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Idris Elba, Sophie Okonedo and Chiwetel Ejiofor make the 41st NAACP Image Award nominations

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Sophie Okonedo

Idris Elba

Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor

The 41st NAACP Image Awards nominees were announced today during a press conference at The SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. Taye Diggs (“Private Practice” – ABC), Michael Strahan (“Brothers” – FOX) and “FOX NFL Sunday”), Wanda Sykes (“The Wanda Sykes Show” – FOX), Kyle Massey (“That’s So Raven,” “Cory in the House” – Disney Channel), Chris Massey (“Zoey 101” – Nickelodeon) and Tatyana Ali (Young and the Restless – CBS) joined NAACP Image Awards Committee Chair, Clayola Brown, and Vicangelo Bulluck, Executive Producer of the telecast, to announce the categories and nominees. The 41st NAACP Image Awards will air live on Friday, February 26 (8:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT Tape-Delayed) on FOX.

This year, over 1,200 entries were received. From those entries, a special committee of 300 industry professionals and NAACP leaders from across the country selected five nominees in each of the 53 categories. Any artist, manager, publicist, production company, record label, studio, network or publishing house could submit an entry to the NAACP Image Awards. The final selections are voted on by NAACP members, and winners will be announced during the live airing of the 41st NAACP Image Awards.

The ABC network leads with a total of 22 nominations, followed by NBC with 13, CBS with 12, and FOX, Lifetime and TNT with 9 each. “Grey’s Anatomy” received 6 nominations, followed by “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” both receiving 4 nominations, followed by “Ugly Betty” with 3.

In the Recording Category, Columbia Records leads with 7 nominations, followed by Atlantic Records and Def Jam both with 5 nominations. J Records/MBK Entertainment received 4, and Interscope Records with 3. Jay-Z and Maxwell both received 5 nominations, followed by Alicia Keys with 3 and Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, and Rihanna with 2 each.

In the Motion Picture category, Lionsgate received 13 nominations. Warner Bros. Pictures follows with 7 nominations, Columbia Pictures with 4, and Overture Films with 3.

Returning event sponsors for the 41st NAACP Image Awards include Ford Motor Company, UAW/Chrysler, Sprint, and FedEx.

Founded on February 12, 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. For more information on the NAACP IMAGE AWARDS, please visit naacpimageawards.net.

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TELEVISION CATEGORIES

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • “30 Rock” (NBC)
  • “Everybody Hates Chris” (CW)
  • “Glee” (FOX)
  • “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (TBS)
  • “Ugly Betty” (ABC)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Daryl “Chill” Mitchell – “Brothers” (FOX)
  • Donald Faison – “Scrubs” (NBC)
  • Dulé Hill – “Psych” (USA Network)
  • LaVan Davis – “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (TBS)
  • Tyler James Williams – “Everybody Hates Chris” (CW)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

  • America Ferrera – “Ugly Betty” (ABC)
  • Cassi Davis – “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (TBS)
  • CCH Pounder – “Brothers” (FOX)
  • Sherri Shepherd – “Sherri” (Lifetime)
  • Tichina Arnold – “Everybody Hates Chris” (CW)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Lamman Rucker – “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns” (TBS)
  • Lance Gross – “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (TBS)
  • Larenz Tate – “Rescue Me” (FX)
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner – “Sherri” (Lifetime)
  • Tracy Morgan – “30 Rock” (NBC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Ana Ortiz – “Ugly Betty” (ABC)
  • Keshia Knight Pulliam – “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (TBS)
  • Tisha Campbell-Martin – “Rita Rocks” (Lifetime)
  • Vanessa Williams – “Ugly Betty” (ABC)
  • Wendy Raquel Robinson – “The Game” (CW)

Outstanding Drama Series

  • “Cold Case” (CBS)
  • “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
  • “HawthoRNe” (TNT)
  • “Lincoln Heights” (ABC Family)
  • “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” (HBO)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

  • Anthony Anderson – “Law & Order” (NBC)
  • Hill Harper – “CSI: NY” (CBS)
  • LL Cool J – “NCIS: Los Angeles” (CBS)
  • Laurence Fishburne – “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (CBS)
  • Taye Diggs – “Private Practice” (ABC)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

  • Chandra Wilson – “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
  • Jada Pinkett Smith – “HawthoRNe” (TNT)
  • Jill Scott – “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” (HBO)
  • Regina King – “Southland” (NBC)
  • Sandra Oh – “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Corey Reynolds – “The Closer” (TNT)
  • Delroy Lindo – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (NBC)
  • James Pickens, Jr. – “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)
  • Mekhi Phifer – “Lie To Me” (FOX)
  • Rocky Carroll – “NCIS” (CBS)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Anika Noni Rose – “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” (HBO)
  • Audra McDonald – “Private Practice” (ABC)
  • Gabrielle Union – “Flash Forward” (ABC)
  • Jurnee Smollett – “Friday Night Lights” (NBC)
  • S. Epatha Merkerson – “Law & Order” (NBC)

Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special

  • “America” (Lifetime)
  • “Brick City” (Sundance)
  • “Georgia O’Keefe” (Lifetime)
  • “Gifted Hands” (TNT)
  • “Relative Stranger” (Hallmark)

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special

  • Cuba Gooding Jr. – “Gifted Hands” (TNT)
  • Eriq La Salle – “Relative Stranger” (Hallmark)
  • Gus Hoffman – “Gifted Hands” (TNT)
  • Jaishon Fisher – “Gifted Hands” (TNT)
  • Philip Johnson – “America” (Lifetime)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special

  • Aunjanue Ellis – “Gifted Hands” (TNT)
  • Cicely Tyson – “Relative Stranger” (Hallmark)
  • Kimberly Elise – “Gifted Hands” (TNT)
  • Rosie O’Donnell – “America” (Lifetime)
  • Ruby Dee – “America” (Lifetime)

Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series

  • Bryton James – “The Young and The Restless” (CBS)
  • Cassius Willis – “The Young and The Restless” (CBS)
  • Cornelius Smith, Jr. – “All My Children” (ABC)
  • Terrell Tilford – “One Life To Live” (ABC)
  • Texas Battle – “The Bold and the Beautiful” (CBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series

  • Daphne Duplaix – “One Life to Live” (ABC)
  • Debbi Morgan – “All My Children” (ABC)
  • Eva Marcelle – “The Young and the Restless” (CBS)
  • Tatyana Ali – “The Young and The Restless” (CBS)
  • Tonya Lee Williams – “The Young and the Restless” (CBS)

Outstanding News/ Information – (Series or Special)

  • “Anderson Cooper 360: President Obama’s African Journey” (CNN)
  • “CNN Presents: Reclaiming the Dream 2” (CNN)
  • “The Inauguration of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States” (BET)
  • “Judge Mathis” (Syndicated)
  • “Leading Women: India.Arie, Dr. Maya Angelou” (Centric)

Outstanding Talk Series

  • “Lopez Tonight” (TBS)
  • “The Mo’Nique Show” (BET)
  • “The Tyra Banks Show” (CW)
  • “The View” (ABC)
  • “The Wanda Sykes Show” (FOX)

Outstanding Reality Series

  • “American Idol 8” (FOX)
  • “America’s Next Top Model” (CW)
  • “Dancing With the Stars” (ABC)
  • “Extreme Makeover” (ABC)
  • “Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo)

Outstanding Variety – (Series or Special)

  • “BET Awards 2009” (BET)
  • “Bill Cosby: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor” (PBS)
  • “Michael Jackson Memorial Service” (ABC, BET, CNN, MTV, NBC)
  • “Wanda Sykes: I’ma Be Me” (HBO)
  • “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial” (HBO)

Outstanding Children’s Program

  • “The Backyardigans – The Action Elves Save Christmas” (Nickelodeon)
  • “Dora The Explorer: Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure” (Nickelodeon)
  • “Go, Diego, Go: Diego Reunites Hippopotamus and Oxpecker” (Nickelodeon)
  • “True Jackson, VP” (Nickelodeon)
  • “Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie” (Disney Channel)

Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program – (Series or Special)

  • Caitlin Sanchez – “Dora the Explorer” (Nickelodeon)
  • Keke Palmer – “True Jackson, VP” (Nickelodeon)
  • LaShawn Jeffries – “The Backyardigans” (Nickelodeon)
  • Nick Cannon – “TeenNick HALO Awards” (TeenNick)
  • Selena Gomez – “Wizards of Waverly Place” (Disney Channel)

RECORDING CATEGORIES

Outstanding New Artist

  • Jeremih (Def Jam)
  • Keri Hilson (Mosley Music Group/Zone 4 Inc/Interscope Records)
  • K’Jon (Universal Republic Records)
  • Kristinia DeBarge (Def Jam)
  • Melanie Fiona (SRC/Universal/Motown)

Outstanding Male Artist

  • Anthony Hamilton (SoSo Def/Jive Records)
  • Charlie Wilson (Jive Label Group)
  • Jay-Z (Atlantic Records)
  • Maxwell (Columbia Records)
  • Ne-Yo (Def Jam)

Outstanding Female Artist

  • Alicia Keys (Columbia Records)
  • India.Arie (Universal Republic Records)
  • Mary J. Blige (Matriarch/Geffen)
  • Rihanna (Def Jam)
  • Whitney Houston (Artista Records)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration

  • 3 Mo’ Divas (MariMo’ Music Inc.)
  • The Black Eyed Peas (Interscope Records)
  • Day26 (Bad Boy Records)
  • Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys (Atlantic Records)
  • Jay-Z ft. Rihanna & Kanye West (Atlantic Records)

Outstanding Jazz Album

  • “Detroit” – Gerald Wilson Orchestra (Mack Avenue Records)
  • “He and She” – Wynton Marsalis (Blue Note Records)
  • “Kind of Brown” – Christian McBride & Inside Straight (Mack Avenue Records)
  • “Poetically Justified” – Marcus Johnson (Three Keys Music)
  • “The Real Thing” – Vanessa Williams (Concord Records)

Outstanding Gospel Album – (Traditional or Contemporary)

  • “A City Called Heaven” – Shirley Caesar (Light Records)
  • “How I Got Over” – Vickie Winans (Destiny Joy)
  • “Love Unstoppable” – Fred Hammond (Verity Records)
  • “Still” – BeBe & CeCe Winans (B & C Records)
  • “We Are All One: Live In Detroit” – Donnie McClurkin (Verity Records)

Outstanding World Music Album

  • “11:11” – Rodrigo y Gabriela (ATO Records/Red)
  • “Black President” – Sila and the Afrofunk Experience (Visila Records)
  • “Morabeza” – Maria de Barros (Sheer Legacy [Sheer Group South African Label])
  • “ReCreation” – Zap Mama (Heads Up International/Concord Music Group)
  • “Seya” – Oumou Sangare (Nonesuch/World Circuit)

Outstanding Music Video

    • “Blame It” – Jamie Foxx ft. T-Pain (J Records/MBK Entertainment)
    • “Boom Boom Pow” – The Black Eyed Peas (Interscope Records)
    • “I Look To You” – Whitney Houston (Arista)
    • “Pretty Wings” – Maxwell (Columbia Records)
    • “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” – Alicia Keys (J Records/MBK Entertainment)

Outstanding Song

    • “Bad Habits” – Maxwell (Columbia Records)
    • “Blame It” – Jamie Foxx ft. T-Pain (J Records/MBK Entertainment)
    • “Empire State of Mind” – Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys (Atlantic Records)
    • “God In Me” – Mary Mary (Columbia Records)
    • “Pretty Wings” – Maxwell (Columbia Records)

Outstanding Album

    • “The Blueprint 3” – Jay-Z (Atlantic Records)
    • “BLACKsummers’night” – Maxwell (Columbia Records)
    • “The Element of Freedom” – Alicia Keys (J Records/MBK Entertainment)
    • “Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel” – Mariah Carey (Def Jam)
    • “Stronger With Each Tear” – Mary J. Blige (Matriarch/Geffen)

 

LITERATURE CATEGORIES

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction

    • “Basketball Jones” – E. Lynn Harris (deceased) (Doubleday)
    • “Before I Forget” – Leonard Pitts, Jr. (Agate Bolden)
    • “Life is Short But Wide” – J. California Cooper (Doubleday)
    • “The Book of Night Women” – Marlon James Riverhead Books)
    • “The Long Fall” – Walter Mosley (Riverhead Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Non-Fiction

    • “Brain Surgeon”: A Doctor’s Inspiring Encounters With Mortality and Miracles – Arnold Mann with Keith Black, MD (Grand Central Publishing)
    • “Family Affair: What It Means to be African American Today” – Gil L. Robertson, IV (Agate Bolden)
    • “Freedom in My Heart: Voices From the United States National Slavery Museum” – Cynthia Jacobs Carter (National Geographic Books)
    • “In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past” – Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Crown)
    • “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” – Al Gore (Rodale Inc.)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author

    • “3rd Generation Country” – BeNeca Ward (Xlibris Corporation)
    • “A Question of Freedom” – R. Dwayne Betts (Avery Books)
    • “Black Water Rising” – Attica Locke (Harper)
    • “Kiss the Sky: A Novel” – Farai Chideya (Atria Books)
    • “Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange” – Amanda Smyth (Three Rivers Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Auto-Biography

    • “Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud” – Dr. Cornel West (SmileyBooks)
    • “Michelle Obama” – Deborah Willis (W. W. Norton)
    • “POPS: A Life of Louis” – Terry Teachout (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
    • “Shooting Stars” – LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger (The Penguin Press)
    • “Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne” – James Gavin (Atria Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional

    • “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man” – Steve Harvey (Amistad)
    • “The Conversation: How Black Men & Women Can Build Loving, Trusting Relationships” – Hill Harper (Gotham Books)
    • “Down to Business” – Clara Villarosa with Alicia Villarosa (Avery Books)
    • “Start Where You Are” – Chris Gardner (Amistad)
    • “Your Money or Your Life” – Alvin Hall (Atria Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry

    • “Bicycles” – Nikki Giovanni (William Morrow)
    • “Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry” – Camille Dungy (The University of Georgia Press)
    • “Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem” – Mitchell L. H. Douglas (Red Hen Press)
    • “Mixology: National Poetry Series” – Adrian Matejka (Penguin Group [USA])
    • “Roses and Revolutions: The Selected Writings of Dudley Randall” – Melba Joyce Boyd (Wayne State University Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children

    • “Child of the Civil Rights Movement” – Paula Young Shelton (Random House Children’s Books)
    • “Negro Speaks of Rivers” – Langston Hughes (Author), E.B. Lewis (Illustrator) (Disney-Jump at the Sun/Disney Book Group)
    • “Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change” – Michelle Cook (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
    • “Peeny Butter Fudge” – Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
    • “Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Toeshoe Trouble” – Whoopi Goldberg (Disney-Jump at the Sun/Disney Book Group)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens

    • “Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice” – Phillip Hoose (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/Farrar Straus and Giroux)
    • “Just Another Hero” – Sharon Draper (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
    • “Mare’s War” – Tanita S. Davis (Random House Children’s Books)
    • “Michelle Obama: Meet the First Lady” – David Bergen Brophy (Collins-An Imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books)
    • “Rock and the River” – Kekla Magoon (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES

Outstanding Motion Picture

  • “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • “Invictus” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • “Michael Jackson’s: This Is It” (Columbia Pictures)
  • “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
  • “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Denzel Washington – “The Taking of Pelham 123” (Columbia Pictures)
  • Idris Elba – “Obsessed” (Screen Gems)
  • Jamie Foxx – “Law Abiding Citizen” (Overture Films)
  • Morgan Freeman – “Invictus” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Quinton Aaron – “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Anika Noni Rose – “The Princess and the Frog” (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Gabourey Sidibe – “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
  • Sandra Bullock – “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Sophie Okonedo – “Skin” (Jour De Fete Films)
  • Taraji P. Henson – “Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Adam Rodriguez – “Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself” (Lionsgate)
  • Anthony Mackie – “The Hurt Locker” (Summit Entertainment)
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor – “2012” (Columbia Pictures)
  • Danny Glover – “2012” (Columbia Pictures)
  • Lenny Kravitz – “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Alfre Woodard – “American Violet” (Universal Pictures)
  • Mariah Carey – “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
  • Mo’Nique – “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
  • Paula Patton – “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
  • Zoe Saldana – “Avatar” (Paramount Pictures)


The nominees listed in the following categories were voted upon by Subcommittees.

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture

  • “American Violet” (Samuel Goldwyn Company)
  • “Amreeka” (National Geographic Entertainment)
  • “Endgame” (Montery Entertainment)
  • “Medicine for Melancholy” (IFC Films)
  • “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Foreign Motion Picture

  • “The Maid” (Elephant Eye Films)
  • “Rudo y Cursi” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Sin Nombre” (Focus Features)
  • “Skin” (Jour De Fete Films)
  • “The Stoning of Soraya M.” (Mpower Pictures)

DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY

Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical or Television)

  • “Capitalism: A Love Story” (Overture Films)
  • “Crips and Bloods: Made in America” (Gravitas Ventures)
  • “Crude” (First Run Features)
  • “Good Hair” (Roadside Attractions)
  • “More than a Game” (Lionsgate)

WRITING CATEGORIES

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

  • Alyson Fouse – “Brothers” – Meet Mike Trainor (FOX)
  • Hallsted Sullivan with Warren Lieberstein – “The Office” – Café Disco (NBC)
  • Kenny Smith – “The Game” – The Wedding (CW)
  • Marc Willmore – “The Simpsons” – The Good, The Sad, & The Drugly (FOX)
  • Saladin Patterson & James Roday – “Psych” – High Top Fade Out (USA Network)

Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series

  • Alexander Woo – “True Blood” – Beyond Here Lies Nothin (HBO)
  • Kathleen McGhee-Anderson – “Lincoln Heights” – Home Again (ABC Family)
  • Sara Hess – “House” – The Greater Good (FOX)
  • Shonda Rhimes – “Grey’s Anatomy” – What a Difference A Day Makes (ABC)
  • Zoanne Clack – “Grey’s Anatomy” – Stand By Me (ABC)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television)

  • Anthony Peckham – “Invictus” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Geoffrey Fletcher – “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
  • John Lee Hancock – “The Blind Side” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Reggie Rock Bythewood and Cheo Hodari Coker – “Notorious” (Fox Searchlight)
  • Tyler Perry – “Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself” (Lionsgate)

DIRECTING CATEGORIES

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series

  • Ali LeRoi – “Everybody Hates Chris” – Everybody Hates The G.E.D. (CW)
  • Justin Lin – “Community” – Introduction to Statistics (NBC)
  • Ken Whittingham – “30 Rock” – The Funcooker (NBC)
  • Michael Shultz – “Drop Dead Diva” – Second Chances (Lifetime)
  • Reggie Hudlin – “The Office” – Koi Pond (NBC)

Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series

    • Chandra Wilson – “Grey’s Anatomy” – Give Peace a Chance (ABC)
    • Edward James Olmos – “Battlestar Galactica” – Islanded in a Stream of Stars (Syfy)
    • Ernest Dickerson – “Dexter” – Road Kill (Showtime)
    • Kevin Sullivan – “Lincoln Heights” – Aftershock (ABC Family)
    • Paris Barclay – “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” – Coup de Grace (CBS)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television)

    • F. Gary Gray – “Law Abiding Citizen” (Overture Films)
    • George Tillman, Jr. – “Notorious” (Fox Searchlight)
    • Lee Daniels – “Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire” (Lionsgate)
    • Scott Sanders – “Black Dynamite” (Apparition)
    • Spike Lee – “Passing Strange: The Movie” (IFC Films/Sundance Selects)

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TV and Movies

South African Actress Thuso Mbedu Lands A Lead Role In Hollywood’s Amazon Series

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Thuso Mbedu at the 2018 International Emmy Awards show in New York

South African sensational actress, Thuso Mbedu has made history by becoming the first South African actress to land a lead role in a Hollywood TV series. Consequently, the 28-year old actress will be playing the role of Cora in the TV series ‘The Underground Railroad’. The premiere will be later this year.

Barry Jenkins, the award-winning director took up the challenge to direct the series. Jenkins is also the co-writer of Moonlight, an Academy Award-winning film. Reliable reports hint that Jenkins will be the director of all the eleven episodes. Each of the episodes has a one-hour duration. Subsequent announcement about the cast and project by Variety Magazine said,

“The cast will be led by Thuso Mbedu as Cora, with Chase W. Dillon as Homer and Aaron Pierre as Caesar. The project was first set up more than two years ago, on the heels of Barry Jenkins’s Oscar win for the film Moonlight, with Amazon officially ordering it to series last June.”

A sneak peek into cast and story

‘The Underground Railroad’ is an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead. The Underground Railroad is a 2016 publication that tells the story of Cora. Thuso Mbedu will be playing the role of Cora, a young slave girl working on a cotton plantation in Georgia. However, Cora faces rejection among Americans and her African peers. A slave, Caesar, arrives from Virginia and beckons on her to join him on the Underground Railroad. Cora seizes the opportunity to escape with him.

The historical significance of The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad has a historical significance. It is not just a metaphor but a network of engineers, secret tunnels and tracks underneath the Southern soil. The Underground Railroad also has a network of people who aid fugitives to escape to the North of Canada. One of the key figures in the Underground Railroad network is Ohio’s John Fairfield, an abolitionist and former slave.

Fairfield became famous for employing inventive techniques to help fleeing slaves make it to Free-States. However, Fairfield is not the only one in this practice. Another key figure in this practice was Levi Coffin. The Quaker aided over 3,000 slaves. Harriet Tubman accompanied over 300 slaves on a perilous journey to freedom.

Mbedu’s reaction

Mbedu shot into the spotlight with her role in ‘Generations: The Legacy’. However, her role as Winnie in ‘Is’thunzi’ earned her two International Emmy Award nominations in 2018 and 2019. The gorgeous actress took to her Instagram page to share good news. She shared a picture of her and three other characters followed by a long outpouring of gratitude and emotion.

View this post on Instagram

My thumb and neurons are failing me right now so I'll just do as most South Africans do when this happens: I GOT THE JOB!!!! It was such an amazing process and experience. Like, true story, just prepping to audition for this role made me grow so much. It's such a blessing and honour to tell this story… Again, words fail me so I'll stop there for now. Read the full article on @variety .com #chapter27 #becomingthepromise God of creation There at the start Before the beginning of time With no point of reference You spoke to the dark And fleshed out the wonder of light And as You speak A hundred billion galaxies are born In the vapor of Your breath the planets form If the stars were made to worship so will I I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made Every burning star A signal fire of grace If creation sings Your praises so will I God of Your promise You don’t speak in vain No syllable empty or void For once You have spoken All nature and science Follow the sound of Your voice And as You speak A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath Evolving in pursuit of what You said If it all reveals Your nature so will I I can see Your heart in everything You say Every painted sky A canvas of Your grace If creation still obeys You so will I – @hillsongunited

A post shared by Thuso Mbedu (@thuso.mbedu) on

South African actresses like Pearl Thusi and Terry Pheto are big names in Hollywood TV series. However, none has ever played a lead role. There seem to be a lot of accolades coming out of South Africa. A few days ago, Manthso by Palesa Mokubung made history as the first African fashion brand to land a global collaboration with H&M. This is not an individual success but a collective national success.

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TV and Movies

Famous Talent Show Comes To East Africa

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East Africa Got Talent

The famous TV series ‘Got Talent’ is coming to East Africa. Tagged ‘East Africa Got Talent’, the show will seek to identify exceptional talent in the region. The show which is the brainchild of Simon Cowell’s SYCOtv Company is now featured in over 50 countries across the globe. Cowell is famous for his strict judgments in the initial seasons of American Idol. However, Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent are the most famous. A statement from Safaricom’s Chief Customer Officer, Sylvia Mulinge read,

“The famous ‘Got Talent’ reality TV series is coming to East Africa! We are on location at Movenpick to launch the series, as we announce our title sponsorship for East Africa’s Got Talent. We are happy to announce our sponsorship of this iconic show which has been lauded as one of the world’s most successful reality TV franchise.”

The host for inaugural East Africa Got Talent

Anne Kansiime

The hilarious comedian Anne Kansiime has been named the host for the inaugural edition of the show. The show will search for the best talents across Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Some of the talent-acts the judges will be on the lookout for are comedians, dancers, singers, and more. The audition is open for anyone with any form of talent irrespective of age. In a message shared on her social media, Kansiime said,

“Oooh Ninjas, am struggling to contain this excitement. I doubt there is an Emoji I can use to illustrate it. This is it; “The famous ‘Got Talent’ reality TV series is coming to East Africa. Yes, as “East Africa’s Got Talent”. Am so happy and excited to announce my association with this iconic show which has been lauded as the world’s most successful reality TV franchise as the Host.”

A preliminary audition will hold across the four countries in major cities between from May 11 to 26. However, those who are successful will head to Nairobi, Kenya where they will perform in front of judges. They will compete until the semifinals where six people will compete for $50,000. The screening of the show is scheduled to begin in August. However, the show will have ten episodes besides the semifinal and final. The last two stages will be aired live.

The most successful reality TV

The episode of Got Talent was on June 21, 2006. Twelve years on, the show is coming to East Africa. The Guinness World Records on April 2014 named the show the ‘World’s Most Successful Reality TV Format’. South Sudan and Burundi are part of East Africa but omitted from the list. However, there is no formal statement restricting them from participating.

Those who cannot make it to the pre-audition venues can still participate online through www.rapidblue.formstack.com. Alternatively, you can record your act in a one-minute video and send it to the WhatsApp number +254 (0)703 437 903 with your name, age, and country.

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SZA Surprises Fans With The Adoption Of Nigerian Names

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SZA adopts Nigerian names

American music sensation Solana Rowe aka SZA made eyes pop on her Instagram page recently. However, this time it wasn’t just about stunning pictures. The music star on Thursday, April 11th, 2019, adopted two Nigerian names, “Amarachi Chinonso”. The names which are peculiar with the Igbos in Southeastern Nigeria means “God’s grace” and “God is close” respectively. The Instagram sensation has over 5.7 million followers. Mix reactions followed SZA’s name change. There were the positives, negatives and the neutral.

The 29-year old singer was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in St. Louis. Fans immediately began to pour out their admiration for the African-American artiste’s willingness to identify with her African heritage. However, not every fan loves to make assumptions. A few fans were keen to find out the motive for her actions.

Some of the reactions trailing SZA’s name change

A picture posted days after the name change has over 618k likes and 4k comments. In addition to admiring her stunning beauty, a number of the comments revolves around her name change. However, a few of the inspiring or eyebrow-raising comments include;

Zizilords.xo; “Chineke such beauty!!! Daluu ooh#igbo_sister”

Majesty_lyn; “Omg, you’re Nigerian!!!!!!! I’m screaming”.

Itslavivi; “Can you please tell us the inspiration behind the Igbo name in your bio?”

Kelechikakesss; “If you (‘re) Nigerian, can you tell us because we wanna know ASAP?”

Obsessed_style; “Shoutout to @SZA for being an absolute queen. We’ve always love you but now our love for you is x3. Igbo kwenu!”

Carolinetheshe_; Nice fit but please we need clarity on your new Nigerian names

Derinfromisaleeko: We need to know, are you Nigerian? Are you one of us.. We love you still if you aren’t.

Recent and past musical projects

The Grammy-nominee songstress performed recently at Dreamville festival. The event was also graced by Nigerian Afrobeat star, Davido. For the past few weeks, the artist has been teasing her fans on social media about her upcoming project. Apparently, SZA featured alongside ‘Travis Scott’ and ‘The Weekend’ on Game of Thrones official soundtrack. On Thursday 18, April, SZA finally shared the Game of Thrones soundtrack with the caption ‘POWER IS POWER OUT NOW”

SZA shot into limelight in 2017 with the release of her debut album, ‘Ctrl’. The album made its debut on the US Billboard 200 at number 3. Consequently, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) gave the album platinum certification. The album got four Grammy Awards nominations. SZA, on the other hand, bagged the ‘Best New Artiste’ nomination at the 60th award ceremony.

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