Win a Copy of BETTYE LAVETTE: WORTHY (Performing Live 2/25 at World Cafe Live)

Reelblack, Philly’s #1 promoter of African-American film is giving one lucky readers a copy of veteran Soul siger BETTYE LAVETTE’S new CD, WORTHY, courtesy of Cherry Red/MVD.  Bettye was one of our first guests on RBTV.  Once you hear her, you will be a fan for life.

MS. LAVETTE will perform tomorrow night (2/25) at World Cafe Live.  Get tickets HERE.


The winner will be selected at random and notified at the end of the week.  Good luck!


Bettye Lavette is starting 2015 with a big bang. The inimitable and legendary R&B songstress is coming out with a new album - Worthy - on January 27th. Worthy reunites her with Joe Henry, this time around with the two of them co-producing.

On Worthy, Bettye revisits Dylan with the opening track “Unbelievable,” with a funky urgency introduced into the song, not present in the original. On “When I Was a Young Girl,” she slides effortlessly into a slinky groove which Chris Youlden of Savoy Brown probably never imagined. “Bless Us All” is as relevant now as when Mickey Newbury wrote it decades ago, while her rendition of Joe Henry’s own “Stop” is jazzy, soulful and reminds one not to dare try to stop her. The musicians on the album all brought their A-game to the plate: Jay Bellerose on drums and percussion, Doyle Bramall II on guitar, Chris Bruce on bass and Patrick Warren on Piano, Hammond organ and Chamberlin.

Worthy is comprised of a special selection of songs making for an extremely reflective, visceral, yet at the same time, vulnerable album. “Where a Life Goes” is a conversation between Bettye and her deceased sister. When she sings the Lennon/McCartney track “Wait” and the title track “Worthy,” Bettye is at her most insightful and satisfied. Perhaps, the most heart-wrenching tunes of the lot may be “Undamned” filled with quiet desperation, and “Just Between You and Me and the Wall You’re a Fool,” on which she wears her tattered and battered heart on her sleeve.

Worthy will be released on CD, vinyl, and a “Deluxe Edition” which will contain both the CD and a live DVD of Bettye’s June 2014 concert at the Jazz Café in London.

RIGHT ON (45th Anniversary) 2/24 at IHouse

In honor of Black History Month, Reelblack is proud to host the Philadelphia Premiere of the 45th Anniversary restoration of RIGHT ON! (1970), starring The Original Last Poets.  Admission is $10 adults/ $8 Students and Seniors/ $5 Reelblack and IHouse members.

At International House, 3701 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Just added! We will also showcase the Philly Premiere of the short film, DREAMS DON’T CHASE THEMSELVES starring and directed by HEZEKIAH.

Presented in collaboration with Spoken Soul 215

Tickets my be purchased in advance at

Described as “a conspiracy of ritual, street theater, soul music, and cinema,” Right On! is a pioneering concert film, a compelling record of radical Black sentiment in 1960s America, and a precursor of the hip-hop revolution in musical culture. Shot guerilla-style on the streets and rooftops of lower Manhattan, it features the original Last Poets performing 28 numbers adapted from their legendary Concept-East Poetry appearance at New York’s Paperback Theater in 1969. Opening almost simultaneously with Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Right On! was described by its producer as “the first ‘totally black film,’” making “no concession in language and symbolism to white audiences.” The film has rarely screened over the past 30 years, and this is the premiere run of MoMA’s new restoration, made from the recently recovered 35mm negative. This restoration was undertaken by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation and Paul Newman (San Francisco).


Reelblack, Philly’s #1 promoter of African-American film is giving two lucky readers a tickets to see Somi live at the Painted Bride on Saturday March 7.


The winner will be selected at random and notified Monday at Noon.  Good luck!


Vocalist SOMI Set to Perform in Support of

Critically Acclaimed Major Label Debut,

The Lagos Music Salon

Saturday, March 7 at The Painted Bride

Liberty Ellman - guitar

Toru Dodo - piano
Keith Witty - bass
Nate Smith - drums
Saturday, March 7
The Painted Bride
230 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA
Phone: (215) 925-9914

“…Somi’s songs gracefully fuse African-tinged grooves,
supple jazz singing and compassionate social consciousness;
they’re both serious and seductive.” - The New York Times

“Somi delivers vocal performances of striking tonal clarity and expressiveness,
shedding light on the lives of the people of Lagos by delving into their struggles,
pain, pride, and joys. A sustained triumph.” - The Boston Globe

Acclaimed vocalist Somi is set to perform at The Painted Bride in Philadelphia on Saturday, March 7 at 8:00PM. The performances will feature tracks off her major label release, The Lagos Music Salon. She will be joined by guitarist Liberty Ellman, pianist Toru Dodo, bassist Keith Witty, and drummer Nate Smith for this performance.

Few contemporary albums bare as particular a narrative as The Lagos Music Salon. The new album by the superb chanteuse Somi, finds her breaking new ground with a hybrid style of music that organically integrates the essence of jazz and soul with the musical depth of her African heritage. “It’s the first time ever that I put all other pursuits on hold to focus solely on the creative process,” says Somi, who decided to move to Lagos, Nigeria from her New York home base without a game plan but with a passionate desire to find a new direction for her vision and voice.

The Lagos Music Salon marks Somi’s major label debut for Sony’s OKeh Records and features a range of originals that are sublimely melodic, percussively textured.  A socially informed and adventurous vocalist, Somi sings with a soulful beauty about her experiences in Lagos. While there, she kept a journal of her observations and collaborated with a community of musicians, writers and artists who helped her to envision what would become The Lagos Music Salon.

The album covers a broad swath of styles and features a number of carefully matched guest performances. These include a fast-paced groove with Afro-pop sensibilities on the Fela Kuti-inspired “Lady Revisited” with Angelique Kidjo, and a rap-inflected cinematic reflection on Africa’s pollution, “When Rivers Cry,” that features Common.

Somi · Lagos Music Salon
OKeh · Release Date: August 5, 2014

For more information on Somi, please visit:

Community Jazz Project Tonight in Mt. Airy

The Community Jazz Project & 2nd Floor sounds is proud to present the return of the Landham Brothers as well as the celebration of Robert Landham’s birthday. Robert & Byron have toured the world and will make a triumphant return to their hometown. Joining them onstage will be the great Tyrone Brown on the Bass, Neil Podgurski on the keys and the lovely and talented Michal Beckam on vocals. Sax man Robert & drummmer Byron have shared the stage with some of the top names in Jazz & R&B. They have worked with allstars like Teddy Pendergrass, Phyliss Hyman, Odean Pope & Joey DeFrancesco. This is sure to be a very special night that you won’t want to miss.
Admission is only $15.00. Reserve your place in the space at:
Check out the scene from previous events

At Rueben’s Marc Stenton and Mt. Pleasant aves in Mt. Airy.

Side of the Road Presents | Winter BBQ Tonight in NoLibs

The JLL Organization

in conjunction with

Earl Harvey’s BPN


BBQ’d Winter

Febuary 20, 2015 7pm-11pm

American Dreaming Building

618 North Front Street

Philadelphia PA 19123

featuring summer culinary treats by

Side of the Road Jerk Chicken’s @jerkchickenman

menu includes; jerkchicken, jerk turkey, beef brisket, jerk salmon, sautéed kale, roasted corn and coconut rice

desert - old fashioned pound cake

open bar with specialty drinks and shot girlz Jell-O shots

entertainment - spoken word artist, jazz artist and DJ

inhouse photographer

A Lady Must Live: A Lena Horne Tribute

Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate Company, has partnered with Ebony Magazine to release an original short film in honor of Black History Month, “A Lady Must Live: A Lena Horne Tribute.”

This mesmerizing short film stars actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Will Follow, “Being Mary Jane”) as the legendary Grammy and Tony Award-winning stage and screen star Lena Horne, who has a grand legacy as a groundbreaking performer, beauty icon, and passionate American civil rights activist. It is available exclusively on, and a separate two-minute version will be released today on the Codeblack and Ebony Magazine Facebook Pages.

“A Lady Must Live” coincides with Codeblack Films’ month-long social media salute to Ms. Horne and other trailblazers of Black History, including Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress and run for President, Ava DuVernay, the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and win Best Director honors at the Sundance Film Festival and Ursula Burns, the first African-American woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

“As a company, we are increasingly focused on developing digital content and partnerships like this one to adapt to the changing landscape of the film industry in the digital era. The key is creating content people connect with, whether it’s a two hour film or a two minute short on Facebook,” says Codeblack Films founder and President, Jeff Clanagan.  ”Our Black History Month digital series provides us with a vibrant and immediate platform to share the stories of some of the most influential figures in history.  We have steadily developed our social media footprint, and are very proud to bring the audience a look at a beautiful tribute to the amazing Lena Horne.”

Stay tuned for more on the forthcoming full length feature film and stage play for A LADY MUST LIVE: A LENA HORNE TRIBUTE

Support Pioneers of Afriican-American Cinema

On Wednesday, February 4, Kino Lorber will launch a 45-day fund-raising campaign to support its most ambitious archival release yet undertaken.

The four-Bluray collection ”Pioneers of African-American Cinema“ will showcase the works of such influential figures as Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, Zora Neale Hurston, James and Eloyce Gist, and others to be confirmed, ”Pioneers“ will include eight feature films, several shorts, fragments of “lost” films, and rare documentary footage. Context will be provided by videotaped interviews with film historians, performing artists, archivists, and filmmakers, who will discuss the history and enduring influence of these nearly-forgotten innovators.

Pioneers of African-American Cinema“ is one of the flagship projects of Kickstarter’s new Film Preservation and Restoration Initiative, and was announced at a live event Thursday, January 29. A partial list of films and other details of the campaign are listed on the project’s Kickstarter page:

Reelblack and PEC Present THE WELL (1951) *A LOST CLASSIC* at the United Bank Building 2/13

In honor of Black History Month, Reelblack and PEC unearth the “lost” classic THE WELL (1951).

Friday February 13, 2015 7pm at The United Bank Building, 3750 Lancaster Avenue | Philadelphia, PA 19104.  Admission is $5.00 (includes refreshments).

As Carolyn Crawford, a five-year-old African-American girl, skips through a vacant field on her way to school, she slips and falls into a well. Her mother Martha and grandfather give her description to Sheriff Ben Kellog, who then learns that three classmates saw a man speaking with her in front of Woody’s flower shop. Woody tells of a white man who bought flowers for the girl, whom he had never seen before. Word soon spreads in the black community that a white man abducted Carolyn.

Nominated for two Academy Awards (including Best Screenplay) when it was first released in 1951, THE WELL is undeniably a forgotten classic.  It was one of the first in a wave of American films to address the “Race” issue and depict African-Americans from a non-stereotyped point-of-view.  Now, nearly 65 years after it first ignited screens, it is time for a re-discovery (and re-appraisal).

Preceded by pair of short subjects and cartoons from the same era as THE WELL.


Reelblack, Philly’s #1 promoter of African-American film is giving one lucky reader a copy of Issa Rae’s THE MISADVENTURES OF AWKWARD BLACK GIRL courtest of Atria Books.


The winner will be selected at random and notified at the end of the week.  Good luck!


In the bestselling tradition of Sloane Crosley’s I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, a collection of humorous essays on what it’s like to be unabashedly awkward in a world that regards introverts as hapless misfits, and black as cool.

My name is “J” and I’m awkward-and black. Someone once told me those were the two worst things anyone could be. That someone was right. Where do I start?

Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. But when Issa Rae, the creator of the Shorty Award-winning hit series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl,” is that introvert-whether she’s navigating love, work, friendships, or “rapping”-it sure is entertaining. Now, in this debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cybersexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain, from navigating the perils of eating out alone and public displays of affection to learning to accept yourself-natural hair and all.

A reflection on her own unique experiences as a cyber pioneer yet universally appealing, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl is a book no one-awkward or cool, black, white, or other-will want to miss.

Release Date: February 10, 2015

Available in Kindle and Hardcover

FREE | Reelblack Action Double Feature at The Rotunda 2/12

I’ve been asked to guest host a couple shows this season of ANDREW’S VIDEO VAULT. I Took the opportunity to dig out some of my guilty pleasure movies. The screenings are FREE and will take place starting at 8pm at THE ROTUNDA, 4014 Walnut Street in West Philly.  Guest Host and Curator: Mike Dennis of Reelblack Cinema Co-presented with Irv Slifkin, author of Filmadelphia and Groovy Movies.

On February 12 we will screen two long-lost “salt and pepper” action flicks from the 1980s never released on DVD.

ENEMY TERRITORY (1987 / 89 minutes) Gary Frank and Ray Parker, Jr. star as an insurance salesman and a phone company worker trapped after dark in an apartment building that is terrorized by a street gang called “The Vampires.” Photographed by Ernest Dickerson (Do The Right Thing) and featuring early appearances by Tony Todd, Stacey Dash and Kadeem Hardison. Directed by Peter Manoogian.

CERTAIN FURY (1985 / 87 minutes) Tatum O’Neal and Irene Cara star in this New World Pictures rip-off of The Defiant Ones. Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal.

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