Our Kind of People

Release Date:  9/21/21 – Series Premiere; Fox
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  NR
Directors:  Tasha Smith, Keesha Sharp

Studio(s):  20th Century Fox Television, Fox Entertainment, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Propagate, TheGistofIt Productions, Fox Network.

Cast:  Yaya DaCosta, Morris Chestnut, Alana Bright, Joe Morton, Nadine Ellis, Lance Gross, Rhyon Nicole Brown, Kyle Bary, Debbi Morgan, L. Scott Caldwell.

Story Inspired by Lawrence Otis Graham’s provocative, critically acclaimed book, “Our Kind of People: Inside America’s Black Upper Class,” the series takes place in the aspirational world of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a historical stronghold where the rich and powerful black elite have come to play for over 50 years. Our Kind Of People follows a strong-willed, single mom as she sets out to reclaim her family’s name and make an impact with her revolutionary haircare line that highlights the innate, natural beauty of black women. But she soon discovers a dark secret about her own mother’s past that will turn her world upside-down and shake up this community forever. The show is a soapy, thrilling exploration of race and class in America and an unapologetic celebration of black resilience and achievement.  Sources:  hypeabout.com; fox.com (official site).


Faith Under Fire

Release Date:   1/27/18; Lifetime
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  N/A
Director:  Vondie Curtis-Hall
Studio(s):  Topanga Productions Inc., Lifetime Television
Running time:  85 mins.
Cast:  Toni Braxton (Antoinette Tuff), Trevor Morgan (Michael Hill), Yaya DaCosta (Kendra), David Manzanares (Benito ‘Benny’ Medina), Jesse C. Boyd (Jim Sterling), Mell Bowser (Curtis Madison), Malik Yoba (Lt. Franklin), Kelvin Han Yee (Harlon Moline).

Story:   Seven time Grammy Award winner Toni Braxton stars as Antoinette Tuff, a struggling single mom from Georgia who heroically averted a tragedy, saving hundreds of lives when she convinced a deranged gunman who stormed an elementary school to surrender. On August 20, 2013, shortly after arriving to work at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Georgia, Antoinette the school’s bookkeeper, was in the front office when Michael Hill (Trevor Morgan), a young man with a history of mental illness, snuck in, armed with an AK-47 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.  As the school went into lockdown, Antoinette was left alone with Michael, who repeatedly threatened to kill everyone.  Showing enormous courage and empathy, along with nerves of steel, Antoinette convinced Michael to surrender by using her own life struggles to connect with him. Antoinette’s faith in God guided her through the toughest moments of her life, ultimately preparing her for that fateful day.  Source:  Lifetime.



Release Date:  5/3/19
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  R
Running Time: 108 mins.
Studio:  King Bolden
Director:  Dan Pritzker

Cast:  Gary Carr (Buddy Bolden), Erik LaRay Harvey (Bartley), Yaya DaCosta (Nora Bolden), Reno Wilson (Louis Armstrong), Karimah Westbrook (Alice Bolden), JoNell Kennedy (Ida Bass), Robert Ri’chard (George Baquet), Serena Reeder (Mavis), Michael Rooker (Pat McMurphy), Ian McShane (Judge Perry).

Story:  The film is set in 1931 New Orleans, when Buddy Bolden, a long-time asylum inmate, hears the strains of a Louis Armstrong concert drift into his room from the radio in a nearby nurse’s station. The sound evokes memories of his long-forgotten youth as a ground-breaking cornetist, when he played and improvised his way to the forefront of a new musical style, ultimately creating what would evolve decades later into jazz.

Ian McShane will portray Bolden’s nemesis the politician Judge Perry, with Erik LaRay Harvey as Bolden’s manager Bartley, Yaya DaCosta as wife Nora Bolden, Michael Rooker as Perry’s enforcer Pat McMurphy, and Reno Wilson as Louis Armstrong.

Cornet player Charles “Buddy” Bolden was born on September 6, 1877. At the age of 30, he was committed to an asylum where he died in 1931. The only recording he made was never found. He invented Jazz.  BOLDEN reimagines the compelling, powerful and tragic journey of an unsung American hero and the social context in which his revolutionary music was conceived. Weaving together fragmented memories of his past, BOLDEN invites you to experience a world fueled by passion, greed and musical genius, in early 1900s New Orleans.  Source: Blackfilm.com.



Details:  On November 14, 2014, NOLA.com reported, Bolden, director Dan Pritzker’s long-gestating biopic on jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden — the so-called “first cornet king of New Orleans” — is coming home to the city in which Bolden made his name. After filming in Atlanta and North Carolina, the production is packing its bags for the Crescent City. Pritzker’s self-financed passion project first went before cameras in 2007 and then underwent a first round of reshoots in 2009. This latest round is expected to see Pritzker reshoot approximately half of his film.

Part of the reason for the extensive reshoots is because actor Anthony Mackie, who portrayed Bolden in the first two shoots, was unavailable for this latest round of shooting. He is being replaced in the cast by actor Gary Carr. Other cast members include Ian McShane, who will take over for Jackie Earle Haley in the role of Bolden nemesis Judge Perry; and Nelsan Ellis, who will play Bolden’s band manager. Jazzman Wynton Marsalis composed the film’s score.

The talented but troubled Buddy Bolden is among the more colorful characters in New Orleans’ jazz history. A huge draw in his hometown of New Orleans in the early 1900’s, his “Funky Butt (Buddy Bolden’s Blues)” is among his more celebrated numbers, one widely covered by other musicians. Tragically, Bolden’s career — and his life — was cut short by a struggle with mental illness. By the time he was 30, he was institutionalized at the Louisiana State Insane Asylum, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He died at 54 years old of what is described as alcohol-related psychosis and was buried in a pauper’s cemetery in New Orleans.

His musical influence, however, long outlasted him. No known recordings of his work exist, and facts about his life have become intermingled with myth. Still, with his improvisation-heavy blend of ragtime and blues — which he performed with his Bolden Band under the name King Bolden — he is widely recognized as an originator of the musical form that would become jazz.

Source(s): NOLA.com (adapted); Movie Insider; IMDB. Photo Credit: NOLA.com.

Mother of George

Mother of GeorgeRelease Date: February 4, 2014 (DVD); September 13, 2013 (Theatrical, Limited)
Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories;
Parts and Labor
Director: Andrew Dosunmu
Cast: Isaach De Bankolé (Ayodele Balogun)
Danai Gurira (Adenike Balogun)
Yaya DaCosta (Sade Bakare)
Anthony Okungbowa (Biyi Balogen)
Bukky Ajayi (Ma Ayo Balogun)
Angélique Kidjo (Ma Nike)

Story: Adenike and Ayodele are a Nigerian Couple living in Brooklyn. Following the joyous celebration of their wedding, complications arise out of their inability to conceive a child – a problem that devastates their family and defies cultural expectations, leading Adenike to make a shocking decision that could either save her family or destroy it. (Synopsis taken from Oscilloscope Laboratories, official site).