Hudlin Entertainment

MICHAEL STRATFORD – WORDS AND PHOTOS

MeShell Ndegocello

Chaka Khan

I don’t know where to start in congratulating my man @reggiehudlin for commandeering one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen at the Hollywood Bowl last night. Black Movie Soundtrack volume 3 was in the house with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Soundtrack Savages house band led by musical director and co-producer @realmarcusmiller and hosted by Craig Robertson.

Snoop Dogg

Do I start with the beautiful film montage of over 80 years of memorable scenes from black cinema, ranging from Lena Horne to Richard Roundtree to Spike Lee, projected on several screens throughout the Bowl? How about the pristine quality of the film clips, making classic performances by the Nicholas Brothers look more timeless than ever? Maybe the orchestra jamming to Willie Hutch’s ‘Theme from The Mack’ at the show opening? The poignant tribute to John Singleton through Raphael Saadiq’s tender version of ‘Ooh Child’? The first time ever live performance of Me’Shell ndegeocello’s Come Over’ from the ‘Love Jones’ soundtrack? To that point, Dionne Ferris’ rendition of ‘Hopeless’ from the same album? What about Dionne’s light bright cape? Clearly the winning outfit of the night. As emcee for the evening, Robertson did a great job of keeping the show moving, offering good natured asides that were never blue, never rude, always funny. 

Dionne Farris

Raphael Saadiq

There were just too many moments to capture: Bebe Winans saluting his sister, Whitney Houston, with a stirring version of ‘The Greatest Love of All’, El DeBarge ably handling ‘Trouble Man’, Prince’s ‘Baby I’m a Star’ and his own ‘Rhythm of the Night’ (from The Last Dragon Soundtrack). Chaka Khan put her own spin on Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Let’s Do It Again’, Uncle Charlie Wilson came out and raised the roof even higher as he propped off Prince with ‘Baby I’m a Star’, complete with dance moves, Prince screams and a little bit of his own ‘Outstanding’. Snoop Dogg made a surprise appearance to perform ‘187’ from the film ‘Deep Cover’. Bebe Winans closed the show with Bill Withers’ ‘Lean On Me’, from Reggie’s own documentary on Clarence Avant (who signed Withers to his first record deal), the immediately classic, ‘The Black Godfather’. 

Bebe Winans

I’ve known Reggie Hudlin for a long time. He’s a passionate, highly intelligent but funky dude who has always been about the uplift of black folks without excluding others. He’s a hard worker who always spins a lot of plates at once. His spirit of inclusion, joy and respect for both the art and his audience was on full display onstage and in the audience at a show that will be hard to top. Congrats, Soul Brother, to paraphrase Curtis, ‘you did it again’.

Charlie Wilson

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Snoop Dogg, Chaka Khan, Raphael Saadiq & More Salute Black Movies at the Hollywood Bowl

Snoop Dogg

Launched in 2014 and staged again in 2016, The Black Movie Soundtrack show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles has become one of the venue’s most popular and fun franchises. The series’ third edition last evening (Sept. 25) further solidified the event’s must-attend status as Chaka Khan, Raphael Saadiq, Charlie Wilson, El DeBarge, Meshell Ndegeocello, BeBe Winans and Dionne Farris—including surprise guest Snoop Dogg—paid homage to eight decades of black cinema.

Following a montage of clips from films running the gamut from the 1930s to present day, the show kicked off amidst audience cheers as host Craig Robinson declared, “We’re baaaaaack.” Then after promising “two hours of undiluted black excellence,” Robinson introduced the evening’s first performers: Ndegeocello, DeBarge and Khan. They individually performed a trio of songs dating back to the 1970’s blaxploitation era including, respectively, “Across 110thStreet,” “Trouble Man” and “Let’s Do It Again.” DeBarge later returned to sing “Rhythm of the Night,” the hit dance anthem from the 1985 Motown Productions film The Last Dragon.

From there, the evening offered more vocal treats as Saadiq’s smooth tenor saluted the legacy of the late film writer/director John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) with “Ask of You” (from Singleton’s Higher Learning) and “O-o-h Child” while images of Singleton with his children flashed across a giant video screen. Music from films by Prince and Spike Lee were also spotlighted. In honor of the former, the indefatigable Wilson earned a dancing ovation from the crowd with a rollicking cover “Baby I’m a Star” while Khan’s lusty voice graced an emotion-packed interpretation of “Purple Rain.” She also reaped enthusiastic applause for “Love Me Still” from Lee’s 1995 movie Clockers.

Snoop Dogg literally had the Bowl audience jumping to its feet and yelling his name as he sauntered onstage to reprise the title track from the 1992 movie Deep Cover (he was the featured guest on the Dr. Dre song). Preceding the rapper’s unannounced arrival was another special moment: a look back at another 1990’s cultural milestone Love Jones. Ndegeocello and the show’s musical director Marcus Miller showcased their blazing bass skills as they performed the track “Rush Over.” Farris, wearing a caped jumpsuit whose giant wings were festooned with blue and purple lights, claimed props for her faithful turn on the song she contributed to the original Love Jonessoundtrack, “Hopeless.”

Rounding out the evening was music from Hidden Figures, Black Pantherand Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Having earlier performed “Greatest Love of All,” Winans  (“I truly miss my sister Whitney [Houston]”), closed the evening with the Bill Withers gem “Lean on Me” as the evening’s performers and audience sang along. Withers is one of the talents discovered by the legendary entrepreneur Clarence Avant, the central focus of the 2019 Netflix documentary film The Black Godfather.

Accompanying Miller and his band (pianist Kris Bowers, keyboardist John Beasley, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., drummers Louis Cato and Massamba Diop) was the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by Vince Mendoza. Also joining comedian Robinson as co-host was film producer/director Reginald Hudlin (The Black Godfather, Boomerang), who co-produces the Black Movie Soundtrack concert series.

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Matthew Glave and Hunter Sansone Find Safety with Disney+

DEADLINE IS REPORTING THAT MATTHEW GLAVE (FIRST MAN) AND HUNTER SANSONE (STAR GIRL) HAVE JUMPED ABOARD REGINALD HUDLIN’S (HOUSE PARTY, THE BLACK GODFATHER) DISNEY+ FILM SAFETY.

THE NEW FILM, WHICH IS CURRENTLY SHOOTING IN SOUTH CAROLINA, IS INSPIRED BY THE UPLIFTING TRUE STORY OF FORMER CLEMSON SAFETY RAY MCELRATHBEY. THE FILM WILL PREMIERE EXCLUSIVELY ON THE DISNEY+ STREAMING PLATFORM WHEN RELEASED.

“THIS IS A POWERFUL SCRIPT THAT TOUCHES EVERYONE WHO READS IT,” SAID HUDLIN. “AND NOW WE ARE ASSEMBLING A CAST OF WONDERFUL YOUNG ACTORS WHO WILL BRING RAY MCELRATHBEY’S AMAZING TRUE STORY TO LIFE ON THE SCREEN.”

SAFETY IS THE EMPOWERING STORY OF RAY MCELRATHBEY, A YOUNG MAN FACING A SERIES OF CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES, WHOSE FAITH AND PERSISTENCE HELP HIM TO TRIUMPH OVER REPEATED ADVERSITIES AND PLAY FOOTBALL ON SCHOLARSHIP AT CLEMSON UNIVERSITY, ALL WHILE STRUGGLING TO RAISE AND CARE FOR HIS 11-YEAR-OLD BROTHER FAHMARR. THE FILM STARS JAY REEVES (ALL AMERICAN) AS RAY; THADDEUS J. MIXSON (THE GRIND) AS FAHMARR; AND CORINNE FOXX (47 METERS DOWN: UNCAGED) AS KAYCEE. RANDY MCKINNON (WHERE THE WATER RUNS) AND NICK SANTORA (SCORPION, THE FUGITIVE AT QUIBI) WROTE THE SCREENPLAY, THE FILM IS BEING PRODUCED BY MARK CIARDI (CHAPPAQUIDDICK, INVINCIBLE).

PRODUCTION WILL FILM IN BOTH CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA AND ATLANTA, GEORGIA BEFORE WRAPPING IN MID-NOVEMBER

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