Breaking Brooklyn

Release Date:   12/1/17; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  PG-13
Director:  Paul Becker
Studio:   Opposite Field Pictures
Cast:  Louis Gossett, Jr. (Miles Bryant), Vondie Curtis-Hall (Greg Bryant), Nathan Kress (Albee Davis), Jack Noseworthy (Christian), Brian Tarantina (Randy Davis).

Story:  A homeless young dancer and his brother are taken in by an old Broadway showman when their father is arrested.  When one of the young men learns that their new guardian could lose his theatre, they enter a dance contest to save it.  Source:  Screendaily.

Trailer:

King Of The Dancehall

king-of-the-dancehallRelease Date:  9/11/16; Toronto International Film Festival
Genre:   Drama/Music
Rating:  NR
Running Time:  100 mins.
Director:  Nick Cannon
Cast:  Nick Cannon (Tarzan Brixton), Donovan ‘Dada’ Davidson (Colin Harper), Whoopi Goldberg (Loretta Brixton), Louis Gossett, Jr. (The Bishop), Beenie Man, Busta Rhymes (Allestar ‘All Star Toasta’).

Story:   Nick Cannon’s feature film musical centers on a young man from Brooklyn named Tarzan (Cannon) who hatches a plan centered on marijuana to pay for his mother’s medical bills.  Tarzan travels to Jamaica where he meets up with his cousin (Busta Rhymes) and falls into the Jamaican dancehall music scene.  The fast-paced soundtrack includes Beenie Man, who also narrates the film.  Dancehall is a love letter to Jamaican music complemented with amazingly choreographed dance sequences that amount to physical poetry.  Source(s):  Indiewire; IMDB.

 

The Book of Negroes

The Book of Negroes Movie StillRelease Date: 2/16/15 (Made-for-TV)
Genre: Drama
Rating: Not Available
Director: Clement Virgo
Studios: Conquering Lion Pictures, Out of Africa Entertainment

Cast:  Aunjanue Ellis (Aminata Diallo), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Sam Fraunces), Ben Chaplin (Captain John Clarkson), Louis Gossett, Jr. (Daddy Moses), Greg Bryk (Robertson Appleby), Jane Alexander (Maria Witherspoon), Allan Hawco (Solomon Lindo), Rick Roberts (General Washington), Lyriq Bent (Chekura Tiano), Stephan James (Cummings Shackspear).

Details:  According to Shadow and Act, the novel’s synopsis reads: abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves— Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.” This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own.

Aunjanue Ellis stars as Aminata Diallo, while Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lou Gossett, Jr. play Sam Fraunces and Daddy Moses respectively.  Gooding’s Fraunces is a freed slave from Jamaica who runs his namesake tavern (Fraunces Tavern), participates in several historical events, and later moves to Mount Vernon to run George Washington’s household.  Daddy Moses is Moses ‘Daddy’ Wilkinson or Old Moses, an African American slave, and Methodist preacher in Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone. Though blind and crippled, Wilkinson led a band of runaway slaves to freedom in 1776.  Also Lyriq Bent is playing Chekura, who, as a young boy, made the crossing with Aminata when she was sold into slavery, is separated from her, and later reunites with her when they are adults, and have a child together.

The adaptation of the novel will be a 6-hour TV mini-series which will air on BET Networks in the U.S. in February 2015 and CBC in Canada on January 7, 2015.

Source(s): Shadow and Act; IMDB.

Trailer:

 

Robeson

Paul RobesonStatus:  Development Status Unknown as of April 24, 2017
Release Date: TBA
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  Not Available
Studio:  Four Stars International/Equinox Films
Director:  Vondie Curtis-Hall
Cast:  David Harewood (Paul Robeson), Louis Gossett, Jr. (W.E.B. Dubois), Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Eslanda Goode Robeson).

Details:  Variety reports that Vondie Curtis-Hall will direct the upcoming Paul Robeson biopic with shooting set for early 2014.

“Robeson” has been in development since early 2013 with South African director Darrell Roodt attached to helm and David Harewood on board to play the lead. Roodt is no longer attached and producers have opted to read other actors for the role.

Robeson, born in 1898, was a singer, actor and orator from the 1920s through the 1950s best known for his  acting in “Othello” and his singing of “Ol’ Man River.” Robeson’s political activism brought him to the attention of Senator Joseph McCarthy, leading to the revocation of his passport for eight years despite his contributions as an entertainer to the Allied forces during WWII. (Source: Variety).