Robert Townsend Discusses How The Web Is Changing TV & Raptors v. Actors

What are the benefits to producing a series for the web? And how is the Internet changing how we watch TV?

There is a lot of freedom producing the show on the web. We’re at the forefront because people have responded to the show. To me the Internet is really the future so it may take a little while to catch up. But with stuff like Google TV it’s a game changer. Now it’s apart of your television so you can watch shows on Tivo and watch stuff on the Internet. Now it’s just a switch, it’s the same thing and a reality. So within the next five years anything you want to watch whether it’s a funny video on You Tube or something else, now television will have the same of capabilities. There’s no real divide.  We’re at that cusp where they're going to hit that switch and TV and the Internet will be one.


What’s next for you on the web?

We just finished filming a Latino webseries called Los Americans targeting  a different demo. We're trying to raise our vision and play with other formats.  Our company just bought our own cameras and we’re about to buy our own stages, we’re gonna create our own stuff.



As an actor/writer/director what do you think of singer/ rapper turned actor trend. With the collapse of the music industry it seems as if it's in overdrive these days.

We’re in a strange time because there are only six or seven movies starring black actors that come out a year.  They’ve got to be driven by stars so you got to have everybody and their momma in it [laughs.]  Studios are like we got to make our money back. So you have singing stars, rapping stars, football stars all acting.


But it’s not exactly a new concept, right? Back in 1972, Diana Ross was a singer turned actress who turned in an Oscar nominated performance for Lady Sings The Blues.

That has been going on for so long. And some are naturals like Tupac Shakur.  Certain rappers are good actors certain rappers are bad actors. So that means could you do an independent film that’s incredible and gets you some ink?  Yeah, sure but you got to focus and you’ve got to be in a certain mindset. If a basketball or football player is not a good actor, the audience is not going to stay.  They’re only a handful of them that rise and the rest of them— they're not doing The Godfather.


So all these actors complaining over the raptors/ singing stars taking their jobs should just stop whining?

For those who really want it, the actors who are not rapper/singers they’ve got to find their way— they got to make it happen. When I think about myself, I made it happen, I wasn’t waiting.  Now these young actors and directors have no excuses; the technology makes it so affordable and you have the Internet. My youngest daughter Skye Townsend has over 4 million hits on You Tube and that’s not because of me that’s because of her.  She does funny voices, impressions and uploads funny video that she films in the house. She’s 17 and she’s been doing it since she was 14. For actors, writers and directors now it’s easier than ever to get stuff made. So, how bad do you want it? That’s the real question. 


From the Web

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Ebro Calls Out Kodak Black For Sexual Assault During Interview

The Internet's latest victim of unwarranted hate is Ebro Darden, host of Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning. currently awaiting trialThe Internet is split on Darden's attempt to try to discuss Kodak Black's sexual assault allegations. He is for charges of criminal sexual conduct from a sexual assault indictment in 2017.

During the rapper's visit to the radio show on Wednesday (Dec. 12), everything seemed fine and dandy. However, around 15-minutes in, Ebro brought up the Floridian's current sexual assault case.

“Look man, at this point, it’s a pleasure to meet you man,” Ebro says near the 15-minute mark of the 17-minute interview. “You know, looking at all your cases and everything you’ve been through, and I know the recent one right now is very sensitive. Respect to everybody involved in that case, we can’t get into details today… We take sexual assault here serious. We can’t get into details, but we hope to have you back, so that we can have a deeper conversation about that. It’s a serious topic, we’re hearing these stories a lot."

Peter Rosenberg swiftly tries to deflect from the conversation by asking Kodak if the moon landing of 1969 was a conspiracy. However, Ebro brings up the musician's clear anxiety over the fact that he brought up the case.

"I feel like sometimes, when n***as like me are going through sh*t, y'all be entertained," says Kodak as he squirms in his chair. "Like, change the subject... talk about something else." Ebro then brings up that they tried to change the subject, and if there's nothing left to discuss, the interview could be over. At that point, Kodak gets up from the mic and walks away.

On Twitter after the interview began to gain virality, Ebro wrote that he did not discuss any specifics about the case, and that he was just trying to have a "balanced" conversation. While many members of the Twittersphere are praising Ebro for attempting to have a conversation about the elephant in the room, others are calling him out for "baiting" and bringing up something that "he shouldn't have brought up."

What are your thoughts?

I was tryna have a balanced convo with Kodak Black & not ignore the serious allegations against him but also not ask specifics to make his situation worse... and he wanna get an attitude with me?? Nah....

— El Viejo Ebro (@oldmanebro) December 12, 2018

He’s young black rich and ignorant. He was suppose to be uncomfortable about it.

— Nisha2much (@NautiNish) December 13, 2018

If you bring it up then say "we cant get into details tho" thats not a balanced convo thats baiting

— Scam SZN (@SumBlaqGuy) December 12, 2018

READ MORE: Vic Mensa Defends Critical XXXTentacion Freestyle On Instagram

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Sir Elton John covered Khalid's 'American Teen' single for Spotify Singles.
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Sir Elton John Covers Khalid's "Young Dumb And Broke"

Khalid has had the opportunity to cover songs from some legendary musicians like Tracy Chapman. Now, the tables have turned. Sir Elton John recently covered the Texan’s 2017 hit “Young Dumb & Broke.”

The “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” musician reworked Khalid’s American Teen track for the Spotify Singles series. In a statement, he praised the young musician’s growth, and he called the song “one of [his] favorites.” Khalid can be heard at the end of the Elton version singing along.

“I discovered Khalid’s music a few years ago, and have been a fan ever since,” Sir Elton wrote. “We finally met when I played his home town of El Paso last year. It’s a thrill to be a small part of any new artist’s journey, and it’s been wonderful to see his star continue to rise and rise. ‘Young Dumb & Broke’ is a fabulous song, one of my favorites, and I’m really pleased that he liked my cover enough to contribute vocals.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Sir Elton has praised members of the newer generation of music. His song “Rocket Man” is sampled in Young Thug’s On The Rvn EP. In the past, he’s sung Thugger’s praises, namely in a 2015 interview with Noisey, where he noted he enjoyed how he pushed the boundaries of hip-hop.

Listen to Sir Elton John’s cover below.

this is so crazy Thank you so much @eltonofficial

— Khalid (@thegreatkhalid) December 12, 2018

READ MORE: Young Thug Has A New Fan And His Name Is Elton John

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'Sesame Street' Praised For The Inclusion Of Homeless Character

Sesame Street continues its crusade to include statement-making characters on their block. This time around, families will be introduced to Lily, the show’s first homeless character.

According to USA Today, Lily- an adorable hot pink, red haired puppet- was first introduced to the show in 2011, but in new online clips, Lily opens up about being homeless and staying with friends.

"Now we don't have our own place to live, and sometimes I wonder if we'll ever have our own home," she says to Elmo in one clip. In her initial appearances on the show, Lily discusses her family’s food insecurities, meaning they didn’t have much to eat.

“We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma – the lack of affordable housing, poverty, domestic violence, or other trauma that caused them to lose their home, the trauma of actually losing their home, and the daily trauma of the uncertainty and insecurity of being homeless,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop.

“We want to help disrupt that cycle by comforting children, empowering them, and giving them hope for the future," she continues. "We want them to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment – home is wherever the love lives.”

In recent years, Sesame Street has introduced a slew of ground-breaking new characters, including Julia, a puppet with autism, and Alex, a character whose father is incarcerated.

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