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Sunday, December 9, 2018

BlackKkKlansman Review: A Timely Spike Lee Joint

written by Evan Jackson

Saying a Spike Lee Joint is "timely" may be redundant but it couldn't be any more true with his latest film 'BlacKkKlansman'. Based off the true story of African American Police Detective Ron Stallworth who went undercover at the Colorado Police Department to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Serving as only the voice behind the telephone, with his detective partner being the "Ron Stallworth" who showed up to the meetings. An obvious serious story that's deeply rooted in racism, politics, justice, and identity Spike Lee masterfully directs this film the only way he can. With just a tinge of satirical nature which is his usual style, he hones in on what this true story can mean for us today. Adam Driver is many of us in this film, coming to terms with his own Jewish heritage and how racism affects you even if you don't identify with your own. Actor John David Washington gives a sobering performance which serves the film well and dives deep into what it means to be Black and an authoritarian figure. Spike Lee Joints are always near and dear to my heart because they reflected the times and peaked into the future. His films are alternate universes that come to light in the real world. As scary as that is the hope he gives at the end of this film is that hate always loses when you laugh in the face of it especially when you stop it in its tracks.

Spike Lee creates his own world and once you step in it he reveals the truths many are afraid to speak of but that's what make his film so special. The truth about this film is the vitriol of hate groups are still present. Looking back  throughout the film there are clear links to Donald Trump and a coy  or how you take it a crude reference to O.J. Simpson. Steeped in recent history when Harry Belafonte is on screen with eager young woke minds huddled around him it's the one of the most gripping scenes of the entire film. Utilizing historical figures and placing them iconic scenes is what Spike Lee does best. What's more interesting is they aren't just used to draw the audience in; as Harry told a horrendous story about a hate crime committed against THE Emit Till the ongoing intensity of the film was heightened. Spike Lee Joints evoke that visceral feeling and when you step into his mind frame for a film it's all too real.

 Actor John David Washington & Actor Adam Driver's chemistry plays like a 1970's buddy cop all grit-no bullshit detective drama TV series. Both characters revealing insight on each other serves as a mirror. Ron Stallworth in the film pushes his partner to not only take his role as an officer of justice to the edge but helps his partner comes to term with his own Jewish Heritage. In seemingly quiet scene Ron asks his partner why the Jewish epitaphs spewed doesn't bother him. Simply saying he doesn't identify with being Jewish, Ron's retort is the erasure and degradation of your people's heritage starts with you denying it. And allowing other to shape that narrative through scare tactics and propaganda is a dangerous path. Adam Driver steps into this role so brilliantly, evolving from a state of  "I'm just doing my job here" to "Let's catch these racist fools" is a testament to his acting. To join in on the cause against hate, to have an ally, as Ron Stallworth did in real life was just as incredible.

Actor John David Washington, son of famed Denzel Washington, plays mostly reserved in this role. Stoic and yet conflicted in his own woke mind on what it means to be a detective, a precieved enemy of the people, and attracted to the activism of his fellow Black brothers and sisters. A victim of his own police department when it come to harassment the frustration comes out to how to change the system from the inside out. Instead of an overly emotional performance that could of worked, John's confidence in coolly playing a real life figure brings a calmness among the chaotic. Laura Harrier who plays woke bae and more importantly is Ron's window into the other side of the matter. That tug of war with identity politics: Can you be down for the cause & be a good cop at the same time? It may look as two opposing mindsets but this film brings it in the middle. To be highly conscious of the racial issues in your community and offer a great solution & be an officer of justice is two sides of the same coin. You can help your people by doing your job and utilizing your platform to stomp out oppression. You easily could of played the theme to Shaft when Ron Stallworth enters the KKK meeting escorting Klan Leader David Duke. That's why John David Washington got his recent Golden Globe nomination, in a such a high octane plot line his cool as a cucumber performance with answers to the character's identity crisis comes off so convincingly.


Spike Lee has delivered a film that calls on today while taking a look at the past. What better way to hark on the feelings of those seeking to speak on racial issues without stepping on their mindsets. Through the art of film he encapsulates different perspectives so well. The driving force of BlackKklansman is yes, this is America. This is exactly the United States you live in that still has hate groups but this is the same America that has those who will oppose and end those hateful activities. The hope is you will be a vigilant enough to know the truth. And better yet use your platform to say your own truth.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Ovrdsthebrand x UNFΛYN Women Empowermnet Mixer

Photos By Evan L. Jackson 
Written By Evan L. Jackson

Fall Fashion Season is upon us with New York Fashion Week underway and LA Fashion Week coming up in October. As a stylist and a master of Fashion Niko Brown had his first official event in the Women Ewmpowerment Mixer which was co-hosted by the social media curation company  UNFΛYN . The moderator for the evening's panel was the amazing Entertainment Personality Othelia Joy who has been a beauty paegent winner as well as interviewing celebrities and influential women across the world. The main theme of this mixer was to connect women with their brand awareness. How to be better in life which in turns make you a better bussinesswoman.
     One of the panelists was the beautiful and talented Celebrity Fashion Stylist Shelly Styles. She takes pride in customizing the look for women who want to feel good in the wardrobe there in. She exuded major confidence all while being generous on what she's learned from the industry. Actress Lilimar is the quintessential girl next door and it was especially sweet when she said her rock is her grandma and mom. How she utililies them as her team and a source for guidance when making tough career choices. Telli Swift was elegant and demure also being so warm when it came to offering her advice. The Southern Bell-esque way she offered her life lessons reminded me that you can be graceful in your apporach yet at the same time firey and passionoate about what you want out of life.
 This mixer was the brainchild of Niko Brown, coming from the LA Fashion Week team, I've seen his work first hand and his best quality is being personable. He gets it, he understands detail and more importantly is selfless in his efforts to give the best experience when it comes to Style.  We look forward to his events coming up simply based on the insight he provides and the calliber of talent he brings to his mixers.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Behind The Scenes At Demi In The City Dash Radio Show

DJ Demi Lobo & DJ Alysen James 

Photos By Evan L. Jackson
Written By Evan L. Jackson

Demi Lobo is a season vet when it comes to being the premiere DJ in the Los Angeles Area. As a native of Chicago she made her way to LA and made a name fast for herself. Every other event I attended and plenty that I've missed DJ Demi Lobo has spun at BET Award related events, women empowerment mixers and impressively was the DJ at Director Ava Duvernay's ARRAY NOW production space. So when Demi asked me to come in and do behind the scenes work for Demi In The City show for Dash Radio, I was automatically for it.

There is an art to being a DJ. Demi takes it so seriously and as a innovator on the turn tables you need to know the energy of the crowd, the timing it takes to spin in that next record, and the humility to become even better at your craft. Demi is a natural, as I saw first hand where she had the young girls who attended the 2018 Young African American Women's Conference in a frenzy with her DJ set. The lunch time was lit because of her. What I didn't know was how talented she was as a Radio personality. Going into the Dash Radio booth, perfectly place near the Dream Hotel, Demi was downright giddy about the alchemy taking place with her guests coming in and her connecting again with right hand woman DJ Alysen James. It was pretty awesome to see a one - two female combo. As the guests arrive and the interviews take place Demi brings the best stories out of them. She likens their pitfalls and successes to her own journey - that allows them to open up more. Demi treats her guests on the radio, listen by thousands of people, as an intimate conversation. Just her and the guest, going beyond the cliche and getting to the source of their motivation.

The key to radio, as I would see, is making your voice jump out of the booth. The commodity between Demi & Alysen was great, you can tell they have been friends for a long time, and once again Demi brought life to the interview. I feel each guest is actually in for a treat to see their story respected and explored as well as challenged by Demi who shows sincere interest. Next time tune in and make sure to listen to Demi  In The City.   
Actor Kris D. Lofton & DJ Demi Lobo 

DJ Alysen James 

Singer Brian McKnight Jr. & Demi Lobo 
DJ Demi Lobo 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Mogul Monday: Juka's Organic Company Founder Juka

Photos by Evan L. Jackson
Written by Evan L. Jackson

The most interesting conversations you'll ever have in life will take place at the dinner table - there is something about the alchemy of food, drink, and good company that elicits unity - a sense of togetherness. That atmosphere of care and coming together is exactly what Juka exudes, Founder of Juka's Organic Oils Company. Through her company they make Red Palm Oils and other organic oils, made in Africa Juka wants to bring the flavor she grew up with to the world. There is power in her being her own business woman as she tells me an anecdote of visiting the West African village ,where the product is made, and crowds of school girls coming to see her do calculations. It's amazing to see women like Juka be a the rule and not the exception. See her give her perspective on why you need juka's organic in your kitchen. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Hustle Is Mandatory Celebrity Charity Game

Written By Evan L. Jackson 
Photos By Evan L. Jackson 

In the spirit of giving back the Hustle Is Mandatory Celebrity Charity Game was held at The Pacific Lodge, A Division Of Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services. The theme was 'I Took The Stairs To Success' and there was a great turnout. What was very interesting is that most of the celebrity guests told me it was important for them to not only play but speak with and bond with the youth there because they related to them. Most notably HBO Ballers Actor Kris D. Lofton who coincidentally plays a young star in the NFL who needs guidance himself after being seen as troubled. Just like his character Kris D. Lofton says sometimes a different voice from a more relatable source is exactly what these kids need. 

The youth there seemed genuinely hyped to play against the celebrities and what was very cool was seeing them talk and get to know these stars and seeing the realization that they are just like them.

zumer sports
Macleem sportswear
RawFit Athletics
Miss Jessies
The Formula Entertainment
Alternative Retail
Perricone H2 water
Grab a ball and Play Foundation
Power 106

Celebs that attended;
RaShaud (HustleIsManadatory)
Larry Sanders (Former NBA player; Cavaliers)
Enimal (HBO Insecure )
Kris Lofton (HBO Ballers)
JCthaBarber (Celebrity Barber)
John Jordan (Actor/Model)
Keiona Laude ( Fashion Model)
Mani (rapper)
DAX (Recording Artist)
Jay Brantley (CEO- Macleem Sportswear)
Robert Foster 

Host: GioVanni Watson ( Host of Hollywood Unlocked/Actor/Dancer) 


Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Movement LA Presents Bosses Brunch

Fashion Designer Kisha Waters, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Talk Show Host Brandee "Kurvy" J
Written by Evan L. Jackson
Photos by Evan L. Jackson

When I think about "Movements" I think about the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther's 'Free Food Program: a collective who's common goal is to utilize their power to create positive change and open new avenues where there weren't before. And now the next wave for this generation is the Women Empowerment Movement. A perfect exemplar of this generation's power push is The Movement LA Bosses Brunch. Organized by Fashion Designer Kisha Waters and Talk Show Host Brandee "Kurvy" J this event was special because it focused on upward mobility of the self made businessperson and to me celebrated Black womanhood and all the magical opportunities that come from it. 

One of the great voices of that evening was Dr. Cheyenne Bryant - Author, Motivational Speaker & NAACP President of the San Pedro branch. While she spoke to my Young Bold And Regal Correspondent Cherish I can tell how mesmerizing she was based off her answers. Making analogies of protecting your energy to allowing people to come into your garden and not simply leave when they want but cultivate & grow within your ecosystem. As Dr. Bryant contributed to the warm atmosphere of knowledge and inspiration there was even more trans formative figures that would deliver gems of wisdom.

As Brandee & Kisha continued hosting the Bosses Brunch there was a flurry during intermission - a palpable buzz. Congresswoman Maxine Waters walked through doors, she was treated with such reverence and respect you felt honored to be in that room automatically. The day was already magic yet her presence cemented why were all there. As I spoke with Kisha after the festivities, she glowed when referring to Aunite Maxine "She stayed the whole time." Representative Maxine Waters is aware of her power to influence and to inspire, utilizing her voice she is one of the many leaders of the women empowerment movement taking place today.

This was a great start to a series I hope continues for years to come. Kisha & Brandee J are so mindful and intelligent to hold this event because they know the impact this will bring to uplift the black businesswoman and anybody who want to inhabit the title of a "Boss". It takes effort, losses, collaborations and the ability to preserve to become the boss you want to be in this world. So gladly to put yourself up on game, follow The Movement LA and next year go to the Bosses Brunch. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Sundance Institute Screening Of 'Sorry To Bother You'

As the summer season begins and in the midst of the Sequoias that are the splashy blockbuster movies, the film "Sorry To Bother You" serves as a refreshing satire that  is both eerily timely and brilliantly directed by Bootsy Riley. Starring Actor Lakeith Stanfield, of  FX hit show 'Atlanta' fame and Actress Tessa Thompson, who seems to be in every hot show and film in the last year with "Creed" squeal in post production, a standout performance in HBO's Westworld & her run as  Valkriye 'Thor Ragnarok'  both stars serve as the bedrock in which Bootsy builds this not so far off future that is the American Dream. 

With a tongue and cheek name like Cassius Green, played by Lakieth Stanfield, he is financially struggling and finds a come up in the telemarketing game. On his first day,  Legendary actor Danny Glover offers advice to Cassius "Use your white voice" proceeded by a white voice! It sounds bizarre but as Bootsy said in the post screening of the film he wanted to show the ridiculousness of that world to prove the foolishness in ours. Lakeith as an actor has had scene stealing roles in 'Atlanta' and even held down an episode of his own- most notably the creepy yet outstanding episode on the tragic Teddy Perkins -and other films but in "Sorry To Bother You" he establishes himself as an actor who can carry a movie from start to finish. First seen as down trodden with a girl who loves him yet he feels is slipping away in a desperate move and pure money grab Cassius becomes a "Power Baller" a top of the line salesmen for Regal View Telemarketing. The Power Baller sees Cassius leveling up  but he soon realizes it's a total front for selling slave labor to companies like Worry Free. Which has many aspects one of which is their TV department which grossly boasts the number one show in the country - humiliating their employees at the expense for ratings. How much money does it take to take a man's soul? At what cost? That is why Lakeith's performance is so good, the desperate measures he faces combined with  the power struggle on the tokenism of him being black man with providing financial means for himself is fascinating. Oh wait, there's more, a lot more.  

'Sorry To Bother You' Actor Lakeith Stanfield

 The seats filled at the Ace Hotel theater for the screening of 'Sorry To Bother You'. And I was walking in just from the Red Carpet and Lakeith Stanfield was in a greenish wig with a white bandana and I knew this screening would be different, wierd even, but good wierd. That type of wierd that cultivates great creative art. As Tessa  Thompson rolled in, I thought I really hope she gets a chance to shine in this film. And she did! As the foil to her power hungry man in "Sorry To Bother You" Tessa plays her character, Detroit as a carefree artist who goes with the flow but ultimately wants to see profits from her art while holding down her love in Cassius. If Cassius is a reflection of the sign of the times of the struggling worker, Tessa's character is the dichotomy of the idealistic, angsty, and radical artist who also seeks to gain validation and monetize their art through capitalistic gains. It's almost the same tug of war we face on the daily as millienials. We don't want to work for the man yet the man pays our bills and affords us those luxuries. But having a voice in all of this, isn't it worth it to buck the system? It definitely is, that's why it was so refreshing when Detriot called Cassius out on his bullshit and did not compromise until he found his way. Tessa's superpower as an actress is her authentic nature and the ability to automatically enhance her co-star's performance by being magnificent in her own role. She does it so effortlessly you almost take for granted her performance then BANG, she's off screen, and with that the joy is sucked out of Cassius the rock that was his girl is no more. He's lost in his career and the greed of money has taken over until the moral decay is finally struck by a bolt of consciousness.   

The there is no wasted minute, scene, or second in 'Sorry To Bother You' and that's all thanks to Director and Writer Bootsy Collin. Cutting his teeth as musician for over 20 years and a native of Oakland his fingerprints are all over this film because he once was Cassius. Working for telemarketing company he revealed that along with stating actual times he would say "I'm going to use that in a movie". What was the most exciting part of the night was the support Bootsy got from the Sundance Institute. Sundance Film Festival is world renowned and they've cultivated a branch of their film festival to grow the new generation of filmmakers through their Sundance Lab and Sundance Catalsyt. Workshops sorting out the kinks in scripts, connecting the creative to investors that will fund their film, and making their movies come to the screen. The film 'Sorry To Bother You' was wrought with symbolism, overt and hidden pop culture gems. Bootsy's Oakland roots show in the film - it's funk, like his style yet fresh, it's strange but for the sake of it but to drive a message home, it's wild but not for the point of making chaos but to create change and most of all it's damn fun! Go see 'Sorry To Bother You' when it comes out in July 6th and remember to use your voice for good. 

Actress Rosario Dawson

Singer Jhene Aiko

'Superior Donuts' Actor Jermaine Fowler

'Atlanta' Actor RJ Walker


Feel Young, Be Bold, Live Regal

Feel Young, Be Bold, Live Regal