In a story about love and acceptance, Mo’Nique and Isaiah Washington take the big screen in the heartfelt film, Blackbird.
The drama, which is based on the novel by Larry Duplechan, is a powerful coming-of-age story about a young teen boy who is struggling with his sexuality. Newcomer, Julian Walker plays the role of 17-year-old Randy Rousseau, and according to the actor, the role isn’t a far stretch from his real life story.
“What ya’ll saw on that screen was me,” Walker emotionally explained during the premiere at the Pan African Film Festival. “It was like I was telling my own personal story.”
Mo’Nique and Washington, who are both producers on the film, shared with HipHollywood why they feel this is a story that needed to be told.
“Just trying to get the message out about acceptance,” Mo shared. “It seems like every week somebody is coming out saying ‘I’m gay.’ It’s people saying ‘I’m tired of being in prison just within myself.’ We hope that at the end of this film people walk away and say, ‘people just want to be loved.'”
“I’m going to have a lot of people mad at me. The Black church is going to be hot,” Washington shared. “But I like it hot. I want people to be mad because if your mad, your mouth is going to be open and I’m going to be able to slip some truth into it.”
After nearly five years away from the film industry, Mo’Nique is thrilled to be back in the spotlight. “I’m just a little girl walking in a dream,” she told us. “I appreciate when the people say ‘hey sis, we missed you.'”
The film also stars Terrell Tilford, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, Torrey Laamar, Nikki Jane and D. Woods.
Stay tuned for the official release of Blackbird.
Exclusive: The Bullet Scars That Will Forever Haunt Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Son, Etienne Maurice
Sheryl Lee Ralph shared a graphic photo on Instagram earlier this week of her son, Etienne Maurice, laying in a hospital bed bandaged up from bullet wounds. The purpose of the image was to be yet another voice calling to end gun violence.
On Wednesday, students across the country walked out of class to protest against gun violence, something that hit home for Ralph four years ago. “This mother wants #gunreform now! #guncontrol now,” she wrote.
It was during a night out in West Philadelphia that Ralph’s then 22-year-old child was robbed at gunpoint and shot three times; twice in the leg and one which grazed his forehead.
So as Ralph joined Wednesday’s national conversation about gun laws, HipHollywood talked exclusively with Etienne who shared exactly what went down the night a gun could have taken his life for good.
“I was shot four years ago, November 9 … I was black out drunk. The next thing I know I remember I woke up in the hospital, doctor said I had two bullet holes in my leg and a grazed bullet hole above my eyebrow.”
Maurice, who was robbed for his iPhone and his wallet, went on to tell us that this is something that he is reminded of constantly. “Having been shot is something that I carry with me every day. I still have numbness at the bottom of my leg from the nerve damage.”
And while he will always remember how he felt knowing his life almost ended, Etienne had a hard time fathoming how his famous mother felt. “We had the conversation about it last week and she said she peed on herself,” he told us.
For Maurice, he’s proud to see young children use their voices to make change. “There’s so many angles where we can talk about gun violence and how it’s effecting different communities,” he said. “Gun reform needs to take place now.”
Since that night, he hasn’t picked up a drink and has been now sober for four years. As for the suspects, a father-son duo, they are behind bars for attempted man slaughter.
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