Ballet Dancer Misty Copeland

The 19th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival recently wrapped up at the AMC 42 Theater in Time Square, NYC and I am dog-tired for the experience. However, that’s not to say I didn’t have a good time, nor is it to say that the films weren’t a creative, ingenious and diverse representation of films by people of African descent, also as Latino, Asian and Euro-Americans as well.  The opening night selection was the creative new BET Muhammad Ali documentary “The People’s Champ” by Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah, while the inspirational and enlightening documentary “A Ballerina’s Tale,” directed by Nelson George, gave viewers an intimate look inside the trials and tribulations of the life of world-class ballet dancer Misty Copeland, closed the festival with great fanfare. 

Rapper/Activist David Banner

Offerings featuring Robert Ri'chard, Lamman Rucker  legendary DJs Stretch and Bobbito, beloved actress Loretta Devine, the ageless Garcelle Beauvais and actor-on-the-rise Stephen Hill, as well as over 30 other feature films, shorts, and documentaries thrilled fans, media and industry insiders alike throughout the festival. This year’s festival ambassador was music and film superstar Tyrese Gibson. He was gracious enough to walk the red carpet several times both to speak about the festival itself, as well as his short "Shame"-which also stars Jennifer Hudson and the “lawd-have-mercy”-inducing actress Brely Evans-and his new album "Black Rose." The Shadow League was in the building for four days straight, laboring in the press pit that aligns the red carpet, and was able to record hours of exclusive footage and commentary from industry vets, aspiring actresses and independent directors who have proven to be unique visionaries.  Check the technique by viewing the video footage below and stayed tuned for more throughout the week. 

Actor and Urbanworld Film Festival Ambassador Tyrese Gibson

"The People's Champ" directors Coddie Simmons and Chike Ozah