journalist who is covering the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and later, the murder of Universidad Controamericana Scholars, including Ignacio Ellacuia. 

The Salvadoran Civil War lasted nearly 13 years. Somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 people died, while another 8,000 were disappeared and hundreds of thousands more were displaced. 

The new series will begin filming in El Salvador early next year.

(h/t Remezcla)

Watch: A Quick Ferguson Make-Up Tutorial

Watch: A Quick Ferguson Make-Up Tutorial Play

Duke University comedian Lawrence Nemeh is showing audiences that beauty, like justice, is skin deep. Watch.

TAGS: Ferguson video

Critics Are Already Swooning Over Ava DuVernay’s ‘Selma’

Critics Are Already Swooning Over Ava DuVernay's 'Selma'

It doesn’t hit theaters until Christmas Day, but critics are already in love with “Selma,” the civil rights drama directed by Ava DuVernay. On Monday, the American Film Institute released its best-of-the-year list of filmslist and included “Selma” among its 11 choices.

The African-American Film Critics Association also lauded the film, placing it atop their list of the year’s best films. It also named DuVernay for its best director prize, while the best actor prize went to David Oyelowo (who plays King) and John Legend’s and Common’s song “Glory” won the their pick for best song.

“Our members found the output of cinema released this year to be a truly insightful mix of titles that reflect the world we live in. The members of AAFCA were especially pleased with this range of storytelling supported by the studios that gave voice to the many sides of the experience of black people in America and around the world,” AAFCA president Gil Robertson said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We had a lot to pick from this year from BelleDear White PeopleTop FiveTimbuktu and Selma and hope the industry will continue to provide a platform for diversity on the big screen.”    

(h/t The Hollywood Reporter)

LeBron James, Brooklyn Nets Wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts in Front of Royals

Prince William and Catherine, Dutchess of Cambridge visited Barclay’s on Monday night to watch LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Brooklyn Nets. And they were treated to a lot more than just a basketball game.

James and several members of the Nets wore T-shirts that read “I Can’t Breathe” in support of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who was choked to death by the NYPD in July. A grand jury’s decision not to criminally charge the officer involved in Garner’s death has sparked days of protests in cities across the country.

Black athletes have been taking their protests to the playing fields in the weeks since grand juries declined to bring charges against officers in both Mike Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths.

Watch the SNL Ferguson Skit That Never Aired

“Saturday Night Live” tried to tackle Ferguson in this skit, which didn’t air because of time. Check it out.

There’s a New Nina Simone Film Coming to Netflix

There's a New Nina Simone Film Coming to Netflix

Academy Award nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus is at the helm of a new look at Nina Simone called, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” RadicalMedia, the company that’s producing the film, is teaming up with Netflix to make the film available for streaming in 2015, according to Shadow and Act.

“I’m thrilled that Netflix has embraced the incredible story of Nina Simone and partnered with RadicalMedia on this film,” said director Garbus. “For each of her millions of fans, Nina feels like a treasured secret. With ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?,’ I’m excited to help bring her passion, her music and her story to the world.”

The film appears to be a documentary that, in addition to looking at Simone’s singing career and social activism, will also feature never-before-heard recordings. It will also include interviews with Simone’s close friends and musical collaborators, in addition to her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, who’s gone public about her sometimes-tumultuous relationship with her late mother, who died in 2003.

Remembering Nina Simone on film has been a continuously difficult endeavor. Zoe Saldana, who’s noticeably lighter skinned than Simone, was cast to play a lead in a narrative film whose director later sued the studio that was due to release it. Simone’s daughter later criticized the film for relying on a love story that never happened.

Lisa Simone Kelly is listed as an executive producer of this latest project, so it’s unlikely to have those same problems. 


John Legend Hires Food Truck to Feed NYC Protesters

John Legend Hires Food Truck to Feed NYC Protesters

Looks like John Legend has thrown himself into the political moment. Last week, he released a protest song with Common called “Glory.” And now, there’s news that he and wife Chrissy Teigen hired a food truck over the weekend to feed New York City protesters rallying around the non-indictment of an NYPD officer is Eric Garner’s videotaped death:

From Okayplayer via Vanity Fair:

Employing the power of social media to get the word out, John Legend tweeted the locations of the trucks and the link for fans to listen to his new collaborative song “Glory” featuring Common for the upcoming film Selma - a picture from director Ava DuVernay that brings the movement behind the 1965 Voting Rights Act to the silver screen.

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