BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Heavy ‘Freight’ lifted by J. Alphonse Nicholson 

[adrotate banner="54"]

Post to Entertainment and Tasty Clips with photo TASTY-Frieght

By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

When actor J. Alphonse Nicholson consented to this interview, he was in the throes of the SAG-AFTRA strike, so we couldn’t talk at length about his breakout role as Lil Murda in the controversial Starz series “P-Valley.” Nor would he go into his supporting turn in this year’s Netflix hit movie “They Cloned Tyrone.” 

What the North Carolina native was enthusiastic about promoting was the West Coast premiere of “Freight: The Five Incarnations of Abel Green,” a timely and timeless theatrical journey written by Howard L. Craft running through Dec. 16 at the Fountain Theatre. 

In the one-man show, Nicholson reprises his off-Broadway, tour-de-force star turn as five versions of an African-American everyman who travels through time in different incarnations, including a 19th century minstrel, a faith healer, an FBI informant, a struggling actor and an out-of-work mortgage broker. 

“It is one of those shows that requires every ounce of acting ability you have,” he told Tasty Clips. “This will be our fourth iteration of it, and I can’t wait for people to see what we’ve created this go round. That’s the part that I love — bringing all of me to the work and hopefully changing at least one person’s life when they come to see the work.”

With the maturity that has come in his life since he first starred in the play 10 years ago, Nicholson claims to have a better feel for who each character is. 

As he explains: “Even going back to the 1910s as a minstrel performer, you understand a gentleman who’s doing something that he probably really doesn’t want to do but doing to survive. He puts himself in an odd position to make things happen. We all know a guy like that within our community.” 

Nicholson can also currently be seen in the BET+ thriller “Wake” and soon as NBA superstar Chris Paul in “The Sterling Affair,” a mini-series about the scandal which plagued Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (Ed O’Neill) with Lawrence Fishburne as coach Doc Rivers. 

He is also a brand ambassador for the L.A.-based Black-owned cannabis company Ball Family Farms through his friendship with CEO Chris Ball. The two have collaborated on a strain called The Phonzie (with his face on the packaging) created to help him deal with anxiety and to focus on set. 

“It was important to me that we spread the word about the medicinal properties of it,” said Nicholson who likens the product to a cup of tea. “Not that recreationally isn’t fine. Now it’s in 107 dispensaries on the West Coast and it allows people to know that Black men who are incarcerated for this deserve to be free because there are so many white corporations that are benefiting from this now. It’s been a wonderful journey into the industry for me and I plan on having that as my retirement.” 

TICKET WATCH: Rolling Loud California’s 2024 lineup will be headlined by Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Lil Uzi Vert and Summer Walker. Tickets for “The World’s Largest Hip-Hop Festival,” to be held March 15-17 at Inglewood’s Hollywood Park, go on sale at 10 a.m., Nov. 17 via  

CLIPPETTES: Andre 3000 Benjamin has released his first album in over 17 years titled “New Blue Sun.” The flute-heavy opus has no lyrics, but a song titled: “I Swear, I Really Wanted To Make A ‘Rap’ Album But This Is Literally The Way The Wind Blew Me This Time.”  

Kris Bowers, composer of Ava Duvernay’s upcoming “Origin,” headlines ARRAY X Juilliard on Nov. 17 at the Array Creative Campus on Glendale Boulevard. Visit for more info on the free event hosted in person and virtually  

Also that evening, Dionne Warwick is at Morongo Casino, Ruben Studdard & Clay Aiken come to the Cerritos Center, and Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas One and All hits the Hollywood Bowl (with a second night added on Nov. 19)

Smokey Robinson now has his own Sirius XM channel. Curated and hosted by the Motown legend, “Smokey’s Soul Town” will feature his weekly show and an ongoing playlist including contemporaries Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, the Supremes, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Jackie Wilson …

Nov. 18 kicks off with Coco Jones and Renee Rapp among the participants of the Teen Vogue Summit at NYA Studios and Jada Pinkett Smith promoting her memoir “Worthy” with a signing and photo op at Barnes & Noble The Grove  

In addition, Always & Forever with The Chi-Lites, Stylistics, The Dramatics, The Manhattans, Heatwave, The Emotions, The Intruders, Bloodstone, Blue Magic, The Jones Girls, The Persuaders and The Temprees is happening at Toyota Arena; and Adina Howard is at The Saban  

In news that may make poet Nikki Giovanni happy, Denzel Washington is reuniting once again with his “Training Day” and “The Equalizer” franchise director Antoine Fuqua for a Netflix biopic on the great Carthaginian general Hannibal the Conqueror to include plenty of elephants

Sheryl Lee Ralph‘s DIVAS Simply Singing! returns to the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Nov. 19 as Terry Steele sings Luther Vandross at Vibrato Grill & Jazz  

Nov. 21 has Wizkid taking over The Forum and Los Lobos at The Paramount (moving to Whisky A Go Go the next night)  

The West Coast Feast with The Pharcyde, Talib Kweli and more jumps off at The Vermont Hollywood Nov. 22; while YG, Tyga, and Saweetie topline The Forum; and Jamaican dancehall star Sister Nancy brightens Echoplex.  

TASTY QUIP: “The whole Busta Rhymes collaboration — like, he should have reached out to me. You don’t do no video with my daughter [Coi Leray] half-naked. You a grown a** f***ing man. He should have reached out to me and said something. But it is what is. She’s grown, she can do what she want. But I wasn’t with that. All I can do is have my opinions from afar. Once they reach a certain age, it doesn’t matter what I think.” – BENZINO on the optics of their song “Luxury Life” 

TC ON TV: Nov. 17 – “Rustin” (Netflix): Colman Domingo stars as unsung civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin in this biopic with Chris Rock and Glynn Turman. “Dashing Through The Snow” (Disney+): A new Christmas movie with Ludacris, Lil Rel Howery and Teyonah Parris. “Maxine’s Baby: The Tyler Perry Story” (Prime Video): How the media mogul’s road to success was dotted by his mother’s love. “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” (Apple TV+): An impressive looking series based on Legendary’s Godzilla-based Monsterverse with Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell and Kiersey Clemons. “Blue Beetle” (MAX): Lots of heart in this DC superhero film with “Cobra Kai” heartthrob Xolo Maridueña and George Lopez. 

Nov. 18 – “The 72nd Miss Universe Competition” (Roku): From El Salvador with a live performance by John Legend. “Saturday Night Live” (NBC): Jason Momoa hosts. 

Nov. 20 – “Stamped From The Beginning” (Netflix): A hybrid documentary/scripted feature based on the National Book Award winner from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi.  

Nov. 21 – “Bye Bye Barry” (Prime Video): On Barry Sanders‘ Hall-of-Fame career and his extraordinary decision to walk away from the game in his prime. With insights from Jemele Hill, Emmitt Smith, Jalen Rose, Rodney Peete and Eminem. “The Choice Is Yours” (Paramount+): The story of rapper and artist Andres “Dres” Vargas-Titus, part of the legendary 90s hip hop duo Black Sheep, and his incredible journey from being on top of the game to struggling with civilian life. “Dark Side of Comedy” (Vice): Tracy Morgan 

Nov. 22 – “High on The Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” (Netflix): More of the Stephen Satterfield-hosted docuseries based on Jessica B. Harris’ James Beard Award-winning book. “Good Burger 2” (Paramount+): The reunion of the “All That” comedy duo of Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell (who is recovering from a health scare where “The whole right side of my arm and leg was numb.”) “Hannah Waddingham: Home For Christmas” (Apple TV+): With Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast of “Ted Lasso.” “Genie” (Peacock): Paapa Essiedu, Melissa McCarthy, Luis Guzman and LaChanze are featured in this holiday movie. “Squid Game: The Challenge” (Netflix): With 456 real players entering the world of this brutal series-based test for a $4.56 million prize, one wonders does it hurt? “The Naughty Nine” (Disney): Danny Glover is Santa Claus in this new movie about a clever crew of enterprising kids with a North Pole heist in mind. 

Nov. 23 – “So Fly Christmas” (BET+): Terri J. Vaughn directed this funny film with a cast of Tichina Arnold, Tommy Davidson, Jackée Harry, Michael Colyer, and Tami Roman. “The 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” (NBC/Peacock/CBS): Look for Jon Batiste, Cher, Brandy, the Harlem Globetrotters and more. 

END QUOTE: “I realized that I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect and beautiful journey of my life.” – KERRY WASHINGTON 

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.

[adrotate banner="53"]

Must Read

[adrotate banner="55"]