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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‘Red Table Talk’ Inks 3-Year Deal With Facebook Watch

The Emmy-nominated Red Table Talk, hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, has inked a three-year deal with Facebook Watch that extends through 2022.

In addition to a new contract, Westbrook Studios (owned by Pinkett Smith and Will Smith) is expanding the Red Table Talk brand with a spinoff series starring Gloria Estefan.

Red Table Talk: The Estefans, will be produced by Pinkett-Smith, Westbrook Studios and Estefan, with Ellen Rakieten and Miguel Melendez serving as executive producers. The series features the music icon along with her daughter and rising musician, Emily Estefan, and her niece Emmy winner, Lili Estefan. The new show will be based in Miami, where Estefan lives, and will showcase three generations of women having candid conversations about timely topics, social and personal issues with family, in addition to celebrity guests and experts.

“I’m incredibly proud of ‘Red Table Talk,’ and thrilled to build upon this franchise with my family and with Gloria, Emily and Lili,” Pinkett Smith said in a statement. “‘Red Table Talk’ has created a space to have open, honest and healing conversations around social and topical issues, and what’s most powerful for me is hearing people’s stories and engaging with our fans in such a tangible way on the Facebook Watch platform.  I’m excited to see the Estefans put their spin on the franchise and take it to new places.”

Estefan added that she’s “incredibly excited” to carry on the “'Red Table Talk' torch” with her family.

“Jada and I have spoken about this a lot and feel my daughter, niece and I can tackle issues important to us and our fans with a new and fresh voice,” said Estefan. “Jada has done this incredibly and continues to do with her family in their candid, intimate, and groundbreaking conversations at the iconic Red Table.”

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Trailer: 20 Years After His Death, Houston Legend DJ Screw's Life Coming To A Network Near You

There are many stories that define the emergence of styles within the world of hip-hop, yet one of the most influential tales will be told for all to be inspired by, and that story is the life of Houston's legendary Robert Earl Davis, Jr. aka DJ Screw. Known now as the innovator of the "chopped and screwed" style birthed in the 90s of slowing down the speed of hip-hop jams to that of a crawl, where the lyrics drawl out and the beats stretch and your head has no choice but to bob.

The new episodic series, titled All Screwed Up, is directed by producer/filmmaker Isaac "Chill" Yowman and is based on the life of DJ Screw and the happenings of his Screwed Up Click label. The trailer shows the many dramatic points in the young Screw's journey to recognition. From crosstown rivals to police harassment, to building a music empire around talented gangstas, the situations he pushed through created the sound that proved to live on beyond his life.

2020 makes 20 years since Screw passed on from what was labeled a codeine overdose in his studio. There are still street stories about what happened to Screw and all the possibilities, but what is for sure is this man's contributions to hip-hop culture can't be denied. His handprint is all over the slowed down and chopped up productions that permeate all of today's top-charting artists from Drake, to Kendrick, to Future to Travis Scott to name a few.

Watch the trailer above and be on the lookout for the network that will carry this sure-fire hit of a series. In the meantime, check out one of Screw's original tapes with his Screwed Up Click below.

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‘Bad Boys 4’ Is Reportedly In The Works

Martin Lawrence and Will Smith are reportedly returning for another installment of the Bad Boys franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bad Boy’s 4 is already in the works.

Bad Boys for Life script writer Chris Bremner will return for Bad Boy’s 4, the outlet reported on Friday (Jan. 17). No word yet on when the film will be released, but fans can expect a much shorter wait than the 17-year gap between Bad Boy’s 2 and Bad Boys for Life. The film was delayed due to script issues.

“I just didn’t want to wreck the franchise,” Smith told Elliott Wilson during a CRWN interview last month. Lawrence echoed his words in an interview with GQ magazine.

“The script wasn’t right. And Will, to his credit, refused to do the movie until the script was right. It wouldn’t have been a good movie. We dint’ want that. We wanted to do a sequel where people would go, ‘Oh man, that’s what I’m talking about. It just get better.’”

Bad Boy’s for Life opened on Friday and is expected to bring in more than $67 million in its debut weekend.

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