Examiner.com had the opportunity to check out a few American Black Film Festival (ABFF) events this weekend as the festival has been the place to be. Tonight, on June 22, 2014, Spike Lee's “Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus," had its world premiere at SVA. The Kickstarter funded film is about "Human beings who are addicted to Blood. Funny, Sexy and Bloody. A new kind of love story (and not a remake of 'Blacula')," he told Indiewire.
Yesterday on June 21, 2014 ABFF hosted "Spike Lee..Ya Dig!" a career retrospective. Gayle King, Savion Glover, Jeff Friday, Nicole Friday, Jocelyn K. Allen and Tonya Lewis Lee attended the event at Metropolitan Pavilion. Roland Martin interviewed Lee for guests. Lee wore a red and white striped Nike shirt and a red cap. Glover treated the crowd to tap dance exhibition. Perhaps the most touching moment was when Lee's wife Tonya spoke about how much she admired his passion.
Another highlight yesterday was UP TV's premiere of "Comeback Dad" at SVA. Tatyana Ali,Brad James, UP Vice Chairman Brad Siegel and Charles Dutton all walked the red carpet. Ali looked fabulous in a white blazer, red heels, black pants, and a colorful corset styled top. Later in the evening, everyone headed to HBO's "True Blood" party. Omari Hardwick and Joseph Sikora were spotted in the crowd. The space was tinted with hazy red lights and waitresses served red cocktails. Another event highlight at ABFF was a conversation with Phylicia Rashād and her daughter Condola Rashad. Both are incredible actresses.
Universal kicked off its promotion of the James Brown biopic "Get On Up," with a special Tour Experience Pop-Up and a panel featuring Chadwick Boseman, Tika Sumpter and Nelsan Ellis. The fellas of "Think Like A Man Too," kicked off the festival on Thursday evening with a bang at SVA. Kevin Hart, Romany Malco, Terrence J, Producer Will Packer, Director Tim Story, were thrilled to be opening the festival. Right after the carpet we headed to The McKittrick Hotel for a private Nico & Vinz showcase hosted by Warner Bros. Records and D'usse. Arise TV's Lola Ogunnaike hosted a brief Q&A with the duo. Nico and Vinz are Afro-Norwegian and their song "Am I Wrong," is everywhere at the moment. It has been viewed 20 million times and more than 50 million global streams on Spotify.
So what’s it feel like being African Europeans living the American dream and what’s it feel to be in New York City about to perform in front of an awesome crowd?
It feels amazing. You know, not only are we living the American dream but we’re living our childhood dream. We’re living the childhood dream of millions of kids and millions people around the world. We have the opportunity now to talk to people all over this world ... We have the opportunity to touch people. We can do whatever we want if everything goes good you know. That’s what it’s all about for us, inspiring people around the world.
Your American accent is really good.
We watched a lot of “Fresh Prince Of Bel Air,” “Martin” and “Full House.”
I would imagine that there are not a lot of people who look like you in Norway?
It’s probably a lot browner than you think. It’s a pretty attractive country for immigrants.
Tell me, how did you two meet and how did you know you would be a musical match made in happen?
So actually we met in 09’. Got introduced by a mutual friend who said that you guys should try it out, the chemistry might work and so we tried it out and more than anything we had the same type of dreams, the same ambitions, the same mindset of you know, why not us. I mean I know we’re stuck in Oslo, Norway right now, but who knows maybe in 5-10 years we’ll be in a big city having our own showcase for a bunch of people. That’s the mindset we started off with, and I guess that’s why we’re here today.
After the panel, the guys performed "Last Time," "When The Day Comes," "Know What I'm Not," "Running," and closed the show with "Am I Wrong." All of these songs will be featured on their debut album "Black Star Elephant." You can catch the guys on this Tuesday June 24 on Live with Kelly & Michael.
After that we headed to the Healed With A Kiss bash at Up & Down. The evening benefitted Love Heals, the Alison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education. DJ Harley Viera-Newton was on the turntables spinning oldies like "Ghetto Superstar" and recent hits. Host Annabel Dexter Jones looked chic in a pink sweater and bright aqua Miu Miu skirt. We also said hi to photographer Sophie Elgort and PR maven Nneya Richards. We spotted Anna Wintour's daughter Bee Shaffer at the party in a chic above the knee floral summer dress in addition to Alex Nordstrom, Eliza Howard, Kyle Hotchkiss Carone, Molly Howard, Samantha Perelman, Wes Gordon, Lily Grant, Eric von Stroh, Alexandra Imgruth, Nell Diamond, Paul Arnhold, Alison Cemla and Caitlin Donovan.