Tag Archive: bet


 

A couple weeks into 2010, the last film I wrote and directed was being introduced to a national audience by a movie star.  With a couple of weeks to go in 2010, I got to host a show where I gave an up and coming rapper/producer his first television experience.  I love the harmony of that; it’s symbolic of the type of year this has been – harmonious.

Internally, I don’t feel like I’ve changed much in the past 12 months to be perfectly honest.  Maybe it was the film, maybe it was the personal life, maybe it was all of us just being a year older.  The saying is, you get back from the world what you put into it, so maybe it was me just being set in my ways.  Whatever it is, it feels like this was the year that people seemed to take me as I am.  The people who dig me take my imperfections as part of the package, the people who don’t like me seem to get that my insecurities have nothing to do with whether they like me or not. At this point, I am who I am, flaws and all as Beyonce would say.

Along those lines, I want to say it was Jay who said that no matter what he’s done since, in his mind he’s still the crack dealer from Marcy.  My mentality has a similar vibe: I will always be this quiet, black Muslim kid from Wyandotte County.  The Hollywood stuff and the European girlfriend, to my friends it’s like, ‘Who ELSE but Malik would be doing that?’ (and to those friends I say, ‘You’re absolutely right!  Nobody but me!’)  In all seriousness though, it’s all part of the natural direction of me following My Calling and my life’s journey. To me, there is no ‘either/or’, it’s all inclusive.  I’ve come to realize one of my pet peeves is when people try to erase their past.  There is no reset button in this game; things happen, you deal with them, you move forward.  Everything that happens is important, even when we don’t understand the reason at the time.

Part of being a student of the game of life is knowing at some point you will be pushed to your limits.  I’ve certainly gone through the emotional ringer the past 12 months. On a superficial level this has been a fantastic year, but those who know me best will tell you I’ve spent the greater part of 2010 severely depressed. (I’m good now though.)  Keeping things in perspective was something I had to remind myself often.  I’m a romantic, I’m an eternal optimist, I believe for the most part the good and the bad balance each other out.  When I look at my own life, I see love, I see loyal friends, I have a supportive family.  I’m in my early 30s and I can focus on being a capitalist for the rest of my days.  This year was brutal, but I have inner peace and I sadly know way too many people who don’t have it and don’t know how to get it.

So what one thing will I take with me from 2010?  Well, after half of a lifetime with a relationship best described as ‘standoffish’, fate has decided it was time for me to start reconnecting with my bloodline.  You can’t repair a decade and a half of distance in a few months of course, but as in all things, the intention to change things is the first (and most important) step.

For us Batman fanatics, the big thing in 2010 was the comics storyline, ‘The Return of Bruce Wayne.’  Bruce was shot back in time by Superman foe Darkseid, and had to fight his way back to the present day (which he did of course).  The major lesson learned in that arc (SPOILER ALERT) is that while the mythology of the Batman is a boy left alone after the murder of his parents and his childhood, the reality of Batman is that he’s never been ‘alone’.  He’s had allies every step of the way.  I was reminded in 2010 that while I certainly enjoy being ‘the Prince of Gotham’, I’ve never really been alone either.  This year more than all the others combined I think, I’ve been held up, encouraged, cheered for and supported by those I’ve always known I could count on, some who have genuinely surprised me, and some of you who I will probably never meet in this life.  I have been taking notes so I’ll try to name as many of you as I can (since this is already absurdly long…)

Katy – you stuck with me through my personal hell, and I’ve tried to reciprocate; thank you for holding down the BB team when it was sorely needed; ART – a lot of people told me to be ‘Michael’ when everything in my heart said it was time for a ‘Sonny’ move, but your voice stood out the most.  Thanks for being such a great friend. Marie – I love doing the show – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!  Hope to get a chance to do it again next year. Nathan – in a parallel universe, I would be living your life, but My Calling has evolved in an exciting direction, and I’m excited to ‘play my part’.  Looking forward to hearing about Jordan.  DaFellas – I’d call you my Jackson 5, but even if I was being sarcastic that would be WAY too condescending.  I think of us now as the Beatles after they broke up – everyone is following their ‘solo’ interests and we get together when we can and talk about how much fun we had.  You’ll always be my guys.

If you’re still reading a few more folks but I promise this is it: the Fradieus, the Franks, the Harrises, the Sheffields, the Thomases, Conway and Jabari for your advice (invaluable), BeatSmith (great show), Michael Zanuck, Daphne Kirby, Amanda Max, Doug Miro (best blogpost of the year), Through a Glass, Black Entertainment Television, Pasadena Community Network, Ralph Scott, the Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center, the Pigskin League, the Jayhawk friends, the Trojan friends, the Sumner friends, the Frat, everyone who has helped the past 12 months in the Return of Bruce Wayne.

The Dark Knight is rising in 2011.  Happy New Year!

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So for those who hadn’t heard yet, ‘Lady In My Life’ was not selected for the finals for this season’s BET’s ‘Lens on Talent’ contest.  Nevertheless, it’s been a nice ride hasn’t it?  Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded in the best possible way how many people I’ve met over my lifetime, how long I’ve been working at this passion of mine, and how, in the words of the Nature Boy Ric Flair at his ‘retirement’ ceremony, “For all the things I’ve done wrong, I must have done something right.”  So one final time, thanks to all family, friends, cast and crew who supported me and my film and helped us achieve this milestone.  The film still has some screenings coming up; I’ll announce here when the dates get a little closer. 

If the title and the picture didn’t clue you in, I’ve gotten my silly back now.  The answer to ‘what next’?  – it’s too early to say exactly.  As always there’s things I have in mind, but nothing concrete set up as of yet. This month isn’t over and I’ve already had enough highs and lows to last the rest of the year.  My karma continues to fly sky high right now, I’m back to giving myself a daily goal and staying in the moment.  A week, a month, a few months from now, we’ll see how these ‘pebbles’ I drop in the pond add up and if the momentum turns into something bigger. 

Until then… 

Here’s the link to the episode of ‘Lens On Talent’ featuring “Lady In My Life”:

http://www.bet.com/video/793048

And if you’re so inclined, you can vote for your favorite film from this episode at the bottom of this page (hint, hint):

http://www.bet.com/OnTV/BETShows/lensontalent/

So you came by today because you want to know how I went 7 for 10 in my Golden Globe predictions right?  No?  Oh yeah, that ‘other thing’…

I’ll try to knock this out quickly and in chronological order, frequently asked question format…

Woke up, went for my Sunday run, came home, my stomach was in knots.  I’ve never understood the idea of being nervous over something you did months ago until today.  A lot of people were blowing me up, which was fantastic, but none of them saw the piece, so they really couldn’t tell you if the film was, you know, entertaining or good. 

Midwest and East Coast saw the show first, so the emails and texts started coming in a little after 9-ish my time.  Many congrats and good jobs sent my way.  I was going to send out a sarcastic post saying “I only hope Sanaa says my name correctly,’ so my curiosity definitely peaked when I got a few ‘Man she was putting you on blast!’ type, sarcastic comments. 

The Minnesota game was more or less over so I was able to start flipping into the show before I left the house.  Saw the introduction (nice), and I have to admit, when I saw my logo with the little BET logo in the corner, that was hype time (and I told the brother who designed that logo as much).  I flipped in and out the next 5 minutes (you have no idea how many times I’ve seen the short by this point), and came back in for the credits.

Definitely wasn’t expecting the split screen, so sorry to my crew that they didn’t get the ups they also deserved.  As far as Sanaa doing my bio, I’m being pragmatic when I say my film was 5 minutes in an hour long show, i.e., they had a little time to burn around my film.  I honestly wouldn’t read any more into that, but regardless that’s on permanent DVR status for yours truly. 

Favorite anecdote: one of my close friends put the show on when he came from church, and asked his 2 year old if she recognized the man on TV, and she said, ‘That’s Uncle Mister Malik!”  That tickled me good; my goal of making/working on projects I can show to my entire family without feeling embarrassed is in full swing.

Film geek time: yeah I did throw a lot of information at you for a 5 minute story, but judging by your response the story works.  Everyone seems to like the ‘Until the End of Time’ reference; do people get every beat of that joke (he has a habit of running late so she buys him a watch?), or is that too cerebral?  Hell, I wish a woman would buy me a nice watch, and I’m big on punctuality. I’m digressing…

A few people have mentioned that Lens on Talent is a contest; this is true.  In all sincerity though, my ‘goal’ was to have this national showcase for this project; I wasn’t thinking about it as a competition today or at any point in time in dealing with BET. 

That said…IF Lady in My Life is selected as one of the finalists, THEN I will go into full on ‘competitive’ mode.  If any of my people at BET are reading this, rest assured we have another short story we’ve wanted to do for YEARS waiting in the wings, just give us the opportunity to make it.  I’m just saying…

Finally and most importantly, I’m not remotely an old man, but over the past few days I’ve been reminded by how many paths I’ve crossed over my time on this Earth so far.  I’m the ‘star of the show’ so to speak, but if you read my first L.A. piece you know Magic was my sports hero growing up.  Meaning I love being a ‘point guard’ in life.  I do enjoy taking the big shots, but my past, present and future are directly tied to my ‘team’, and staying in the game long enough just to have an opportunity to take those shots.  While I know these people are around on the regular, now is as good a time as any to say:

Thank you Sumner Academy of Arts & Sciences

Thank you Fradieu Family, Washington Family and all my blood relatives

Thank you Black Entertainment Television

Thank you University of Kansas, McNair Scholars Program, and my Jayhawk Family

Thank you University of Southern California, Peter Stark Program and my Trojan Family

Thank you Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., especially Upsilon Chapter

Thank you to my Ummah

Thank you to HNTB, THQ, and the numerous gigs I’ve held over the years

And of course thank you to my beautiful cast and crew on this project and all the past projects.  I learn something new every time.

Last word then I’m out: one of my heroes growing up was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  A lot of you have the day off to celebrate his birthday.  While it’s not my place (or anyone else’s really) to tell you what Dr. King ‘would have’ done if he were around, it’s pretty easy to figure with his history he would have been involved in the Haiti situation trying to help out.  A whole country with an infrastructure in ruins, it’s still hard to imagine.  If giving cash is not your thing, trust in this situation there’s probably another way to help.  Give blood, donate clothes, do a little volunteer work.  A lot of you took the time on email, Twitter, Facebook or what have you to tell your people a friend of yours had a short film that was going to be on TV this weekend (and trust me I’m eternally grateful).  At the end of the day though, I’m just a guy making movies.  Now if you put that same call out to your people, except this time you said “Send me one dollar so I can send it to Haiti,” how many dollars could we put together? 

And on that note, those of you still on vacation, enjoy your MLK Day.  Peace!

video_soul

There was a time, many years ago now, where if you turned to VH1, BET, or MTV, no matter what time of day or night, you’d see a music video.  You just to have to take me for my word on this one.  One of, if not the pioneer of all video countdown shows (including Total Request Live and 106 and Park) Video Soul was the only place to go to see music videos by black artists (eventually spawning the two shows that would highlight rap videos, Rap City and Yo! MTV Raps).  The Dick Clark of the 80s urban generation was Donnie Simpson, whose high pitched cackle and Cliff Huxtable-esque style made him the perfect host for the East Coast based show.

On to the tale of the tape…

Relevance:  It sounds strange to look back now, but outside of Michael Jackson there was a noticeable ‘line in the sand’ when it came to seeing videos of certain artists.  Prince eventually got his own well deserved MTV play, but if you turned to Video Soul, you knew you’d see some Prince.  Major, and in this case, relevant difference.

Legacy:  As mentioned in the intro, TRL, 106 and Park, Rap City, and Yo! MTV Raps all owe a huge debt to Video Soul.  And those are just the television shows.  If I listed every artist who got their initial (and in many cases only) video play on Video Soul, I’d run out of space. 

Craft: Low score here, but I think context is important.  A couch, a giant monitor, Donnie Simpson and sometimes Sherry Carter.  Not much more needed.  Won’t hold the ‘craft’ of 80s videos against the show.

Crossover:  As opposed to 106, Video Soul was very much a product of its time.  I won’t go as far as to say it was ‘proud’ to be so Afro-centric, but I will say (among other reasons), you’d never even dream of Tom Cruise stopping by Video Soul to promote one of his films back in the day.

Apollo:  Again, the nature of the show was more of a ‘showcase’ for other artists.  I don’t know if anything Donnie did as an ‘oh snap!’ type of moment.

#19 should be up next week…