By Bill Vaughan
“Chevalier,” the true story of composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, opens the 2023 Pan African Film Festival Feb. 9 at the Directors Guild of America Theatre.
The son of an enslaved African woman and a French plantation owner, Bologne rises to improbable heights in French society as a celebrated violinist-composer and fencer, who has an ill-fated love affair and a falling out with Marie Antoinette (Lucy Boynton) and her court.
Stefani Robinson, the award-winning writer and producer of FX series “Atlanta” and “What We Do in the Shadows,” makes her feature film debut with “Chevalier,” based on an original pitch she sold to Searchlight Pictures.
“It was hard,” she said on the red carpet of the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. “It was so many years. Altogether, all told, it was like seven years or something like that. I can’t even count. A lot of writing, a lot of thinking.
“I got busy doing other things, the pandemic hit. This movie and this project is so special and requires so much care and intentionality. We wanted to do it right. We didn’t want to rush it.”
The film’s director Stephen Williams (“Lost,” “Watchmen,” “The Americans,” “The Walking Dead,” “Ray Donovan,” and “Westworld”) certainly has the credentials.
We first met at the festival when the student filmmaker had one hell of a hot short.
“What is your dream project?” I asked the Jamaican native again, as I did some 30 years ago. His response at the time was “Bob Marley.”
He recalled the moment and said: “That someone is not me. Although I have a huge regard for the person who is doing it (Reinaldo Marcus Green, director of “King Richard”). I’ll give you this juicy tidbit – my next-door neighbor, couple houses down is Ziggy [Marley]. And I know Ziggy well. And we talked about doing a movie. That’s all I can tell you.”
Williams did testify to the spirit of Bob being throughout “Chevalier.”
“Not kidding,” he said. “If you watch the movie, let me tell you this, man. On the call sheet for every day there was a Bob quote. Every single day. All 45 days shooting there was a Bob quote. The spirit of Bob informs this entire movie. … If you know where to look.”
Kelvin Harrison Jr., the red-hot actor who debuted in Nijla Mumin’s “Jinn,” portrays the composer with swagger. Since then, he has gone on to play iconic figures Fred Hampton in “Trial of the Chicago Seven,” B.B. King in “Elvis,” and is currently filming as Malcolm X in “Genius: MLK/X” with Crystle Roberson (“BMF,” “The Gilded Age”) directing.
Samara Weaving, Ronke Adekoluejo, Marton Csokas, Alex Fitzalan, and Minnie Driver round out the cast of the film, with music by Kris Bowers and Michael Abels, set for theatrical release April 7.
For more information visit paff.org/opening-night/.
COME GET IT! Rick James’ 75th Birthday Bash, Fire It Up Extravaganza will be held at California Theatre of the Performing Arts Feb. 4. The jam, hosted by Tyrone Dubose of “Unsung,” brings together the Stone City Band & Friends, BrownMark Nation, former members of Prince & The Revolution, the Original Mary Jane Girls – Maxi & Cheri,Jammin’ Jay Lamont, Grandmaster Melle Mel & Scorpio, Raydio featuring Arnelle Carmichael, Carlos Greene (lead singer of the Deele) and more.
Garrett Morris Presents: Blues and Comedy with music by The Deacon Jones Blue Band Feb. 5, at Hollywood’s iconic Catalina Jazz Club. The pioneering, award-nominated actor and comedian (“SNL,” “2 Broke Girls,” “Car Wash,” “Martin”) is celebrating his 86th birthday by hosting this evening with some special friends. Look for a Tasty Clips exclusive with the delightful Morris next week.
CLIPPETTES: Motown legends Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson (whose new album “Gasms” hits in April) are being honored as the 2023 @MusiCares Persons of the Year. The gala benefitting MusiCares will be at the L.A. Convention Center Feb. 3 …
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence announced they will be making “Bad Boys 4” …
Team Fenty Tailgate 2023 with makeup stations, Fenty swag and game day exclusives stops Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at E.P. & L.P. on North La Cienega Boulevard. RSVP for the buildup to Rihanna’s Super Bowl Halftime Show …
Also on that date Roy Ayers plays the 77 Lounge for an early show; Ari Lennox’s Age/Sex/Location Tour arrives at The Wiltern; and Jazz at Lincoln Center stops at the Samueli Theater …
FX has cancelled the adaptation of Octavia Butler’s “Kindred.” Its producers are now shopping it around as is the team behind the axed Showtime vampire drama, “Let The Right One In” with Damien Bichir and Anika Noni Rose …
The Grammy Museum presents “A Conversation With Chuck D: Livin’ Loud” Feb. 7. All ticketholders will receive a copy of his first fine art book …
Aida Rodriquez brings her comedy to the Hollywood Improv Feb. 8 …
David Ryan Harris performs at the Hotel Café Feb. 9.
TC ON TV: Feb. 3 – “Harlem” (Prime Video): Second season premiere of the Tracy Oliver created series, starring Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Robert Ri’chard, Tyler Lepley and Whoopi Goldberg. “Killing Country” (Hulu): Executive producer Colin Kaepernick is behind this Andreì Holland-narrated three-episode, true crime story and look at Bakersfield. “Stand” (SHO): A raw examination of the remarkable life of basketball star and social justice activist Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, formerly Chris Jackson, who upon converting to Islam and not standing for the national anthem turned him from prodigy to pariah. “Live with Kelly & Ryan” (ABC): Wendell Pierce, Harrison Ford “Tamron Hall” (Syn): Melba Moore, baseball player and children’s book author Marcus Stroman “The Directors” (Ovation): Back-to-back episodes with John Singleton and Antoine Fuqua, who found the lead for his Michael Jackson biopic in nephew Jaafar Jackson (the 26-year-old singer/songwriter son of Jermaine Jackson).
Feb. 4 – “CBS Saturday Morning” (CBS): New Orleans Chef Toya Boudy “Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Pedro Pascal (“The Mandalorian,” “The Last of Us”) hosts with musical guest Coldplay (who added an Oct. 1 show at the Rose Bowl with H.E.R. & 070 Shake).
Feb. 5 – “The 65th Grammy Awards” (CBS): Trevor Noah returns to host the ceremony with performances from Mary J. Blige, Bad Bunny, Lizzo, Harry Styles, Sam Smith and Questlove curating the Hip Hop 50 tribute. They say Jay-Z may hit the stage. “Under The Influence” (TV1): B.J. Britt stars as the wrong recovering alcoholic to get in a relationship with. “Superchef Grudge Match” (Food): Darnell Ferguson leaves the competition shows he has been winning to host these one-round, one-dish, winner-takes-all battles.
Feb. 6 – “Independent Lens” (PBS): “Outta The Muck” focuses on Pahokee, Fla., a town that has sent over a dozen players to the NFL (like Anquan Boldin, Fred Taylor, and Rickey Jackson). “Black Travel Across America” (NGC): A filmed journey to living Green Book sites and modern Black business.
Feb. 7 – “Finding Your Roots” (PBS): Henry Louis Gates uses DNA detective work to solve family mysteries for actor Joe Manganiello and football star Tony Gonzalez.
Feb. 8 – “Bill Russell: Legend” (Netflix): This two-part film from award-winning director Sam Pollard (“MLK/FBI”) features the last interview with the NBA Hall of Famer prior to his death in 2022 as well as access to his sprawling personal archives. Narrated by Jeffrey Wright and Corey Stoll and featuring exclusive interviews with the icon’s family and friends as well as Steph Curry, Chris Paul, “Magic” Johnson, Larry Bird, Jim Brown and more. “Marvel Studios Assembled” (Disney+): “The Making of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever;” “Not Dead Yet” (ABC): Gina Rodriquez (“Jane the Virgin”) stars as an obituary writer who starts to get life advice from the dead.
Feb. 9 – “Asking for a Friend” (TV1): LisaRaye McCoy hosts this dating show where besties try to hook each other up.
END QUOTE: “Ya boy is always honest with who he was and my sobriety has been a journey, but I’m here takin’ accountability and tryin’ to make sure y’all don’t make the same mistakes I did. The point of my story is to share that if I can get clean, anyone can get clean. I am real proud of me being clean today. Society wants us to change, but offers no peace when reparations are made. The teardowns, salacious headlines, and cancel culture doesn’t make anyone better than the other. We all need to do better as humans, because at the end of the day there ain’t no race but the human race.” – FLAVA FLAV on Twitter
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly 1 million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.