Andre Harrell, Music Mogul Dead At 59

Andre Harrell, Music Mogul Dead At 59

It’s been widely reported that music mogul, Andre Harrell passed on Friday, May 8th in West Hollywood. Perhaps most famously known as the music executive who gave Sean “Diddy” Combs his first break, then subsequently firing him, Harrell contributed so much more to the music industry. 

As one half of the the rap duo Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde in the 80’s, Harrell brought his idea of artistry and culture when he launched Uptown Records in 1986. Uptown Records launched the careers of Mary J. Blige, Jodeci, Al B. Sure!, Heavy D and the Boyz, Guy and others. And for a time it was one of the most important record labels in the country. Harrell’s vision of blending R&B soul with an edgy hip hop sound brought in millions of fans and effectively re-defined R&B as we know it. 

Humble Beginnings

Born in the Bronx on September 26, 1960, Harrell graduated from Charles Evans Hughes High School in 1978 and attended both Baruch College and Lehman College. When he and his high school friend, Alonzo Brown formed Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde they performed in suits and ties and released  a couple of successful singles including “Genius Rap” in 1981 and “A.M./P.M” in 1984. 

His famous intern

Harrell’s story, though poignant and definitive on its own, took an extraordinary twist when he hired Sean Combs as an intern in the early 1990’s. Combs worked in A&R and began to shape the sounds of Mary J. Blige and Jodeci. His influence increased their presence and hip hop credibility. Combs’ name and popularity was gaining and tensions appeared between he and Harrell resulting Harrell firing Puffy. The dismissal, one of the best things and worst things in the music business at the time, gave birth to Combs’ Bad Boy Records but also continued to grow the friendship between Combs and Harrell. At the time of his death, Harrell was vice chairman of Combs’ Revolt TV.   

Harrell was a music visionary having worked for Motown Records, Def Jam and had his hand in delivering some of the most influential artists of the 90’s. He leaves behind a son, Gianni Harrell. 

Photo of Harrell courtesy Andre Harrell Instagram.

5 Black Illustrators You Should Know: Volume 1

5 Black Illustrators You Should Know: Volume 1

Black illustrators don’t get the love they deserve. They are unsung heroes in many respects. We flip through Instagram admiring their work. Sometimes we tap a heart, but rarely do we leave a comment. And yet, their artwork is inspiring, thought provoking, and even igniting nostalgia in many of us. Because of my love of black art, I wanted to begin spotlighting Black illustrators. For me and the family at Black TV Film Crew, we truly can’t thank you enough. 

Aaron The Artist – Kingpin of the Ink Pen

Aaron aka @aarontheaartist on IG is a graduate of Westwood College in Atlanta. A former Cartoon Network intern, he has been an illustrator and animator for over 10 years. He’s the chief animator of The Ryan Cameron Chronicles. After I saw his illustration of Martin and then Chris Rock, I was hooked.

Vanessa Olivia – Spreading Black Girl Magic One Illustration At A Time

Vanessa Olivia aka @VanessaOliviaArt hails from Zomba, Malawi and her expert depiction of black women is peaceful, liberating, beautiful and enchanting. All her designs make me want the characters to be the sisters I never had. When I stumbled across her design, “Rest,” it took my breath away. So simple yet so beautiful. If I ever make to Malawi, I’m going to look for Vanessa.

Mia Saine – Keep It Simple, Stay Saine

Mia Saine aka @Mia.Saine is a freelance designer and illustrator who hails from Memphis, TN. She specializes in curating experiences with design and illustration. She’s already collaborated with Amazon, Memphis College of Art, the National Civil Rights Museum and many others. In 2017 she received the Gold Addy award from the American Advertising Federation. I connected with Mia’s work because of the detail and the depth of the bright eyes she often features on her characters. Her work draws you in with each character having a unique story to tell.  

Rahana Dariah – Drawing Pretty Pictures Inspired By Those Who Have Uplifted Me

Rahana Dariah aka @Rahanabanana is a London based painter and illustrator known for children’s book commissions. I found her on Instagram, instantly riveted by the ease of her illustrations. She draws so effortlessly in such complex scenarios. A woman in her underwear, sitting on the edge of the bed is complicated and yet something about the way she’s drawn makes you want to know her story. The woman in the cat slippers, drinking coffee—there is no detail Rahana misses. She’s on etsy.

Cameron T. Wilson – I Am An Artist In Love With Design

Cameron T. Wilson aka @CameronTWilson is an artist and published illustrator who hails from Atlanta. He is the chief officer of branding at SoulSimplicity. His work as an illustrator bringing positive, uplifting characters for young black readers is what caught my eye. He’s the illustrator of 12 Affirmations for the Amazing Kid as well as Jaxson’s Incredibly Magical Time Machine. But I laughed out loud when I saw the book, He Lied in Front of My Behind, by Omar Warfa and illustrated by Wilson. Bringing life to children characters is certainly his niche. His site is:  

If you know of a Black illustrator that we should spotlight, let us know

All artwork shown is property of the artist. Our featured photo courtesy of @RahanaBanana / Facebook. If you like their work, please support them financially.

5 Black Podcasts you should be listening to now

5 Black Podcasts you should be listening to now

We are living in an unprecedented era where we can and should be creating our own content. Whether its films, tv shows, or podcasts, we have voices that want to be heard. This short compilation is our beginning to acknowledge some dope black podcasts created for us and by us. Check ‘em out. 

Keeping Us Sport Minded and Pop Culture Savvy: Good Talk Podcast hosted by Tunde and Sam  

It’s like listening to your two brothers having a conversation. This podcast makes you smile and makes you think. Tunde and Sam bring you the latest in the world of sports and pop culture. They also feature fascinating individuals who engage in variety of conversations that includes insights on their careers. My favorite episodes include the following shows: Kobe Bryant’s legacy, their conversations with sports journalist Kelly Iko and tech-anthropologist, Alex Wolf. Find their latest episodes at:

Keeping Us Mentally Strong : Therapy for Black Girls hosted by Dr. Joy Harden 

A weekly chat with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves! Some of my favorite podcasts include topics on: Why Do We Procrastinate, Can you heal in the environment that hurt you, Protect your dream, and more. Find the latest episodes at:

Keeping Us Balanced Mind, Body & Soul : Balanced Black Girl hosted by Lestraundra Alfred

Putting black girl magic in motion, the Balanced Black Girl Podcast provides a dose of real-life wellness for women of color. Join host Lestraundra Alfred and guests for candid conversations about health, happiness, and life. This show aims to reimagine wellness and self-care to make them feel real and approachable for all. This black podcast includes guests and a wide variety of topics including some of my favorites like: Breaking Unhealthy Relationships Cycles, Traveling As A Black Woman, Building Financial Wellness, Finding Your Soulful Flow. Find the latest episodes at:

Keeping Us Woke from a Married Brotha’s Point Of View: 3 Brothers No Sense hosted by Tavares Ferguson, Byron Evans and Orazio Mancarella 

Just 3 brothers chopping it up about whatever is on our minds at the time. They discuss everything from relationships to their favorite music groups. On this podcast, three married men talk about what’s going on in their lives.  The episodes are about an hour or so. The episode that touched my heart: “Here’s looking at you Jenn.” This is a podcast episode where one of the hosts Razi shares the unexpected death of his wife Jenn just the week before. The strength of being able to share so openly and honestly is worth the listen. They discussed the attitude of cremation in the black community, being at odds with the in-laws and more. Find their latest episodes at:

Keeping Us Humble and Inspired: The People You Meet hosted by Richard White

This podcast is about telling the stories of everyday people. The People You Meet includes stories and people that mainstream media doesn’t seem as “necessary or important.” The podcast creator believes in the stories of every day people, so he took it upon himself to make sure these stories get told. “I’ve taken my podcast across the world, and I’m looking forward to telling many more stories,” Richard White stated. One of my favorite episodes featured a Grambling State Alum who was an athlete who shares why he chose to become a vegetarian. It was a great listen. The episodes are around ten minutes. Quick but filling.  Find the episodes at:

If you find some more black podcasts that are worth a listen, hit us up. Maybe we can include them in an upcoming article.

The featured photo is of Good Talk hosts Tunde and Sam, courtesy of Good Talk’s podcast page. Thank you to all the Black TV Film Crew FB group members who contributed to this list as well as the Podcasting While Black FB Group. We love ya’ll.

Watch: Official Trailer All Day and A Night Movie

Watch: Official Trailer All Day and A Night Movie

Check out the official trailer of All Day and A Night. The movie is hitting Netflix on May 1, 2020. Here’s the storyline according to those folks…

As soft-spoken Jahkor Abraham Lincoln (Ashton Sanders) struggles to keep his dream of rapping alive amidst a gang war in Oakland, his ill-fated life and real-world responsibilities drive him further and further across the line of right and wrong with tragic consequences. Landing in prison beside his father, J.D. (Jeffrey Wright) whom he never wanted to be like, Jahkor embarks on an unlikely journey of self-discovery, exploring the events that unite them, in hopes of helping his newborn son break a cycle that feels unavoidable. A powerful film from Black Panther co-writer Joe Robert Cole, ALL DAY AND A NIGHT co-stars Isaiah John, Kelly Jenrette, Shakira Ja’Nai Paye, Regina Taylor, Christopher Meyer and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.Netflix

Black TV Film Crew Facts about Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who stars in All Day And A Night

  • He’s a real life Architect.
  • He graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in Architecture.
  • He has a Master in Fine Arts degree from Yale.
  • He stands a whopping 6′ 3′.
  • He’s a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
  • He was born in New Orleans, LA

The Hate U Give: 5 Reasons Every American Should Watch

The Hate U Give: 5 Reasons Every American Should Watch

I cried for at least 45 minutes while watching The Hate U Give. This movie portrays a black family traumatized when an unarmed black teen is shot and killed by a police officer. The story explored the dual existence of black people in the US.  The black person who does the right thing while going to school or work vs. the black person who is seething underneath the facade-ready to violently defend themselves, their lives, and their community. 

The Hate U Give Will Stir Something Inside of You

Generally speaking, I’m not a crier. But, while watching this movie there were times when it didn’t feel like a movie. There were times as I sat in the theater and I sensed the spirits of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and even Trayvon Martin. For those of us who are already woke, this movie was a bullhorn to the eardrum. The film’s loudness made me cry. 

Nonetheless, I still wanted to give 5 reasons why every American should watch The Hate U Give. 

  1. Parents of black children should watch this movie. The Hate U Give provides assistance in explaining how black youth should react when they are approached and/or stopped by police. 
  2. Police officers should watch this movie. If police officers are struggling with the resentment that black communities feel toward police, The Hate U Give will provide a roadmap for understanding. 
  3. People who don’t understand why black folks march should see this movie. If you’re someone who doesn’t understand why black people march when they feel injustices have occurred, this film will connect the dots from injustice to community outrage. 
  4. People who don’t understand the Black Lives Matter movement should watch this movie. If you’re someone who doesn’t understand why black people say, “Black Lives Matter,” this movie will be like reading a dictionary on the movement. 
  5. Finally, Black creatives should watch this movie. If you are a creative and you need to be motivated to tell your story, The Hate U Give will inspire you to pick up the pen and get going.

Every now and then there are movies that hit a cultural nerve or provide a social viewpoint so distinct that every person of every age needs to watch. The Hate U Give is that movie. Go. See It. Immediately. 

Black Web Series Love: What’s New In July

Black Web Series Love: What’s New In July

Our crew members are some of the most talented creatives on the planet. So, here are some web series created, written by, and/ or produced by our members and hitting the net in July. 

Unconditional Love Series created and written by: Thomas Mason Jr. and Joseph Goncalves

Web Series

Unconditional Love Series

July 17th – Final Season Premiere

Series Synopsis: Explores the ups and downs of a romance between a black gay couple. According to the creators, “The show was created because we were not seeing our stories told in an authentic way in mainstream media. As content creators, we find it especially important to include images that are often ignored, erased, or exploited. We decided to fill the void by creating a show with a gay, black men at the forefront. Our show humanizes the marginalized and we take pride in telling responsible, impactful stories where everyone can draw experience.

Watch it on Youtube

54:17 web series created, written and directed by Frantzy Moreau 

July 20th Premiere

Web Series

Frantzy Moreau

 Series Synopsis: A young gunsmith (Isaiah) has mended the weapons that are going to kill the people he can save from them. This series has veteran actress JoMarie Payton as a part of the team. According to the Writer / Director / Creator, Frantzy Moreau, “Most of you know JoMarie Payton as Harriette Winslow from Family Matters! I had the honor of having the Mom I’ve watched on TV all my life and low key raised me actually portray my Mom in my project and bring to life my vision and lines that I wrote! Watch how she delivers the lines.”

Watch it on Youtube

The 6th degree TV web series written and directed by Lyandre Pierre. 

July 20th Premiere

web seriesSeries Synopsis: The 6th Degree is a multimedia project that combines a scripted story with real roundtable conversations on the topics of race, masculinity, femininity, relationships, artistry, and mortality. In each episode you are introduced to the central character of the next episode. Journey with us as we explore what it means to be connected in a world full of differences.

Website and Watch It On YouTube

Series: Po’ Psi Broke web series created* and directed by Akil DuPont.

web series

Po Psi Broke

July 21st live in ATL and 8pm online Premiere

Series Synopsis: A series about a rich freshman trying to get into a poor and PROUD fraternity! Inspired by Kanye’s “Broke Phi Broke” skit, Po’ Psi Broke is the highly-anticipated new production guaranteed to get you a new 6-pack from laughing!

*Tyler Buckingham is also a co-writer on this series. 

Website and Watch it on Youtube

*If you have a web series that is premiering, let us know. Email us with the subject line: Web Series Love. We are currently prepping our August and September lists. Don’t be late.