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NAJEE’S NOTES: Reggie Hudlin is living African-American legend

Written by: Najee Ali, Contributing Writer

Reggie Hudlin will once again be producing the Image Awards Show, which will be held Feb. 11 in Pasadena. (Courtesy photo)

Reggie Hudlin is this week’s African-American Heritage Month living legend. Hudlin is a pioneer of the modern black film movement, creating movies like “House Party,” “Boomerang and “Bebe Kids,” which are some of the most profitable and influential films of his generation.

The Oscar-nominated writer, producer and director co-produced last year’s 88th Academy Awards and for the last few year’s he’s also been the producer of the NAACP Image Awards.

Hudlin continues to be a force to be reckoned with after decades of being one of the most successful figures in Hollywood.

Hudlin was born in Centreville, Illinois, the son of Helen Cason, a teacher, and Warrington W. Hudlin Sr., an insurance executive and teacher. His older brother, Warrington Hudlin, is also a film director, as well as an actor and producer.

While an undergraduate student at Harvard University, Hudlin directed a short film entitled, “House Party,” which went on to receive numerous awards, including first place at the Black American Cinema Society Awards. It would serve as the basis for his first feature film of the same name.

He also directed “The Great White Hype,” “The Ladies Man,” “Serving Sara,” two episodes of the TV series “Modern Family,” an episode of “The Office,” an episode of “The Middle” and several episodes of “Outsourced.” He was a reoccurring producer and director of the “The Bernie Mac Show” for three years.

From 2005 to 2008, Hudlin was the president of sntertainment for BET. He was the writer of the Marvel Comics series “Black Panther” from 2005 to 2008, most notable for the 2006 storyline “Bride of the Panther,” which saw the characters Storm and the Black Panther wed.

He was one of the producers of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. On Jan. 10, 2013, Hudlin received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture for the film.

And on a personal note, Hudlin is married to Chrisette Suter, who is now a friend of mine. But it didn’t start out that way. I met her several years ago as I attempted to lead a protest at a Hollywood event she was in charge of. She quickly corralled me and other protestors to hold off on the protest and wanted to have a deeper dialogue concerning our issues. We complied and things did work themselves out. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Hudlin family.

As Hudlin prepares for this week’s Image Awards, it appears to be the best show yet.

Historian, author, curator and educator, Lonnie G. Bunch III will be presented with the NAACP President’s Award at the 48th NAACP Image Awards telecast live from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 11 on TV One.

The President’s Award, chosen by NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, is bestowed in recognition of special achievement and distinguished public service. Past honorees include John Legend, Van Jones, President Bill Clinton, Soledad O’Brien, Ruby Dee, Muhammad Ali, the founding Members of the Black Stuntmen’s Association, Kerry Washington and Spike Lee.

Congratulations go out to Hudlin for his decades of success and achievement in Hollywood.

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NAACP Image Awards Hail ‘Next Generation’ of Talent, Inclusive Stories

Mannie Holmes | Events Editor

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (8344346u)
Sterling K. Brown and Mandy Moore
NAACP Image Awards, Show, Los Angeles, USA – 11 Feb 2017

The 48th annual NAACP Image Awards honored the past year in entertainment, specifically spotlighting projects with minority representation. Projects that took home awards included “Hidden Figures,” “This Is Us,” “Black-ish” and “Queen Sugar.”

Upon accepting his 20th NAACP Image award for outstanding actor in a motion picture in “Fences,” Denzel Washington spoke at length, motivating the newer artists who were listening.

“I am particularly happy and proud about the young filmmakers, actors, singers, writers, producers that are coming up behind my generation,” he said, citing “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins. “It’s not easy. If it was easy, there’d be no Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Mykelti Williamson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, and there’d be no Denzel Washington.”

Washington went on, “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship, so keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.”

While the year’s past achievements in television and film were highlighted, host Anthony Anderson couldn’t help but touch on the present political climate in his monologue. He used the latter half of his speech to commend the legacy of the Obama administration, even asking the nation “to make room on Mount Rushmore” for the 44th president.

It was Trevor Noah, however, who made the first direct jab at the expense of the current commander-in-chief when he said: “This room is so black and beautiful. It’s so black that it looks like a photo negative of the Trump administration.”

“The Daily Show” host went on, “Well let’s get to it; I’m black and an immigrant so I don’t have much time.”

Laughter rippled across the room, where Omarosa Manigault was seated in the center aisle to take it all in. (This all came moments after she praised president Trump for monitoring who comes into the country and calling out Chicago violence. The White House staffer also dropped mention of having a West Wing office.)

The audience also included Rep. Maxine Waters, Dwayne Johnson, Kerry Washington, Uzo Aduba, Tracee Ellis Ross, Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Regina King, Laverne Cox, TV One founder Cathy Hughes, and the entire adult cast of NBC’s “This Is Us,” which stood up to cheer after Sterling K. Brown took the best actor in a drama series trophy.

The ceremony not only presented awards to entertainers, but to community activists and humanitarians as well. Harvard Law School professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. and historian Lonnie G. Bunch, III also received honors at the star-studded event.

Bunch, who is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., accepted his award thanking the NAACP for the part that it has played in history.

“There is nothing more noble honoring all of our ancestors than remembering,” he ended, receiving a standing ovation.

After the ceremony, guests at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium kept the celebration going with cocktails, dinner and live performances in the ballroom next door.

A full list of winners can be viewed here.

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BURNING SANDS AT THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL

After our debut at Sundance, and a successful screening at Morehouse, we brought BURNING SANDS to the LA’s PAFF. At 25 years old it is one of the oldest black film festivals in the country.

Here I am with the amazing, writer/director Gerard McMurray and PAFF founder Babu Ayuko.

Me with fellow producers Stephanie Allain and Mel Jones.

 

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OPEN ROAD SETS AWARDS SEASON RELEASE FOR REGGIE HUDLIN’S THURGOOD MARSHALL THRILLER (STARRING CHADWICK BOSEMAN)

JANUARY 31, 2017 / SHADOWANDACT

MARSHALL

Having already played Jackie Robinson and James Brown, Chadwick Boseman is taking on another real-life icon in a courtroom thriller about Thurgood Marshall.

Under the direction of Reginald Hudlin, Boseman stars as the legendary attorney in “Marshall,” a film that focuses on a case early in the career of the Supreme Court justice.

Via the press announcement: “As the nation teeters on the brink of WWII, a nearly bankrupt NAACP sends Marshall to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy socialite employer in a sexual assault and attempted murder trial that quickly became tabloid fodder. In need of a high profile victory but muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall is partnered with Samuel Friedman, a young Jewish lawyer who has never tried a case. Marshall and Friedman struggle against a hostile storm of fear and prejudice, driven to discover the truth in the sensationalized trial which helped set the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement to come.”

Joining Boseman in front of the camera are Sterling K. Brown as Joseph Spell, the defendant at the center of the above case; Keesha Sharp plays Buster Marshall, Thurgood’s wife; and Josh Gad is Samuel Friedman, the young Jewish lawyer who partners with Marshall on the case.

Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens and James Cromwell round out the starring cast.

Paula Wagner is producing through her Chestnut Ridge Productions banner along with Jonathan Sanger and Hudlin.

Open Road has set an October 13 release date for “Marshall,” it was announced today – just in time for awards season.

“I can’t wait for the world to see this movie,” Hudlin said. “It’s a thriller, not a biopic, about an early case of one of the greatest lawyers in American history. In a time when we need heroes who fight for justice, ‘Marshall’ is an inspirational movie that brings people together.”

The film is being produced with the full cooperation of the Thurgood Marshall and Samuel Friedman estates.

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