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'Undefeated' - Oscar Nominated Doc Might Make History

If you’re into football, documentaries and generally touching stories then Undefeated is the movie you want to see. The Oscar-nominated documentary tells the story of a struggling, inner city Tennessee, high-school football team that beat the odds on and off the field.

Filmed during the 2009 football season of the Massilon Tigers of North Memphis, Undefeated chronicles three underprivileged student-athletes from the hood and the volunteer coach (Bill Courtney) trying to help them beat the odds on and off the field. It’s an uplifting film that depicts strength courage, faith and the positive relationships people can build when race and class are taken out of the equation and replaced with love.

Undefeated is directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin and if the movie wins, this would be the time that an African-American director (Martin) has won an Oscar for a feature length film. Watch the preview below:

Check out our brief interview with director T.J. Martin:

The title of the film is definitely ironic, considering the storyline.

That was definitely on purpose. The title speaks to the subtext of the film, and without sounding too cheesy it’s about the idea of being undefeated in life and it’s about what Bill’s mantra is, “The character of a man is not how he handles himself in good times but how he handles himself through the bad times,” and that’s what it speaks to.

It must have been culture shock coming from L.A. to spend all that time in the inner city in Memphis, what was that experience like?

That was definitely the most amount of time I spent in the south. They called us “yanks” a lot and they thought our jeans were too tight [laughs] but I wouldn’t say it was culture shock we were really warmly welcomed. It took a second in the sense that, more times than none, when there’s a media presence, they come in and do a sensationalized piece about how violent the neighborhood is or something like that, but as soon as we showed up as outsiders like, “We want to tell your story,” we kinda have to commit to that, so for us to have to commit to that it was basically showing them that we’re gonna walk our talk. And we would show up for practice and school and talent shows, we would just show up for anything. Every time I think back to the experience, the biggest thing I came away with was definitely an appreciation for my own opportunities in my own life and I think that’s one of the themes that we explore−not taking advantage of your opportunities and I think that was the most specific thing I had after that experience.

What do you want viewers to take away from this film?

I think the themes are very universal. It’s really a film about resilience, it’s a film about opportunity or lack thereof, and I think you could really replace football with anything. You could replace it with chess or soccer, but I think the themes are universal and everybody can take something home with them. But for me specifically, I would hope that−we didn’t’ set out to make an issues based film but by nature of making it, we also didn’t shy away from showing the class dynamic or race dynamic, and by embedding ourselves in the film and making a human interest piece−a coming of age kind of story−I would hope that with that stage of having this kind of racial class dynamic that it would at least inspire a greater conversation. I would never say this is the authority of that, I would just hope that this is the beginning of that conversation.

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Michael B. Jordan To Star In 'gen:LOCK' Anime Series

Michael B. Jordan will be lending his lady-loved voice to a new anime series,"gen:LOCK," for Rooster Teeth.

In the new series, Jordan will be playing Julian Chase. The show is described as "50 years in the future, where an oppressive authoritarian force threatens to conquer the world. So a daring team is recruited to pilot a new form of weaponized neuroscience that powers devastating mecha. However, this team must be willing to sacrifice everything to save the world," according to Shadow and Act.

“He is willing to lay his life on the line for the greater good. He had a lot of heroic qualities to him that made it easy for me to be like ‘cool, I want to voice this guy,’” Jordan told SyfyWire about his reason for picking the role.

Way too excited to show you guys the final trailer for #genLock all my real followers/fans know how much I’m an Anime fan and this show fulfilled one of my life-long dreams of voicing a character on an animated show. Jan 26th it’s going to get crazy on @roosterteeth

A post shared by Michael B. Jordan (@michaelbjordan) on Jan 17, 2019 at 9:38am PST

The first two episodes of gen:LOCK will premiere on Jan. 26 on Rooster Teeth, which is available on iOS, Andriod, Xbox One, and Apple TV. (RoosterTeeth.com's memberships start at $4.99 a month.) Watch the trailer for the series up top.

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Kerry Washington To Star In And Produce 'American Son' Netflix Adaptation

Kerry Washington's Broadway banger, American Son, will be making its on-screen debut with Netflix.

Steven Pasquale (The Good Wife), Jeremy Jordan (Supergirl), Eugene Lee (A Soldier’s Play) and Washington will be reprising their groundbreaking roles from the thought-provoking Broadway production. Kenny Leon, who served as the play's original director, will be directing the picture and producing the film alongside the former Scandal actress.

The 41-year-old made the announcement on Monday night (Jan. 21) while appearing on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, where she gushed over her role as Kendra and the play's exploration into an interracial families search for their missing son in a Florida police station.

I love you @jimmyfallon 😍 thanks for letting me come on @FallonTonight and share this thrilling news about #AmericanSonPlay 😍😍😍😍 https://t.co/5sk97I4Co6

— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) January 22, 2019

Netflix’s Vice President of Original Content Cindy Holland said in a statement, “We are honored to work with Kerry Washington, [director] Kenny Leon, [writer] Christopher Demos-Brown and the entire cast to bring this story from the Broadway stage to our members around the world.”

The American Son production will come to a close this Sunday (Jan. 27) after a two month running at the Booth Theatre beginning in Nov. 2018. Watch Kerry Washington gush over American Son below.

 

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Gina Rodriguez Tearfully Addresses Anti-Black Allegations

Gina Rodriguez sparked controversy on social media in Nov. 2018, after she made questionable claims about the racial pay gap in the workplace. During a panel discussion on Neta Porter's "The Television Debate" with Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo, and more, the actress falsely claimed that black women were paid more than Latina and Asian women. Nearly two months after the backlash, Rodriguez sat down with Sway in the Morning on Jan. 22, to explain her previous statements and debunk the notion that she is anti-black.

"I wasn’t speaking about my industry," she said of her previous comments about the racial pay gap. "I always find it difficult to  talk about equal pay as a woman who makes a substantial amount of money. As somebody who came from poverty to now the amount of money I get paid, it doesn’t feel right that I’m the one talking about it because i’m just so damn grateful…"

The Jane the Virgin actress stated that she was devastated by the tweets from the black community that claimed she was anti-black because she felt deeply connected to the racial group growing up. "What I was saying is that when we talk about equal pay we have to talk about intersectionality because we all must rise. And so, the backlash was devastating to say the least because the black community was the only community I looked towards," she continued. "Growing up, we didn’t have many Latino shows and the black community made me feel like I was seen. So to get ‘anti-black’ is saying that I’m anti-family. My father is dark-skinned. He’s Afro-latino. And my cousins are. And Puerto Ricans are African, Taino, and Spaniard blood…"

She also suggested that the backlash was fueled by click-bait. "I know my heart. I know what I meant. And I really wish we lived in a culture that wasn’t click-bait because I’ve never said anything controversial about anybody and far would I ever," she added. "The black community is my community. As Latinos, we have black Latinos. That is what we are. I think when I talk about Latino advocacy they think I mean people only my skin color. And little do they know that I’m very aware of what my culture is… It was a really really dark time for me."

Check out Rodriguez's full comments on the subject at the 12:34-mark in the video above.

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