With the recent death of actor, Chadwick Boseman, Black TV Film Crew featured Jennifer Franklin, an oncology nurse with 20 years experience who also happens to be a colon cancer survivor. We wanted to honor Chad’s life and educate our community. The video is below…
Today Black TV Film Crew mourns the loss of actor and writer Chadwick Boseman. As reported by many media outlets, he succumbed to colon cancer after a 4-year battle. We fell in love with the actor’s work after seeing him portray historical African American icons James Brown, and Jackie Robinson but it was his portrayal of King T’Challa in Black Panther that truly inspired us.
I wanted to write this letter to him to share how we feel.
My son and I went to see you on opening weekend in Black Panther. For a mom, raising a teenage son, you were everything I wanted my son to see and more. Superhero movies with all of their strength, flash, and courage to fight evil were always portrayed by the White boys. No shade though. We got love for Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth. But when we saw you on that big screen… Chadwick as T’Challa… our eyes became as big as our hearts. We loved the dignity with which you carried the character and the grace in which you moved.
At times we held hands in the movie, we wanted to make sure we weren’t dreaming.
I remember stealing glances at my son as the movie played. His grin was wide and his eyes were wider. At times we held hands in the movie, we wanted to make sure we weren’t dreaming. King T’Challa was handsome, intelligent, witty, protective and as cool as all the other Marvel superheroes. Probably cooler. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, he had some melanin. Indeed. He was a sexy chocolate bar, a tall mocha latte, some man candy with bright white teeth. For Black single women watching Black Panther, T’Challa was a dream—the man you wished would hit you up on Facebook for the digits—the man you wished would slide into your IG DMs.
But, I’m not gonna reduce your essence to your physical attributes. No, you are far more superior than that. The way you carried your Black Panther role and all the others with such excellence inspired all who watched. Whether you were playing James Brown or Jackie Robinson, watching you was magic. Magic. And off the screen too.
Your way with words. The way you spoke. Always articulate. Always elevating us. To borrow a phrase from WEB DuBois, “You were a credit to your race.”
There were so many more films we wanted to see you as the star.
Today I speak for myself, my son and all the Black TV Film Crew family when I say, we are gonna miss you terribly. There were so many more films we wanted to see you as the star. There were so many more dreams we wanted to have because of some outfit you wore on the red carpet. There were so many more kids whose faces needed to light up because they saw one of your performances.
You’ve taken the phrase, “Gone too soon,” and you have underscored it, made it bold and put exclamations behind it. You, sir, were worthy of at least fifty more years. We love you Chadwick and we’re gonna miss you.
On the day we heard of Chadwick’s passing, we were doing an Instagram Live. Here’s raw reaction of the action moment I heard of him passing. It’s toward the end of the clip.
Our latest episode of Family Freestyle Friday featuring poets, actors and more… Watch it here.
The Grace & Grit Speaker Series is a two-day virtual event that brings together inspiring talks from diverse women working in film and television. The speakers are a mix of industry veterans with over 20 years of experience, and young up-and-comers who have made incredible strides in the span of a few years. Based in Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta, each speaker covers a different craft in the business, including directing, cinematography, production design, casting and acting.
These women share wisdom learned from career struggles and speak truth to being underrepresented in entertainment. Amid COVID-19 and renewed calls for systemic change across all facets of American society, the arrival of Grace & Grit is timely, to say the least. As Hollywood’s future hangs in the balance, this series intends to empower and encourage women struggling to make it in Tinseltown, and those desiring to break in.
The Grace & Grit Speaker Series occurs on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26. The event weekend is free to register, with an optional VIP upgrade.
ABOUT MORE MELANIN MEDIA
More Melanin Media was created to help women of color pursue thriving careers in entertainment. In the wake of ongoing dialogue surrounding representation and inclusivity, the current Hollywood landscape is still disappointingly homogeneous. The company continues to strive for media to reflect the world we live in by offering resources such as career coaching, online courses, digital guides and more.
CONTACT: Stephanie Eugene, email@example.com
I’m a writer. I’ve been writing since high school with my own column in the school newspaper “Ask Lisa.” All of my life, I’ve had a passion for the law and federal law enforcement from the complexities of the criminal justice system and its ever reaching arm into society to policy change and reform. My passions have led me on very interesting and unusual journeys. One journey was as an intern in two prisons using research and analytical methods by conducting interviews with prisoners. Another journey had me assisting in an autopsy on a murder victim which lead to what I thought was the last leg of my journey, admission into the FBI Academy to become a behavior profiler. I attended Boston University and received my Master’s in Criminal Justice and wrote a white paper about the body part trade scandal at UCLA. You’d think that’d be enough to get me a staff writer job on any procedural television show in Hollywood. Nope. Not yet. Not quite. First, they have to see me.
How I started…
I started in entertainment as a celebrity personal assistant. One day I went to Hermes to pick up my boss’ dress for the Oscars. I got to the store and the saleswoman refused to give me her dress. She didn’t believe I worked for the celebrity. She told me to get out of the store. I left, found a pay phone, and called the celebrity. Not five minutes later, the store manager came out and asked me to come back in. He profusely apologized, handed me the dress, and then had the salesperson apologize to me.. He then told the salesperson to gather her things and she was fired on the spot. The manager came back to me and told me to select one item from the store. The whole ordeal was enough so my head wasn’t into shopping at that moment, so I asked for a Hermes garment bag. I still have that bag to this day.
Meeting with a showrunner
I recently had an informational video meeting with a showrunner of a major network television show. In an informational meeting you hope that the showrunner will like you and consider hiring you for a staffing writing job on their show. When I got the opportunity to meet with the showrunner, I was excited and never thought the meeting would result in questioning my skills and how I thought about myself.
During our thirty minute call, the show runner was so impressed with me that by the end of our conversation he apologized. “For what?,” I thought to myself. He apologized because he had literally just hired two writers for his show. And if he hadn’t hired them, there would have been room for me. In his after meeting email to me he wrote, “With all these credits and your impressive background, how you haven’t been scooped up on a show by now is insane.” If he would have known about me a week ago, I could have had the opportunity. He would have hired me based on my experiences alone. This conversation reminded me to continue to believe in and fight for myself. I’ve had a few informational meetings but haven’t been staffed yet. Nonetheless, I continue to forge ahead. I’ve written 4 pilots and am working on a fifth.
Why did I share this? I don’t know. I guess I wanted you to know about the lack of visibility for black writers in Hollywood. Being visible is a major wall—one that I’ve been trying to climb or break through for the past 12 years. When do I give up? Will the dream ever become a reality?
From the Netflix site: The title of Ava DuVernay’s extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.
A film like the 13th is not always easy to watch. To see how Black history unfolds is unsettling. But we need to see it and we cannot deny it. We celebrate Director, Ava Duvernay for her brilliance and tenacity in creating this film. Her light shines bright and we appreciate her.
- What are your initial reactions after watching the film?
- The film discusses the power of the media in shaping people’s opinions and actions. For example, the use of the term ‘super predator’ in mass media resulted in an identity shift among people of color. Do you agree that media has a strong influence over the actions andopinions of society? What are some examples you can think from today?
- What was the most surprising thing you learned from the film?
- Did the film change any of your ideas about the prison system in America? Affirm any ideas you already had? If so, in what way?
- Title cards in the film show the steep increase of the prison population from the mid to late 90’s until today. What was your reaction to these numbers?
The above questions were provided by Netflix.They have an entire discussion guide for students and parents to discuss their thoughts after watching the 13th film. It’s a history lesson that should not be missed.