Gregg Reese


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Ike Jones, film and entertainment pioneer dead at 84

Interracial marriage to movie star Inger Stevens kept secret for 10 years

He was a bonafide star of the UCLA Bruins football teams of the 1950s, and the first African American graduate of the UCLA film school. In his professional life, he worked as an actor and assistant director, and was the first Black producer of a major motion picture, but Ike Jones may be best remembered for his secret marriage to Blonde movie star Inger Stevens during the 1960s.

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The ‘New’ Hollywood?

Diversity and innovation play key role in Blacks increasing on-screen popularity

Recent advances for artists of color have some proclaiming a new era in “Tinsel Town” while others dismiss it as a false flag for social progress.

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Award-winning author J. California Cooper dies at 82

J. California Cooper, the author and playwright whose folksy, first-person narratives depicted Black women as they struggled through a world of hostility and indifference, died on Sept. 20 in Seattle, Wash. She was 82.

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Merchants of Fear:

Exploring the militarization of the police

“In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.” —Poet & Literary Critic Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Jazz titan Gerald Wilson dead at 96

Gerald Wilson, the prolific Jazz arranger, bandleader, composer, educator, and trumpeter, died at his family home in Los Angeles on Sept. 8. Perhaps the ultimate testament to his musical versatility was his ability to transition from the swing era of the 1930s to the eclectic trends of the 21st century. His passing was announced by his son, noted guitarist Anthony Wilson, who listed the cause of death as pneumonia. He was 96.

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Music, mysticism, and the Mississippi:

Talented misfit comes to ‘Memphis’ in search of artistic fulfillment

Memphis, Tenn. occupies a unique place in the folklore and musical legacy of America, as demonstrated by the cultural traditions of its two foremost landmarks: Beale Street and Graceland. Its pre- eminent status as an incubator for Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Rockabilly and Soul was a determining factor for independent director Tim Sutton to base his second film, the eponymously titled “Memphis,” in that fabled city.

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Hollywood has new filmmakers

Reel Black Men Short Film Showcase explores new directions in subject matter

A colleague recently bemoaned the fact that Black films suffer from a limited outlay of subject matter. Once you get past the repetitive yarns of “gangsta” stories and urban melodramas, the “chick flicks” and redundant romances, and so forth, there is very little to choose from.

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Panic in the streets: Black cops weigh in on Ferguson

African American law enforcement professionals converge in the midst of Midwest civil unrest

It is perhaps just one of the oxymorons of modern society that Black men, among the most marginalized within the American justice/legal system, find gainful employment within the law enforcement entity that is so often at odds with the African American presence here in the United States.

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Legendary drummer Idris Muhammad dead at 74

New Orleans native contributed to generations of musicians

Although he did not boast the marquee status of contemporaries such as Art Blakey and Elvin Jones, none of them eclipsed the influence of Idris Muhammad’s “bottom-up style” of drumming, and his ability to adapt across a variety of musical styles that spanned some five decades. The legendary bandleader, composer, and percussionist died July 29 at the age of 74 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The cause of death was not immediately revealed, but family members acknowledged he had previously been undergoing dialysis. He was buried immediately according to the dictates of his Islamic faith.

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The Dorner fallout: Policing the cops

The aftermath of a grotesque tragedy can often give an inkling of a bigger problem

As further investigations are revealing, that very well may be the case in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Christopher Dorner affair.

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