By Bill Vaughan, Entertainment Writer
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, the 24-time Grammy winner, is unveiling her latest directorial project, “Black Is King,” July 31 on Disney+. The new film, based on the music of “The Lion King: The Gift,” will premiere two weeks after the one-year anniversary of the theatrical release of Disney’s global phenomenon, “The Lion King.”
It is said to reimagine the lessons from the 2019 blockbuster for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns.
A year in the making, “Black Is King” features an impressive list of diverse voices on its creative team, including directors Emmanuel Adjei (“Shahmaran”), Blitz Bazawule (“The Burial of Kojo”), Pierre Debusschere (“Mine” and “Ghost” videos for Beyoncé), Jenn Nkiru (“Black To Techno”), Ibra Ake (creative director and producer on “This is America” video for Childish Gambino), Dikayl Rimmasch (“Cachao,” “Uno Mas”), Jake Nava (“Crazy in Love,” “Single Ladies,” “Partition” videos) and co-director and longtime collaborator of Beyoncé, Kwasi Fordjour.
Filmed in various locations, the cinematography captures beautiful people and landscapes across continents, starting in New York, then Los Angeles, South Africa, West Africa, London and Belgium. From all those places came an extraordinary cast of actors and dancers that influenced the film’s rich tableau and vibrant choreography.
Special guests in the 85-minute movie include models Aweng Ade-Chuol and Adut Akech, supermodel Naomi Campbell, Tina Knowles-Lawson, author and Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, singer Kelly Rowland, Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z, among others.
New subscribers (who weren’t already on board for “Hamilton”) can sign up to view for $6.99 at www.disneyplus.com.
PEEP THIS: Oscar and Emmy-winner Louis Gossett Jr. (“An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Roots,” “Watchmen”) gives another award-worthy performance in “The Cuban,” coming to Laemmle’s Virtual Cinema (www.laemmle.com/film/cuban) and select online houses nationwide beginning July 31.
The life-affirming musical drama, which was the audience favorite at the 2020 Pan African Film Festival, tells the story of an enigmatic Alzheimer’s patient and the dedicated young attendant who unexpectedly form a life-changing bond.
Ana Golja (“Degrassi: Next Class”), Oscar-nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (“House of Sand And Fog,” “Star Trek Beyond”) Lauren Holly (“Dumb and Dumber,” “NCIS”) and Giacomo Gianniotti (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Station 19”) round out director Sergio Navarretta’s stellar multi-cultural cast.
TASTY QUIP: “When I go to spring training I dress with all the coaches – before I get in the club they always ask me ‘when are you gonna sing for us’ and I just tell them ‘well, set it up!’ I was like a whole field away from them, doing the anthem. With the virus, and with my age, that’s the way it had to be!” – Grammy winning country singer, former Negro League player and Texas Rangers co-owner CHARLEY PRIDE on opening the team’s season and new Glove Life Field ballpark
CLIPPETTES: Despite the cancellation of “Empire,” we may not have seen the last of Cookie Lyon as Taraji P. Henson has signed a new production deal with Fox that includes a spinoff …
Charlize Theron is hosting a special drive-in screening of her Academy Award-winning film, “Mad Max: Fury Road” with co-star Nicholas Hoult to benefit the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. at The Grove on Level 8. Proceeds will benefit Theron’s work championing young people living in Africa. For ticket inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org …
Also that evening, Mavis 80: A Newport Folk Revival commemorating the milestone birthday of legendary gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples is streaming. The concert, benefiting the Newport Festival Foundation’s education initiatives, was recorded live at L.A.’s The Theatre at Ace Hotel, and features Ben Harper, Trombone Shorty, The War & Treaty, Deva Mahal, Joe Henry and many more. Visit: www.fans.com/livestream/20200731-mavis-80/ for details …
Former NBA all star Baron Davis is behind the “All Rise Dunk Challenge,” a global socially distanced competition he and his team of influencers are judging from submitted videos for a $5,000 prize. Send your best moves into www.dunksociety.com to win …
Chicago’s famed Lollapalooza is going virtual this year with Lolla2020 (July 30 – Aug. 2) on YouTube. Michelle Obama, OutKast, Run The Jewels, Alabama Shakes, Chance The Rapper, Paul McCartney, H.E.R., Cypress Hill, Gary Clark Jr., Khalid, Lupe Fiasco, Siedah Garrett, Future, DJ Premier, and LL Cool J (hosting four sessions on The Art of Breaking, MCing, Graffiti & Photography, and DJing), are among the more than 150 new and archival performances and appearances at www.youtube.com/user/lollapalooza …
Congrats to Sanford Greene, David Walker and Chuck Brown for winning the prestigious comic book industry’s Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series for their creation “Bitter Root.” The first issue of the fantastic story of a Black family of monster hunters set during the 1920s Harlem Renaissance may be perused for free at www.imagecomics.com/read/bitter-root …
Ta’Rhonda Jones, best known as Porsha on “Empire,” is participating in a free, streaming event called Homeward Live on Aug. 6. The series puts the spotlight on actors who will be performing monologues live, followed by an intimate, candid conversation between the actor and the real person who lived the story at www.facebook.com/HomewardLA/.
TASTY QUIP: “I turn my TV on in America and there’s a range of shows with black leading actors and actresses, Netflix has got lots of shows with leading black casts. That’s why the major black actors [like David Oyelowo, Idris Elba and Daniel Kaluuya] in the U.K. leave, there just isn’t the industry to support us.” – DAVID HAREWOOD (“Supergirl,” “Homeland”) to BBC’s “Joe Wicks” podcast
TC ON TV: July 31 – “The Oprah Conversation” (AppleTV+): Amidst news that her popular magazine O will cease printing in December, comes this new weekly talk series opening with “How to Be an Antiracist” author Ibram X. Kendi – which will be free to watch on the streamer. “Seriously Single” (Netflix): This South African romantic comedy stars SAFTA Golden Horn winner Fulu Mugovhani (“Ayanda”) and comedian Tumi Morake (“WTF Tumi”). “The Umbrella Academy” (Netflix): A second season of the comic-based Emmy-nominated series featuring Mary J. Blige and Ellen Page. “Upside-Down Magic” (Disney+): Newcomer Izabela Rose stars as a 13-year-old who ,with her best friend Reina (Siena Agudong), enter an academy for magical studies. “The Talk” (CBS): Cedric the Entertainer, La La Anthony “The Wrong Stepfather” (LMN): The latest installment of Vivica A. Fox’s TV movie franchise. “Martha Knows Best” (HGTV): Martha Stewart brings viewers into her Bedford, New York, farm as she completes a variety of beautiful outdoor projects with virtual visits from her famous friends including Snoop Dogg, Lupita Nyong’o, Richard Gere and Sunny Hostin of “The View.”
Aug. 1 – “Anything Is Possible: The Serge Ibaka Story” (Crackle): Produced by LeBron James‘ company, the documentary follows the inspirational life story of the Toronto Raptors’ power forward, from the poverty-stricken streets of the Republic of Congo to the NBA championship. “Seeing America With Megan Rapinoe” (HBO): A special hosted by women’s soccer’s biggest star with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and comedian Hasan Minhaj as guests. “Girlfriends Check In” (OWN): Naturi Naughton
Aug. 2 – “United Shades of America” (CNN): W. Kamau Bell is “Going To Public School” this week.
Aug. 3 – “31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards” (Logo): Gina Yashere (“Bob Hearts Abishola”) co-hosts the virtual ceremony with appearances by Dwyane Wade & Gabrielle Union, Lena Waithe, Lil Nas X, Rachel Maddow, Dolly Parton, the cast of FX’s “Pose,” and a special performance by Chloe x Halle. “POV” (PBS): “Chez Jolie Coiffure” introduces Sabine, the charismatic Cameroonian proprietor of an underground hair salon.
Aug. 4 – “Sam Jay: 3 In The Morning” (Netflix): The comedian and “Saturday Night Live” writer serves up fresh takes on relationships, travel nightmares, the audacity of white people and more in this stand-up special filmed at The Masquerade in Atlanta.
Aug. 5 – “Anelka: Misunderstood” (Netflix): “Bad Boy of French Football” Nicolas Anelka’s controversial legacy is explored in this in-depth documentary. “Big Brother” (CBS): Season 22 launches with a two-hour premiere led by Julie Chen Moonves consisting of an All-Star cast of returnees.
Aug. 6 – “On The Trail: Inside The 2020 Primaries” (HBO Max): Tasty Clips, while in the company of Rev. Jesse Jackson, was filmed during the making of this doc. It will be interesting to see what made the cut. “Star Trek: Lower Decks” (CBSAA): A new half-hour animated comedy series taking a look at the unsung support crew of one of Starfleet’s ships. Dawnn Lewis (“A Different World”) and Jerry O’Connell add their voices.
TASTY QUIP: “Never stay quiet when you know there is injustice in the world. Daddy was for the people, and his message continues to transcend ages, generations, race and gender, because what he spoke was the truth. He wanted a world that sees no boundaries, no hierarchy, no division. [It’s] something we all still strive towards and hope for some day.” – CEDELLA MARLEY, acting director of the Bob Marley Foundation, to Rolling Stone on her late father during this year-long celebration of his 75th birthday
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.