Dorothy Hong

Mavis Staples Takes You There In New HBO Documentary 'Mavis!'

In the Jessica Edwards film Mavis, viewers go behind the scenes with one of music's most robust and hearty voices, Mavis Staples.

Mavis' voice isn't Sunday morning. It's not easy like a spring breeze or a walk in the park at sunset. Mavis' voice is hearty, robust, sometimes scratchy and always potent, and while our parents may know of the importance and musical necessity it is to have The Staple Singers in their iTunes playlist, Jessica Edwards HBO documentary Mavis! introduces the spunky and charming singer to the Snapchat generation, proving she had keys way before Khaled.

Mavis! tells the story of the humble beginnings of the Staple Singers family band led by Roebuck "Pops" Staples with Mavis as the lead. Pops guitar playing was a mixture of gospel and blues, which at the time was musically frowned upon. The family began singing in church and started making a name for themselves, which led to other gigs at churches across the south. After a brief meeting with a young Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Pops returned to the group and said "If he can preach it, we can sing it," which later spawned the band's first freedom song, "Why Am I Treated So Bad?" and ushered the group into the Civil Right's movement.

With commentary from Chuck D, Bonnie Raitt, co-owner of Stax Records Al Bell and the late Julian Bond, director Jessica Edwards supplements Mavis' greatness not only with footage of the group's early days on tour, but through fellow musicians who site Mavis' as the powerhouse vocalist she is.

"I love and respected Aretha, I still do, but she was no Mavis Staples," Bell said.

While the early sounds of the Staple Singers brought many who attended the documentary's early screening back to simpler times, it's Mavis' authentic charm and hilarity that keeps the film close to your heart. With her loyal sister Yvonne by her side, Mavis simply delights without even trying. Whether it be unabashedly fixing her honey blond wig while the cameras rolled, talking about smooching Bob Dylan in her younger days, or cuttin' a rug with her new knees while on stage back home in Chicago, Mavis doesn't know how to be anything other than Mavis.

"I'm not as frisky as I used to be, although I feel like it," she says with a mischievous grin.

And then it happened.

The boom of the drums. The recognizable guitar rift, and her deep, voice came through as Edwards documents the first time Mavis performed "I'll Take You There." The Staple Singers had veered off from their traditional Gospel roots, and received the ire from the church community disappointed with their secular ways, but let Mavis tell it, once the song skyrocketed to number one, everyone couldn't resist.

"The church people were dancing to it, they weren't foolin' me." Mavis said.

Mavis! is feel good, like Christmas morning feel good. On a lousy Monday with an entire week of work ahead of you, on an extra day of the year no less, Mavis's smile, good heart and soul-stirring voice is the boost you need to make it to Friday. Yeah, Mavis takes you there, and at 71 year old, it doesn't look like she has any plans to stop anytime soon.

MAVIS! debuts Monday, Feb. 29, exclusively on HBO.


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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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Courtesy of Hulu

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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