Category Archives: News

30Dec/20

Karen Bryson, British Actress & Black Narcissus Star, Won’t Tell You About Justice League

Karen Bryson

I tried to get the inside scoop from British actress Karen Bryson about Zack Snyder’s Justice League film and her role as Elinore Stone. She just grinned and talked about how fun it was on set with her co-star Ray Fisher (Victor Stone/Cyborg). Needless to say, I was not able to get any information from her. Her lips were sealed shut on the anticipated project. Instead, she spoke excitedly about one of her newest projects, Black Narcissus on Hulu, and what she has been up to during the pandemic. 

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): How have you been during COVID and what have you been up to? 

Karen Bryson (KB): I’ve actually been really lucky. The UK (United Kingdom) has been able to tone down strict guidelines when it comes to filming. I have been working on a UK drama, then I acted in a movie. 

DDF: What interested you about Black Narcissus?

KB: The audition process was incredible. I would like to say the series is more faithful to the book than it is to the film. This is not a remake. I know when people think of Black Narcissus they think, “Why would you remake such an iconic film?” and I say “No, we haven’t.” Even though the producer is the grandson of producer Emeric Pressburger (co-director of the 1947 film Black Narcissus), in the current version of Black Narcissus, we stayed faithful to the book and it is a miniseries. The characters come alive in a way that is not in film translated, the series is three hours of storytelling. I hope our version leaves people with a lasting impression like the film left people with a lasting memorable impression.

BLACK NARCISSUS SYNOPSIS: Black Narcissus is an FX limited series based on the best-selling novel by Rumer Godden. Mopu, Himalayas, 1934. A remote clifftop palace once known as the ‘House of Women’ holds many dark secrets. When the young nuns of St. Faith attempt to establish a mission there, its haunting mysteries awaken forbidden desires that seem destined to repeat a terrible tragedy.

DDF: How did you prepare for the role? Did you take anything from the movie? 

KB: It was very interesting preparing for the role. Sister Phillipa is the most spiritual and obedient to the rules of the group of nuns. She is in a time around the 1960s or 1970s where the rules were a bit more relaxed for the nuns than previously. The rules were incredibly strict. Some of the priest and nuns hired gave the cast and I information about their lives. The cast and I watched them pray, sing, and perform their rituals. 

Karen Bryson

Sister Phillipa believes she was called to be a nun and really has a closeness with God. There is a moment in the series where she says, “This place (Himalayas) is too much for all of us.” After that, she is like, “Bye,” and leaves. She also mentions the beautiful mischief of the location, which caused her to be distracted from her path. Sister Phillipa even stated it’s as if the mountain watches us, not God.

DDF: How much of Sister Phillipa is part of your personality? 

KB: Phillipa followed the rules, so there is no touching, I’m a hugger. No emotion being shown, I like to cackle and I cry. I’m a crier.

Karen Bryson

DDF: Did you learn anything from the role? Did you change the way you look at religion? 

KB: I learned so much. I actually learned I am more spiritual than I thought. I also decided I want to learn more about God. I’d also like to get into gardening more, you know, sowing the land and seeing what happens. Normally my husband is the one into gardening. 

DDF: There is a scene where Sister Phillipa comes across a mirror and stares at it. What do you think Sister Phillipa saw in the mirror? 

KB: Interesting. I would say the character hasn’t seen herself in about a good twenty years. I think she is shocked at the fact that she has aged. When I look at pictures of my younger self, I can see my face so plump as a baby and from there I know what I look like at each age of my life. Phillipa hasn’t seen her face in years, so when she happens to stumble upon her reflection and sees an aged version of herself, she becomes intrigued in my opinion. Her intrigue is broken, when she remembers that she and her fellow nun shouldn’t be looking into the mirror.  

DDF: What are some of your favorite films or series you are watching now? 

KB: The series of films, Small Axe, by Steve McQueen. It’s showing here (in the UK) on BBC and I think in the U.S. on Amazon Prime. I haven’t caught up with the most recent film because I have been in Guadalupe working. The five films in this project, couldn’t have come at a better time than now. Incredible films, sometimes they are difficult to watch but it’s exactly what we need. Looking at how far we’ve come as Black people in the UK. I think about how my parents experienced some of those rough times of racism, speechlessness. I urge you and everyone to watch them. Steve McQueen is a genius.

DDF:  What can you tell us about Zack Snyder’s Justice League film? How was it working with Ray Fisher and playing his mother in the film? 

KB: I can’t say too much. You’d get me in trouble (laughing). You’ve seen the trailer, it looks amazing. I can say that Ray Fisher and I have become close. He is a wonderful young actor and a wonderful young man. We got along great during the shoot, I think certain castmates you just connect with which is fortunate because sometimes it can go terribly wrong. I think the director, Zack Snyder, is great and really amazing at what he does. I’m excited to see this version of Justice League and excited to see the audience’s reaction to this version of the film. 

DDF: What would be your dream project? 

KB: I would really love to work with Viola Davis and Barry Jenkins.

You can watch Karen Bryson portray Sister Philippa in the mini-series, Black Narcissus, on F/X and Hulu. She will also be in the highly anticipated Justice League Director’s Cut on HBO Max. The actress has been so busy during the pandemic we can only hope she’ll soon be working with award-winning actress, Viola Davis. 

Karen Bryson
23Dec/20

Archenemy Star, Skylan Brooks, as Static Shock, Why Not?

While interviewing Skylan Brooks, I asked how he pulled off the portrayal of the optimistic and energetic Hamster in the film Archenemy. He stated that it was purely method acting. “Well, believe it or not, I was actually sick while shooting this film,” Brooks chuckled. Brooks is not new to the genre of superhero films, he played the super-intelligent Chubs in the 2018 film Darkest Minds. 

The young talented actor took time away from his busy schedule to talk with Taji Mag about his new film, Archenemy, and other projects he is working on. 

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): What brought you to this role and how did you prepare for it? 

Skylan Brooks (SB): The film being a superhero, sci-fi film lured me to the role. I enjoy and previously had success in my other sci-fi projects like Castle Rock on Hulu. I wanted to know more about the director’s vision for my character, Hamster. I also wanted to understand the origin of the film and why it was being made. 

DDF: Hamster shows optimism and drive, how did you manage to keep those present in the character?

SB: Actually, that was one of the things I worried about when portraying the character. It worried me in the audition. I have a very chill personality, so it was a fun challenge to play this high energy character. What made me really capture the essence of the character was talking to the director. Also remembering, Hamster’s deceased father was a storyteller and that is what motivates him to tell his stories no matter what.  

DDF: What was the biggest obstacle to making this film? 

SB: Well, believe it or not, I was actually sick while shooting this film. Every time you see me smiling, shouting, and laughing like I was having a good time, I was dying. I actually had pneumonia, bronchitis, and a fever. I had to go to the hospital because I had difficulty breathing at times. It was crazy because everyone else is healthy and I was just so sick. It was brutal but fun. 

DDF: What the best part about making this film? 

SB: I really enjoy the stunts. Every time there was a big stunt going on, everybody’s vibe changed. The director would be like, “ Okay, you’re going to get sent through this glass table and you are going to get killed.” It was fun and we just laughed through it. There was great energy on set and everyone was fun to work with. 

DDF: Is your character, Hamster, inspired by other characters you previously played? I think of the characters you played in The Darkest Minds, The Get Down, and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete. 

SB: Not consciously. I tried to draw from a whole different place. That’s interesting but cool you had thought so. 

DDF: Who are a few of your favorite comic characters? 

SB: Growing up I didn’t really know the comic world as I do now. I didn’t understand the difference between brands like DC Comics and Marvel? I just knew of the comic book characters. I have an affinity for fast characters, that are not necessarily flashy but have this cool attitude. Characters like the Flash, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), and Static Shock. I loved watching Static Shock growing up. He’s just a normal dude from the hood that got powers and didn’t take advantage of the powers. 

DDF: What comic book hero would you like to play?  

SB: Ah perfect question! I heard there was a Static Shock movie being made, that is way early in development and I would love to take a crack at it.

 

DC Comics superhero Static Shock

DDF: Which movie universe do you prefer? DC or Marvel? 

SB: That’s a hard question. Lol! I like both of them. Growing up I watched DC television shows, like Young Justice, but I watched Marvel movies.

DDF: What do you think the audience will get out of this film? 

SB: I want the audience to understand that heroes have emotions. Max Fist is a hero where he comes from. Beyond his hero complex is a fragile human being that feels forgotten. I think, through companionship and friendship, he redeems himself without his powers. 

DDF: How was it working with Zolee Griggs and Joe Manganiello? 

SB: Joe is a very intense guy when it comes to playing his characters. Once he is in character, there is no way of breaking him out of it. I appreciate being on screen with that type of experience. Zolee is great too and this is her first feature, I think she killed the role. She’s dope and you can see her on Wu-tang on Hulu. Zolee has great energy and she’s hilarious.

DDF: What’s next for  you? 

SB: I am focusing on the film but I have a music EP project and music video dropping this month. It’s a fuse of hip-hop and jazz. I am also working on two projects, one of which I am executive producing. 

DDF: If you make your own film, what genre would it be? What director would you work with and who would be your co-star? 

SB: I would want to do a Steven Spielberg type film with the grit of a Quentin Tarantino and the feel of Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise as a co-star. 

If you are looking for a hybrid of the Watchmen and Wolverine comic book genre film, make sure to watch Archenemy. The film has some cool animation, an exciting storyline, and a cool plot twist.
ARCHENEMY is in theaters, and currently available on VOD and Digital.

21Dec/20

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a Gift To Chadwick Boseman Fans Everywhere

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (2020) Chadwick Boseman as Levee. Cr. David Lee/NETFLIX

Synopsis: Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Academy Award® winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious cornet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.

Chadwick’s on-screen performance was captivating and his charm was irresistible. His years of theater experience are on full display in this film. I felt as if his performance was a gift to his fans and anyone who loves good acting. There are many plays that are turned into films but not all plays are translated well. *Cough Cats! *Cough* American Son. Yeah, you know those were bad. Queue the Kerry Washington memes! 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020): (L to R) Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Director George C. Wolfe, and Chadwick Boseman as Levee. Cr. David Lee / Netflix

I shouldn’t expect anything less than great work, since the film was based on the play by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, August Wilson. The same energy and passion audiences received from his plays, like “Fences” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is the same energy in the film. I can say August’s works are written so well they can be translated in any form with the right cast and so far he’s had nothing but some of the best involved in his work or anything based on his plays. James Earl Jones has won a Tony for Fences, Denzel and Viola Davis won a Tony, Golden Globe plus Oscar nominations. Now Viola Davis is back with another award-winning performance and Chadwick Boseman was one of the greatest actors of our time. With COVID stalling plans of the theater performances, the film is a satifsfying substitute. 

Chadwick’s character, Levee, personified what it meant to be a Black man at that time. His own band, nice clothes, a good woman, and a dream of ownership are in his sight during a time where racism and deceit are major spoils to his plans. Yet, Levee is optimistic about his talent and charm and believes an open promise will bring him closer to his dreams. Chadwick does an extremely beautiful job and shows range with the character in acts one and three. In the first act, he talks about how his mother was raped by a group of white men and how one of the men slashed him across his chest. He spoke with so much conviction that I could feel the pain Levee was carrying, noting that behind his winning smile was so much hostility. This scene pays off even more later in act three when he and Cutler (played by Coleman Domingo) talk about God. It is at this point Chadwick challenges Slo Drag about God and mocks him by threatening to harm Slo Drag with a knife. 

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM(2020) Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Colman Domingo as Cutler, Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Michael Potts as Slow Drag and Glynn Turman as Toledo. Cr. David Lee/NETFLIX

Viola Davis’s performance… Oscar-worthy is how I describe Davis’s performance as Ma Rainey. I could barely tell it was Viola underneath the make-up. Davis captured the essence of Ma Rainey from the way she walked to the way she talked. Ma Rainey knows her worth and lets everyone know. Black, white, male or female, Ma Rainey imposes her divaesque persona on anyone she encounters. Ma Rainey is also the only LGBTQ character in her songs and relationship with Dussie Mae (played by Taylour Paige). I was laughing whenever her white manager would beg her to record or for her signature for contracts, she would get what she wanted every time. An interesting aspect of the film was powerful and in control, the artist was inside the recording studio, but on the outside of the studio, their white counterparts were perceived themselves to be superior.

It was good to see Glynn Thurman in the film as the wise Toledo – although he will always be Colonel Bradford Taylor from “It’s a Different World” and Preach from “Cooley High.” He and all the cast did a great job bringing Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to the screen. The film is definitely a must-watch and should be continued to be praised for storytelling. It made me appreciate the time Chadwick was on this earthly plane. 

August Wilson’s play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom celebrates the transformative power of the blues and the artists who refuse to let society’s prejudices dictate their worth. Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film is produced by Fences Oscar® nominees Denzel Washington and Todd Black. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige, Dusan Brown, Jeremy Shamos, and Jonny Coyne co-star alongside Grammy® winner Branford Marsalis’ score.

Taji Mag Vol25 AfroFuture

Taji Vol25: AfroFuture

Release Dec 7 2020 | Vol25 of Taji is packed full of Black Beauty & Culture fulfilling its theme of AfroFuture! This volume’s cover features the #SlayBells of @NoriRaneMUA (by @BymshaBrownePhotography with @NYCNory). Gracing the pages are the Editor’s Pick, #BlackLoveConvo: “Jurnee Smollett Talks Lovecraft Country, Activism, and Breonna Taylor” by Dapper Dr. Feel; our Community Spotlight on Nichelle Consulting; our highlighted Hair Feature by Angela Plummer; “Solo Travel: Are You A Performative Global Ally?” by dCarrie; “Micro Betrayals?” by Jashua Sa’Ra; “Building the Image Nation” by Janelle Naomi; Our Vol 25 contributed photo story, “AfroFuture;” Fitness Highlight: @itsdreamsworld; Vegan Fun with Earth’s Pot’s Wontons; Think Tank, “Lack of Love” by Brianna Burnley; Earth’s Cabinet LLC, Aligning Your Body Holisticly; “The Garden Metaphor Of Finance” by M’Bwebe Ishangi, Founder of Cryptowoke Financial Sustainability Movement; Lovely Leo Skincare Awakens All of Your Body’s Senses; Featured Art Piece; Comic Appreciation; Black Business Highlights; and more!!

Purchase your copy now at ‘Shop Taji’!

Purchase Taji Mag | Vol 25

Taji Mag is the epitome of ‘Cultural Drip’ – elevating Black brands, narratives, and imagery to new levels of Black Excellence. We embody the traditional and modern royalty of Pan-African people via our quarterly digital and print publication and live events.

22Oct/20

Wunmi Mosaku Says the Lovecraft Country Experience and Being Able to Speak About Racism was Therapeutic

Wunmi Mosaku

Award-winning actress, Wunmi Mosaku (Instagram), has been featured in some amazing content from Luther to Black Mirror and has had her most recent success with the HBO hit series Lovecraft Country. The British- Nigerian actress spoke with Taji Mag about her character, Ruby Baptiste, in Lovecraft and her experience as a Black actress working on the set of a show featuring a predominantly Black cast with a Black female showrunner. 

*SPOILER ALERT*

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): During episode four, “Strange Case,” we saw Ruby transform into a white woman, how much do you think that experience affected Ruby? 

Wunmi Mosaku (WM): Ruby is a very confident self-assured woman. Being white did not change that for her. She did appreciate walking around freely, her skin color not incriminating her or being weaponized against her. Ruby mentions she was railing and raging around the streets, people were scared for her and not scared of her. 

I think Ruby will always use the magic potion as a tool for herself. She is not disillusioned, like “Gimme some more, gimme some more! This is the life I want to live!” Ruby is as Black on the inside as she is on the outside when the potion turns her white. I don’t think the transformation comes with joy or freedom for her. Ruby is Ruby and she loves who she is. She just wants everyone out there to stop fucking with her and let her be brilliant. Ruby wants to be all that she is without any interruption. 

Ruby has learned a lot and her eyes are open. If anything the transformation made her love herself more. 

Wunmi Mosaku, Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Wunmi Mosaku & Jurnee Smollett-Bell

DDF: Do you think during the course of the season that Ruby gravitates more towards Christina Braithwhite (Abbey Lee) than she does towards her sister, Leti ( Jurnee Smollett-Bell)? 

WM: I think there’s truth in that. Ruby and Leti have such a tense relationship and truly don’t understand each other. Maybe it’s because they walk around the world so differently with different privileges and lack thereof. It’s also because Leti is difficult. Ruby has this idea that if she works hard enough and cracks through this whole system, she’ll be apart of it rather than against it. 

Yes, sometimes Black people can “crack” through the system, but let’s face it you can be famous as whoever, be stopped by the police, and be treated inappropriately. 

Ruby has this eye-opening experience and growth from Leti. Whereas before she was the big sister that looked after her little sister and bailed her out many times. Ruby would be like, “Leti, you can stay with me but when are you going to get a real job like the rest of us?”

Ruby and Leti do not have an equally yoked relationship. Ruby is kind of Leti’s mom in a way? They’ve both had a weird relationship with their mom. With Ruby having a mother-daughter relationship with Leti, it’s really hard to be open and honest. To be able to say how she feels and how the world is treating her as a dark-skinned woman when her sister is a light-skinned woman and has these privileges, plus someone looking after her, Atticus. 

Ruby doesn’t open up to Leti. Leti does not even know Ruby moved out of her nice apartment to pay for their mother’s funeral until she reconnects with her sister in the first episode.

Wunmi Mosaku

DDF: Can you interpret the William/Christina and Ruby relationship? 

WM: There is something about when she first meets William, that she just lets it all out. While reading the script I thought, ‘Why is she telling her business to this stranger?’ but there is some chemistry between them – which is obviously sexual in episode four. Ruby’s relationship between Christina and William kind of veers. William gets one side of her, which is physical and has a magical connection, while with Christina she is honest, it’s not explained but it’s understood.

DDF: Ruby’s character is a talented musician. Who would you say would be your top three favorite artists from any time period? 

WM: I would say, Jill Scott, Billie Holiday, Erykah Badu and  I really love Red Hot Chili Peppers but mostly their album “Californication.”

DDF: What made being on this show so unique?  

WM: Just being on the set of Lovecraft Country, having Misha as my showrunner, and being able to talk about my experiences as a Black woman was great. Being able to talk about being a Black woman with a Black woman on set was a great experience. I did not do that beyond my husband or my siblings. I had to do it every day for work, during these interviews. I have to talk about body images, these things I did not talk about. It was just like “Let me get this work done.”  Talking about those things has been both scary and therapeutic. I feel like I’m growing every time I have these conversations. I have never been on a show so Black before.

Wunmi Mosaku

DDF: Is there anything you learned about yourself while portraying this character? 

WM: I feel changed spiritually and emotionally by portraying Ruby. Her confidence in who she is which includes intelligence, sexuality, and education. Ruby is so beautiful and she loves herself, it’s so beautiful and rebellious. She isn’t afraid of the changes that have been made in her because of her experiences. Rubi embraces these changes that have happened to her intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. She doesn’t try to fit back into who she was five minutes ago, two years ago, etc. I feel like I have taken on a little bit of that. 

I love myself by playing Ruby. I never thought I’d play a character like Ruby. People always struggled to dress me because I am not this size or my hair is too kinky. I always thought I am not commercial, I am not this or I am not that. I feel so much more confident because I embraced all of me and I was encouraged to by Misha. 

Hopefully, you have already watched Wunmi Mosaku play the charismatic Ruby Baptiste in the horror series Lovecraft Country. If not, you can catch the full season on HBO Max. Wunmi Mosaku is also starring in the upcoming Netflix thriller, His House, about a refugee couple that escapes from war-torn South Sudan. 

10Oct/20

What Jonathan Majors Loves About Lovecraft Country and Why He Wants to Play Superman

Jonathan Majors

It was last year when I was able to watch the highly touted Last Black Man in San Francisco and I loved every single bit of it. Not only because of the title or the visually stunning camera shots, but because of the powerful performance of Jonathan Majors. I didn’t know much about the 31-year-old actor, all I knew was that his performance in the final act of the film showed the promise of a rising star. 

Jonathan Majors’ new series hit, Lovecraft Country on HBO, and the Spike Lee helmed, Da Five Bloods, has made way to take part in many big-budget films. Luckily for Taji Mag, Majors took time out to talk about the new series, his GQ feature, and his desire to portray Superman. 

Dapper Dr. Feel (DDF): How do you keep your faculties together given all you have gone through in Lovecraft Country? 

Jonathan Majors (JM): Love, man! I think that’s the key. He [Atticus aka Tic] is the most selfless character I’ve played. The alternative is if I fail the family fails. If I don’t get this right, Leti goes down, if I don’t get this right Uncle George goes down. We know how this plays out in the series. He loves his family so much he is willing to take the hit and keep on going because failure is not an option. 

DDF: In episode 6, Meet Me in Daegu, we see Atticus’s life during the Korean War and relationship with Ji-ah. Who do you think is more of the monster Ji-ah or Atticus? 

JM: In one of the scenes, Ji-ah tries to persuade Atticus that he is the monster. I would say from Atticus’s point of view, he would be the monster. He was closest to freedom when he was with Ji-ah and then it was snatched away. Exoneration was close but snatched away. That event made him double down on the idea that he was a monster. For some reason or another, he was not worthy of this love between him and Ji-ah because it all went bad.

Jonathan Majors

DDF: What was your reaction after you read episode 6 “Meet Me in Dego”? 

JM: To me, that episode is very different from the other episodes. I love the episode because it gave me insight into who Tic was. From that episode, there is a transition from “Tic” to Atticus. When episode 6 ends, it is the birth of Atticus. He knows too much now. He’s seen physical violence, he’s done physical violence and war crimes. Now he’s experiencing something so mystical, spiritual, monstrous and it’s stuck in his brain. So when I read the script, I was like “Cool, this episode unlocks a great deal of information.” It was so great, I happened to have read episode 6 before we started shooting episodes 2 and beyond. So I could walk around with that feeling of dread and fear. This is necessary because, as you see in the series, Atticus calls back to Korea multiple times. I loved the script! It’s sort of a ballet piece I would say.  

DDF: I read some of the GQ article you were featured in. It mentioned your father was in Desert Storm; your paternal grandfather served in World War II, your maternal grandfather in Korea and Vietnam.  What kind of memorable advice did they give you and have you used it for roles like Atticus in Lovecraft Country? 

JM: It’s interesting how the men in my life work. Advice never really comes. As cliche as it sounds, we lead by example. Take care of your business, look after your brother, make up your bed, say what you need to say and that’s it. Get your work done and do your best. These are simple things that are inherent in survival. More so when it comes from men whose lives been in jeopardy since their genesis. Then there are ancestors, that is who hooked me on set. They were with me and looked after me. Sometimes they would tell me how to walk. The baron of them is what I use and remember to portray Atticus. 

Jonathan Majors
Jonathan Majors as Atticus in Lovecraft Country

DDF: In episode 7 we see Atticus go into a time portal. If he were to be transported to the present day, how would he react to what’s going with Breonna Taylor and racial injustice? 

JM: I think Atticus would hit the front line. Atticus knows things, he knows magic. There’d be a whole genre of action taken. 

I think emotionally he would be saddened. Especially because there’s such a jump of over 70 years and he’s worked so hard for protection. So, to see his tribe adjacent with sister [Breonna] Taylor is not protected. It could be an existential crisis with him.

DDF: During your Zoom interview with Jimmy Fallon, I saw you had a guitar in the background. Do you play guitar or any instruments? 

JM: I play a little bit of guitar and am learning how to improve my playing skills. I am also learning to play saxophone and to play the harmonica. So yeah, I get down. 

DDF: What is your favorite thing to listen to? 

JM: It’s a mixture of things. It depends on the day. If I had put on some music now I’d say, Otis Redding, Ella Fitzgerald, Coltrane, and Dizzy Gillepsie. 

DDF: Is there an artist you would like to portray in a biopic? 

JM: Oh yeah, I’d play Coltrane. I’d like to try that out. 

DDF: Would you like to write and direct that project  yourself? 

JM: I’d be involved. I think if I had the time and spirit hit me, I could get it done. I think he is such a fascinating man. 

DDF: If you could portray a superhero or villain in a movie, who would they be? 

JM: To be honest, I have an infatuation with Superman. I love Superman. I think they’ve gotten him wrong in film this whole time. Somehow we have to get Metropolis caught up in Gotham because I would like to play the Riddler. If we could somehow get that going where the Riddler takes his interest off Batman and he focuses on Superman, that would be crazy! 

DDF: You may have to pitch it to DC films! 

JM: You can produce it, we can roll! 

The future is looking bright for Jonathan Majors as he prepares to star in the upcoming star-studded film The Harder They Fall with Idris Alba. There are also talks of him portraying a villain in the MCU, rumored to be the next big villain after Thanos. Until then make sure to tune into HBO and HBO MAX to catch the latest episodes of Lovecraft Country

Why Lovecraft Country “Jig-a-Bobo” Scared the Sh*t Out of Me AND is Worth Watching!

Lovecraft Country
Diana Freeman (Jada Harris)

If you haven’t been watching Lovecraft Country, you have been missing a great series! It’s filled with fear, adventure, history, monsters, and awesome storytelling. The recent episode, “Jig-a-bobo” has more scares and interesting plot twists out of all the episodes so far. Did I mention it has the scariest demons I’ve seen in my life! Episode 8 is worth watching for the following reasons. 

Emmett Till Tie-In in Lovecraft Country

It’s hard to imagine Emmett Till was murdered in 1955… that was only 65 years ago! His murder was an interesting story to tie into the series. The murder did happen in Chicago where the series takes place and the act committed by Till’s murderers was horrifying. Misha Green did a really amazing job showcasing how each character is affected throughout the episode with Diana Freeman (Jada Harris) feeling it the most since Emmett was a close friend of hers. Jada’s performance during this episode definitely made me feel for the character – I was impressed with her character being the focal point. I really felt the opening scene with all of the Black people waiting in line to view Emmett’s body. 

Lovecraft Country
Bopsy (Bianca Brewton) and Topsy (Kaelyn Harris) 

Topsy and Bopsy Are Scary As Sh*t! 

In my 36 years on this earth, I can say there is not much that scares me but Topsy (Kaelyn Harris) and Bopsy (Bianca Brewton) scared the shit out of me! From their acrobatic, eerie movements to the remixed song “Stop Dat Knocking” by A.F. Winnemore (Ralphel Saadiq you ain’t right making the song that scary), the whole set up had me, glad I watched the episode during the day. I mean, I can honestly say Topsy and Bopsy scare me more than Freddy Krueger! 

I just hope Diana Freeman does not die, I know the evil Captain Seamus Lancaster said she was “Dead anyway” but I still hope that Leti, Atticus, and crew find some way to keep her alive. SPOILER ALERT: Poor Diana Freeman has lost her father, friend Emmett, possibly her mother, and she’s been cursed with having two demons trying to kill her. Talk about when it rains it pours. 

Christina and Rubi’s Relationship

If you been wondering what is going on with Rubi’s (Wunmi Mosaku) and Christina’s relationship in Lovecraft Country, you are not alone. I mean body changing in werewolf fashion and all, the level of connection and relationship can be confusing with these two. I would say Rubi has a closer bond with Christina than she does with her own sister after watching the last few episodes given that they have been sexing each other in their transformed counterparts and they are living together. I found Christina reenacting Emmett Till’s death very interesting. Christina trying “feel” the anger and pain Rubi is going through after Till’s death makes me wonder how much she does care for Rubi or how close she is willing to get?

Succubus in Love

Episode 8 also sees the arrival of the Ji-Ah (Jamie Chung), the love interest/ succubus of Atticus during his Korean war tour. How painful it had to have been for Leti to hear about Atticus’s Korean War fling with a nine-tailed fox demon and to also hear he may meet his demise? News like that would drive any person insane but given the recent events, Leti understands anything is possible. She also understands how much Ji-ah loves Atticus because of Leti herself being in love with Atticus. I just wonder if this is the last we will see of Ji-ah? 

Leti and Tic

I haven’t seen a love take so many turns like this since Dwayne and Whitley from a Different World. They love each other no doubt but with all of the chaos going on, at moments it looks like their relationship will not last. With a baby in the picture, I think it’s safe to say these to will find a way. That, plus Atticus went through a portal to the future and was given a book written by his son. It’s crazy how they both know Leti is pregnant but hide it from one another. Which makes you wonder why they don’t tell each other and what will happen going forward in Lovecraft Country once they do? 

Lovecraft Country
Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett

The Beast and protection 

I have to be honest with you, I was happy to see a Shoggoth appear just in time to save Atticus at the end of the episode. Not because it saved Atticus and Leti but because I wanted to see what bigger role if any the big ass scary monsters would play? The Shoggoths are what lured me more into the series! 

It was also good to see Atticus can now cast spells or at least one spell. I really felt Christina was lying to Atticus about the spell. Knowing he has the ability to use spells, it will be interesting to see how it will play into the storyline. Leti has also seen the protection spell placed on her by Christina working via deflecting bullets. Now that the couple (and child) are protected what will happen in future episodes? Find out Sundays at 9 pm on HBO and streaming service HBO Max.

24Sep/20

Misogynistic Women

MISOGYNISTIC WOMEN

Can we discuss the dynamics that cause women to verbally destroy other women simply for being human? Can we PLEASE talk about how women came out of the woodwork to laugh at and drag Cardi B. for doing what was right for her!!  Come on, let’s unpack this.

The level of cattiness surrounding Cardi’s decision to divorce her husband was damn near unparalleled. She gave her heart to a man she loved. He cheated and she gave him another chance. When he proved to be unable to keep it in his pants, Cardi chose her peace of mind and that of her child’s by walking away. So, why did women across the country rise up to vilify her? Why the disdain? Why, oh why all the judgments? “If she had cooked and cleaned he wouldn’t have cheated. If she was a better wife and not a former stripper he would have stayed home. If she would have xyz then he wouldn’t need to cheat” 

WHY Y’ALL?? Well, let me offer a few reasons why so many fangs came out in defense of the cheater and not the victim.  Could it be that women saw in Cardi what they themselves wish they had? Could it be that the truth Cardi spoke contradicted the lies these women lived? I wanted to take each woman, sit her down and ask “Sis, who hurt you?” because that type of vitriol is borne out of pain. 

It’s extremely difficult for women to see themselves in another woman’s situation when that woman chooses peace and they have not. It’s easier to place blame than it is to heal their pain. It’s easier to claim they found a way to keep their man from cheating than it is for them to face their own mans infidelity. But you know, people in glass houses…right? 

Make no mistake, the women screaming  “you should’ve done this and that” are the same ones who go through their mans’ phone while he’s asleep or in the shower. They are the same ones finding their man sent dick pics to random chicks. They are the same ones sitting home mad asf because he supposedly had to work late but he’s not answering his office phone. They are the same ones popping up on his job to make sure he’s actually there. They are the same ones stressing because yet another chick called her saying she’s pregnant by her man. 

When Cardi said “no more” and filed for divorce, she triggered thousands of women who secretly wish they had the courage to do the same. Thousands of women who are stuck in the turmoil of their man saying he loves them yet cheats every chance he gets. Blaming the victim for being victimized is a trauma response Sis. Spitting hatred at the one who’s hurting is a trauma response Sis.  Blaming another woman for a man’s ashy behavior is misogynistic Sis!! 

How did women get here? How did women forget that sisters need each other? How did women forget that Sisterhood is powerful? How did women end up equating being in a relationship with societal validation? How did women get to the place where they believe struggle love is preferred over affirming relationships? How do women end up choosing drama and chaos over peace? I’ll tell you how; years upon years of unhealed pain. Years upon years of unrecognized and internalized trauma has caused women to turn on their sisters when they need each other the most. However, until they face what’s truly going on in their lives they will continue to project their issues onto others continuing the cycle. 

What did Shakespeare write? “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”…yeah, that part. 

18Sep/20

Diezie Sahn is a Triple Force AND Serving Us Fight Choreo

Born and raised in West Africa Liberia, Diezie Sahn is a promising actor, screenwriter, and director, specializing in martial arts and fight choreography, now based in Atlanta. He has acted and performed stunts in several short films, despite battling a speech impediment, and has received the CMF and  TERMINUS “BEST ACTOR” Awards. His recent Lead role in the P.S.A, “Corona Man,” went viral. Before breaking into the film industry, Diezie lived in an Ivory Coast refugee camp during the Liberian Civil War. He refuses to allow anything to stop him from achieving his goal of empowering others through film.

Taji Mag (TM): What inspired you to become an actor?

Diezie Sahn

Diezie Sahn (DS): I remember vividly at the age of 7, in the town we were living called “12 houses,” my siblings and I were attending a small community school and my mother had been encouraging me to sing in church. She decided that she would register me to perform in the Bible play, “King Solomon”, and I was to play King Solomon. I was completely terrified! Here I was, a stuttering 7-year-old child, who now had to perform in front of hundreds of people at the end of the school year. The entire school would think I was a joke. I was upset with my mother and didn’t care to see what she saw in me, but my mother was relentless. She drilled the entire play with me for days so that I would be prepared for the role. To this day, I still remember my lines. When the big day came, I was beyond ready. That was when I realized that acting and performing was my purpose in life. On stage, I can speak freely through the characters and truly express myself. For the first time, my voice was heard. I felt free and happy.  

TM: What films, directors, and/or actors have influenced you?

DS: Every film I’ve ever seen growing up influenced me in some ways. Western films, the Asian martial arts films that were popularized at the time, and Nigerian (Nollywood) films. I was intrigued by the Asian films because of the action, the western films introduced me to real acting, and the Nigerian films opened my mind to telling our own African stories.  
I believe that life is a busy intersection we all crossing through to create a path that fits each of us. My influences are the ones like myself who didn’t allow stuttering to stop them from becoming great: Bruce Willis, Steve Jobs, Samuel L Jackson, James Earl Jones, Legendary B.B King, Steve Harvey, Harvey Keitel, Kendrick Lamar, Elvis Presley, John Gomez, Marilyn Monroe, Emily Blunt, Julia Roberts. The list goes on! They inspire me to persevere. 

TM: What type of films do you most look forward to creating/participating in? 

Diezie Sahn

DS: I look forward to playing James Bond one day or I’ll create my own James Bond-style movie with an African actor as the lead. I’d also like the opportunity to play a superhero.  I think it would be awesome to see an African man in the sky doing something out of the normal beside flying to out of his country. 

Follow Diezie Sahn’s journey at on Instagram!

18Sep/20

Indie Artist XAV. Invites Us to Get “Jiggy” in Melodic New Single + Visual

Harlem born and raised, indie rapper-producer XAV. released his debut single “Jiggy” in July to fans who have been patiently waiting for his first single as a solo act (XAV. is one half of the group Xav and Ola). The single was written and produced by XAV. with a seamless feature from fellow Cleveland-born rapper, Trill Mah, who adds to the melodic aesthetic of the track with their own witty, sharp lyricism. The single, “Jiggy”, is a lighthearted track that is the perfect addition to your summertime playlist. In the lyrics, XAV. lets us in on his more playful side as he’s detailing his interest in a young lady, eager to know if she’s interested in getting jiggy with him.

XAV Jiggy

Stream “Jiggy” on all DSPs

The visual for “Jiggy” was shot before we ever heard the phrase ‘social distancing’. In true indie-artist fashion, XAV. tapped into his community to vividly transform his single from lyrics to screen. Friends and fellow artists gathered to take us back to a time when tripping and vibing with your friends at house parties and on rooftops was a reality. The overall vision was flawlessly executed by Indian female filmmaker and photographer, Tashi Bhutia, who directed and edited the visual. 

Quarantine has been a personal experience of ups and downs for all of us. XAV. is using this time to continue to create and engage, whether that means releasing new music, talking trash on XBox, or using his platform to be outspoken about systemic racism and police brutality. For XAV., the debut single “Jiggy” is only the beginning.

“I do this 100% indie with love, creativity and thoughtfulness,” says XAV. “I hope you feel that in the song and video. There’s so much that I have been working on during this time and want to continue to create art that speaks to the humanity of my community. I want to make sure that I am creating art that allows us the freedom to vibe without restriction.”

To keep up with all things XAV. be sure to follow him on Instagram and Twitter.