BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Douglass, Tubman up next for Stanley Nelson and PBS

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By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

Prestigious African-American documentarian Stanley Nelson (“Attica,” “Freedom Riders,” “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool”) will next take on shedding new light on the lives of a pair of towering figures in the struggle to end slavery.

“Becoming Frederick Douglass,” to be voiced by Wendell Pierce (“The Wire,” “Chicago P.D.”); and “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom,” to be narrated by Alfre Woodard (“See,” “Luke Cage”) were announced by PBS and Maryland Public Television at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.

“There are no two people more important to our country’s history than Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman,” said Nelson, who will serve as director and an executive producer though his Firelight Films with Lynne Robinson. “Their remarkable lives and contributions were a critical part of the 19th century, and their legacies help us understand who we are as a nation. We are honored to share their stories with a country that continues to grapple with the impact of slavery and debate notions of citizenship, democracy and freedom.”

Funding for the films, scheduled to premiere on PBS and this fall, were provided by the state of Maryland and Bowie State University, the oldest historically Black college and university in Maryland.

In the meantime, “Attica,” a 2021 documentary inside the bloodiest U.S. prison rebellion from the Emmy winner and co-director Traci A. Curry, is available for free viewing through the end of Black History Month on and YouTube, as well as across multiple Showtime streaming and on-demand platforms.

AWARD WORTHY: “King Richard” and “The Harder They Fall” each won four awards from the African American Film Critics Association, with the former taking top honors for Best Actor (Will Smith), Best Supporting Actress (Aunjanue Ellis), Breakout Actor (Saniyya Sidney) and Emerging Director (Reinaldo Marcus Green).

The latter won Best Picture, Best Ensemble, Best Music, Best Director (Jeymes Samuel) and Best Music (Samuel, Kid Cudi, Jay-Z).

Other winners included Best Actress Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”), Best Supporting Actor Corey Hawkins (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”), Best Screenplay (“Don’t Look Up” written by Adam McKay), “Who We Are” for Best Independent Feature and “Summer of Soul” for Best Documentary.

Winners will be celebrated at the 13th annual African American Film Critics Association Awards March 2 at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles with several special achievement awards to be announced in the coming weeks.

TASTY QUIP: “My wife took this whole social distancing thing a little too far. I called her up and asked if she was quarantining, and she responded, ‘Call it what you want … I left and I ain’t coming back!’” – TRACY MORGAN joking about his divorce from his wife of five years at Carolines on Broadway

CLIPPETTES:Tupac Shakur. Wake Me When I’m Free,” a groundbreaking museum experience created in collaboration with the Shakur Estate, opens at LA Live on Jan. 21. It leverages technology, contemporary art, and never seen artifacts from Tupac’s personal archives. For tickets, visit:

Also that evening, Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis plays Costa Mesa’s Segerstrom Center; Symphonic Ellington: New World A-Comin’ with Gerald Clayton is at Walt Disney Concert Hall; Adrian Marcel Live hits The Mint; and the Hammer Museum presents a free screening of KCET’s classic production of Philip Hayes Dean’s critically acclaimed play, “The Sty Of The Blind Pig” directed by Ivan Dixon (“The Spook Who Sat By The Door”) and starring Mary Alice (“Fences”)

Epix has renewed for a third season its highest rated series “Godfather of Harlem,” starring Forest Whitaker as infamous 1960s crime boss Bumpy Johnson and Giancarlo Esposito as Adam Clayton Powell …

Ghost Note, headed by Snarky Puppy’s multi-Grammy-winning percussion duo of Robert “Sput” Searight and Nate Werth, bring their What The Funk Tour featuring Terrace Martin to Inglewood’s Miracle Theater Jan. 22

Meanwhile at the Wallis Annenberg Center, Harlem Quartet team with Cuban pianist/composer Aldo López-Gavilán for a collaboration reuniting López-Gavilán with his older brother, violinist Ilmar Gavilán, who left Cuba at age 14 and went on to co-found Harlem Quartet

Denzel Washington told Collider his next project would be a third edition of “The Equalizer” film franchise. Should Antoine Fuqua return to direct, it would mark their fifth collaboration including “Training Day,” “The Magnificent Seven” and the two previous “Equalizer” movies

Emmy Award-winning composer and pianist Kris Bowers (“King Richard,” “Bridgerton”) is front and center for “Cue & A,” Jan. 24 at Santa Monica’s Eli and Edythe Broad Stage. The evening, moderated by the former president of Fox Music, Robert Kraft, features conversation, clips and commentary, live demonstrations, and an audience question-and-answer session

Atlanta soul singer Curtis Harding, who slayed last week on CBS Saturday Morning, brings his act to the Teragram Ballroom on Jan. 25. Tix are $20.

TASTY QUIP: “We’re in the cancel culture now. Nobody can say anything he wants to — Chris Rock can’t, Kevin Hart can’t, Cedric the Entertainer can’t, D.L. Hughley can’t. I can go down the list. The only person that can say what they want to say on stage is Dave Chappelle because he’s not sponsor-driven. He’s subscription.” – STEVE HARVEY at a Television Critics Association panel

TC ON TV: Jan. 21 – “The Fix” (Roku): Based on “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs” by Johann Hari and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, this docu-series debunks common misunderstandings about drugs and addiction in the U.S. Stream free this day. “Amandla” (Netflix): A South African drama about two brothers who fall on opposing sides of the law as a gang-linked crime tests their loyalty. “Ready To Love” (OWN): “DC Reunion, Part 2” “Stars on Stage from Westport Country Playhouse” (PBS): Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon “Back On The Record with Bob Costas” (HBO): Lindsay Vonn, Bomani Jones, Al Michaels, Howard Bryant and Domonique Foxworth

Jan. 22 – “Vanished: Searching For My Sister” (Lifetime): Tatyana Ali portrays twins in this thriller with Jasmine Guy and Anthony “Treach” Criss.

Jan. 24 – “Snowpiercer” (TNT): The series adaptation starring Daveed Diggs is back to ride the rails for a third season. “Black Market with Michael K. Williams” (Vice): “Rage Against The Machines” “Promised Land” (ABC): An epic, generation-spanning drama about two Latinx families vying for wealth and power in California’s Sonoma Valley.

Jan. 25 – “Ada Twist, Scientist” (Netflix): More adventures of the pint-sized prodigy and her parents (voiced by Susan Kelechi Watson and Taye Diggs). “Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian” (Netflix): His fourth stand-up special for the streamer was filmed this past December at an intimate surprise gig in New York City. “Neymar: The Perfect Chaos” (Netflix): Beloved worldwide but also a lightning rod for criticism, the star footballer shares the highs and lows of his personal life and brilliant career. LeBron James and Maverick Carter are among the executive producers. “Ellen” (Syn): Ciara, Tabitha Brown

Jan. 26 – “I Can See Your Voice” (Fox): Ashanti “Resident Alien” (SyFy): Last year’s breakout comedy about a crash-landed alien whose secret mission is to kill all humans returns for a second season with stars Alan Tudyk and Corey Reynolds.

Jan. 27 – “Take Out with Lisa Ling” (HBO Max): The award-winning journalist — who’s own family story began in a Chinese restaurant — travels from the bayous of Louisiana to Orange County’s Little Saigon, exploring the foods we love while shining a long overdue spotlight on the contributions Asian Americans have been making to the U.S. “grown-ish” (Freeform): The top comedy series starring Yara Shahidi, Trevor Jackson, Chloe Bailey, Halle Bailey and Diggy Simmons returns for the conclusion of senior year at Cal U.

END QUOTE: “I definitely feel like the way that love has been approached as of late may have something to do with why relationships are not lasting as long as they once did. People don’t look at it the right way. It’s like everyone looking for love got some conditions on it. If he ain’t got this much money; if she ain’t got that much booty. Or whatever. And that is always going to be an issue for genuine love; genuine true love.” – NE-YO to Page Six


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, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.


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