[BlackTree TV – New York] Shawn Edwards sits down with Steve McQueen’s “Go To Man”, actor Michael Fassbender who gives a moving performance in 12 Years a Slave.
Q: What became of Northup’s slave masters — William Prince Ford, Edwin Epps and Mistress Epps?
William Prince Ford was forced to sell Northup after he experienced financial difficulties The man he sold him to, John M. Tibaut (called Tibeats in Northup’s book and in the film) could not afford to pay Northup’s full value, so Ford was in a way still a part-owner. This is why Ford was able to prevent Tibaut from murdering Northup. Ford was a prominent Baptist minister, serving several congregations. One of them, the Springhill Baptist Church, expelled him for heresy, partly because he had allowed a Methodist to take communion at the church (an example of his generous spirit). Ford wore several other hats: in addition to operating the lumber mill where Northup worked, Ford manufactured bricks and mattresses.
The woman Ford was married to while Northup was his slave, Martha (Tanner) Ford passed away in 1849, and he got married a second time, to Mary Dawson. Rev. Ford passed away on August 23, 1866 and was buried in a cemetery known as the Old Cheney Cemetery in Cheneyville, Louisiana.
Edwin Epps had wanted to contest Northup’s removal from his possession, but his legal counsel advised him that the case was so clear-cut (due to documents presented in court in Marksville, Louisiana, which proved Northup had been born free), that he should simply give up Northup rather than incur pointless legal expenses, and he did so.
Epps gave up drink while Northup was still his slave, since Northup mentions that in his book. Epps continued working his plantation after Northup’s departure. The 1860 Federal Census shows that he had assets amounting to over $20,000.
During the Civil War some northern soldiers sought out the Epps plantation as the army worked its way through Louisiana. They found many people, both black and white, who remembered Northup and his fiddle-playing, and they even located Epps. What Northup wrote in his book, Epps told the
soldiers, was mostly true, and in a back-handed compliment to Northup he told them that he was an “unusually smart nigger.” Epps died on March 3, 1867. His place of burial is uncertain.
The house that Northup and carpenter Samuel Bass worked on for Epps still exists. It has avoided destruction several times, and has also been moved several times. It is now located on the campus of the Louisiana State University at Alexandria, and it has been declared a historic structure.
Mistress Epps, whose maiden name was Mary Robert, became the “Natural Tutrix” (or guardian) of her and her husband’s minor children following Epps’ death. However she died soon afterward. Many, if not all, of the children left Louisiana and relocated to various places in Texas.
Born in Germany, and raised in Killarney, Ireland, MICHAEL FASSBENDER (Edwin Epps) is a graduate of London’s prestigious Drama Centre. His breakthrough role came when he was cast in the epic Steven Spielberg/Tom Hanks production, “Band of Brothers.” His big screen debut came with Zack Snyder’s hugely successful 300.
Fassbender’s performance as Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen’s HUNGER won large critical acclaim and, following the film’s Camera D’Or winning premiere at Cannes in 2008, Fassbender scooped up numerous international festival awards including the British Independent Film Award (BIFA) and Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA) for ‘Best Actor'; a London Film Critics Circle Award; and ‘Best Actor’ honours from the 2008 Stockholm and Chicago International Film Festivals. He was honoured at the latter festival the following year as ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his performance in Andrea Arnold’s FISH TANK. The portrayal brought him BIFA and IFTA nominations as well as his second London Film Critics Award. He was also an IFTA nominee for his performance in Marc Munden’s miniseries “The Devil’s Whore.”
[BlackTree TV – Beverly Hills] Erin ‘Tjoe’ sits down with the Chloë Grace Moretz, the star of the new horror remake CARRIE. She talks to the young star about womanhood, staying grounded and keeping the boys at bay.
A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White (Chloë Grace Moretz), a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother (Julianne Moore), who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom.
Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King, Carrie is directed by Kimberly Peirce with a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
A BlackTree Media Production
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The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete is an upcoming American drama film directed by George Tillman, Jr. and written by Michael Starrbury. The film stars Anthony Mackie, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks and Jeffrey Wright. Coming of age story about two inner city youths, who are left to fend for themselves over the summer after their mothers are taken away by the authorities. Presenting Skylan Brooks (Mister) and Ethan Dizon (Pete) in the title roles.
Following the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Jennifer Hudson), from her strict rural upbringing by a father disappointed she was not born a boy, to her giving up the chance to study in America in order to remain in South Africa where she felt more needed, to her fight while her husband Nelson Mandela’s (Terrence Howard) imprisonment. Jennifer Hudson portrays what she calls her most” Powerful role” in Winne Madela. Starring, Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela, Wendy Crewson as Mary Botha
and Elias Koteas as de Vries. Directed by Darrell Roodt and produced by Michael Mosca and T.D. Jakes this must-see movie hits theaters Sept. 6
A native of New York City, VIN DIESEL (Riddick/Produced by) has become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after film stars. In addition to his huge box- office success, Diesel is a prominent producer and filmmaker. Most recently, he starred in and produced the box-office smash hit Fast & Furious 6, which has grossed
more than $670 million worldwide.
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JESSE WILLIAMS (REV. JAMES LAWSON)
A native of Chicago and graduate of Temple University, Williams began his professional career teaching American, African and African-American History in low income Philadelphia public charter schools. From there Williams moved to New York City and, after working at a law firm, began his professional acting career, performing off- Broadway at The Cherry Lane Theatre, under the direction of award-winning playwright Edward Albee in “The Sandbox.” This year Williams enters his 5th season as Dr. Jackson Avery in ABC’s hit series “Grey’s Anatomy.” His feature credits include “Brooklyn’s Finest”, “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2″ and “The Cabin in the Woods.”
Williams performed in two festival bound short films this summer: the comedy RICH GIRL PROBLEMS with Ellie Kemper and the western THEY DIE BY DAWN, with Michael K Williams, Rosario Dawson, Erykah Badu and many more. The film enjoyed its world premiere at the 2013 South By Southwest Film Festival.
Williams founded the production company, farWord Inc. with his wife Aryn Drakelee- Williams out of a desire to examine and affect the relationship between historical/cultural comprehension and the ways in which media content influences our [collective and individual] health and behavior. Through the development of valuable curriculum, literary, film/TV and new media projects, farWord Inc. is dedicated to developing an honest and innovative presence necessary for cultural leadership, creative and psychological independence.
Williams is an executive producer of Question Bridge: Black Males, a transmedia and video installation that is being exhibited in museums nationwide as well as the Sundance Film Festival & Los Angeles Film Festival. A free curriculum and website are currently in development and will launch as a 24-hour dialogue hub, facilitating exchanges around identity among a critical mass of American Black men, before welcoming nationwide interaction among and across all demographics.
We sat down with Academy Award Winner Forest Whitaker to talk about his new movie The Butler.
FOREST WHITAKER (CECIL GAINES)
Forest Whitaker is a distinguished artist and humanist. He is the founder of PeaceEarth Foundation, co-founder and chair of the International Institute for Peace and is the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation. Whitaker is also a talented, versatile performer and one of Hollywood’s most accomplished figures. He has received prestigious artistic distinctions including the 2007 Academy Award® for Best Actor for his performance in The Last King of Scotland as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He has also received the BAFTA Award, SAG Award, and Golden Globe® for Best Actor. In addition, Whitaker received the Best Actor for Bird at the Cannes Film Festival.
Whitaker has dedicated most of his time to extensive humanitarian work over the past decade. His social awareness has compelled him to seek ways of using the film medium as a means to raise peoples’ consciousness. He produced the award-winning documentary Kassim the Dream,
which tells the poignant story of a Ugandan child soldier turned world championship boxer, Rising From Ashes, which profiles Genocide survivors of the Rwandan war who have risen from wooden bicycles to competing in the Olympics, Serving Life, which focuses on hospice care for prisoners at Louisiana’s Angola Prison, and the Emmy nominated and Peabody Award-winning Brick City, which takes a look at inner-city life in Newark, New Jersey.
In 2007, Whitaker received the Cinema for Peace Award for his selfless and ongoing advocacy for child soldiers, as well as his work with inner-city youth. He was also awarded the Humanitas Prize in 2001. In 2008, he served as a member of the Urban Policy Committee and currently sits on the board of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). Whitaker serves as a Senior Research Scholar at Rutgers University, and a Visiting Professor at Ringling College of Art and Design. In 2011, Whitaker was designated as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Reconciliation. In this role, he works towards global peace building through anti-violent education, research, training and community building. In recognition of his commitment as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and for his outstanding contribution to the work of the Organization, Whitaker received in December 2012 the United Nations Correspondents Association Advocate of the Year Award. In 2013, Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center appointed Whitaker as a Martin Luther King Jr. Fellow.
We sat down with the Queen of Media, Oprah Winfrey to talk about her return to acting in The Butler and where do we stand in the face of The Dream.
LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER is set against the tumultuous political backdrop of 20th century
America. Academy Award® nominated director Lee Daniels’ (PRECIOUS) epic drama tells the story of fictional White House butler Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), who serves during seven presidential administrations between 1957 and 1986. The film is inspired by Wil Haygood’s 2008 Washington Post article “A Butler Well Served by This Election” which chronicled the real life of former White House butler Eugene Allen. The film begins in 1926 and follows a young Cecil as he escapes the tyranny of the fiercely segregated South in search of a better life. Along his arduous journey to manhood Cecil learns invaluable skills that ultimately lead to an opportunity of a lifetime: a job as a butler at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There, Cecil becomes a firsthand witness to history and the inner workings of the Oval Office as the civil rights movement unfolds. At home, his loving wife Gloria (Oprah Winfrey) raises their two sons, and the family benefits from a comfortable middle-class existence enabled by Cecil’s White House position. But Cecil’s commitment to his “First Family” fosters tensions at home, alienating Gloria and creating conflict with his anti-establishment son (David Oyelowo). Through the eyes and emotions of the Gaines family, Daniels’ film follows the changing tides of American politics and race relations; from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, to the Freedom Riders and Black Panther movements, to the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, Cecil experiences the effects of these events as both an insider and a family man. With an incredible supporting cast that includes Yaya Alafia, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Elijah Kelley, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber and Robin Williams, LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER is a story about the resilience of one man, the growth of a nation, and the power of family.
Two-time Academy Award®-winning actor DENZEL WASHINGTON (Robert “Bobby” Trench) is a man constantly on the move. Never comfortable repeating himself or his successes, Washington always searches for new challenges through his numerous and varied film and stage portrayals. From embittered runaway slave Trip, in Glory, to South African freedom fighter Steve Biko, in Cry Freedom; from Shakespeare’s tragic historical figure Richard III to rogue detective Alonzo Harris, in Training Day, Washington has amazed and entertained audiences with a rich array of characters distinctly his own.
Washington started off 2012 starring in Universal Pictures’ action-thriller Safe House, directed by Daniel Espinosa. The film opened to more than $40 million in its first weekend and was the second largest of Washington’s career. In his most recent role, Washington starred in Robert Zemeckis’ Flight, for Paramount Pictures. His performance in Flight brought him Academy Award®, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations.
In the spring of 2010, Washington made his return to Broadway where he appeared opposite Viola Davis in a 14-week run of August Wilson’s Fences. His powerful performance as Troy, a one-time baseball star turned sanitation worker who struggles to reconcile his past and present, earned him his first Tony Award, as well as a Tony Award for both the play and Davis. Also in 2010, Warner Bros. Pictures released Book of Eli, a postapocalyptic Western that tells the story of one man’s fight across
MARK WAHLBERG (Michael “Stig” Stigman) earned both Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations for his standout work in the family boxing biopic The Fighter and Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed drama The Departed. Wahlberg has enjoyed playing diverse characters for visionary filmmakers such as David O. Russell, Tim Burton and Paul Thomas Anderson. His breakout role in Boogie Nights established Wahlberg as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after talents.
Wahlberg’s remarkable film career began with Renaissance Man, directed by Penny Marshall, and The Basketball Diaries, with Leonardo DiCaprio, followed by a star turn opposite Reese Witherspoon in the thriller Fear. He later headlined Three Kings and The Perfect Storm, with George Clooney, and The Italian Job, with Charlize Theron. Wahlberg then starred in the football biopic Invincible, with Greg Kinnear, and Shooter, based on the best-selling novel “Point of Impact.” He reunited with The Yards director James Gray and co-star Joaquin Phoenix in We Own the Night, which he also produced. Other projects include The Happening, Max Payne, The Lovely Bones, Date Night and The Other Guys. He most recently starred in Allen Hughes’ Broken City, with Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones; Seth MacFarlane’s Ted; Baltasar Kormákur’s Contraband, with; and Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain, with Dwayne Johnson. Next, Wahlberg can be seen in Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor.
Also an accomplished film and television producer, Wahlberg has received a Peabody Award, two Oscar® nominations, two Golden Globe nominations and five Primetime Emmy nominations. In addition to Broken City, Contraband, The Fighter and We Own the Night, Wahlberg is executive producer of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. He also executive produced HBO’s Entourage, In Treatment and How to Make It in America.
We sat down with Pharrell Williams, to talk about making the music behind Despicable Me 2, marking his 2nd time time working on the music behind the movie, his first being Despicable Me.