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Was SNL’s Sasheer Let Go Because Leslie Jones Checks A Box?

Sasheer Zamata was let go of SNL this week, and her departure was eerily silent.

Zamata joined the cast of SNL in 2013 in the midst of a media firestorm accusing the show of cultural insensitivity; barring Maya Rudolph and Ellen Cleghorne (who’s run came in the early 90s), the hadn’t featured African-American female talent. Zamata in the middle of season 39, a rare decision in SNL casting, presumably in response to the backlash.

Since joining the cast, Zamata has impersonated Rihanna, Michelle Obama, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce Knowles, Solange Knowles, Diana Ross, Lupita Nyong’o, and Taraji P. Henson.

On Zamata’s last show (Sat, May 20), fellow cast members Vanessa Bayer and Bobby Moynihan were seen off with a graduation sketch that didn’t include the likes of Ms. Zamata, and critics have taken note.

Some suspect that because Leslie Jones has more visibly filled the role of “African-American Female Cast Member,” the show no longer “needs” Zamata in the cast, so they quietly pushed her departure. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Former Mrs. Will Smith, Sheree Fletcher, Set To Premiere New Show “Eat, Pray, Live” On Black Hollywood Live!

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By: Derrial Christon

Sheree Fletcher (Former Wife of Actor Will Smith) has joined forces with the #1 online network Black Hollywood to premiere her new show “Eat, Pray, Live.” Fletcher is no stranger to the spotlight. With her outspoken personality and strong spiritual beliefs, she was quickly noted as one of the favorites on VH1’s hit show “Hollywood Exes”.

Fletcher is a dedicated mother, a savvy businesswoman, and an empowering philanthropist.

When asked what fans can expect from her new show, Fletcher revealed “Each week my co-hosts and I will deliver unique perspectives exploring & discussing our world as we know it (news, entertainment, love, spirituality and morality) in a raw and informative way that’s never void of laughter! Our goal is that our viewers and listeners are entertained, enriched and inspired.”

She added “Fans can expect to learn that there’s value and insight in different vantage points – there’s no one right way to see things.”

Black Hollywood Lives’ President Derrial Christon expressed his excitement to adding Eat, Pray, Live to his roster of shows. “My business partner Keven Undergaro and I have been huge fans of Sheree, since first being introduced to her. Fans of her show are in for a treat, because she is not afraid to express what everyone in life goes through at different stages. Sheree is a beautiful and talented woman with a strong sense of self and she is not afraid to “go there” no matter the subject. We are honored to have her apart of the BHL Family!”

One of the closest topics to Fletcher’s heart is helping women. With her inspirational “WHOOP” philosophy (Women Helping Others Obtain Power). She encourages women to band together, shed the shame, and get past themselves. “I want to see them overcome their obstacles and be all that God has called them to be. I feel it’s my personal responsibility to comfort those with the same comfort that I have received. After all, we’re all in this together” said Fletcher.

Eat, Pray Live airs live every Thursday at 2pm PST on BHL.

Link:

Keenan Baker Talks Standup and More | BHL’s Stand-Up, Sit-Down

BHL: Stand-up, Sit-down — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live host Nick Perdue interviews comedian Keenan Baker on the business of Stand Up Comedy and all of his current projects.

Keenan Baker grew up a Military Brat. Born in San Diego Ca. Living all around the country but landed back in Los Angeles at a young age. Raised by a single father, Keenan struggle growing up. Losing fights and not being let back into the house until he won the fights because that was his fathers rule. Keenan got his start in comedy back in 2009. In 2011 Keenan Placed 2nd in The LA Funniest Comedy competition. Keenan performs at The World Famous Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, The Improv Comedy Club, Flappers Comedy Club and multiple venues in and around California. Keenan’s energetic styles brings life to the stage and laughter to the crowd.

Michael Strahan Quits ‘Live’ to Join ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’

ABC is counting on former football player Michael Strahan to help it gain new ground in TV’s ever-intensifying morning-news wars.

Strahan, who has become a near-ubiquitous TV presence with his stints as a commentator for FOX Sports’ football coverage, the host of a new kid-award franchise on Nickelodeon, and, in recent years, an energizing force on the Disney-syndicated morning program “Live! With Kelly and Michael,” will join ABC’s Good Morning America on a full-time basis starting in September, ABC said Tuesday morning. He will retain his duties as a football analyst for Fox.

“Michael has been a stellar addition to the broadcast. Over the past two years on ‘GMA,’ he’s proven to be a tireless and versatile broadcaster with an incredible ability to connect with people, from veterans to American pop culture icons and newsmakers,” said James Goldston, president of ABC News, in a memo to staff sent this morning. “He will end a four year run as Kelly Ripa’s co-host on Live!, where he has honed his skills as an interviewer with genuine warmth and a quick wit. At ‘GMA,’ he’ll now have even more opportunities to tell stories that inspire, inform and empower people.

Portraits w/ Will Packer | January 9th, 2015 | Black Hollywood Live

BHL: Portraits — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart, and DJ Jesse Janedy interview special guest Will Packer.

Producer Will Packer has established himself as one of Hollywood’s blockbuster hit makers with seven of his films opening number one at the box office. In 2014, he accomplished the rare feat of producing two films in the top six at the box office and became one of the only African-American producers to have seven films debut at number one during opening weekend. Packer’s number one films include No Good Deed (2014), Think Like A Man Too (2014), Ride Along (2014), Think Like A Man (2012), Takers (2010), Obsessed (2008) and Stomp The Yard (2007). His next film, The Wedding Ringer, starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad, debuts in theaters January 16, 2015.

Portraits w/ Rick Fox | December 3rd, 2014 | Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

BHL: Portraits — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live host Stacy Ike interviews special guest Rick Fox.

Born in Toronto, Rick Fox moved to the Bahamas when he was very young. His father is Afro-Bahamian, and his mother, who is Canadian, is of Italian and Scottish descent. Rick went to Warsaw Indiana high school as an exchange student and played basketball there. A complaint was filed about his eligibility and it was ruled one of his earlier years in the Bahamas was equivalent to a year of high school. As a result, he was banned from playing his senior year. To keep himself sharp and in playing shape, he still practiced with the team every day. Majored in radio, television, and motion picture sciences and played college basketball at UNC, where he left as the all-time school steals leader and games played leader. Upon graduating, he was selected 24th overall in the NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. After several seasons with the Celtics, he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers partly due to its proximity to Hollywood and his interest in acting. While with the Lakers, he helped them win an NBA Championship as a versatile role-player.

This interview was recorded December 3rd 2014.

Tony Rock Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Stand-up, Sit-down

BHL: Stand-up, Sit-down — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live host Ashford Thomas interviews special guest Tony Rock.

Born in the same Brooklyn New York Hospital where most of his seven brothers and one sister found their way into the world, Tony Rock, not to be confused with his favorite wrestler, was born laughing. Being the fourth child, of Rose Rock and Julius Rock, Tony had a natural knack for entertaining, just like his brother, Chris Rock. He had to, to stay alive. Decatur Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, where he grew up, was one of the toughest that New York had to offer. It also provided a host of rich characters on which to draw.

Tony has been performing for the last four years. After just six months in the business, his first booking on the road lead him to Amsterdam. No, not to Amsterdam, New York, but Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he became a more popular figure than “Ed Joost Swarte”.

Upon returning to New York, Tony gained a reputation as a young star in the making. The Hollywood Reporter in 2001 picked him as one of the hot young talents to come out of New York. People Magazine featured Tony in their July 7, 2003 Issue. Since February 2000, he’s become bi-coastal. When in New York, he’s a regular at the famous “Comic Strip”, “Caroline’s” and “Stand-Up New York”. When in Los Angeles, he’s a regular at “The Comedy Store”, “Improv” and “Icehouse” and he headlines at “The Laugh Factory”.

In April 2001, he co-starred in an ABC/Disney Pilot, “Me and My Needs”. In July 2001, he hosted an MTV pilot, “It’s Your Show”. In 2002, Tony hosted Comedy Central’s successful BattleBots (2000); in 2003, Tony hosted Oxygen’s Can You Tell? (2003). In April 2003, Tony landed the Jada Pinkett Smith/Will Smith pilot for UPN All of Us(2003). The series, which was picked up in the Fall of 2003, has been picked up for the Fall 2005 Season. In June 2004, Tony was featured in Will Smith’s movie, Hitch (2005).

Besides touring the country, a highlight for Tony was when he came home to New York to headline with Mark Curry and John Henton at Harlem’s world famous “Apollo Theater”.

This interview was recorded September 10th, 2014.

Wilson Cruz Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

BHL: Portraits — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart, and DJ Jesse Janedy interview special guest Wilson Cruz.

Wilson Cruz, whose heritage is Puerto Rican, was born in New York City, the eldest of three brothers. Early on, his parents encouraged his interest in the theater. At age seven, Wilson began appearing in plays, among them

“Cradle of Fire,” “Supporting Cast,” “Becoming Memories,” and “The Roar of the Greasepaint…,” as well as in a number of Shakespearean productions on both coasts. Blessed with a beautiful singing voice, Wilson also performed across the country with Young Americans, and has been featured in shows seen at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Sea World/Orlando.

When the young actor was 10, he moved with his family to San Bernardino, California, where he grew up. A graduate of Eisenhower High School, he attended California State University at San Bernardino, where he was pursuing a double major in theater and English before he joined the cast of “My So-Called Life.” He plans on returning to college eventually. In the meantime, his acting career continues to flourish. He made his television debut in 1991 on the series, “Great Scott!,” in the recurring role of Jonathan, an obnoxious choirboy. The role of Rickie Vasquez is his first as a series regular.

In his rare free time, Wilson finds relaxation in playing the saxophone. He likes to collect vintage black-and-white photos of actors, and admires the work of Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro. Does the handsome young actor think of himself as an Hispanic role model? “I don’t know if I believe in role models,” Wilson reflects. “We’re all so different; we’re all individuals. In the long run, that’s what matters.”

This interview was recorded July 18th, 2014.

Keith Robinson Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

BHL: Portraits — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart, and DJ Jesse Janedy interview special guest Keith Robinson.

Singer/songwriter/actor Keith Robinson (a.k.a. Black Keith) was born in Kentucky, where he discovered his love of the arts at a young age. Singing took center stage in high school in Augusta, Georgia, and he was signed to a contract while attending the University of Georgia. Robinson was picked up by Motown Records and went on to perform with several top artists.

To put his career in high gear, Robinson decided to make a transition and move out to Los Angeles to further his singing career and try his hand at his other love, acting. His very first audition landed him the role of Joel Rawlings, the Green Ranger on one of television’s highest rated children’s series, Fox’s Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue. On the heels of Power Rangers came a lead role in the NBC television movie The Princess and the Marine and the lead in the UPN pilot Save the Last Dance, based on the hit movie. Robinson then juggled a regular role on the NBC drama American Dreams with a recurring role on the UPN sitcom Half & Half. Other television roles include guest star roles on hit series such as USA’s Monk, NBC’s ER, and ABC’s NYPD Blue; a young Christian soldier in FX’s critically acclaimed Iraq war series, Over There; and a 2006 Camie Award-winning performance in The Reading Room, an original Hallmark movie starring James Earl Jones. He was most recently seen on the small screen in the CBS miniseries Comanche Moon, based on Larry McMurtry’s novel, which is now available on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Robinson was most recently seen on television as a regular on the weekly Fox drama series Canterbury’s Law, also starring Julianna Margulies.

Robinson’s feature film roles include 2004’s Fat Albert and DreamWorks and Paramount Pictures’ Dreamgirls, now available on DVD. He is featured in the role of C.C. White opposite Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Jennifer Hudson, Anika Noni Rose, and Sharon Leal in Bill Condon’s Academy Award-winning film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. His most recent feature film is the holiday-themed Rainforest Films production/Screen Gems release This Christmas, where he is part of an ensemble cast that also includes Loretta Devine, Delroy Lindo, Idris Elba, Regina King, Columbus Short, Sharon Leal, Lauren London, Laz Alonso, Mekhi Phifer, and Chris Brown.

When Robinson is not on set, he’s in the recording studio working on his album and music for major motion pictures and television; his songs have appeared on film soundtracks such as Blade: Trinity, on which he collaborated with the RZA and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard for the track “Thirsty.”

Robinson just dropped a new single “Famous” and will release an album later in 2014.

This interview was recorded August 4th, 2014.

Omari Hardwick Interview – BHL Portraits

BHL: Portraits — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart, and DJ Jesse Janedy interview special guest Omari Hardwick.

Born “Omari Latif Hardwick,” he grew up in Decatur, Georgia. Hardwick’s parents gave him a name to set a precedent, “Omari” meaning “most high,” and “Latif” meaning “gentle.” He shares, “I in no way believe that I am the highest or most high, but I feel like my name gives me something to strive for.” Growing up, sports were Hardwick’s world, but early on he knew he had a passion for the arts. By the age of 14, Hardwick was writing poetry on a regular basis, a passion he would carry with him into adulthood. In high school, he excelled at basketball, baseball, and football, and went on to play football at the University of Georgia. Although a star on the field, Hardwick never gave up his passion for acting, and minored in theatre in college. He shares, “I hugely attribute sports to my success in entertainment business. Being on the field taught me dedication and discipline – I already came from a strict household when I was growing up, sports just took that to another level. Whenever I approach a set, I always feel as though the cast, crew, director, are all part of a team. I have always married athletics and art, two huge parts of my life.”

After graduation, Hardwick relocated to San Diego for a spot on the San Diego Chargers (NFL) however a knee injury cut his football career short. He decided to revisit his original passion for acting, and moved to New York to study his craft more extensively. In New York, Hardwick studied off Broadway until 2000, when he made the move to Los Angeles. As a struggling actor, he worked odd jobs to pay for acting classes, however the security gigs and substitute teaching at times were not enough to make ends meet, and at one point he lived out of his car. Hardwick shares, “what is so crazy, is that where I presently shoot my series ‘Dark Blue,’ is where I lived in my car when I first moved to Los Angeles. It is surreal at times.”

Hardwick’s first big break came in 2003, when he was cast in his first major role as a series regular in Spike Lee’s “Sucker Free City.” Two years later, he landed the feature The Guardian and TNT’s “Saved”- both of which he booked within a three-week span in 2005. He notes, “I felt like I had arrived when I went back to one of my odd jobs that had let me go several years prior, and I looked out over Sunset Boulevard right next to the Chateau Marmont, and saw myself plastered on a billboard overlooking the city. I had to break down a little at that point, it was a big moment for me.” Throughout 2007 – 2009 Hardwick worked on various projects, including guest starring on several television series, and filming several movies including Summit Entertainment’s Next Day Air and Touchstone Picture’s Miracle at St. Anna. In 2008 he landed the role of “Ty Curtis” on the TNT series “Dark Blue,” season 1 aired throughout 2009.

In addition to acting, Hardwick is a founding member of Plan B Inc. Theater Group, and a co-founder of Los Angeles Actor’s Lounge. He has big plans for his production company, Bravelife, in 2010 as well, and plans on expanding the company. Hardwick also continues to work on his poetry, and has written over 4,000 poems.

This interview was recorded July 17th, 2014.

Larenz Tate Interview – BHL Portraits

BHL: Portraits — In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon and Courtney Stewart interview special guest Larenz Tate.

Larenz Tate stars as Dr. Alex , Rush’s (Tom Ellis, “Miranda”) best friend and a determined, high-ranking physician at one of Los Angeles’ top hospitals, in USA Network’s medical drama “Rush.”

Born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, Tate is recognized as an actor, writer and activist– recently adding producer and director to his list of accomplishments.

Tate is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking role in the cult classic “Menace II Society.” His feature film credits include “Inkwell,” “Dead Presidents,” “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” “Love Jones,” “A Man Apart,” “Waist Deep” and “Biker Boyz,” among others. Tate co-starred in the three-time Academy Award-winning film “Crash,” as well as the film “Ray” opposite Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington.

His television credits include starring roles on “Blue Blood” and “Rescue Me,” as well as appearances on “The Wonder Years,” “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and ”South Central.” Most recently he appeared in a recurring arc on the hit series “House of Lies.” This July, Tate will also star in the upcoming BET movie “Gunhill” where he plays identical twins, one a cop and the other a con.

In 2012, he made his commercial directorial debut with “Conjure Cognac,” which starred Ludacris.
Tate’s main personal interest is The Tate Bros Foundation, a non-profit organization which he and his brothers created to help assist and raise funds for children living with Sickle Cell Anemia.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

This interview was recorded July 17th, 2014.

Eriq La Salle Interview — Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

BHL: Portraits — In this episode Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and DJ Jesse Janedy interview Eriq La Salle.

Actor/director Eriq La Salle is best known to worldwide television audiences for his award-winning portrayal of the commanding Dr. Peter Benton on the critically acclaimed and history-making medical drama E.R.

Educated at Juilliard and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, his credits range from Broadway to film roles opposite Eddie Murphy in “Coming to America” and Robin Williams in “One Hour Photo.” La Salle has maintained a prolific acting career while at the same time working steadily as a director, taking the helm for HBO and Showtime in addition to episodics such as Law & Order, CSI: New York and Under the Dome, to name a few.

La Salle published his debut novel, Laws of Depravity, to stunning reviews, including the coveted Kirkus Star, Reader’s Choice Best Thriller of 2013 and overwhelming 5-star reviews.
Now La Salle is set to release his 2nd book in the series, the gripping thriller Laws of Wrath.

This interview was recorded May 16th, 2014.

Kyla Pratt Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon and DJ Jesse Janedy interview special guest Kyla Pratt.

Since age eight, this young star has been radiating from our television sets. After getting her start in commercials for Nike, the California native soon became a popular face in the world of television. Having guest starred on numerous TV shows, Kyla got her biggest break in 2005 when she starred on two number one shows at the same time, Disney’s The Proud Family & One on One alongside Flex Alexander. In addition to television, Kyla ‘s appeared in numerous films such as Dr. Doolittle, Fat Albert and the cult classic Love & Basketball. Currently, Kyla co-stars on the hit BET series Let’s Stay Together, currently in it’s fourth season. In August 2013, Kyla gave birth to her 2nd child and is currently balancing career and motherhood.

This interview was recorded on April 25th, 2014.

Terrence ‘TC’ Carson Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Nick Perdue and Megan Thomas interview special guest Terrence ‘TC’ Carson.

Born and raised in Chicago, T.C. was encouraged to follow his dreams to be a performer by his family since he was a young boy.

He began his career as a dancer and easily slid into performing in many plays and musicals such as “The Wiz,” “Dreamgirls” and “Ain’t Misbehavin.” Carson also starred in the 90’s comedy Living Large and is now part of the Star Wars universe as he has voiced the characters of Darth Vader and Mace Windu in animated series and video games.

Terrence is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity and frequently moonlights as a jazz vocalist in several clubs. In 2002, he released his debut CD entitled, Truth

This interview was recorded on April 18th, 2014.

Malaysia Pargo Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Reality Check

BHL: Reality Check — In this episode Black Hollywood Live hosts Ashley Gray, Corrinne Williams and Michelle Renee interview Malaysia Pargo.

A breakout star on the VH1 hit reality show “Basketball Wives: LA”, Malaysia’s display of honest emotion, personality, vulnerability and style has made her a fan favorite and persona all audiences can relate and connect to. Prior to joining the cast, this mother, wife, and businesswoman was determined to make a name for herself and move beyond the shadow of her husband, NBA guard Jannero Pargo. The former model and mother of three used her savvy business sense and humble personality to create her own empire in the fine jewelry industry. In November 2011, she launched Three Beats Jewelry, which is sold exclusively at the famed Jason of Beverly Hills.

In addition to managing a household and running asuccessful business, the Compton native is committed to giving back to the community and inspiring women everywhere. Malaysia regularly donates money and resources to multiple charities nationwide. She is also currently serving as a celebrity spokeswoman for the non-profit organization Saving Our Daughters.

This interview was recorded March 7th, 2014.

Ernest Thomas Interview — Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy interview special guest Ernest Thomas.

Mr. Ernest L. Thomas, President and CEO of Ernest Thomas Media Group 8 and Bravokid Management has over 30 years of achievement in Theatre, Television and films.

Ernest is a graduate of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. The Academy boasts over 75 Academy Award nominees or winners. Previous graduates include, Robert Redford, Danny DeVito, Kim Cattrall, the late Spencer Tracey, Cecil B. DeMille and an impressive list too numerous to mention. Ernest also has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Indiana State University in sociology and Psychology. Mr. Thomas’s other professional and business accomplishments are the following:

Recipient of the LEGEND AWARD at the Peachtree Film Festival in Atlanta August
25th, 2013.
Recipient of BEST PRODUCER AWARD of a Reality show for “Kid Justice” at the Webfest 2013
Recipient of OUTSTANDING CHRISTIAN ENTERTAINER AWARD” from the Universal Deliverance Church by Apostle McGowan in Los Angeles in 2012.
Cast in the new film “Off The Grid” as “Olivia” starring Mykel Shannon Jenkins (star of
“Undisputed” and “Bold and the Beautiful”
Cast in new film “Squatters” opposite Jaime Kennedy, Paul Sorvino (star of “Goodfellas”) and Marlee Matlin (Oscar winner Best Actress “Children of a Lesser God”)
*Co-star in hit TV series “Everybody Hates Chris as “Mr. Omar” which is seen daily in the U.S and has an even larger following in Europe and Asia
*Featured Actor in “Funny People” as the “Principal” with Adam Sandler and Jason Schwartzman
* Best Actor Award for his starring role as “Raj” in the popular ABC television series
“What’s Happening” from Beat TV in 1979
*Cast opposite Denzel Washington in “Malcolm X” “Directed by Spike Lee
* Nominated for a NAACP Image Award Best Actor in a Comedy Series for the role of
“Raj” in the revised version of his hit television series “What’s Happening Now”in
In 1987.
* MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Counsel) award for the role of “Sidney X” in
Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed epic “Malcolm X” in 1992.
* Sidney Poitier chose him to star in the hit urban comedy “Piece of the Action”
with Bill Cosby and James Earl Jones.
* A role was written especially for him for the award winning series “ROOTS”
* TV GUIDE chose him as one of America’s favorite in August 12, 1996 in the issue
Titled “Stars We Still Love”
* Muhammad Ali chose him as a featured speaker for the Muhammad Ali World
Hunger Tour
* Starred on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater in “Member of Wedding” for the
Tony Award winning producer Hal Prince (Producer of “Phantom of the Opera”
And “Evita”)
* Starred opposite Grammy Award winning Gospel sensation Kirk Franklin in the
National sold out tour of “He Say, She Say, But What Does God Say” 1996
* Numerous honors from Congressmen, Mayors, and clergymen for his outstanding work
with various charities and for his ability for bringing diverse groups together as he did in Washington, D.C. by holding the first joint press conference against apartheid between Muslim Imams and Catholic Priests. He also was a keynote speaker.

This interview was recorded March 7th, 2014.

Erica Hubbard Interview — Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon and Courtney Stewart interview special guest Erica Hubbard.

Talented and gorgeous actress Erica Hubbard has been lighting up the big and small screens with her contagious and enticing smile for the past seven years. She can currently be seen as one of the leads of the popular first original scripted comedy series for the BET Network, “Let’s Stay Together,” produced by Queen Latifah and her Flavor Unit Entertainment production company. In the romantic comedy, Erica plays “Kita Whitmore,” a fun loving, genuine, outspoken person who has a sense of humor and loves fashion! The fourth season premieres Tuesday, March 4th, 2014.

In addition to the show, Erica recently wrapped production with a strong supporting role in the upcoming indie film, My Favorite Five (TBD 2014), opposite Rochelle Aytes (“Mistresses”) and Brian White (The Cabin in the Woods). You can currently catch her starring as ‘Mita,’ a gold digging ex-girlfriend in the romantic comedy, Black Coffee, released January 10, 2014 and avail on DVD and VOD.

Born and raised in the south side of Chicago, Erica knew at the early age of nine that she wanted to be an actress after she performed in her first stage play. Never giving up on her dream, Erica attended Columbia College in Chicago where she majored in broadcast journalism, minored in theater, and earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in a very impressive three years! After graduating, Erica landed her first TV show role in “Up ‘N Running,” a tween/teen show focused on educating kids on a variety of different topics of interest, from education to horseback riding, to playing hockey or learning how to make ice cream. The show aired on WPWR, a UPN affiliate in Chicago. By the time the third season had started airing, she had already won a Regional Emmy for hosting the show and a Service to America Award from the National Association of Broadcasters. During that time, Erica also began doing voice-overs and starring in numerous national commercials, such as McDonald’s, MCI, Reebok, Sears and the coveted Noxzema campaign.

Erica’s motion picture credits include Save the Last Dance, A Cinderella Story, Light It Up, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Akeelah and the Bee, and the made-for-TV movie, The Love Letter, starring Romeo Miller and Marques Houston. Erica’s TV credits include guest-starring roles on such hits as “CSI: Miami,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” and “Cold Case.” She was also a series regular and the voice of “Abbey” on the animated Disney Series “The Replacements.” In addition, Erica is also well-known for portraying “Cassie Sutton” for four successful seasons on the NAACP Image Award-winning, critically acclaimed family drama for ABC Family entitled “Lincoln Heights.”

Besides TV and film, Erica was nominated for an NAACP Theater Award in the Best Supporting Actress category for her work in the play What Would Jesus Do.

In addition to acting, Erica is highly involved in her philanthropic work, volunteering for such charities/organizations as the Boys and Girls Club of America. She is also the Executive Director of The Erica Hubbard Foundation, and organization started by Erica that speaks to schools, community centers and youth organizations, helping at-risk, inner city kids that deal with low self-esteem and poverty.

When Erica isn’t working she loves hanging out with her best friend, her rescued Chihuahua named Winnie. She also enjoys learning sign language, hiking, and traveling on reading tours with her series of colorful children’s books entitled You, She, Her, Him, And I.

This interview was recorded March 5th, 2014.

Richard Brooks Interview — Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy interview special guest Richard Brooks.

Richard Brooks is an actor/director/singer-songwriter, best known for his powerful portrayal of ADA Paul Robinette in the original cast of the long running “Law and Order” television series franchise. His extensive acting credits include numerous substantial roles on television, film and stage that have shown his versatility to shine through any genre.

His notable performances include the notorious bounty hunter in Joss Whedon’s “Firefly,” the iconic Henry McNeil in the SyFy/USA network cult favorite “Good vs. Evil” and pivotal guest appearances on “NCIS,” “NYPD Blue,” and “Lie to Me.”

Along with his impressive resume of television credits Brooks has also lit up the big screen with his unforgettable characters in “The Crow: City of Angels,” “To Sleep with Anger,” and the critically acclaimed Vietnam War saga, “84 Charlie Mopic.” Brooks also starred as Frederick Douglas in the PBS documentary series — The American Experience’s three-part docudrama Souls on Fire: The Abolitionists.

Most recently Brooks commands the television screen again in the new original BET series “Being Mary Jane,” starring as title character Gabrielle Union’s brother Patrick. From the producers of the award winning BET comedy “The Game” and the No. 1 box office movie “Jumping the Broom,” the new original BET series is a story to which millions of modern women will both relate and respond to. “Being Mary Jane” premiered on July 2 as one of the most successful pilots for the BET Network garnering an audience of over 4 million people.

This interview was recorded February 14th, 2014.

Chavo Guerrero Interview — Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy interview special guest Chavo Guerrero.

Chavo Guerrero is a 20-year third generation veteran of the professionalwrestling industry who first debuted back in 1994 after having been trained by legendary family members Chavo Guerrero Sr., Eddie Guerrero, Hector Guerrero and Mando Guerrero. He started his career working in both Mexico and Japan and had a stint with New Japan Pro Wrestling prior to signing with World Championship Wrestling in 1996. During his 5-years with WCW Guerrero would both feud and team with his real life uncle Eddie Guerrero. He would become a 2-Time WCW Cruiserweight Champion and former 1-Time WCW Tag-Team Champion before the company closed in 2001.

Guerrero’s contract was one of 25 that were purchased by World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001 during the acquisition of WCW. He ended up spending a decade with the organization becoming one of the company’s top cruiserweight talents during that period and also again formed a popular tag-team with Eddie Guerrero, Named Los Guerreros. Many consider Los Guerrero as one of the best tag teams in the world. Chavo would become a former 4-Time WWE Cruiserweight Champion and also win the tag-team titles twice with Eddie. In 2008 he reached his highest level of singles success when he defeated C.M. Punk in January to win the company’s ECW Championship. Guerrero requested and was granted his release from the organization in June of 2011. Chavo then signed with TNA Impact Wrestling where he stayed for a year. In late 2013, he again asked for his release for TNA, this time to pursue other ventures. Chavo is now active in Hollywood on the acting scene and also is endorsing several companies. Chavo has recently become the Celebrity Ambassador to a new company dealing with monetizing social media, which will launch in the up coming months.

This interview was recorded January 20th, 2014.

Robinne Lee Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon and Courtney Stewart interview special guest Robinne Lee. Robinne Lee is the star of the new BET series “Being Mary Jane”. She discusses working on the show and cast members. She also talks acting with Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union and Don Cheadle. Robinne later tells her views on opportunities for African American actors in Hollywood, thoughts on “Selfies” and her love for photography and producing.

This interview was recorded December 17th, 2013.

Mel B Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy and interview special guest Mel B. Melanie Brown has never been a shy one, which is evidenced by her vast and ever-expanding list of accomplishments. Best known as Mel B or “Scary Spice” of the Spice Girls, she can also add author, fashion leader, television personality, stage star, philanthropist, entrepreneur and mom to her list of ever expanding credits.

From her early days growing up in Leeds, England, through her years in one of the most defining pop groups of this generation, and through such ventures as becoming a fan favorite on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2007, Mel B has earned her place in the entertainment lexicon. Doing the show earned her a vast and new American fan base with her cool, self-confident dancing style, finishing second in the contest. Mel B is always striving to do something different and always doing with a style that’s all her own.

Currently, Mel B is working diligently on season 8 of the hit NBC show “America’s Got Talent,” joining fellow judges Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and host Nick Cannon. As she says, “I take this judging business very seriously.”

For the last two years, she’s been in Australia filming “The X Factor,” where she joined the show in its second season as one of the four judges. In the first season, she was a guest mentor to the contestants, and it was something that was very close to her heart.

In December 2012, the documentary The Spice Girls Story: Viva Forever was released, chronicling the girls’ rise to stardom, their most memorable outfits and live moments. It gave fans of the iconic pop quintet an inside look at one of the greatest girl groups of all time.

Mel B launched her solo career in 1998 with the hit single “I Want You Back,” (featuring Missy Elliott) and marked the first time an individual Spice Girl went to #1 on the U.K. charts. Mel recalls, “This was the first time I’d even considered doing anything by myself. I was on tour with the Spice Girls when Missy Elliott called me up and said ‘Melanie, I’ve got a song for you, will you come and record it with me?’ I checked it with the girls and within a month I was out there, I recorded it in a day, did the video, then came back. She’s a genius!”

Mel B joined Oxygen in 2010 as host of the second season of the hit dance/weight-loss competition series “Dance Your Ass Off,” which was a huge success for the network. Along with her husband and children, she also starred in a reality series for the Style Network in 2010 called “Mel B: It’s a Scary World,” which let viewers get to know the family, and see how Mel manages a multi-faceted career, raises her children, and still finds time for her husband. The show was sold internationally to 34 countries and is still being replayed due to such high viewer numbers.

In 2009, she appeared as the volcanic and red-hot presence driving “Peep Show,” the sensual, sophisticated and sly spectacle redefining Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. The show was a wild journey of sexual awakening told through fables and fantasy with an all-female cast of dancers, singers and rock musicians.

Mel B’s brash persona was at the core of the Spice Girls’ global success, racking up worldwide record sales of $55 million, Guinness Book World Records for “Most No. 1 Entries in the UK Charts” and “Most Consecutive No. 1’s for a New Act.” The group’s enduring popularity brought about one of the most successful concert tours of 2007-08 with the reunion trek grossing more than $70 million. The Spice Girls long awaited reunion took place in London at the 2012 XXX Olympic closing ceremony bringing the house down to the 80,000 in attendance and the millions watching around the world.

The British phenomenon’s worldwide acclaim has served Mel B well in a wide variety of ventures. On Broadway at the famed Nederlander Theatre, she starred as “Mimi” in a major production of “Rent” (2004) and also appeared in “The Vagina Monologues” (2002) at the New Ambassador Theatre in London. On the small screen, she hosted the 2008 “Miss Universe Pageant” and has appeared as a special correspondent for the NBC entertainment news shows, “Access Hollywood” and “EXTRA.”

Her business interests are diverse. For the last four years, Mel B has been an ambassador for Jenny Craig. She and her husband are also partners in Real Water (www.drinkrealwater.com), one of the top selling Alkaline waters in the U.S. and Anskos (http://anskos.com.au) an Australia based premium health food company whose products will soon be available in the U.S. In 2009, she became the face of “Totally Fit” workout and health DVD and in 2010 released her own video game, “Get Fit with Mel B” for Wii, Xbox 360 Kinect and Playstation. Mel B is also the face of Ultimo Lingerie, the biggest lingerie line in the UK and has served as product spokesperson for Virgin Mobile, Kraft Foods® and Jell-O®.

Using her prominence to further benefit various charities and causes, Mel B is an ardent supporter of GLAAD and has appeared in the NOH8 campaign, a charitable organization whose mission is to promote marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest. She is also helping to raise $250,000 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s “Pose for the Cure” breast cancer campaign, has designed her own shoe line for charity with ShoeDazzle and teamed with Will.I.Am for Oxfam’s “In My Name” campaign that fights world poverty. She is also a spokesperson for “Fitness First” and is the global ambassador for International Fitness Week, which aims to inspire everyone to get active.

Along the way, she has written a best-selling autobiography “Catch a Fire,” and starred in the wildly popular British soap, “Burn It” on the BBC. Film roles have included “Telling Lies” (2008), “Seat Filler” (2004), LD 50” (2003) and the inspiring documentary “Mel B: Voodoo Princess (2002) shot in Benin, off the tip of Africa.

Mel B’s career has been based on inspiring people to leave behind their inhibitions and tackle anything and everything that comes their way. She says, “It’s all about feeling confident, listening to yourself, trusting yourself and being in your own power. And that’s what I’m all about.”

She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Stephan Belafonte and daughters Phoenix, Angel, Madison and stepdaughter Giselle.

This interview was recorded November 27th, 2013.

Taimak Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy and interview special guest Taimak. Taimak grew up in New York City till he was seven years old.
Coming from an interracial background (African American and Italian) his parents chose to move his brother and two sisters to Europe.
That’s where he got his first taste of the entertainment business. At 11 years old, he had the privilege to meet legendary director and family friend Federico Fellini.
Mr. Fellini took him on a tour of the set of “Roma” where he also met another film legend Vincent Minnelli. Taimak and his family eventually moved back to New York City where he delved deeper into martial arts training.
He won the New York State kickboxing championship and the very next year he was cast by music mogul and Motown legend Berry Gordy to play the lead role in the cult classic film “The Last Dragon”. He was Bruce Leroy, the Bruce Lee wannabe in search of “The Glow”.
Taimak was quickly catapulted into Hollywood with a career that has spanned over twenty years.
He’s appeared in many stage plays, including the highly successful “Roadhouse the Comedy” at the Barrow Street Theater in New York City, playing the notable role of Dalton in this zany comedy rendition of Patrick Swayzes 80’s cult classic film and the national tour of the star studded cast of “Cheaters” to name a few.
As martial arts choreographer and teacher, he had the honor of being inducted into The Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2010. He’s been sought after by some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. Choreographer and director Debbie Allen, Jaime King and Madonna on her Drowned World Tour, former rock band Bush as choreographer of their “Chemical Between Us” video. Over the years he’s guest starred on several national television shows, A Different World, Alley McBeal. Red Shoes Diaries, Malcolm and Eddie.
Currently after a bit of a hiatus from Hollywood he’s been writing and making his directorial debut with a film noir detective story titled “I’ve Seen Things”. He created a wellness program for young people in 2009 http://www.unfoldingdream.org. He delivers the seminar in “at risk” communities around the country. ”I am blessed beyond measure to have had the opportunity to do so much and I hope to inspire and entertain some more, I think with a little more work, the best is yet to come”

This interview was recorded November 19th, 2013.

Bill Duke Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy and interview special guest Bill Duke. Bill Duke recently received a Lifetime Achievement Tribute from the Directors Guild of America, as he joined the ranks of directors Stephen Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, and Clint Eastwood.

What makes Bill Duke stand out from these other directors is the fact that he is a director who like Michael Shultz and Gordon Parks paved the way for African Americans in cinema beginning in the early 1970’s.

He is the founder and CEO of Duke Media, formerly Yagya Productions, which has been successfully producing film and television for over 30 years. Bill Duke formally served on the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute and was appointed to the California State Film Commission Board by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Bill Duke served as the Time Warner Endowed Chair of the Department of Radio Television and Film at Howard University in Washington, DC; he was then appointed to the National Endowment of the Humanities by President Bill Clinton.

Bill Duke’s numerous television series include Falcon Crest, Fame, Dallas, Staff Lane and Hill Street Blues.

His feature film credits include The Killing Floor, A Rage in Harlem, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Deep Cover, Hoodlum, The Cemetery Club, Cover and Not Easily Broken. Currently in production are the films Black Diamonds: The Evolution of Blacks in Baseball, Yalla Gals, What is Man and What is a Woman.

Mr. Duke has recently completed Dark Girls Documentary which was just aired on OWN and was one of the most successful shows on their network’s history. Mr. Duke with his Co-Producing partner D. Channin Berry are currently touring Dark Girls globally.

Mr Duke is additionally, developing Digital Games, Cell phone Apps Webisodes and Content for Mobile TV.

Duke’s acting credits include Predator, American Gigolo, Car Wash, Commando, Menace II Society, Bird on a Wire, The Limey, Get Rich or Die Trying, and X-Men 3 ; for a full resume of Mr. Dukes acting credits go to imdb.com

He has continued to divide his time between appearing in front of, as well as behind the camera. He is unprecedented in his ability to be recognized as a mainstay in Hollywood.

Bill Duke is a humanitarian and activist who devotes his time to charity and not for profit organizations. He is on the Board of Directors of Educating Young Minds after school program with the mission to help inner city youth in the United States excel in school and life. He is also an AIDS activist, and has created a film titled The Faces of HIV.

As film history has proven, Bill Duke welcomes the challenges of making films with a voice that needs to be heard.

Mr Duke recently established the Duke Media Foundation. The foundation instructs young people the disciplines of media literacy which is the evolution from film to media including virtual worlds, cell phone apps, games and mobile TV. In addition, the foundation teaches the disciplines necessary for the creation of branding and financial literacy the students learn distinction between the spending of money and the use of money.

This interview was recorded November 8th, 2013.

Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister Interview – Black Hollywood Live’s Portraits

In this episode, Black Hollywood Live hosts Derrial Christon, Courtney Stewart and Jesse Janedy and interview special guest Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister. Tommy “Tiny” Lister is a highly recognizable actor, having worked in over 171 films in a 29-year span, with renowned directors such as Quentin Tarantino, John Singleton, Christopher Nolan, Hal Ashby, Roland Emmerich, F. Gary Gray, Renny Harlin, and Luc Besson. He joined Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando in the quirky Don Juan DeMarco, starred with Jon Voight in Runaway Train, and played the first black President in Luc Besson’s sci-fi film The Fifth Element opposite Bruce Willis. Tiny is probably best known for his role as neighborhood bully “Deebo” opposite Chris Tucker and Ice Cube in the hit comedy Friday and reprising the role in the successful sequel Next Friday. Next year, New Line plans to make the fourth film, Last Friday. Tiny can next be seen in the horror cult classic The Human Centipede III, starring opposite Eric Roberts.

In addition to his career in film, Tiny is known by his fans as Hulk Hogan’s wrestling partner, where his character is known as “Zeus”. He also appeared with Hogan in the movie No Holds Barred.
Tiny’s film credits include Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999), Little Nicky (2000), Soulkeeper (2001), Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), Confidence (2003), Hellborn (2003), Terra Nova (2008), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Lazarus Papers (2010). Most recently, he starred in Beyond the Trophy (2012), the Jules Mann-Stewart film K-11 (2012), and Beyond the Game (2013).
Lister has also had numerous guest appearances in TV series, including playing “Klaang” (the first Klingon ever to make contact with humans) in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. He appeared as “Sancho” in the music video for Sublime’s song “Santeria”, and in the iconic video for Michael Jackson’s song “Remember the Time”.

Tiny has worked with many of our most noted actors (Marlon Brando, Samuel L. Jackson, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger, Peter O’Toole and Dustin Hoffman), and a good share of the top talent in the rap world (50 Cent, Tupac Shakur, Ice T, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Master P, and Chamillionaire).
Tiny is the international spokesperson for Monster Energy Drink. He can currently be seen starring alongside Ice Cube in a long-running Coors Light commercial.

He has three action figures including “Zeus” from WWE, “Klaang” from Star Trek: Enterprise, and one from Little Nicky.

This interview was recorded September 30th, 2013.