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Harriet Tubman is one of the most iconic women in history, and definitely was a living Statue of Liberty in her time freeing dozens of slaves. Flash forward to present day and you cannot speak on annals of American History, especially Black History, without her name coming to forefront. Thus, it is no surprise an epic biopic, Harriet, is soon to be in theaters everywhere all thanks to the hard work and vision of one woman and director, Kasi Lemmons!

harriet movie poster

Harriet is Kasi’s latest project and may very well be her greatest one to date. The film is beautifully filmed as it retells Harriet’s story firsthand with the acting skills of Cynthia Erivo. Harriet is born enslaved on a plantation in Maryland in 1822, where she alongside her mother, brothers, and only sister plead for their freedom from their master due to a clause left his father’s will. Their master refuses and is “cursed” by Harriet, coincidentally dying in his sleep that night. Her new, younger master blames her for his father’s death and inheriting the debt he left behind. He coldly decides to sell Harriet and her brothers to traders headed to the Deep South, a place where freedom or escaping is virtually impossible. Harriet, determined to be free, and have her own future children born free flees! Using nature and navigating her way to Philadelphia via The North Star she makes a new life for herself. However, Harriet is even more determined to liberate her family prompting a daring rescue attempt that transforms her from a simple runaway slave fueled by superstition to the legend we know and idolize. “Harriet was just that amazing of a woman, of a person! Here is this small-framed woman barely above five feet tall going to war with slave traders and owners to liberate others. She was remarkable and a true American legend.”

Kasi opted to direct Harriet but admitted the was intimidated by the project initially. “When you’re telling the story of the life of someone like her [Harriet] you really want to get it right and give the story your all–the justice it deserved. There’s a lot of research involved, narratives, understanding her spirituality, and knowing you need to accurately show people the real might and power of this person.” Part of accurately portraying Tubman was definitely in the casting as Cynthia Erivo was controversially cast in the titular role. “To me it just made sense. She has her [Harriet’s] build and Cynthia is just a powerful actress.  She’s also very athletic, as you can see in ‘Widows.’ This particular role required a lot of running, jumping, climbing, and even wading through rivers in some pretty restrictive clothing due to the time period the film is set in…If you’ve seen her in ‘The Color Purple,’ you know she can give you an array of emotions and really move an audience. So casting her was pretty simple to me…”

kasi lemmons

Cynthia did an exceptional job resurrecting Harriet Tubman, just as the film did an even more amazing job of showing the skills and techniques–both learned and divine–to stay safe and alive while liberating others. The scenes where Harriet has her “dizzy spells” (periods of hypersomnia when she would lose consciousness, a side effect of having suffered a traumatic injury when an angry slave owner threw and accidentally hit her with a heavy metal weight intended for another slave), are shown as times when she was directly communicating with God through dreams, many of which seemed to be precognitive and clairvoyant. In grade school many children are just taught she would periodically pass out. “There’s a ton of scholarly work explaining what happened with her during these spells. She was a very spiritually inclined woman and whatever was going on during those times worked in her favor as it gave her an almost sixth sense with the information she acquired from them.” Besides her spells, Harriet knew to use the rivers, stars, forests, and a shotgun as weapons in her crusade. “Nature was very much on her side and she grew to know the areas like the back of her hand, and became a great shooter. She could literally do it all. I want to say she’s our first superhero.”

kasi lemmons

Kasi Lemmons, Director of “Harriet” 2019.
CREDIT: CAITLIN CRONENBERG FOR VARIETY

Harriet will be the film to see of 2019 and is already crawling with Oscar buzz. We compel all of you to see the narrative of a true American hero and freedom fighter. Trust us, Storm of X-Men has got nothing on her! You can catch Harriet in theaters everywhere this Friday!

Special thanks to Kontrol Magazine!

Celebrity Interviews

Saweetie Talks Music & Black Lives Matter on Quibi’s Musicology w/ Tim Kash

‘Tap In’ and ‘My Type’ Rapper, Saweetie, sits down with Tim Kash and discusses her upcoming album, as well as the current headlines surrounding the speculation of lynchings and how she is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

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saweetie

‘Tap In’ and ‘My Type’ Rapper, Saweetie, sits down with Tim Kash and discusses her upcoming album, as well as the current headlines surrounding the speculation of lynchings and how she is involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

tim kash saweetie interview

We are really glad to hear Saweetie’s forthcoming album is nearly here. She has been in the spotlight for a minute now and her fans (we are fans) deserve to hear a full body of work from her.

saweetie

More importantly, however, we love to hear she is doing her part in the Black Lives Matter movement. Someone with a platform as large as Saweetie’s is definitely needed in this good fight! These recent lynchings of Black men in various parts of the country being labeled as suicides is nothing short of nonsense and murder at the hands of white supremacists. Thanks Saweetie for speaking out!

You can catch Saweetie’s interview with Tim Kash below! Happy viewing!

 

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Celebrity Interviews

WATCH NOW: OWN’s Exclusive Press Roundtable w/ The Cast of “Greenleaf!”

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Greenleaf season 5

It Is hard to believe that after five seasons the upcoming season of OWN’s hit series, “Greenleaf,” will be its last. For years now we have watched this family and their megachurch grow, fall, change, and fight all in the name of family, dignity, and God.

Now, it is time to say goodbye, but before the season premiere airs tomorrow we were privileged to be able to chat with a few cast members of the Greenleaf during a Vimeo roundtable press conference! Yep Merle Dandridge (Grace Greenleaf), Keith Davidson (Bishop James Greenleaf), Lynn Whitfield (Pastor Mae Greenleaf), Lamman Rucker (Jacob Greenleaf), and Deborah Joy Winans (Charity Greenleaf), and the series’ creator/director, Craig Wright were all there and we got the details for this amazing final season!

Greenleaf season 5

Before the press conference we were allowed to screen the first two episodes of the upcoming season and needless to say they are riveting! You will find the Greenleaf Family collectively faces the end of an era with power and ownership of Calvary shifting to Harmony & Hope (H&H). Individually, Grace faces a tragic setback in her relationship with her estranged son, AJ, Kerissa and Jacob play chess as they move towards an impending divorce, Mae and The Bishop move forward with their wedding plans and the next chapter of their lives, and Charity has become the black sheep of her family, viewed as a traitor by her mother and sister while raging against Phillip Demars for spurning her and choosing Judy Whitmore. Whether the Greenleafs can pull it together to somehow save Calvary–and see their family through harrowing times–remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, they won’t go down without a fight!

Greenleaf season 5

The cast was asked questions by various publications sand touched on how the show has helped humanize church leadership, which storylines besides their own are the most invested in, and even behind the scenes hijinks we never knew anything about.

You can catch the full interview by clicking this link https://vimeo.com/428978269 and using the following password: PressEvent4Greenleaf.

Greenleaf season 5

We hate to see Greenleaf ending, but the news of a spinoff has us glowing. We are sure this is not the last we have seen of this family. You all be sure to tune into season premiere of Greenleaf, tomorrow night, Tuesday at 9/8 PM EST/CTR!

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Actor Turned “Monster Savior,” Meet “October Faction’s” Gabriel Darku!

The world needs saving from things that go “bump in the night,” thankfully there are people for that.  Enter “October Faction!” “October Faction” is a series based on a family of monster hunters, The Allens; Fred, Deloris, and their twins Geoff and Viv. The family’s unusual lives take a turn for the worst when a dangerous and supernatural figure from their past forces family secrets to the light. 

The show has been met with rave reviews in large part to the story line and amazing cast, including the handsome, talented actor who portrays “Geoff Allen,” Gabriel Darku!

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gabriel darku

The world needs saving from things that go “bump in the night,” thankfully there are people for that.  Enter “October Faction!” “October Faction” is a series based on a family of monster hunters, The Allens; Fred, Deloris, and their twins Geoff and Viv. The family’s unusual lives take a turn for the worst when a dangerous and supernatural figure from their past forces family secrets to the light. 

The show has been met with rave reviews in large part to the story line and amazing cast, including the handsome, talented actor who portrays “Geoff Allen,” Gabriel Darku!

Gabriel hails from what most of us Americans would consider “The Mysterious Beyond,” having been born in Saint John, New Brunswick and raised in Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. He always knew he wanted to be someone great, and was known for being highly athletic as a national level gymnast. However, he found his calling as an actor, beginning with school theater and later studying at The Toronto Film School. “I always had a love for it [acting] and began to realize this was what I wanted to do with my life…I can’t say it’s been easy but I’ve been really fortunate to have some awesome experiences and do some really amazing work…” That “amazing work” now includes the supernatural thriller, “October Faction.” 

gabriel darku

As aforementioned the series centers around a family of monster hunters, but is set against the backdrop of real world issues and occurrences like racism, sexuality, adoption, and genocide. Gabriel’s character, Geoff, is in fact quite layered being adopted, gay, biracial, and a warlock! “There’s a lot to Geoff! He’s very outgoing, courageous, loving, and loyal. He wants to do the right thing, even if it does not turn out right. However, he can be a little impulsive [he laughs]…” The character of Geoff may very well be one of the best examples of someone who “just so happens to be gay.” The character is never ostracized by his family or friends for being gay, and it is treated as nothing to note. “Geoff is loved and accepted by his family completely. Him being gay is just not a big deal at all. In fact, the only issue he has with being gay comes from his love interest, a closeted gay guy who is actually on the opposite end struggling with his sexuality. Geoff knows who he is and accepts that, and I love that about him…we need to see more stories like him so we can stop equating gay with tragedy. It’s a beautiful, refreshing narrative.”

gabriel darku

The cast of “October Faction” is highly talented and chalked full of veterans–namely Tamara Taylor, J.C. McKenzie, Stephen McHattie, and Wendy Crewson–each of them have been acting for decades. Gabriel reveals he loved working with and learning from them as well as building a familial bond with his castmates. “We really connected on set and I learned a lot from all of them. I mean how could I not, they’ve had these amazing careers and were all so warm and open. Me and my tv sister, Aurora [Burghart], ended up acting just like siblings with the banter and poking fun at each other. It was so nice, I really can’t wait to get back on that set.” Unfortunately it has been announced that Netflix will not renew the series for a second season. 

gabriel darku

Gabriel is definitely a rising star and truly a talented actor. We are looking forward to seeing him in future projects . Geoff advises other actors “to study the craft and not give up. You’re going to hear a lot of no’s, face a lot of rejection, but you can’t take it personally.”

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