What have been the keys to success for these five black actors?

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There are demands that come along with being in the public eye. The weight of celebrity is often dismissed because of the glitz associated with the lifestyle, but there are a wealth of potential mine fields to navigate. Everyone's perspective is different, obviously. But these five black actors offered their take on how they approach their careers, handle stardom and address hot-button issues under the glare of the public eye.

Craig Robinson (This Is the End, Brooklyn Nine-Nine): "In Hollywood, you’ve got to grow a thick skin,” he says. “There were times when I just knew I had the audition. I auditioned for this movie and at the end of the audition the director held my hand in the air and said ‘The winner is!’ After that—I never heard from them again. I was like ‘Dang. Welcome to Hollywood.’ The movie didn’t get made, but I’d heard ‘They’re looking at Chris Rock for that.’ I was like ‘No! They can’t be! I’m the winner!’ Wait till everything is signed on the dotted line and wait until the check is cashed. Then you can celebrate.”

Laz Alonso (The Mysteries of LauraWhy Did I Get Married?): "The people that you see in pictures on Instagram and Twitter, the majority of those people I’ve had in my life since before my career. They don’t see me as an actor. They see me as a friend. These are people that I consider mentors or confidants or friends or business associates. They’ve been with me through my ups and downs and many different facets of my life. New people are going to see you from the lens they meet you in. And the new people I meet, I try my best to have a very discerning mindset regarding who’s who. You get fooled sometimes but that usually comes to light fairly quickly. But for the most part, I’ve found that I can keep my life normal as long as I keep my circle of friends true from Day One. My Day Ones are always with me."

Romany Malco (Think Like A Man, Top Five): "I just want to help people get out of this indoctrination. I want them to get off of this hamster wheel. Acting gives me the opportunity to speak to kids, give my perspective and maybe they’ll say ‘Damn, he just changed my whole game.’ That’s why it’s worth it to me. They could tell me to be a stand-in all day, if I get to do that I’ll be that stand-in."

Anthony Mackie (Ant-Man, Black Or White): "We’re all bred and raised a certain way. We’ve all had certain b.s. put into us. The question we have to ask ourselves: are we going to take the homophobia, racism and sexism that we’ve been taught and we’ve learned—are we going to pass that on to our children? Or are we going to let that become extinct and let our children grow up and paint their own slate instead of imposing our views on them?"

Michael Ealy (About Last Night, The Perfect Guy) : "I thought that when I got married and as soon as I had a kid, I was going to take fewer chances. I thought I was going to be like ‘I gotta get this check. I got a wife. I got a kid, I’m gonna get this steady paycheck.’ But ironically, I’ve been more creative since my son was born and I’ve been taking bigger chances since my son was born. I’m approaching my career in ‘bet big or go home’ [way.] And I want him and my wife to be proud of the choices I make and approaches I take to my career. I want them to see my chocies as fearless now. That’s where I am. In ten years, it might be different. In five years, it might be a different story. I might go back to wanting to get the check! [laughs] But right now, when my son is old enough, I want him to be proud of the choices his dad made."


‘Straight Outta Compton’ cast gets real with ‘rolling out’ TV


In advance of their highly anticipated theatrical release, the cast of ‘Straight Outta Compton’ visited rolling out TV for a serious round of straight talk.


Viola Davis is badass in 'Suicide Squad'

(shutterstock)
(shutterstock)

Viola Davis has played in some major heavy-hitters within the past few years, and her star continues to rise. She’s just wrapped up her first season staring in the wildly popular ABC drama, “How to Get Away With Murder,” now everyone is talking about her role in what may be one of the most highly anticipated films of 2016, Suicide Squad.

The David Ayers-directed film follows comic supervillians Task Force X, also known as the Suicide Squad. The team of prisoners make a deal with the US government in order to reduce their sentences, and agree execute a black ops mission.

Davis plays Amanda Walker, who runs the squad. The character is well-known in the comic book world and was played by Angela Bassett in Green Lantern.

Davis told The Hollywood Reporter that she was most excited to portray Walker because she’s been a fan of comic books since she was a little girl, CinemaBlend reported.

“As a comic book and Wonder Woman fan, I love the whole DC Comics universe,” she remembered. “I traded comic books as a kid so all of that appeals to me. When you dream about being an actor as a kid, that’s what you dream about. That’s like play acting: being the superhero, getting the gun; it plays into that fantasy.”

The movie, which has a budget of $100 million, also stars Will Smith as Batman’s adversary, Deadshot, and Jared Leto as the infamous Joker.

Suicide Squad is set for an Aug. 2016 release date.

 


Jada Pinkett Smith is Miami's Walk of Fame first woman ever honored

Magic Mike XXL Miami Walk of Famy by Thaddaeus McAdams
Magic Mike XXL Miami Walk of Famy by Thaddaeus McAdams

Jada Pinkett Smith alongside her Magic Mike XXL co-stars – Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, and Adam Rodriguez – were honored in Miami on Wednesday, June 24. They were inducted into the Miami's Walk of Fame. Smith is the first-ever female to be inducted. Magic Mike XXL is in theaters on July 1, 2015, just in time for a

(Photo Credit: ExclusiveAccess.Net)


Filmmaker Joseph Chopin has an affinity for the 'unscripted'

Image Courtesy of Joseph Chopin
Image Courtesy of Joseph Chopin

Our role models in the film and entertainment industry have done a unique job in enticing me for my entire life by creating an everlasting curiosity about the movie business that has not yet died in my spirit. I hope that I will love film as much as I do today, forever. When I see a young man or a young woman who desires to be in the film industry, and they are going through “the unknown” phase in their personal life, I see and understand their desire to create a world different than the one they are in. It is this desire that inspires me to create. The desire of trying to get back into the world I created for myself is a very difficult, says Joseph Michael Chopin, a movie producer. "Most of my life I have grown up in Benton Harbor, Michigan."

"I have lived in Benton Harbor, Michigan for over the last 10 years of my life, and although it is awesome to live right next to Lake Michigan, and the summers here are beautiful, the actual city of Benton Harbor does not go through very many changes annually like cities such as Chicago, which stands directly across the lake. Because of the low activity level here in Benton Harbor, I decided to use my resources to create my company 99 Years Studios, LLC. When I was 13, my mother moved me and my two brothers to Benton Harbor Michigan from Queens, NY. At the time, she was working on her doctoral degree in Psychology at the University of Andrews in Berrien Springs Michigan. At that age I knew clearly that I wanted to be a movie producer because of my love for movies like Free Willy and Casper The Friendly Ghost."

On what's important for him to capture when he's behind the camera...

"I enjoy capturing moments that are unscripted. Sometimes I will keep the camera rolling between takes to try and catch little moments of love, laughter, tears or hatred from a subject. I enjoy working with people that have never acted before, or that have no desire to be an actor at all – I have practiced this quite a bit throughout my career because of the awkward feeling the person gives off on camera – It is almost like the person is trying to do it right, but does not really know if they are going to succeed or not."

For more of this interview click here:

Filmmaker Joseph Chopin: ‘Life is forever’

 


Directing duo Coodie and Chike on why Blacks are capable of producing more than music videos

Coodie and Chike
Photo Source: Coodie & Chike

Directing duo Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah became fast friends when they met at MTV and later business partners, co-founding Creative Control, a production and talent development company. ‘Coodie & Chike’ made their directorial debut with Kanye West’s “Through the Wire” video in late 2003. Since, they’ve worked with John Legend, Gil Scott Heron, Erykah Badu and many more.

Coodie, a prodigy of Chicago’s South Side, remembers a childhood when he couldn’t go anywhere because there were gangs, the Mickey Cobras and the Black Stone Rangers, and White racists at every corner. Chike, a native of New Orleans, moved to New York after graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to start a career in motion design and graphics.

In late 2012, ESPN 30 for 30 Series debuted their documentary Benji, which recalls the tragic act of violence against a talented basketball player, Ben Wilson, who was senselessly murdered in 1984 at age 17 on the streets of South Side, Chicago.

Coodie & Chike share their perspective….

Why is the documentary Benji important for the time we live in?

Chike: Professionally, we have elevated from the ranks of only producing music videos and progressed to feature films. We need to ask executive producers and directors in Hollywood to look at our projects we created and how well we’ve executed them. We are showing you we are capable of producing feature films and executing at a high level. We are going to do it regardless of whether there’s and investment in it and we are going to keep doing it until we do it ourselves. We just want people to see the potential that we have to actually reach our goals of doing feature films.

As creators and critical thinkers, what would you like to ask of the community so we can evolve as one human race?

Coodie: I am asking the community to think before you move and think before you act.

Chike: I am asking the community to pull together, look around each other and help each other out. I think the most important thing a community can do is realize that there’s strength in numbers and figure out a way to come together and help each other out so that everybody can be on top.

Watch an interview with Coodie and Chike here.


‘Life’s Essential’s With Ruby Dee’ documentary to premiere at American Black Film Festival

Hollywood Royal Couple Share Hard-Won Life’s Lessons on Love, Art and Activism

On Sunday, June 22, Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee, a documentary about the beloved artists-activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee by their grandson – director Muta’Ali – will have its world premiere at the American Black Film Festival.

At Film Life’s 18th Annual American Black Film Festival, the film—part tribute, part history lesson and part coming-of-age story—give viewers an intimate look into the remarkable lives of the couple many consider the all-time king and queen of Black Hollywood: Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

Stunned by the death of his grandfather, Muta’Ali moves to New York to be able to spend more time with his grandmother and to get answers to some of his burning questions. The film, produced by Jevon “NJ” Frank, follows Muta’Ali as he delves into chapters of their lives that span the 20th and 21st centuries, posing probing questions to his grandmother as well as to celebrity friends, costars and fellow activists of the star couple in his search for his own life’s path. Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Hill Harper, Samuel Jackson, Spike Lee, Sonia Sanchez and Dr. Cornel West are among the notables who offer insights into and memories of the couple’s love, art and activism. Davis weighs in, too, speaking to his grandson through never-before-seen footage and memorabilia from the Davis-Dee family archives.
Along the way, Muta’Ali lays bare the rich history of Davis and Dee, who played pivotal roles in the civil rights struggle through their social activism, while maintaining illustrious careers in the arts and a full family life.

“To admire and speak highly of my grandparents is easy, but to apply their principles in my own life has proven less so. There is self-discovery in the vast space between what I look up to—their 56 year marriage, their socially conscious career choices, and their bravery in the struggle—and what I may be willing to practice,” said Muta’Ali.

Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee will be screened on Sunday, June 22 at 1:50 pm at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Theatre, 333 West 23 Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan. (Take the A, C, E or 1 to 23rd Street.) Tickets are $12.00 and can be purchased by visiting www.abff.com. For more information on the film, visit http://rubydee.lifesessentialsdocs.com/.


Actor Brian White challenges media to share more stories about blacks in Hollywood

During a December photo shoot with celebrity photojournalist DeWayne Rogers at his home in Woodland Hills, Calif., actor Brian White didn't mince words. The one topic that really caused his passion meter to spike was when the conversation switch to the portrayal of blacks in Hollywood. He was even unafraid to take rolling out and other urban publications to task for their coverage.

“We have so many incredible stories that are happening, and that are not being told,” he pointedly stated. “Why aren’t more people talking about talented actors like Nicole Beharie and Michael B. Jordan? These are phenomenally talented people, who deserve our attention, and they only scratch the surface. Our magazines can’t be scared to break new artists, and cover those who are on the verge of greatness. That’s what needs to be put in the forefront — that’s what needs to be talked about, instead of recycling the same people over and over again. We need to show the world that our talent base is deep, and full of both incredible people and great stories that deserve to be heard,” he commands.

Interview and Images by: DeWayne Rogers
Styled by:Victor Michel
Grooming by:Jazzmene Ellison
Motorcycle and wardrobe compliments of Harley-Davidson: 2014 Harley-Davidson Night Rod Special featured

 


'About Last Night' star Michael Ealy covers rolling out wearing Versace

While much of the attention is being paid to Michael Ealy’s impending Valentine Day release, About Last Night, co-starring Kevin Hart and Regina Hall, the talented actor stopped by rolling out‘s studio to create an amazing new photo spread. The photos, shot by rolling out creative director DeWayne Rogers, coincide with his latest cover with the magazine. Style by wardrobe stylist Kris Cole, Ealy served notice that he also knows his way around a still camera. Check out the amazing photos and find out what he's wearing below.

Scott James Jacket (Bloomingdale’s: The Men’s Store)
Navy blue Turtleneck (Bloomingdale’s)
Salvatore Ferragamo belt (Bloomingdale’s)
Shoes by Gucci (style name: Betis Glamour)
Gucci leather carryall
Navy trousers by Versace (Saks)

(Scene 1: Tuxedo by Versace (Saks) and Tuxedo shirt by Jos. A Bank)

 

 


Actress Tika Sumpter proves she's unforgettable


Story by Stereo Williams
Photography by DeWayne Rogers
Photography Assistant: Mike Cooke
Makeup: Jessica Smalls
Hair: Hadiiya Barbel
Wardrobe: Jason Rembert

Tika Sumpter has been in front of the camera for the better part of a decade. The model-turned-actress is one of the stars of the action-comedy Ride Along, the Ice Cube, Kevin Hart film that kick-starts her 2014. It comes on the heels of what turned out to be a breakthrough year for the native New Yorker, but don’t think for a second that the beautiful star is basking in the glow of newfound fame or looking forward to “It Girl” status in Hollywood. Quite the contrary; Tika Sumpter is here to work.

“I think one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned is to put your head down and work,” she says. “Don’t look at other people and compare yourself. Just do the work. Because when the opportunity is there, you have to be ready. Make sure your craft is refined and you’re constantly working on it. Plow through the weeds. Go to the auditions and go to the meetings and be on time. Stop looking to the left or the right. Keep your head down and keep moving.”

On double standards...

“Life is messy. People make decisions. Sometimes art imitates life,” adds Sumpter. “And I think, as people of color, we have to understand that we have stories, too, that need to be told. And real or not, that makes a good show and good characters and makes people watch.”

“Some women are not really lifting up other women in these arenas. Which is really sad, because finally we’re getting some kind of voice,” she says of the criticism many black women have of these shows. “Some of the criticism is even louder than ever. But for the most part, I feel that a lot of people are positive about these shows and are happy to see themselves and it’s fun to watch. And it’s not just black people watching the shows—there are other people watching, as well. So I’m grateful for the masses that are positive about it and are entertained.”

Read more on rollingout.com.