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Master Plan: 'Think Like A Man' Producer Will Packer Talks Success & Black Hollywood

Get your chuckle on now and cop the Think Like A Man DVD, available in stores today -- Will Packer is practically plagiarizing Master P’s playbook. “If you want Hollywood to pay attention, make money without them,” the super producer says. While attending Florida A&M on an electrical engineering scholarship, Packer and classmate-turned-business partner Rob Hardy shot their first shoestring flick, Chocolate City, with only $20,000 and released it to a niche market—“the same way Master P did it,” says Packer. Once the film netted $100,000, a career switch was evident. Since then, he’s produced 14 motion pictures, including Stomp the Yard and Takers, with his biggest triumph Think Like a Man grossing more than $89 million at the box office. While on the set of his 2013 thriller No Good Deed, starring Taraji P. Henson, Packer discusses chin-checking Hollywood, the stabilizing condition of Black film and some lady named Madea.
VIBE: You’ve spoken before about understanding the power of marketing directly to the Black community. When did that mind-set kick in? Will Packer: I had no intention of being a film producer, and I knew I wasn’t passionate about engineering. I was always set on having my own business, controlling my own destiny. Even though nobody in Hollywood or in the rest of the country cared about Chocolate City, there was an audience that did. It was right there at our university. We sold it to that audience. I made another film, an erotic thriller, and marketed it primarily to African-Americans who hadn’t seen that type of film with themselves in it. I’ve been able to continuously do that. And now my audience is getting bigger and bigger with Think Like a Man, which actually played well with a broad audience. One reason Think Like a Man was successful was that despite being an all-Black cast, it showed a nuanced version of what relationships and Black life is like. Even though the majority of the cast was Black, it wasn’t written as a Black movie. The writers were two white guys. It was written as a relationship movie. I like the fact that we had an awesome cast to add flavor to it. But it was not culturally specific to Black people or any other race. Now that a sequel is in the works, how will that film open the floodgates for other non–Tyler Perry flicks? You have this perception in Hollywood that it has to be Tyler Perry to be a successful comedy. But I was able to show that with the right elements, good material and a smart team you can have success. I applaud him and his brand. What he’s done is help pave the way for other folks—myself included—to do these types of films. And now I’ll be paving the way for others. The lack of Black presence in Hollywood is blatant. What’s the remedy? It’s an interesting time, because the films are making more money than ever, but there are a disparate amount of voices telling those stories. There was a time when Spike Lee, John Singleton, the Hudlin Brothers, the Hughes Brothers, Robert Townsend, the Wayans—all of them had a theatrical film released within the same year. Now, in the past 12 months, we had Tyler, myself and Salim Akil with Jumping the Broom. We need more filmmakers of color telling the story. I’d like to see more filmmakers take their products out independently, put together a good commercial fi lm and distribute it online. Is the atmosphere much different on the small screen? I’m excited by the fact that you have Kerry Washington, Taraji P. Henson and others with television projects featuring African-American leads. We’ll see if that translates into more of those types of series. I’m excited about my own network, BounceTV. It’s the first African-American-owned broadcast network. It’s myself, my partner Rob Hardy and some other African-American businessmen, including Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III. We have an interesting mix of programming, everything from Richard Pryor to Pam Grier films, from Denzel to Will. Hollywood is reactive, not pro- active. Once we have shows that make money and are successful, you’ll see more diversity.

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An Unofficial Documentary About Drake Is Currently On Streaming Services

An unauthorized documentary about the rise of musician Drake can be viewed on video distribution services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Drake: Rewriting the Rules initially dropped on Vimeo in Nov. 2018, and now, fans of the "God's Plan" musician will have a chance to watch it at their leisure on other platforms.

The documentary chronicles the music superstar from his days growing up in Toronto, to portraying Jimmy on the hit-teen drama Degrassi, to becoming a hip-hop star and working with musicians from Kanye West to his Young Money leader, Lil Wayne.

"Discover the untold story of how Drake rewrote the rules and rose from a child actor to become a cultural phenomenon and global musical icon," writes IMDb of the film's synopsis. "He is the king of pop and hip hop, combining many musical styles into one mainstream sound." The film runs 74 minutes long. Interviews from media figures and writers are included in the doc, which was directed and written by British filmmaker Ray King. However, no representatives from Drake's team are included.

Drake has not commented on the doc as of press time. He has been relatively quiet in the news, however, it's being reported that he is close to securing a residency of sorts at the Wynn's XS Nightclub in Las Vegas.

 

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Stream: Hulu's 'FYRE Fraud' Doc Examines The Festival That Scammed Thousands

In 2017, rumors of an exclusive festival taking place in the Bahamas took over social media. Organized by Billy McFarland and promoted by Ja Rule, the FYRE Festival was the new, cool kid on the festival block and quickly put other more seasoned festivals to shame.

But all that glitters isn't gold.

FYRE FRAUD, the new documentary streaming on Hulu, takes an intimate look at the scam that left thousands stranded on the island. Directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason, the dark-comedy interviews whistleblowers, victims, and the convicted con-man himself, McFarland.

In a press release, Fraust and Nason said the goal isn't to make light of those who were scammed.

"Our aim was to set the stage for a strange journey into the moral abyss of our digital age, going beyond the meme to show an ecosystem of enablers, driven by profit and willing to look the other way, for their own gain.

"We draw on countless cultural references, on true crime tension, and on humor - but we did not intend to create a toothless comedy about the Fyre Festival. We hope this film can pierce our collective apathy and disrupt our own millennial peers, if only for an instant - to look at these stories for what they truly are, and to halt this algorithm before it devours us whole."

FYRE FRAUD is now streaming on Hulu.

 

 

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Al Bello

Dave Chappelle Isn't Sure His R. Kelly 'Chappelle Show' Skits Were Insensitive

The Surviving R. Kelly series may be over, but the fallout from it has seemingly just begun.

Director dream hampton took to Twitter during the airing of the Lifetime documentary and spoke honestly about the several celebrity men she contacted in hopes they'd speak on camera about R. Kelly and the years of sexual allegations that have shadowed him. Among them was Dave Chappelle.

The beloved comic famously made a music video entitled "Piss On You" mocking the real-life video of R. Kelly urinating on an underage girl. During the Chappelle Show heyday, he used R.Kelly's legal woes as material for years.

TMZ caught with Chappelle in West Hollywood and asked him if he regretted not being featured in hampton's series and instead he dodged the question.

"Jesus Christ, I just had dinner," Chappelle said in between taking a drag of his cigarette. "I just ate. Strop bringing that motherf**ker up."

When pressed about whether or not he thinks his old skits were insensitive, the 45-year-old said "I don't know. I'd have to watch it again."

D.L. Hughley joined Chappelle for dinner and commented on R.Kelly and the forthcoming Michael Jackson documentary, Leaving Neverland, which outlines sexual assault allegations against the late singer.

"If you can be mad at R. Kelly, you should be mad at Michael Jackson," Hughley said.

 

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