Morgan’s Magnificient Marching Machine To Perform In 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®

— Morgan State University’s Magnificent Marching Machine has been selected to perform in the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® representing the state of Maryland. This will mark the first Parade appearance by the band.

The Marching Machine will join the Parade to the call of “Let’s Have a Parade,” the iconic phrase that has signaled the start of every Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1924.

The Magnificent Marching Machine will spend the next 12 months planning for their Parade appearance. Rehearsals and creative fundraising events not only bring the school and the community closer but also prepare the students for the march of a lifetime.

“Morgan State University is home to one of the finest and most exciting marching bands in the northeast, delivering high-energy, crowd-pleasing performances every fall season,” said Wesley Whatley, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Creative Producer. “Macy’s Band Selection Committee is proud to welcome The Marching Machine to New York City for their debut appearance in the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!”

The Morgan State University Marching Band is comprised of 150 students. The marching band has had appearances at NFL, MLB and CFL games, local and regional parades, civic and public school performances as well as providing exciting performances for Morgan State University athletic events. Its most popular and recognized ensemble is the Marching Band, fondly known as “The Magnificent Marching Machine.”

Oakland Museum of California Hip Hop Exhibit Recognizes Art Form as Cultural Juggernaut

Founder of Hip Hop Chess Federation, Adisa Banjoko was hit by what he calls a “euphoric wave” as he stood next to rapper Reza from Wu Tang Clan in 2014.

“Reza’s been a longtime supporter of our organization,” he explained.

“I was,” Banjoko shared, “invited by the World Chess Hall of Fame to help them do an exhibit on hip hop and chess, which is something they had up until that time not even really known about or explored.”

Banjoko’s organization teaches children life skills using the principles of chess, hip hop, and martial arts. On that Saturday morning, as he and Reza stood side by side watching the lines for the hip hop exhibit snake around corners, he was overcome.

“When the feeling passed, I said, ‘this will be much more amazing when we do it in Oakland,’” Banjoko said.

When he got back home, the Oakland native approached his old friend Rene de Guzman, Senior Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California about creating a similar exhibit.

De Guzman passed but Banjoko was persistent and approached him again about two years later. De Guzman then fully grasped Banjoko’s vision.

He said, “Adisa’s approach was to look to hip hop as a life strategy and how it connects to all sorts of other ways youth, in particular, can think about their lives strategically. We thought that was great and actually [a] necessary way to look at hip-hop. Most people think of it as commercial rap.”

Hip-hop, from its beginnings in a Bronx recreation center in 1973, has always been about more than beats and samples and MC’s. It has always been about expressing and reflecting the rhythms of life itself. It has always been about the personal, the political and everything in between.

The collaboration between Banjoko and de Guzman came to fruition with the recent unveiling of the sprawling exhibition “RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom,” at the Oakland Museum of California which runs through August 12, 2018. They decided to name the exhibition as such because the now 45 year-old art form and cultural juggernaut appears to be finally coming into its own. “Hip hop has arrived. Mainstream institutions are talking about it. There’s a hip hop section in the new African-American Museum in D.C.; Harvard and Cornell have hip hop archives and collections. The Kennedy Center has a hip hop program. The folks who were around when hip hop was created are now leaders and influencers and even policy makers.”

Oakland California is the area where the Black Panther movement, boldly asserting the right of African-Americans to have equal economic, social and political power, was born.

Oakland is also strongly associated with one of the central tenets of hip hop ethos— bootstrapping.

“The Bay Area fostered the idea of independence and entrepreneurism. There’s this classic story of rapper Too Short who when he was growing up, no major music label signed hip hop artists let alone hip hop artists from Oakland. He made and then sold his music directly to people from the trunk of his car. It proved you didn’t have to rely on major corporate interests to be successful,” explained de Guzman.

The exhibition will have everything. There will be art by Kehinde Wiley, interactive tours, readings, architectural tours, turntable demonstrations, breakdancing, panels, drum circles, food trucks, hip hop calligraphy, chess workshops, hip hop trivia games, a Sound Lab for the public to flex their DJ skills.

Both de Guzman and Bojanko are excited about the installation by DJ Mike Relm.

“It’s essentially a 45 minute music video that covers the national hip hop origin story. Embedded in that is the Bay Area story and it’s going to blow people’s minds. It’s a big immersive video installation. Projections are 10’ by 20’ and there are two of those. It’s pretty spectacular,” according to de Guzman, Hip hop’s tortured yet shining prince Tupac Shakur, who was murdered in 1996, figures prominently in the exhibition. Shakur’s parents were Black Panthers and activism was central to his life and art. In the wake of the Rodney King verdict in 1992, he wrote an essay, which will be on display for the duration of the exhibition.

“He really saw himself as a freedom fighter even to the point of proposing that the founders of America would be considered thugs now. It’s a very interesting essay for that reason. It shows clear passion for what drove artistry,” said de Guzman.

For more information about the exhibit, visit

Special Event Spotlights New Black ‘Essence Magazine’ Owner, Editor

— About 300 well-dressed locals showed-up on the 7th Floor Conference Hall of the Newseum in Washington to acknowledge the recent purchase of Essence Magazine by entrepreneur Richelieu Dennis.

The upscale societal meet-greet included several of metro DC’s influential types and others who are high-rollers in their particular industries. In addition to Dennis’ current exploits, TV personality and comedienne Loni Love provided tasty wit and humor to the scene, in a moderator’s role. Love appears on network TV as a daily co-host on nationally-syndicated ‘The Real’ talk show.

The outdoor balcony with lofty views of the U.S. Capitol building and other government monuments felt expectedly wonderful considering the unseasonably 78-degree temps that splashed welcomed sunrays.

An appearance by DC Fox TV 5 news woman Allison Seymour, was special. Seymour provided a calm collected aura and professional glitz to the entire ambiance, as Dennis and magazine editor Michelle Ebanks entertained questions from the audience.

Event creator Sheila Eldridge of New Jersey-based Miles Ahead Entertainment, said the event was a fulfillment to ensure Mr. Dennis realizes the full support he still receives from many of the black women business owners who were present. Other who’s-who A-listers who showed up for the invitational-only event was former TV-ONE talk-show host Roland Martin, along with former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and current State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, Marylin J. Mosby. Moseby’s star rose exactly three years ago when she filed charges against six Baltimore police officers related to the notorious Freddie Gray case. On a lighter note, also in the house was Wanda Pratt Durant, mother of NBA World Champion (Golden State Warriors) and DC-native Kevin Durant.

In addition to celebrating Mr. Dennis’ new business ventures, the event, also helped pay homage to Women’s History Month, Café Mocha radio show success, and collaborations with Ubiquitous Beauty Hair Health Expo to present “My Journey: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.”

Loni Love, a Detroit native, co-hosts the nationally broadcasted, online streaming and SIRIUS Radio-broadcasted Café Mocha radio show.

Both Mr. Dennis and his editor, Michelle Ebanks, eagerly discussed future ventures with Essence, and assured attendees that they would realize and appreciate the publication returning to a black ownership status. Dennis noted that the annual Essence Music Festival will continue its yearly trek to New Orleans on the July 4th weekend. He also said the Essence Festival has now made a presence in Africa, an announcement which erupted in appreciative applause. Dennis is a Liberian native who founded the Shea Moisture Corp. in 1991. The Harlem-based operation quickly generated successful sales numbers helping Shea Moisture become a major player in the personal care business.

Bangin’ With The Boomers: A Chat With Ms. Shirley Duncan


A Chat With Ms. Shirley Duncan

— Hand Dancing, Growing up in Baltimore, and making a difference in our communities.

We hope you’ll join us for Bangin’ with the Boomers, a party for the Young At Heart, Come for the afternoon event on Thursday April 12, 12 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., at The Forum, 4210 Primrose Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215.

Frolic and fun includes dancing to the music by the famous DJ Sugar Chris, a buffet lunch, door prizes and vendors for your shopping pleasure.

The price of admission is $35.00 per person, or $60.00 for couples. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Please call Rosa Pryor at 410-833-9474 or Shirley Duncan at 410-370-8489.

Baltimore Native Among Superhero Line-up in Marvel Universe LIVE!

As the blockbuster hit movie Black Panther continues to set box-office records, Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes soars into arenas across the country. Feld Entertainment’s newest production smashes into Royal Farms Arena on Thursday, April 5 and runs through April 8, 2018.

The iconic Marvel Super Heroes Spider-Man and The Avengers are joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy, including Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket and Drax, in a legendary battle to defend the universe from evil.

Baltimore native Anthony Briggs, Jr. portrays “Drax.” The 29-year-old Towson University graduate grew up in the Yale Heights area of Baltimore City.

“I am basically the muscle,” said Briggs. “Drax is of the warrior class.

He is always ready to go in any situation and jump in the heat of the battle. Playing Drax is a blast. I have a lot of fun. Drax is a muscle-bound dude who fights anything. The character also gives me the opportunity to highlight my field in Martial Arts.”

Briggs says he received his Martial Arts training at the U.S. Ninpo Academy under Sensei Robert Stevens.

“Growing up, Martial Arts was always a part of my life,” said Briggs who is 2nd Degree Black Belt. I also did some acting and stunt gigs.”

Briggs joined Feld Entertainment in 2017. He talked about how he “landed” the role of Drax.

“A friend sent me audition information on Facebook,” recalled Briggs. “I went to Washington, D.C. to audition, and received a call a year later for the show. Being a black male from Baltimore, I feel good about the work I am doing and being a positive role model. It helps to bring a positive light to the city, because now, we need it more than ever.”

Called on by Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy join Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes on a momentous crusade against the scheming Nebula who teams up with the conniving and loathsome villains Loki and Green Goblin. The incredible superhuman forces of Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Hulk and Black Widow unite in clashes that pit student against mentor, sister against sister and brother against brother.

“This show is entertaining for everyone,” said Briggs. “It’s geared towards kids, but there are many things in the show that adults would appreciate such as the choreography and circus-style themes.”

The show boasts immersive video projection, cutting-edge special effects, dynamic aerial stunts, and daring motorcycle skills in the ultimate race against time to save mankind.

Briggs said he is looking forward to his return back to Royal Farms Arena in another capacity.

“I used to work at Royal Farms Arena when it was 1st Mariner Arena,” he said. “I was a transporter responsible for putting food on a pallet. To come back and perform is amazing. I had no clue that this was a possibility. It is really a blessing.”

He added, “It takes me back. I remember seeing the circus come through, but had no idea I would be performing in this arena. I am still star-struck even after doing more than 200 shows. I am looking forward to coming back home and performing for everyone.”

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes opens at Royal Farms Arena Thursday, April 5, 2018 and runs through April 8, 2018. The character “Drax” is pictured far right.

Courtesy Photo/Marvel

Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes opens at Royal Farms Arena Thursday, April 5, 2018 and runs through April 8, 2018. The character “Drax” is pictured far right.

For tickets to see Briggs and the other Marvel Universe LIVE! performers, visit

Leah’s Book Club Holds Irene B. Reid Memorial Tea

White House Correspondent April Ryan Featured Author for Women’s History Month Event

Baltimore— In recognition of National Women’s History Month, Leah’s Book Club will hold the Irene B. Reid Memorial Tea on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 3 p.m. at the Forum Caterers located at 4210 Primrose Avenue in Baltimore.

The annual event honors women who have made significant contributions to their communities and to the personal lives of others. White House Correspondent April Ryan will be discussing her book At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White.

This year marks the 20th Anniversary for Leah’s Book Club. The group was organized in February 1998 by Dr. Leah Goldsborough Hasty for the purpose of having a club of persons reading for leisure and meeting to discuss books with others. Members would meet regularly to focus on books written by or about African Americans.

Literary events presented by Leah’s Book Club includes book talks and lectures sponsored by the Enoch Pratt Free Library and local universities and inviting authors to club meetings and sponsoring activities where the public could share in our discussions with authors.

Event Co-Chairs Dr. Brenda Egerton Conley and Claudette Egerton-Swain talked about the event’s late namesake, Irene B. Reid.

“We have such fond memories of Irene Reid and many stories about her that we have carried in our hearts over the years, said Dr. Egerton Conley. “Irene, with her many accomplishments, was a humble woman. “She was a woman of faith, a gentle spirit, and quite an avid reader. We have been trying hard, as book club members, to model her reading behavior because she never started a book that she did not finish.”

Egerton-Swain added, “Irene was truly a special person, and we think that she would be proud of us and all the women we have celebrated over the past eight years. We have quite a list of remarkable women who, just like Irene, give freely of their gifts and talents to make this world a better place.”

For the past eight years, the book club has celebrated Women’s History Month by honoring women who currently and continually make contributions to their professions and for the betterment of their communities. The women honored represent many different careers and professionals, locally, nationally and internationally, including education, law, medicine, religion, volunteerism, broadcasting, the arts and entertainment.

To date, 85 women have been recognized. The 2018 honorees are: Ursula V. Battle (Baltimore Times Staff Writer); Marye Linda Rawlings Brown; Vernetta B. Daniel; Vera Dorsey; Lori M. Hasty; Denise Dennis Jenkins; Ellen C. Johns; Jaime McAlily; Patricia Payne; Dr. Patricia Schmoke; Racquel Dotson Smith; Courtney Ross; Amy Taylor; Sybil D. Thomas; Thelma Kirby Wharton; Yolanda Winkler; and Dr. Edmonia T. Yates.

Ryan joins a long list of noted author to speak at the event. Past authors include: Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters; Larry Gibson, Thurgood Marshall: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice; F. Michael Higginbotham, Ghosts of Jim Crow: Ending Racism in Post-Racial America; Gregory Kane, Raising Kane; Kweisi Mfume, No Free Ride; George Derek Musgrove, Ph.D., Rumor, Repression, and Racial Politics: and Blair Walker, Up Jumped the Devil.

Ryan is an American journalist and author. Since 1997, she has served as a White House correspondent and is the Washington, D.C., bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks.

In 2017, she joined CNN as a political analyst. In her first book, At Mama’s Knee: Mothers and Race in Black and White, she examines race in America through her experience as a White House reporter. In this book, she shifts the conversation from the White House to every home in America. At Mama’s Knee looks at race and race relations through the lessons that mothers transmit to their children.

For more information, call Claudette Egerton-Swain at 410-466-6244.

School of Rock “Plays” at The Hippodrome March 20 to March 25

Get ready to dance your way on down to the Hippodrome Theater for the smash Broadway and West End hit “School of Rock – The Musical.” The high-octane production “plays” at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre as part of the 2017/2018 CareFirst® BlueCross BlueShield Hippodrome Broadway Series. School of Rock – The musical will electrify the Hippodrome stage March 20, 2018 to March 25, 2018.

“School of Rock – The Musical” is based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same, featuring music from the movie, as well as an original score by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The hilarious new musical follows “Dewey Finn”, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn some extra money by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school.

There, he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. While teaching these pint-sized prodigies what it means to truly rock, Dewey falls for the school’s beautiful, but uptight headmistress.

Actress and dancer Deidre Lang portrays “Ms. Sheinkopf” in the production.

“Ms. Sheinkopf is the assistant to the principal,” said Lang. “She has a strong personality and is sassy. She feels she should be principal and not the assistant, because she has been around longer. She is hard on the kids, but is really a softy at heart and loves everyone at the school. I am really enjoying this role because I get to be funny and have fun at the same time.”

Lang’s theatrical and television credits also include: Broadway – Ragtime, The Lion King, and Tommy. National tours – The Lion King, Hairspray, Tommy, and Cats. International tours – Ragtime, and Smokey Joe’s Café. Regional – The Lion King, Rock of Ages, and Aida. She also was an original “Fly Girl” on the Fox hit “In Living Color”.

Lang talked about landing the role of “Ms. Sheinkopf”.

Actress and dancer Deidre Lang is portraying “Ms. Sheinkopf” in the production

Actress and dancer Deidre Lang is portraying “Ms. Sheinkopf” in the production

“I auditioned late June 2017,” recalled Lang. “Three days later, I was offered the role of Ms. Sheinkopf. When I auditioned, I didn’t know what part I would be considered for, but was ecstatic and excited about landing a lead role.”

She added, “I will never forget the day I found out I had landed the role. It was the Fourth of July, and I was outside screaming on my porch.”

When asked what it was like to be a “Fly Girl” on the television show In Living Color, Lang said: “It was so cool. At the time, it was a pilot. Then it was picked up, and we had to audition again. We didn’t know it was going to be the hit it turned out to be, but we knew we had stumbled onto something that was going to be groundbreaking.”

She added, “It was wonderful to work with so many talented people like the Wayans, Jim Carey, and David Allen Grier. The dancers practiced in one room, and we watched them. Everyone was so happy, and we had a great time.”

Lang said talks are in the works about a potential reunion show.

“The Fly Girls are trying to put something together too,” she added.

Lang resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband Keith Bennett, who is touring with Disney’s The Lion King. Bennett is a Baltimore native, and a 1981 graduate of Walbrook High School.

“ School of Rock – The Musical” opened on Broadway to rave reviews on Sunday, December 6, 2015. The show was nominated for four 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and won the 2017 Oliver award for Outstanding Achievement in Music.

“I am very excited about coming to Baltimore and performing in School of Rock – The Musical,” said Lang. “I encourage everyone to come out and see this show. It is a great story and has a great message.”

Tickets for School of Rock – The Musical can be purchased online at,, by calling 800-982-ARTS, or at the Hippodrome Box Office located at 12 N Eutaw St., and Ticketmaster locations.

Compton Students Get Cinema Experience at ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Screening

— Compton native and renowned film director Ava DuVernay hosted students from her hometown to #WrinkleInCompton, an advance screening of her upcoming Disney film “A Wrinkle in Time,” which comes to theaters nationwide Friday, March 9, 2018.

Since the City of Compton does not have movie-theater of its own, DuVernay with the help of Disney gave students from Compton a real movie theater experience on March 2, 2018.

The Dollarhide Community Center was turned into a makeshift movie theater where the students were treated to traditional movie theater refreshments. The chairs were in typical movie theater configuration and a special sound team were enlisted to make sure the sound quality would be the same as in theaters.

Compton hometown girl Ava DuVernay with Compton Mayor Aja Brown.

Compton hometown girl Ava DuVernay with Compton Mayor Aja Brown.

Before watching the movie, the children were greeted by Malia Mason, Miss Compton 2017 and were on hand for a Q&A session between Ava DuVernay and the Mayor of Compton, Aja Brown.

Mayor Brown first asked DuVernay about her motivation for making “A Wrinkle in Time” to which she responded, “I’ve never seen a black girl fly in a movie.” She elaborated by saying that she wanted black and brown kids to finally see themselves represented in a fantasy setting. When asked how she felt about being the first black woman to helm a 100 million dollar film, Ava responded by saying, “I’m the first black woman to do it but I know I won’t be the last, one of you can do it too!” The kids erupted in cheers.

The children loved every minute of the film and went home with A Wrinkle in Time swag like back packs, balls and books!

DuVernay takes a photo with the students attending the screening at the Dollarhide Community Center in Compton on March 2, 2018.

DuVernay takes a photo with the students attending the screening at the Dollarhide Community Center in Compton on March 2, 2018.

The Black Girl Magic of “A Wrinkle in Time”

“Black cinema” and “blockbuster” are suddenly becoming synonymous. “Black Panther” is already nearing a billion dollars in global box office receipts and Jordan Peele just became the first African-American to win an Oscar for best original screenplay for his surprise 2017 racially-tinged hit “Get Out;” and on March 9, Disney will release its highly anticipated film, “A Wrinkle in Time,” a $100 million film with a black female director and young black female star.

Unlike “Black Panther” or “Get Out,” “Wrinkle” is a mainstream movie with an intentionally African American face. Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 science fantasy novel of the same title, from which it is adapted, centers on a middle school-aged white girl, Meg Murray, who is battling with self-esteem issues. With the help of three celestial guides— Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who— she tries to find her missing scientist father, whom she mourns desperately, by traveling through other worlds with her brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin.

On the big screen, Meg is an African American girl, with Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling portraying the guides.

What viewers see on the screen is the result in large part to decisions made behind the camera. That begins with trailblazing director, Ava DuVernay.

Prior to being tapped to direct “Wrinkle,” whose $100 million budget is the largest ever for a black female director in Hollywood, DuVernay was known for quiet films like “Middle of Nowhere,” which garnered her the Best Director Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the first for an African-American woman. Before “Wrinkle,” “Selma” (2014) about the Voting Rights Act campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was DuVernay’s biggest budget feature film at just $20 million.

However, DuVernay took the leap only because of the opportunity provided by a black Disney executive.

“It wasn’t a likely marriage but when you have a brother inside, Tendo Nagenda, who said ‘I can see this happening’ and he imagined what it could be before I imagined what it could be,”

DuVernay said of Disney’s executive vice president of production during her acceptance speech for the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Innovator Award in February. “The thing I really remember is Tendo saying, ‘Ava, imagine the worlds you can build.’”

That conversation she said “started to get me to ask questions about what I wanted to assert in that story and the real core of it was: who gets to be the hero? Because, right now, we’re in this space where we’re on the cusp of “Black Panther” and all its gloriousness and we get to re-imagine who is at the center of the story. This story, our story, she’s not a superhero; she’s not royalty; she’s not a Disney princess. She’s just a girl with glasses in a plaid shirt who ends up saving herself and her family and the universe from darkness.”

The actress who plays that unlikely hero, Storm Reid, was familiar with the story but admits to not being personally invested in it until now. “I read the book in sixth grade for a book report and I never saw myself being Meg, especially because she was written as a young Caucasian girl, so I just really never thought about it,” she said during an interview at a posh hotel in her native Atlanta last week. “But once I got the script, it all clicked and I thought it was just an amazing take on Meg.”

Even as young as she is, Reid, whose previous credits include “12 Years A Slave,” (2013), “American Girl: Lea to the Rescue” (2016) and “Sleight” (2017) has felt the sting of Hollywood limitations for actresses like her.

“There were fewer roles meant for me and fewer lead roles meant for me,” she said. That reality is why Reid especially cherishes her role as Meg.

“I feel like it was so important for me to play Meg because I’m basically representing little girls that look like me and I’m representing them in the right way because you don’t really get to see a little African American girl with glasses and curly hair save the world without superpowers,” she said.

Reid, who turns 15 in July, does see changes in Hollywood and hopes it will continue.

“I feel like we are breaking barriers, slowly but surely but, there needs to be more representation. I don’t feel like diversity should just be a thing right now. I feel like it should be a normal thing.”

As for the “black girl magic” tag that is now been extended to her but has long been attributed to “A Wrinkle in Time” director Ava DuVernay, Reid said, “I feel like people are just now recognizing our magic, but we’ve always been magic and it just recently became a hashtag.”

Jordan Peele is First Black Screenwriter to Win Best Original Screenplay

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Jordan Peele is First Black Screenwriter to Win Best Original Screenplay

Jordan Peele is first black screenwriter to win best original screenplay

05 MAR 18 10:28 ET

By Sandra Gonzalez, CNN

    (CNN) — Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” has placed him in the Oscar history books.

Peele was crowned the winner in the the best original screenplay race at Sunday’s Academy Awards, making him the first black screenwriter to receive the honor.

In his speech, Peele thanked the people “who raised my voice and let me make this movie.”

Heading into Sunday, Peele and his film were nominated for a total of four awards, including best picture.

Only four black film writers have been nominated in the best original screenplay category in Oscars’ 90-year history: Suzanne de Passe (“Lady Sings the Blues,” 1972), Spike Lee (“Do the Right Thing,” 1989) John Singleton (“Boyz n the Hood,” 1991) and Peele.

In the adapted screenplay category, three films with black writers have won in the past — “Precious,” “Twelve Years a Slave,” and “Moonlight.”

This year, Peele made history, becoming the first black director to receive nominations in the writing, directing, and best picture categories for his directorial debut.

Related: Jordan Peele learned the power of scary stories around a camp fire

Only two other people have accomplished that feat, according to the Academy. Warren Beatty with “Heaven Can Wait” (1978) and James L. Brooks with “Terms of Endearment” (1983).

Beatty walked away empty handed in his nominated categories and Brooks won all of his.

“Get Out,” a social thriller that received praise for its thought-provoking take on race in America, grossed $176 million domestically.

Speaking to CNN recently, Peele explained that part of “Get Out’s” success came from its ability to put viewers in the shoes of Daniel Kaluuya’s character Chris.

In the film, Kaluuya, who earned a best actor nomination, plays an African-American man whose weekend getaway to meet his white girlfriend’s parents takes a disturbing turn.

“I think the biggest thing ‘Get Out’ taught me about the power of story is that one of the few ways we can promote empathy is by seeing the world through somebody else’s eyes, and that’s what that’s what great story does,” he said. “That’s what a strong protagonist does.”

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