See “Black or White” Starting This Friday!!!

Hello World, Black-or-White-Poster

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend the Atlanta screening of Kevin Costner’s new film “Black or White.” In a word, the film was “heartwarming.” Below is the official description of the film:

“Black or White” is the story of a grandfather Elliot (Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner) who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter Eloise. When her paternal grandmother Rowena (Academy Award® winner Octavia Spencer) seeks custody with the help of her attorney brother Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie), the little girl is torn between two families who love her deeply. With the best intentions at heart, both families fight for what they feel is right and are soon forced to confront their true feelings about race, forgiveness, and understanding. Anchored by an all-star cast and based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white.

Journalist Monica Pearson interviews Anthony Mackie & Kevin Costner at the screening...(still learning how to use my first smartphone :) )

Journalist Monica Pearson interviews Anthony Mackie & Kevin Costner at the screening…(still learning how to use my first smartphone :) )

Although “Black or White” is a family-friendly story, assumptions that black and white people have of each other are uncovered and harsh truths on either side are also addressed, which is timely considering the current climate of American race relations in the wake of the Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown shootings. The end result is that both families, black or white, are equally loving and stable, although different and flawed. Also, in spite of some of the heavy topics of the film such as drug addiction and white privilege, there is plenty of humor! Look out for the character Duvan!

Kevin Costner & Anthony Mackie attended the screening and illuminated more about the film and what led them to get involved. Costner revealed that he believed in the film so much that he gave $9 million of his own money to make sure the film was made. “This film doesn’t victimize black people. It doesn’t victimize white people.” He also expressed his hope that as many people as possible would see what he saw in the film, but admitted that he doesn’t have control over that. “I have to turn this film over to God now because it’s not mine anymore.”

Anthony Mackie revealed that like his character Jeremiah who confronted his drug-addicted nephew, Eloise’ father, about his failure to take responsibility for his life, Mackie’s older brother Calvin Mackie, a successful entrepreneur, had a similar conversation with him years ago. Mackie also said, “Your first thought isn’t what makes you racist. It’s your second and third thought.”

Here is a trailer for the film:

Any thoughts?

Posted in Celebrity Interviews, Marketing & Promotion, Movie Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Hello World,

It’s hard to believe that the first month of this New Year, 2015, is almost gone. Although Photosome of us may have faltered a bit on our resolutions or goals or given them up altogether already, it is still early enough in the year to get back on your plan!

If reading the Bible more is one of your goals and or resolutions, maybe seeing the Bible in a fresh way could help get you more excited about reading God’s word. Zondervan recently released “Believe, NIV: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus” a topical abridgement of the Bible designed to help readers discover 30 key beliefs, practices and virtues of the Christian faith. With Randy Frazee, senior minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, as its editor, “Believe, NIV” is organized in 30 chapters that address three questions: “What do I believe?”, “What should I do?” and “Who am I becoming?” (Confession: This format makes the Bible an approachable book versus the 66 books that I should have read all the way through by now!)

In the first section which is under the heading “What do I believe?”, you can learn more about 10 areas including Personal God, Salvation and Eternity. In the chapter Personal God, you are introduced to David, a poet, singer, shepherd, warrior and king, who described what it means to have a personal relationship with God. He marvels that, “Your eyes saw my unformed body, all the days ordained for me were written in your book.” I’ve seen that verse, Psalm 139:16, before, but it still hard to fathom that God has a colossal heavenly library that literally contains the books of the lives of the billions of people that inhabit this world! As an example that God knows when the books of our lives begin and end, Hezekiah, the king, was also included in the chapter Personal God. At 38 years old, he got sick and was about to die. However, since Hezekiah had a personal relationship with God, he prayed, asking God for more time to live. God heard his request and added 15 more years to his life! I remember when I was a little girl (if I am remembering correctly) this woman who had cancer at my church, shared that she prayed to be able to raise her children. She eventually did die from cancer, but she was able to raise her children until they became adults…

“What should I do?” is the title of the second section which incorporates 10 themes including Bible Study, Single-Mindedness and Giving My Resources. I learned some information I frankly did not know before while reading the chapter Bible Study. (I hope my father does not read this post!) Did you know that Moses is thought to be the author of the first five books of the Old Testament? Also, prior to Moses, the word of God was simply verbally communicated from one generation to the next! Here is the another piece of important information that I missed: Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. Also, the entire chapter is devoted the benefits of reading and studying the Bible. Here are three of the verses: “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches” Psalm 119:4, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” Psalm 119: 24, and “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” Psalm 119:105.

The third and final section is entitled “Who am I becoming?” Love, Self-Control and Humility are three of the 10 topics covered in this section. I especially gravitated to the Self-Control section because if you have ever been a passenger in my car, you know this is an area that I need to work on. Thankfully, the word of God has many examples of what happens when you fail to control yourself. The life of Samson, who struggled with sexual self-control, is illuminated in this section. As a result of his lack of self-control, Samson lost the amazing physical strength given to him by God and was blinded. Samson’s life is compared with the life of Joseph, who had plenty of reasons to lose control, but ultimately he did not. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, he was wrongfully accused, and he was jailed for a crime he did not commit. Still, he continued to trust God and control himself and was placed in a position of authority as a result.

Below is a video about “Believe, NIV.”

“Believe, NIV,” has a companion book “Think, Act, Be Like Jesus,” which was released jointly with “Believe, NIV.” Written by Randy Frazee with Robert Noland, this book explains how to grown as a follower of Christ and become more like him in our thinking, actions and character. This book can be read with “Believe, NIV” or separately as an individual study.

So what do you think of this new approach to the Bible? Guess what? You can check it out for yourself! I partnered with Zondervan to give away three copies of  “Believe, NIV: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus” All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post and share this blog post in social media whether it be a Facebook post, Twitter, etc. To prove that you shared this blog post, send a screen shot to me at or just point it out to me if you are one of my Facebook friends or if you follow me on Twitter. The first three people to meet these requirements will receive a free copy of “Believe, NIV!”

Any thoughts?

Note: I did receive a free review copy of “Believe, NIV” but all of the opinions expressed are my own:) .






Posted in Book Notes, Church | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Christian Faith of David Oyelowo…

Hello World, dr. king

As is my custom on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, I always watch the Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Commemorative Service held at Ebenezer Baptist Church on television. You can count on hearing inspiring speeches that espouse the beliefs of Dr. King, seeing people of different races crowd the sanctuary, politicians promising to work together…You get the idea…All of it is good, but it is a rather lengthy service…And just like in any long church service, no matter how good it is, you realize that after some time that you are no longer listening, you are rather waiting for it all to come to an end…

This year, however, there was one speech, a jewel of a testimony, that shone because of its rarity…David Oyelowo, the actor that portrayed Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr. in the biographical film “Selma,” openly spoke about how his faith in God led him to the role of Dr. King…This is how he began his speech…

“I stand before you today as evidence that what God starts, He will finish. On the 24th of July, 2007, having read a script for ‘Selma,’ God told me I would play Dr. Martin Luther King in the film ‘Selma.’ It came during a time of prayer and fasting, and I know the voice of God.”

Oyelowo said he later auditioned for the role, but the director of the film at that time (not Ava DuVernay) did not agree with God so he did not get the role. However, in the mean time (How many of you know that when God promises something to you, it doesn’t mean it will happen immediately even though you know that you know His promise is being fulfilled? Or that there won’t be some roadblocks along the way?), he went on to play a part in the movie “Lincoln.” In 1865, his character said these words to Lincoln regarding the Gettysburg Address. “You cannot say these words. You have actually have to act upon them. Maybe one day we”ll get the vote.” He goes on to tell what happened when he did get the part.

“Seven years after God told me I would play this role in another film called ‘Selma, 100 years later. In ‘Lincoln,’ I played a character in 1865. In ‘Selma,’ I played Dr. King in 1965. Nineteen presidents later, my character as Dr. King asks the very same question. What God starts, He will finish.”

Insert praise dance…


He could have shut down his speech right then…But he had more evidence that God led him straight to the role of Dr. King…As tears shone on his face, he revealed that he prayed to God to “allow the spirit of Dr. King to flow through me.” And God answered his prayer…Just before one scene in the movie, as he portrayed Dr. King giving a speech in front of the capitol steps in Montgomery, Alabama, Oyelowo said he felt a “palatable, indisputable fear of death” and that he “felt a huge need to ask for the buildings around to be swept.” He concluded: “I’m an actor. I’m not Dr. King, but it was very real for me. At the end of that day, I was shocked I was still alive.” And he said it was no accident that Dr. King had the name “King.” “He was a king. He was a priest. He was ordained by God. He was a child of God.”

Oyelowo also introduced the sanctuary to his father who had flown in from the United Kingdom and talked about the tribal marks his father, who is from Nigeria, has on his cheeks and his stomach. The tribal mark on his stomach means “King.” Oyelowo said he thought the tribal marks his father and other Nigerians bear are a custom that predates slavery; however, in a conversation, his father told him he was mistaken. The tribal marks originated during slavery times.

“When we were taken away from Africa, we marked ourselves so that when we made it back, our people knew who we were and where we are from. I’m in the first in my line of over 400 years to not bear those scars.”

Insert shout…


Oyelowo concluded his message with some words about Hollywood (I’m guessing he was referencing the fact that “Selma” was snubbed during the Oscar nominations…).

“In my industry, in Hollywood, we are celebrated more for being broken and subservient than playing kings, than being leaders, than being in the center of our own narrative. I stand before you today as a man that has played a king.”

To see the speech in the entirety, please check these two videos….Thank God for E Powell who recorded the speech…

Any thoughts?

Posted in Church, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Holidays, Oprah Winfrey, Pop Culture, World Affairs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment