Ones To Watch: 9 Young Hollywod Stars To Look Out For

Ones To Watch: 9 Young Hollywood Stars To Look Out For

Think that summertime means movies with big stars like Will Smith, Christian Bale and Johnny Depp? Well, of course it does. But that doesn't mean that this summer's cinematic slate is without its breakout stars, young actors and actresses trying to elbow their way into the spotlight amidst the big budgets and bigger explosions.

Check out these 10 aspiring thespians -- from a "Step Up" star to a certain Barbadian pop singer -- and remember their names, so you can act like you were hip to their game way before they became famous.

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DIEGO BONETA
Movie: Rock of Ages (June 15)
Resume: Mostly teen fare like "Pretty Little Liars," "90210" and "Mean Girls 2"
Why You Should Care: Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand may get the top billing, but Boneta is the center of the 80s-loving Broadway hit-turned-film adaptation, as a star-crossed lover (along with Julianne Hough) trying to make it big. Boneta, who also has a Spanish-language music career, is featured on 9 classic covers on the film's soundtrack.

ZOE KAZAN
Movie: Ruby Sparks (July 25)
Resume: Supporting roles in flashy dramas like "Revolutionary Road" and "Fracture," as well as a recurring role on HBO's "Bored To Death"
Why You Should Care: As the writer and star of "Ruby Sparks," which focuses on a make-believe literary character somehow brought to life by a struggling writer, Kazan has snagged a flashy female role in a quirky comedy -- somewhere, Zooey Deschanel is seething. "Ruby Sparks" is the first film from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris since "Little Miss Sunshine," so all our eyes will be on their follow-up -- and, in turn, Kazan.

RICHARD AYOADE
Movie: Neighborhood Watch (July 27)
Resume: Loads of British TV, most notably the comedies "The IT Crowd" and "The Mighty Boosh"
Why You Should Care: If you've seen the "Neighborhood Watch" poster or trailer, you might think, "Wow, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and... some other guy! What a cast!" In fact, that fourth guy is this 34-year-old U.K. native who is a master of awkward comedy and now gets to pal around with three U.S. all-stars. Don't expect many scenes to be stolen from Stiller, Vaughn or Hill, but Ayoade possesses the well-rounded talent that Sacha Baron Cohen brought over to the States last decade.

BENJAMIN WALKER
Movie: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (June 22)
Resume: Minor gigs in "Kinsey" and "Flags of our Fathers," and a starring role in Broadway's "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson"
Why You Should Care: Because he's playing Abraham Lincoln as a vampire slayer, that's why! The 29-year-old leads this strange, possibly-not-historically-accurate action flick from director Timur Bekmambetov, who helmed "Wanted." Rumor has it that playing a vampire-killing president is a good career move, so score one for Walker.

RIHANNA/JORDIN SPARKS
Movies: Battleship (May 18), Sparkle (Aug. 17)
Resume: A slew of superb pop songs and sold-out concerts
Why You Should Care: Sure, Rihanna and Jordin Sparks aren't necessarily "unknowns," but both music titans are making their acting debuts this summer in what could prove to be their breakout films. Rihanna helps battle an extraterrestrial takeover at sea in Peter Berg's big-budget "Battleship," while Sparks gets to show off her musical chops in "Sparkle," which doubled as Whitney Houston's final film role. After this summer, Rihanna and Sparks might be better known for their silver screen prowess than their radio play. Probably not, but hey, you never know what can happen when big boats or Whitney Houston is involved.

KATHRYN MCCORMICK
Movie: Step Up Revolution (July 27)
Resume: The little-loved remake of "Fame" and "So You Think You Can Dance"
Why You Should Care: Don't forget, nobody knew who Channing Tatum was before he shimmied into our hearts in the original "Step Up." As the star of the latest installment in the dance-happy franchise, which this time focuses on a professional dancer learning to tear up the streets of Miami with her moves, McCormick is given her best chance yet to take the audience's breath away and leave an indelible impression.

AARON JOHNSON
Movie: Savages (July 6)
Resume: The starring role in "Kick-Ass" after nearly a decade in supporting gigs
Why You Should Care: Johnson startled a lot of superhero fans as the title hero in "Kick-Ass," and now he gets to play Oliver Stone's muse in the director's high-octane drama about a kidnaping by the Mexican drug cartel. As a pot enthusiast who has to win his (shared) girlfriend back alongside Taylor Kitsch, the 21-year-old gets to share the screen with John Travolta, Salma Hayek and Benicio Del Toro.

TIKA SUMPTER
Movie: Sparkle (Aug. 17)
Resume: A whole lot of "One Life To Live" and arcs on TV shows like "The Game" and "Gossip Girl"
Why You Should Care: After scoring a small role in "Think Like a Man," Sumpter is ready to keep the summer rolling in "Sparkle," where she plays one of Jordin Sparks' character's sister and forms a girl group with the prospective star. Sure, 99% of the "Sparkle" audience will be there to see Whitney Houston's last performance and Jordin Sparks' first one, but Sumpter could finally earn the film breakthrough she deserves.

CHLOE GRACE MORETZ
Movie: Dark Shadows (May 11)
Resume: The foul-mouthed Hit-Girl in "Kick-Ass," and the lovely Isabelle in the Oscar darling "Hugo"
Why You Should Care: At only 15 years old, Moretz has demonstrated a remarkable range, whether as the warm heart of "Hugo" or a 12-year-old vampire in "Let Me In." Before she takes on the title role in the remake of "Carrie," Moretz will increase her profile as Michelle Pfeiffer's daughter in the Johnny Depp vehicle "Dark Shadows."

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Taraji P. Henson Criticized For Comparing R. Kelly And Harvey Weinstein

Taraji P. Henson is under fire after she appeared to compare the backlash and response surrounding the sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly and Harvey Weinstein. Henson seemed to question why Kelly was being slammed more than Weinstein, and Twitter users were not happy about her argument to say the least.

Henson shared her thoughts on her Instagram Stories on Tuesday (Jan. 22). She shared a series of videos, first of her looking up the hashtag and fan pages under "Mute R. Kelly." To no surprise, she found a handful of pages advocating for the complete dismissal of R. Kelly.

I love me some Taraji but GIIIIIIRRRRRLLLLLLAAAAAAAA. Make it make sense. pic.twitter.com/qBtYuwpio0

— sie (@NOPussBoys_) January 22, 2019

She then searched for similar tags and pages for Weinstein, but was unsuccessful. She also looked up pages under his full name to no avail. Henson then shared an emoji along with a simple "hmmm." The message suggested that she was confused as to why Weinstein and Kelly – both of whom have been accused of sexually abusing dozens of women through their career – were not receiving the same backlash. It appeared her argument regarding the discrepancy might have something to do with race.

Twitter users were not persuaded by Henson's thesis however. Surviving R. Kelly show-runner, dream hampton promptly responded to Henson's story, saying, "no idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more." Others criticized the actress for not acknowledging the black women and girls who had allegedly been abused by Kelly throughout the years.

While there may not be pages about muting Weinstein on Instagram, the Hollywood mogul is facing consequences for his heinous actions. Weinstein was forced to step down from his company, and he was arrested in May 2018 and charged with "rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women." He later made bail but was mandated to surrender his passport and wear an ankle monitor.

Check out the Twitter reactions to Taraji P. Henson's comments below.

No idea why Taraji Henson wouldn't know that there are not one, but two projects abt Harvey Weinstein. But this is an oft-invoked deflection. While I care abt the Hollywood stars Weinstein abused, I care more abt Asante, Kitty, Jerhona, Lisette, Azriel & Joy & others, even more.

— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 22, 2019

All of us watching Taraji’s instastory pic.twitter.com/VbcmMY3t7U

— Kayla Marie (@Maria_Giesela) January 22, 2019

TARAJI IS SO EMBARRASSING I HATE HER pic.twitter.com/tnm4HcMeAP

— fads (@azuIair) January 22, 2019

Yall.....Taraji P Henson done lost her entire mind....I... pic.twitter.com/8CuLCy19h2

— future librarian ♏️ (@blkbravado) January 22, 2019

Harvey Weinstein has been booked, charged, etc. the purpose of #MuteRKelly is to silence his music. For him to be held accountable for his actions. I really need taraji to know better. Unbelievable.

— Krissy Brierre-Davis (@krissys_kitchen) January 22, 2019

Taraji is dumb ass bricks. She really tried to compare mute R. Kelly hashtags to Mute Harvey Weinstein! News flash, Taraji, Harvey is about to go to trial. There are people willing to testify against him. His businesses and career are DONE! R. Kelly is still out here functioning!

— Where Is Yo Scoota? Where Is It?! (@AshleyShyMiller) January 22, 2019

Taraji, why? pic.twitter.com/6a4CenaNg3

— Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) January 22, 2019

1. Why would “Mute” apply to people who aren’t in the music industry?2. Weinstein has several documentaries coming about his allegations. 3. Weinstein is also going to trial over his allegations. 4. Between Taraji and Erykah “What Men Want” is a no go. pic.twitter.com/DLzvq32VKy

— M’BlockU (@rodimusprime) January 22, 2019

I wanna have a conversation about women Taraji's/Erykah's age and their obsession with "being a man's peace/shield/sponge because society brings them down enough" but I've already hit my 1 thread a day limit.

— Mári 🇵🇷 (I'm Black. This isn't hard.) (@_ItsMarisWorld_) January 22, 2019

 

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Kelly Rowland Becomes Gladys Knight For 'American Soul'

Kelly Rowland will reprise a multi-episode role as Gladys Knight on BET's newest series, American Soul.

The forthcoming series explores Don Cornelius' journey to creating Soul Train, the first nationally-syndicated show centered around black music, chronicling the uphill battling with record labels and off-camera drama with dancers, artists and more. The '70s set also painted pictures of the racially charged issues that plagued that generation.

It's almost as if the black entertainment channel is creating a Destiny's Child reunion, because Michelle Williams has been announced as the series' Diana Ross.

In a first look clip provided to VIBE, Cornelius is seen pitching the idea to a seemingly uninterested Knight (Rowland). The Chi-town DJ wants to create a show centered around black singer, dancer and performers.

"I’m talking about a national television show written, produced, and owned by black folks. I’m talking about bringing us — not whitewashed, not toned down, but us — into millions of homes, like it or not,” Cornelius' character says to Knight. Non-spoiler alert: Knight would eventually go on to be the first guest on Soul Train if history is any indication.

American Soul will premiere Feb. 5 on BET at 9 pm ET/PT on BET. Watch Kelly Rowland bring Gladys Knight's character to life in American Soul above.

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Spike Lee Earns Six Academy Award Nominations For 'BlacKkKlansman'

It’s been long overdue, but Spike Lee is finally an Oscar-nominated director for 2018’s acclaimed BlacKkKlansman. In addition to being nominated for Best Director, Lee earned six nominations in total, The Los Angeles Times reports.

According to CNN, the Brooklyn director will compete against Black Panther, Green Book, VICE, A Star Is Born and Netflix’s Roma for the Best Picture category. Adam Driver who stars in BlacKkKlansman alongside John David Washington is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. The film is also being nominated for Best Adapted Screen Play, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score.

 

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6 NOMINATIONS 6 BOOMSHACKALACKAS BROOKLYN IN DA OSCARS YA DIG? SHO-NUFF

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on Jan 22, 2019 at 7:00am PST

In 1990, Lee was nominated for Best Original Screenplay of his classic Do The Right Thing and in 1998 he was nominated for Best Documentary for 4 Little Girls. Previously, Lee has been critical of the Academy for its lack of diversity in their nominations. In 2016, when Hollywood experienced a boycott for the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Lee spoke about the conundrum with a grain of salt.

"We talk about the lack of diversity at the Oscars almost every year. Last year people were calling me about Selma and now they are calling me again," he told VIBE. "Every 10 years we get the nominations….but the other nine years we get a drought. But I had to learn the hard way. If your sh*t is good it’s going to stand the test of time. I have to draw up my own history with Do The Right Thing. You know what film won Best Picture in 1989?"

Lee also earned an honorary award at the Academy in 2015. The Oscars will take place on Feb. 24 at The Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

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