Bourgeois Brief: Janelle Monae Preps Dirty Computer Emotion Film, BET Searches for New Writing Talent, Denzel Washington and Michael B. Jordan Chat About Black Superheroes & More!
Your daily dose of art, news, and pop culture headlines, and a signal boost for creators of color.
Janelle Monae to Release ‘Emotion Picture’ On Thursday
This Friday, Janelle Monae returns with her first full-length since 2013’s The Electric Lady. On the eve of her big release, she’ll premiere Dirty Computer: An Emotion Picture on MTV and BET. The 44-minute film co-stars Tessa Thompson and will serve as the visual companion to the album of the same name. In recent weeks, Monae has dropped eye-popping videos for the singles “Make Me Feel”, “Django Jane”, and “Pynk”. She also released the teaser single, “I Like That”. Read more at VIBE.
Victoria Mahoney Becomes First Woman of Color to Direct a Star Wars Film
The forthcoming Star Warsfilm Episode IX is sure to make history by breaking box office records, like all its predecessors. But this installment will earn its place in the history books for a different reason. Victoria Mahoney, who will serve as second unit director, will be the first woman of color to work in a directing capacity on a Star Wars film. Director Ava DuVernay shared the news on social media; DuVernay was the first woman of color to direct a film with a $100 million budget (this year’s A Wrinkle In Time). Read additional details at IndieWire.
Issa Rae Partners with BET and ColorCreative to Find New Talent
Actress, director, and writer Issa Rae has partnered with BET and ColorCreative to launch the Script to Screen Contest. Starting April 20, and running until May 2, aspiring screenwriters can submit their one-page pitches for TV series. The top three finalists will receive all-expenses paid trips to this year’s American Black Film Festival. And, one talented writer will have their script developed for BET. Read full contest details at ABFF.
Denzel Washington and Michael B. Jordan Talk Black Superheroes, #MeToo
Michael B. Jordan has often been compared to Denzel Washington. The New York Times pulled the two actors together for an in-depth conversation about their art, black superheroes, and the #MeToo movement. About acting, Washington says, “I like that part: building a character. You start with the material that gives you clues. If you’re playing a boxer, you want to throw out punches. If you’re playing a conductor, you want to get on a train.” Read the full conversation at NYT.
Recognizing Latinx Artists at Coachella
Though the biggest Coachella headline was indeed about Beychella, there was one other story about diversity that emerged—the prevalence of Latinx artists. Artists like Ibeyi, Kali Uchis, Miguel, and Cardi B brought their fresh musical perspectives and supportive fanbases to the music festival, which has often been viewed as a predominantly white space. See photos at VICE.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
See Takashi Murakami’s artwork for the Kanye/Kid Cudi collab [Billboard]
Atlantaseason 2, episode 8 reviewed [The Ringer]
Thandi Newton nets equal pay for Westworld[EW]
See Prince’s full discography on his new website [Variety]
Highlights from the second weekend of Beychella [Pitchfork]
Food for thought
The last week has seen three very public displays of black genius: Beyoncé’s two triumphant and career-defining Coachella performances, Kendrick Lamar’s history-making Pulitzer win, and Kanye’s literary return to Twitter. That all three of these artists are reaching new pinnacles at once highlights a sad fact about black genius, which WIRED’s Jason Parham explains:
The revolutionary nature of black genius, and the pressures of sustained excellence, invite all manner of heresy. It welcomes unwarranted crucifixion. One common rebuke to black genius in the public eye is the belief that it can only prevail as a single entity: there can only be one of us.
Read the full piece here.