Reelblack (Highly) Recommends The BlackStar Film Festival

Reelblack strongly urges you to make time to support this weekend’s BLACKSTAR FILM FESTIVAL.  It kicks off today with screenings at International House (3701 Chestnut Street) and a FREE Opening Night Reception at ICA.

All the programs in the fest are fantastic.  The ones we highly recommend are:

Black And Cuba (Thursday 4:10pm)

Tickets: $10 General Admission | $7 for students & seniors | $5 for IHP members

Q&A w/Robin J. Hayes & Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi moderated by Nina Moreno following the screening

Black and Cuba follows street-smart Ivy League students who, outcast at their elite university, band together and venture to Cuba to see if revolution is truly possible. With cutting-edge style and humor, this inspiring documentary illuminates how racial equality is an international human rights issue. Through the streets of Havana and Santiago, they observe the literal signs of revolution, spirited hip-hop performances and candid encounters with AfroCubans that highlight both uplifting and disheartening similarities between African American, Latino and Cuban experiences.

BlackStar presents Kahlil Joseph - (Friday 5:30pm-7:30pm,  Free) A showcase of work by
the up-and-coming auteur, perhaps best known for his short film with Flying Lotus.  Screening will be followed by a Q&A between Joseph and filmmaker Terence Nance (An Oversimplification of Her Beauty).

‘Til Infinity: Souls Of Mischief (Friday 8:30pm)

Tickets: $10 General Admission | $7 for students & seniors | $5 for IHP members

Followed by Q&A w/Shomari Smith moderated by Shawn Peters

Philadelphia Premiere

Til Infinity is a full-length documentary celebrating the twenty-year anniversary of the critically acclaimed Souls of Mischief’s album, 93 Til Infinity. With over 50 interviews with notable emcees, producers, and DJs, Til Infinity offers a retrospective, in-depth look at the famed Hieroglyphics crew’s landmark 1993 debut album. Oakland, California filmmaker, Shomari Smith, interviewed the entire Hieroglyphics collective while traveling across the country and captured intimate conversations with such hip hop notables as A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg, Dilated Peoples’ Rakaa Iriscience, Talib Kweli, Yaasin Bey, Bobbito Garcia, award winning writer Thembisa Mshaka, Snoop Dogg, highly-respected A&R and producer Dante Ross, and radio and television icon, Sway Calloway.

They Die By Dawn (Saturday 6:50pm)

Tickets: $10 General Admission | $7 for students & seniors | $5 for IHP members

Followed by Q&A w/ filmmaker Jeymes Samuel and actor Michael Kenneth Williams moderated by Rashid Zakat

In case you missed Reelblack’s earlier screening of this awesome western, here’s your chance to experience it again, with the director and star in person!

Half Of A Yellow Sun (Saturday 8:30pm)

Tickets: $10 General Admission | $7 for students & seniors | $5 for IHP members

Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Upon returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the “revolutionary professor” Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (John Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises even herself when she falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer. Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life seem to loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire world. A sweeping romantic drama, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN takes the sisters and their lovers on a journey through the war which is powerful, intensely emotional and, as the response of readers around the world has shown, it is a story which can touch everyone’s heart.

Evolution of a Criminal (Sunday 12:45pm)

Tickets: $10 General Admission | $7 for students & seniors | $5 for IHP members

Followed by Q&A w/ Darius Clark Monroe moderated by Joanna Visser Adjoian, co-founder of Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project.

Philadelphia Premiere

After seeing his mother and stepfather struggle to make ends meet while living outside of Houston, Texas, 16-year-old Darius Clark Monroe decides to help them by robbing a bank. In this autobiographical film, Monroe interviews his family members, close friends and mentors who recount his transformation from a happy kid to the moment he changed his outlook on society and his life as a whole. Returning to his neighborhood several years after the crime, Monroe presents an affecting examination of class struggles, a touching portrait of reflection and forgiveness, and an intimate story of the impact and aftermath of his crucial decision.

Time Is Illmatic (Sunday 5:00pm)

Tickets: $10 General Admission | $7 for students & seniors | $5 for IHP members

Followed by Q&A w/One9, Erik Parker and Martha Diaz moderated by Maori Karmael Holmes

Time Is Illmatic is a feature-length documentary that delves deep into the making of Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic has become a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the socio-political outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young black men searching for their voice in America. Time is Illmatic tracks the musical legacy of the Jones family, handed down to Nas from his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, and examines the social conditions and environmental influences that contributed to Nas’ worldview. Time Is Illmatic also shows how Nas-with the support of his Queensbridge neighborhood crew, the loyalty of his younger brother Jabari “Jungle” Jones, and the sacrifices of his mother, Ann Jones-overcame insurmountable odds to create arguably the greatest work of music from hip-hop’s second golden era.

Also, Be sure to check out the excellent COVER STORY on Blackstar in this week’s City Paper.

Last Chance To Save on BlackStar Film Festival Pass

A full festival pass is the best way to experience the BLACKSTAR FILM FESTIVAL.  Use the discount code BSFF14RB for 20% off a full festival pass.

Regularly $125.00, passes provide access to all festival events as well as exclusive parties and other cool benefits!
Passholder benefits:

*    Priority seating at all screenings
*    Priority entry to all parties
*    BlackStar Limited Edition Poster
*    Admission to Closing Awards Ceremony

Passes are on sale until July 30th at 10pm EST.

Thursday’s schedule:

Arthur Jafa: In Process
12:00pm | Scribe Video Center ($20/$10)

Closer: Relationship Shorts
2:10pm | IHP ($10/$7/$5)

Black and Cuba
w/Jennyselt Galata de Yoruba Andabo y Sailen
4:10pm | IHP ($10/$7/$5)

Q&A w/Robin J. Hayes & Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi moderated by Nina Moreno following the screening

Dreams Are Colder Than Death
6:30pm | IHP | ($10/$7/$5)

Q&A with Arthur Jafa and Greg Tate

Opening Night Reception
7:00pm | Institute of Contemporary Art (Free)
RSVP required

For a complete schedule, visit:

Facebook, instagram & twitter: @BlackStarFest

Hashtags: #BlackStar14 #ByIndieMeansNecessary #BlackStarFF

Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson - Let’s Be Cops on Reelblack TV

RBTV’s Mike D. spent a few moments with DAMON WAYANS, JR. and JAKE JOHNSON, stars of the new comedy LET’S BE COPS.  In this exclusive clip we ask both actors what decisions led them to show business, the importance of web comedy and what was the most fun part about shooting their new comedy, which hits theaters August 13.  Camera Darrell Horne and Shelbie Brown.  Edit: Mike D.

Readings at the X

Every Tuesday at 7pm from July 8th to August 26th at Malcolm X Park, on Pine Street between 51st and 52nd streets

July 8th:  GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BOY by Ted Lange.  This Philadelphia premiere reading is the story of George Washington’s slave Billy who, after helping secure American independence from England, seeks his own freedom from America’s first president.

July 15th: UNITY VALLEY by Rhone Fraser. Set in 1799, Richard Allen’s church hosts slaves from Jamaica transported by David Barclay seeking to emancipate them. Tensions flare when different ideas on what emancipation means surface. Featuring ARNOLD KENDALL as David Barclay, DAMIEN WALLACE as Richard Allen, CARLENE TAYLOR as Mintas, TIFFANY BARRETT as Amelia, and introducing SHAYNE POWELL as Prince.

July 22nd:  THE JOURNALS OF OSBORNE P. ANDERSON by Ted Lange. This world premiere reading is the story of John Brown through the journals of his revolutionary collaborator, Osborne Anderson, the lone survivor of the raid on Harper’s Ferry, who fought in the Union Army and lived long enough to write about it. Featuring NORMAN MARSHALL as John Brown and BRIAN ANTHONY WILSON as Osborne.

July 29th:  VOICES FROM HARPER’S FERRY by Dominic Taylor. This play is set primarily in the Kennedy farmhouse where the historic 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry took place. These collaborators debate and decide the best strategy for abolition. Based on the Narrative of Osborne P. Anderson. Featuring WALTER DESHIELDS as Osborne.

August 5th:  LADY PATRIOT by Ted Lange.  This reading is the Philadelphia premiere of a play that received critical acclaim at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival.  Set during the Civil War, the inner sanctum of Confederate President Jefferson Davis has been breached.  Information is leaking to the enemy…who is the spy? No one is privy to this information except Jefferson’s closest advisors and servants.  Featuring ZUHAIRAH MCGILL as Mary Bowser.

August 12th. NEGRO PRINCIPLES - ACT 1 by Rhone Fraser.  Harlem 1928. A. Philip Randolph is editor of the radical paper The Messenger funded by his his wife Lucille Green Randolph’s beauty and barber shop.  What happens when keeping the shop alive means defying marriage vows? Featuring CAROLINE CLAY as Lucille and BIANCA LAVERNE JONES as Delia.

August 19th. NEGRO PRINCIPLES - ACTS 2 & 3 by Rhone Fraser.  Harlem 1928, four days later. Lucille is pressured by her patrons to ask her husband to tone down the militancy of his paper that she funds. At a time when the organization he leads, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, is hungry for a workers strike, how does he respond?

August 26th.  STORIES FROM THE SISTER CIRCLE by Momma Sandi. Saundra Yvette narrates what she overhears at her mother’s kitchen table conversations from 1967 to 1971.  She discovers the bond her mother shared with her three sisters, Ethel Mae, Cleola, and Odessa, and learns why alcohol addiction becomes a viable option for her mother.

Support us at

Win Tickets To MONTY PYTHON LIVE (MOSTLY) at UA King Of Prussia This Wednesday 7/23

Reelblack, Philly’s #1 promoter of African-American Film, is giving 5 lucky readers tickets to see MONTY PYTHON LIVE (MOSTLY) at UA King of Prussia this Wednesday Night at 7:30pm

Visit to purchase advance tickets to the event!

ENTER TO WIN by sending an email with your FULL NAME AND PHONE NUMBER IN THE BODY OF THE MESSAGE and the PHRASE “MONTY PYTHON” IN THE SUBJECT LINE TO Winners will be selected at random and notified on Tuesday afternoon.

Fathom Events and Picturehouse Entertainment invite you to experience comedy legends Monty Python’s long-awaited reunion when Monty Python Live (mostly) is broadcast LIVE to cinemas nationwide on Sunday, July 20 with rebroadcasts on Wednesday, July 23 and Thursday, July 24.

For the first time in over three decades, comedy legends Monty Python will be performing live on stage together at London’s famed 02 Arena. At a combined age of just 361, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will once again perform some of their greatest hits, with modern, topical, Python-esque twists.


Monty Python are rightfully regarded as among the world’s finest-ever comedians. They influenced a generation and revolutionized comedy. Monty Python first hit our screens with the Flying Circus, which saw 45 episodes broadcast over four BBC series between 1969 and 1974. The Pythons were an instant success and became the face of British comedy.  They went on to achieve overwhelming international acclaim with the huge success of films such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail in 1975, Life of Brian in 1979 and their final film, The Meaning of Life in 1983.

Rated R.  Show runs approximately 3 hours.

Good luck!

Win Tickets To See BOYHOOD (In Theaters July 25)

Reelblack, Philly’s #1 promoter of African-American Film, is giving 10 lucky readers tickets to see BOYHOOD, a groundbreaking story filmed over the course of 12 years with the same cast! BOYHOOD opens in Philadelphia at the Ritz Five July 25th.

The admit two complimentary passes are good for any Monday-Thursday show beginning July 28.

ENTER TO WIN by sending an email with your FULL NAME AND MAILING ADDRESS IN THE BODY OF THE MESSAGE and the PHRASE “BOYHOOD” IN THE SUBJECT LINE TO Winners will be selected at random and notified on Wednesday morning.

SYNOPSIS:      Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay’s Yellow to Arcade Fire’s Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. It’s impossible to watch Mason and his family without thinking about our own journey.

Rated R.



Dick Gregory This Weekend In New Hope

Rare Area Appearance! An Evening With The Legendary
Dick Gregory For The People …
Comedian, Activist, Philosopher, Anti-Drug Crusader, Author, Actor, Recording Artist.

TWO SHOWS! Saturday July 19 and Sunday July 20 at 7pm.  The RRAZZ ROOM The Ramada, 6426 Lower York Road New Hope, PA, 18938

Tickets $35 plus 2 drinks.

Classes at Scribe


Saturdays July 26; August 2, 16

Sat 1-3PM |Wednesday, Aug 13 6-11PM (Shoot Day) |4 Sessions| Fee: $150

Instructor: Michael Dennis

Reelblack’s Mike D will teach you the basics of shooting and editing live performances.

For more info, CLICK HERE

Starts Wednesday, July 30
Wed 1-5PM | 6 Sessions | Fee: $225

Instructors: Bryan Green and Sulayman Tahir

Collaborate with Philadelphia emcees, musicians, indie rock bands and hip-hop instrumentalists and learn the basic elements of shooting and editing an entirely unique and creative music video!


Starts Monday, July 21
Mon 7-9PM | 4 Sessions | Fee: $90

Instructor: Tayarisha Poe

Learn FCP X’s workflow and how to make effective use of FCP X’ most powerful features  LEARN MORE

Starts Tuesday, July 29
Tues 7-9PM, Sat 10:30-12:30PM | 16 Sessions | Fee: $250

Instructor: Paul Hinson

Covers all major aspects of scripting and shooting a short non-fiction film in HD video. Over 8 weeks, students will refine their idea and shoot it using Scribe’s Sony NEX-EA50UH. Limited to 6 participants


BlackStar Film Festival in conjunction with The Awesome Fest co-present the Philadelphia Premiere of DEATH METAL ANGOLA, directed by Jeremy Xido, running time 83 mins.

Thursday 7/17 at 9pm  Clark Park, 43rd and Baltimore in West Philly.

Synopsis: War ravaged and potentially the richest country in Africa, Angola is the epicenter of the African hardcore music scene. Sonia Ferreira and Wilker Flores live and breathe rock and roll. They run and live in the Okutiuka orphanage in Huambo, Angola and have a dream. They are going to mount the first ever national rock concert, bringing together for the first time the best and the brightest in Angolan hardcore death metal, thrash metal and melodic death-core.
Link to Trailer: ( z86Re_LsJr0 )

Info on Awesome Fest: This years’ theme is, “The Soundtrack of Awesome” a celebration of movies that rock. For the 5th straight summer, all outdoor screenings and concerts are completely free to attend.
Link to Awesome Fest: (

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