The Photograph: Not a love story – a like story

Alton Worley II | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Pexels User Brett Sayles

It’s been a while since audiences have seen a black romance movie, and The Photograph provides a breath of fresh air, but not in the way you would think.

The official synopsis: “On Valentine’s Day, Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure, Little) and LaKeith Stanfield (FX’s Atlanta, Sorry to Bother You) connect in a romance where a woman must learn from the secrets in her mother’s past if she is to move forward and allow herself to love and be loved. 

When famed photographer Christina Eames unexpectedly dies, she leaves her estranged daughter Mae Morton (Rae) hurt, angry and full of questions. When a photograph tucked away in a safe-deposit box is found, Mae finds herself on a journey delving into her mother’s early life and ignites a powerful, unexpected romance with a rising-star journalist, Michael Block (Stanfield).”

The Photograph takes a modern approach to the romantic movie genre and does something that has become rare nowadays. In a world now full of romantic comedies, The Photograph manages to stay solidified in the romance category only having hints of comedy in it. 

The only way this movie works is because the leads do a good job portraying the roles that they were given. Rae and Stanfield’s chemistry and acting keep this movie afloat when the writing does not, but in terms of realism, the writers did a good job keeping it real when it comes to their character’s relationship. 

“I had major hopes for what this [movie] could have been or what I expected it to be, but it didn’t make me feel the way I thought it would,” said Savannah Henson, a Hampton University psychology major from Prince George’s County, Maryland. “The storyline was just cute, and the impression and feelings I had left after seeing the film weren’t long-lasting. I don’t know … I expected more, and it was just ‘Eh.’” 

“Cute” would be the best way to describe this movie, as it isn’t anything extraordinary, but ordinary enough to keep the audience entertained, if that. While the stars play their characters well, their timid personalities often leave the audience wanting more.

“Personally, I didn’t like The Photograph,” said Myana Mabry, an HU political science major on the pre-law track. “I felt as if it was fast-paced, predictable and a bit awkward. I strongly believe the main characters didn’t actually love each other – rather, this film was based on lust. I left the theater disappointed.” 

There were no big gestures or reveals that made the movie scream “romance,” so the power was in the body language with some credit given to the dialogue. The characters weren’t perfect, and in reality, no one actually is, so seeing them go through things very relatable to the audience was nice, but also lackluster as the movie was missing something. 

“I felt that the movie was a nice break from the drama that usually occurs in black films about love,” said Jasmine Robinson, an HU strategic communication major from North Carolina. “No one was dramatically shot as well as other stereotypes associated with black love films.” 

This movie should keep the audience entertained, but it doesn’t. In a society where every movie is trying to be bigger than the next, this movie tries something different by not trying at all. This movie lacked the drive and heart-wrenching emotion that many other movies in its genre have, and that’s why it missed the mark it needed to hit.

The Photograph is now playing in Hampton theaters at the AMC Hampton Towne Center 24, Cinema Café and Studio Movie Grill.

Gayle King “was doing her job” in asking about Kobe Bryant’s past, journalists say

Andi McCloud | Staff Writer

Gayle King was being a responsible journalist for CBS when she asked about a past felony sexual assault charge against former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, several journalists agree.

“I just feel like she was doing her job,” Hampton University journalism major Marcus Nelson said, adding, “If you aren’t in her field of work, you just might not understand that.” 

Snoop Dogg issued a warning to King online after her “CBS This Morning” interview with former WNBA player Lisa Leslie about Bryant, who was killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash with his daughter and seven others.

The Associated Press reported that other celebrities, including LeBron James, 50 Cent and Bill Cosby, criticized King for asking Leslie whether Bryant’s legacy had been complicated by the accusation that he raped a woman at a Colorado resort in 2003. Bryant said the two had consensual sex, but he later apologized for his behavior and, after the charge was dropped when the accuser was unwilling to testify, settled a civil suit against him.

Snoop Dogg later posted an apology video after he was criticized for his extreme response.

Oprah Winfrey — King’s best friend — held back tears as she spoke on NBC’s “Today” show about death threats King received.

“We fully support Gayle King and her integrity as a journalist,” CBS News President Susan Zirinsky told the AP. “We find the threats against her or any journalist doing their job reprehensible.”

The Los Angeles Times, New York Times and other media organizations included articles about the assault charge in their news coverage immediately following his death.

King took to Instagram to speak about how a portion of her interview with Leslie was disseminated. 

“I am embarrassed,” King wrote. “And I am very angry. Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview, totally taken out of context, and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring. It’s jarring to me. I didn’t even know anything about it.”

Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones said King was in the right to ask the questions she asked.

“King had nothing to apologize for,” Jones wrote on Poynter.org. “She is a journalist and asked questions any responsible journalist would.”

During the CBS interview with Leslie, King said: “It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge, which was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you as a woman, as a WNBA player?”

Leslie responded: “It’s not complicated for me at all. Even if there are a few times that we’ve been at a club at the same time, Kobe’s not the kind of guy — never been, like, you know, ‘Lis, go get that girl, or tell her or send her this.’ I have other NBA friends that are like that.”

King continued to question Leslie about whether or not she would have known the truth about Bryant’s alleged rape, and Leslie defended Bryant to be “never like that. I just never, have ever seen him being the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.”

King talked to Leslie because the former Los Angeles Sparks star was one of Bryant’s good friends. 

“If you are a serious journalist, you cannot avoid the painful questions and topics,” Alfred Edmond Jr. wrote on Blackenterprise.com. “King’s interview with Lisa Leslie was about Kobe Bryant’s life and legacy; a good journalist knows you can’t just leave out the parts we don’t like.”

Commentary: Oscars are still so white

Anisa Saigo | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Unsplash User Denise Jans

The Oscars have been the highlight of almost every actor’s dream for more than 90 years. The glitz, the glamour and the expenses that these amazing actors and actresses go above and beyond for don’t go unnoticed on the most famous red carpet ever.

What does go unnoticed, however, is the lack of appreciation for black actors.

You would think by 2020, things would be different, but it is no different than 80 years ago, when Hattie McDaniel became the first black actor to win an Academy Award. Even then, McDaniel had to sit at a segregated table that was not with the cast of “Gone with the Wind.” On top of that, keep in mind that the Academy Awards was hosted in a “no Blacks” hotel.

Five years ago, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was created and surged to popularity to recognize black people and those of other races not being acknowledged for their hard work in film.

Five years later, the Academy membership still is made up, predominantly, of white males. According to Variety.com, the membership is 84% white males and 68% male. When you have people who can’t relate to movies such as “Queen and Slim” and “Harriet,” it can be quite hard for them to have an opinion.

“Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo was the only black actor to receive an Oscar nomination for the Feb. 9 ceremony.

“I’m so tired of it,” Ava DuVernay, who is black and was the director of “Selma,” told USA Today. “We care about [winning an Oscar] because it’s a mark of distinction around the world. … It’s not the end-all, be-all; it’s not the arbiter of good taste or achievement. It’s a lovely thing that’s a cherry on top of the work.”

In 92 years, only 17 black actors have won an Oscar. Several of those awards have been given for roles that display stereotypes about black people such as Lupita Nyong’o as a slave in “12 Years a Slave” and “Octavia Spencer” as a maid in “The Help.”

This is why award shows such as the BET Awards have been created to highlight black achievements and appreciation for black culture. 

It is easy to view a film and have an opinion on the way it was directed, the way the actors act, and so on, but when a judgment is made before actually viewing a film starring black actors, it’s hard to believe it’s the best judgment.

Jay Electronica tweets that his debut album is finished

Barry Jones | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Flickr User Joshua Mellin

Jay Electronica, one of hip-hop’s biggest mysteries, has finally tweeted that, after a decade, he has finished his debut album.

Electronica got his start in 2009 with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. He immediately got to work with some of the industry’s biggest producers such as Young Guru and Just Blaze.

In December 2009, Jay Electronica released one of hip-hop’s most revered records to date: Exhibit C.

Exhibit C, produced by Just Blaze, caught major attention worldwide. To say Jay Electronica had an amazing introduction is an understatement. Exhibit C landed Electronica in the “all-time” conversation by various critics. New Music Express called Exhibit C “the most accomplished piece of ‘conscious rap’ this millennium.”

Yet, after such a strong first showing. Jay Electronica went all but missing on the music scene, with only a few guest verses over the next 10 years, such as Big Sean’s Control, Jay-Z’s Shiny Suit Theory and his record Better in Tune with the Infinite. 

Until now.

Jay Electronica on Feb. 7 tweeted, “Album Done,” and followed up with another tweet: “…my debut album featuring Hov man this is highway robbery.”

Immediately following this tweet, many media outlets and media personalities took to Instagram to share the news. Elliot Wilson, the host of the Rap Radar Podcast on Tidal, posted a screenshot of the tweet to his page. The comments flooded with comments like “yeah right” or “he’s gotta be joking.” However, Young Guru, the lead in-house sound engineer for Roc Nation, quoted the tweet, saying: “Facts!!!!!!! This is not a drill.”

The news caused quite a rumble in the hip-hop community. The community was not only shocked by the fact that Jay Electronica stated that the album is finished, but also the fact that he insinuated that it is a collaboration album with Jay-Z. This in itself caused quite the controversy. Mal Clay, co-host of the Joe Budden Podcast and brother of Roc-a-Fella/Roc Nation Co-founder Kareem “Biggs” Burke, stated on Episode 321 that “they [Jay Z and Electronica] have a lot of records together on the album, so it’s looking like it might be a Watch the Throne type of thing or something in that vein.”

Joe Budden himself did not take favorably to the idea of Electronica’s first album being a collaboration with Jay-Z, saying, “For Jay Elec to come out and rap one song and be pitted with the elite and then never rap again and then come out with an album 10-11 years later with Hov?”

The idea does seem a bit farfetched and straight up unfair. However, the skill that Jay Electronica has shown through his very limited catalog gives hip-hop fans something to dream about when it comes to a potential debut album from Electronica with Hov.

The same issue that plagued Andre 3000’s career, the lack of a solo album, has seemed to come to an end for Jay Electronica. We will see if he comes through with his word. If so, this is lining up to be one of the most anticipated hip hop album releases over the last two decades.

According to a Jay Electronica tweet, the album is “Releasing 40 days” from Feb. 7. That creates an expected release date around March 18. 

Neptunes and Outkast among 2020 nominees for Songwriters’ Hall of Fame

Barry Jones | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Flickr User The DePaulia

In the eyes of the public, songwriting is one of the more underrated aspects of a musician’s overall talent. However, every year, the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame recognizes some of the best songwriters to ever contribute to the music industry.

The 2020 list of nominees is full of familiar names such as The Neptunes, Mariah Carey, The Isley Brothers, Outkast and Journey. According to the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame website, “A songwriter with a notable catalog of songs qualifies for induction 20 years after the first commercial release of a song.” 

“Every year, the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame recognizes some of the best songwriters to ever contribute to the music industry.”

Many of these acts, specifically the Neptunes, Outkast and The Isley Brothers, are known for their own amazing catalog but are not often recognized for the records on which they have written. As a way to understand the versatility and pure talent of this year’s nominees, let us take a look at the records they have contributed to in the realm of songwriting.

The Neptunes: Though they are most famously known for being responsible for their long stint in hip-hop, pop and R&B production, the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams & Chad Hugo) have written an incredible amount of popular hit records. Those include Frank Ocean’s “Sweet Life” (2012), Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” (2005) and Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” (2002).

The Isley Brothers: The Isley Brothers are one of the most prolific groups to come out of the 1970s. Their catalog ranges over five decades. Their most famous member, Ronald Isley, has not only written a majority of their own catalog but has also written for some of music’s biggest stars. These include: Whitney Houston’s “One of Those Days” (2002), Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shake your Thang” (1988) and Naughty by Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray” (1992). Some of their own biggest hits include: “Footsteps pt. 1 & 2,” “Choosey Lover” and “Between the Sheets.”

Outkast: Another group that is known for its prolific hip-hop catalog, Outkast has secretly accumulated songwriting credits ever since its beginning. Both Big Boi and Andre 3000 wrote on Beyonce’s “All Night” single off her 2016 album “Lemonade.” They have also written on J. Cole’s 2010 single “Who Dat.” 

In addition to these writing credits, Outkast remains as one of the most sampled hip-hop groups of all time, so a majority of their writing credits come from other artists paying homage to Outkast’s original lines or song titles.

The 2020 class of nominees for the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame is one of the more talented classes of late as it relates to hip-hop, R&B and funk/soul talents. The winners will be inducted June 11.

Comme des Garçons accused of cultural appropriation following debut of 2020 menswear line

Andi Mccloud | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Unsplash User Alin Surdu

The runway featured mostly white models in braided cornrow wigs. There were black models who wore wigs and some who kept their natural hair. Critics quickly took to social media to point out the “offensive” look.

Diet Prada, an Instagram page that notoriously calls out major fashion brands and designers, was one of the first to comment on the alleged cultural appropriation, citing that the models appeared to be embarrassed. 

“The look on the models’ faces says it all,” Diet Prada wrote to its 1.7 million followers.

Social media fashion critic Aja Barber wrote on Twitter: “Too busy laughing to be offended. This is a mess.”

Model Adwoa Aboah commented: “Are we surprised?”

As the backlash increased, Julien d’Ys, the stylist behind the wigs, posted an apology via Instagram.

“My inspiration for the Comme des Garçons show was Egyptian prince a look I found truly beautiful and inspirational,” Julien d’Ys wrote. “A look that was an homage. Never was it my intention to hurt or offend anyone, ever. If I did, I deeply apologize.”

Along with his apology, he shared sketches that referenced his inspiration of King Pharaoh’s hair, to which his followers responded by asking why he did not use Egyptian models.

Although the brand is quite popular among celebrities and recognized by other high-profile entities, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this is not the first time they have been accused of lacking in proper African American representation. According to ELLE, in 2018, the brand was accused of not using black models in more than 20 years.

Over the past few years, high fashion brands have been repeatedly accused of cultural appropriation and racism. The blackface controversy with Gucci and H&M’s frequent questionable depiction of black children are the most recently scrutinized. Dolce & Gabbana was just accused of racism and cultural insensitivity due to a recent promotion featuring a Chinese woman struggling to eat pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks. In 2019, Dior faced a backlash from a fragrance that was promoted as “an authentic journey deep into the Native American Soul.”

Although there is no denying these brands could improve on their choices regarding how they implement diversity in their campaigns, “maybe it’s not appropriation as much as it is appreciation,” Hampton University freshman Derek Meza said.

Amid Black History Month, the trend of biting off of African culture seems untimely. However, in the grand scheme of things, who gets to decide if imitation is the most sincere form of flattery or disrespectful?

While in some senses there is a push to be integrated, rather than a segregated society, problems seem to arise when efforts are made to mix certain aspects of our cultures. Instead of calling out one culture for appropriating another, it could be more progressive to acknowledge it as sincere appreciation.

Are diversity and inclusion becoming normalized or are they trends?

Carlie Beard | Arts and Entertainment Editor

The words diversity and inclusion are often used in just about everything seen on a daily basis.

Being inclusive seems to be the main focus of top companies. New roles such as Diversity and Inclusion leaders are being implemented to ensure that there are more diverse workplace environments. However, does having these roles really create a space for people of different races and socioeconomic backgrounds?

In media, ad campaigns have noticeably taken steps to showcase multicultural people. Some even reference this as “Inclusive Marketing.” However, being inclusive is not only showing people with different skin color or features, but it is also about featuring things such as people with different genders, disabilities and ages.

In 2017, sportswear leader Nike presented an ad campaign titled “Equality.” This ad showcased major athletes such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant and promoted equality on and off the court. Colin Kaepernick also was featured in an ad campaign following his controversial protest by kneeling during the national anthem at an NFL game in 2016. Nike faced tons of backlash for standing by Kaepernick. In return, Nike saw an increase in revenue by 31 percent, according to Time.com.

Whether the campaign is successful or a complete failure, companies face a huge risk when it comes to taking on a certain issue.

However, not all companies have been as successful as Nike when it comes to inclusive marketing. Pepsi featured an ad with supermodel Kendall Jenner in 2017 that caused huge controversy. Jenner was in the middle of a protest, and she was seen offering protesters Pepsi cans and also offered the police officers one as well. Some thought this ad was extremely insensitive, especially during the intense era of the Black Lives Matter movement.

In regards to the fashion industry, diversity and inclusion seem to be a huge “trend,” from plus-size models gracing front covers to more multicultural models beginning placed on billboards. Seeing people from different backgrounds is important and is needed to create a more diverse world. So, it’s great that companies work to bring diversity to the fashion industry because it hasn’t always been that way.

Beverly Ann Johnson was the first black woman to be on the cover of Vogue in 1974. Since then, there have been other trailblazing black models such as Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks who have paved the way for other models of color.

However, fashion has a way of loving the culture of different races but won’t feature the culture’s people in their fashion shows or ad campaigns. In 2019, several fashion houses were criticized for their lack of diversity or insensitive choice of the way their clothing was designed.

The major fashion house Gucci faced backlash for creating a sweater that resembled blackface. Toward the end of 2019, Gucci created a scholarship called the Gucci Changemakers Scholarship which was dedicated to funding college students of color and providing money to nonprofits.

Unfortunately, a question must be asked: Is diversity being normalized or is it to meet a consumer’s needs in order to stay a top competitor in the market?

“The Most Searched: A Celebration of Black History Makers”

Alton Worley | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Flickr User super bond1

Google released a Black History Month ad Jan. 25, showing that its most searched icons and moments in U.S. history were black.

Using data from Google Trends, Google identified African American achievements that were searched more than anything else. Google used data from Jan. 1, 2004, when search data first became available, to July 1, 2019.

“Growing up, I saw firsthand how the NAACP ACT-SO program inspired young black talent to believe in and showcase their brilliance,” said Justin Steele, director of Google.org.

The most searched U.S. history terms were: abolitionist, athlete, autobiography, ballerina, boycott, drag queen, dunk, EGOT winner, female poet, guitar solo, gymnast, homecoming, interception, jazz musician, march, movement, NASA mathematician, performance, remix, sit in, speech, star-spangled banner, tap dancer, tennis player and World War II airmen were showcased in this advertisement.

The ad received more than 23 million views on YouTube, causing it to trend on all social media platforms.

Some of the most searched topics – such as the most searched speech, “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and most searched remix, “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X – were to be expected, but topics such as the most searched performance, Beyonce’s Coachella performance, and the most searched boycott, in Montgomery, Alabama, were surprising.

Google named the ad “The Most Searched: A Celebration of Black History Makers.” With the data accessible to anyone at any time, Google provided its users with information that was already available. 

“After seeing the ad, I was intrigued to know what else was the most searched and also black,” said Quentin Davis, a sophomore business management major from Philadelphia. “It managed to get me excited for Black History Month and made me proud of our accomplishments as a race. I do wish it was longer, though; as soon as I got excited, it was basically over.” 

The 90-second ad gives each subject of a search topic about 4 to 5 seconds of screen time. That time frame is around the standard for television commercials, but as for whether or not the advertisement will be shown on television is unknown.

“It’s different,” said Jailen Garrett, an HU sophomore sociology major from Baltimore. “Something like that isn’t usually broadcasted, especially not by a big company like Google.” 

It isn’t surprising for a company to highlight African Americans before or during Black History Month, but Google managed to catch the public’s eye by not only making the statement but providing the facts to back it up.

Google set the bar high for 2020’s Black History Month, and it is going to be interesting to see how other companies rise to the occasion and recognize African Americans this year.

Ex-NFL player Matthew Cherry tackles filmmaking, earns an Oscar nomination for Hair Love

Alazja Kirk | Staff Writer

From the NFL to Hollywood, the writer, director and filmmaker Matthew Cherry has had an impressive rise to the top.

The Chicago native is a former NFL receiver-turned-filmmaker who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens. Cherry moved to L.A. to pursue a career in entertainment after his retirement in 2007. He’s worked as a production assistant on more than 40 commercials and 20 music videos.

Cherry’s latest project, Hair Love, received an Oscar nomination this month for best animated short film. Hair Love is about an African American father attempting to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.

Matthew Cherry joined Robin Roberts, Micheal Strahan and Lara Spencer on Good Morning America to talk about his career transition and how meaningful it has been to see the love and support for his short film.

“I moved to L.A. 13 years ago and kinda started over when I retired,” Cherry said in the interview. “And I started as a [production assistant] and kinda worked my way up doing music videos and short films — so to be here now at the highest level is so crazy.”

Cherry also spoke on the inspiration behind what made him want to create an animated short about an African American dad who learns how to do his young daughter’s hair.

“A couple of years ago, I was coming across a lot of viral videos about African American fathers that were doing their daughters’ hair,” he said. “It seemed like it was an anomaly. People were sharing it because they weren’t used to seeing it.”

Cherry spoke on how essential it is to normalize black men doing their daughters’ hair due to the stereotype they often face of not being involved in their children’s lives. He saw the importance of showcasing a strong black family unit and show that dads are present.

“This has to be one of the sweetest short films I’ve ever seen,” Hampton University senior Darius Hamb said. “He deserves everything that comes his way.”

Cherry has directed music videos for musical artists Beyoncé, Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, Tweet, Jazmine Sullivan, Lalah Hathaway, Kindred The Family Soul, Snoop Dogg, The Foreign Exchange, Bilal, N’Dambi, Maysa Leak, Dwele, Najee, K’Jon and Chloe X Halle.

Cherry’s first feature film, The Last Fall, made its world premiere at South By Southwest in 2012 and received awards at the American Black Film Festival for Best Screenplay and Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival for the HBO Best Feature Film Award. The Last Fall was acquired by Image Entertainment, made its television premiere on BET in December 2012 and is currently streaming on Netflix and Hulu.

Cherry’s feature film 9 Rides premiered at SXSW in 2016 in the Narrative Spotlight category and stars Dorian Missick, Omar Dorsey, Robinne Lee, Xosha Roquemore, Amin Joseph, Skye P. Marshall, Thomas Q. Jones and Tracie Thoms.

Cherry also has directed the TBS series The Last OG, the CBS drama event series The Red Line executive produced by Ava DuVernay & Greg Berlanti, the ABC action-comedy series Whiskey Cavalier, CBS’ The Unicorn and most recently, ABC’s hit series Black-ish.

“It’s great to see positive examples like Matthew,” said Brittany Mimms, a fourth-year MBA major at Hampton University. “He shows young people that anything is possible to accomplish as long as you stay passionate and persistent.”

Black British actors: The next big thing

Brandi Hutchison | Staff Writer

For many years, African American actors from the UK have left their marks on Hollywood, especially the American film industry. These actors do nothing less of a phenomenal job in playing American roles. Their skillful performances in playing these roles of Black Americans tend to leave audiences in high praise and recognition.

One of the many talents to have bridged the gap for British black actors and actresses is Idris Elba. The UK native first appeared on the TV series Crimewatch. He later rose to fame after appearing on the television series The Wire, a show based on the street life in Baltimore. He’s starred in Luther and also made appearances in films such as Thor, Fast & Furious, The Suicide Squad, Takers, Beast of No Nation, No Good Deed, Obsessed, Daddy’s Little Girls, American Gangster and This Christmas.

He has been a trailblazer who has paved the way for young African American British actors of today’s time. More black British actors today are breaking into Hollywood by migrating to the United States to find their careers and defining roles. The emergence of these young actors offers new faces, new taste and new talent to the preference of the box offices.

A face that has been taking over screens with his tear-spilling eyes is Daniel Kaluuya. He is mostly known for his starring role in Jordan Peele’s Academy Award-winning satirical horror movie, Get Out. Kaluuya played the role of Chris Washington, a young African American man who spends the weekend filled with twists and turns meeting the parents of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage. Kaluuya also recently starred in Melina Matsouka’s protest art film, Queen and Slim. The movie consists of a first date that takes a wrong turn after a policeman pulls Queen and Slim (Kaluuya) over for a traffic violation. The situation quickly escalates, resulting in Slim shooting the officer with his gun in self-defense, and the two decide to go on the run. Kaluuya also made an appearance in the Marvel movie Black Panther.

 “I was shocked when I found out that the star from Get Out was from London,” said Alexis Scott, a Hampton University master of business administration major from Washington, D.C. “You can definitely tell that he works on his craft. His dialect and American accent are spot-on. I like that he has the talent and the ability to take on the roles that portray the struggle and disadvantages African Americans face every day living in America.”

Alongside Kaluuya in Queen and Slim was Jodie Turner-Smith. Her breakout role represented a passionate, strong and empowering African American woman who so happened to be a lawyer and Slim’s love interest. 

The use of black British actresses doesn’t stop there. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is from Oxford, UK, and played the pressured superstar singer Noni in Beyond the Lights

Letitia Wright is a British-Guyanese actress who played the role of Shuri, the creative younger to sister to Chadwick Boseman in the Black Panther. Wright has also appeared in Guava Island, Avengers and on the Netflix series Black Mirror.

“It amazes me to see that people from all over can portray the roles of another culture, said Brittany Johns, an HU senior psychology major from Alexandria, Virginia. “Although they’re acting, they look so comfortable in their environment and characters that they’re portraying, almost as if it’s natural, like, that’s the real them.” 

Some more black British actors who appear on highly recognized works of art are Ashley Walter, Kano and Little Simz. They’re all actors on the British television crime drama series Top Boy, based in East London. Some may also recognize the face of Daniel Ezra, who plays Spencer James, the high school wide receiver football star in The CW series All American

Needless to say, British actors and actresses are taking Hollywood by storm.