BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: Leela James, ‘King Richard’ top list of 2021 Faves

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By Bill Vaughan

Entertainment Writer

There certainly were obstacles to getting out and about this year. Despite all that, a number of wonderful movies, television shows and music became even more accessible via streaming services and the like. And so, we present and recommend these entries of TASTY CLIPS’ Faves of 2021!

MOVIES: “King Richard” (Will Smith’s award worthy ode to Richard Williams, wife Oracene, portrayed by Aunjanue Ellis, and their prodigal tennis daughters Serena and Venus); “Summer of Soul” (Questlove’s loving restored documentation of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival); westerns “The Harder They Fall” and “Old Henry” (with the year’s best twists); “A Quiet Place II;” “Pig;” (reminding us that Nicolas Cage can be a fine actor); “The Eyes of Tammy Faye;” “Cruella;” “Raya and the Last Dragon;” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “The Green Knight.”

TV: “Exterminate All The Brutes” (HBO) – Raoul Peck’s documentary should be essential in high school history classes; “Reservation Dogs” (FX on Hulu); “Only Murders In The Building” (Hulu); “High On The Hog” (Netflix); “Dave” (FXX); “Mare of Easttown” (HBO); “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+); “The Good Fight” (Paramount+); “Insecure” (HBO); “Adele: One Night Only” (CBS); Netflix’s binge-worthy “Squid Games,” “Lost In Space,” and “True Story;” and “Big Brother” (CBS) – All hail “The Cookout,” that alliance of six persons of color who held fast and produced the show’s first African-American winner, 27-year-old attorney Xavier Prather.

MUSIC: Soul music made a big comeback with stellar albums from Anthony Hamilton, “Love Is The New Black;” Jon Batiste, “We Are;” Leela James, “See Me;” Leon Bridges, “Gold-Diggers Sound;” Silk Sonic – “An Evening With;” and Tower of Power – “50 Years of Funk & Soul – Live at The Fox Theatre.”

Also enjoyed John Coltrane – “A Love Supreme: Live In Seattle;” Migos – “Type S–t;” Run The Jewels – “RTJ4;” and Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – “Love For Sale.”

DINING: The McCrory’s Five and Dime in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where “The Friendship Nine” students staged one of the first civil rights sit-ins in 1960 upon being denied service has been transformed as a culinary homage to their sacrifice.

Kounter, the brainchild of hometown chef Rob Masone, is serving up inventive takes such as Chicken + Waffle Sushi, Smoked Tuna Poke, Black Wings and Fried Wings with Black Ginger and Burnt Bourbon BBQ Sauce.

The students’ names have been etched in the historic seats before the actual counter and a compelling photo exhibit “Jail, No Bail!: How 30 Days Impacted The Civil Rights Movement” adorns the hallways. A must visit experience!

BEST STORYTELLER: Fat Joe, whose colorful YouTube recounting of his fabulous birthday party was captivating and from where his quote, “Yesterday’s price is not today’s price” went viral.

TASTY QUIP: “Ideas are the new sexy” – “THE MATRIX RESURRECTION”

CLIPPETTES: Hip hop artists are ringing in the New Year Dec. 31 with 2 Chainz leading The Diamond Ball at Penthouse Nightclub; while PartyNextDoor countdowns at the Sunset Room

On the R&B tip that evening, The Delfonics and Klymaxx are headlining at the Manchester Banquet Hall

Virtually, TikTok New Year’s Eve Concert will feature performances from three artists who made their mark on the site this year: Charlie Puth, Latin singer Kali Uchis and rapper Rico Nasty airing from 6 to 7:15 p.m.

Givéon, nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2021 Grammys, performs his hits “Like I Want You,” “Heartbreak Anniversary,” “Peaches” with Justin Bieber and more Jan. 3 at The Novo

L.A.-based singer/songwriter and bassist Tonina performs her original music as well as her arrangements of covers in both Spanish, English, and Italian on Jan. 4 at the Hotel Café

Nicole Byer and Friends bring the laughs Jan. 5 at Largo.

TASTY QUIP: “I’m not looking forward to it.” – MAGIC JOHNSON to TMZ on HBO’s series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” premiering in March 2022.

TC ON TV: Dec. 31 – “Seal Team” (Netflix): An animated feature from South Africa with the voices of Jessie T. Usher, J.K. Simmons, John Kani, Seal and more. “Queer Eye” (Netflix): Season six of Karamo Brown and his crew of makeover artists. “Stay Close” (Netflix): Cush Jumbo (“The Good Fight”) leads the cast of this series revolving around three people whose dark secrets resurface. “Cobra Kai” (Netflix): The Karate Kid saga continues with a fourth season. “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022” (ABC): The 50th edition adds Billy Porter and Ciara as co-hosts with DJ D-Nice spinning. “United In Song: Celebrating The American Dream” (PBS): Chita Rivera hosts with performances by Deborah Cox, Midori, Lea Salonga and others. “Gary Owen: Black Famous” (SHO): The comic/actor jokes about his very public divorce for the first time. “Great Performances” (PBS): “At The Met: New Year’s Eve Gala” features opera singers Angel Blue, Pretty Yende, Javier Camarena and Matthew Polenzani. “Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party” (NBC): Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson host Saweetie (who will be a guest lecturer at USC next semester), 24KGoldn and others.

Jan. 1 – “133rd Rose Parade” (NBC): Best New Artist Grammy nominee, CMA New Artist of the Year & ACM New Male Artist of the Year Jimmie Allen will perform his hit song “Good Times Roll” from his “Bettie James Gold Edition” album.

Jan. 2 – “Masterpiece Theater” (PBS): A new adaptation of “Around The World In 80 Days” starring David Tennant (“Doctor Who”) as explorer Phileas Fogg and Ibrahim Koma as Passepartout. “The Equalizer” (CBS): Neema Barnette (“Genius: Aretha“) directed this episode which also marks the final appearance of Chris Noth as confidante William Bishop. “Next Level Chef” (Fox): From Gordon Ramsey comes “the next evolution in cooking competitions” with chefs Nyesha Arrington and Richard Blais serving as his co-mentors. “Alex Vs. America” (Food): Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli battles culinary pros on this new series hosted by acclaimed fellow chef Eric Adjepong.

Jan. 4 – “Face To Face With Becky G” (Facebook): Mickey Guyton discusses battling systemic racism in country music. “Finding Your Roots” (PBS): Henry Louis Gates Jr. brings more ancestral stories of guests including Terry Crews, John Leguizamo, Leslie Odom Jr., Lena Waithe, Regina King, Lee Daniels, André Leon Talley, Mario Lopez, David Chang and Anita Hill. “Judge Steve Harvey” (ABC/Hulu): A one-hour unscripted courtroom comedy with real-life people and conflicts. “Speak Sis” (OWN): Launching a two-night event featuring an audience of Black women having in-depth conversations about physical, financial, sexual and relationship health issues led by Adrienne Bankert and featuring Kym Whitley, Tia Mowry, Garcelle Beauvais, Bevy Smith, April Ryan and more. “Eggs Over Easy” (OWN): Phylicia Fant, D’Angela Proctor and Keisha Knight Pulliam (who also narrates) are among the executive producers of this documentary on infertility in the Black community with contributions from Andra Day along with Black women, doctors and fertility advocates. “This Is Us” (NBC): The final season begins. “black-ish” (ABC): Michelle Obama pays a visit in the opener of the eighth and final season. “Queens” (ABC): Remy Ma guest stars and performs a song with Brandy.

Jan. 5 – “The Real” (Syn): Meagan Good “The Amazing Race” (CBS): At long last the 33rd season is here with a two-hour premiere.

Jan. 6 – “Women Of The Movement” (ABC): Based on the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley (Adrienne Warren), who in 1955 risked her life to find justice after her son Emmett Till (Cedric Joe) was brutally murdered in the Jim Crow South. Glynn Turman, Joshua Caleb Johnson, Ray Fisher, Tonya Pinkins and Timothy Hutton round out the cast. To be followed by “Let The World See,” a special limited docuseries from the production companies of Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Will Smith and Russell Westbrook with Nia Long reading excerpts from Till-Mobley’s memoir “Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime that Changed America.” “Go-Big Show” (TBS): T-Pain replaces Snoop Dogg as a judge on the talent competition that ranked as the #2 new cable comedy of 2021.

IN MEMORIUM: “One of the greatest most peaceful souls has left the planet. A hope giver, peace maker, justice warrior. Thank you, ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU.” – OPRAH WINFREY 

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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