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AFRICAN AMERICAN (B)

AFRICAN AMERICAN (B)

Greeted With Great Enthusiasm, Black Enterprise Kicks Off Entrepreneurs Summit in Charlotte

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With the mission of expanding opportunities for established business owners and entrepreneurial aspirants, Black Enterprise came to Charlotte to kick off the Entrepreneurs Summit, which will be held June 6-9, 2018, at the city’s convention center.  A mix of media outlets as well as scores of entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and government officials, including Mayor Vi Lyles, assembled at the expansive Park Expo and Conference Center for the formal announcement from the multimedia company’s President and CEO Earl G. Graves Jr.

 

(BE CEO Earl G. Graves Jr. addresses the crowd. Photo: Tyrus Gaines)

 

 

Graves told the enthusiastic crowd why BE made the decision for a return engagement to one of the nation’s largest gathering of entrepreneurs for the first time in a decade: “We have grown to appreciate the Queen City as one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities with a positive business climate for companies, both large and small. It represents a major financial center as well as a nascent tech hub offering opportunities for startups as well as established firms.”

Home to More Than 13,000 Black-Owned Businesses

Citing that the Greater Charlotte area serves as home base for more than 13,000-plus black businesses, he added, “Our Summit seeks to facilitate the advancement of black-owned companies through sessions that emphasize gaining access to capital, capacity building, and application of new technology and big data to customize products and services, among myriad other business-building information.” The three-day event will provide attendees with both instruction and inspiration from a bevy of highly successful entrepreneurs and nationally acclaimed business experts as well as create an environment for business owners to build partnerships, cut deals, receive on-the-spot coaching, and gain access to government and corporate contracts.

Mayor: Partnership with Black Enterprise Will Drive “Economic Mobility”

Lyles, who made history last November as the first African American woman to be elected mayor of Charlotte, wholeheartedly embraced the Summit, maintaining that the city’s partnership with BE’s connects with key planks of her administration’s business agenda. “In the City of Charlotte, we have made a priority of improving economic mobility as it relates to small business development, high-paying jobs and broader access to opportunity,” she told the audience. “To be able to host the Summit, partnering with an organization that promotes the concept of economic mobility internationally in all that it publishes and in the events that it produces, is a true privilege for our great city.”

Rep. Alma Adams, the Democrat who represents North Carolina’s 12th congressional district, also welcomed BE, stating that the Summit will provide a valuable platform for the creation and expansion of African American business ownership in the metro area and nation as a whole.

Sponsors of the event also gained the opportunity to address the crowd. Lu Yarbrough, associate vice president for Enterprise Diverse & Cause Marketing for Nationwide Insurance, said the company “is proud of our long-standing partnership with Black Enterprise and the opportunity to serve for the eighth year as the host sponsor to recognize and support entrepreneurs today and in the future.”

 

(Lu Yarbrough of Nationwide. Photo: Tyrus Gaines)

 

Toyota and FedEx Express are other major corporate partners. Visit Charlotte, the city’s visitor and convention bureau will also serve as a sponsor of the Summit, which will showcase different businesses, institutions, restaurants and other features of the city.

In addition to the current slate of corporate and government partners, Graves was “extremely proud” of the addition of a local sponsor: Day Runner, a nationwide on-demand courier service based in Charlotte owned and operated by Marvin Walker, a young African American entrepreneur. “I had dreams of one day becoming an entrepreneur even from the days of growing up in Guyana selling plantain chips on the side of the street as a child. For me, the pages of Black Enterprise were a reminder that I could achieve dreams and act on my idea that today has become a multimillion-dollar business,” Walker told the crowd. “For that reason, I am proud to be a sponsor of the 2018 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit.”  

(Graves greeting Marvin Walker of Day Runner. Photo: Tyrus Gaines)

 

He added: “By being a key sponsor of the Summit in Charlotte this year, I hope that another young person with an idea, a dream of being an entrepreneur will also have the chance to learn and interact with corporate leaders, business owners, and venture capitalists who may be able to help them make that dream a reality.”

Business Leaders Give Back to the Community

 Others at the press conference also encouraged veteran business owners and executives to support the development of the next generation of black entrepreneurs. For instance, retired banking executive Lenny Springs, who was instrumental in working with BE to bring the event to the city in 2008, told the attendees that he would personally finance “scholarships” to send five young business owners to the Summit and urged others to do the same.

(Vanessa Vaughn of Asfalis receives a check and paid registration from Councilman James Mitchell, Mayor Lyles, and Graves. Photo: Tyrus Gaines)

Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell, chair of the energetic, robust local steering and ambassador committees, has been one of the Summit’s most vocal advocates over the past few months. In fact, he used the press conference as an opportunity to award Vanessa Vaughn, CEO of Charlotte-based Asfalis, a crisis management consulting firm, with a check to bolster its operations as well as a paid registration. He asserted: “We are lucky to have BE here and we want to show BE and the nation that this is an outstanding climate to promote black entrepreneurship.”

For more information on attending the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, go here.  



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AFRICAN AMERICAN (B)

The Biggest Black Business And Other News This Week

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If you’ve missed some of our biggest business stories this week, we’ve got you. Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest stories Black Enterprise covered last week: 

 

 

  • Kenneth Stephens, the young Houston-based founder of Stephens Law PLLC, a Houston-based firm specializing in construction law — a rare niche in the industry, particularly for African American attorneys shares his story. Inspiring read.

 

  • Ken Chenault is making a big push into tech. The recently retired American Express CEO recently joined the boards of two of the region’s biggest companies in Facebook and Airbnb. Now he’s joining as the sole chairman of the venture capital firm General Catalyst.

 

  • Rihanna is killing it as an entrepreneur. No, seiously. In its first month, cosmetics line did five times as much in sales as Kylie Cosmetics, a brand which has sold $420 million worth of product in its almost two-year existence.

 

  • Ever heard of $Guap? We’re not talking about Big Sean’s 2013 rap song. I’m not talking about a wad of cash either.

 

 

  • California launched the world’s biggest legal pot market on New Years Day. Vermont’s state legislature became the first to legalize marijuana. With the marijuana industry growing at a rapid rate, it is expected to explode into a $24.1 billion market in less than 10 years.

 

  • Ever wondered how much Beyonce makes every time she steps on the Grammy stage? Well, she makes nothing. But there’s a thing called the “Grammy Bounce” due to the publicity an artist gets by receiving the award.

 

  • Two African American will be joining the executive ranks at McDonald’s U.S. business branch. Kenny Mitchell has been named vice president of brand content and engagement and Lizette Williams has been tapped for an entirely new role, head of cultural engagement.

 

 

 

 

  • Charlie is 13 years old. His sister Hannah, 16, has a condition that causes her to faint whenever she stands up. So, he created an app and they’re close to closing their first investment deal.

 

  • The 2 Dope Queens Podcast is heading to HBO. Premiering Feb. 2, the show will showcase four hour-long specials of the podcast that were taped in front of a live audience in Brooklyn, New York. Guests featured on the show include actress Sarah Jessica Parker, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor Tituss Burgess, and Orange is the New Black star Uzo Aduba among others.

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AFRICAN AMERICAN (B)

Keeana Barber of WDB Marketing helping Black businesses thrive

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Photo courtesy of Keeana Barber, co-owner of WDB Marketing

Black History is something that we tend to speak about as if all the accomplishments have been achieved. In truth, Black History is being made every day. As Black people continue to crush barriers and stereotypes every day, rolling out’s mission is to shine a light on those who empower themselves and, in turn, empower others. We are honored to feature Black businesses and business owners as they represent the engine to our freedom.

Today, we feature Keeana Barber co-owner and creative mastermind behind WDB Marketing. We talked to her about entrepreneurship, being a Black business owner and what she hopes the legacy of her business will be.

Business name: WDB Marketing
Business owners: Keeana Barber and James Wheeler
Focus: Brand management, marketing, graphic design, full-service in-house print facility
Length of time in business: 12 years
Favorite quote from an African American: “I hated every minute of training but I said don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” –Muhammad Ali
Twitter: @wdbmarketing
Instagram: @wdbmarketing
Facebook: @wdbmarketing

Talk about what inspired you to go into business.
I started this business to honor my brother’s legacy, Bobby Barber, who died from gun violence in November 2004. Recently, [after] graduating from Northwestern University I knew I wanted to be in entrepreneurship but was unclear of the path to take. My brother had recently started a promotional company in California so I decided to bring the concept to Chicago. I promoted events for two years before transitioning to marketing and design for other companies. After developing a knack for graphic design and promotional campaigns we switched the focus of the company to focus on marketing solutions for small business owners.

What does it mean to you to run your own business?
It is amazing to be an entrepreneur that works with other entrepreneurs. Every day we get to utilize our gifts and 12 years of knowledge to support other entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Talk about some of the challenges you have encountered and how you were able to overcome them?
Some of my challenges starting a business included lack of capital and lack of a clear path for how to successfully operate a corporate business. I knew a lot of sole proprietors but not I did not have a network I could tap into to educate me on pricing my products, operations, etc. I learned from the school of hard knocks.

What is the biggest misconception about being a Black business owner?
The biggest misconception about Black businesses is that we do not take our businesses serious enough or operate like regular companies. The “that’s why I don’t support Black businesses” mentality is perpetuated in our community oftentimes from being unforgiving when all businesses have flaws and make mistakes. I think the mentality is absolutely changing but for too long people would allow one bad experience form a business owner become a blanket representation of all Black businesses.

Photo courtesy of Keeana Barber, co-owner of WDB Marketing

What does it mean to you to provide great customer service?
Great customer service is about going above and beyond to satisfy your customers’ needs. When I first started I would stay late to make sure my customers had time to pick up their orders. It’s suggesting a cheaper item if it best fits their needs or giving them additional resources because you see an opportunity to help them, not necessarily because it makes you money. Customer service should be at the heart of why we all do what we do, to properly service the people that choose to support you.

What value does your business provide to the community?
I am proud to say that my business provides a tremendous amount of value to the community. WDB is here to build other businesses. Marketing and branding is everything, it is the first encounter someone has with your brand — whether it is your logo or your storefront, a business image is a key component of their success. I feel that as a community marketing agency we help to make sure businesses are successful and can sustain themselves by helping them brand and market themselves to their customers. WDB is a company that cares about its clients’ success so without us there would be a lot of companies lost.

What books have you read that have assisted you in your path?
I read so many books but never finish any of them lol. One of my favorites is The Little Red Book of Selling, which focuses on sales tactics to close any deal and in business, we are all salesman. I also love Bag the Elephant, which teaches you how to properly target and secure big clients. Finally, my current read is Scaling Up, which I love; it gives you core competencies and strategies on how to scale your business for growth.

What historic African American figure has inspired you the most and why?
Muhammad Ali, he was confident, proud and not afraid to risk it all for what he believed in. He spoke his greatness into existence and then became it.

When you are hiring employees, what do you look for?
I look for people who are dedicated and driven for success. Working for a small business, employees have to be willing to work hard for less, generally because they believe in the mission of the organization. Also, because we work with small businesses, I look for people who have a passion for entrepreneurship and working with small businesses.

What do you want the legacy of your business to be?
I want my legacy to be that I helped over 100 businesses truly grow and take their business to the multimillion-dollar level. I want to do this through helping them develop the right partnerships they need for growth, become a guru in financial models to help scale companies and of course by creating national market campaigns that take something from a small concept to a national brand. I also want people to always see me as someone who is humble, accessible and always striving to take myself and those around me to the next level.

Barber is a bright star in Chicago’s business community and honors her brother legacy by being the best at what she does. She also celebrates other Black businesses with an event called the L.E.G.A.C.Y Awards Gala. WDB and BLUE1647 are celebrating the impact of Black entrepreneurs on Feb. 24, 2018, at BLUE Lacuna Lofts, 2150 S. Canalport, Chicago, Illinois,












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African American Experience tour takes Annapolis back to its roots

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A stroll through downtown Annapolis is a stroll through history. Though without a sign or statue to point history out, it’s easy to walk by in ignorance.

William Ridgley wants to make sure you know what you’re walking through.

Ridgley leads Annapolis’ first African American Experience walking tour, introduced last week at the start of Black History Month. The approximately two-hour tour starts in 1632, when the first African slaves and indentured servants arrived in St. Mary’s City.

Ridgley usually re-enacts colonial characters, but for this tour he plays himself, as he’s part of the history tour-goers walk through (though even in freezing rain he runs the tour in authentic colonial garb).

Ridgley, an Annapolis native and former Marine, grew up hearing stories from his family of the Jim Crow era. His mother graduated from the segregated Bates High School in 1963, five years before the school integrated. Aris T. Allen was his pediatrician in the ‘70s before becoming the first African-American chair of the Maryland Republican party and the first African-American to run for a statewide office in Maryland. Throughout the tour, Ridgley passes his childhood home on East Street. He used to get his hair cut at the “flat iron building” barber shop that began business in 1919 on the corner of Cornhill and Fleet streets before closing in 1983.

Fleet Street is also where Ridgley says black watermen built their homes.

“Everything was flipped back then,” Ridgley explains. “The poor people lived by the water, because that’s where they worked and the rich people lived up the hill. Now, the closer you are to the water the more expensive the homes get.”

Those who walk by places like the Banneker-Douglass Museum, Maynard-Burgess House and William H. Butler house on Duke of Gloucester Street can learn the names that carry the legacy of those buildings, each of which tells the story of free-black business and homeowners.

Ridgley’s tour also passes the Chase-Lloyd house, where former Maryland governor Edward Lloyd owned Frederick Douglass, and the Hammond-Harwood house on Maryland Avenue.

Of course, no black history tour is complete without a stop by the Market House at City Dock. Ridgley explains the area’s link to Alex Haley and his “Roots” character Kunta Kinte, as well as the Market House’s link to the slave trade. Slaves were kept in pens where they were packed together like spoons, Ridgley says.

“A lot of white people get to these parts of history start experiencing guilt,” Ridgley says. “You don’t have to be afraid or guilty. It’s history. You don’t have to feel bad about that. We have to talk about it in order to keep bad things from happening.”


The African American Experience tour is run by Colonial Tours of Annapolis out of the visitors center at 26 West St. every day at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m this month.

Tours are $17 for adults and $12 for students ages 10-17. Those 9 years-old and under are free.

For reservations and more information, visit colonialtoursannapolis.com.




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AFRICAN AMERICAN (B)

Chadwick Boseman and Ryan Coogler on How 'Black Panther' Makes History

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When he first tried on his spandex suit for 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” it felt too restricting. “It was suffocating,” recalls Boseman. “Literally, it closed off every possibility of air getting to you. I was in it, put the mask on. I said, ‘Hey, you got to get me out of this!’” By the time he headlined his own movie, as the first black Marvel superhero with his name on the poster, Boseman was more comfortable in his re-engineered costume. “I think it begins to feel like skin after a while,” says the 41-year-old actor. “But it takes time to get to that place.”

The same can be said for Disney’s long-awaited tentpole “Black Panther,” which debuts Feb. 16. For decades, actors, directors, producers and fans have wondered why Hollywood was so slow to bring black superheroes to the big screen. It’s not that there weren’t attempts along the way. In the ’90s, Warner Bros. had originally tapped Marlon Wayans to portray Robin in a “Batman” movie, before Chris O’Donnell landed the sidekick role. Wesley Snipes starred in the vampire superhero film “Blade,” which spawned two sequels. In 2004, Halle Berry headlined “Catwoman,” which was ridiculed by critics and tanked at the box office. And 12 years later, Will Smith, the co-star of the juggernaut “Men in Black,” popped up in “Suicide Squad” as the under-seen assassin Deadshot.


Black Panther Variety Cover

CREDIT: Art Streiber for Variety

Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, is a movie that doubles as a movement, or at least a moment that feels groundbreaking in the same way that last year’s runaway hit “Wonder Woman” inspired millions of women. “Panther” marks the first time that a major studio has greenlit a black superhero movie with an African-American director and a primarily black cast, including Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright as Shuri, the princess of the fictional African country Wakanda.

The reality of this milestone isn’t lost on Coogler, the 31-year-old director of the Sundance darling “Fruitvale Station” and the “Rocky” sequel “Creed.” “I think progress comes in ebbs and flows,” Coogler says. “I hope things continue to open up. As more content gets made, more opportunities like ours can come about for folks. But you’ve got to put your foot on the gas when it comes to that or things can go back to where they were.”

“Black Panther” chronicles an origin story for a Marvel character who first made his debut in the comic books in 1966. On the big screen, he’s a warrior named T’Challa, who returns home to an Afro-futuristic country to inherit the throne as king. The release of the movie coincides with a crossroads in America. Racial tensions are heightened as a result of a president who continually makes reprehensible remarks about immigrants from nonwhite countries. “Black Panther” also arrives on the heels of #OscarsSoWhite, the two consecutive years (2015 and 2016) that the Motion Picture Academy failed to nominate any actors of color for awards.

Anticipation for the release of “Black Panther” is much higher than for the last outings from Batman and Thor. In May 2016, the hashtag #BlackPantherSoLIT started trending on Twitter as casting details around the movie emerged. “Panther” is poised to break box office records for February, a typically quieter time as audiences catch up on romantic comedies around Valentine’s Day. Marvel’s latest crown jewel is tracking to gross an estimated $150 million on its opening weekend. Strong business for “Black Panther,” which cost nearly $200 million to produce and roughly $150 million more to market, would send a clear message to the movie industry that certain communities are still widely underserved. While domestic ticket sales plummeted last year, the number of frequent African-American moviegoers nearly doubled to 5.6 million in 2016, according to a survey by the Motion Picture Assn. of America.


Chadwick Boseman photographed for Variety by Art Streiber in Los Angeles, CA on January 26, 2018

CREDIT: Art Streiber for Variety

Some are paying attention. “Representation matters,” says Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, which owns Marvel. “It’s a powerful and important thing for people to know they are seen and to see themselves reflected in our films and the stories we tell.” Horn believes that “Black Panther” is part of a wave of change. “In terms of gender diversity, we’ve done very well,” he says, pointing to his studio’s own roster that includes “Beauty and the Beast,” “Coco” and the upcoming live-action “Mulan.” “When it comes to diversity reflecting color and ethnicity, I’d say yes, you will see more.”

That’s already starting to happen. In 2017, Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” became a box office sensation, with $254 million in worldwide ticket sales (along with four Oscar nominations). In March, Disney unveils Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” a $100 million-plus adaptation of the popular novel by Madeleine L’Engle starring Oprah Winfrey and newcomer Storm Reid. Despite these high-profile titles, the idea that Hollywood is at a tipping point is maybe naive.

“To think that way disregards history,” says the Oscar-nominated DuVernay, who is friends with Coogler and passed on directing “Black Panther” before him. “If we’re talking about different films by black filmmakers coming out in a cluster, that’s happened again and again in the last 30 years.” She mentions such directors as Spike Lee, John Singleton, Troy Beyer and Kasi Lemmons. “I think the question for us is how to sustain that and make it a fact, not a trend.”

The Jan. 29 Los Angeles premiere of “Panther” wasn’t just another night out for Hollywood. “Every black person I talk to that’s going, the question is ‘What are you wearing?’” DuVernay told Variety during a phone call that morning. “It’s an event!” The enormous crowd of fans gathered outside, some in tears, suggested the history-making nature of the affair. Many of the cast wore African-themed garments as a nod to the “royal attire” requested on the invitation. “For people of color, a superhero — that’s something that we would hope for,” said actor Courtney B. Vance as he entered the theater. “For it to be here, it’s a testament that we can open a movie. It’s something that maybe encourages us. If we can do it here, we can do it elsewhere.”

Danai Gurira rehearses with Ryan Coogler on the set.
Courtesy of Marvel/Matt Kennedy

A few days prior, Coogler and Boseman met with Variety on a secluded road in Griffith Park. After doing all their own stunts for the photo shoot — including climbing a boulder in socks, which made a Disney publicist shriek with anxiety — the duo sat down for an interview about making “Black Panther.”

The two first met in 2015 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, when Boseman sneaked in during Coogler’s press junket for “Creed.” “It felt like we were going to be on the same page about what it was,” says Boseman, who like Coogler got his start in independent movies. Prior to Black Panther, Boseman portrayed baseball legend Jackie Robinson in “42” and soul icon James Brown in “Get On Up.” The actor studied Black Panther’s significance in popular culture. He tells a story about how he went to a local comic-book shop to buy back issues, even though Marvel would give them to him for free. He wore a hat and sunglasses as a disguise but was recognized when he returned for more reading material. “They were like, ‘This is the dude that’s playing the character!’” Boseman recalls.

Coogler realizes there is an overarching message in his films. “For me, in retrospect, I realized a lot of what I deal with as an artist is with themes of identity,” the director says. “I think it’s something common among African-Americans. For us, we’ve got a strange circumstance in terms of our view of ourselves.” He made a pilgrimage to Africa before he began shooting “Black Panther,” the first time he visited the continent. “I have to go if I’m making this movie,” Coogler says. “I’m not qualified just because I look like this.”

When asked if a white director could have made “Black Panther,” Boseman hesitates. “Well, is it possible for them to make it? It could be, yes. Would they have his perspective? Probably not. It wouldn’t be nuanced in the same way because they wouldn’t have the same conflict. They don’t have the African-American conflict that exists: Whether you’re conscious of it or not, you have an ancestry that is very hard to trace.”

Adds Coogler: “I tend to like movies where the filmmaker has a personal connection to the subject matter. I don’t know if you could find a group of films that deal with the Italian-American organized crime better than ‘Godfather 1,’ ‘Godfather 2,’ ‘Mean Streets’ and ‘Goodfellas.’ Show me a movie about Brooklyn better than ‘Do the Right Thing.’”

The journey of “Black Panther” to the big screen was a long process. In the early ’90s, Snipes wanted to play the role, even going as far as collaborating on a script and meeting with a series of directors. “We thought it would be something very cool and atypical for a Marvel comic-book character,” Snipes says. “Something that would appeal to white people, black people, Asian people, and have some martial arts in it. It would have been a culturally diverse shithole,” he says with a laugh, taking a jab at Donald Trump. The movie never took off. “At the time, there were no templates for it,” he says.

“Progress comes in ebbs and flows. You’ve got to put your foot on the gas when it comes … or things can go back to where they were.”
Ryan Coogler

When Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, the first mandate was to create a world for the most popular characters, like Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk. However, fleeting references to Black Panther were made in the earlier films, even if we didn’t see him. It wasn’t until “Civil War” that Marvel producers had an entrance for the character. They needed a neutral figure who wouldn’t side with either Captain America or Iron Man.

As executives huddled, they thought of only Boseman for the role of Black Panther, based on his prior on-screen transformations. “I think it was 24 hours between saying his name in a creative story meeting and talking to his agent and getting on the phone with him,” says Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios. Although Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt all had to audition for their Marvel parts, Boseman got his offer on the spot without needing to do a reading. He accepted via speakerphone from Zurich, where he was doing press for “Get On Up.”

Actors are often afraid of being typecast as comic-book heroes, but Boseman didn’t worry about it. “I didn’t think that would be an issue, because of the other characters that I played,” he says. “I’ve already experienced a time period where I was nobody but Jackie Robinson. I’ve experienced times where I was Jackie Brown, because fans when they are excited, they have James Brown and Jackie Robinson on their mind.” Does it bother him? Not at all. “It’s funny,” he says.

Playing Black Panther meant Boseman had to enter a boot camp to understand the character physically and emotionally. He worked with a dialect coach to perfect a South African accent, and he took a DNA test to learn about his own origins. “One of the key factors was me getting a sense of my background,” he says. He spent as many as five hours a day in the gym, with a regimen that included weights, cardio and martial arts. “You can’t even stop,” says Boseman, who could slip in only two hours on shooting days. He also had to stick to a special diet. “At first, I was eating a lot of meat,” he says. “And then I felt it was too much for the amount of energy we needed to expend every day.” He wasn’t feeling agile. “So my diet became more vegetarian as we went along.”


Ryan Coogler Black Panther Variety Feature

CREDIT: Art Streiber for Variety

Although Marvel films have a uniformly cookie-cutter vibe, Coogler persuaded executives to let him bring some familiar faces, including “Fruitvale Station” director of photography Rachel Morrison, “Creed” production designer Hannah Beachler and his longtime editor Michael Shawver. That’s led some reviewers to note that “Black Panther” has a more elevated vibe. “I feel like it’s definitely a Ryan Coogler film,” Boseman says. “There are certain choices that are made that are distinctly his stamp on it.”

On the Disney lot, during post-production, Coogler had a parking spot next to his pal DuVernay, who was wrapping up “Wrinkle.” “Ava is like my sister,” the director says. “I see her as our leader. The young filmmakers coming up right now, we look at Ava for our next move.”

Their doors faced each other in the same hallway, and they’d often bring in visitors to meet one another. Coogler introduced DuVernay to one of her heroes, the author Ta-Nehisi Coates. A short time after that, DuVernay called Coogler to the parking lot. The car windows rolled down — a certain someone wanted to say hello to him. Her name was Oprah. DuVernay laughs as she recalls the day, and says that fate brought both of them to their respective projects. “My heart wanted to do one thing,” she says. “His heart wanted to do something else. We were very lucky that we were able to do them side by side.”

There’s already been talk of the inevitable “Black Panther” sequel. Will Coogler be back in the director’s chair? “It’s too early to say about a second ‘Black Panther,’ but we certainly want him to come back,” Horn says about his directing other projects.

Boseman doesn’t want to speculate about other installments either. At least not yet. “I’m enjoying this moment,” he says. “If we start talking about sequels — if we do four of them, two of them, three of them — I just want them all to be special like this one.”

Meredith Woerner contributed to this story.



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