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Gail Choice

Stories by Gail

Charles Barkley talks “American Race”

Hollywood by Choice

“People never talk about race until something bad happens. I want to provide a conversation.” —Charles Barkley

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HBO presents “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”

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The name Henrietta Lacks may not be familiar to most Americans, let alone to the world.

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“The Book of John Gray”

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I suppose you’re wondering who is John Gray and what is his book about? If you’re not familiar with Gray, you soon will be. On Saturday, April 15 at 10 p.m.

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Harriet Tubman: WGN’s “Underground”

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Mark your calendars for April 12, at 8 p.m. ET/PT for WGN’s series “Underground” when actress Aisha Hinds (“Shots Fired,” “Under the Dome,” “Star Trek Into Darkness”) stars as abolitionist Harriet Tubman in an unprecedented look at the life and legend of the woman who believed her task was a God-given mission.

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Hollywood by Choice

The Oscars: A night to remember

Oh, what a night! If you missed the 88th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, you missed a lot. To begin with, Viola Davis took home the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for “Fences”, making her the fourth Black actress to win the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. And the first Black Actress to win the Oscar, Emmy, and Tony awards.

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Hollywood by Choice

The 48th NAACP Image Awards

The 48th annual NAACP Image Awards was recently held in Pasadena, and aired on TV One. If you missed it, don’t fret, TV One will air the show in syndication through the end of March. Check your local listings for show times. Thank you, NAACP for keeping our dream alive. Right now things are looking good for Blacks working in Hollywood in front of and behind the camera. But if you know anything about Hollywood history, you know it is cyclical, and things have a way of changing just when you think you’ve arrived.

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Hollywood by Choice

Oscar nominations recognize diversity

The 89th annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Oscar nominations were recently announced, and Hollywood is all abuzz about the record number of Blacks in front of and behind the camera who are nominated for their work in outstanding films and documentaries.

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Black independent holiday films

Hollywood by Choice

The holiday season is that time of year when Hollywood features its best and brightest films, not only for your pleasure, but for the ultimate Hollywood ‘nod’—the Oscar.

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Hollywood by Choice

Awards season recognizes more people of color

’Tis the season when ‘nail biting’ begins. Film critics, guilds and prestigious organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The Academy of Motion Pictures and The Hollywood Foreign Press announce their lists of hopefuls for a coveted award.

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Fox on fire with mid-season programming

Okay, you might think I’m jumping the gun, but I will say right now Fox is debuting two new mid-season shows, “Star” and “24: Legacy” that are bound to be big hits. Although the storylines are not new, the telling of the stories are. From fresh new faces and hot music, to action-packed moves that boggle your mind, “Star” and “24: Legacy” will most assuredly follow in the footsteps of Fox’s “Empire,” the unexpected drama that challenged the networks and their programming practices and reflected a higher visibility of Black performers and Black-themed productions.

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Hollywood by Choice

Steve Harvey at the Apollo and coming to Los Angeles

Emmy Award-winning comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey is on the move. Mark your calendars for Monday, Dec. 5 when Harvey hosts “Showtime at the Apollo” on the Fox Network. The show will repeat Saturday, Dec. 31 from 8 to 10pm; and he’s moving to Los Angeles with a whole new show and new look. But first, join Harvey for an unforgettable homecoming at the Legendary Apollo Theater.

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TV One: ‘TV Winter Onederland’

TV ONE is on fire! Keeping its promise to “Represent,” TV ONE presents its “TV Winter ONEDERLAND” of holiday programming. Get ready for original movies, an “Unsung Thanksgiving Day” marathon,“Rickey Smiley For Real” marathon, and a three-day, 100+ “A Very Unsung Christmas” marathon and much more.

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Hollywood by Choice

Holiday Movie Countdown

Okay, get ready to mark your calendars because here are the upcoming holiday movies you don’t want to miss. As always my focus is on those movies that star and or feature Black performers, and this year we’ve got some heavy hitters, hidden history, powerful dramas and outrageous comedies from the major studios.

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Hollywood by Choice

Celia Cruz—Queen of Salsa

Cuban-American singer Celia Cruz goes down in history as one of the most popular salsa performers of all time. Known as the “Queen of Salsa” Cruz has made more than 75 albums including 23 that went gold, and won several Grammys and Latin Grammys.

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Theresa Harris—‘The Beautiful Maid’

When it comes to Black entertainment history in Hollywood, you should always be prepared to learn something new. A good place to start is the Turner Classic Movie Channel. TCM sometimes features those pioneering Black stars that you may or may not have heard of, opening you up to a whole new era of Black stars, who despite the odds, made an imprint on Hollywood and then got lost in the racial divide.

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Hollywood By Choice

Viceland: A new window to the world

There is so much on TV that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the channels and what they offer. I channel surf on a regular basis, and if something catches my attention I check it out.

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Now on DVD and Netflix

For those of you who like to collect DVDs, be it for entertainment or for historic purposes, there are several out this month worth purchasing for your library.

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The T.D. Jakes Show on OWN

Have you checked out Bishop T.D. Jakes’ new talk show on OWN? It is a powerful heartwarming and interesting look at the human condition and how we learn to cope, fight, and get past the darkness.

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‘Films with a Purpose’ leads to ‘Forgiveness’

Films with a Purpose” (FWAP) Innovative Fund, is Sandra Evers-Manley’s latest groundbreaking non-profit project that opens channels of opportunity to diverse independent and student filmmakers, giving them the opportunity to tell their stories their way, straight from the heart.

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Hollywood by Choice

The Merge Summit—Hallelujah!

Hearing The Good Word framed in a Hollywood perspective is simply life altering and amazingly uplifting. That’s exactly what you walked away with at The Merge Summit held recently in Downtown Los Angeles at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

Nate Parker: A cautionary tale

Hollywood by Choice

This is a cautionary tale about how your past can come back to haunt you. It’s the stuff Hollywood films are made of, only this is real life. Nate Parker (“Beyond the Lights” 2014), (“The Great Debaters” 2007) wrote, directed, produced and stars in the film

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TV One: Represent

Founder and owner of TV One, Cathy Hughes is taking on the ‘big boys’ — the networks. TV One is coming out with more outstanding programming that plays right into the heart of her target audience, Black Americans who know what they like and what they want to see.

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Edna Sims ESP PR-In Demand

It’s not very common for a public rrelations firm to share the headlines with their client, but in this case it makes perfect sense. Edna Sims, owner of ESP Public Relations, recently became the first African American publicist to represent Hollywood’s The Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors.

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Emmy nominations taking on diversity

The 2016 Emmy Nominations are in and Black performers have something to shout about. Twenty-one Black actors and actresses have been nominated in a total of 16 acting categories, from comedies to dramas.

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Hollywood by Choice

Is “The Great White Way” seeing things in color these days? If you watched the 70th Annual Tony Awards you’d think so. To begin with, “Hamilton” led the race with 11 awards out of an historic 16 nominations.

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Is Black television history repeating itself?

Things change only to remain the same. Is that what’s taking place today in the world of Network TV?

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Hollywood by Choice

Salute! Black women in Hollywood

In honor of Women’s History Month, I’m taking the opportunity to recognize and salute actresses that have helped pave the way for today’s television and film stars.

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Hollywood by Choice

Underground: A new telling of the Old South

On Wednesday, WGN America premiered the first episode of the 10-part series “Underground.”

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Hollywood by Choice

”Black is beautiful.” “Black power,” and “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud”—for this writer, these

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NAACP Image Awards—rock steady

Live Feb. 5, the 47th annual NAACP Image Awards will celebrate and honor Black performers

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DollVision

Black Dolls: A Renaissance?

Parents of Black children have a particular challenge when it comes

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T & T white hot holidays

So, who or what is “T & T,” and what do I mean by white hot holidays?

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‘Straight Outta Compton’ Oscar buzz

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“I don’t want people to feel like we got lucky,” said Jason Mitchell, the subject of an increasing amount of best supporting actor Oscar buzz for his portrayal of the late hip-hop artist Eazy-E in Universal’s “Straight Outta Compton.” “For lack of a better expression, we worked our asses off,” added the young star.

Black Latinas straddle color line: Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month

What’s it like to be Black and Latina in Hollywood? We won’t truly get an idea until somebody makes a movie about it, or creates a television series.

Hollywood’s Black power

Hollywood by Choice

The immortal James Brown said it best: “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing, open up the door and I’ll get it myself.”

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History making 2015 Emmy Awards

“In my mind, I see a line and over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful White women with their arms stretched out to me over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”

‘War Room’: Faith-based power

Hollywood by Choice

The faith-based film “War Room” surprised Hollywood observers by coming in second place in the box office race behind the smash hit “Straight Outta Compton” which grossed $13.2 million this past weekend. And in the number three slot, Tom Cruise's action-packed film “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation” came in at $8.3 million.

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Great expectations for the 2015 Emmy Awards

Since the nominees for the 67th Emmy Awards were announced last week, butterflies have filled the stomachs of Hollywood. In the eight years that I’ve reported on the Emmys, this marks the first time I can’t profile all of the nominees. It’s not that I don’t want to; I simply don’t have the space because there are to many Blacks.

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HBO’s ‘Bessie’ premieres Saturday

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On Saturday May 16, HBO will premiere the highly anticipated drama “Bessie” starring the very versatile and talented Queen Latifah as the legendary Blues singer Bessie Smith. This may be Latifah’s most challenging role in her outstanding career. Queen Latifah says she worked with a singing coach who trained her to sing in Smith’s register.

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Motown the Musical: experience of a lifetime

You might need seat belts if you’re planning to attend “Motown the Musical.” I guarantee you, you will not be able to contain yourself. And, if you’re a dignified theater goer, you will be forced to raise your hand in a hallelujah manner, sway in your seat, or just yell out with the rest of the theater goers. Yeah, it’s just that hot, moving and utterly wonderful.

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Hollywood by Choice

‘Annie’ a must-see Christmas movie

Don’t know how many of you remember the old comic strip “Little Orphan Annie.” I do, and I loved reading about her adventures. I remember liking her hair, big, red…I even think it predated the Afro. I remember billionaire Oliver Warbucks and I liked the dog Sandy, Annie’s constant companion. I also remember when it went to Broadway, I knew I’d never see it because for me Broadway was a world away.

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‘Beyond the Lights’—Magnificent!

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“Beyond the Lights” will make you believe in love all over again. And what’s so unique about this film is that it’s about Black love.

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ABC’s “Black-ish” controversy

ABC’s freshman sit-com “Black-ish” debuted Wednesday giving viewers the opportunity to better understand the show’s title and exactly what it means. Maybe, just maybe taking the edge off of its somewhat controversial title, and the promotional spot that has Tracee Ellis Ross proclaiming that her hair and big ass should be enough to register her as a Black woman.

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‘From the Rough’ is a great family movie

Hollywood by Choice

Now in theaters is the inspiring and true story of a woman who just wouldn’t accept ‘no’ for an answer. From the Rough tells an unexpected story of courage, drive, and a sport that didn’t appear to have room for a Black, female coach.

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“Belle” A love story that helped change a nation

Belle is one of those movies that hits you like a lightning bolt; totally unexpected and electrifies every part of your body.

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‘Real Housewives of Atlanta;’ what a mess

Hollywood by Choice

The Real Housewives of Atlanta is the only reality show I look at on a regular basis. It’s not for the drama, but to watch how these sisters are going after their dreams, taking advantage of their ‘moment in the spotlight’ and really putting in some hard work to do it. From Phaedra Parks going to school to be an undertaker, Kandi Burruss writing and performing in her own musical featuring Gerald Levert, to NeNe Leakes on Dancing with the Stars, they are truly hustling.

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Gospel Singer Jessica Reedy: “Better”

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Gospel Singer Jessica Reedy is doing so much “Better” these days than in years past.

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Lupita Nyong’o: Skin Game

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The buzz is somewhat tapering off regarding the success of the Oscar winning Best Picture 12 Years a Slave, but the impact of the movie and what it implies still has Hollywood movers and shakers buzzing. The two lead characters, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northup) and Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong’o, are cashing in on their good fortune

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Tammi-Mac: ‘Bag Lady’

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If you’re like most people, you come with a lot of baggage; old hurts that won’t go away, anger, bitterness and stupidity…and that’s just for starters. Actress and radio personality Tammi-Mac is one such person. Yes, she makes you laugh with her quick wit and sassy comebacks, but sister-girl once carried an incredible load of baggage that weighed her down almost to the point of self-destruction. Now she’s ready to help you shed your baggage in the only way an incredible talent can; through her own story, Bag Lady.

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Tyler Perry’s ‘Single Moms Club’

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If you’re a single mom, or were reared by a single mom, this movie is for you. Even if you’re not a single mom, or reared by one, do yourself a favor and see this film.

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