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'They Fight' Highlights Boxing's Power And Mentorship Of Young Men In Washington D.C.

“The story is not just a black story, it’s a human story.”

When filmmaker Andrew Renzi stumbled across a 2016 Washington Post article titled, ‘It ain’t all about boxing’: Young D.C. boxers find a role model and find their way,’ by Michael Minahan, he was instantly drawn to the idea of bringing the story to life.

Two years later, Renzi’s new documentary They Fight has risen. It follows three young African-American boys growing up in Washington D.C. ‘s Ward 8 neighborhood, where they find strength, discipline, and refuge through boxing. They participate in the Lyfe Style Boxing training program, and train for the 2017 Junior Olympics.

The boys, Lamar “Twin” Odoms, Quincey Williams, and Ragahleak “Peanut” Bartee, are mentored by Sterling "Coach Scoop" Thornton and Coach Walter Manigan. Manigan, who is forced to fight demons of his own coupled with a criminal past, takes on the mission of steering these young athletes in the right direction. Through his stewardship, he hopes to give them something they lack.

“These are good kids, man. There’s just some things they missing in their lives that they can’t control,” Manigan told The Washington Post. “So that’s where I come in, being a role model, teaching them about life, about being respectful. It ain’t all about boxing. I want to raise them from boys to men.”

 

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Little hands. Big heart. THEY FIGHT this Sunday. #BTS

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They Fight also excels at showcasing the stark dichotomy between Washington D.C.’s poverty-stricken Ward 8 neighborhood, and the lavish political trappings on Capitol Hill. It’s baffling to witness marginalized communities co-exist in the backyard where laws and policies are made, but it highlights how race, class and social status trap a certain demographic into a life of poverty.

“That was one of the things that I was really drawn to about this story,” Renzi said on the red carpet of NeueHouse Hollywood Wednesday night. “It’s Washington D.C. which is our nation's capital—the loudest place in our country right now and then there are these incredible stories happening in that place that we’re ignoring. All we hear is politics, but really there are people there who are doing great things and need our help just like everywhere else.”

The documentary is produced by Common's Freedom Road Productions and Argent Pictures, who partnered with NBA stars Tony Parker and Michael Finley. For the Oscar-winning rapper, it was a no-brainer to assist in telling this story, which he sees as universally powerful and not just geared toward a black audience.

“The story is not just a black story, it’s a human story,” he said. “You see these black men and you relate to them as human beings. You relate to their mental as human beings. Anytime I get to be a part of storytelling that brings us closer to who we are as black people, and who we are as people, I’m all for it.”

The stars of They Fight hope that the youth in their community realize the other options one can take in life other than selling drugs or gang banging. “I hope people learn that the streets isn’t the only way out,” Peanut said. “I know they feel that’s the only thing they can do, but they should know that there are more things out here to do than just be in the streets."

They Fight premiered on Sunday (Nov. 11) on Fox. The documentary is part of the network's Magnify series, which started in November 2017. The reel also debuted in select theaters in New York City and Los Angeles.

READ MORE: Common And Andra Day Talk ‘Marshall’ And Standing Up For Love And Justice

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Viola Davis, Jharrel Jerome, Tiffany Haddish Among All-Star Cast For ‘Good Times’ Live

Following the success of live reboots of The Jefferson's and All in the Family, earlier this year, ABC is bringing back another classic sitcom for a special holiday addition of Live in Front of a Studio Audience.

Good Times is the latest Norman Lear sitcom to be rebooted with an all-star cast that includes Viola Davis, Jharrel Jerome, Tiffany Haddish, Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Andre Braugher, Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharaoh.  Additional cast members include Jerome’s When They See Us co-star, Asante Blackk, and Jamie Foxx’s eldest daughter, Corinne.

Davis and Braugher will portray James and Florida Evans, while Haddish will play neighbor, Willona Woods. Pharaoh is set to take on the role of the couple’s eldest son, JJ. Blakk will play JJ's younger brother, Michael Evans, and Corrinne will portray their sister, Thelma.

Patti Labelle and Anthony Anderson are billed to sing the Good Times theme song. Jerome’s role in the production has not yet been revealed.

Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson will reprise their roles as Edith and Archie bunker for the latest live rendition of All in the Family. The weekly sitcom, created by Lear, premiered in 1971 and birthed the spinoffs, Maude and Good Times.

It’s unclear which episodes of the '70s sitcoms will be brought back to life for ABC's holiday special.

Live in Front of a Studio Audience airs on Dec. 18 at 8 P.M. EST.

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Beyonce, Billy Porter, Cynthia Erivo And Eddie Murphy Snag Golden Globes 2020 Nominations

The nominees for the 77th Annual Golden Globes have been announced. Harriet actress Cynthia Erivo has been nominated for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama." Comedy legend Eddie Murphy snagged a "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy" nomination for his role in Dolemite is My Name. Hustlers star Jennifer Lopez has also been nominated for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture."

Entertainer and entrepreneur Beyoncé joins Erivo in the "Best Original Song - Motion Picture" category as their "Spirit" (The Lion King) and "Stand Up" (Harriet) singles go head to head. Speaking of The Lion King, the live-action film has also been nominated for the "Best Motion Picture - Animated" category. Billy Porter has been added to the "Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama" ballot for his award-winning role in FX's Pose.

As for the networks and platforms with the most nominations, Netflix came out on top with a total of 17 nominations, HBO snagged 15 nods and Sony Pictures Releasing has taken home 8 nominations. You can see the full list of nominees here. Among the major snubs are Ava Duvernay's award-winning film When The See Us and HBO's hit series Watchmen starring Regina King.

Hosted by Ricky Gervais, the 2020 Golden Globes ceremony is set to take place at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday, January 5 and air at 8 pm EST on NBC.

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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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A 'Moesha' Reboot Is On The Way

Moesha is returning to television as a reboot.

Former castmates Brandy Norwood and William Adam Young joined Sheryl Lee Ralph at her 29th Annual DIVA Foundation event over the weekend (Dec. 1) to confirm the rumor of the '90s sitcom's return to the small screen.

“We would like to know, would you like to do a ‘Moesha’ reboot?” asked Lee alongside Young. Brandy responded with a smile, “Yeah, absolutely. I’m here for it. I'm here to solidify that we’re gonna bring Moesha back.”

Moesha aired on UPN—once known as the home network for other popular black sitcoms like Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, All of Us and One on One—from 1996 until 2001. During its 6-season run, the series followed a middle-class black family through the lens of an ambitious and ever-learning Moesha Mitchell, a teenager going through what many teenagers go through while living in South Central Los Angeles. The comedy-drama series was also known for its musical guests which included Big Pun, Dru Hill, Mary J. Blige, Silk, Soul 4 Real, and Xscape.

No word on what the reboot will be called, whether production has begun or if other former castmates Countess Vaughn, Marcus T. Paulk, Shar Jackson or Fredro Starr will be involved.

Unforgettable Fact: Moesha worked at VIBE Magazine as a gofer at the beginning of Season 5.

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