ALL IN: The Fight for Democracy Passes

Tonight, join me for a special virtual screening of All In: The Fight for Democracy! Here’s the link for tickets: http://amazonscreenings.com/AllInMSQ

In anticipation of the 2020 presidential election, ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY examines the often overlooked, yet insidious issue of voter suppression in the United States. The film interweaves personal experiences with current activism and historical insight to expose a problem that has corrupted our democracy from the very beginning. With the perspective and expertise of Stacey Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, the documentary offers an insider’s look into laws and barriers to voting that most people don’t even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States. Coming to theaters Sept. 9, on Prime Video Sept. 18.

Virtual screenings work a little bit different than in-person movie theater screenings. So here’s some pointers: Once you visit the link above to claim your passes, you will receive an email confirmation. And then about an hour before the screening, you’ll get an email where to check-in to reserve your spot. Please plan to “arrive” early as “seating” is technically first come, first serve.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Spike Lee and Delroy Lindo Reunite after 25 Years for Da 5 Bloods

It has been two and half decades since veteran actor Delroy Lindo and Academy Award winning director Spike Lee hooked up for a feature film.  The pair reunited for Netflix’s newest release, Da 5 Bloods, a tale of five Vietnam War veterans who return to Asia to tie up some loose ends.

Lindo portrays Paul, a veteran suffering with PTSD, wrestling with some war secrets, and battling with a “fractious” relationship with his son. Even in this vulnerable role, he is a fierce, strong, and proves why he works well with a visionary like Spike Lee.

“I needed to do this,” said Lindo referring to his part in the film.

In a virtual roundtable hosted by the African American Film Critics Association, Lindo tells me, “Spike inviting me to be part of his projects has gifted me with these brilliant characters to play as an actor.” Lindo has graced us with his presence in three Spike Lee joint previously- Malcolm X (1992), Crooklyn (1994), and Clockers (1995).

“That’s a gift to any actor that a creative worker of Spike’s statute would just call you and say “hey man come do this”, not only the invitation to participate in the work, but the content of the part,” said Lindo.

There is an undeniable alchemy when Spike Lee is sitting in the director’s chair and Delroy Lindo is on the other side of the camera. Both Lee and Lindo admitted some of the most powerful scenes in the movie are opportunities where Lindo and the cast improvised such as the riverboat market scene and when Lindo’s character breaks off from the group.

Give Delroy Lindo his flowers now. He continues to solidify his seat with the Hollywood greats, and he is tremendously talented.

Also starring Chadwick Boseman, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, and Jonathan Majors, Da 5 Bloods, even in 2.5 hours, is hard not to watch.  The suspense, intensity, and striking attractiveness of war brothers coming together calls for a really good cinematic picture.

This film is a dark reminder that Black soldiers went halfway around the world defending a country where they were barely free.  Black servicemen fought on the front lines in Vietnam, while their brothers and sisters fought for voting, desegregation, and basic civil liberties.

The Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War were running congruently. Dr. King, Malcolm X, and JFK were all assassinated during this time. Imagine being a freedom fighter or person of color fighting a war abroad when there’s one in your own backyard.

For millennials, like myself, Da 5 Bloods is definitely an eye-opener. Even in fiction, the drops of relevant, thought-provoking history cause for deeper conversation about how Black people respond to war and the sacrifices a Black solider endures. I did not know much about the Vietnam War before watching this film, but I am now on a journey to find out more.

That is powerful remnants of a great film.

Support MSQ During COVID-19 Pandemic

As movie theaters across the country temporarily shut their doors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Movie Scene Queen was forced to make some difficult decisions as movie screenings are our bread and butter. We are teaming up with Revival Printing Company to help small businesses, like Movie Scene Queen, during these hard times.

We encourage you to purchase a t-shirt for only $20. When you purchase a shirt, $10 goes directly to Movie Scene Queen supporting our Single Parent Project. So, you’ll be supporting two local small businesses– MSQ and Revival Printing Company.

 

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The first 50 people who purchase a Movie Scene Queen t-shirt will automatically be entered in a raffle to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! The winner will be announced April 15th.

 

No taxes. No hidden fees. Free shipping. Shirts are available at https://www.pghtees.com/product/movie-scene-queen.

Some Pittsburgh Black mothers reliant on ‘huge support system’ – Family and friends helping with childcare, groceries and a positive outlook

When Homewood resident Allison McLeod heard the news of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf closing all K-12 schools in the state, she instantly felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the change in schedules, I had to scatter my son around from family member to family member, all while ensuring he stayed up to date with his studies,” she told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview.

As many Pennsylvanians scrambled to purchase groceries and toiletries, McLeod and other working mothers had an additional layer—finding childcare and balancing work with children.

With schools closed, McLeod now has to put even more food on the table for her son, Christopher. Additionally, as a behavioral specialist for two companies and founder of Building Bridges Parent Support Group, her work requires her to travel to three different counties. With all of the traveling for work, her biggest fear is, “becoming sick and bringing anything home that can compromise my son’s health.”

Health plays a big factor for mother of two, Willesha Miller. The Garfield resident, who works at a local hospital, is concerned about her son’s health, as he has previously suffered from pneumonia three times. Those who have had or currently have pre-existing health conditions are more susceptible to harsher complications from COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.

“The biggest inconvenience so far is trying to keep my kids occupied and food in the house,” Miller told the Courier. “It’s getting so expensive having to constantly buy food since they are home all day, seven days a week. I am honestly getting to the point of having anxiety if schools are closed longer.”

Jena Cox, of the North Side, also has two children, and they may each miss an educational milestone this school year. Her son, Jaoir, 10, is looking forward to his promotion to the fifth grade. And Cox’s daughter, Jaiden, 4, is looking forward to her promotion to kindergarten. “It would be very unfortunate if they don’t get to experience and celebrate their accomplishments with their peers and family,” Cox said.

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Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier, Some Pittsburgh Black mothers reliant on ‘huge support system’ – Family and friends helping with childcare, groceries and a positive outlook

A Quiet Place Part II Passes

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Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

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Movie Scene Queen and Paramount Pictures are hosting A QUIET PLACE PART II ADVANCE SCREENING. Please join us in Monday, March 16th at 7:30PM at AMC Waterfront 22.  Please comment below with your favorite sequel. My favorite sequel of all time is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

The Invisible Man Passes

What would you do if your abusive partner suddenly became invisible?

Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer, NBC’s The InBetween), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge, Straight Outta Compton) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid, HBO’s Euphoria).

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The Invisible Man screening will be held on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 7:30 PM. Please comment below with your interest. See you at the movies!

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Onward Passes

Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers (voices of Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. Pixar Animation Studios’ all-new original feature film is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae—the team behind “Monsters University.” “Onward” releases in theaters on March 6, 2020.

Onward

Movie Scene Queen, Disney, and Pixar are hosting a special screening on Monday, March 2, 2020 at AMC Waterfront 22 at 7 PM. Family four packs to catch the advance screening of Onward are available.  All you have to do is comment below with the last Disney movie you’ve seen.

Much Love,

Movie Scene Queen

Smithsonian Channel and Comcast Premieres Black in Space– A Documentary about the First Black Astronauts

This post about Smithsonian Channel’s Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier is a sponsored post brought to you by Comcast. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

The Smithsonian Channel, Comcast, and the John Heinz History Center welcomed dozens of guests on February 10 for the premiere screening of Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier.

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The race to get to space is long over, but buried in time is the revelatory story of the world’s first black astronauts. For many Americans, the 20th-century Space Race was a Cold War competition over rocketry and technological feats, but the world’s two superpowers were also engaged in another high-stakes race – one whose impact is still being felt today.

BLACK IN SPACE: BREAKING THE COLOR BARRIER examines the crucial moment when America’s history of racial prejudice became a critical vulnerability in the effort to win hearts and minds around the globe. Confronting a Soviet foe determined to show that communism was the face of the future, the U.S. would need a new generation of astronauts. 

The hour-long documentary is a learning lesson for all ages.  But, for someone like me who was too young to experience the turbulent times of racial integration, it was eye opening.

During Black History Month, many students crack open the history books with a specific goal in mind– to learn about the contributions and rich history of African Americans. But, Black In Space: Breaking the Color Barrier is a visual piece for students to seamlessly learn about Black astronauts.

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After the screening, KDKA Anchor/Reporter Lisa Washington lead a panel discussion with Kelli Herod, VP of Post Production, Smithsonian Channel, and Major General Charles F. Bolden Jr., USMC (Ret.), 12th NASA Administrator. Panelists discussed how the documentary was made, and the future of Black astronauts with NASA.

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Photo by Brian Cook, Golden Sky Media

The 2017 NASA Astronaut Class graduated last month.  The 13-member class includes one Black woman, Dr. Jessica Watkins.

BLACK IN SPACE: BREAKING THE COLOR BARRIER will premiere on Monday, February 24th at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

Sweat Equity: Merecedes Williams is ready for her closeup

By Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The first row of the balcony at an advance screening for “Harriet” at AMC Waterfront 22 in Homestead was filled with high school students from Allderdice, laughing and enjoying the evening out.

The laughter settled down once the movie started and the life of 19th-century abolitionist Harriet Tubman unfurled on the screen. They were absorbing the re-creation of a world they had missed by more than 160 years. Still, there was no denying the parts that resonated.

Merecedes J. Williams, aka Movie Scene Queen, looks forward to that moment of recognition. The social media project assistant for Pittsburgh Public Schools is also the movie critic for The New Pittsburgh Courier.

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It was in her capacity as the Courier’s movie critic with access to free advance screenings that it occurred to Ms. Williams to make that opportunity available to Pittsburgh Public School students when it comes to films with educational value.

With the mission of expanding awareness of quality films for young people, Ms. Williams created the Movie Scene Queen entertainment blog seven years ago. Her goal then — as now — is to engage young people in discussions of films and to make free passes available to those in the Pittsburgh Public Schools who want to attend advance screenings.

On evenings when she is supervising a dozen or so students at a screening, Ms. Williams is also thinking about how to approach the movie critically and fairly as a reviewer. She’s both hostess and critic on those occasions, a burden she happily accepts many years into the gig.

The first movie she reviewed for the Courier was “Fruitvale Station,” the 2013 Michael B. Jordan classic about the killing of an unarmed and handcuffed black commuter by cops at a BART Station in Oakland, Calif.

“I thought, ‘Wow, how can I write about this?’” she said, recalling the tears streaming down her face when the movie was over. She fought her way through the sorrow to an evaluation of the film based on its aesthetic merits and social/political implications for African American viewers.

“This is much more than a movie,” she said of the film directed by Ryan Coogler. He would later gain even more fame as the director of “Black Panther,” one of the highest grossing movies of all time. “This is a film about unrepresented people who are being slaughtered by those who are supposed to protect and serve them,” she said.

Just as every superhero movie has an origin story, it was at that moment that Merecedes J. Williams became Movie Scene Queen.

There was so much educational value — painful as it was in a film like “Fruitvale Station” — that she wanted to play a role in exposing young people to that aspect of cinema culture.

“The idea was to stick with black films that predominantly showcase black actors, producers or directors,” she said. Early on, Ms. Williams also decided she had a social responsibility to bring things up in her movie reviews, even though it might cause some people to “look sideways at her” for being too preachy.

“It’s important to me to stay true to myself in every movie review, especially when I’m representing my opinion to a population I’m a part of,” she said of the Courier’s predominantly African American readership. “It’s a burden I’ll live with for the rest of my life as long as I’m black, female and writing.”

Read more at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sweat Equity: Merecedes Williams is ready for her closeup

Pittsburgh’s ‘Movie Scene Queen,’ Merecedes J. Williams, celebrates seven years in business

The New Pittsburgh Courier’s film critic, Merecedes J. Williams, will celebrate seven years in business by being a guest bartender at Stanley’s Lounge in Homewood, 7403 Frankstown Ave., on Jan. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. She will be joined by WAMO 100.1 FM’s Portia Foxx. All tips will directly benefit Williams’ Single Parent Project, an initiative that provides free movies, concessions and transportation to single-parent families, families with incarcerated parents, and foster families.

State Rep. Edward C. Gainey will present Williams with a state proclamation at Stanley’s Lounge to celebrate the business milestone and the corresponding community-based work.

In 2019, Williams distributed more than 4,200 free movie tickets, raised over $2,000 to send local high school students to see the movie “Harriet,” and sent 144 families to the movies via the Single Parent Project.

UPDATE: Movie Scene Queen raised $545 for the Single Parent Project. 

Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh’s ‘Movie Scene Queen,’ Merecedes J. Williams, celebrates seven years in business

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