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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Vetoes Landmark TV Diversity Bill

Cuomo called the legislation "fatally defective."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a landmark bill aimed at bringing more diversity to television in the state. The legislation, which was sponsored by State Senator Marisol Alcantara and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo proposed a $5 million tax incentive to encourage entertainment companies to hire women and people of color.

The bill sailed through the state legislator in June, and garnered the support of  the New York State AFL-CIO and various unions including the Writers Guild of America East and the Directors Guild of America East, who in a statement published by Variety, expressed disappointment over Cuomo’s decision.

“We are deeply disappointed by Governor Cuomo’s decision to veto this landmark bill which would have encouraged televisions employers to move beyond the status quo to consider the full spectrum of New York’s talented directors and writers,” DGA Eastern Executive Director Niel Dudish said.

Cuomo ultimately shot the bill down for a bunch of reasons, but noted that while he “fully” supports “programs that seek to improve economic opportunities for underrepresented groups throughout the state,” there’s simply not enough money in the budget.

“The tax incentive program for this industry is oversubscribed and there is no additional funding for it," Cuomo explained according to Deadline. "Despite the fact that the current film production tax credit program includes a $420 million allocation for a five-year period, the program is extremely oversubscribed. Any expansion to include an additional tax credit in this industry must be considered in the context of the budget.”

He also added that additional determining factors made the bill, “fatally defective.”

“The bill, among other things, fails to identify how the tax credit should be computed or what amount could be claimed; identify when a taxpayer could claim the credit; and provide a clear definition of ‘writer’ and ‘director,’” Cuomo said. “Further, assuming those technical concerns were addressed, the bill lacks statistical evidence necessary to ensure that the program would withstand constitutional scrutiny. In order to constitutionally classify individuals on the basis of race or ethnicity, the state must demonstrate statistically significant evidence of race-based discrimination against screenwriters and directors.”

Nonetheless, Cuomo will be commissioning the Empire State Development Corporation to work with the legislative sponsors and “interested stakeholders” to help develop a study that will determine “whether there is a statistically significant disparity between minority group members and women ready, willing, and able to work as writers in the television industry in New York state and the statistical share of writing work actually performed by such group.”

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Daniel Kaluuya Explains Why His Upcoming Live-Action ‘Barney’ Movie Is “Really Needed”

Daniel Kaluuya shared an interesting take on Barney, and the motivation behind his up-coming live-action adaptation of the children’s series. The 31-year-old British actor is producing what will be a sobering interpretation of the lovable purple T-Rex, one that Kaluuya says is “really needed” at the moment.

“Barney taught us, ‘I love you, you love me. Won’t you say you love me too?’ That’s one of the first songs I remember, and what happens when that isn’t true? I thought that was really heartbreaking,” Kaluuya told Entertainment Weekly  in an interview promoting his upcoming film Judas and the Black Messiah. “I have no idea why but it feels like that makes sense. It feels like there’s something unexpected that can be poignant but optimistic. Especially at this time now, I think that’s really, really needed.’’

Mattel Films is co-producing the live-action Barney film alongside Kaluuya’s production company, 59%, and Valparaiso Pictures.

Barney & Friends originally aired on PBS from 1992-2009. The purple dinosaur and his sidekick,  B.J. and Baby Bop, taught legions of young viewers educational messages through songs and dance.

Aside from Barney, Kaluuya opened up to EW about portraying Black Pantry Party member Fred Hampton in Judas and The Black Messiah, co-starring Lakeith Stanfield.

“One of my aspirations was to show how brilliant these people were in every way, and what they were really doing, to show the full picture, away from the narrow narrative that has been portrayed. Show what they were really doing in this time, and how revolutionary their ideas were. It didn't necessarily mean destruction. They were actually about healing and loving and taking care of your community. These activities do not feel like they're associated with the Black Panther party but that's the foundation of it, which is why it spread.”

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Ludacris Announces Netflix Animated Series ‘Karma’s World’ Inspired By His Oldest Daughter

Ludacris has an animated series in the works. Karma’s World, which is inspired by his oldest daughter, Karma Bridges, is in development at Netflix, the rapper announced on Tuesday (Oct. 13).

“I’ve had a lot of accomplishments in my life, but everything that I’ve experienced seems to have led up to this point to where I can leave a legacy for all my daughters,” Luda said in a statement. “Karma’s World is one of those legacies. I hope this series will show kids that there are many ways to overcome difficult situations.

“This show is going to move hip hop culture forward, and show young girls that they have the power to change the world,” he added. “This project has been a long time in the making and I can’t wait to bring Karma’s World to the entire world.”

The series follows 10-year-old Karma Grant, a smart, resilient, and “deeply empathetic” aspiring singer and rapper with “big talent and an even bigger heart.” Karma pours out her deepest feelings and channel her emotions into the music that she hopes will one day change the world. The animated show chronicles how Karma begins to recognize the true power of music, and will tackle issues such as self-esteem, body positivity, friendship, family, and celebrating differences.

Karma’s World has been a decade in the making, Luda revealed in an  Instagram post.

 

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10 years in the making. THIS IS HOW LEGACIES ARE BUILT! • I’m pleased to announce that I will be joining the @netflixfamily, and bringing my new animated series #KarmasWorld which is inspired by my oldest daughter in partnership with @9storymediagroup and @BrownBagFilms to @netflix for the world to see! • It was important to me to provide a positive @StrongBlackLead to show our youth that there are many ways to overcome difficult situations, and that their dreams no matter how big are possible! I’m looking forward to finally being able to share what I’ve been working on behind the scenes for so many years! Welcome to Karma’s World! Click the link in bio RIGHT NOW!!! • #Ludacris #Netflix #AnimatedSeries

A post shared by @ ludacris on Oct 13, 2020 at 11:03am PDT

Besides creating the series, Luda is also executive producing alongside Vince Commisso, Cathal Gaffney, Darragh O’Connell, Angela C. Santomero, Wendy Harris and Jennie Stacey from 9 Story Media Group.

Karma’s World is a partnership between 9 Story Media and Luda’s production company Karma’s World Entertainment.

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‘Coming 2 America’ Sequel Reportedly Heading To Amazon Studios

The Coming 2 America sequel may not be hitting theaters as expected. Paramount Pictures is reportedly on the brink of selling the film to Amazon Studios in an apparent $125 deal, Variety reports.

Although the deal is still being finalized, the reported acquisition will include marketing tie-ins with McDonalds and Crown Royal. Murphy, who is also a producer on the film, has to approve the sale.

The film is reportedly slated to begin streaming on Dec. 18.  It’s unclear if it will also be released in theaters.

The star studded cast includes Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jon Amos, Wesley Snipes, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Garcelle Beauvais, Kiki Layne, and Luenell.

“I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out,” Murphy said of the film during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres last year. “A lot of people have this expectation, like people would say to me when they found out I was doing it, ‘Don’t f*ck that movie up.’ So we’ve gone above and beyond what anybody would think. I’m really, really happy with it.”

Amazon has other big releases in the works including Regina King’s One Night in Miami and a Borat sequel.

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