- Created on 05 April 2013
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that its film critic Roger Ebert has died. He was 70.
The paper says on its website the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic died Thursday.
Ebert was known for his thumbs-up, thumbs-down movie reviews that influenced moviegoers...
- Created on 04 April 2013
Known for his starring role on the Cartoon Network's "Incredible Crew," the sketch comedy show created by Nick Cannon, 17-year-old Shameik Moore knows the importance of hard work, perseverance, and having an education.
The teen comedian and singer has been working in television and film for the past three years, including appearances on "Tyler Perry's House of Payne," BET's "Reed Between the Lines," and a role in "Joyful Noise" with Queen Latifah and Kiki Palmer. He is also featured on the "Incredible Crew" soundtracks, volumes 1 and 2. He is currently in the studio, recording tracks for his debut album.
"It is not always enough to have talent," says Shameik. "You also have to have skills, which come from training and education. An education is as important to the success of a performer as it is for any other profession."
Shameik is sharing his experiences with other students by joining V-103's Lil Bankhead for the "Stop Playin' with School" Tour. With the tour, Shameik is speaking to students at Career Day events, urging young people to stay in school, while also speaking with them about all of the aspects of being a professional actor and singer.
At Criterion-References Competency Tests ( CRCT) Pep Rallies at elementary and middle schools in the Atlanta area, Shameik will be performing his single, "Rock Wit Me," to get students excited and pumped up for the tests.
For more information, visit www.shameikmoore.com.
- Created on 02 April 2013
Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell and members of the City Council are joining Mayor Kasim Reed in supporting heightened awareness and research into autism.
Considered a brain development disorder, autism is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
"I am honored to support autism awareness through the gesture of lighting up the Atlanta City Hall blue," said Council President Mitchell. "It is my hope that the blue light will help remind families affected by autism that they are not alone and that their community stands with them."
In recognition of World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) and Autism Awareness Month (April), the Mitchell Street tower of Atlanta City Hall will turn blue starting at dusk tonight. In addition, President Mitchell is distributing blue ribbons to show compassion for those affected by the disorder.
The optimal viewing time for the illumination will be after 9 p.m. The City Hall tower is located at 68 Mitchell Street, S.W.
Autism is a growing public health crisis that now affects 1 in 88 individuals, and 1 in 54 boys in the United States and millions around the world.
The annual Light It Up Blue (LIUB) campaign is a global initiative to raise funds and increase awareness of autism. On the evening of April 2, nearly 3000 structures in over 600 cities and 45 countries will be illuminated in blue and join Autism Speaks, the leading advocacy awareness organization, to shine a bright light on autism.
The public can actively participate in LIUB by visiting LightItUpBlue.org. The website provides a number of fun and creative ideas, from downloading the Light It Up Blue iOS or Android App -- allowing users to turn their own pictures blue -- to hosting autism-themed gatherings, wearing the Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin, and purchasing specially marked blue light bulbs and LED lanterns, sold exclusively at The Home Depot, to turn whole neighborhoods blue. The site also accepts donations to fund Autism Speaks' awareness and research efforts.
President Mitchell also presented a proclamation to the local Autism Speaks organization in recognition of Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month.
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism.
- Created on 03 April 2013
In 2012, Tyler Perry announced that his "Madea Gets a Job" stage tour would be his last. With Perry now focusing on films, it seemed that an era of upbeat and colorful urban plays was coming to an end.
But not for successful "urban gospel" playwright Vanessa Lynn.
"When Tyler Perry bust into the mainstream, more and more people realized they wanted to try playwriting," said Lynn. "An enormous number of plays and DVDs from the urban gospel genre have come out as a result."
Lynn decided to aid and encourage these new writers with the release of her book, "Beyond the Chitlin' Circuit, The Ultimate Urban Playwrights Guide." The book covers topics ranging from Lynn's creative process for writing a play to DVD production and distribution, to her own trials and tribulations before her rise on the theater scene.
"The 'chitlin circuit' is considered a negative term associated with buffoonery" said Lynn.
"We're trying to get past that to a more sophisticated and meaningful play style."
"I wrote my first play in 1995, and I was going to church, and it seemed that the youth in the church weren't paying attention in services," Lynn noted. "I wanted to do something that would send them a message and capture their attention."
Lynn was initially discouraged from presenting the play to the public and put her work on the shelf. She went to work for corporate America and then started her own business.
"My business came tumbling down in 2004. I lost everything and for the next two years, I focused on rebuilding my life," Lynn added. "It was during that time that I was inspired to re-visit the play, so I put it out there."
Without a theater background, Lynn was looking for anybody to help with her specific genre of playwriting. She started a group on Facebook titled Urban Playwrights United, which eventually led to an annual conference.
As the executive director and founder, Lynn has transformed Urban Playwrights United into the country's number one hub for everything urban in theater. This year will mark the 4th annual conference, to be held Dec. 5-8 in Atlanta.
"I decided to write the book for those who couldn't make it to the conferences every year," she said. "I deal with hundreds and hundreds of playwrights, so I wanted to capture all of the information from the conferences, add some personal experiences and provide a guide. It's not a technical book, it just a hands-on real look at do's and don'ts."
Lynn's latest play, "Boss Lady," follows a female music mogul of the young Berry Gordy/Sean Combs type. The play chronicles the mogul's life from childhood to adulthood in an action-packed, suspenseful emotional journey. "Boss Lady" will premiere in Atlanta on April 13 at the Midtown Arts Cinema.
Lynn's next event will be her Success in Urban Theater Workshop and Book Signing April 20 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the D.A.P. Theater in Covington, Ga.
- Created on 02 April 2013
Mayor Reed, City Council Members and Evander Holyfield Honor Boxing Champion, First Black Firefighters
Members of the Atlanta City Council, Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Fire Rescue Chief Kelvin J. Cochran, were joined by five-time World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfield to honor Atlanta's first African-American Firefighters and Theodore "Tiger" Flowers, the man known as the first African-American world middleweight champion, during a 10:30 a.m. ceremony Monday at Fire Station 16, located at 1048 Joseph E. Boone Boulevard NW.
Council members Michael Julian Bond and Ivory Lee Young, Jr. were both on hand to support the measure.
In 2010, legislation introduced by Bond and unanimously adopted by the City Council and approved by Mayor Reed created a Commission to honor Atlanta's First African-American Firefighters. The two metal historic markers honoring the firefighters and Tiger Flowers, on whose property Fire Station 16 was built in 1963, were unveiled today as part of the Commission's recommendations.
"These brave individuals left an enormous legacy for generations to follow," said Bond, chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee and the host of the event. "It is important that the city commemorate the public safety contributions of African-American Firefighters, who not only protected our city but did so while having to fight for the simple respect of their colleagues. This honor on this day was chosen because there is little written about these men and women but they will never be forgotten for the sacrifices they made.
"I was rescued by Atlanta firefighters as a small child from our family's home when it caught fire, and I have always felt a special debt to these brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day," he said "They repeatedly put themselves in harm's way for our citizens."
Flowers lived in a 20-room Italian stucco mansion at 1048 Joseph E. Boone Boulevard until his death in 1927. The house was demolished in 1963 to make way for the construction of Fire Station 16.
"The markers we are establishing here today are a lasting, and fitting, tribute to these pioneers, who most certainly endured hardships in breaking racial and gender barriers," said Mayor Kasim Reed. "Let it serve as a lasting reminder of where we've been, and where we always want to be: Standing for justice, equality and doing the right thing."
Sixteen young African-American recruits joined the Atlanta Fire Department on April 1,1963. Their hiring came after the late Mayor Ivan Allen responded to leadership in the Black community requesting that the department integrate. This historic action, spurred on by the activism of John Wesley Dobbs, was a first step towards the complete integration of the city's workforce.
"This commemorative service marks the 50th anniversary of 16 courageous men who broke the color barrier to become Atlanta's first African- American firefighters," said Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran. "Their courage and sacrifice extended well beyond that required to fight fires, but the even greater challenge of integrating a predominately white male institution which existed for 100 years prior to their arrival. Because they overcame, the trail was blazed for other African- American men to follow."
Cochran noted that the original 16 firefighters led the way for seven African American women to join the Atlanta Fire Department in 1977, breaking the gender barrier.
He noted that "Because they overcame, today there is truly a level playing field for hiring and promotions where members are not just by race, nor gender, but by the content of their character, commitment and competence. Truly, the valleys have been brought level, all the mountains have been made low, the crooked places made straight, and the rough places have been made smooth."
Among the 16 recruits was William Hamer, who also served as Atlanta's First African-American Fire Chief.
Their hiring was an event that resonated throughout the community, Hamer reminisced.
"Atlanta was moving forward in race relations. During the next decade and a half, the central concept was how to improve race relations in every major event throughout the city. This is what I have always loved about Atlanta," he added.
Hamer retired from the department in 1989.
During Monday's ceremony, the city also paid tribute to its first seven African-American female firefighters who joined the department in 1977; among those present today was retired Battalion Chief Liz Summers.
Summers was humbled by the ceremony but said it was perseverance and prayer that sustained her during her career.
"When I walked into the fire station I was told by my lieutenant that I wasn't welcomed but in all fairness one Battalion Chief said that after having worked with me he was proud to have me and that he now realized I was going to do well," Summers said. "For me and throughout my life there is a reason and a season for everything to take place."