Oprah & Ava: ‘Own Spotlight: Culture Connection & August 28th


Ava DuVernay: Black Women Always Lead the Way | OWN Spotlight | Oprah Winfrey Network

LOS ANGELES – Continuing conversations surrounding issues impacting Black lives, “OWN Spotlight: Culture Connection & August 28th, Ava DuVernay & Rev. Sharpton,” which originally aired Friday, August 28 at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET/PT on OWN, will stream for free on the Watch OWN app and the OWN Facebook and Youtube pages.

The special features Oprah Winfrey as she speaks separately with both acclaimed director Ava DuVernay and Rev. Al Sharpton regarding the historical context of August 28th and the significance of the upcoming election, along with a special presentation of DuVernay’s short film “August 28: A Day in the Life of a People.”

During the special, Winfrey speaks with DuVernay about the work she is doing in support of social justice, how she uses history to inform her activism, and how imperative it is for everyone to vote in the upcoming election. Winfrey later discusses with Rev. Al Sharpton the connection of the ‘Get Off Our Necks’ Commitment March which took place on the same day as the historic March on Washington 57 years ago. Rev. Sharpton shares ways that everyone can show their support in this moment, reiterating his intention for the march is not about numbers but long-term impact.

The interviews bookend DuVernay’s scripted short-film entitled “August 28: A Day in the Life of a People,” starring Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Regina King, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, André Holland, Michael Ealy and Glynn Turman.

DuVernay uses a robust combination of both documentary and narrative techniques to transport viewers through six stunning historical moments that all actually occurred on the same day – August 28th – in various years. Written, produced and directed by DuVernay, “August 28” traverses a century of black progress, protest, passion and perseverance of African American people.

The project gives historical perspective within the creative framework of one date that has had a profound effect on America including: the passing of The Slavery Abolition Act on August 28, 1833, the lynching of Emmett Till on August 28, 1955, the first radio airplay from Motown Records on August 28, 1961 with The Marvelettes “Please Mr Postman,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech during the massive March on Washington on August 28, 1963, Hurricane Katrina making its tragic landfall on August 28, 2005 and then-Senator Barack Obama’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination for the presidency on August 28, 2008.

The film was lensed by cinematographer Malik Sayeed and edited by Oscar nominee Spencer Averick. Ten-time Grammy nominee Meshell Ndegeocello composed the score. Paul Garnes produced, with co-producers Tilane Jones and Tammy Garnes.

This special is part of OWN’s overall OWN YOUR VOTE initiative, a bipartisan registration and get-out-the-vote campaign partnering with national and local grassroots and voting rights organizations to provide tools and resources that will empower Black women to vote this November. Black women powerfully influence election outcomes, and OWN YOUR VOTE supports this group of voters to show up to the polls and help friends, family, and their community to do the same. Winfrey recently shared that OWN will grant November 3rd as a company holiday to ensure all employees have the time to vote and volunteer. “I challenge other companies to do the same because this might be the most important election of our lives,” Winfrey said in her social post.

“OWN Spotlight: Culture Connection & August 28th, Ava DuVernay & Rev. Sharpton” is produced by OWN. The executive producers are Oprah Winfrey and Tara Montgomery.

IN MEMORIAM: Cameron Boyce Remembered


Cameron Boyce Honors The Clinton 12 | Black History Month | Disney XD

The world is mourning the loss of Disney star Cameron Boyce who passed away Saturday due to an ongoing medical condition. Boyce, 20, who starred in Disney’s Descendants franchise, was found unresponsive at his home and could not be revived by paramedics.

Boyce grew up in front of the camera making his big screen debut in the 2009 horror film Mirrors. He rose to fame as the character of Luke Ross on Disney’s tv show “Jessie.” His “Jessie” co-star Skai Jackson remembered him on Twitter. She wrote:

“I don’t even know where to start… I am at a loss for words. I never thought in a million years I would be writing this. Cam, you were one of a kind. My heart will be forever broken. I am so happy that I got to spend almost every day with you on set, you gave the best hugs. I wish I would have hugged you tighter when I saw you a couple of months ago. Thank you so much for being the big brother I never had… I am so distraught, and I cannot stop crying! I love you so much… fly high. Gods best Angel.”

While Boyce is widely known for his work on television, he also worked alongside Adam Sandler in Grown Ups 1and Grown Ups 2. The usually upbeat actor tweeted his despair over the loss of Boyce who was beloved in the entertainment world. Sandler tweeted, “Too young. Too sweet. Too funny. Just the nicest, most talented, and most decent kid around,” Sandler wrote on Twitter. “Loved that kid. Cared so much about his family. Cared so much about the world. Thank you, Cameron, for all you gave to us. So much more was on the way. All our hearts are broken. Thinking of your amazing family and sending our deepest condolences.”

Boyce’s family was featured in his 2016 Black History Month tribute to his grandmother Jo Ann Boyce who was part of the Clinton 12. As part of Disney XD’s short film series Be Inspired. The proud grandchild showcased his grandmother who integrated schools in Clinton, Mississippi in 1956, one year before the famed Little Rock 9and just two years after the landmark Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka, KSdecision desegregating schools in America.

In the short film, Cameron, his sister and their parents travel to the Green McAdoo Cultural Center which features sculptures of his grandmother and the other 11 students who changed history in the United States. Cameron affectionately refers to her as his “Nana” throughout the short film and proclaims that she is his hero.

Boyce, who starred as Conor in Disney’s“Gamers Guide to Pretty Much Everything” for two seasons, had been working on a number of projects including the film Paradise Cityand HBO’s “Mrs. Fletcher,” when he died. Boyce’s family says he died of a seizure due to an ongoing, undisclosed medical condition.

Walt Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger offered condolences to the Boyce family.

“The Walt Disney Company mourns the loss of Cameron Boyce who was a friend to so many of us, and filled with so much talent, heart and life, and far too young to die,” Iger wrote. “Our prayers go out to his family and his friends.”

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is culture and entertainment editor for NNPA/Black Press USA. She is also founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire, an award-winning news blog covering the African Diaspora. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.