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My Journey: How an Untimely Incarceration Lead to a Houston Artist Discovering His Unique Talent



Houston artist, painter, sculptor, Will Jamerson shares his JOURNEY with BLAQER TV. He tells of his humble beginnings in Greenville, Mississippi. Then, find out how he discovered his unique artistic talent. Now, his paintings and realistic sculptures can be seen everywhere.

See more My Journey stories on BLAQER  |  TV

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“Black Panther,” “Black KkKlansman,” Regina King, Spike Lee and More Nominated for 2019 Academy Awards



African American Movies

The nominees for the 91st Academy Awards were announced early this morning by Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross and The Big Sick star Kumail Nanjiani, and among them were for the first time a superhero movie nominated for Best Picture, Black Panther, and the prolific Spike Lee‘s first nomination in the Best Director category for Black KkKlansman, which also was nominated for Best Picture.

Ever since the #OscarsSoWhite controversy of 2016, the demand for more diversity in movies and television has gained and retained attention. Although there are no African-Americans among the Best Actor or Best Actress nominees, Mexican actress Yalitza Aparicio was recognized for her work in Roma, and among the nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category are Golden Globe winner Regina King for her turn in If Beale Street Could Talk, and Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali, who garnered his third Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Green Book.

Other notable African-American Oscar nominees this year are Kendrick Lamar and SZA in the Original Song category for “All The Stars” from Black Panther, and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, who might win for what she first became known for as she is also nominated (with Diane Warren) in the Original Song category for “I’ll Fight” from RBG.

“Black Panther” nominees Hannah Beachler and Ruth E. Carter; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse” co-director Peter Ramsey

Peter Ramsey, who is co-director on Best Animated Feature Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Barry Jenkins in the Adapted Screenplay category for If Beale Street Could Talk. Spike Lee earned a second nod in the Adapted Screenplay category as one of the writers of Black KkKlansman.

Another first this year is Hannah Beachler‘s nomination for Production Design for Black Panther, the only African American woman to receive one in this category. Ruth E. Carter earned her third nomination for Costume Design (the first two were forMalcolm X and Amistad) for Black Panther and  composer Terence Blanchard, who has scored more than forty films and all of Spike Lee’s, finally earned an Original Score nomination this year for his work on Black KkKlansman.

The Oscars will be broadcast live by ABC on Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. Below is a complete list of all the nominees:

Best Picture:

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“A Star Is Born”

Lead Actor:

Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

Lead Actress:

Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glenn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”


Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

Animated Feature:

“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Isle of Dogs,” Wes Anderson
“Mirai,” Mamoru Hosoda
“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Animated Short:

“Animal Behaviour,” Alison Snowden, David Fine
“Bao,” Domee Shi
“Late Afternoon,” Louise Bagnall
“One Small Step,” Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas
“Weekends,” Trevor Jimenez

Adapted Screenplay:

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Joel Coen , Ethan Coen
“BlacKkKlansman,” Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins
“A Star Is Born,” Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Original Screenplay:

“The Favourite,” Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara
“First Reformed,” Paul Schrader
“Green Book,” Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“Vice,” Adam McKay


“Cold War,” Lukasz Zal
“The Favourite,” Robbie Ryan
“Never Look Away,” Caleb Deschanel
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón
“A Star Is Born,” Matthew Libatique

Best Documentary Feature:

“Free Solo,” Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” RaMell Ross
“Minding the Gap,” Bing Liu
“Of Fathers and Sons,” Talal Derki
“RBG,” Betsy West, Julie Cohen

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Black Sheep,” Ed Perkins
“End Game,” Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
“Lifeboat,” Skye Fitzgerald
“A Night at the Garden,” Marshall Curry
“Period. End of Sentence.,” Rayka Zehtabchi

Best Live Action Short Film: 
“Detainment,” Vincent Lambe
“Fauve,” Jeremy Comte
“Marguerite,” Marianne Farley
“Mother,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Skin,” Guy Nattiv

Best Foreign Language Film:

“Capernaum” (Lebanon)
“Cold War” (Poland)
“Never Look Away” (Germany)
“Roma” (Mexico)
“Shoplifters” (Japan)

Film Editing:

“BlacKkKlansman,” Barry Alexander Brown
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Ottman
“Green Book,” Patrick J. Don Vito
“The Favourite,” Yorgos Mavropsaridis
“Vice,” Hank Corwin

Sound Editing:

“Black Panther,” Benjamin A. Burtt, Steve Boeddeker
“Bohemian Rhapsody,” John Warhurst
“First Man,” Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan
“A Quiet Place,” Ethan Van der Ryn, Erik Aadahl
“Roma,” Sergio Diaz, Skip Lievsay

Sound Mixing:

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“First Man”
“A Star Is Born”

Production Design:

“Black Panther,” Hannah Beachler
“First Man,” Nathan Crowley, Kathy Lucas
“The Favourite,” Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton
“Mary Poppins Returns,” John Myhre, Gordon Sim
“Roma,” Eugenio Caballero, Bárbara Enrı́quez

Original Score:

“BlacKkKlansman,” Terence Blanchard
“Black Panther,” Ludwig Goransson
“If Beale Street Could Talk,” Nicholas Britell
“Isle of Dogs,” Alexandre Desplat
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Original Song:

“All The Stars” from “Black Panther” by Kendrick Lamar, SZA
“I’ll Fight” from “RBG” by Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” by Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman
“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt and Benjamin Rice
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Makeup and Hair:

“Mary Queen of Scots”

Costume Design:

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Mary Zophres
“Black Panther,” Ruth E. Carter
“The Favourite,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Poppins Returns,” Sandy Powell
“Mary Queen of Scots,” Alexandra Byrne

Visual Effects:

“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“First Man”
“Ready Player One”
“Solo: A Star Wars Story”



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A Day In The Life of Black Model and Entrepreneur Afiya Bennett



Afiya Bennett

It’s not every day you hear about someone getting the opportunity to be mentored by iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell. But in 2014, black model Afiya Bennett appeared on Campbell’s TV series The Face, and the coaching she received on the show laid the foundation for a successful modeling career. Beyond modeling for Maybelline, Fenty Beauty, Nine West, Mac Cosmetics, Nike, and Levi campaigns, Bennett also landed features in editorials for Vogue Italia, L’officiel India, Glamour South Africa, Marie Claire U.S./Indonesia, Instyle Magazine, Essence, and Self. With no plans of slowing down, the Brooklyn native also snagged a role as a Global Brand Ambassador for Fiji Water. Now, with the launch of The Afiya Collection, a luxury hat line offering a vegan-friendly range of materials including leather, patent leather, and wool—she adds entrepreneur to her long list of boss moves.

Fueled by the discouragement she received from people about her ambitious nature, she chose luxury military/biker styled caps not only to represent fashion and style, but to send women a message of strength, versatility, and ability to turn fear into greatness. Below, the Wilhelmina model takes us through a day in her life of casting calls, photo shoots, and running her own business.

black model

My daily schedule varies from day-to-day depending on what brand I am shooting for and if they’re based in New York. Typically, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. call time. When I wake up, the first thing I do is pray and thank God for waking me up another day. I normally eat breakfast at 9 a.m. I am a huge coffee lover, and most times breakfast consists of a cappuccino and eggs, nothing too fancy. After that the hustle begins.

black model

My client list ranges from shooting campaigns for Nike and Nine West to editorials for Grazia and Vogue. Between running to castings, catching flights to shoot in the States or out of the country, working out, attending red carpet events, staying on top of your social media and building a brand, and maintaining a smile on your face, being a model is far from being all glamorous. 

The three biggest misconceptions about models are one, models don’t eat, two, models lives are all glamorous, and three, models are uneducated.

All are false. I can certainly tell you I love food and being a model is way more than being pretty. Lastly, I have a degree in media communications and business. People would be most surprised to know that models have some of the lowest self-esteem. Although we live a life that may seem picture perfect on the outside, we are in an industry where we are constantly being critiqued and compared to our counterparts. No woman should ever be made to feel small.

I created the Afiya brand because it embodies standing together in solidarity.  It’s for ladies who do not want to take ‘No’ for an answer. The Afiya Collection is here to inspire young girls to keep their heads up by following their dreams and not backing down. This collection is for women around the world to be reminded that strength is always in numbers, and it is time to make those numbers count.


black model

Lunch always varies based on what is being served on set, but I never try and eat anything too bad, where if I got the booking of my dreams tomorrow I couldn’t bounce back

By the end of the day, I am often running home or running to an event. When it comes to meetups, I like to surround myself with other successful models, business owners, financial advisers, and personalities—all areas in my life that I am striving to be better in. A good friend once asked me if I had one more hour in the day what would I do with it and I responded I would invest it into myself and my business.

black model

Once I walk through my door at home, I begin checking orders, shipping hats, and updating my marketing plan. It’s safe to say, I have long days. Dinner usually consists of chicken with sweet potato fries or brown rice and salad. The last thing I do before I go to bed is to pray the same as when I wake up. We live in such a crazy and unpredictable world. I love to acknowledge God in every aspect of my life both big and small; and when I do that I am just grateful to make it through another day.


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Crenshaw Boulevard to Break Ground on Mile-Long Artistic Tribute to Black History and Culture of Los Angeles




The first renderings were released today for Destination Crenshaw, a 1.3-mile-long outdoor art and culture experience celebrating Black Los Angeles under development along Crenshaw Boulevard. Spearheaded by L.A. City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, this community-inspired project will use the iconic street as a canvas and anchor for public art and streetscape design. With designs by Perkins+Will, the visionary architectural firm behind the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History, Destination Crenshaw will celebrate the historic and contemporary contributions of Black L.A. to the city and the world. The project begins construction in early 2019 with plans to open in Spring 2020.

Renderings revealed Saturday at an event for community leaders show a new community amphitheater with an elevated overlook with views of the downtown skyline, the Hollywood sign, and the entire Destination Crenshaw project. The renderings also show off a potential treatment of the world famous “CrenshawWall,” also called “OurMighty Contribution.” The Wall, a major component of Destination Crenshaw, will also be opposite one of the 11 new pocket parks and parklets built to house hundreds of art opportunities. Landscaping along the boulevard by Studio MLA will include hundreds of new trees and additional streetscaping. Unlike traditional museums, Destination Crenshaw won’t be bound by walls or ceilings. The open-air, public art and cultural experience will feature architectural designs that capture the innovative and trailblazing spirit of Black L.A.

“Destination Crenshaw is a historic project for Los Angeles and the world,” said Councilmember Harris-Dawson.“Thestamp we will make on Crenshaw Boulevard with more than 100 unique art installations, a dozen African American­-themed pocket parks, and culturally-minded street and landscaping improvements will be a living reflection of Black L.A. and the creativity that pours out of our community.”
Located along Crenshaw Boulevard from 48th to 60th Streets, this linear outdoor museum will flank the new Crenshaw/Los Angeles Airport(LAX)Metro Rail Line. This section is the only segment of the line on Crenshaw Blvd.—and one of the only major corridors in L.A. County—where the train is at-grade versus under or above ground. As one of the first stations upon leaving LAX, the Hyde Park stop and the at-grade length of the line will have clear views of Destination Crenshaw and will serve as the gateway to the City of Los Angeles for riders from across the globe.
“Destination Crenshaw is first and foremost a celebration of the creativity of the African American community in Los Angeles,” said Zena Howard, the project’s lead architect from Perkins+Will.“Everythingthat we build is simply a backdrop to the innovative, artistic spirit that is alive and thriving here.”
The designs for Destination Crenshaw are pulled together through Grow Where You’re Planted—a unifying theme inspired by the African giant star grass. Used by slavers as bedding in ships, the grass thrives in alien lands despite inhospitable conditions. Today, it remains a profoundly resonant reminder of African American history, the paths of global dispersion, and black resilience in the face of violence and racism. Like the giant star grass, the Black L.A. community has deep roots that sprouted through the surface and spread across the globe. Despite years of disinvestment, Black Angelenos have been able to create a strong, interconnected, and thriving community, deeply rooted in the Crenshaw District and South L.A. This history and resiliency will be reflected in all aspects of Destination Crenshaw.
The Crenshaw District boasts some of today’s most acclaimed Black artists and has been central to the thriving Black L.A. art scene for decades. A first open call for artists was launched in summer 2018 and hundreds of applications were received from local artists for large and small-scale works to be commissioned along the boulevard. A second open call and selections for commissions will be announced in 2019.
Destination Crenshaw has been working for the last two years with major figures in the Black L.A. community to ensure that community voices are incorporated into the project. Project team members include Larry Earl, owner of 1619 Exhibits and former executive director at the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum and the Houston Museum of African American Culture; actress, writer, director, and producer Issa Rae; the internationally-renowned artist, gardener, and community activist Ron Finley; deputy director and chief curator of the California African American Museum, Naima Keith; and one of the West Coast’s most innovative hip-hop entrepreneurs Nipsey Hussle. Other women and minority-owned firms Destination Crenshaw is working with include Studio MLA, AMPR Group, RAW International, Bridge Street, Terry A. Hayes and Associates, and Artemis Events Company. See a full list of team members here.
A major public kickoff for Destination Crenshaw will be held on February 8, 2019. Stay up to date with the project by signing up for the email list at

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Composer Jon Batiste Turns Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Life Into a Broadway Musical



jon batiste

Composer Jon Batiste is set to bring the life of artist Jean-Michel Basquiatto the stage via a new Broadway musical. The New Orleans-bred musician and bandleader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” announced the show on Tuesday (September 25):

Jon Batiste Tweet

Deadline reports that Batiste will collaborate with stage producers Barbara and Alan D. Marks (The Encounter”) and director John Doyle (“The Color Purple” revival) on the untitled project. The team partnered with the late Haitian- and Puerto Rican-American artist’s estate, which granted rights to use his original art and personal archival material in the musical.

“Over the years, many people have approached us about telling our brother’s story on stage,” sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, who administer their brother’s estate, told Deadline. “But having discussed this project with the Marks over many months, our interest was piqued once we understood that their approach to telling our brother’s story treats his life, his art and his legacy with respect and passion. With Jon Batiste and John Doyle leading the creative team, we are thrilled with the possibilities. We cannot wait to begin the developmental process. Broadway is a new world for us, and we look forward to sharing our brother’s life and art.”

Batiste wants the musical to both capture Basquiat’s story and inspire other artists to channel his creative spirit.

“I want people to leave this show inspired to create. I want them to not only learn about Jean-Michel Basquiat, an innovator, but to also feel the visceral thrill of the creative process and to deepen and discover their own creativity,” he told Deadline. “We have an opportunity to tell a truly profound story, full of emotional highs and lows, with unbelievable art at the center. I’m honored to work with veteran storyteller John Doyle, the Marks and the Basquiat family. We are assembling a team to help craft a boundary pushing masterpiece inspired by a true American original.”

Produced by Sameer Rao originally published on

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Nina Simone’s Childhood Home Recognized as a National Treasure

In honor of African American Music Appreciation Month, The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced June 19 that the childhood home of civil rights icon, musician and singer, Nina Simone, was named a National Treasure, the organization’s signature program.



Nina Simone performing on stage

Originally produced by Brianna Rhodes for The Afro American Newspapers website at

In honor of African American Music Appreciation Month, The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced June 19 that the childhood home of civil rights icon, musician and singer, Nina Simone, was named a National Treasure, the organization’s signature program.

The non-profit partners with communities to ensure the long-term preservation of nationally significant historic places and the stories they keep, according to Brent Leggs, director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund of the National Trust.

Nina Simone’s childhood home (Courtesy

Simone’s three-room, 660-square foot childhood home is located in Tryon, North Carolina.

Through their partnership with The Nina Simone Project and four African-American artists who recently purchased the property, the National Trust will use its nearly 70 years of expertise to develop and enact a new use for nationally significant property through its National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to preserve the childhood home. Nina Simone’s home is the first National Treasure music site.

“The reason that we designated the Nina Simone childhood home a National Treasure is because Nina Simone transcended the constraints society placed on Black female performers in the mid-20th century to become the voice of the American Civil Rights Movement,” Leggs said.

Leggs said Simone’s ability to diffuse classic piano and African rhythm, her frank expressions on racial and gender discrimination and Simone’s life and career embodied an unapologetic pursuit of musical, personal and political freedom.

“As an artist, it’s quite moving to be able to step in and support another artist whose work has meant so much to me throughout my life, both through a creative end and a political standpoint,” Adam Pendleton, conceptual artist, painter and co-owner of Nina Simone’s Home said.

“I can’t think of a better way to do that than to have a physical site that people can come and visit and engage and interact with and get a deeper sense of what made Nina who she was and who she is in our mind.”

Simone’s career spanned four decades, multiple genres and several continents. She has earned 15 Grammy nominations and her songs have been professionally covered and sampled more than 500 times. Simone was also recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

“Nina is a timeless talent and the fact that she was born within the boundaries of the geographical realm…that is Tryon is pretty significant to me,” Crys Armbrust, the executive director of The Nina Simone Project said.

“I am incredibly pleased that the Nina Simone’s childhood home has become an initiative of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and I think that today [June 19] marks a momentous day in the history of the organization,” Armburst added.

The National Trust will be working with the property owners of Simone’s home, the local community, the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission and World Monuments Fund, to seek new protections for the home and evaluate preservation needs, among other initiatives to develop a new use for the home.

“Standing for something one believes in often requires great courage in the face of harsh criticism and judgement,” said Simone’s daughter, Lisa Simone, according to a National Trust press release.

“My mother chose to be an outspoken warrior for that which she believed in. Her birthplace now being named a National Treasure is confirmation that no effort put forth, with true authenticity, goes unnoticed. As her only child, it brings me great joy to see my mother, Dr. Nina Simone, honored and remembered as mightily as she lived.”

Originally produced by Brianna Rhodes for The Afro American Newspapers website at

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A Dynamic, Drama Filled, Stage Play in Houston: July 1, 2018

Featuring an all African-American cast, the popular stageplay, “Somebody Else’s Husband”, is back for part 2, written and produced by local production company SX Branch & Co.



Somebody Elses Husband 2 Flyer Image

Featuring an all African-American cast, the popular stageplay, “Somebody Else’s Husband”, is back for part 2, written and produced by local production company SX Branch & Co.

actors on stageThe Story:  Marc and Alyssa just celebrated one year of being happily married. Just days after their romantic anniversary celebration, Marc and Alyssa are shocked to find out that a baby is on the way but there is a problem… Alyssa is not expecting. Regina, the young lady Marc has been having an affair with makes a surprise visit to the home of Marc and Alyssa to share the news.

Location:  Match  < click for map and driving directions
Showtime:  6:30 pm
General Seating – $28
Preferred Seating – $35


To learn more about SX Branch & Co. and their upcomming productions, follow them on Facebook, and Instagram


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