Getty Images/Julie Dash (L), Ernest Dickerson (R)

Black Directors Discuss Filmmaking In The '90s And Hollywood's Diversity Issue

“As an African-American woman who speaks up and fights against things that are racist or misogynistic, I felt a very big backlash."

Often coined as the golden era of black films, the 1990s spawned cult classics that can still be found on television and streaming services. Right before the decade began, Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing (1989) catapulted him into superstardom—although it took him 30 years to win an Oscar—and inspired other legends to follow suit, namely John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood (1991) and 1992’s Juice by Ernest Dickerson.

Despite the doors that opened for black directors—specifically black women—after these releases, it seemed like it quickly closed after their first releases. The influx of black storytelling became stifled due to Hollywood’s on-going issue with inclusion and diversity. In a recent report by The New York Times, prominent directors from the '90s like Dickerson, Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), and Darnell Martin (I Like It Like That) spoke about their experience with discrimination in Tinsel Town.

Martin emphasized the treatment she encountered from executives for being a black woman and her desire to tell stories that represent her community. “As an African-American woman who speaks up and fights against things that are racist or misogynistic, I felt a very big backlash,” she said. “If I had a penny for every time I was blacklisted and somebody told me, “You will never work again,” I’d be super, super wealthy.”

Martin also discussed the curse of the sophomore slump in Hollywood’s game of "Jekyll and Hyde." Interestingly enough, her second film Prison Song is about how the criminal justice system swallows up young people of color, but she didn’t have the full creative support she needed at the time.

“I think also that if it’s your second film, you tend to want to push more. My second film was Prison Song," she continued. “I wanted to make a film about how kids of color were marginalized and pushed directly into the prison system. And I wanted it to be a hip-hop opera. That was really kind of wild at that period. But you think, 'It’s O.K. — you’re like every other filmmaker.’ But then you realize, no. If you stretch and have the art film, they’re not going to catch you and support that.”

Others like Dash assumed the business didn’t want to make room for black women in general. “After Daughters, I tried to get representation at the Gersh Agency in New York,” she said. “They told me I didn’t have a future. They saw no future for me as a black woman director. What were they going to do with me?”

Now, things have taken a turn for the better with directors and program creators like Issa Rae and Ava DuVernay creating their own lanes. The When They See Us director makes it a point to give those before her a chance to be included. According to USA Today, DuVernay hired Dash to direct episodes of her OWN series, Queen Sugar and ensures she has a seat at the table in Hollywood.

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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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