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Other Comics / What if Capt. America Was Not Revived Until Today (1984)
« on: October 13, 2018, 03:43:00 pm »
seems like parallels with what's going on today, strangely enough..

Now being 27 years agoNow we're getting to the very first What If? I ever saw on the stands. I think I bought the next one first, but since this one hadn't yet been returned and pulped, I soon snatched it up. Everything else after that was scouring comic book shops in other towns for back issues. The last few issues of the original series are, for my money, some of the best What Ifs ever produced. Peter B. Gillis got into a good groove with character origins and was paired up with classic artists (here, Sal Buscema) for full-length stories about truly pivotal moments in the Marvel Universe. And did I mention the Bill Sienkiewicz covers? Well I am. They. Are. Gorgeous.

Now, you could do a What If Captain America Were Not Revived Until Today story every decade and come up with something different. There's more than one of these floating around. This is the 80s version.

What If Vol.1 #44 (April 1984)
Based on: Avengers #4
The true history: Running from the Avengers, the Sub-Mariner finds Inuit worshiping the frozen figure of Captain America and throws it in the waters where it thaws and is rescued by the pursuing superhero team. Cap is still alive and joins the team, taking it to new heights of heroism.
Turning point: What if the Sub-Mariner's course took him in a more southerly direction?
Story type: New World Order
Watcher's mood: Smoke machine-enhanced

Altered history: Namor goes south and is never caught by the Avengers and the Inuit take their idol with them to parts unknown. When the Avengers go their separate ways, Cap isn't there to rebuild the team with Hawkeye et al. so they just disband with Rick Jones looking glum. A few years later, Nixon's going to China and a nameless American sees this as the beginning of the end for America. He goes down into a secret facility and revives the men he thinks are Captain America and Bucky, but who are, in fact, the 1950s replacements of the real deal.
Don't take them out of their mint packaging!They still make a big splash, fight the good fight, and soon become media darlings. Not made of the same moral fiber as the real Cap and more than a little obsessed with the "red menace"
, this Cap doesn't trust other heroes and starts campaigning for a right wing party called the First Party.
A big no-noHe gets Norman Chadwick elected to the Senate and is often seen shilling for his bills, including a National Identity Card that insures illegals don't get work in the USA.
Don't leave home without it... or else!At a demonstration against the measure, the First Party's puppet masters arrange for Cap to be shot...

That would NEVER happen...igniting a race war of incredible proportions. Cap is only wounded, and from his hospital bed, shills for martial law and every fascist measure proposed by Chadwick. We now jump to 1983 (i.e. "today") and to a submarine that finds a man trapped in a block of ice. When it thaws, they're not too happy about what they see.
World's most reviled costume... after Gambit'sThey think he's a "Sentinel of Liberty", Bad Cap's police force and American Nazi homologue. The boat's captain is old enough to remember the real Cap and when he sees him in action, sets things in motion to get the real Cap back to the motherland. New York's changed since we last saw it. The nice parts of town look like a prison...
And those helmets are pretty awful too...and the bad ones, behind the "Harlem Wall" are even worse.

Thankfully, there's a resistance. J.Jonah Jameson passes secret messages for it in the Daily Bugle's crossword puzzles, and their HQ is in the Harlem ghetto. It's got some famous members too: A trigger-happy Spider-Man, General Nick Fury - ex-agent of a disbanded SHIELD, and Snap Wilson - the man who in another reality became the Falcon.

As they get ready for the second American Revolution, the Bad Cap is helping the First Party with their national convention and getting a right monarchist in the Oval Office. Bad Cap still seems to think he's doing the right thing for America to protect it from Communism. At this point, I'd like to show you the First Party and ask you if Bad Cap should be redubbed Mad Cap:

Because hoods don't look suspicious or anythingYeah, these guys really look on the up and up. At the convention, Mad Cap (I went ahead and changed it, knowing you'd be cool with it) is about to present his candidate when the Revolution begins and it's Cap vs. Cap for the spirit of America! There can only be one, and that one is Steve Rogers. America DOES need you Mad Cap, but...

Mad Cap stops workingThe audience realizes it's the real Cap at last and start asking for their new orders. Cap won't hear of it. He makes an impassioned speech telling them they made America nothing with their racism and fascism and that they should look inside themselves to make moral decisions. Awkward silence falls, and then one guy... there's always one guy... inspires a hugely cheesy, but hugely satisfying ending.

I like my cheese fragrent and runnySorry, I've got something in my Canadian eye. Let's move on.
Books canceled as a result: They went and canceled the Avengers, but it's hard to imagine over ten years' worth of Marvel books in that environment unless they're all about rebel action. Spider-Man's got a title, certainly, but does anyone else? One expects that they do, but they're simply not based in New York City.
These things happen: We've had replacement Captain Americas who've fallen in with the wrong crowd, like the man who would become the Captain. And some moments, like the assassin's bullet, sure do seem familiar. And I suppose that with most comics' sliding timescale, Cap WAS revived in this decade and will always have been revived in this decade.


Because even icons have pasts.

OZY's new TV show, Breaking Big, explores the secrets to success. Click to find out more.
“Our first question was … how do you make a cartoon?” says Kenan Weaver, laughing as he tries to explain the process — and chutzpah — behind crafting an animated comedy based on one of the most revered and polarizing civil rights figures of the 20th century. It’s an unseasonably warm fall afternoon, and the 33-year-old comedian and his partner, fellow stand-up comic Darren Williams, 31, are having lunch at the Tsion Café in New York’s Harlem neighborhood.

There is connective reasoning as to why Weaver and Williams, who met in 2015 at an open-mic comedy night, asked to meet at this Sugar Hill neighborhood hangout. Back in the 1930s and ’40s, the St. Nicholas Avenue establishment was the legendary Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, serving Southern comfort food by day and hot jazz at night. “Malcolm X was a waiter here,” says Williams, referring to the Nation of Islam minister turned human rights activist. “X” happens to be the main character in Little Red, the writing duo’s new television project backed by the Emmy-winning animation studio Titmouse Inc.

The adult-themed cartoon follows the exploits of young Malcolm Little, newly arrived in New York City in the waning days of the Harlem Renaissance, and his comic foil (and fellow dishwasher at Jimmy’s) John Sanford. Comedy aficionados will recognize Sanford as the iconic Redd Foxx, the influential funnyman and star of the hit ’70s sitcom Sanford and Son. Before Malcolm Little became Malcolm X, he was also known as “Detroit Red,” and Foxx went by “Chicago Red” — so named for their crimson hair.

From left: Malcolm X; Redd Foxx


Decades later, on Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X would be gunned down while giving a speech at Washington Heights’ Audubon Ballroom. And there lies the potential blowback for Little Red. Weaver and Williams are attempting to re-envision — and animate — a deified martyr for comic effect, which some may find blasphemous. “But our show isn’t Malcolm X after he converted to Islam in prison and tries to save his people,” Williams explains. Weaver interjects: “We have the utmost respect for the legacies of both Malcolm and Redd Foxx.”

And then there’s Titmouse, a white-owned studio producing a series about a radical Black figure who advocated segregation from what he deemed America’s racist power structure. Yet Titmouse CEO Chris Prynoski isn’t put off. “It definitely crosses your mind that you are dealing with an important person in history,” he says. “But I trust the vision of Kenan and Darren. I really believe that they have a good handle on the tone.”


For comedian and producer Pumkin Escobar, who has frequently booked Williams at his Harlem comedy club, Little Red fits the mold of projects being led by a new generation of risk-taking Black humorists. “I think you can place [Williams and Weaver] amongst people like Donald Glover, Wyatt Cenac — who got his start writing for The Daily Show — and Robin Thede,” he says. “Little Red is going to upset somebody. But if you are doing something worthwhile and fearless, somebody is going to be upset.”

There is a serendipitous connection between Williams and Weaver. Both turned their backs on what they describe as soul-sucking corporate jobs in IT and business analysis to make a run at comedy. The punchline? They both grew up in religious households and were restricted from watching comedies like The Simpsons, Martin and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, Williams was ostracized by his family when he told his parents he wanted out. Drawing from that experience, he took to the stand-up stage, explaining, “It’s always fun to joke about things you believe in.”

Kenan headshot 12 7 17 428821
Kenan Weaver, left, first met Darren Williams on New York City’s comedy club circuit; they recently teamed up to create Little Red.


Weaver admits that it was his sizable ego that pushed him to test his brand of observational, deadpan, racially fueled humor in front of audiences. “Netflix would air all of these stand-up comedy specials, and I would watch them with my friends and say, ‘I can do that.’ It got to the point where I was becoming a hater,” he says, chuckling.

When Williams told his future collaborator about his wild idea for a comedy featuring a pre–Malcolm X, Weaver was floored. “I had just read Redd Foxx’s biography and he’s talking about Malcolm X,” he recalls. “And I go, ‘I bet you the two of them would make a great cartoon!’”

But animation was an alien world to Williams and Weaver — until a chance encounter in 2016 with Mike Allen. The developer of the pilot for the Disney Channel’s Kim Possible gave them a road map and got them started on storyboarding. Then, knowing they needed a big name to attach to Little Red, they reached out to comedian and social activist Dick Gregory to voice one of the characters. “He loved it!” Weaver marvels, only Gregory passed away in August before he could step inside the recording booth.

Undaunted, they pitched Little Red to several animation houses and got a surprise call back from Titmouse. Since then, the industry buzz surrounding the off-the-wall project is getting louder. Netflix, HBO, Apple, Fox and Cartoon Network have all expressed interest, though nothing has been inked.

“If you talk about what your favorite comedy is, it’s usually something based on adversity … on truth,” Williams says. “That’s why Black folks make the best comedians.” As if on cue, Weaver cuts in: “I once bought a Cadillac in the same month I got laid off from a job. Now, that’s Black.”

Watching these friends riff, it’s like they’ve walked off the pages of the Little Red story bible. “Armed with nothing but wits, charm and the art of the hustle …,” begins the introduction to Malcolm and Redd, “two ambitious, unapologetically Black men.” In a surreal moment, it’s hard to see where the creators leave off and their creations begin.

Hudlin TV / Bill Duke and Robert Townsend join Black Lightning Show
« on: October 10, 2018, 09:14:07 am »
Neat.  I hope that both of them get to direct some episodes, too.

Robert Townsend And Bill Duke Join 'Black Lightning' Season 2
October 9th 2018

Hollywood vets from in front of and behind the camera have joined the second season of Black Lightning.

Bill Duke and Robert Townsend will appear in multiple episodes of the sophomore season of the DC Comics superhero drama.

They join another previously announced recurring cast member, Erika Alexander.

Bill Duke as Agent Percy Odell, a hardnosed and dedicated ASA government official.

Robert Townsend as Dr. Napier Frank, a straightforward yet warm member of the Freeland school board and a longtime ally of Jefferson Pierce.

Per the official description, in Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is a man wrestling with a secret. As the father of two daughters and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a haven for young people in a neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero in his community. Nine years ago, Pierce was a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. After too many nights with his life on the line, and seeing the effects of the damage and loss that his alter ego was inflicting on his family, he left his Superhero days behind and settled into being a principal and a dad.

Choosing to help his city without using his superpowers, he watched his daughters Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) grow into strong young women, even though his marriage to their mother, Lynn (Christine Adams), suffered. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, and those he cares about in the crosshairs of the menacing local gang The One Hundred, Black Lightning returns – to save not only his family but also the soul of his community.

Marvin Krondon Jones III, Jordan Calloway, Damon Gupton and James Remar also star.

Based on the characters from DC Comics, Black Lightning is from Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti, Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil and Sarah Schechter. The Black Lightning character was created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden.

The second season of Black Lightning premieres October 9 on The CW.

Vox Populi / Kavenaugh is confirmed to Supreme Court
« on: October 06, 2018, 03:57:16 pm »
Oh, well...  :( :( :(  they win again.. (and again... and again..)

Washington (CNN)The Senate voted to send Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court on Saturday, ushering in a generational conservative majority and delivering a huge victory to President Donald Trump after a vicious confirmation battle inflamed by allegations of sexual assault against the nominee.

As shrieks of "shame, shame, shame" echoed from the public galleries, divided and angry senators voted 50-48 to endorse a lifetime seat on the court for Kavanaugh. The protests underscored the vital importance of an appointment that will have sweeping consequences for some of the nation's most contested disputes over abortion, LGBT rights, the scope of presidential power and the role of religion in society.
The bitter fight over Kavanaugh now moves into the epicenter of the campaign for the midterm elections in November. Republicans are convinced it will motivate their sleepy base. Democrats believe a backlash against the GOP from women voters could help deliver the House of Representatives. And the nature of the fight over Kavanaugh will trigger recriminations inside the Senate and political reverberations outside for years to come.
In the end, Republicans were able to use their stranglehold on Capitol Hill and the White House to muscle through the confirmation in a power play that reflected the momentous importance of Trump's 2016 election victory over Hillary Clinton.
Still, it was a close-run thing: Kavanaugh's nomination was nearly derailed by Christine Blasey Ford's allegations that the judge assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s, which sparked uproar and forced Republicans to delay the confirmation vote for a week to allow time for a supplemental FBI background check.
Trump's first exuberant response to the vote came in a tweet as he flew to Topeka, Kansas for a campaign rally that is likely to become a raucous victory lap.
"I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court. Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!
Kavanaugh will be sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday by Chief Justice John Roberts and the man he will replace, the Court's crucial swing vote, Anthony Kennedy.
Democrats furiously accused the GOP of short-circuiting efforts to examine Ford's allegations and of rushing the nomination through while ignoring the changed political dynamics surrounding complaints of misconduct against powerful men ushered in by the #MeToo movement.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the nomination "one of the saddest moments in the history of the Senate," and said, "this chapter will be a flashing red warning light of what to avoid."
Republicans "conducted one of the least transparent, least fair, most biased processes in Senate history, slanting the table from the very beginning to produce their desired result," he added.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described Kavanaugh as a "superstar."
McConnell, who stalled Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to the court in his final year in office and for whom the new conservative majority represents a defining achievement, predicted that Democratic tactics during confirmation battle would electrify Republican voters in November.
"They managed to deliver the only thing we had not been able to figure out how to do, which is to get our folks fired up," McConnell said. "The other side is obviously fired up, they have been all year."
Kavanaugh's confirmation leaves the Senate traumatized with Republicans and Democrats as estranged as at any time in recent memory, reflecting the cavernous divides in the country itself during a presidency that has ignited rare political passions.
It represents the culmination of a decades-long project by the conservative movement to construct a like-minded majority on the Supreme Court which has been a defining and unifying cause in successive congressional and presidential campaigns.
The new profile of the court immediately makes Trump a consequential president, for all of the chaos and discord that rages around his White House, and means his legacy will include an achievement that eluded previous Republican presidents -- all of whom had more authentic conservative credentials.
The ferocious nature of the confirmation battle could also have an impact on the Court itself, as Kavanaugh's vehement and politicized defense of his own behavior raised questions about his temperament and whether he could genuinely be a honest broker and implementer of the law in the most sensitive cases.
Ford allegations and partisan fighting
The path to Kavanaugh's confirmation cleared on Friday when two wavering Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona, said they would vote for Kavanaugh after concluding that Ford's allegations, voiced by her in an emotional hearing last week, could not be corroborated.
Their move meant that McConnell could forge the narrowest of majorities to clear Kavanaugh, despite the fact that another Republican, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, opposed him.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat facing a tough re-election fight in West Virginia, a state where the President rolled to victory in 2016, also supported Kavanaugh.
Murkowski ultimately withdrew herself from the final tally as a gesture of goodwill toward her Republican colleague, Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who supports Kavanaugh but was in Montana to walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. But the move did not affect the ultimate result of the vote.
Murkowski to vote 'present' on Kavanaugh so Daines won't have to leave daughter's wedding
Murkowski to vote 'present' on Kavanaugh so Daines won't have to leave daughter's wedding
CNN's Phil Mattingly, Laurie Ure, Manu Raju, Sophie Tatum and Dan Berman contributed to this report.

Hard Choices / DC Heroes in Crisis or Marvel Extermination?
« on: October 02, 2018, 08:20:43 am »
so, which of these comics crossovers promising to bump people off is your preferred going into the autumn?

Feel The Funk / Detroit's black rock music scene
« on: October 02, 2018, 08:17:14 am »

Everyone remembers their first time. Raven Love's was at a Stevie Nicks concert, in the audience, lost in a sea of bodies. She was 15 and instantly blown away. "I went home that night and wrote my first song," Raven says. While her first love is technically writing (she holds a degree in English from Wayne State University), music started to take over. She practiced hard and taught herself keyboard and guitar, eventually forming a band, Raven Love and the 27s. That was in 2015, eight years after her Stevie Nicks experience. Raven wanted to harness that same energy on the stage.

She's black and she rocks. And that shouldn't be so surprising, but for many, it is. Rock music hasn't always played fair with its black roots. Elvis was dubbed the King of Rock 'n' Roll, yet owed a huge debt to Bessie Smith, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and a host of others who innovated and elevated the music, yet rarely enjoyed the commercial success of their white counterparts.

Raven, a Detroit native, is familiar with this narrative, a historic sweep that has even touched the local scene. "Being a woman fronting a rock band, and then being a black woman with a bunch of black musicians, you stand out," Raven says. "Even with our first album release, which was (called) Shameless, at the end of 2016, the decision was made not to have a photo of the band that wasn't absolutely necessary." Why? Because "(people) were so quick to label us based on the image. (People) would see a picture of the band and call us soul; they'd call us R&B. They'd call us everything under the sun except for rock because how could four black kids from Detroit possibly be making rock 'n' roll music?"

For Raven and her bandmates, that perception proved a difficult thing to swallow, but it was also, she notes, indicative of the scene. "I still don't see it being 100 percent open – especially for female musicians, especially for black female musicians," she says. "Not right now. The space is opening up but it has a long way to go."

Music History

Charting this distance is as easy as plotting what for many rock aficionados would serve as the genre's incandescent North Star: Jimi Hendrix. Emerging – no, more like exploding – on the scene with 1967's Are You Experienced?, Hendrix changed the trajectory, the taste, the very inflection and reflection of rock, yet black rock didn't find a foothold, or port of call. It was more or less an outgrowth of a countercultural or anomalous shift in tone and some, like Funkadelic's Maggot Brain, took up Hendrix's mantle in subtle – and unsubtle – ways.

You can point to Prince in the late '70s onward through the '80s, with the call taken up by New York's all-black rock band Living Colour to Lenny Kravitz, and maybe you could even point to Gary Clark Jr., since rock derives from the blues, making his mainstream rise a circular undertaking. The thing is, it never really turned into a movement, but black rock history, according to Wayne State University professor M.L. Liebler, is still very foundational. Hank Ballard & The Midnighters with guitarist Billy Davis (who is still active as a Hendrix-style guitarist at 80) would get the vote as the first rocker, sans the word black.

"Hank wrote the first real rock song 'The Twist' in the late '50s," Liebler says. "In mid 1960s, Black Merda – still active – emerged during the time period of black psychedelic/acid rock movement at Motown. They were introduced to another black rock/funkster Ellington 'Fugi' Jordan ('I'd Rather Go Blind') by Eddie Kendrick. He still fronts Merda. In the mid 1970s, Death appeared on the scene. Death were – are the first black acid rockers and the grandfathers of black punk rockers."

These seismic events led – in the late '70s and '80s – to "the immensely popular Algebra Mother fronted by African-American guitarist/singer Gerald Collins (later of Jeecy & The Jungle) became well known." By the early '90s, The Electrifying Mojo – the iconic radio broadcaster – appeared on the scene, "blending heavy metal with Prince, and later became an integral part of techno, which blends everything," Liebler adds. Even so, Liebler says, this blending doesn't necessarily translate into racial harmony on a large scale.

W. Kim Heron agrees. As a Detroit Free Press entertainment writer in the early '80s, he saw firsthand the pull and tug of rock radio's war against itself and how African-American artists were perceived in those days. In fact, in the late '70s and early '80s, music critics started saying that AOR – a term for Album Oriented Radio – actually stood for Apartheid Oriented Radio. "Think of the hostility that Prince encountered – and, of course, he's now rock canon," Heron says. "Michael Jackson crossed over with 'Thriller' only with the clout of CBS hammering at radio stations and MTV, and his stature is secure for posterity. But there's a history of struggle and it's still going on. You don't want to oversimplify, and whole books have been written about the complexities of the subject, but those are some of the dynamics. The way forward is to be cognizant of the past and, as the Impressions would say, 'keep on pushing.'"

Veteran entertainment writer Jim McFarlin served as a music critic for the Detroit News for 10 years and, in that time, the color divide still existed. "No, there was no black rock music scene in Detroit in those days," McFarlin says. "There were precious few people of color playing rock 'n' roll at all. It was almost unheard of that the music crossed over." Knowing and engaging with music history, particularly black music history and rock 'n' roll's part in it, is important for fostering a well-rounded audience, who might not even think about black rock in any city, let alone Detroit.

"What the narrow-minded, undereducated rock fan doesn't realize is that the roots of the music he or she covets so much come from the blues and chord progressions of the Mississippi Delta," McFarlin says. "Rock 'n' roll is the blues, simple as that. I think it would help if major artists of note made that fact clear every now and then to the fans who adore them. It's like the Duke (Duke Ellington) once said: 'There are only two kinds of music: good music, and the other kind.'"

'Good Feeling Music'

Midnight, founder of the rock band Cast Iron Cornbread, knew good music when she heard and sang it – she started out as an opera singer, winning local competitions in her youth. An opportunity to study at Eastern Michigan University ended after about a year, when she had her first child. But she kept making music, and to her surprise, landed on rock. "When I started writing, I started writing rock songs," Midnight says. "This is where I want to be. Music is colorful, it's universal."

The native Detroiter, who had performed all over metro Detroit, was ready to form her own group. She went with the name Cast Iron Cornbread for one simple reason: "I believe the best kind of cornbread you can get is out a cast iron. That's the best me you're going to get. Everybody loves cornbread – it'll get you full." Midnight has scored bookings from the name alone, without people ever seeing her. White venues tend to accept both black and white acts, but Midnight has found some reluctance on the part of urban venues.

"They try to make us underground and I don't like that," Midnight says. "Black rock in Detroit actually lives but it's not acknowledged. (People) need to come out and experience what we originated in the first place. This rock music is important. Just drink from the cup before you judge the cup. Just because it says rock, does not mean it's white, doesn't mean it's just black – it's music, good feeling music at that."

Treble or Bass

Mike Brooks, a guitarist and band leader of Blackmail felt so good about music that he hit the club scene right after graduating from Southeastern High School. "The minute I got out, I was out on the scene rocking," Brooks says. He stayed active on the music scene and about 10 years ago, formed Blackmail – an all-black rock group, which has since gained a white drummer. When he started off, Blackmail was likely one of the only black rock bands out there, but that's definitely changing, he says. "I'm noticing more younger bands, people of color. They're not so much into the mainstream commercial stuff. It's like the scene is growing even more than it was."

Despite this growth, Brooks would like to see people's relationship to live music change. He believes, while there is an audience for almost everything, Detroiters should come out and support the live music that's being made, especially those groups creating – and performing –  original songs. "Detroit has so many talented musicians doing original music," Brooks says. "You can go down to the casinos and whatnot (and see bands) doing note-for-note perfect interpretations of your Motown hits." Still: "There's so much exciting original music going on in the city."

Jordan Sunshine, better known as Scientific Sunshine, writes songs that have what she calls "low-fi" quality, often recorded at home. Her work has been described as dream pop and electronica but she also fronted a punk band, yet realized she didn't really play well with others – she wanted to be a one-woman band, and it's worked out nicely so far. "I liked the music that I was making but I wanted to do more," says the Flint native. "My music is very similar to black metal – it's got that personal (feel like) you're in the room with someone, one-on-one, all of those rock elements (are in) my music."

Sunshine's not buying the whole "rock is white music, soul is black music" divide and doesn't believe Detroit's artists should have to choose. "A lot of black music in Detroit gets pigeonholed as R&B or soul," Sunshine says. "There is such a variety and so much talent. People in the metro Detroit area (need to) get out of your comfort zones."

Changing Keys

Deekah Wyatt (featured on this month's cover) knows about the zones of comfort and tends to ignore them. The creator of the Cosmic Slop Festival – featuring rock musicians of color – as well the founder of the group Roxolydian, Wyatt stays busy. Playing and performing around metro Detroit seems like, for her, the ultimate dream. As a kid, she "stumbled" into rock via Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, but her father had a better idea – Jimi Hendrix. The exposure literally opened up her skull and freed her mind.

She started creating music and doing the open mic circuit, but that was back when "no one wanted to see a black woman with a guitar for a while." Although the black rock scene is populated by black women, and while the overarching theme extends to something like progress, women still have issues – even in a progressive city like metro Detroit. "There's going to be different genres," Wyatt says. "It ain't all got to be smooth, it ain't all gotta be in E flat. Shake it up a little bit. I wondered what would the world have looked like if rock 'n' roll hadn't been whitewashed? How free I feel sometimes. It's not a miracle cure but a motherf*cker feels powerful."

She's encouraged that groups such as Raven Love and the 27s, Cast Iron Cornbread, Blackmail, Scientific Sunshine, and a host of others – Roxolydian included – are pointing the way toward a movement that many don't even know exist; it's happening right in their backyard. The Cosmic Slop Festival was a way to give these groups and others a place to gather. Still, there's plenty of work to do. "The problem I've encountered was being taken seriously," Wyatt says. "I've also had some beautiful moments with people. My experience being a black woman being in rock 'n' roll is misogyny has no color. It's color blind. It's frustrating to me that rock 'n' roll is treated like a redheaded stepchild by black folk. I would just love for us to understand how liberating it can feel."

Cornelius Fortune is BLAC Detroit's senior editor.

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Vox Populi / Re: Trump to visit Phoenix AZ for rally
« on: October 02, 2018, 06:47:04 am »
i really hope that there are no skirmishes and a (physical) war started with China.. horrible futures lie ahead with this narrative..

Hard Choices / Re: OJ Simpson or Bill Cosby?
« on: September 25, 2018, 03:34:17 pm »
so when is the movie version going to come out and who is going to play Cosby?  hmm...

Hudlin TV / Boomerang Reboot at BET with Berry, Waithe
« on: September 25, 2018, 06:06:27 am »
I guess we'll have to see if Mr. Reggie is involved..  Hmm...    ;)
Halle Berry Will Executive Produce ‘Boomerang’ TV Series With Lena Waithe
Paramount Pictures

It's been 26 years since "Boomerang" wowed moviegoers.
It’s been more than two decades since Eddie Murphy brought the story of Marcus Graham, a handsome, high-powered marketing executive to life in Boomerang.
After BET announced it was adapting the 1992 hit comedy for the small screen, now we know Boomerang star Halle Berry will partner with Lena Waithe to executive produce the series.
“I’m thrilled to team up with Lena on this project as she is without a doubt a leading voice of her generation and a trail blazer in her own right,” Berry said in a statement. “I’m truly excited to be a part of bringing this iconic and beloved film to the small screen.”
Waithe, who made history as the first Black woman to win an Emmy Award for comedy writing, will pen the pilot episode with writer and producer Ben Cory Jones, who will also serve as Boomerang’s showrunner.
While many may be weary about yet another reboot, Waithe assured fans that she’s not trying to simply recreate the magic of the original film, but rather tell a modern story based on a film many of us love.
“This is less of a reboot and more of a continuation of the original story,” Waithe explained.
“There’s no point in trying to remake a classic,” she continued. “It can’t be done. So we want to create something fresh that speaks to a new generation. We hope people will come to the show with an open mind and ready to embrace the new world we’ve created!”
According to Deadline, the show will center on the children of the film’s main characters — Marcus (Murphy), Angela (Berry), and Jacqueline (Robin Givens) — and will premiere on BET in early 2019.
We’ll definitely be watching!

Hudlin TV / Re: Iron Fist season two thumbs up
« on: September 25, 2018, 03:46:37 am »
I enjoyed season two a lot more than season one.  first season was a too-slow build up, this one seemingly gets right to the main events at hand and establishes a clear villain in Davos.

I liked the presence of all the supporting characters here- Misty (with her own iron fist! heh..) , Colleen (enjoyable as always)...
I liked the exploration of what having the Fist power means to Danny, and Davos, and.... (wow)...
Joy's heel-turn and evolution was intriguing to watch, and this time around Ward was more tolerable, though I was hoping his subplot wasn't going to overwhelm the main story.

and the ending! hmm, extremely intriguing!! I hope that a season three is green lit and this can get into more international action.

Hudlin TV / Re: Marvel's Avengers: Black Panther's Quest (DXD)
« on: September 23, 2018, 07:01:26 am »
Kudos and continued success Mr. Redjack!!

Really wish that Mr. Reggie's series had been allowed to get a proper US broadcast release and several seasons produced.. Hopefully this will lead to a Panther solo series spinoff.

Hudlin TV / Re: Luke Cage Season 2
« on: September 17, 2018, 03:47:25 am »

I hope that for season three, they can incorporate the African American Day parade into the storylines.  anybody in the NYC area go this year?
I'd like to check it out myself.

Hudlin TV / Re: The Defenders SPOILERS
« on: September 15, 2018, 04:45:25 pm »
made my way through episode six so far.


The Sowande character-- lots of potential, too bad what happened to him. I would have liked to see him become a recurring villain for Cage.  I'm also curious about his history in the Hand, if he ever faced off against one of the black panthers of past eras.

Latest Flicks / Re: White Boy Rick movie premieres this week
« on: September 10, 2018, 04:07:17 am »
I wonder if the filmmakers will try to slip in a line about "there will never be a white rapper from Detroit..." ;)

Matthew McConaughey stars in "White Boy Rick," based on a true story. Warning: The trailer includes profanity and depicts a young teenager involved with drugs and guns.

White Boy Rick preview exclusive

In "White Boy Rick," a new movie set in the 1980s drug world of Detroit, a teenage Richard Wershe Jr. (played by newcomer Richie Merritt) sums up his plight to the feds.

"First, you all got me buyin'," says Wershe, a kid barely old enough to shave. "Now you all got me sellin'."

On Friday, national audiences will decide whether they're buying what filmmakers are selling in this gritty, R-rated drama that tracks the early life of the title character from Detroit, who's recruited at 14 to be an FBI informant and sentenced at 18 to life in prison for a drug crime.

Complicated and controversial, the real-life story that inspired "White Boy Rick" could fill several seasons of a Netflix series. It's a muddled saga that seems impossible to condense into a running time of two hours. Yet in early 2015, there were three Wershe-themed movie projects vying simultaneously to reach the big screen.

How much do you really know about Wisconsin cheese?

Now, after months of buzz, "White Boy Rick" hits theaters Friday. But for its director Yann Demange, the real test is the red-carpet screening Thursday at the Emagine Novi theater.

"It's like when I did ' '71' and the screening that was most important to me, that petrified me the most, was the Belfast screening," says the emerging director — who's considered among the front-runners for the next James Bond film — referring to his breakthrough 2014 drama about a British soldier lost after a riot in the Northern Ireland city.

"The Detroit reaction is what I feel most nervous about. I hope they feel I've captured the authenticity. ... I'm waiting with bated breath. We'll see."

"White Boy Rick" stars acting newcomer Merritt as Wershe, the teenage boy whose legend was created by local TV and print journalists looking for grabby crime stories that could be covered with maximum flash.

Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey portrays his father, Richard Wershe Sr., who died in 2014 in real life. Here, he's a loving but ineffectual figure who pours his ambitions into his son and compares their struggle for survival in the Motor City to being lions on the Serengeti.

Rounding out the cast are Bel Powley as Rick's troubled sister, Bruce Dern and Detroit native Piper Laurie as his grandparents, RJ Cyler as his friend Rudell (Boo) Curry, Jonathan Majors as gang mentor Johnny (Lil Man) Curry,and rapper YG as Leo (Big Man) Curry.

(Left to Right) Matthew McConaughey and Richie Merritt in "White Boy Rick" (Sept. 14).
(Left to Right) Matthew McConaughey and Richie Merritt in "White Boy Rick" (Sept. 14). (Photo: © 2018 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

They're all based on real people. Other characters were drawn as composites, including the FBI agent played by Jennifer Jason Leigh and the Detroit police detective played by Tyree Henry of FX's "Atlanta."

Some of the key players in "White Boy Rick" weren't even aware of the real-life Wershe's story before joining the film. "I had never heard of it before," admits McConaughey, describing his initial thoughts. "This is a wild-ass ride! This kid did what? And became an informant for what?"

Metro Detroit, however, has been following the saga for 30 years, or roughly the same amount of time that the real Wershe spent behind bars for possession with intent to deliver more than 650 grams of cocaine.

After being denied early release several times, Wershe, who's 49, was finally paroled in 2017 by the State of Michigan. He is now serving time in Florida on a separate charge involving a stolen car scheme. He could be free in a few years.

Wershe's story is complex, convoluted, and controversial. In the big picture, it's entwined with issues like poverty, race, the war on drugs and the purpose of punishment. Over the past decade, the perception has grown that he was used by the government and abandoned by authorities when the drug dealing they introduced him to led to his downfall — the viewpoint of the 2017 documentary "White Boy."

No wonder Hollywood saw potential for a narrative that could be Netflix's "Narcos," HBO's "The Wire" and the Starz drama "Power" rolled into one.

In late 2014 and early 2015, the story of "White Boy Rick" got national attention when three different film projects about him collided.

More: Meet the cast of Detroit-set drama 'White Boy Rick'

Richard Wershe Jr., left, stands with his attorney,
Richard Wershe Jr., left, stands with his attorney, William Bufalino II, in Recorder’s Court in Detroit in January 1988. (Photo: William Dekay)

Poster boy for the drug epidemic
In the era surrounding his 1987 conviction, Wershe, aka White Boy Rick — a nickname popularized by sensational media coverage — was depicted by the media mostly as a baby-faced gangster who wore fur coats, dated Mayor Coleman Young's niece and had ample swagger.

"He became the poster boy for the 1980s drug epidemic in Detroit which tore our city down. ... The character of White Boy Rick that the public consumed far, far exceeded what he did as a criminal," says writer Scott Burnstein, producer of the "White Boy" documentary and a consultant for "White Boy Rick."

According to Burnstein, that has undermined Wershe's chances for freedom for the last three decades.

Burnstein played a major role in bringing Wershe back into the metro Detroit spotlight starting in 2008. His reporting for the Oakland Press helped flip the script on Wershe's image by bringing out the details of his role as a teen FBI informant before his conviction, plus his cooperation in prison on other criminal investigations.

Journalists like WDIV-TV (Channel 4) investigative reporter Kevin Dietz and former Detroit TV reporter Vince Wade also amplified the fact that Wershe's situation was a lot more complex than it seemed.

As coverage of Wershe grew — and Wershe's own voice emerged in TV and radio interviews — interest began to accumulate in a potential movie.

Burnstein says Eminem considered playing Wershe in the mid-2000s in what would have been a follow-up to his 2002 hit "8 Mile." And around 2009, Burnstein received a few cursory phone calls from Mark Wahlberg's team exploring the idea.

Ishmael Ali (left), known as Milwaukee rapper IshDARR, appears in the new film "White Boy Rick" out Sept. 14, featuring Raekwon Haynes (center) and Richie Merritt in the title role.
Ishmael Ali (left), known as Milwaukee rapper IshDARR, appears in the new film "White Boy Rick" out Sept. 14, featuring Raekwon Haynes (center) and Richie Merritt in the title role. (Photo: Scott Garfield)

In October 2014, the race to make a White Boy Rick movie started in earnest with the news that Universal had optioned a lengthy Wershe profile written by journalist Evan Hughes for an online publisher, the Atavist. Director Joseph Kosinski, who's directing the "Top Gun" sequel, was attached to the project.

In February 2015, it was revealed Studio 8 had acquired a script from brothers Logan Miller and Noah Miller. Then in April 2015, yet another White Boy Rick project was in the news. This one came from Protozoa Pictures, the company of director Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan") and producer Scott Franklin ("Jackie," "Black Swan"), and had a script by Andy Weiss.

Producer John Lesher ("Birdman"), who had read the initial Miller brothers script and sent it to Jeff Robinov of Studio 8, recalls how his project already had Demange attached as the director when he found out about the competing one being developed by Protozoa Pictures.

"In fact, they had ... called Yann and said, 'Why don't you direct it?' And he said, 'I already am (doing a White Boy Rick movie),' " says Lesher with a laugh.

While Lesher's project had secured Demange, Protozoa's project had Wershe's cooperation. "I was incredibly impressed with him as a person," says Franklin, who met Wershe in prison. "His positivity and positive energy (were) just mind-blowing."

Rory Cochrane, left, and Jennifer Jason Leigh are FBI
Rory Cochrane, left, and Jennifer Jason Leigh are FBI agents dealing with a 14-year-old confidential informant (Richie Merritt) and his blue-collar factory-worker father (Matthew McConaughey). (Photo: SCOTT GARFIELD/COLUMBIA PICTURES/STUDIO 8)

As the Universal Pictures project faded from contention, the other two projects saw one logical choice. "It made sense for all of us to join forces and work together," says Franklin.

 "We've all known each other for a long time, so it was very natural for us to start working together. It was an arranged marriage, but it ended up being a great one," echoes Lesher.

Merging the two scripts was a lengthy process that involved bringing in two additional writers: Scott Silver ("8 Mile," "The Fighter") and Steve Kloves (the "Harry Potter" series). It was Demange, however, who had the vision for the movie's ultimate theme.

 "I didn't want to get roped into making a sort of miscarriage of justice, free-this-guy type film," says Demange, who felt as if he had seen enough informant movies.

Demange saw "White Boy Rick" as, above all, a father-and-son saga set amid the kind of poverty that crushes dreams. He wanted to explore that bond, while also finding the relevance to today in issues like economic inequality, racism and the continuing impact of drugs and addiction.

He says visiting Wershe in prison in Manistee helped cement the concept and shape the movie's tone.

When Wershe spoke about his family, "then I was leaning in," he recalls. "Then I felt like, 'Oh, I'm falling in love with this' and I'm feeling like I have the story to make the film work."

Richard Wershe Jr. enters the courtroom of Wayne CountyBuy Photo
Richard Wershe Jr. enters the courtroom of Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. (Photo: Brian Kaufman, Detroit Free Press)

In November 2016, reports surfaced publicly that McConaughey was in negotiations to play Richard Wershe Sr., a character who wants to be a buddy to his son when what his children really need is a strong parent.

Landing McConaughey was relatively easy compared to the casting of White Boy Rick, a sprawling search that took more than a year.

"We looked through all the young actors in Hollywood that are on television and in movies and tried to see if there was someone in that community who could do it," says Lesher.

The filmmakers simultaneously did a nationwide talent search, holding casting calls in metro Detroit and other cities and scouring gyms, community centers and predominantly African-American high schools in several cities for possible candidates who weren't professional actors.

Demange says it was important to him to find someone with authenticity who could relate to Wershe's life.

Merritt was 15 and a sophomore when he was asked to come to the principal's office at Dundalk High School in Baltimore to meet the film talent scout. He recalls being late for school that day and signing in at the office when "the lady behind the front desk" recommended him to the scout for the part.

The soft-spoken teen is described in production notes as a blue-collar, inner-city kid who came from a broken home. During a phone interview, he is not forthcoming with rehearsed anecdotes about himself, like some actors are. The one time he really laughs is while talking about the retro baby-blue tuxedo he wore for a wedding scene. "That was slick," he says.

Asked about his similarities with Wershe, Merritt says, "I'm not going to say I'm a troubled kid, but I'm not going to say I'm a good kid. I don't go around starting trouble. I don't go around looking for trouble."

Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey, Bel Powley, Richie
Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey, Bel Powley, Richie Merritt and Piper Laurie star in the upcoming "White Boy Rick." (Photo: SCOTT GARFIELD/COLUMBIA PICTURES)

Merritt remembers working for a couple of weeks with an acting coach in Baltimore before being sent to Los Angeles to meet McConaughey and test how they related together on screen.

"Richie just captivated me," says Demange of the decision to hire someone who'd never acted before. "It was scary. It was a risk. We embraced it."

For McConaughey, working with a complete newcomer was all about calibrating his performance to the natural, unpracticed style of Merritt.

"I'm like, 'OK, here we go.' I'm not me, Matthew, the actor. I cannot act. I have to get through to a real young man who's a non-actor.This is going to be a bull ride. It's going to be a really exciting new adventure."

Cleveland stands in for Detroit
Shooting began in March 2017 and lasted about 45 days, a schedule lengthened by the shorter work days required for Merritt as a minor. Production took place mostly in the Cleveland area, a choice swayed by the fact that Ohio had film incentives (and Michigan had eliminated its incentive program in 2015).

Certain cast and crew members came to Detroit in mid-March for a couple of days to shoot exteriors.

"I was very sad because I really wanted to spend the money in Michigan and wanted to do it there," says Demange, who had seen some of Detroit's blighted areas when he was here for the filming of a 2015 Nike ad, "The Future is Fast," that featured the Detroit Lions. "I used one of the locations (from the ad) again in the film. When I was (in Detroit), I was really struck quite emotionally."

During the Detroit leg of production, McConaughey was able to get to know Wershe by visiting him in prison. "We talked about family. We talked about me being a father. We talked about my kids. We talked about his grandkids."

McConaughey, who has done research with prisoners in the past for roles, says it stuck out to him that Wershe admitted he broke the law.

"Ninety-nine out of a 100 say they're innocent. Richard has never claimed innocence, which is one of the great things about him. He's like, 'No, no, no, I committed a crime and I was no choir boy.' Very honest about that. Now at the same time (he's) saying, 'How big was I rolling? Well, not as big as they made me out to be.' "

On the set, McConaughey helped mentor Merritt without coddling him. "Our relationship, between me and Richie over two months — and it's a long haul — was between a hug of encouragement and a kick in the backside. It lived in between those two. Always, it was a really fun and adventurous place for me."

McConaughey laughs when he says Merritt wasn't intimidated by him. In fact, the young man really hadn't heard of the star.

"He didn't know me from John Doe. Unh-uh. No, no, no," says McConaughey. "Part of what was really great about the casting of this young man is he didn't have a reverence for Matthew McConaughey, the actor. He didn't have a reverence for being in a damn Hollywood movie."

McConaughey sounds as if it was rather exhilarating, in an unexpected way, to work with Merritt. "He was happy to be there, but there was a 20 percent chance every night that, I was like, that little SOB may hop on a bus and go back to Baltimore and say 'Eff you guys,' which was great! Because he wasn't shy in front of the camera. He was honest."

Merritt says he was only slightly nervous to begin filming. "I ain't never let that get to me, to be honest," he says. "Growing up, I was always in front of cameras. People were always recording me. I was always doing little goofy stuff, always posting videos online Instagram, Facebook."

He took quickly to the controlled chaos and fast bonding of a movie location. "Everybody was really cool with each other. No arguments. No talking behind people's backs. It was really like a big-ass family. Everybody got along."

McConaughey stressed to Merritt that filming "was an endurance test" and connected with him through their shared love of family.

"I think he's in a really good place with himself and his family now and that's in large part (due) to the experience I think he had. ... He's got a great heart. He's really a love bug, you know what I mean? At the same time, he's street."

Merritt says "White Boy Rick" has changed his life. "It shows me: Don't get in trouble. Don't do it. Don't do nothing to jeopardize what you want," he says, dropping his laid-back facade and sounding enthusiastic about plans for the future. "I'm definitely going to act more."

As Demange anticipates the movie's release, he speaks frankly about the difficulty of compressing Wershe's life into one movie.

Richie Merritt is done with the hard part of making his acting debut in "White Boy Rick."
Richie Merritt is done with the hard part of making his acting debut in "White Boy Rick." (Photo: SCOTT GARFIELD/SONY)

"It's the bio-pic syndrome," he says. "It's the hardest thing in the world. ... How do I skim three or four years and make it feel like a cohesive film ... with a cohesive, comprehensible emotional through lines?"

He says the FBI informant angle alone could have taken up a whole film.

"It was a miniseries, really," says Demange of the many aspects of Wershe's real life. "(It was) the challenge of adapting a true-life story, but one where you don't want to just take liberties because you have a moral and ethical obligation — because the guy's still in jail — to make sure you explain certain pivotal points as to why he's there, how it all happened and then you've obviously got to be entertaining ... and entertaining's the wrong word, but you have to be engaging in the effect."

Says Demange, "It's a big American story."

Read more:

Who is White Boy Rick? 7 facts about the 14-year-old FBI informant

'White Boy Rick': See the cast and the real-life people they play

The makers of "White Boy Rick" haven't been able to arrange for Wershe to see the movie in his Florida prison. Franklin says he speaks to Wershe a couple of times a week.

Burnstein, who has an e-book debuting this week on his 10 years of Wershe coverage, says he thinks the real Richard Wershe has one hope for the movie.

"I think he's keenly aware that the story you're going to see on-screen isn't 100 percent married to the life he led. He's aware it's a Hollywood fictionalized version of his teenage years."

Says Burnstein, "He wants people to understand that although he takes ownership for what he became, the groundwork, the foundation was laid by a government exploiting a 14-year-old kid."

Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture critic Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or

'White Boy Rick'
Rated R for language throughout, drug content, violence, some sexual references, and brief nudity

Opens with some Thursday evening screenings; opens wide Friday

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