Category Archives: TV & Entertainment

IMARI: Making Authenticity Viral

By Marshelle Haseley

There are Millennial creators gaining YouTube and other subscribers by the millions. People who are attracted by their topical and inspiring content. Bodies of content that bring the attention of viewers from all age groups and backgrounds to issues that matter more than how many Instagram followers, we have- or how many articles of clothing we own from the 50th fashion micro-season for the year. It is more about how we show up in the world and less about what we show up wearing.

5

Our chat with Imari Anderson (@freeimari) gave insight into a brand-new wave of creativity and inspiration. A creative of Jamaican descent, who has profoundly impacted online filmography and digital media.

Imari worked as a filmmaker with the team at Jubilee. Jubilee defines itself as a bridge, to connect and inspire love through the sharing of compelling stories. The team uses platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to share the human-centric content they create to create connections, challenge assumptions, and touch the soul.

He spent a year working there- forming part of a team that created content that gathered over 100 million views, and over 800 thousand new subscribers in that one year.

Anderson defines himself as someone who is working on finding out who he is every day. “Let me put it this way, I am working on trying to remember that every day”. He said, “I try not to identify with the things I do or have done, as who I am. I try to release how others would describe me, or labels to which I could subscribe. I wouldn’t say ‘Imari is a filmmaker’. It feels limiting. It feels more natural to say Imari is a joker, leader- Imari is passionate (sometimes to a fault). Imari is the guy who will debate controversial philosophy with you in the car on the way to the club. Imari is Imari.

In an industry that could create an illusion that everything comes from pulling creativity from the wind, Imari said, thinking is what inspires a lot of his creativity. He said that by subscribing to a certain identity we only allow ourselves to create from that identity. But by being ‘free Imari’, he said, “I’m only limited to create based on what happens to be inspiring me at the time. Notice the nod to my Instagram name”, he said, after which he laughed. Imari believes that life holds within it, unlimited potential and experiences, and he does not want anything holding him back from seeing and knowing as much as possible.

Paternal lineage connects him to Jamaica. Imari gave some insight into how the Caribbean culture contributed to who he is as a creative. Even though his father’s principles impacted him, Anderson still sought to take it in and manifest it all in a way that felt more authentic to him. “There are things that informed my upbringing like certain foods (plantain is my go to) or Caribbean culture, like a strong faith-centred upbringing. But besides the obvious, I’d like to think that from an early age I didn’t want to be defined by things like heritage.”

Anderson continued by stating that with a Caribbean parent comes specific ideals and values. A lot of it he said, came through when he was growing up playing soccer (football). “Ideas like always being the best in whatever you do, pushing yourself harder than the next man, I think these are things that came to me from my dad and through him from my grandfather.”

Another trait he thinks may have something to do with the Caribbean influence, is something he saw in his father, who he described as a proud Jamaican. Anderson said his father has always been big on helping people. “Now that I think of it, there’s probably some overlap in how I saw his sacrifice for kids that he was coaching, who didn’t have the resources- and how I’ve really gone above and beyond for certain projects that I thought could really help people. Even if it was to my own detriment.”

From an early age, Imari wanted to show up in the world as an individual. “That’s not to say my background isn’t valuable, the island approach to soccer is what initially gave me confidence. The island rhythm is probably where I get my dance moves. But I’ve always been of the mindset – ‘this is what came before me, what am I doing next? How am I going to build on it and make it my own?”

PANACHE asked a few more questions to get more insight into the process of what forms a rounded millennial creative.

P: What did you see yourself growing up to become?

I: “A soccer player. Definitely. There’s nothing you could’ve told me before the age of like 17 that would have convinced me otherwise.”

P: What attracted you to filmmaking?

I: “Honestly, when I first found it in high school I didn’t take it seriously. I just thought it was fun, and I wasn’t strongly interested in any related subjects. So I picked that up as my college major and studied it at the University of South Carolina. I got passionate about it there, and I found myself working on projects more than classmates. I’d sneak into the editing room after hours just to work on my own projects. Then, as I started to see the correlation between media and how the world is impacted. I made a pretty dramatic shift towards exclusively making content that I thought the world needed more of. I stopped doing skit shows and music videos, and started making videos for non-profits or for people with really relevant messages. What really attracted me is that it felt like the tool of our time. Something that could be used to either push us forward as a species or keep us distracted and divided. I saw the power of it and felt like if I was going to be in the game it came with responsibility. I’m trying to be more balanced about that now, though, I want to bring some of the original artistic motivation back into how I approach my work. I still want it to be art.“

P: Did you study film? And what is one of your favourite pieces of work?

I: “Yes I did, but most of my knowledge came from a production company I started while I was in college. That’s what gave me the initial real life experience. I’d say my favourite series is the Between Worlds Series. It felt like it embodied what I’m going for as a filmmaker. It has a message (we create better when we work outside of our labels) but it was also just fun and creative to shoot.”

P: How did you become part of Jubilee?

I: “I’ve been a filmmaker professionally for about 6 years now, it feels like 16. When I really started taking it seriously I wanted to make work that I felt like added to the culture and made people better human beings rather than stuff that was unoriginal or counterproductive. This led me to connect with Jason who founded Jubilee a couple years ago. We stayed in touch and when I left my job in the Bay Area last year I sent him a film I was working on and he encouraged me to consider working at Jubilee.”

P: What inspires you?

I: “Life. The different ways we all live life and the fact that there’s always so much for us to learn. None of us have the answers. And so, the people who really just live in constant curiosity, and the things they make, really get me going. I think for me to say ‘I want to make a living making videos that inspire people and encourage them to think outside of the box’ sounds like a pipe dream. People know how hard it is to make it. Being a director and 9 times out of ten even if you make it, you’re making content that you probably don’t believe in, or that is really just about how much money it can make. I love the fact that I committed to this idea, and that there are other people out there who see the value media has to change things up and invest in it. We can really change the world. I think Jubilee is founded on this idea.”

P: What would you tell your 10-year-old self?

I: “Believe in yourself dude. There’s no point not to. Everybody you see is just on a constant journey of becoming themselves, of trusting themselves. Don’t convince yourself that you’re less than what you are. You’re amazing and there’s no reason not to be.”

P: What is likely to be your next move?

I: “I want to explore my creativity. I want to do more writing and picking up more experimental projects. I’m feeling like I have a lot more to express artistically so I’m looking at different ways that can come about – whether its photography, writing, or directing new projects. But first, I’m going to live life. See what inspiration I’ve been missing out on after being so focused for the last couple years. Travel, meet new people, have new experiences. See what other neurons I can get spinning in the noggin and then make some magic with them.”

Imari is no longer with team Jubilee but he will be creating work of depth and authenticity. We look forward to seeing more from this powerful creative.

Advertisements

One-On-One with Jay R. Ellis

Interview by Twain Richardson

PANACHE: Wah a gwaan man, we’re from Jamaica.
JAY R. ELLIS: Yow, wah a gwaan!
(Laughter)

Jay-Ellis-ABFF

PANACHE: Today we just want to talk about your experience as a black actor in the industry. What have been some of the roadblocks you have faced.
JAY: Just out the gate being an actor there’s a lot of challenges. There is no one way to do it, nobody gives you a road map. And also it’s the type of profession that it doesn’t matter how good you are, it doesn’t matter how much work you put in as an actor sometimes- you always hope to live out your dreams and live your passion but it doesn’t always work out that way. So out the gate, those are challenges and then you are also constantly being rejected. You will hear ‘no’ far more than you hear ‘yes’, even in success. And that’s a big challenge because I don’t think anyone is built to be rejected that much and so you have to find a way to work around it. You have to find a way to not let it affect you personally and just know for you it’s just apart of the job which at times can be very daunting, heavy and depressing.

Then, following that are the roles you get to audition for… do you get to have storylines? Do you get to have a perspective? Do you get to be a fully fleshed out human being? Do you get to not be a cardboard cut out of a person? So that’s always challenging too. In the last few years when we see the success of shows like Scandal, Empire, How to Get Away With Murder, Atlanta, Insecure, Blackish, Grownish, Dear White People and She’s Gotta Have It. With the success of all these shows, now you get to see more material and see the lives and diversity of people of colour. It’s showing that the diaspora is so different and it’s not just one thing.

PANACHE: As an actor, what films have inspired you?
JAY: Well, I am inspired by a lot of stuff, I love Scorsese films. I love Spike Lee films. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in Seven is one of my favourite performances by Brad Pitt. I love Denzel in Malcolm X and most of what Will Smith has ever done- even on the misses I still love Will. So I’m inspired by a lot.

PANACHE: Finally, your Insecure Fans are wondering when are you going to come to Jamaica?
JAY: I will come to Jamaica! Just bring me there… I will be there! I will never turn a trip to Jamaica down.

PANACHE: Awesome, we’re going to make it happen! Thank you Jay!
JAY: Thank you!

American Black Film Festival Takes Center Stage in Greater Miami

The 22nd American Black Film Festival (ABFF) will celebrate Father’s Day with their annual Community Day event, in partnership with the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).

This family-inspired celebration will take place on Sunday, June 17, 2018, at the historic Lyric Theater, located at 819 NW Second Ave, Miami, FL from 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The day includes film screenings with Q&A’s and a panel discussion on Careers in Hollywood. The MC for the day is Danni Washington, host of Xploration Nature Knows Best on Fox.

The event is free and open to the public.

The American Black Film Festival Community Day has always provided the community of Miami the opportunity to view some of the best films that showcased at the festival.

This year, TV One will debut their original show, Evidence of Innocence, and Miami native Nicanson Guerrier will showcase his feature film, The Flea.

The Flea, an Official Selection of the 2018 American Black Festival, is a comedy about the day in the life of a flea market manager, who must deal with customers, vendors and his boss, as he struggles to survive one more day on the job.  There will be a Q&A immediately following the screening.

TV One’s newest original show, Evidence of Innocence, is a one-hour episode that spotlights the unbelievable true stories of four people who have endured enormous challenges of maintaining faith, while awaiting the opportunity to prove their innocence.  Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump hosts the show and will provide remarks at the event.

“One of the festival’s most meaningful activities is our Community Day event. It brings me great pleasure to give back to the Miami community that has greatly supported us over the years, and we are honored to partner again with the GMCVB to host this year’s event,” says Jeff Friday, CEO of ABFF Ventures, LLC.

For the second year, students from Florida Film House’s (FFH) 1st Take Youth Film Program, will have a chance to screen their shorts at Community Day.

The program is designed to provide Miami’s youth with an introduction to filmmaking. FFH’s educational outreach program was created for children ages 12-18, to excite the imagination of young aspiring filmmakers and provide them with the tools needed to succeed.

American Black Film Festival Selections
  • The Role Model

Directed by Alvaro Vargas

Written by Sandy Nuñez and Rodrick Whisby

Produced by Elijah Wells and Sandy Nuñez

  • Dreams

Directed by Deondre Marshall

Written by Deondre Marshall and Adonis Casanova

Produced by Jasmin White

  • Be Yourself

Directed by Rood Pierre and Remy Wilson

Written by Beatrix Alerte

Produced by Wesley Wray and Preston Anoine

  • Aftermath

Directed by Maslot Toussaint

Written by Hansley Nicolas

Produced by Mike Duroseau

“The addition of the highly-anticipated Community Day Showcase to the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) for the last three years, has even further elevated the popularity of the festival in Miami,” says William D. Talbert, III CDME, President & CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB).

As the grand finale to the ABFF’s stellar line-up of events, it provides an extraordinary opportunity for all residents of our community to showcase and celebrate black film and entertainment with a local flair.  We are delighted to be a partner of this event, which takes place on Father’s Day, during the GMCVB’s annual Miami Film Month.”

A “Careers in Hollywood” panel with film industry executives will be a highlight for attendees.  The panelists include:  Roger Bobb (Producer, Mann and Wife, Rickey Smiley for Real) and Jamal Watson (Director of Development at Overbrook Entertainment), moderated by Danni Washington, host of FOX’s Xploration Natures Knows Best.

“Miami is a mosaic of cultures manifested through art, music, food and also film,” states Connie W. Kinnard, GMCVB Vice President, Multicultural Tourism & Development.  “The GMCVB Community Day partnership with ABFF is a way to bring a portion of the festival to a broader audience and specifically to one of our heritage neighborhoods – Historic Overtown. The event provides anyone interested with the unique opportunity to not only see films for free, but also interact with up and coming industry talent. We commend Jeff Friday and the ABFF team for creating a way to give back to the community by extending the festival and welcoming all to participate and enjoy this very special event.”

Click here to purchase passes for events, panels and screenings at the American Black Film Festival.

American Black Film Festival Sponsors

Sponsors for the 2018 American Black Film Festival are: HBO® (Founding and Presenting Sponsor); Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (Host and Presenting Sponsor); TV One, Cadillac, Comcast NBCUniversal (Presenting Sponsors); AT&T, BET, Prudential Financial, Turner (Premier Sponsors); AMC, American Airlines, Codeblack Films, Hennessy, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Sony Pictures, Verizon (Official Sponsors); aspireTV, Comcast Spotlight, Facebook, FX Networks, Gentleman Jack, Google, Laugh Out Loud Network, Miami Beach Visitors Convention Authority (VCA), Netflix, OWN, Streampix, The Walt Disney Company, Time Warner, truTV, YouTube Originals (Supporting Sponsors); Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Color of Change, Deluxe, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, SAGIndie, Technicolor, Urban Movie Channel (UMC), Warner Bros., Walter Kaitz Foundation (Industry Partners) and Black Enterprise, Essence, TheGrio.com (Media Partners).

Source: https://sflcn.com/american-black-film-festival-takes-center-stage-in-greater-miami/

Meet Spice, the Fashion-Forward Queen of Dancehall

While there was a veritable runway of festival-style on the ground at Red Stripe’s Reggae Sumfest 2017, the most show-stopping look appeared when Spice hit center stage for her late-night set. The dancehall singer arrived on a four-poster bed, replete with satin sheets and fluffy marabou pillows, to perform her bawdy hit, “Sheet.” As she tore through her catalog of rude gal, sex-positive songs—including “Romping Shop,” her Billboard-charting duet with Vybz Kartel—she quickly ditched her pink boudoir robe for a chain-encrusted gold bustier, then kicked off her heels. It was a perfect example of the artist’s fearless, ever-changing wardrobe—one that is redefining dancehall style.

Born Grace Hamilton in Portmore, Jamaica, Spice understands that fashion is a crucial element of performance and deftly wields a man-eating alter ego on stage.

00-lede-sumfest

Her electrifying stage shows are always kicked up a notch by elaborate bodysuits and a rotation of colorful wigs that recall an early Nicki Minaj.

photo_2018-03-31_11-18-19

Then there’s her penchant for kinky nurse uniforms and latex bodysuits that often border on fetish cosplay.

photo_2018-03-31_11-18-27

She honed this flair for spectacle at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, where she studied music and drama.

photo_2018-03-31_11-18-39

But beyond the pink wigs and onstage glitz, Spice isn’t afraid to dabble in more provocative, gender-defying fashion.

photo_2018-03-31_11-18-32

Case in point: the fake mustache and three-piece suit she wore for her 2014 hit, “Like A Man,” which addressed gender bias and sexism in the dancehall scene. In an exaggerated baritone pitch she sang, “You think they woulda rate me more / If I was a man and did drop it hardcore.”

photo_2018-03-31_11-18-22

All it takes is a scroll through her Instagram feed and YouTube channel—which are filled with daring outfits and tongue-in-cheek takes on feminism—to see that the future of dancehall looks bright and bold.

Source: www.vogue.com (Published July 2017)

The Voice A Woman Festival with Grace Jones

Join us for THE VOICE OF A WOMAN FESTIVAL JAMAICA 2018 featuring women in the arts raising their ‘voices’ to support a campaign to end violence against women and girls in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Opening with Jamaica’s very own GRACE JONES and the Jamaica Premiere of her film GRACE JONES: BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI followed by a conversation with her about her life and work.

Proceeds from THE VOICE OF A WOMAN FESTIVAL JAMAICA go to support the Jamaican charity WOMAN INC.

26063679_10159800183590261_6352687751783460106_o

WOMAN INC was the first organization in Jamaica to provide shelter for women victims fleeing violence and to have a support and advisory hotline in Jamaica.

Do show your support by buying a ticket or making a donation if you’re unable to attend.

@womanincjamaica @thevoiceofawoman #endviolence @gracejones

HBO Original Comedies “Ballers” and “Insecure” Return For New Seasons July 23

HBO brings laughs to every Sunday with two exclusive original comedy premieres on July 23, including the third season of the popular hit Ballers and the second season of Insecure.
In the new 10-episode season of Ballers, Dwayne Johnson returns as ex-superstar Spencer Strasmore, who reappears after surgery with a new outlook and fresh goals: hoping to forge bonds with new players whilst improving his relationships with existing clients.  In an ever-changing business where the shelf life for stardom and multi-million-dollar contracts are short, Spencer is intent on proving that the key to successful sports management isn’t just about making money and having fun – it’s about delivering on the promises you make.
Rob Corddry, John David Washington, Omar Benson Miller, Donovan Carter, Troy Garity, London Brown, Jasmyn Simon and Dulé Hill join Johnson as cast regulars in the third season. Guest stars include Richard Schiff, Steve Guttenberg, Steven Weber, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Serinda Swan. Created by Stephen Levinson, Ballers is executive produced by Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Peter Berg, Evan Reilly, Rob Weiss, Julian Farino, Denis Biggs and Karyn McCarthy.
In the eight-episode second season of the critically acclaimed series Insecure Issa begins to embrace the chance to explore the single-girl life in the aftermath of her breakup, while a challenging new work assignment puts her budding friendship with her well-meaning colleague, Frieda, to the test. Meanwhile, Molly’s commitment to self-improvement forces her to confront her worth and future at the law firm, while facing the complex realities of her relationships. Lawrence makes a fresh start at both dating and his new job, but soon discovers that starting over is not as easy as he thought.
Starring Golden Globe® nominee Issa Rae as Issa, Yvonne Orji as Molly, Jay Ellis as Lawrence and Lisa Joyce as Frieda, Insecure follows the friendship of two black women as they deal with their own real-life flaws while attempting to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences.
Past and new seasons of Ballers and Insecure will also be available on HBO GO, the digital platform for premium entertainment, as they premiere. HBO GO can be accessed through any mobile device with iOS 7.1+ (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) or Android (OS 4.0+) operating system and at http://www.hbogoca.com. HBO GO can also be enjoyed on the TV screen with Chromecast and Apple TV. The platform is also available as an independent online subscription through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store digital stores, as an on-demand service with participating operators and as an add-on complement at no additional cost with a subscription to the premium pay-TV HBO/MAX package.

Successful Johnny Live Comedy Bar Series Comes To Kingston

The immensely successful comedy series, Johnny Live Comedy Bar, has made its trek to Kingston after an excellent showing in Portmore St Catherine. The series, organized by noted actor, comedian and media personality Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, began in March 2017 at Endzone at Buzzers in Naggo Head.

The weekly show, hosted by Chris Daley himself, saw seasoned comedians; Dufton Shepherd, Leighton Smith, Bobby Smith, Pretty Boy Floyd and Fancy Cat among others, grace the stage and entertain the packed venue on a Tuesday night for a six week stint.

The series also gave new comedians and regular patrons the opportunity to touch the stage in the open mic segment; giving them the platform to test their jokes on a receptive audience. Young comedian Christopher “The Entertainer” Larmond used the open mic section to up his comedy game during the Portmore leg of the series. He is expected to perform during the Kingston series as well.

“My passion for developing Jamaican stand up comedy is a long standing one from the days of producing the Comedy Buss TV series. The Open Mic comedy concept is the launching pad for many stand-up comedians worldwide. In my opinion, stand up Comedy in Jamaica is still in its embryonic stage and needs the open mic concept that provides frequent performances for the comedians and the audience that enjoys comedy,” Christopher Johnny Daley shared.

The open mic segment will be a large part of the Kingston series which is now being hosted at 100 Hope Road over the next eight weeks. Johnny Live Comedy Bar will also feature comedians who performed in Portmore as well as solid sets from Blakka Ellis and Michael Abrahams. Already Tubeless and Kathy Grant kick started the Kingston leg to rave reviews last Tuesday night.

Taking the comedy series to Kingston was an easy choice due to the high number of requests received from comedy fans in the capital.

“We got a lot of requests while the series was happening in Portmore for us to come to Kingston next so we obliged. We are also getting requests for Montego Bay and Negril so we will be confirming these locations soon. Johnny Live Comedy Bar is successful due to its eat, drink, laugh concept where patrons come and enjoy a great meal with friends and have a feel good entertainment package to enjoy,” Sophia Daley, Director of Johnny Live Production added.

Chris Daley’s extensive travels worldwide give him insight into comedy on the world stage and contribute to his passion for growing the local comedy industry.

“With travel one grows when you experience stand up comedy in different countries and cultures. The biggest lesson learnt is how universal and resilient stand up comedy is in good times and bad times. It drives my passion to continue to spread standup comedy as an entertainment genre of choice and develop new stars so there is renewed and continued interest in Jamaican comedy” Chris Daley added

Johnny Live Comedy Bar will run on a Tuesday night until July 2017 at 100 Hope Road in Kingston and is expected to start in Montego Bay and Negril simultaneously on a weekly basis on different nights in July as well.