THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – When Aldis Hodge DM’d artist Harmonia Rosales on Instagram to compliment her paintings, he never expected to kick off a collaboration. But the Hidden Figures actor, 31 — who next stars opposite Kevin Bacon in Showtime police pilot City on a Hill — showed Rosales some of his paintings, and she told him they held a beautiful sadness. “I was surprised someone responded to my work in that way who was not named ‘Mom,'” he says. Now the duo are bowing two new works via the Simard Bilodeau gallery at the L.A. Art Show, Jan.?10 to 14 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Chicago-based Rosales, 33, had a viral moment in May after, at Hodge’s urging, she Instagrammed her painting The Creation of God — a take on Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam with black women as both figures. There was a backlash, including racist attacks directed at her. “There’s a lot of hypocrisy in religion, but when you’re talking about God as a representation of love and as a representation of all of us, we should all be able to see God as ourselves,” says Hodge. “So there’s nothing wrong with the image at all.” The incident made fans of stars like Willow Smith and drew the attention of Eve-Marie Bilodeau, who with husband Guy Simard runs Simard Bilodeau. Samuel L. Jackson purchased “Black Imaginary to Counter Hegemony (B.I.T.C.H.),” a piece by Rosales, from the gallery’s September show of paintings.
“I’m so glad we have this collaboration, because I don’t like talking about my work,” says Rosales of working with Hodge. “I just like painting, I just like color, but [talking] is his strong suit, so it’s great.” In their series, “Through the Looking Glass,” Rosales paints figures — like a woman named Adeelah, in hijab and carrying a baby swaddled in an American flag. “I want them to be familiar, regardless of who you are,” she says of her subjects. Hodge paints the backdrop with words like “equal” and “survivor,” then distresses them, sometimes with a technique using fire. “It’s a subtle reminder that no matter what her culture is, what her religion is, she can still be American,” says Hodge of Adeelah. “She’s American-American just like I’m American-American. I know my culture, and my culture’s equally American as anything else.”
FORBES – John Legend is publicly renewing his efforts to save Underground, the ground-breaking, recently-cancelled series that humanizes and tells the stories behind the Underground Railroad. A popular social media and ratings darling, Underground aired on WGN America until Sinclair Broadcast Group made a bid for Tribune Media three months ago. Meanwhile, as the potential merger of the two companies was reviewed by the FCC, the two-year-old drama was deep sized. The series told the not-told-enough stories of the people who tried mightily to help the enslaved escape to freedom in the north United States and in Canada. Legend is an executive producer.
Since the cancellation, fans have tried to persuade OWN, Netflix and other networks (or streaming services) to host the series, which clocks in at around $4.5-million an episode and was selected as an inaugural public program at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. No network has bitten yet (that we know of) and Legend took to Twitter to distribute an open letter discussing his thoughts on the matter. He castigates Sinclair Media’s choices in programming, saying the “far right” network turned away from high quality scripted shows to “cheaper unscripted entertainment.”
EBONY – Molding and defining the African-American image on screen has been a complex task; particularly in the ever-changing entertainment space. In the midst of unimaginable racial injustice and unequal treatment, Sir Sidney Poitier demanded excellence not just from himself but from an industry that had historically cast Black and brown faces aside. With a career stretching over 70 years, Sir Poitier’s character, grace and profound integrity have helped mold the Black movie star, setting the blueprint for all of the men and women that would grace the screens and stages after him.
It was not simply Sir Poitier’s iconic roles in Porgy and Bess and The Defiant Ones that would thrust him into the spotlight. His commanding presence made him one of the biggest box-office draws in the 1960s with a plethora of films including, A Raisin in the Sun, Paris Blues, To Sir, with Love, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and In the Heat of the Night. Before Sir Poitier, the leading Black male was something of a myth. There certainly weren’t any Black male sex symbols before the Academy Award winner stepped on the scene, taking only roles that garnered a sense of dignity and class.
In celebration of Sir Poitier’s extensive career and legacy, Lexus and ICON MANN™ have teamed up to #SaluteALegend. The legendary Louis Gossett Jr., prolific filmmaker John Singleton and critically acclaimed actors, Aldis Hodge and Terrence Howard among others have joined the campaign in celebration of Sir Poitier’s 90th year. “We owe everything that we’re doing now, and will do, to the career that he has had,” Singleton said of the foundation Poitier has laid.
ET – Underground tackles a very serious subject, but sometimes the actors have to let loose!
ET has an exclusive sneak peek at the show’s season two gag reel, giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making the Civil War drama — forgotten lines, laughter and all!