BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: HBO documentary on Gordon Parks’ legacy debuts  

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By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

Commemorating his Nov. 30 birthday, HBO will premiere the documentary “A Choice of Weapons: Inspired By Gordon Parks,” on Nov. 15.

For decades, Parks, a photographer, writer, composer, activist and filmmaker who died in 2006, brought the human struggle for dignity, justice, and the alienation of the Black community out of the shadows and to middle America on the pages of Life magazine from 1948 to 1972. 

As Life’s first Black photographer, his camera became an instrument of change — “a weapon” as he called it — to challenge the systems of racism and poverty and to empower Black Americans with images that conveyed honor, resilience and beauty. 

The feature documentary, executive produced by Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys, explores how the power of his images has inspired a new generation to work for social change.  

In the spotlight are Devin Allen, whose photograph “Baltimore Uprising” of the Freddie Gray protests was featured on the cover of Time Magazine; LaToya Ruby Frazier, who for five years followed the Flint, Michigan water crisis and most recently photographed Breonna Taylor’s family for Vanity Fair; and Jamel Shabazz, whose photographs on the streets of New York form a visual history of the hip hop era while simultaneously presenting affirming images for his community. 

Other interviewees include Jelani Cobb, Anderson Cooper, Ava DuVernay, Nelson George, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spike Lee, Bryan Stevenson and Richard Roundtree, to name a few.  

After its debut, the film will be available to stream on HBO Max. 

RED CARPET WALK: The holiday movie season is in full swing with premieres this week as part of AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre.  

It kicks off Nov. 12 with the 6:30 p.m. unveiling of Magnolia Pictures/Apple TV+’s “Swan Song,” starring Mahershala Ali, Glenn Close, Naomie Harris, Awkwafina and more.

Writer/director Pedro Almodóvar’s “Parallel Mothers,” toplined by Penélope Cruz and Rossy de Palma, premieres Nov. 13 at 2 p.m.; followed by Halle Berry’s directorial debut, “Bruised,” which she also leads as a mixed martial arts fighter at 6:30 p.m. 

That Netflix film is making news for its all-woman soundtrack curated by Berry and Cardi B. Among the artists providing songs are H.E.R., Saweetie, Flo Milli, City Girls and Latto.  

Also making music are Pharrell Williams, Matthew McConaughey, Letitia Wright, Eric Andre, Halsey and more of Universal’s “Sing 2,” Nov. 14 at 2 p.m.; to be followed by the biopic “King Richard” starring Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis at 6. 

TASTY QUIP: “I think all of Death Row should be in my hands. I should be running that … . Just like I’m [in] a position at Def Jam, Death Row means more to me because I helped create that. I think they should give me that and let me run that … . Put the merchandise out, put the music all over the world. Find some new West Coast acts.” – SNOOP DOGG (headlining a Nov. 13 show at Toyota Arena with Ice Cube, E-40, Too $hort and Warren G) to “Million Dollaz Worth of Game” on the record label run by Suge Knight.  

CLIPPETTES: Sanaa Lathan is directing her first film “On The Come Up,” based on the best-seller by Angie Thomas (“The Hate U Give”). She also will be a part of the cast with Method Man, Mike Epps, Lil Yachty, Davionte “GaTa” Ganter (“Dave”) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (who has shined this year on the Hulu hit “Only Murders In The Building” and as Tracy Morgan’s foil on “The Last O.G.”)  

Cory Wong and The Wongnotes, featuring Antwaun Stanley, who went viral this month with videos of their latest music recorded at Prince’s famed Paisley Park studios, jam at the Fonda Theatre Nov. 13  

Apparently allowing ABC News division to handle production of “Tamron Hall” has paid off to the tune of a two-year renewal of the talk show

Ozomatli, Egyptian Lover, and others are set for the free More at Making Memories Festival, Nov. 14 from noon to 4 p.m. at Los Angeles State Historic Park  

Regina Hall (“Girls Trip”) will star in a sequel to Robert De Niro’s classic action-comedy “Midnight Run,” which she will produce with the actor

The Soraya presents the legendary Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart with Lizz Wright covering the music of Ella Fitzgerald on Nov. 17  

Also that evening, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Erivo and acclaimed Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma will perform for the virtual fourth annual CARE Impact Awards hosted by Laura Coates of CNN and SiriusXM.  Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, OneUnited Bank President & COO Teri Williams and others are to be honored. 

TASTY QUIP: “I remember reading it though at the table read and I was like, ‘Yo, America? America about to hate Lawrence, dude. I don’t know. I might have to get out the country for this episode. It’s going to get rough.’ If they was mad at Lawrence back then? Oh, my God.” – JAY ELLIS to Entertainment Weekly on last week’s controversial parental episode of “Insecure” airing Sundays on HBO  

TC ON TV: Nov. 12 – “Disney+ Day” is celebrated on the streamer with premieres of “Home Sweet Home Alone” with Kenan Thompson; and “Star Wars” documentary “Under The Helmet: The Legacy of Boba Fett;” along with 13 Marvel films upgraded to IMAX’s Expanded Aspect Ration format including “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” “Red Notice” (Netflix): Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds team for this anticipated big budget actioner. “The View” (ABC): Celebrating Whoopi Goldberg’s birthday. “Friday Night Vibes” (TBS): Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Thandiwe Newton visit for “Aquaman” and “The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.”  “An Ice Wine Christmas” (Lifetime): Roslyn Sanchez (whose fascinating “Fantasy Island” reboot just received a second season from FOX) stars as a top wine sommelier who returns home to the magical vineyards of Evergreen, NY. “Kevin Garnett: Anything Is Possible” (SHO): A documentary following the remarkable career of the hall of famer who became the first high school player to be drafted by the NBA in 20 years. “The Graham Norton Show” (BBCA): Gregory Porter  

Nov. 13 – “A Picture Perfect Holiday” (Lifetime): Tatyana Ali is a fashion photographer who finds love while covering a small town Christmas retreat. “Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Jonathan Majors (“The Harder They Fall”) hosts with musical guest Taylor Swift. 

Nov. 14 – “Blade Runner: Black Lotus” (Adult Swim): Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”) and Samira Wiley (“A Handmaid’s Tale”) voice characters in this anime adaptation set in the world of the 1982 movie and Philip K. Dick’s novel. “Foodgod” (Disc+): Kardashian pal visits unique hotspots in L.A., New York (with Fat Joe), Las Vegas and Miami (with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto). “The Freak Brothers” (Tubi): A cartoon based on the cult classic underground comic series boasting an all-star voice cast that includes Woody Harrleson, Tiffany Haddish, La La Anthony, Pete Davidson and ScHoolboy Q. “Holiday In Harlem” (Hallmark): Olivia Washington, daughter of Pauletta and Denzel Washington, gets her first starring role in this Christmas movie with Tina Lifford. “Adele: One Night Only” (CBS): The hit singer performs songs from her new album and sits down with Oprah Winfrey for a chat.

Nov. 16 – “Michael Che: Shame The Devil” (Netflix); The “SNL” writer/comic/anchor unveils is latest stand-up special. “The Big Holiday Food Fight” (OWN): Kym Whitley hosts this fast-paced cooking competition series with judges Darnell “SuperChef” Ferguson, Gina Neely and James Wright Chanel.  “Our Kind Of People” (Fox): Joe Morton, who portrays scandalous patriarch Teddy Franklin, helms this episode.  

Nov. 17 – “Christmas Flow” (Netflix): A French confection about an unlikely holiday romance between a famous rapper and a tenacious journalist. “The Canvas: Los Angeles” (Fuse): Joshua Vides 

Nov. 18 – “Partners In Rhyme” (AllBlk): MC Lyte teams with “Martin” executive producer Bentley Kyle Evans for a new sitcom following the life of a female high school rapper, social media star and foster kid. Rolanda Watts and Wesley Jonathan (“Roll Bounce”) are featured. “Psych 3: This Is Gus” (Peacock): Dulé Hill ‘s character is the focus of this sequel.  “Star Trek: Discovery” (Para+): Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham is finally promoted to Captain for the fourth season. 

END WORDS: “People don’t understand how much creativity it takes to make something simple and dope. They only think about painting pictures in hip-hop. But they don’t understand how difficult it is to achieve beautiful simplicity, to make elegant joints, you know what I’m saying? It’s harder than people think, or everybody would do it, right? I just want to say, representing the men out there in the game and people who have been doing it for years, we love you, we respect you, we appreciate you.” – LL COOL J to Missy Elliott on her addition to the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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 tastyclips@yahoo.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.

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