BLOG   

HBO Releases First Teaser for Issa Rae's "Insecure"

by JD Walker

Los Angeles, CA -- HBO released the first teaser for Issa Rae's "Insecure," an 8-episode comedy series premiering this Fall. Co-written by Rae and Larry Wilmore, the series explores the friendship, experiences and tribulations of two black women. It also chronicles a Black elementary school teacher played by Rae struggling to balance life and love.

Cast members include Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, and Lisa Joyce. Rae executive produces and Melina Matsoukas, who previously has directed music videos for Beyonce and Rihanna, directs. Prentice Penny (Scrubs/Happy Endings) is showrunner. Rae is most known for her online web series Misadventures of An Awkward Black Girl, which garnered over over 20 million views and boasts approximately 200,000 YouTube subscribers.

On switching from an online to a television series, Rae confides, "The internet I will always love. I will always produce confident for the internet but there's just the little girl in me that wants to make that mark on television too."

Rae explains further: "Television is still very broad. It still reaches the masses. There's still something about television impacting the culture. Having grown up in the 90s and having been influenced by great storytellers of color -- women of color --- there's just something that's full circle to me about being on television because it still represents a lot. I want to affect the culture and I want that stamp of validity."

Rae claims her experience working for HBO has been extremely positive. "To me, HBO has always been about taking risks and really changing television for the better. And I wanted to be a part of that."

Rae talks more about her inspiration for "Insecure" in an interview with Kimberly Foster, Editor-in-Chief of For Harriet here.


Amma Asante Announces Shadowing Program for Female Directors


by JD Walker

Los Angeles, CA - BAFTA award winning Writer/Director Amma Asante (Belle/A Way of Life) recently announced that she is creating a shadowing program to empower aspiring female directors who are often marginalized in a male dominated film industry. Two aspiring female directors who respond to three intriguing questions on Asante's website will be granted the opportunity to shadow her on her next feature, which will film in London.


Much like the advocacy work being done by The Geena Davis Institute or The Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative pioneered by USC's Annenberg School of Journalism, which not only chronicles gender inequality in film but also strives for parity, Amma believes in lifting as she climbs. Asante, who "understands the need for opportunities [for female filmmakers]," is the first Black director to open the London Film Festival with her third feature, A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo (Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).


The film is about the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. Rick McCallum (Star Wars), David Oyelowo, Justin Moore-Lewy, Brunson Green (The Help) and Charlie Mason serve as producers.

Asante notes, "Despite the inequalities in our industry, the goal of "bringing [women's] voices to the screen" is one of her central concerns and she plans to amplify those voices through her own program.

The application will close after the first 200 submissions have been received or on July 31st. Access the application here.


Queen Sugar Set to Debut on OWN Features All Women Directorial Team


by JD Walker

Los Angeles, CA - "Queen Sugar," the new 13-episode series based on the novel by Natalie Baszile, is set to debut on OWN. Produced by Warner Horizon Television, the series "chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings – Nova (Rutina Wesley), Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe) – who come together after a family tragedy to run an ailing sugarcane farm in the Deep South."

DuVernay (Selma/A Wrinkle in Time) is set to write, direct and executive produce the project, marking her first television drama series. Winfrey will executive produce and appear in multiple episodes in a recurring role. P

erhaps what is especially unique about the series is that each episode was directed by a woman director, including but certainly not limited to: Ava DuVernay (Selma/A Wrinkle in Time), Tina Mabry (Mississippi Damned), Victoria Mahoney (Yelling to the Sky), Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us), and more.


A trailer for the series was recently released and chronicled on Shadow & Act. Watch it here.


PUBLICATIONS

Refereed Journal Publications

  • Walker, JD. (2004), “Manifesto for My Soul (Poem),” BMaThe Sonia Sanchez Literary ReviewDilliard University. 


Magazines and Newsletters

  • Walker, JD. “Only Love Can Heal Wounds: Race, Class, and Gender Oppression in Tyler Perry's  For Colored Girls,” About…Time, August 2011.
  • Walker, JD. “Too Much Protein?: Re-Examining the Benefits of Soy and Whey,” Heart & Soul    magazine (December/January 2008)
  • Walker, JD. “Why I Write,” Sable Literary Magazine, 5.1 (Fall 2004): 29-36.
  • Walker, JD. “The Healing Power of Poetry: In Praise and Support of Amiri Baraka," Trombones (Spring 2003): 8.
  • Walker, JD. “Making Music, Making Babies: A Sneak Peak into the Lives of Parents Who   

           Perform.” The Kindred Papers, 1.1 (2003): 10.

  • Walker, JD. “Heart’s Day Celebration Honoring Sonia Sanchez Touches Many,” Trombones   (Spring 2002): 2.
  • Walker, JD. “Sonia Sanchez: The Poet as Teacher,” Trombones (Fall 2001): 6

 

Books

  • Walker, JD. Editor, Sonia On My Mind: Critical Perspectives on Sonia Sanchez, with a Foreword by Maya Angelou, Introduction by Joyce Ann Joyce, and Afterword by Beverly Guy-Sheftall. Under Review. (Forthcoming: University of Michigan Press)
  • Walker, JD., Micheaux’s Women: A Critical Look at Oscar Micheaux’s Leading Ladies. In Development. 

Chapters in Books

Newspapers and Web-based Articles

  • Walker, JD. “Remembering Ossie Davis, With Love,” The Washington Informer, 16 Feb. 2005.; Reprinted with permission in The Tennessee Tribune and About . . . Time magazine.
  • Walker, JD. “Home-Going Celebration for Daughter of Amina and Amiri Baraka Touches Many,” The San Francisco Bayview, 20 Aug. 2003. Reprinted with permission in The Amsterdam News, 21—27 Aug. 2003: B1 and Chickenbones:   An Online Literary Journal.
  • Walker, Jamie D.  "Dorothy Height Retires Expenses on Mortgage at Birthday Bash," The Tennessee Tribune, 4—10 April 2002: A1.  Reprinted with    permission in The Howard Hilltop and The Black World Today.
  • Walker, JD.  “Camille O. Cosby and Renee Poussaint Launch National Visionary Leadership Project,” The Tennessee Tribune, 14—20 March 2001: A1. Reprinted with permission in The Spelman Spotlight, The Howard Hilltop, and The Black World Today.    

  

Presentations and Workshops

  • "Liberated Women: Recoding and Reframing the Black Female Image in the Cinema of Oscar Micheaux." Hawaii International Conference on the Arts and Humanities (January 2013).
  • "Filmmaking for Social Justice: Teaching Students the Art of the Documentary," UC Berkeley Social Justice Symposium (October 2011). 
  • Justice via Arts: Documentary Making for Social Justice Final Film Screenings," Santa Clara University, Organized and hosted panel of student filmmakers involved in social justice work (June 2011).
  • "Strategies for Success: Interdisciplinary Discussion on Studying Diversity and Social Justice in Graduate Education," Panel Participant at the (De) constructing Diversity in the Bay Area Conference, Santa Clara University, April 2011. 
  • "Race and Resistance: Strategic Ways Women Faculty of Color Mentor while Lifting as We Climb,"    Women of Color Faculty Luncheon, Keynote Speaker, Santa Clara University, April 2011. 
  • “Women Professors in African American Studies,” Howard University, Washington, DC, 2008                 (panel with Dr. Denise King-Miller and Dr. Michele Simms-Burton)
  • “A Wealth of Wisdom: Legendary African American Elders Speak,” The Schomburg Center, New York, 2004 (panel with Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Esther Cooper Jackson, David Driskell, et al; Recorded on CSPAN)
  • “From the Black Arts Movement to Hip Hop,” The Tenderloin Book Fair, San Francisco, CA., 2004       (panel with Sonia Sanchez, Amiri Baraka, Askia Tourè, et al
  • “Gwendolyn Brooks' In Montgomery," Karibu Bookstore, Hyattsville, MD, 2004   (poetry presentation and panel reading with Tony Medina and Shani Jamila)
  • “Featured Poet: A Tribute to Sonia Sanchez," Naropa University, Boulder, CO, 2004
  • “Being Professionally Active While Teaching,” Howard University, Washington, DC., 2002           (presentation for the annual “Teaching Associates & Assistants Workshop” in the Graduate School)
  • “Keynote Speaker,” The Circle of Friends Book Club ExtravaganzaAtlanta, GA, 2002.                 

(Circle of Friends was featured twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show)

  • “Developing Healthy Self-Esteem in Black Girls,” The Teen Extreme Summer Jam, Washington, DC, 2002.
  • “Keynote Speaker, 19th Century Black Women Abolitionists” Calvary Episcopal Church, Washington,    DC, 2002. (Presentation of first book for The Association for the Study of African American Life and History)
  • “Panel Participant: African American Literature” at The Black Caucus of American Librarians, 2002. Association Fifth National Conference of African-American Librarians in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (panel with Kwame Alexander, Tajuana Butler, Timmothy McCann, and Victor McGlothin)
  • “The Construction of Whiteness” at Howard University in Washington, DC, 2002 (panel featuring Toni Morrison and artwork by her son, Slade Morrison)
  •  “The Politics of Motivational and Non-Fiction Writing,” The Second Annual African American Literature Conference, University of Maryland (College Park), 2002  

 

Book Reviews

  • Rev. of Mother Love: Reinventing A Good and Blessed Future For Our Children by Esther Davis-Thompson. Mosaic (Summer 2001).



                                                                                                Copyright 2019. JD Walker. All Rights Reserved.