Category: Entertainment Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Zoe Saldana arrives at the LA premiere of "Star Trek Into Darkness" at The Dolby Theater on May 14, in LA. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
(CNN) -- Zoe Saldana is one of Hollywood's leading actresses, and she's making headlines as Uhura in "Star Trek Into Darkness." She crossed barriers as the lead in "Avatar," the highest grossing movie of all time. But how does being a woman of color impact her career choices and options?
The actress, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent, spoke about it in an interview with Ebony magazine's Kelley L. Carter:
EBONY: Speaking of color, it doesn't seem to limit you. And it almost appears seamless. Is that true? Or have there been bumps along the way because you're a woman of color?
Zoe Saldana: Nothing in life is just one layer. It's one-layered (but) it's multifaceted, and there are various factors that take place into making a decision or something happening. So the one thing I will say is, what has not changed is what I feel and think of myself and how I interact with the world, how I handle myself. I feel like I'm very confident. I'm going to have my moments of weakness, but I like who I am and I don't want to be anybody else. I don't want anybody to tell me to change when I don't want to change.
So that's just who I am. And when I approach something---whether I'm fighting for a role or I'm being offered a role---I'm not thinking whether or not anybody is doing me a favor or if I'm doing somebody else a favor. I'm just thinking, as an artist and as a woman, "is this something that best represents the craft that I want to be known for?" Or is this an accurate representation of what a woman is supposed to be?
And do I like this story? Do I like this director? Do I think the studio is going to manage and sell it properly. That's where my head is at. I'm not thinking, "Oh, I'm a woman of color, are they gonna want me?" I don't give too much energy to that, because my time is very valuable, and something that exists to others is not going to exist in my world. That's how I think I get by, by not giving it any validation by wasting more time investing into thinking about it.
EBONY: That's profound.
Zoe Saldana: Yeah. Morgan Freeman said it. And I was just told this when I was doing an interview: He's not going to talk about racism. I'm not going to talk about it. Yeah, it's an elephant. We all see it, we all know it, but I'm not going to carry it in my heart, because I want to be a person that embodies change. Not embodies war or battles or bitterness; I want to keep moving on.
Saldana is probably referring to Freeman's 2006 interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" reporter Mike Wallace. The two were discussing Black History Month, when Wallace asked Freeman: "How are you going to get rid of racism?"
"Stop talking about it. I'm going to stop calling you a White man," Freeman said to Wallace. "And I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a Black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman. You wouldn't say, 'Well, I know this White guy named Mike Wallace.' You know what I'm sayin'?"
Recently, Saldana has been revealing more about herself during her press tour. She has spoken about why she couldn't pose for every magazine, a revealing magazine photo spread, the controversy around her playing Nina Simone, and that she is "open to being with a woman."
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 09:28
Category: Entertainment Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
When Kid Rock took the stage to present the award for Top Rap Song of the year at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards, he immediately attracted attention for the random mug (with unknown contents) he was clutching.
However, the multi-genre artist managed to neatly steal the spotlight from his mystery drink with a single neatly barbed statement. For Full Story Click Here.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 07:07
Category: Entertainment Written by News One
Though Nicki Minaj gave Lil Wayne a lap dance, Justin Bieber beat out Bruno Mars for the fan voted milestone award, J-Lo’s crotch got a camera close-up and Prince didn’t press his hair, the 2013 Billboards Awards will be remembered by many as the night singer Miguel took a flying leap off stage and drop-kicked two fans like it was WWF amateur night.
The singer was in the middle of performing his classic hit, “Adorn,” when the jaw-dropping accident occurred.
The hilarity quickly ensued on Twitter!
No word on if charges will be filed, but, allegedly, one of the women Miguel drop-kicked was spotted backstage with him holding an ice-pack.
That’s one way to leave an impression, Miguel!
- ^Billboard Awards 2013: The Absolute eBest (& Worst) Dressed (PHOTOS) (hellobeautiful.com)
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 07:29
Category: Entertainment Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
Kelly Rowland is coming to a television near you. The Grammy-winning singer has officially signed on as a judge for the U.S. edition of “The X Factor.”
Fox announced today that Kelly will join the singing competition when it returns for its third season this fall. She will grab a seat alongside returning judges Simon Cowell and Demi Lovato, along with Latina pop star Paulina Rubio.
“I am very excited to be reuniting with Simon Cowell and ‘The X Factor’ family,” said the Destiny’s Child diva, who was previously a judge on the show’s U.K. edition. “It feels great to be able to take this journey here at home in the States!
Last Updated on Monday, 20 May 2013 22:15
Category: Entertainment Written by by Tonya Weathersbee
GLORIA ROLANDO AND TONYAA WEATHERSBEE
by Tonyaa Weathersbee
No doubt, last month was a fortuitous time for Gloria Rolando, the renowned Afro-Cuban filmmaker, to be touring the United States.
Hip-hop artist Jay-Z and his wife, Beyonce, had been catching heat from Cuban-American lawmakers and assorted Cuban-American exiles for spending their fifth anniversary there. Cuba remains a forbidden place because of Cold War politics and Florida – a state with 29 electoral votes and plenty of Cuban immigrants with anti-Castro axes to grind.
Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republicans from Florida, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, also a Republican, accused the couple of propping up the
Castro regime by visiting and being insensitive to the suffering of the Cuban people.
Others, such as "21 Jump Street," director and Cuban-American Phil Lord, condescended to Jay-Z by blaming his choice of an anniversary destination on ignorance, saying, among other things, that he "probably doesn't know that my ancestors fought to free Cuba from Spain, and to set up a democracy to ensure that they would always be free."
Yet it's obvious that Jay-Z wouldn't get the whole truth from Lord. Because while he claims that his ancestors freed Cuba from Spain, what he didn't say is that Afro-Cubans, the ones who look like Jay-Z, also fought in that war.
What Lord also didn't say is that unlike his White ancestors, the Black Cubans weren't rewarded with freedom, but with U.S. imposed segregation, and were massacred when they protested it.
That's the whole story that Jay-Z could get from Rolando – if only black people like him were allowed to visit the island regularly and absorb the full range of our struggles as people of color in the diaspora.
It's a struggle that Rolando has been portraying for some time.
She was in the United States to talk about her films – the main one of which is titled, "Roots of My Heart."
"Roots of My Heart/Raices de mi Corazon," is a documentary that Rolando has produced in three parts over a decade. It details, through interviews, photos and newspaper clippings, the slaying of more than 6,000 members of the Independents of Color in 1912.
And that's also why Rolando, 60, believes it's great for Black artists like Jay-Z and Beyonce to visit Cuba.
Such exchanges, she said, props up artists and filmmakers like herself, who need money to do their work and would be better off with more exposure to U.S. artists and less isolation driven by exiles who have always believed they've known what's best for people there.
"It would help us to recognize our music, our culture, and our common history, and I think this is good," Rolando told me. "You have excellent musicians here, we have excellent musicians in Cuba, and I think we need to get to know each other.
"We have to share our history...I think it's good they traveled there for their honeymoon...I hope more travel to Cuba for holidays, for vacation, or cultural exchange, and to open this cultural bridge.
"That's the whole reason I am here."
Building cultural bridges through the power of filmmaking has been Rolando's passion for most of her life. That passion was on full display recently, when she stopped through Palm Coast, Fla., on a tour of the U.S.
She shared two of her films, "Jazz in Us/Nosotros y el Jazz," which documents the connections between Cubans and jazz music, and "Cherished Island Memories/Pasajes Del Corazon y la Memoria," which tells a largely-untold story about Blacks who emigrated from the Cayman Islands to the Isle of Pines in Cuba.
"I belong to the world of music. I finished elementary school in music," Rolando said. "Then I studied art history at the University of Havana in 1976. It was then that I was selected to go to the Institute of Cuban Films.
"I knew that I liked history, and that maybe I would work in a museum. But I worked with the director [of the film institute] with the books, and in the editing room. It was the process of working and learning at the same time, that you could follow film from beginning to end."
Rolando said that although she grew up in the Chinatown area of Havana, and saw Chinese and Latin films, none of that influenced her to become a filmmaker.
A yearning to tell her own stories is what led her to film, she said.
"It [film] is a combination of human experiences, pictures, and music, and I like that," Rolando said.
"For me, when I get in touch with some history or reality, I don't feel comfortable just to write about it. I need the voices of the people, the feeling of the people, the music, and the culture. It's a combination of different things, the nature and the combination of things that surround that people.
"I'm a very curious person. I like to explore why the people are living here, where they come from. It's a curiosity."
For example, Rolando said, when she was working with a director who was making a documentary about the Haitian migration to Cuba, during the shooting she ran into people who had British names.
She later discovered that many of them had British names because they were originally from Jamaica and Barbados, but had gone to work on the Panama Canal. After the canal was finished, many came to Cuba instead of going back to Jamaica or Barbados.
"They came to Cuba to work in the sugar industry," Rolando said. "These are the people who don't appear in the official history, but they are the people who made the history possible. In this way, I can explore the common history that Cuba, as an island, has with another Caribbean country.
Also, for Rolando, film allows her to complete the story of the contributions of people of African descent in the diaspora.
"In the history book you can read thousands of Jamaicans came to Cuba to cut cane. That's it," she said. "But the culture that they brought to Cuba you don't see.
"[My work] is to give voice to those people that in the history they are only a number. Who are these people? Where are they? Where are their descendants?"
Rolando continues to be driven by those questions, and it is that drive that compels her to continue to make films in spite of the difficulties of securing money and materials to do it.
Which is why Rolando's story ought to make anyone realize that the great wrong here isn't that Jay-Z and Beyonce dared to visit Cuba.
The great wrong is that by continuing to isolate Cuba with outdated, exile-driven politics that prevent most Americans from going, few black people will get to be exposed to the work of Rolando and other talented Afro-Cubans who can teach us the whole story of our histories in the diaspora.
Tonyaa Weathersbee is an award-winning columnist based in Jacksonville, Fla., who has written many articles about black Cuba since 2000. Follow her @tonyaajw. Or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tonyaajweathersbee.
Last Updated on Saturday, 18 May 2013 22:10
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