Teesee's Town

Reuben Cannon, who grew up in Chicago’s Harold Ickes public housing project, began working at age 8, went from mail clerk to being the first Black casting director in Hollywood %uFFFD– and one of the most successful casting agents ever!, retur

Reuben Cannon, who grew up in Chicago’s Harold Ickes public housing project, began working at age 8, went from mail clerk to being the first Black casting director in Hollywood %uFFFD– and one of the most successful casting agents ever!, returns to the city of his birth Thursday for Windows of Opportunity’s fourth annual Reception & Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. He will receive one of several “Touching the Spirit” awards that honor CHA alumni. He’s noted for helping launch the careers of Oprah Winfrey, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael J. Fox, Bruce Willis and others and has worked with legends like Maya Angelou, Spike Lee and Steven Spielberg. More recently he founded a new movement in Black film – financing Black films with Black investors. “African Americans don’t get the respect they deserve in Hollywood,” Cannon has been quoted as saying: “What people respect is product, so we have to make our own to get the respect we deserve.”

Reuben Cannon and Associates has cast nearly 100 TV television series, made-for-TV movies as well as motion pictures, including Car Wash and The Color Purple, which earned 11 Oscar nods and showcased the talents of artists who would become some of our most distinguished stars. Under the banner of his company, Reuben Cannon and Associates, he’s cast nearly 100 television series, made-for-TV movies as well as motion pictures. Among those projects are The Color Purple, which earned 11 Oscar nods and showcased the talents of artists who would become some of our industry’s most distinguished stars: Danny Glover, in one of his first starring roles; and Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey made their feature film debuts, each earning Oscar nominations for best supporting actress. In 2004, Cannon began collaborating with a young playwright-and-actor-turned-director, Tyler Perry. Cannon Productions formed a production alliance with Tyler Perry Studios that would prove to be powerful, garnering both record-breaking box office grosses and TV ratings. Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Woman Thou Art Loosed, Get on the Bus, Madea’s Family Reunion, Why Did I Get Married and Medea Goes to Jail all opened No. 1 and with Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet The Browns and The Family That Preys have collectively grossed over $400 million.

Other CHA alums to be cited: Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, City Colleges of Chicago; Dorian Jones, deputy director/CEO, Ill. Dept. of Public Health; Gloria Brown, retired producer, Ch. 9’s People to People; Atty. Joyce Tucker, vice president, Boeing; and Velma Butler, CEO, Butler & Co. The recipient of the Corporate Award is KPMG; Ch. 5’s Marion Brooks emcees; and Terisa Griffin entertains. Also several folk will be inducted into the Night with the Stars’ Wall of Fame: Cong. Bobby Rush (1st), Commissioner Jerry Butler, state Sen. Mattie Hunter, Yasmin Bates, Clyde Hammond Sr., Dr. Gloria Peace, Mary Mitchell, Jackie Taylor, Jacquelyn Heard, LaRue Martin, Deloris MeBain, Judge Mike Stuttley, Dana V. Starks, Joseph Berrios, Herb Kent and Pemon Rami. Proceeds will support Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets.

Revelry & Recognition %uFFFDRev. Addie L. Wyatt, civil rights pioneer and trailblazer in the struggle for social and economic justice for laborers, minorities and women, receives the coveted Edwin C. “Bill” Berry Civil Rights Award at Saturday’s Chicago Urban League 49th Annual Golden Fellowship Dinner at the Hilton Chicago. Rev. Wyatt, who worked closely with Berry, a key leader in Chicago’s Civil Rights Movement during his Urban League tenure (1956-1969), co-founded the Vernon Park Church of God with her late husband, Rev. Claude Wyatt.

Some highlights of her distinguished career: first woman president of a local union; joining Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in major civil rights marches; partnering with the Urban League and other civil rights groups to organize the Chicago Freedom Movement and co-founding the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the National Organization of Women and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. She was named one of Time magazines Women of the Year and received a similar honor from The Ladies Home Journal. Ebony magazine named her “One of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans.” Throughout her career Rev. Wyatt has been a key advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter and many local leaders: Mayors Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer and Richard Daley. The Golden Fellowship Dinner, hosted by Golden Globe winning actress Angela Bassett, will feature seven-time Grammy winning legend Al Jarreau. For $600 tickets, call (773) 285-5800.

Newsy Names Annie Lee, internationally acclaimed artist and gallery owner known to art collectors the world over, comes home to Chicago (from Las Vegas) for the national unveiling of her latest figurines and charm bracelet on Saturday and Sunday at The Woodshop Gallery, 441 E. 75th St. … After a brief break Ken Bedford resumes his “Afterwork Networking & Steppers’ Affair” on Thursday, 5:30 p.m., at Kenny Johnson&
rsquo;s new multi-level, million-dollar venue, The Vibe,1543 W. Kingbury. Bedford
says the venue is geared for “clubbin” and ideal for steppin’ with its earthquake sound system, maple wood floors, upper level balcony with VIP seating, plush leather sofas on which to meet and mingle. Valet/street parking is available. Guys, please note: you must wear a suit! Happy b’day to Jim Montgomery, Barbara (“B.A.”) Allen, Merry Green, Alvita Rhone, Steve Silk Hurley, Richard Sewell, Clem Smith, Keisha Chavers, Vincent Davis, Kim McCullough, Louis Byrd III, Kim Stratton, Lori Hendrick, Lillian Nash, Angie Chatman, Tracey Brim, Toni Adams Richardson, Justice Collins, Donn Carl Harper, Aleta Clardy, Mel Williams and Jai Poole.

Film Fun %uFFFD– Black World Cinema and Flicks of Fury, a martial arts cinema club, presents the Brazilian film, Besouro, in the second installation of their martial arts screenings, at ICE Theaters, 210 W. 87th St., on Thursday, 7 p.m. Admission: $5. An official selection of the 2010 Berlin International Film Festival, Besouro is the true story of the legendary capoeira fighter from Bahia, Brazil who was rumored to fly and led an uprising of agricultural workers against an abusive landowner. Set in the jungles of Bahia in the 1920s, the tale is grounded in its historical time and place when rich white landowners exploited Black workers even after the abolition of slavery. Starring Ailton Carmo as Besouro, the athlete turned actor is a professional capoeira player. The action begins when Besouro’s master teacher is brutally murdered on the orders of the young plantation owner. From beyond the grave, Besouro’s master urges his young student to fight for his people. Escaping to the jungle to prepare himself for heroic deeds to come, Besouro receives magical powers that allow him to fly and make his body virtually impenetrable. The dramatic, free flowing movement of capoeria is often compared to the movements found in the popular Chinese film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Flicks of Fury Cinema Club’s goal is to show interesting films from the martial arts genre bi-monthly at the ICE Theaters. Call (773) 354-9778 or visit www.flicksoffury.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the ICE Theaters box office.

“We encourage martial arts enthusiasts to join us,” said Kirk Haygood, a Flicks of Fury founder. “Fans will enjoy this fast-paced action as the characters appear to fly through the air defying gravity.” Capoeira is an African Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music and dance. It was created in Brazil by African slaves who mixed the fighting styles from many of their tribes. The sparring is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, takedowns and extensive use of leg sweeps, kicks and head butts.

Condolences %uFFFD%uFFFD%uFFFD– to the family of Calvin B. Jones, renowned painter/muralist and a former classmate (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) whose memorial service was Friday at Trinity Church. He was a product of Chicago Public Schools and recipient of many awards, grants. etc. Calvin died in August while on vacation in Calif. Survivors: a son, Byron; a sister, Rev. Alletta Jumper; other relatives and members and friends of the art community.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

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