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Phil Branch

'Searching For Shaniqua' Examines Names And Stereotypes

The hour-long documentary features three women named Shaniqua and other notable figures dissecting the connotations of certain names.

Howard University English professor Phill Branch grew weary of hearing his fellow teachers complain about the hard-to-pronounce names of some of the students in their classes. Truth be told, Branch, a Baltimore resident, wondered why some parents chose to given their children a name that may prohibit them from future opportunities. Feeling the need to vent, Branch wrote about a blog post addressing the issue, but then decided words on the Internet just couldn't encapsulate the totality of the situation.

"I realized people needed to tell their own stories," Branch said. And from there Searching For Shaniqua the documentary was born. The hour-long film examines the stereotypes many have surrounding the name Shaniqua, as well as other names given to predominately black and brown children. However, the film wasn't an easy-peasy undertaking. Branch says he began filming in May of 2013 and wrapped nearly three years later in May 2016, along the way meeting men and women who spoke candidly about their names, their experiences and why they think some hold onto the stereotypes.

Branch's documentary has won praises from audiences everywhere, and even took home the 2016 HBO Best Documentary at Martha's Vineyard African-American Film Festival. Check out the trailer below and for New Yorkers wanting to catch the film in its entirety, it will be screened at 6pm, Sunday, (Sept. 18) during the Harlem International Film Festival located at MIST.

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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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