Contact Us

June 2001
Cover Page
Table Of Contents


    Actors Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman, Mel Gibson, Michael Douglas, Kevin Spacey and several other stars have set aside their political differences to read from the Declaration of Independence as part of a Fourth of July celebration produced for television. The reading will air live from Philadelphia and the ABC show will also include Garth Brooks in concert along with a fireworks show.


   The actress/comedienne Whoopi Goldberg has won an Angel Award from the non-profit organization Project Angel Food, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization based that delivers food and nutritional counseling free of charge to men, women and children living with AIDS or HIV. Goldberg is a longtime supporter of the organization and is co-chair of this year's Project Angel Food Tenth Anniversary Fund drive to raise monies to safeguard Project Angel Food's services against recent funding cutbacks.


   Will Smith recently wrapped filming of segments of his current film project "Ali" in Africa. But it seems the Brits love the Boxer as much as yanks and Africans. A documentary on the champion boxer is currently being produced for England's TWI Television. "Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World," will include film footage, audio recordings, and celebrity interviews of and about the heavyweight champ. The documentary is expected to be done in October, with copies of the documentary's footage and some proceeds to be donated to a proposed Muhammad Ali Center.


   The Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, in partnership with the Black Sports Agents Association, recently held the "Vibeslam," an inaugural charity Celebrity Golf Classic, at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Among the participating celebrity golfers were Richard Roundtree, Fred Williamson, Barry Sanders, Sugar Ray Leonard, Eddie George, Robert Townsend, John Salley, Cuttino Mobley, Jerome Bettis, Suzanne de Passe, Gary Busey, Rocky Carroll, Eddie Levert, and Jackee Harry.


   Mozambique filmmakers are angry at their government for giving the US filmmaker's of "Ali" a special production deal. The biopic, starring Will Smith, shot some location scenes there, and the filming agreement angered local film industry execs. A London newspaper reports that one Mozambique producer said, "If I want to make a film, the government charges me import duty on my tapes and my equipment. These guys have paid nothing."
   The producer also said the Hollywood filmmakers provided no opportunities for Mozambican film Professionals to participate in any way. On the upside, however, the $20 a day paychecks given to extras in the film was equal to an average month's salary for the average Mozambique citizen.


   Actor Eddie Murphy, whose latest project "Shrek" just surpassed the $200 million mark, is expecting his fifth child with wife Nicole.


   As contract negotiations continue, performers and studios are trying to resolve key issues that include residuals and pay for middle-class actors who represent the majority of guild membership. While the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have not called for a strike authorization vote, a breakdown in talks could trigger one.
   Among the guilds' top concerns is increasing residual payments for shows rebroadcast on cable and in foreign markets. They also want higher initial pay for screen work and assurances that studios will limit the number of productions filmed outside the United States. Leaders of the two unions say their priority is improving conditions for character actors and supporting players who earn less than $70,000 annually.


   Talk show host Oprah Winfrey recently forked over an estimated $50 million for a 42-acre estate, making it one of the most expensive private homes in the country. The Montecito estate, located south of Santa Barbara, includes a 23,000-square-foot main house and smaller guest and gate houses, ocean and mountain views and also features a barn, herb and flower gardens, an orchard, two ponds and a lake. Winfrey reportedly fell in love with the Santa Barbara area in April while shooting photos for her magazine, O.


   ABC has snagged the broadcast TV rights to "Scary Movie 2" and "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams" from Miramax's Dimension Films. "Scary 2" will be available for broadcast by ABC in the first quarter of 2004. "Spy 2" is tentatively scheduled for release in August 2002, so ABC could broadcast the movie as early as April 2005.


   Sean Patrick Thomas, the star of the teen dance flick "The Last Dance," says he's looking to do more serious Oscar-type movies in the future.
   "I am really just trying to do high-quality things from now on, things that are challenging intellectually, emotionally, things that really push me, that are more grown-up adult projects," he said in the Canada National Post.
   As a side note, Thomas is currently filming future Oscar nominee "Halloween 8."


   Adawe, David Alan Grier, Jasmine Guy, James Avery, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Isaiah Washington, Pauletta Washington, and other celebrities gathered last month to present an evening of poetry, song and dance called "Whispers of an Easy Evening." The event was designed to raise money for the non-profit arts, health, and social service organization The Robinson Project, to help with its work in addressing infant mortality in African-American newborns. Anyone can do this as long as you are of age."


   Showtime is currently reviewing films for its 2002 Black Filmmaker Showcase and will accept submissions until July 31, 2001. The effort is part of the cablenet's commitment to providing young African-American filmmakers a chance to express themselves through its annual event.
   This year, a new rolling admissions process will allow filmmakers who miss the deadline for the 2002 Showcase to be automatically entered into the 2003 competition.
   To participate, send a 1/2-inch VHS videotape to: Selby Segall 10880 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1600 Los Angeles, CA 90024


   The Mid-South Delta Consortium has given three time Academy Award nominee Morgan Freeman its first ever MSDC Achievement Award during the organization's 4th Annual Tri-State Education and Development Conference. The award was presented during a Gala Banquet at the Gold Strike Casino & Resort in Robinsonsville, Mississippi.


   Blair Underwood and his wife, Desiree, welcomed their third child on June 9. The couple had a baby boy named Blake Ellis.


   Bill Bellamy has finally made it to the altar and broke more than just a few hearts in the process. He and actress Kristen Baker finally tied the knot on Saturday, June 16th.


   The sister of Hollywood actor Anthony Dwain Lee, who was shot to death at a Halloween party last year is filing a wrongful death suit against the Los Angeles Police Department. The actor was dressed as a gangster and allegedly pointed a fake gun at police officers answering a noise complaint at a Hollywood home last Halloween. Tina Lee-Vogt has hired Johnnie Cochran to pursue the case.
   Cochran says the police statements that the shooting was justified just don't go along with the fact that the actor was shot in the back and the back of the head.


   Whoopi Goldberg is out on the road these days on her live summer tour, her first in 10 years. Goldberg's routine includes candid observations on a wide range of subjects, including President George W. Bush, the environment and menopause.
   "The last time I felt I had something to say, I wasn't able to go out on the road, so I wrote it all down in a book. Now, I want to stretch those muscles again, interacting with the audience and talking about things that are on my mind," she said. Tour information is available online at


   Forest Whitaker is headed to series television. The actor-director has reached an agreement with CBS to develop and star in a primetime drama for the 2002-03 season. He will next co-star in the Showtime/ABC miniseries "Feast of Saints," which he also executive produced.


   He's a balding, know-it-all redneck who knows how to push emotional buttons but King World is developing a TV talk show to be hosted by Dr. Phil McGraw anyway. The relationship guru from Oprah who often bullies women won't be available until fall 2002, but King World Prods. is planning to charge into the marketplace and start lining up stations now. Winfrey's Harpo Prods. will co-produce "Dr. Phil'' with Paramount Domestic TV.


   With Martin Lawrence's latest film, "What's the Worst That Can Happen," a box office bust, rumors have circulated that the actor also exploded emotionally on the set during the movie's filming. Entertainment
   Weekly reported that Lawrence displayed erratic and bizarre behavior complete with tantrums and crazy antics on more than one occassion. It wasn't a case of "spoiled star syndrome" however. Sources say Lawrence failed to take his medication for a bi-polar disorder. But Laurence spokes people are denying that the actor even has such an ailment and say the reports of odd behavior on the set are bogus.


   Will Smith was so taken by the dark continent, where he filmed portions of the film, Ali, that he told co-stars, including Jamie Foxx, that he wants to go back and perhaps stay for as long as a year. Foxx told the LA Daily News that he loved his time there too, noting the highlight of his trip as dinner with Nelson Mandela. "It was an experience I will never forget," he said.


   Rap star/sometime actor Nelly filed a complaint with St Louis based TWA airlines because, he says, he was mistreated on a flight from St. Louis to Denver because he is black.
   He said a flight attendant refused to give him a pillow and when he got up later to find one, the pilot ordered him back to his seat and threatened him with arrest if he failed to do so. Minutes later, the attendants gave Nelly two pillows, but he said police were waiting at the Denver gate when the plane landed. He said he tried to get the pilot's name to file a complaint, but police told him to leave the gate or he'd be arrested.
   "The way it escalated was a result of me being a black man," said the star. TWA spokesman Mark Abels denied Nelly's account of the confrontation and said a witness backed up the airline.


   MMutlti-talented Tyrese says his film debut in John Singleton's film "Baby Boy," may also be his last forray into filmmaking. "I wasn't an actor before this movie, and I'm still not an actor now," the singer/model/talk host/actor admits. He said the role was a "whole lot of pressure." "Going into that acting world, never having acted in my life, there were so many things my spirit and I went through."
   Tyrese told E! that he struggled with the reality that singers/rappers are literally being handed roles because of their popularity that take away from those who truly want and can act for a living. "All that type of stuff was on my mind," he said. He thanked God and his supporting cast for getting him through the movie.


   While Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were vacationing with daughter Bobbi Kristina at the posh Turnberry Hotel & Resort in Florida recently, a woman approached Houston and said, "I don't know how you want to handle this, but your husband is having an affair with one of my friends."
   According to reports, Houston calmly insisted the lady repeat what she said in front of Brown, but when they approached him, the woman started crying and broke down. Brown told Houston the woman was "crazy" and after Houston left he dumped a bottle of beer over the woman's head before leaving himself. Brown's people are defending his actions by saying it was the unknown woman whose actions were inappropriate.


   To many, this may not come as any revelation, but studios have finally admitted that those "man outside the theater" interviews promoting films actually included paid actors and studio employees. DUH! REALLY? What amazes many is that anybody would believe that the so-called street interviews were to be believed in the first place, considering some of the really bad films they were pumping, like Blair Witch 2. Apparently, however, some people did believe Sony's fake movie critic, David Manning of The Ridgefield Press. Two moviegoers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Sony Pictures, saying they were duped into seeing "A Knight's Tale" by ads featuring praises by Sony's phony film critic.
   Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Artisan Entertainment have all admitted to using actors and employees in their on-the-street commercials, and while Warner Bros. Officials maintain their studio has only used real fans in testimonial ads created in-house, it says it will investigate whether commercials it subcontracted included actors.
   But the flap has created more than just a consumer lawsuit against Sony. The studio is also being investigated by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal. The Attorney General is unhappy over the fact that Sony's fake critic claimed to work for a REAL Connecticut newspaper, The Ridgefield Press, a small weekly paper. Less than happy newspaper officials said they were not even aware of the fake ads until Newsweek reporter John Horn challenged the movie reviewer's authenticity.
   Sony has expressed regret over the deception, and suspended two executives for 30 days without pay. "It was a case of incredibly bad judgment," said Sony spokeswoman Susan Tick. "We're taking all the steps necessary to determine who's been responsible and will act appropriately."