‘In Living Color’ Star T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh Discusses New Movie ‘REVIVAL!’ & More (TIX GIVEAWAY)

Hello World,

Last night, I was blessed to attend an exclusive behind-the-scenes preview of Harry Lennix’s (The Blacklist) gospel-musical film REVIVAL! at Atlanta’s Word of Faith Church. 

REVIVAL! is a thoroughly innovative celebration of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ through faith, film, and theatre. A Gospel musical based on the book of John, REVIVAL! speaks as a letter from Jesus to a troubled and ever-contemporary world. The journey begins with a live Passion Play in a contemporary metropolis and expands from there into a world of vibrant image and immersive sound. REVIVAL! is an authentic expression of Black Faith in form and intention. It’s also a unique way to re-imagine a renewal of the everlasting and joyous creative spirit of the black church experience!

REVIVAL! stars Mali Music as Jesus, BET and Imagine nominee Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), 10-time Grammy winner Chaka Khan (The Blues Brothers), executive producer T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh (In Living Color), and Niki J. Crawford, whose powerhouse vocals enhance the film’s innovative approach, transcending time and space, and more!

I was able to interview T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh last night! Check out the interview below!

What attracted you to this film?

My friend Harry Lennix asked me to be a part of it and because of our friendship and the trust I have in him, I said yes before I read the script. I have turned down, whether it’s an offer or an audition, many more things than I have accepted. I am highly grateful and blessed that I am that person who turns things down and has still been able to work consistently for decades now.

This production pretty much died three times in the course of five years before it finally came to fruition. What kept you coming back to it when you didn’t have to do so?

I just felt like it was really important. My sister and I talk a lot about when something is going wrong and we feel like, ‘Oh Lord, why are being tested?’ We say, ‘Well, the devil doesn’t bother with people who aren’t doing anything right.’ The devil is cool with you if you are making devilment. There’s no need to create a challenge for someone who is already acting up. But if you are doing something right, the forces of evil, whatever you call it, the devil, evil, whatever you call people who are against goodness, they are only going to bother with you if you are a problem. And you are only a problem if you are doing good works.

And I feel like there were probably forces that came after us, after this film to put blocks in our path so that something this encouraging of humanity would never see the light of day. And that’s in addition to an industry that loves horror and violence and degradation and abuse of human beings. It’s hard to get a film that’s about goodness out and get a distribution deal. And to so to me, part of me feels like if something is trying to stop me, I might be doing something right.

After the third time is when you signed on as a producer, right?

I don’t know every step of the way because I wasn’t on the set every day and Harry is not one to complain. And so when I came on the set and saw his face fallen, I knew something was very, very wrong. And there were a lot of challenges with schedules especially as the project grew and grew. There was a budget to do this very small version. And there was a schedule to do the very small version. But now this person can join, but we have to wait for them. And this person is available Tuesday but not Wednesday. This one is available Thursday but not Friday. So let’s wait.

And as we wait, this is going to cost us more and that is going to cost us more. And then some people acted up and now we have to wait for other reasons. But this time, I said, ‘What is going on? What’s wrong?’ He said, ‘I’m not sure if we’re going to make it through. And I said, ‘What can I do?’ And he said, ‘Do you have blank blank dollars?’ And I was like, ‘Oh for real?’ I said, ‘Hmmm. If had that much, then what would happen?’ He said, ‘Then we would keep going.’ And I said, ‘Let me see what I can do.’ And I wasn’t the only one to do that either. I kept it going when I could keep it going and others kept it going later.

What do you hope people will get from this film?

One, I hope that people will see REVIVAL! and be inspired by it and think differently about who they think God is. I think the movie is absolutely for everyone but for people of color, particularly for black people, Africans who ended up in this place where the institution of slavery was worse than any other place. And that we succumbed when we did to horrific, constant degradation and a loss of everything – loss of language, culture, pride, heritage – everything. A lot in part because we were shown this image of a person who was the physical opposite of us. And we were told this is God. And if this is God, you cannot be God. You cannot be divine. You are the opposite of God. You are the opposite of divine. And you don’t deserve anything better than to eat out of the same bowl that a dog eats from. And to be whipped and then raped. And then killed.

But truth, science, everybody, logic knows that there were only people of color. So when people say, ‘Black Jesus’ that’s redundant to me and it offends me. That’s like saying, ‘Black Tkeyah.’ What else am I? Of course, these people were of color. This is not a colorblind cast. This is a color-corrected cast. Just like this image of a blue-eyed blonde Jesus made us suffer, I hope that this much more color-corrected image of Jesus lets us know that we really do have divine in us.

What made you pledge Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated? ( I had to ask this question since we are both members of DST 🙂 )

I pledged 36 years ago. My sister is a Delta and to tell you the truth, when she pledged, I knew nothing about black Greek life and I thought she had been abducted by a cult. I thought I would have to go in there and infiltrate and save her. (Laughter) But then after I got to college, I said these people might not be so bad. I made the decision that I always intend to be good and I want to belong to an organization whose purpose is to do good work. And I liked being held accountable for service. I’m a Golden Life member. I went from Beta Alpha at Florida A&M to Chicago Alumnae, and I have for the past several years been a member of Century City in Los Angeles. I have served in many capacities. I chair two committees now. And I’m on a national committee. I’m on the National Arts & Letters Commission advisory team. I am honored Soror Smith blessed me with that position.

As of today, REVIVAL! is in select US cities (Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles)!  REVIVAL! will have its  second rollout in January 2019,  expanding to screens in Memphis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Norfolk, St. Louis, San Francisco, Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, Tampa, Milwaukee and additional theaters coming soon.

Check out the trailer below!


If you live in the Atlanta area and would like TWO free tix to REVIVAL! at AMC Southlake, you have to be the first person to comment and tell me the name of the show that T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh starred in as a mother.

Any thoughts?

 

 

 

 

TV One Offers Original Holiday Movies ‘Merry Wishmas’ & ‘Coins For Christmas’ Starring David & Tamela Mann, Kim Fields & More…

Hello World,

TV One brings the holiday spirit with premieres of two new original movies MERRY WISHMAS, debuting Sunday, December 2 at 7 p.m. and  COINS FOR CHRISTMAS, premiering  Sunday, December 16  at  7 p.m./6C!

MERRY WISHMAS , starring  Tamela Mann (The Manns), David Mann (The Manns), Kim Fields (Living Single), Towanda Braxton (Braxton Family Values), Chrystale Wilson (The Players Club) and  Elizabeth Omilami (Madea’s Family Reunion), revolves around successful businesswoman Kenni (Tamela Mann) who hasn’t returned home to the quaint town of Columbia, South Carolina in years. She’s hoping for a peaceful visit when she finally returns home, but unresolved family issues threaten to make the Christmas holiday not so bright. She’s reacquainted with Jessie (David Mann), an old high school friend with a fledgling wellness facility – the Beverly Living Center. She’s instantly thrown into the lives of the center’s residents and meets a host of colorful characters. When Jessie is faced with losing the Beverly Living Center, Kenni steps in to try and help save it. Family conflicts and relationship woes, however, threaten Kenni’s efforts. It looks like only a miracle can save the center and mend broken relationships in time for Christmas.

MERRY WISHMAS  is directed by veteran actress Terri J. Vaughn and features a cameo appearance by rap artist  Yung Joc , best known for popular singles “It’s Goin’ Down” and “I Know You See It.”

“Having the opportunity to direct my friends David and Tamala Mann was a huge blessing. The rewarding part was their willingness to challenge themselves to go deeper and I’m excited for viewers to see them in the more dramatic moments,” said Vaughn. “The other blessing on this project was being able to direct my mentor and friend, Kim Fields. It was a very rewarding, full circle moment for us. I can’t wait for the world to see!”

Y’all, I was actually on set for one day of filming MERRY WISHMAS and was able to interview some of the members of the cast and writers behind the movie! See that post here:  David & Tamela Mann, Kim Fields, Towanda Braxton & More Star in TV One’s Christmas movie ‘Merry Wish-mas!’

Below is a trailer for MERRY WISHMAS:

COINS FOR CHRISTMAS  stars  Stephen Bishop  (Being Mary Jane) (Remember he was on one episode of OWN’s Greenleaf this season as well?),  Essence Atkins (Marlon),  TC Carson  (Living Single),  Kelly Price  (Saints and Sinners) and  Karlie Redd (Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta). The film chronicles single mom Madison (Atkins) who’s saved all year to make sure her teenage kids have the best Christmas ever. That is until she gets fired from the bookstore she manages and comes home to find that the IRS has frozen her bank account due to delinquent taxes her ex-husband failed to pay. Desperate to pay bills and buy gifts for her children, Madison jumps into the ever-popular “gig economy.” That’s when she meets and eventually gets hired by arrogant, sidelined former professional football player Alec Darby (Bishop), who is also secretly on the verge of going broke. This odd couple butts heads time and time again but can the Christmas spirit help these two get past their bickering, learn from each and ultimately forge a lasting friendship?

Below is a trailer for COINS FOR CHRISTMAS:

MERRY WISHMAS and COINS FOR CHRISTMAS will be featured programming during TV One’s Holiday Movie Marathon on December 24-25. TV One will also air Christmas movies every Sunday until December 23.

Written by Cas Sigers-Beedles, MERRY WISHMAS is executive produced for TV One by Roger Bobb, Angi Bones (Bobbcat Films), Terri J. Vaughn and Cas Sigers-Beedles (Nina Holiday Entertainment). David and Tamela Mann also serve as Executive Producers. George Pierre serves as Casting Director. For TV One, Tia A. Smith is Executive Producer in Charge of Production, Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting, and Robyn Greene-Arrington is Head of Original Programming and Production.

COINS FOR CHRISTMAS is written by Rhonda F. Baraka and directed by Jamal Hill, with casting by Leah Daniels-Butler and George Pierre. The film was produced by Swirl Films, with Eric Tomosunas serving as Executive Producer. James Seppelfrick, Ron Robinson, Keith Neal and Darien Baldwin serve as producers. For TV One, Karen Peterkin is the Executive Producer in Charge of Production, Donyell McCullough is Senior Director of Talent & Casting, and Robyn Greene-Arrington is Head of Original Programming and Production.

For more information about TV One’s upcoming programming, including original movies, visit the network’s companion website at www.tvone.tv. TV One viewers can also join the conversation by connecting via social media on TwitterInstagram  and Facebook (@tvonetv) using the hash tags #MERRYWISHMAS#COINSFORCHRISTMAS,and #REPRESENT.

Any thoughts?

Should Divorced Men Such as Dr. Jamal Bryant, Newly Named New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor, Be Allowed in the Pulpit?

Hello World,

Now that Season 3 of OWN’s “Greenleaf” is over until next season, I’m back to finding my religious drama and intrigue in real life! LOL.

Last week, Atlanta was abuzz with the news that Dr. Jamal Bryant, founding pastor of Empowerment Temple, an A.M.E.  megachurch of about 10,000 members in Baltimore, Maryland was leaving his church to be the new pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which also has about 10,000 members, in Lithonia, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. He will preach is first sermon at New Birth on Sunday, Dec. 9.

The announcement has people talking for many reasons. One of those reasons is that Bryant’s tenure comes after the death of the controversial church founder Bishop Eddie L. Long, who passed away in January 2017 after battling cancer. Prior to his death, he wrote about his life in his memoir “The Untold Story – The Story of Adversity, Pain, and Resilience.”  In a previous blog post about this memoir, I wrote, “Is Bishop Long going to address what really happened with those young men who accused him of sexual misconduct as their claims were settled out of court and why he settled? That’s all people want to know at this point!” What is ironic about that post, which I wrote in 2016, is that the post was about Bishop Long AND Pastor Jamal Bryant. Here is a link to the post “Bishop Eddie Long Releases New Book ‘The Untold Story’ While Pastor Jamal Bryant Sidesteps Paternity Claim Today… What Are The Biblical Requirements for a Pastor?” I had no idea that two years later that these two men who be forever linked by last week’s announcement.

And that blog post brings me to another reason why people are talking about Bryant being named pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church. Even without all of the Bishop Long controversy, Pastor Bryant has enough controversy that he can claim on his own – from a fairly recent out-of-wedlock paternity allegation to the admission of infidelity in his previous marriage to Gizelle Bryant, one of the stars of “The Real Housewives of Potomac.” He was dating R&B singer Tweet but I guess they have broken up because I haven’t heard anything about them still being together. He referred to her as his “Last Lady” in the clip.

Below are a few comments I saw on New Birth’s Facebook page following the announcement last week:

“New Birth still has members?”

“WoW I’m shocked they gave it to Jamal with all the scandals he been through…but no man is perfect and I wish him the best.”

“Facts: No pastor wants the debt associated with NB! It will take a name to fill the seats & ‘encourage’ people to give! We are all flawed & human! However, for the church’s sake, i pray there’s real accountability worked into his contract! Literally, he just left court on stalking charges! There’s a pattern of poor judgment! I’m just gonna pray!”

 “Plenty of women to choose from.”

“Wow, I can’t believe these are Christians on the church website with this garbage. Talking about men of God like we are talking about Love and Hip Hop! Messy!!! Truly I wish that Pastor Bryant would not even go down there in this mess. Because he is loved and wanted at Empowerment Temple and ALL over the country. Half of the people on here don’t support the church financially or spirituality. The way our world is today we better, get our lives together. We don’t know when the Lord’s going to call us home. Please stop being so quick to point out what we think is somebody else faults and get our own selves in order. NB congregation on your new appointed Pastor. Pastor Jamal, love you! I will be praying for you and supporting you the same as I did at ET. I believe in you and the God we serve.”

“Episode of Greenleaf Coming!!!!”

“So he switching denominations!?”

See ALL of the 538 comments and counting HERE.

All of this chatter has got me thinking about being a pastor as a single divorced man. If real life is stranger than fiction (like what went down on OWN’s “Greenleaf” following the divorce of Bishop & Lady Mae), what should be expected from the pastorate of single divorced man? And should single divorced men be allowed to be pastors at all? Years ago, Atlanta-based but known worldwide pastor Dr. Charles Stanley, who is one of my favorite pastors, caused a lot of controversy when he decided to remain pastor of his church, First Baptist Church of Atlanta, following his divorce. His stance was particularly controversial when he previously said he would step down if he ever divorced.

Do you think divorced single men should be pastors? Below are three views on this topic:

  • While many in the Southern Baptist Convention called on him to step down over his divorce, Stanley refused to give up his role as senior pastor. ‘God said you keep doing what I called you to until I tell you to do something else,’ he told CNN. “I got that straight from the Lord. … I was simply obeying God.’ He added: ‘If somebody doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to live with you, you can’t — nowhere in the Scripture does it say that you’re to preach the gospel until someone does this or that.'” excerpted from “Charles Stanley Names Successor but Will Remain Sr. Pastor, Says Retirement Is Unbiblical” by Leonardo Blair
  • “In the end, it remains the choice of the congregation whom they call to be a pastor. If a man was divorced prior to becoming a Christian, then 2 Corinthians 5:17 comes into play: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.” A divorced man’s pre-Christian life is certainly part of the “old things” that pass away. Life in Christ warrants for all believers a “new lease” on life. Congregations may also, legitimately, conclude that a divorce for a Christian man was so long ago in the past that it should not hinder his witness or his work in the pastorate. There are no hard and fast rules; only principles, to guide a man in the ministry or a congregation seeking a pastor. ” excerpted from “The Divorced Pastor: Is He the Husband of One Wife?” by Michael F. Ross
  • “I really think we need to look at it on a case by case basis, especially if the man was divorced for one of the two biblical exceptions: the wife’s infidelity (Matthew 5:32) or an unbelieving wife divorcing him (1 Corinthians 7:15). Although I respect an autonomous church’s right to set whatever policies it deems appropriate (as long as those policies don’t violate Scripture), I, personally, don’t think it’s right to deny a man the office due to his wife’s sin that he had no control over and may have done everything in his power to prevent.” excerpted from “The Mailbag: Can a Divorced Man Be a Pastor?” by Michelle Lesley

If you are unfamiliar with Dr. Bryant altogether, here is a brief bio from the AJC. Boston-born Bryant, a third generation pastor, is a graduate of Morehouse College, Duke University and Graduate Theological Foundation. As he failed the 11th grade and received a GED, he started at Morehouse College, which is in Atlanta, on probation. He is the father of 5 daughters. Also, his sister Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis is a relationship counselor for Pastor Chad Johnson and his fiancée Michelle Williams, formerly of Destiny’s Child, on their OWN reality show “Chad Loves Michelle.” (I am really enjoying this show by the way.)

I listened to Dr. Jamal Bryant being interviewed on a local radio station V-103 last week, and he is very personable and upfront about the fact that he has not been a perfect shepherd. And I especially loved how he closed out the interview with this prayer “Lord, Your Will. Nothing More, Nothing Less & Nothing Else.” The first time I heard that prayer was from Bishop Greenleaf, my favorite fictional pastor! LOL. I don’t mean to be cavalier here because we’re talking about real lives and the saving of souls, but art is inspired by real life…

Anywho, any thoughts Saints?