JOHN MARSHALL JONES AND LEVY LEE SIMON BRING THEIR AWARD-WINNING FILM, "THE LAST REVOLUTIONARY," TO THE OPENING NIGHT OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (NYC) ON NOVEMBER 24TH
John Marshall Jones and Levy Lee Simon star in The Last Revolutionary
Globally recognized television, film and stage actor John Marshall Jones (Bosch, Shooter, In The Cut, and the upcoming 9-1-1) and multi award-winning writer Levy Lee Simon (AUDELCO, NAACP Theater and Kennedy Center Awards) are starring in The Last Revolutionary which opens the African Diaspora International Film Festival to be held at Columbia University on November 24th 2017 at 7pm.
Jones, best known for his role on the global hit series Smart Guy, executive produced this critically acclaimed feature film, penned (and executive produced) by Simon. The scintillating jazz soundtrack was the final composition of multiple Grammy Award nominee, Guggenheim Fellow and Lady of Soul Award winner, the late Geri Allen.
The Last Revolutionary follows two former Black revolutionaries, one who has become a modern day conservative suburbanite, while the other is still in the same apartment from 1972, wearing the same outfit, brandishing multiple weapons and calling his former "street warriors" to help him start the revolution all over again. The two come into conflict as they debate the Obama Backlash, the Tea Party, and the path forward for Black America in the age of Trump.
John Marshall Jones currently stars as 'Special Agent Jay Griffin' on Amazon's hit police procedural series, Bosch, based on the bestselling books by Michael Connelly, opposite Titus Welliver. Jones also recurs as Sheriff Brown on the second season of the USA TV original drama series, Shooter, starring Ryan Phillipe and exec-produced by Mark Wahlberg. Jones is also starring on the Bounce TV hit comedy In The Cut, executive produced by Bentley Kyle Evans and featuring Dorien Wilson and Kellita Smith. He recently booked the new FOX thriller, 9-1-1, starring Angela Bassett. Jones recently appeared on Criminal Minds, Rectify, The Mentalist, Shameless, Pretty Little Liars, Bones, NCIS and the upcoming feature films, THE CHILDREN, RUST CREEK and PAINT IT BLACK.
Levy Lee Simon MFA, whose stage plays have won both the Audelco Award and NAACP Theater Award, is originally from Harlem USA. His For the Love of Freedom trilogy, was the recipient of twenty- two NAACP Nominations, including two nominations for "Best Playwright," and an Ovation nomination for 'Best New Play'. His latest feature film, God, The Crackhouse, and The Devil begins principle photography in NYC in January 2018.
The film is executive produced/directed by Michael Brewer and executive produced/produced by Madeline Liebert.
For more details about the film, visit www.thelastrevolutionarymovie.com
Nexstar Media Group to Launch Bounce, Escape, Grit & Laff on 43 New Channels,
Renews and Extends 21 Current Station Agreements
In 2016, Nexstar Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXST,“Nexstar”), in conjunction with Mission Broadcasting, Inc. (“Mission”) and White Knight Broadcasting, Inc. (“White Knight”) entered the largest multicast distribution launch in the history of broadcast television. Nexstar, Mission, White Knight, along with new partners Shield Media LLC (“Shield”), Tamer Media, LLC (“Tamer”) and Vaughan Media LLC (“Vaughan”), have agreed to add Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff, the four leading new generation broadcast networks, on 43 more channels and has renewed affiliation agreements for 21 current stations with all affiliations extending well into the next decade.
Once the new launches are in place, Katz networks will be available on over 200 channels from these broadcasters across the country
The new multi-year agreements cover 52 stations in 41 markets that are now owned or programmed by Nexstar following its acquisition of Media General in January 2017. Among the highlights:
Bounce will be launched in Austin, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs and Albany, NY (on a station owned by Shield) with renewals in Indianapolis, Hartford, Norfolk, Grand Rapids, Providence and four other markets.
Escape will be added to 16 stations including in Tampa, Raleigh, Austin and Birmingham and has been renewed in Grand Rapids, Albuquerque (on a station owned by Tamer), Dayton and Topeka.
Grit will be launched in eight markets including San Francisco, Raleigh and Nashville while being renewed in Hartford, Austin, Grand Rapids and Albuquerque (on a station owned by Tamer).
Laff will be carried in 13 new markets including Washington D.C., Columbus, OH and Harrisburg, PA and Birmingham and renewed in Austin, Grand Rapids, Albuquerque (on a station owned by Tamer) and 10 other DMAs.
The latest distribution gains will drive Bounce to 86 percent of the United States and 95 percent of African-American households, while Escape, Grit and Laff will now reach 89 percent, 87 percent and 90 percent of all U.S. TV households, respectively.
“Our new distribution agreements with Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff will bring new value to our acquired Media General stations as all four networks have a proven track record delivering exciting and valued programming to our viewers. Nexstar’s top priority is serving the needs of the people and communities where we operate and with the launch of these digital multicast networks across the companies’ broadcast platforms, we are delivering more exciting content to local viewers that is complementary to our stations’ existing high quality, locally originated news and other exclusive local and network-affiliated programming,” commented Brian Jones, Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
“Nexstar has been a terrific partner for Bounce, Escape, Grit and Laff and we are thrilled to expand and extend our relationship with them for many years to come,” said Jonathan Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Katz Networks.
About Nexstar Media Group
Nexstar Media Group is a leading diversified media company that leverages localism to bring new services and value to consumers and advertisers through its traditional media, digital and mobile media platforms. Nexstar owns, operates, programs or provides sales and other services to 170 television stations and related digital multicast signals reaching 100 markets or approximately 39% of all U.S. television households. Nexstar’s portfolio includes primary affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MyNetworkTV and The CW. Nexstar’s community portal websites offer additional hyper-local content and verticals for consumers and advertisers, allowing audiences to choose where, when and how they access content while creating new revenue opportunities. For more information please visit www.nexstar.tv.
About Katz Networks
The Katz networks are targeted, demo-specific brands leading a new generation of fast-growing broadcast networks created to serve cord-cutters, cord-nevers and subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) subscribers. Bounce, seen in 86 percent of U.S. households and 95 percent of all target-market, African-American television homes, is the first and only African-American broadcast network and features a programming mix of original and off-network series, theatrical motion pictures, specials, live sports and more. Escape, currently in 89 percent of the U.S., reaches women 25-54 with a brand of programming anchored in stories of investigation and mystery. Grit, available in 87 percent of U.S. households, targets men 25-54 with a lineup of western and action movies and series. Laff, covering 90 percent of the U.S., is the nation’s first over-the-air network devoted to comedy around-the-clock, and presents contemporary off-network sitcoms and popular movies geared toward an audience of adults 18-49.
What's New on UMC Urban Movie Channel: November 2017
Neil Drumming's "Skillfully Scripted, Dialogue-driven Debut Feature" (Variety), BIG WORDS
Ensemble Workplace Comedy Series, MINIMUM WAGE
Return of Flex Alexander and Buddy Lewis Hosted UMC Original Series, LAWD HAVE MERCY
Season 2 of Award-winning Canadian Police Drama, 19-2
Feel-good Family Film WISHES, Starring Tiffany Haddish
Kicking off UMC Urban Movie Channel's November slate on Friday, November 3, 2017 is BIG WORDS, "an engrossing, coming-of-middle-age drama that shows how disappointment can fester and derail a life" (The New York Times) from former entertainment journalist Neil Drumming. Acquired from Ava DuVernay's ARRAY Releasing distribution collective, Big Words follows three former members of a once promising hip-hop crew that cross paths again to find some things never change. Former frontman John (Dorian Missick), once known as Big Words, is now a working class guy who raps only to himself. James (Gbenga Akinnagbe, HBO's The Deuce) is a publicist living with his boyfriend, far removed from the days when he rhymed about getting girls. DJ Malik (Darien Sills-Evans) still spins records with a longing for the glory days. Reunited in Brooklyn on the eve of President Barack Obama's history-making 2008 election, the friends reckon with dreams deferred and new hopes. "Featuring excellent performances and incisive characterizations," (The Hollywood Reporter), Big Words also stars top model Yaya DaCosta.
[Urban Movie Channel (UMC)]
Following its premiere on October 27, 2017, UMC's original Fall comedy series MINIMUM WAGE will air new episodes weekly through December 1, 2017. A six-episode workplace comedy that follows a struggling Koreatown burger joint, each episode highlights a different team member as the series progresses. In the second episode, premiering on Friday, November 3, 2017, Trey (Gabriel Brown) has to get in touch with what he really needs after some life changing news. After a disappointing interview, Trey pushes Jordan (John Yuan) to consider him as an assistant Manager. Meanwhile, Jordan conducts counseling sessions after an incident occurs in the restaurant. The ensemble cast of up-and-comers also includes Halleta Alemu, Alma Delfina, and D'Lo.
Also on Friday, November 3, 2017, UMC adds the complete second season of the award-winning police procedural, 19-2, from its sister streaming channel Acorn TV. With news of a mole in Station 19, Officer Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso, Elysium, Falling Skies) begins investigating his fellow cops, including his own partner, Nick Barron (Adrian Holmes, Arrow, Smallville). However, when Ben and Nick respond to an active shooter at a high school, the men are forced to discard their suspicions and trust each other in the face of a life-or-death situation. As the station recovers from the shooting, the race to find the mole borders on desperation, and Nick gets in too deep.
Making a comeback after its "Fall Out Friday" debut over the summer, UMC's original variety series LAWD HAVE MERCY returns with five all-new episodes of righteous hilarity on Friday, November 17, 2017, culminating with a special holiday bonus episode set to air in December. A great option to indulge in with loved ones, Lawd Have Mercy is a Sunday church service version of America's Funniest Home Videos. Join hosts Flex Alexander (Single Ladies, Flex and Shanice) and comedian/writer Buddy Lewis as they share a lighthearted look at faith and religion that will have the whole family shedding tears of laughter.
Closing out the month, on November 24, 2017, catch Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish in one of her early career performances as Jeanie in the family film WISHES. In the film, three inner city kids stumble upon a magical lamp at a garage sale. They each rub the lamp prompting "Joanna the Jeanie" to appear and grant each one of the kids a wish. Following a hilarious roller coaster ride of events, the kids learn to be careful, discovering what you wish for you just might get. Available at www.UMC.tv and on various devices, UMC is the first premium subscription streaming service that showcases quality African American and urban entertainment across all genres from RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE).
Created by Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Urban Movie Channel (UMC) is the first subscription streaming service created for African American and urban audiences in North America that features quality urban content and showcases feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy, and other exclusive content. UMC is available on iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Channels, Roku, Amazon Fire TV & Fire TV Stick. At www.UMC.tv, UMC offers a free 7-day trial and thereafter is just $4.99/month or $49.99/year. Keep up with UMC and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/UrbanMovieChannel and follow on Twitter/Instagram @WatchUMC.
GIANT STEPS TV SHOW -- AMERICAS FIRST JAZZ SITCOM LAUNCHES ON AMAZON
Giant Steps, a new sitcom starring three very accomplished Black jazz musicians, has just been released on Amazon Prime.
Dubbed "America's First Jazz Sitcom," Giant Steps, which is shot in Harlem, is an old-school comedy in the spirit of Sanford and Son and stars legendary bassist Mickey Bass, Duke Ellington Orchestra alum and creator Gregory Charles Royal, and Ms. Lauryn Hill's saxophonist Brent Birckhead.
"In the tradition of Black creativity, where we always find a way to express ourselves in fresh ways, the sitcom format allows us to hit America with jazz in a brand new flavor," says Royal.
Giant Steps centers around three older guys: Mickey, the legendary bassist, his longtime student Chuckie, and Mickey's best friend and manager Manny, who share a Harlem apartment where, as the tagline states, "Every day is a rollercoaster". Their arch rival is a young braggadocious sax player named Brent, who thinks the old cats need to step aside and let some new blood into the game.
The unique nature of the show allows the main actors to actually perform, something that has never been attempted in modern television and a tradition lost from the early movies of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and others.
The aspect of the musician-actors is not a coincidence, as it is the primary mission of its creator Gregory Charles Royal, who has championed the concept with his organizations New York Jazz Film Festival and American Youth Symphony. "Just like Def Comedy Jam did with comedians, jazz musicians need to also adapt and branch out into the current mediums of the 21st century," says Royal.
The first season is a 3-part episodic titled 'April Fools Jazz' and can be viewed free with an Amazon Prime membership. Royal hopes that an African American outlet such as a Bounce or a BET will see the value in the programming to produce season two.
Watch Giant Steps - Season One here:
Visit the show's official web site at www.GiantStepsTV.com or follow them on Twitter (www.twitter.com/GiantStepsTV) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/giantstepstv)
UMC Urban Movie Channel Announces New Fall Comedy Series MINIMUM WAGE
From the Winners of the "New Normal Writing Contest" Through ColorCreative and Adaptive Studios
UMC Also Adds Popular Canadian Drama Series 19-2
Following its new hit comedy summer series, UMC Urban Movie Channel is excited to announce the premiere of MINIMUM WAGE, an amusing new six-episode workplace comedy that centers around a struggling Koreatown burger joint forced to make radical changes to keep its doors open. Minimum Wage is from the original web series "Foodies," winner of the "New Normal Writing Contest," a joint venture between Adaptive Studios and Issa Rae and Deniese Davis' ColorCreative. ColorCreative provides a platform to promote a new class of content creators and shine a light on overlooked and underrepresented voices in media. The first episode of Minimum Wage premieres on UMC today, October 27, 2017 with new episodes set to debut weekly through Friday, December 1, 2017.
Written by Rebecca Hu, Arpita Kumar, Maya Houston, Sam Bailey and Julia Bales, co-directed by Aaron Covington (co-writer of Creed) and Julia Bales, and executive produced by Adaptive Studios, Minimum Wage follows the lives of its five employees as they adjust to changes in management and panic ensues among the staff members. In the first episode of the series, Mr. Lee appoints his son, Jordan (John Yuan), to the role of manager for his restaurant, Lee's Burger Block. Meanwhile, Ayana (Halleta Alemu), disappointed by Mr. Lee's decision, struggles to find contentment in her position at Lee's. However, when her YouTube video goes viral, she gets the spark she desperately needs to see her current struggles in a different light. As the series progresses, each episode highlights the backstory of a different team member. Along with John Yuan and Halleta Alemu, the ensemble cast of up-and-comers also includes Gabriel Brown, Alma Delfina, and D'Lo.
"Our goal has always been to highlight emerging and diverse voices and Minimum Wage is the perfect showcase of that. We are thrilled for Rebecca, Arpita, Sam, Julia and Maya, who are all first-time TV writers, and excited the series has found a home on UMC," says Deniese Davis, COO and Co-Founder of ColorCreative.
Perrin Chiles, CEO of Adaptive Studios adds, "We are always looking for diverse stories and unique points of view to bring to life-- even better when you can bring those narratives to life with partners like ColorCreative and UMC."
"We are proud to premiere Minimum Wage on UMC, and credit Adaptive and ColorCreative for cultivating this exciting project," says Angela Northington, GM & SVP of Content Acquisitions for UMC. "Our aim is to provide a streaming platform for diverse talent and collaborative work such as this, and we could not be more elated to be a home for the series."
In addition to Minimum Wage, UMC also adds another quality drama series this month with the UMC premiere of the award-winning police procedural, 19-2, from sister channel Acorn TV. Referred to as "One of the best cop dramas ever" (Tribune News Service), the Canadian series follows Adrian Holmes (Arrow, Elysium) and Jared Keeso (Elysium, Falling Skies) as partners in the Montreal Police Department who must put their differences aside as their lives intertwine professionally and personally. An English-language remake of a popular Quebec show, 19-2 has been nominated for several Canadian Screen Awards, among which the series picked up wins for Best Dramatic Series (2016), Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role (Adrian Holmes 2017, Jared Keeso 2015), and Best Direction. Catch the full first season now on UMC. Subsequent seasons of 19-2 will be added later this year and in 2018. Available at www.UMC.tv as well as on a variety of devices, UMC is the first premium subscription streaming service that showcases quality African American and urban entertainment across all genres from RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE).
Created by Robert L. Johnson, Chairman of RLJ Entertainment and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), Urban Movie Channel (UMC) is the first subscription streaming service created for African American and urban audiences in North America that features quality urban content and showcases feature films, documentaries, original series, stand-up comedy, and other exclusive content. UMC is Available on iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Channels, Roku, Amazon Fire TV & Fire TV Stick. At www.UMC.tv, UMC offers a free 7-day trial and thereafter is just $4.99/month or $49.99/year. Keep up with UMC on Facebook at Facebook.com/UrbanMovieChannel and on Twitter/Instagram @WatchUMC.
About Adaptive Studios
Adaptive Studios is an Emmy®-winning entertainment studio taking a story-first approach to creating premium content for emerging and traditional platforms. The company acquires undervalued intellectual property from the Hollywood system in addition to incubating fresh ideas from a community of passionate, emerging filmmakers. Adaptive reimagines how film, television and digital projects are developed, produced and distributed.
Adaptive's partners include high profile collaborators and distributors including AMC Networks, HBO, Netflix, Verizon, Miramax, FX Networks, Fox Animation, 21 Laps, Lionsgate, blackpills and many more. Visit adaptivestudios.com for more information.
Under the Hill
Boo 2 and The Scary Way We Normalize Sex Trafficking
By Angela N. Parker
This weekend Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween topped the U.S. box office with $27.1 million dollars, and while there was enough scary evil little girls and crazy men promising chainsaw massacres to satisfy those anticipating a good fright, the real horror was the way that Grandpa Joe kept bragging about his “pimp” past and his “hoes,” making light of a serious tragedy that is destroying the lives of far too many young men and women.
Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry behind drugs and gun trafficking. It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Approximately 80% are women and children bought, sold and imprisoned in the underground sex service industry
Sex Trafficking is a serious problem in California, which harbors 3 of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. According to the U.S. Department of Justice more than half (62 percent) of sex trafficking victims in the United States are African Americans girls, despite the fact that African Americans make up only 7.2 percent of the population. The U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children states that the majority of these girls come from foster care or are runaways and the average age a girl enters “the life” is between 12-14 years old. For boys, it’s even younger just 11-13 years old. Yet, we are continuously bombarded with the idea of the willing temptress who is happiest when he or she is on the streets or on their back.
The fact is that many of these girls and boys are seduced by “The Romeo Pimp,” someone offering them love, safety and affection who slowly manipulate them into selling their bodies to prove their love and ensure their survival. These pimps tend to be gang members as sex trafficking is quickly overtaking drugs as the leading source of income for gangs. Think about it, a gang member can sell a person a drug and they will snort it, smoke it or shot it up and it’s gone; but a girl can be sold over and over again.
Often times, we look at the young girls and boys on the street and either look away or assume that they like their circumstances, without understanding the complexity of the dangerous situation they have found themselves in. It is important to know that it is illegal to engage in sexual acts with minors and that minors can never consent to sex. California has taken big steps to ensure that these victims are not prosecuted as a result of their own victimization with the passage of Senate Bill 1322 in 2016, which states “that minors won't be treated as criminals if they are caught under such circumstances.” Still, there is more work to be done on the legislative front.
It would be one thing if this was a one-time gag, but it is a running joke throughout the film. Later in the movie, Madea jokes about selling her body in her younger days for her car and stripping for money, while Grandpa Joe wistfully tells his son that his mother was his first hoe. Got to love those family values! All throughout the film Grandpa Joe portrays himself as a smooth OG that knows how to handle his business, even as he disrespects every woman in the movie, threatens to bodily harm many of the women he comes in contact with, and sexually harasses his granddaughter’s young friend.
The question I have is why would Tyler Perry, who has such amazing platform, choose to build his film around this one joke that centers around the exploitation of the most vulnerable? Yes, his films and plays have always had their problematic elements, but the majority tended to show character growth, and even repercussions for the abuser.
Now, there are some who would argue that nobody should take anything in these movies seriously, but as I saw the young girls in front of me laughing so hysterically at most of the jokes that they nearly fell out of their seats, I had to ask myself ,what are we teaching our girls, even if we don’t mean too? That violence against women is funny? That pimps are lovable goofballs? That women choose this life for all things it buys them so we should mind our business?
Anybody is susceptible to falling victims to sex trafficking. Some are kidnapped, some are tricked via social media, others are seduced by a man or woman who claims to love them, or through their job as a stripper, and the men and women pimps who facilitate this are not funny or cool. It is time that we start looking at sex trafficking as the serious situation that it is and work together as a community to save our boys and girls for those who have preyed on their minds and bodies and who threaten to destroy the very fabric of our community.
If you know of anyone who is a victim of sex trafficking and need assistance call the Jenesse Center’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-479-7328.
Angela N. Parker is The Director of Trainings and Programs at Jenesse Center. She is a Los Angeles based writer who has written five novels and is the Executive Director of Phenom Girls a mentorship program for middle-school aged girls.
Twitter: @ angelanparker