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Queen Latifah To Kickstart Filmmaking Initiative For Women

“White guys have been able to tell their story in every sort of way, and unfortunately it hasn’t been that way for women."

In her 30 years in the entertainment industry, Queen Latifah has often been considered as a pioneer feminist in hip-hop. In her latest venture, Latifah will expand that legacy to the world of film by launching the Queen Collective–an initiative designed for aspiring female filmmakers.

Speaking with People, the multi-talented figure shared how the Queen Collective will seek to change the narrative in Hollywood. Filmmakers will submit their work with two stories taking the winner slots. The chosen women will then work with Latifah and the collective to curate their ideas and ensure their movie is fully financed, made and distributed.

Latifah is no stranger to the prejudice that plagues Hollywood. The Grammy-winning rapper, singer, songwriter and actor has dealt with her fair share of prejudice before reaching the pinnacles she has.

“I do not fit the typical mold of what then was looked at as an A-List actor — say size two, blonde, short, thin. They’re all out the window when it comes to me,” Latifah said. “I had to really change a lot of people’s minds and earn a lot of people. And also create my own endeavors because people just didn’t get it.”

According to Latifah, however, these small changes are not enough. Having finally found herself in the position to promote change, The Queens Collective is all about inclusion and truthfulness.

“We see a lot of stories that have been told through their lens in every way, shape and form,” Latifah said. “White guys have been able to tell their story in every sort of way, and unfortunately it hasn’t been that way for women. And it hasn’t been that way for people of other colors or genders. That’s the part that’s missing. We want to make sure that everyone is allowed to tell their story.”

Latifah also hopes the project will inspire the next batch of female directors.

“There are just not enough female directors,” she said separately to Yahoo. “This is a small part of what we’d like to do to help change the disparity that we see out there in terms of all the dollars that are given to male directors, all the support that’s given to male directors, and everything we see, yet we’re at least half of who’s watching these movies and buying these products. So we want to make sure women have an opportunity … that the queens have an opportunity. The Queen Collective will make sure that happens.”

Latifah cited her late mother Rita Ownes as a source of inspiration for the project.

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(L-R) Cast of Upn's 'Moesha'—William Allen Young, Yvette Wilson, Shar Jackson, Ray J, Brandy, Marcus T. Paulk, Lamont Bentley, And Sheryl Lee Ralph—celebrate the 100th episode of the comedy series.
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Netflix Acquires ‘Moesha,’ ‘Girlfriends,’ ‘Sister, Sister’ And More Classic Black Sitcoms

A slew of Black sitcoms are headed to Netflix. Moesha, Girlfriends, The Parkers, Sister, Sister and more will soon be available for streaming the company announced on Wednesday (July 29).

The new editions will begin airing next month, and are apart of Netflix’s Strong Black Lead campaign of programs that highlights the Black experience. “The goal of Strong Black Lead is to celebrate and lift up Black Hollywood. These trailblazing shows are a huge part of that story,” Jasmyn Lawson, Netflix’s Manager of Strong Black Lead and Bradley Edwards, Manager, Content Acquisition said in joint statement to Deadline.

“From the classic clown funeral episode of The Parkers to Moesha’s mind-tripping meet-up with Brandy, we’re thrilled that our members can now enjoy these amazing classics.”

The statement added, “These shows made us laugh, and cry, and sing along with those catchy theme songs. And mostly importantly, we felt like we saw ourselves on screen – in some cases for the very first time. Every week we were able to tune in to see people, families and friends that looked like us and characters whose everyday ups and downs reflected Black life in an authentic way.”

Episodes of Moesha arrive on Netflix on Aug. 1, followed by seasons 1-3 of The Game. Sister, Sister will debut on Sept. 1, while Girlfriends arrives on Sept. 11, commemorating the sitcom’s 20-year anniversary. The Parkers kicks off on Oct. 1, and will be followed up by Half & Half and One on One, both of which will debut on Oct. 15.

Watch the announcement below.

Time to pop bottles🍾🍾 The following classic shows are coming to @Netflix (US)

Moesha - Aug 1 The Game S1-3 - Aug 15 Sister Sister - Sept 1 Girlfriends - Sept 11 The Parkers - Oct 1 Half & Half - Oct 15 One on One - Oct 15

To celebrate, here's a message from your faves: pic.twitter.com/zohNPEo0rz

— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) July 29, 2020

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Regina King's ‘Watchmen’ Series Dominates 2020 Emmy Nominations

The HBO drama Watchmen, starring Regina King, dominated the 72nd annual Emmy Awards nominations receiving 26 nods during Tuesday’s (July 28) virtual nomination ceremony. The superhero series, whose debut episode chronicled the Tulsa Race Massacre, earned nominations for Best Limited Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series of Movie for King, and Outstanding Lead Actor for Jeremy Irons, among others.

In the category of Best Lead Actress, King will face off against Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere), Octavia Spencer (Self Made), Shira Hass (Unorthodox) and Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America).

Though Watchmen scooped up the most Emmy nominations, The Marvelous Mrs. Masel was not far behind with 20 nods, followed by Ozark, Succession, The Mandalorian, Schitt’s Creek, Saturday Night Live, and The Crown.

Elsewhere in the Watchmen cast, Louis Gusset Jr. earned an Emmy nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series/Movie, as did first-time nominee and fellow Watchmen co-stars, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Jovan Adept.

According to Variety, a record number of Black actors and actresses landed nominations this year. Black actors and actresses made up 35 of the 102 nominees (which includes Maya Rudolph receiving two nominations in the same category). Issa Rae, whose starring role on Insecure landed a nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, will go up against Black-Ish star, Tracee Ellis Ross in the category.

Speaking of Insecure, Yvonne Orji was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the HBO hit series, while the show received a eight nominations in total. In addition to earning nods for Insecure, the Rae-produced, A Black Lady Sketch Show, landed three nominations.

First-time Emmy nominee, Zendaya, earned a nod for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Euphoria. The 23 year old is the youngest, and sole Black actress, in the category. Also on the list of Black nominees are Billy Porter, Sterling K. Brown, Anthony Anderson, Don Cheadle, and Jeremy Pope. Although Porter received another Best Actor nod for Pose after last year's historic win, trans actresses India Moore and Angelica Ross spoke out about being snubbed at this year’s ceremony. Ross did however congratulate fellow trans actresses, Laverne Cox and Rain Valdez, on their Emmy nominations.

New Jersey born comedian-actor, Ramy Youssef, became the first Muslim American to be nominated for an Emmy, which he earned for his self-titled HULU series. Actress Sandra Oh is the only actress of Asian decent to receive an Emmy nod in a leading category, and Latinx stars were also largely overlooked this year.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges facing the entertainment industry, it has been an extraordinary year for television,” Television Academy Chairman CEO Frank Scherma said in a statement. “Television has inspired, united and comforted a global audience this season. We are honored to be recognizing so many talented programs, producers, directors and craftspeople behind the remarkable storytelling that has brought us together while we remain apart.”

The 72nd annual primetime Emmy Awards air on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. EST.

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Taraji P. Henson To Star In And Executive Produce ‘Empire’ Spinoff

An Empire spinoff, starring Taraji P. Henson, has been greenlit at Fox. The untitled series will follow the next chapter for Henson’s Empire character, Cookie Lyon.

In addition to starring in the series, Henson will also executive produce through her production company, TPH Entertainment. The show announcement coincides with a two-year first look deal that Henson signed with 20th Century Fox.

Danny Strong, co-creator of Empire, will pen the new series and serve as a showrunner along with Stacy Littlejohn and Yolanda Lawrence. Sanaa Hamri has signed on to direct. Empire creator Lee Daniels is executive producing the series with Henson, Strong, Littlejohn, Lawrence and Hamri, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Empire aired its season finale in April, but the new show could provide a bit of closure for fans. Ahead of filming Empire's final season, Henson reflected on how Cookie changed her life.

“Cookie has meant so much to me,” she told Entertainment Weekly last year. “She gave me a second life in this industry and made me a pop star in my 40s. Cookie was a movement. Long after I’m gone, people will be talking about Cookie.”

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