Uptown Bourgeois is an arts, news, and culture blog created by New York-based freelance writer Jefferey Spivey. UB explores universal themes through a black, queer lens. 

Bourgeois Brief: Hidden Figures Heads to the Small Screen, will.i.am Adds Commencement Speaker to His Resume, Oprah Winfrey Explores the History of Lynching & More!

Bourgeois Brief: Hidden Figures Heads to the Small Screen, will.i.am Adds Commencement Speaker to His Resume, Oprah Winfrey Explores the History of Lynching & More!

Your daily dose of art, news, and pop culture headlines, and a signal boost for creators of color.

Hidden Figures to Become National Geographic Series

Hidden Figures was a cinematic triumph in 2016—the film grossed $169 million domestically, swept awards season, and brought the stories of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson to the mainstream.  Now, the story will get the series treatment at National Geographic.  The show is in the very early stages of development and serves as Nat Geo’s latest push into scripted programming.  Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.

Tiffany Haddish to Executive Produce HBO Series

Comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish, who recently signed a First Look deal with HBO, will now serve as executive producer for Unsubscribed, a series that examines female blackness through the lens of Instagram fame. The announcement follows a series of high profile gigs for Haddish, which include a supporting role in TBS’ The Last O.G. and a starring role in the upcoming film, Night School.  Read more at The Root.

will.i.am Set As First Commencement Speaker for USC Innovation Academy

Rapper will.i.am is known for his tech savvy and hit-making skills with The Black Eyed Peas.  Now, he can add commencement speaker to his list of accomplishments.  He’ll serve as the first commencement speaker for USC’s Iovine and Young Academy for Arts, Technology, and the Business of Innovation.  will.i.am focuses on AI development and innovation through his tech company, I.AM+, and funds STEM education programs for underserved communities through his i.am Angel Foundation.  Get additional background at USC News.

The Black List Takes the Leap Into Movie Production

For years, The Black List has served as a launch pad for undiscovered screenwriters with possible hit screenplays.  Founded by Franklin Leonard, the site allows Hollywood execs to identify their favorite undeveloped scripts.  Now, through a partnership with Meridian Entertainment, Leonard will finance 3-5 English language-films each year.  The films will have budgets up to $15 million.  This could be a huge benefit for aspiring screenwriters, as roughly a third of the 1,000 screenplays uploaded each year go into production. Read more at Variety.

Oprah Winfrey Explores Lynching Memorial on 60 Minutes

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice was erected to honor the victims of lynching.  On Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes, Oprah Winfrey explored the memorial and the painful history of lynching.  In the piece, she spends time with Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson and examines the story of activist and reverend T.A. Allen.  Get additional details at CBS News.

Tidbits

In case you missed it…

Drake releases star-studded video for “Nice For What” [Vulture]

Michael B. Jordan in the full trailer for Fahrenheit 451 [EW]

Halle Berry cast in Jagged Edge remake [Variety]

Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy is already gold [The Fader]

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. becomes his third million-selling LP [Billboard]

Jean Grae’s career in 8 definitive songs [Pitchfork]

Food for thought

Queer stories have been a huge part of movie awards season the last two years, with Moonlight winning Best Picture in 2017 and Call Me By Your Name scoring multiple nods this year.  But many of these films feature straight actors playing gay, and quite often, they’re handsomely rewarded for it.  The Advocate takes an in-depth look at 52 hetero actors who’ve won awards for portrayals of LGBTQ characters.

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Bourgeois Brief: Q-Tip Teaches at NYU, Junot Diaz Publishes New Essay About Childhood Trauma, The Weeknd Debuts at Number One & More!

Bourgeois Brief: Q-Tip Teaches at NYU, Junot Diaz Publishes New Essay About Childhood Trauma, The Weeknd Debuts at Number One & More!

Bourgeois Brief: Jordan Peele Produces Lorena Bobbitt Docuseries, Black Panther Heads to Saudi Arabia, MLK’s Best Works on Audible & More!

Bourgeois Brief: Jordan Peele Produces Lorena Bobbitt Docuseries, Black Panther Heads to Saudi Arabia, MLK’s Best Works on Audible & More!