Review: Good Performance By Andre Benjamin Isn’t Enough To Bolster Hendrix Biopic ‘All Is By My Side’

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A little over a decade ago, VH1 premiered one of its many mediocre television biopics, Hendrix. Playing well against type, Wood Harris starred as the iconic guitarist, alongside Vivica A. Fox (as girlfriend/groupie Faye Pridgeon), and Billy Zane. A general overview of Hendrix’s life, the film chronicled his time playing with black artists like Little Richard, his period as a recording artist in London, his breakthrough performance at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and his untimely death at the age of 27. It had all the hallmarks of most rock ‘n roll biopics: the tough childhood, the discovery of genius, the hit single, the hard partying, the groupies, the hangers-on, the drug problems, the fall from grace. But it was missing something, one major element. The music. Getting music rights has been an uphill battle in many a musical biopic, and last year, with the announcement that a new Hendrix movie called All is By My Side was set to begin production, getting rights to the rocker’s extensive discography once again became an obstacle for filmmakers. Hendrix’s estate withdrew all support for the movie, and barred writer-director John Ridley (who paradoxically also wrote 12 Years a Slave and Undercover Brother) from using seminal Hendrix songs like ‘Purple Haze’, ‘The Wind Cries Mary’ and the ‘Hey Joe’ cover in the movie. Ridley, determined to tell his version of the Hendrix story, sidestepped this slight inconvenience by crafting a story set specifically before the debut of Are You Experienced. Andre Benjamin plays Hendrix, discovered by Keith Richards’ girlfriend Linda Keith (Imogen Poots) while playing backup guitar at New York’s Cheetah Club. The two strike up a romantically-tinged friendship, as Linda works tirelessly at helping him find a manger and get a record deal. Eventually, under the management of former Animals member Chas Chandler (Andrew Buckley), Hendrix moves to London, shacks up with feisty party girl Kathy Etchingham (Hayley Atwell), and begins his journey towards starting The Jimi Hendrix Experience and becoming one of if not the greatest guitar players of all time. Continue Reading

Beyoncé Covers Out’s May Power Issue

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On the cover of Out magazine’s annual May Power Issue (on newsstands April 22) is one of the most powerful women in music: Beyoncé Knowles. The singer, who defied traditional marketing tactics late last year when she released her surprise self-titled video album, is the perfect representation of what it means to be powerful. She’s poised, she’s commanding, and she does it all at her own pace. Like any powerful person, there’s an army of supporters who follow. Aaron Hicklin, Out magazine’s editor in chief, got unprecedented access inside Parkwood Entertainment, the camp that makes up “team Beyoncé” in order to learn just how the singer landed the industry’s biggest coup. On Tuesday, April 8, the singer takes over the site with exclusive remixes, never-before-seen photos, and interviews with some of the most powerful people in the industry.

#BeyOut will have fans bowing down to the “XO” singer.

R.I.P. To The Godfather: Frankie Knuckles’ 10 Greatest Tracks

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There are musical innovators and then there’s Frankie Knuckles. The Bronx, New York born DJ/producer turned Chicago-based dance visionary, who is widely recognized as the architect of house music, died Monday afternoon at the age of 59. And with his untimely passing comes a flood of tributes from the U.S. (The Roots frontman tweeted of Knuckles’ death, “He was the DJ that DJs aspired to be. True dance pioneer.”) to overseas (BBC Radio 2’s Pete Tong added: “RIP gentleman genius, groundbreaker, inspiration. Blessed to have worked with you…”). And while Knuckles trumped his cult hero status as the man that made Windy City dance venues the Warehouse and the Power Plant landmark attractions in the ’80s—by the next decade he reigned as the go-to remix king for the headlining likes of Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson and Depeche Mode—his death is being felt the hardest back home.

“He made what I call wonderful garage music,” Southside Chicago native and local DJ Demetrius Lawrence tells VIBE. “He is one of the most original DJs that we’ve ever heard bringing in the establishment of house culture on multi-levels from music to fashion to philosophy. Frankie’s death is a huge loss.” Indeed, his impact on the EDM world and beyond cannot be overstated. VIBE presents the ten greatest Frankie Knuckles tracks of all-time. Dance on!

Richard Sherman Writes About Why It Was Wrong for the Eagles to Release DeSean Jackson

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Even though DeSean Jackson signed a new deal with the Washington Redskins last night,Richard Sherman is not ready to move on and forget the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles released him late last week because of his alleged “gang ties.” Early this morning, Sherman published a new column for The MMQB that offers his take on the Eagles parting ways with D-Jax. And because the Seattle Seahawks cornerback actually grew up with the speedy wide receiver and understands what it’s like to grow up in a rough neighborhood, he was able to offer a pretty unique perspective on why the Eagles shouldn’t have cut Jackson.

“I look at those words—gang ties—and I think about all the players I’ve met in the NFL and all of us who come from inner-city neighborhoods like mine in Los Angeles, and I wonder how many of us could honestly say we’re not friends with guys doing the wrong things,” he writes. “I can’t.”

Sherman also says that if Jackson had been playing for, say, the Seahawks instead of the Eagles, he wouldn’t have been released last week because of his “gang ties.”

“Sorry, but I was born in this dirt,” he writes. “NFL teams understand that. The Seattle Seahawks get it. The Philadelphia Eagles apparently do not.”

To read what else Sherman had to say, go here. Now that Jackson is with a new team, the whole “Is DeSean Jackson really in a gang?!” story is likely going to fade. But it’s important to hear what a guy like Sherman has to say about it. Because it won’t be the last time that a pro athlete is accused of having ties to a gang.

RELATED: Twitter Can’t Believe the Eagles Signed Riley Cooper to a New Contract This Offseason But Released DeSean Jackson Today

Frank Ocean Sued by Chipotle, Responds with Kind Gesture and a Check for Their Troubles

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Frank Ocean has been sued by Chipotle for backing out of an ad campaign. According to the fast food chain, they paid Ocean $212,500 to record a song that would be featured on an ad to promote local food and responsible farming. Ocean was then promised an additional $212,500 upon completion of the song. Instead of recording the song by the agreed upon deadline, he sent Chipotle a legal notice informing the company that he would not participate in the campaign. Ocean claims that he did not know that Chipotle’s logo would be on the advertisement, and that he was initially promised the right to approve the master. Chipotle denies this claim and is now suing for the initial $212,500 payment and additional damages.

UPDATE: Frank Ocean has shared a link to a Wikipedia entry for the word “defamation,” which is possibly a response to the lawsuit from Chipotle.

UPDATE 3/10/14 5:15PM: It appears as though Frank Ocean has conceded in his legal bout with Chipotle. However, it wasn’t without some entertainment from the 26-year-old R&B artist.

In a Tumblr post from earlier today, Ocean shared a screenshot of a cashier’s check he wrote out to Chipotle. The amount is $212,500, which is what the Mexican-style restaurant chain had initially requested in their lawsuit. In the memo box, he wrote, “FUCK OFF.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get your point across with purpose.

ImageUPDATE 3/11/14: A representative from Chipotle has told Rolling Stone, “If/when we get a check from Frank, we should be able to close the books on this. Right now, all we have is a photo online.”

Hard Times – Making It, Vol. 1 – Entry #3 of 9 – Transitioning (Tahir Jetter Chronicles Web Series Journey)

ImageI’d gotten an imdbpro membership and, after rifling through the endless stack of business cards that I’d amassed after attending Sundance in 2011, (and considering the nature of the film that I wanted to make) I started contacting every single film person that I could think of that had financed,  produced or cast an independent feature film that featured a young, African-American cast between 2007 and 2011. Additionally, I reached out to countless people that I knew, personally, and approached them for private equity investments.]

Concerning the film producers I’ve spoken with, these past few months, feedback that I got on my draft of latest All The Wrong Places, has been: “Yeah, I don’t know, I liked it, but to me, it just kind of read like the Black version of ‘Girls.’” – anon Producer of a feature film that had gone to Sundance, that year “I liked it, but we don’t make those kinds of films anymore.” – anon Producer of a feature film that had gone to Sundance, years before “I don’t work on feature films that have a budget of less than $500,000.” – anon Producer of several Sundance-selected movies “Yeah, I’ll read your draft, but due to familial issues, I can’t really afford to take on projects of this scale.” – anon Producer of several Sundance movies “I’m getting to the point in my career where I can’t take on projects of this size, but I’d be more than happy to read your draft.” – anon Producer with a movie that had just premiered at Sundance. Suffice it to say that this was a small sampling of the people that I’d reached out to, at the time, and that it seemed that the chances of getting the film made were not looking good.