Greetings! The movie “Selma” has attained special distinction, as it was chosen to be screened at the White House, hosted by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle. Cast and crew from the movie were expected to attend.
“Selma” was only nominated for Best Song and Best Picture. However, the reaction in the Twitterverse and beyond is getting louder and louder, with the Rev. Al Sharpton joining the chorus of protests against the Motion Picture Academy for the obvious snub and lack of diversity.
The widespread criticism online and the industry forced Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first Black female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to comment in an Associated press interview: “What is important not to lose sight of is that ‘Selma,’ which is a fantastic motion picture, was nominated for Best Picture this year, and the Best Picture category is voted on by the entire membership of around 7,000 people.” However, it has been duly noted that all 20 of this year’s acting contenders are white, and there are no women in the directing or writing categories.
The “Selma” cast made its own statement after the film’s New York City premiere, wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts over their party clothes. Director Ava DuVernay stood on steps of the New York Public Library with actors David Oyelowo and other cast members, raising their arms in the “don’t shoot” pose.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” is the Tony Award-winning musical with a contemporary take on the classic tale. Rediscover Rodgers and Hammerstein’s memorable songs such as “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago.” Starring KeKe Palmer as “Ella” and NeNe Leakes (from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”) as Madame. Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway, between West 52nd and 53rd streets. For ticket information, go to www.telecharge.com.
“Motown: The Musical,” with book by Berry Gordy Jr., is now playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St., between Eighth Avenue and Broadway. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or motownthemusical.com.
“Kinky Boots,” featuring 2013 Tony Award winner Billy Porter, is at the Al Hirschfield Theatre, 302 W. 45th St. Visit broadway.com/ shows/kinky-boots.
“Aladdin,” featuring James Monroe Igleheart, the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actor, as the uniquely modern genie, is now playing at the New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 W. 42nd St. Visit broadway.com/shows/aladdin-broadway.
“The Lion King,” the highest grossing show on Broadway, features a visually stunning yet realistic landscape. Actors dressed as wild animals, encompassing their characters in spectacular, goose bump-giving performances, keep audiences coming back time and again to the Minskoff Theatre, 1515 Broadway. Call 212-869-0550 or visit minskofftheatre.com.
The Apollo Theater presents renowned musician D’Angelo and the Vanguard in an epic one-night-only concert Saturday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. In 2014, D’Angelo’s first studio album in 14 years, “Black Messiah,” has become one of the most buzzed about record releases in recent music history, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard magazine charts. It continues to receive critical acclaims. This special evening is the singer’s only U.S. engagement since the album’s release. Visit apollotheater.org.
Gladys Knight, popularly known as “the Empress of Soul” because of her soulful vocals, and the Mighty Spinners, two great acts who have perfected the art of giving a great performance, will perform in a memorable evening of great R&B hits at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, One Center St., Newark, N.J. For ticket information, call 1-888-GO-NJPAC or visit www.njpac.org.
The Blue Note Jazz Club presents Kirk Whalum Feb. 3 to Feb. 6, Valentine’s Week with Nicole Henry Feb. 10 and 11 and Rachelle Farrell, Feb.12 to 15. 131 W. Third St. Call 212-675-8592 or visit bluenotejazzclub.com.
Brooklyn Center presents Ladysmith Black Mambozo, Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. With four Grammy Awards, including 2013’s “Best World Music” CD, the group presents rich a cappella arrangements and joyously energetic performances. Walt Whitman Theatre, 2900 Campus Road, Brooklyn, N.Y. For ticket information, call 718-951-4500 or visit brooklyncenter.org.
Spoken word champion Bryonn Bain performs his one-man tour de force, the multimedia “Lyrics From Lockdown,” produced by Gina and Harry Belafonte. The production blends hip-hop, theater, spoken word poetry, R&B, calypso and classical music to tell a story that exposes racial profiling and wrongful incarceration. NJPAC, One Center St., Newark, N.J., Saturday, Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. For information, call 888-GO-NJPAC.
“Selma,” a chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s campaign in a racially dangerous climate to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in 1965, stars David Oyewolo as King, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Common as James Bevel and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper, with a soundtrack featuring Common and John Legend. Check theaters for listings.
CEMOTAP (the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to Black People) invites you to “What Would Dr. King Say?” Featuring special guest speakers Dr. Georgina Falu, Brother Bob Law and Dr. Leonard Jeffries, the free event will focus on police murder, war, economics, education and race relations. Saturday, Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. at the CEMOTAP Center, 135-05 Rockaway Blvd., South Ozone Park, N.Y. 11420.
The BEPAA Master Class “Why We Are Going to the Real Selma in 2015,” featuring Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. Adelaide Sanford and Nana Betty Dopson, takes place Sunday, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. at the John Henrik Clarke House, 286 Convent Ave., in Harlem. Admission is free. Call 347-907-0629 to RSVP.
Earlier this month, Harlem School of the Arts at the Herb Alpert Center announced a full program of classes for children and young adults. Contact registration manager Tyeesha Jones at 212-926-4100, ext. 324, or email tjones@HSAnyc.org. Register at hsanyc.org.
Hear Imhotep Gary Byrd on 107.5 WBLS-FM daily with “Imhotep’s On-Air Guide to Black Events” and “Express Yourself,” Sunday evenings 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on WLIB-AM with “The GBE Mind Flight,” Sunday 9 p.m. to midnight. The full show can be heard on HD radio at WBLS-HD2. IGB is also heard on WBAI-FM 99.5 with Radio GBE: The “Global Black Experience” and “Global Beat Experience,” Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. We are archived online with both shows at www.wbai.org. To contact us for bookings or to reach us about your event, email email@example.com, find Imhotep Gary Byrd on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @GBELIFE or call 212-592-3279.