Posts tagged with "Documentary"

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Ray LaMontagne

TrueSouth Season Four Episode Five

On Sunday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. ET, TrueSouth Presented by YellaWood concludes its fourth season with a special fifth episode that takes viewers on a Mississippi River road trip. This SEC Network series revolves around two food stories told from one place, which TrueSouth sets in conversation to make larger points about Southern beliefs and identities.

Episode Summary

This episode is a behind-the-scenes romp up and out of Henderson, La., through New Orleans, following the Mississippi River to Greenville, Miss., and, finally, Memphis, Tenn.

The story begins at Turtles Bar on the Atchafalaya levee. In New Orleans at Dooky Chase‘s, the 80-year-old Creole restaurant, gumbo is eaten and old fashioneds are sipped. Next comes beer at Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge, the diviest dive bar in the city. Before the crew leaves for the drive north, they buy wine and snacks at Keife and Company. Following the river, they cross into Mississippi. At Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, they indulge in porterhouses and a well-earned night off. The epic road trip ends on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tenn., with a quick stop at La Guadalupana for chilaquiles. And, just down the street, biscuits at Bryant’s Breakfast with hip hop legends 8Ball and MJG.

Music is forever important. For episode 17, the crew sampled, among others, the City Champs out of Memphis, a soulful jazz trio that reimagines Stax-era sounds. The TrueSouth playlist on Spotify shares the full soundtrack and score of every season of TrueSouth.

Season Summary

Season four of TrueSouth began in Scott, La., the buckle on the Boudin Belt that stretches across Cajun Country. Episode two of the show floated to Lake Village, Ark., just across the Mississippi River, where Santa “Cowboy” Lee cooks fat T-bones at a pizza restaurant, and Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales bakes half-pecan and half-sweet potato pies that are worth a three-hour drive. For episode three, the crew floated into Mobile Bay, Ala., for breakfast cocktails at a beach bar and fish and grits and second chances at a steamtable restaurant. We drove north to St. Louis, Mo. for episode four, where the crew developed a unified sandwich theory of the city, dependent on wave after wave of immigrants.

About TrueSouth

TrueSouth is a limited series on Southern food and culture, airing monthly on SEC Network. Four-time James Beard Award winner John T. Edge writes and hosts the show, which is executive produced by two-time New York Times best-selling author, ESPN senior writer Wright Thompson, and produced by Bluefoot Entertainment. The series, now in its fourth season, revolves around two food stories told from one place, which TrueSouth sets in conversation to make larger points about Southern beliefs and identities. 

About SEC Network

The Southeastern Conference and ESPN launched SEC Network on August 14, 2014. The network televises hundreds of games across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming includes in-depth analysis and storytelling in studio shows such as SEC Nation, Thinking Out Loud, Out Of Pocket and Rally Cap, daily news and information with The Paul Finebaum Show and SEC Now, original content such as TrueSouth, SEC Storied, and SEC Inside, and more. Hundreds of additional live events are available for streaming exclusively on SEC Network’s digital companion, SEC Network+, via the ESPN App and their website. The network is also available in more than 135 countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia via ESPN Player, ESPN’s sports streaming service in the region.

Community created by Mina Tocalini at 360 Magazine used by 360 Magazine

Champion of Service: Celebration of Muhammad Ali

Although Muhammad Ali is universally revered as The Greatest of All Time (or G.O.A.T.) for his exploits in the boxing ring, he also became a champion for humanity through his commitment to service outside the ring.

The full life and legacy of this global icon will be celebrated in a national virtual event at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, on the PBS Books Facebook page.

Through a partnership led by PBS Books, USA TODAY and the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, the evening’s program will highlight his dedication to courage, generosity, kindness, and compassion in recognition of his 80th birthday on January 17. Additional partners include the Louisville Courier-Journal, Metro Louisville United Way, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) and Kentucky Educational Television (KET).

His widow, and vice-chair and co-founder of the Ali Center, Lonnie Ali, will introduce the one-hour event. Guest speakers will include PBS filmmaker Ken Burns; Hana Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter; John Ramsey, a personal friend; David Chaudoir, a longtime employee; and Dr. Richard Lapchick, who is a human rights activist, author, scholar and the 2021 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award recipient. Each participant will draw upon their personal experiences with Muhammad and share their own unique perspectives on his life and legacy as a humanitarian.

Along with learning more about the unique contributions Muhammad Ali made in sports and society, this national virtual program will also encourage others to participate in The Greatest Giveback through service projects across the country, which are organized each year on January 17, Ali’s birthday. Due to recent COVID spikes, the on-site event at the Ali Center has been postponed until June. In 2022, Muhammad’s birthday coincides with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, offering another opportunity to give back to those in our communities who are suffering racial or social injustices.

The virtual program will include a short video about the Ali Center and Ken Burns sharing some inspirational comments and a segment from his PBS documentary, “Muhammad Ali.” In addition, inspirational authors and celebrities will explain what Ali’s legacy means to them and reveal their personal Red Bike Moment©–a defining moment in their lives, much like the one that changed the future of then 12-year-old Cassius Clay when his red Schwinn bike was stolen, an incident that led him to a Louisville boxing gym and which became a catalyst for his athletic career and life’s purpose.

About the Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center, a 501(c)3 corporation, was cofounded by Muhammad Ali and his wife Lonnie in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The international cultural center promotes the Six Core Principles of Muhammad Ali (Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality) in ways that inspire personal and global greatness and provides programming and events around the focus areas of education, racial and gender equity, and global citizenship. The Ali Center is formally associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, and in 2020, became one of the newest stops on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The Center’s headquarters also contains an award-winning museum experience. For more information, please click HERE.

About PBS Books

PBS Books is a multi-platform initiative celebrating the love of reading. Through social and digital engagement and live coverage of important literary events across the country, PBS Books celebrates books and writers and works to foster a passion for reading among public media viewers and listeners. In 2019, PBS Books launched a free Library Engagement Program, which currently has more than 1,800 library partners that share its content and programming.

Welcome to Earth via Disney for use by 360 Magazine

Welcome to Earth Soundtrack

Just ahead of the premiere of Welcome to Earth, a Disney+ original series from National Geographic, Hollywood Records announced that the Original Series Soundtrack with music by Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning composer Daniel Pemberton (The Trial of The Chicago 7, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) will release Friday, December 10. Known for his innovative and exciting scores, Pemberton recently won a Critics Choice Award for Best Original Score for The Rescue and was named Film Composer of the Year in 2021 by both the World Soundtrack Awards and the international film music critics association IFMCA. Pemberton, who has composed music for some of today’s top film luminaries including Ridley Scott, Aaron Sorkin, and Danny Boyle, reteamed with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky for Welcome to Earth, and had this to say about the project:

“In the same way that in Welcome to Earth Will Smith explored some of the most unexpected parts of our planet, I wanted the music to explore some of the most unexpected worlds of sound. The soundtrack had to feel different and unexpected so, like the series itself, you could experience the world in a way you have never seen or heard before. I tried to fuse a vast range for different sounds from all over the globe together-from pulsing electronics to sampled recordings of water, ancient flutes to unusual vocals, the sounds of wildlife with the rhythms of nature-to create a unique sonic palette as rich, visceral and absorbing as the environments Will Smith encounters. I hope that, without even leaving the house, this album can take the listener on their own adventure to some of the most amazing places on this planet. After One Strange Rock it’s been fantastic to re-team with Darren Aronofsky and the team at Nutopia to go on another adventure together with Welcome to Earth,” said Daniel Pemberton

About Welcome to Earth

It might seem humans have mapped every inch of our planet’s surface but look closer and you’ll discover that there is still so much more to uncover; the age of exploration is far from over! Welcome to Earth, a Disney+ original series from National Geographic, follows two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith on an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime adventure around the world to explore Earth ‘s greatest wonders and reveal its most hidden secrets. Throughout the six-part limited series produced by visionary Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, Protozoa Pictures, Jane Root’s Nutopia and Westbrook Studios, Will is guided by elite explorers on an awe-inspiring journey, getting up close and personal with some of the most thrilling spectacles on the planet; from volcanoes that roar in silence to deserts that move beyond our perception to animal swarms with minds of their own. Combining breathtaking cinematography with Will’s boundless curiosity and enthusiasm, the blockbuster series is an exciting, multisensory ride through Earth’s most mind-bending portals.

Best Shape of My Life via Youtube for use by 360 Magazine

New Documentary Featuring Will Smith

YouTube Originals and Will Smith premiered the first two episodes of the highly-anticipated new six-part unscripted series Best Shape of My Life. This  emotionally packed five-day event from Westbrook Media peels back the curtain on what makes Will Smith truly tick as he is pushed to his limits physically, mentally, and emotionally. Additional episodes will premiere daily this week (Mon-Fri) only on Will Smith’s official YouTube channel

What starts as a docu-follow about Will’s desire to go from the “worst shape” of his life to a new movie star body evolved into a deeper, darker and more profound journey into Will’s psyche. With “Best Shape of My Life,” Will finds himself questioning the very behaviors that have led to his success, and ultimately it’s on this search where his healing can begin, featuring meaningful moments with his family and those closest to him. This marks Will Smith’s second project with YouTube Originals. In his first, “Will Smith: The Jump,” he accepted the ultimate challenge to bungee jump from a helicopter over the Grand Canyon on his 50th birthday for charity in 2018, resulting in nearly 18M views in the first 48 hours.

Watch episode one HERE and episode two HERE of Will Smith’s “Best Shape of My Life” on Will Smith’s official YouTube channel.

New episodes will be available to stream for free, daily this week only on Will Smith’s official YouTube channel

“Best Shape of My Life” is co-showrun by Westbrook Media’s Lukas Kaiser (The Fresh Prince Reunion) and co-showrun and directed by Dexton Deboree, the visionary creative behind Unbanned and Promiseland. Susanne Daniels is Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. Alex Piper, Head of Unscripted for YouTube Originals, and Lauren Celinski, Development Lead for YouTube Originals, oversee the project for the global platform. 

Association with Fitbit

As part of his commitment to improve every aspect of his health and wellness, Will recently joined the Fitbit family, creating and curating an exclusive collection of whole-health guidance that includes six sweat-inducing, endorphin-boosting workouts and mindfulness sessions in the Will Smith: StrongWill curriculum. From room-shaking workouts to smooth stress-relief techniques, Fitbit Premium members can virtually work with Will and his trainers to get their minds and bodies strong. 

About YouTube Originals

YouTube Originals are award-winning series, specials and livestream events for YouTube’s two billion active monthly users that entertain, inspire, connect, and educate audiences through authentic storytelling from YouTube creators, music artists and celebrities. By tapping into the platform’s growing global community, fan engagement product capabilities, and innovative content, YouTube Originals amplify the most popular and unique aspects of YouTube.  Fans can experience YouTube Originals content for free through the standard YouTube platform (ad-supported), or through a paid subscription to YouTube Premium, which adds ad-free, bonus/exclusive content, and early binge access to select programming. YouTube Originals are available in over 100 countries worldwide.  Keep up with the latest YouTube news by visiting the global platform’s official blog HERE.

protest illustration by Alison Christensen for 360 Magazine

New Series F/ Cam Jordan on Police Reform

NFL Media will debut a four-part docuseries featuring New Orleans Saints All-Pro and team captain Cam Jordan and his community partnership with Crescent City Corps, a New Orleans-based nonprofit that equips police officers with leadership development, racial equity and community engagement training so they can work alongside citizens to build a more just, safe, and inclusive city. Police-community relations are a core pillar of Inspire Change, the NFL’s social justice initiative, which showcases the collaborative efforts of players, owners, and the League to create positive change in communities across the country and ensure that equal opportunity becomes a reality for all.

The series will air exclusively on NFL Network and NFL.com, beginning on Thursday, Nov. 11 and run for four weeks. New episodes will debut during NFL Network’s TNF First Look hosted by Andrew Siciliano which airs from 3-5 p.m. ET live from the site of Thursday Night Football games. Extended episodes will follow each Friday on NFL.com. The series preview is available HERE.

“Last summer I reached out to the Mayor’s office asking how I can get involved in a real, meaningful way,” said Saints star Cam Jordan. “Over the last six months the officers of Crescent City Corps have been training diligently, and I am excited to have NFL Media help us in sharing this innovative program with fans. I have always believed in developing initiatives to create a positive change. I strongly believe that if we can help the officers in this program understand and engage with our city, my city’s, most challenging issues better, while also working toward a more just and safe New Orleans–then I am all in.” 

Crescent City Corps began its Anti-Racism and Community Engagement Training Program for New Orleans police officers in 2019. While the program was put on hold due to COVID-19, Jordan announced his partnership with the organization in December 2020, with his God Iz Love Foundation donating $120,000 to fund the expansion of the program into its current second class and committed to educating 80 New Orleans Police Department officers to bridge the gap between the community and the police.

“Coming off of the events of last year, where so many from across all walks of life, of all ages, of all races spoke out against social injustice and racial inequality, a recurring question that arose as the summer turned to the fall was ‘What happens next?’” said Anthony Smith, Original Content Lead, Entertainment & Initiatives at NFL Media. “The work that Cam Jordan, Crescent City Corps, and others like them are doing is what happens next. When we at NFL Media were presented with the opportunity to share Cam and CCC’s story with our audience, we immediately said ‘yes.’”

The four-part docuseries will chronicle Jordan’s experience working with Crescent City Corps and captures his introduction to and the progression of his connection with the fellows as they go through the program which includes 80 hours of intensive training and dialogue on topics spanning leadership, racial equality, and trauma-informed policing. Local community organizations also engage the officers in critical conversations to help the NOPD understand what citizens want from law enforcement and to create a productive dialogue to reimagine what public safety could look like in New Orleans.

“Cam Jordan has been a pillar in the New Orleans community during his entire career with the Saints, and we are thrilled about his commitment to making change in police-community relations,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility. 

Over the last three years, more than $160 million in grants have been awarded to social justice nonprofit organizations as part of Inspire Change, including over 1,500 grants awarded to current and former NFL players who are doing philanthropic work to ensure that access to opportunity is a reality for all and to create progress across four key areas: education, economic advancement, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform.

The series is executive produced by Cam Jordan, Anthony Smith and Angela Ellis with Chelsea Stark-Jones, Matt Bourgeois, Rebecca Otto (Wasserman), and Brent Godfrey (Crescent City Corps) acting as producers.

Tree illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

YouTube Originals – Laudato Si

YouTube Originals has ordered “Laudato Si’,” a feature-length documentary from the BAFTA and OSCAR®-winning production company Off The Fence, (My Octopus Teacher) produced in partnership with the Laudato Si’ Movement and in collaboration with the Vatican. Set to debut on YouTube in early 2022, “Laudato Si’ is based on Pope Francis’s second encyclical and provides an urgent call to action on protecting our planet and each other. 

“Sustainability and climate action are key areas of focus for our YouTube Originals programming,” said Nadine Zylstra Head of Family, Learning and Impact for YouTube Originals, “Off the Fence’s expertise in this space makes them the perfect fit to bring Pope Francis’ critical message to our global audience.” 

“We are thrilled to be partnering with YouTube on this incredible project. Their reach will ensure everybody has access to the film and their creativity in content and form means a whole generation will be engaged with Laudato Si’’s important message,” said Leila Monks, Off the Fence’s Head of Commissioning.

 The documentary offers a breathtaking wake-up call and a humbling reminder of our responsibility as a society to come together in solidarity for the preservation of our planet. Following the personal stories of several characters deeply connected to the climate crisis, “Laudato Si’” calls on communities and individuals to lead change on the local, national, and international levels. 

Currently in production, “Laudato Si’” is written and directed by Nicolas Brown, produced by Sam Barton-Humphreys and Off The Fence Co-CEO Ellen Windemuth, and executive produced by Off The Fence Co-CEO Bo Stehmeier and Tomás Insua. Susanne Daniels is Global Head of Original Content for YouTube. Nadine Zylstra, Head of Family, Learning and Impact for YouTube Originals and Lauren Vrazilek and Amina Wilson on the Learning and Impact development team oversee “Laudato Si’” for YouTube Originals.  

“Laudato Si’’” producer and Co-CEO of Off The Fence Ellen Windemuth also added, “This film is the place where people of many faiths convene with scientists to embrace Pope Francis’s vision for the future of our planet. Our film will adapt this important message into a beautiful character-driven story, shot all over the world.” 

“Laudato Si’” is the latest addition to the YouTube Originals slate of sustainability programming which includes previously announced series: “Seat at the Table,” which sends creator Jack Harries on a global challenge to give people around the world a seat at the table in the climate conversation ahead of the UN’s Climate Change Conference (COP 26), “Brave Mission: Rewild the Planet” (previously titled “Stay Wild”) where Brave Wilderness will transport viewers directly to the front lines of nature where the effects of climate change can be witnessed first-hand by their impact on wildlife and humanity, and “Shut It Off ASAP,” where YouTube creators AsapSCIENCE leave their comfort zone in the city and head to a remote farm in the country to try their hand at going green, regenerative farming, and building a sustainable lifestyle.

Bob Marley illustrated by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE.

Legacy – Rebel Music

As the last year’s celebrations commemorating the legendary Bob Marley‘s 75th birthday continue, “Rebel Music,” the eighth episode of the Webby-nominated 12-part documentary series Legacy, premieres today, September 9 at 7am PT/10am ET on Bob Marley’s Official YouTube Channel. The episode features twenty-nine luminaries and family members sharing insights about the history and impact of Bob Marley’s political and social activism.

“Rebel Music” presents a global conversation about the importance of Bob Marley’s work as a political and social activist. Featuring Marley family members, grandson Skip, and children Damien, Ziggy, Julian, Cedella, and Stephen, this episode explores what Bob Marley fought for, who he influenced and why. Also offering insights are modern-day political activists and musicians such as influential Jamaican singer, member of the I-Three’s and activist Judy Mowatt, iconic scholar and activist Dr. Cornel West, music greats Bobby Sessions, Beanie Man, Bujo Banton, Cee-Lo Green, Chuck D, Ne-Yo, Otis Williams, Smokey Robinson, Tropkillaz and more. Watch/share “Rebel Music,” beginning September 9, HERE.

Over the summer, The Marley Family and UMe presented an all-star roster of talent for MARLEY SESSIONS as part of the “Summer of Marley” festivitiesArtists such as Jacob Collier, Julian Marley, Mystic Marley, Sheku Mason, and more featured their representations of tracks from Bob Marley’s catalog. Skip Marley, the grandson of Bob Marley, launched MARLEY SESSIONS on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel with a performance of “Three Little Birds” and culminated the series with his rendition of “Jamming.” Check out all of the MARLEY SESSIONS available HERE.

A brand new official music video for Bob Marley’s “Jamming” also premiered on Bob Marley’s Official YouTube Channel in honor of International Reggae Day. The brand new “Jamming” video reimagines the lauded live performance footage captured at Boston’s Music Hall on June 8, 1978. With animation and a custom never-before-seen edit, the video highlights each member of The Wailers and their radiant energy on stage, including the iThrees, who are symbolized as three little birds throughout. Check out the new video for “Jamming” HERE.

Continuing to honor Bob Marley’s legacy, Ziggy Marley has announced a handful of new live concert dates around the U.S. in early fall. The shows will be live tribute sets to his father, Bob Marley, with the BeachLife Festival also seeing Ziggy share the stage with his brother Stephen Marley. This special, collaborative appearance will feature the brothers performing an extensive catalog of Bob Marley tunes in celebration of their father’s 75th birthday at the three-day immersive music, art, and culinary ocean-side event. Tickets are available now.  

For more information about Ziggy Marley’s tour, click HERE.

Ziggy Marley – Bob Marley Tribute Shows

About Bob Marley

Bob Marley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is notable not only as the man who put reggae on the global map but, as a statesman in his native Jamaica, famously brought together the country’s warring factions. Today, Bob Marley remains one of the 20th century’s most important and influential entertainment icons. Marley’s lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations as his legacy lives on through his music. In the digital era, he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page drawing more than 70 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. Marley’s music catalog has sold millions of albums worldwide. His iconic collection LEGEND holds the distinction of being the longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine’s Catalog Albums chart and remains the world’s best-selling reggae album. Marley’s accolades include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994) and ASCAP Songwriters Hall of Fame (2010), a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), multiple entries in the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001). For more information, visit their website and Facebook.

Image via Big Hassle Media for 360 Magazine

The Game – Worldwide Summer Vacation

THE GAME EMBARKS ON A WORLDWIDE SUMMER VACATION

LISTEN TO HERE

WATCH VIDEO HERE

Compton rapper The Game debuts a feel-good single and music video for Worldwide Summer Vacation. If you’re ready to pack it up and go party this summer, Game will heat up your playlist with this new head nodding, booty popping jam. Whether in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami or anywhere in the world for that matter, the celebratory LouieKnows directed music video evokes the magic of mixing warm weather, good music, letting loose and getting lucky.

Produced by Duke, the new song is part of an upcoming playlist featuring new music from The Game. Worldwide Summer Vacation follows the Mike Zombie produced A.I. With The Braids featuring Lil Wayne released in 2020. The collaboration pays tribute to the legendary NBA all-star Allan Iverson.

Connect with The Game via Instagram and Twitter

About The Game

The Game is everywhere. From the streets of Compton to the top of the charts and the forefront of the culture, he’s the rare rapper who can collaborate with Ed Sheeran and Travis Barker, pop out on Kevin Hart’s Instagram, and appear in All Star Weekend directed by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx all within the same news cycle. From breaking records, piling up billions of streams, setting social media on fire with every post, and holding down the place he calls home, it’s become nearly impossible to escape the influence of the two-time GRAMMY Award-nominated multiplatinum rapper, songwriter, producer, actor, and entrepreneur born Jayceon Terrell Taylor. At the same time, his rapping may very well be sharper than ever.

During 2019, The Game reached rarified air with Born 2 Rap, registering a career-high score of 82% on Metacritic. NME raved, Born 2 Rap isn’t just a library of classic records blended together; it’s a lesson in storytelling, and Forbes assured, Both he and his fans have something that they can be proud of for years to come. Thus far, he has earned a staggering eight #1 debuts on the Billboard Top Rap Albums Chart, eight #1 debuts on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart, and three #1 debuts on the Billboard Top 200. His introductory opus, The Documentary, marked his first #1 on the Top 200, went double-platinum, and received two GRAMMY Award nominations.

In 2005, he put the West Coast on his back and never stopped running. Now, he sets the pace yet again on another music project, heralded by the sizzling single Worldwide Summer Vacation.

illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 Magazine

Rick James Documentary Feature Premieres September 3rd

SHOWTIME® has released a trailer for BITCHIN’: THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES, directed by Emmy®-nominee Sacha Jenkins (WU-TANG CLAN: OF MICS AND MEN, BURN, MOTHERF*CKER, BURN!). BITCHIN’ is an intimate yet propulsive look at Rick James, one of rock, funk, and R&B’s most legendary and often underappreciated figures. Featuring rare footage of James’ incredible live shows, never-before-seen home video, original interviews with legendary artists, collaborators, and friends, and a treasure trove of recorded interviews with James (who died in 2004), the documentary presents a full picture of James’ dramatic rise and fall, focusing in on the “Punk-Funk” music he left behind. The film, which screened at the Tribeca Festival® in June, will premiere on Friday, September 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Click here to watch and share the trailer.

Best remembered as the creator of hits such as “Superfreak,” “Give It To Me Baby” and “Mary Jane,” James blazed new trails in American music and global culture in the ’70s and ’80s as a songwriter, performer, and producer, collaborating with luminaries such as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Eddie Murphy, Teena Marie, The Mary Jane Girls, and M.C. Hammer. BITCHIN’ presents a full and complete picture of James’ life as told by those who knew him. At the center of it all is the “Punk-Funk” that encompassed a unique swath of 20th-century music history from jazz to soul to R&B to rock and eventually, to hip-hop. Friday, August 6 marks the 17th anniversary of James’ death. 

BITCHIN’: THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES is a Mass Appeal production for SHOWTIME, directed by Jenkins, produced by Steve Rivo, and written by Jenkins, Rivo, and Jason Pollard. The film is executive produced by Peter Bittenbender and Jenkins for Mass Appeal, and Douglas Banker and Ty James.

Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc., owns and operates the premium service SHOWTIME®, which features critically acclaimed original series, provocative documentaries, box-office hit films, comedy and music specials, and hard-hitting sports. SHOWTIME is available as a stand-alone streaming service across all major streaming devices and Showtime.com, as well as via cable, DBS, telco, and streaming video providers. SNI also operates the premium services THE MOVIE CHANNEL and FLIX®, as well as on-demand versions of all three brands. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®. For more information, click here. 

About Mass Appeal

Mass Appeal is an entertainment company dedicated to telling stories from the perspective of those who shape and shift culture. Since 1996, we have documented the emerging movements that influence popular ideas. Today, Mass Appeal is the elevated voice of Hip Hop and its ever-expanding sphere of influence. Integrated offerings in content, music, and creative services stoke Mass Appeal’s ability to maximize the impact of our output. Our diverse school of thought separates us from friends and foes alike.

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

Netflix’s Pray Away Reveals Horrors of Conversion Therapy

By: Skyler Johnson

Edited By: Andrew Shibuya

Conversion therapy, or the pseudoscientific practice of changing someone’s sexual orientation, has been considered and practiced for over a century now. Dubious to many of its’ creators’ contemporaries, conversion therapy’s capacity for change has long been contested and considered futile. The practice itself is scientifically baseless and detrimental, and what is essentially man’s foolish and ineffectual attempt to change human nature. In recent Netflix documentary Pray Away, the effects and harms of this “therapy” are explored and uncovered throughout investigation of its century-long practice.

Pray Away follows ex-leaders and survivors of the “pray the gay away” movement, focusing on Exodus International, a conversion therapy organization that only ended eight years ago in 2013. The film follows several people as they detail their horrific experiences and the consequences of their both voluntary and involuntary participation in the practice.

Conversion therapy was publicly started in the 1890s, when Albert von Schrenck-Notzing stated in a conference that he was able to turn a gay man straight through hypnosis. Decades later, Eugen Steinach would later transplant the testicles of a straight man onto a gay man to “cure” homosexuality. Lobotomies, chemical castration, and aversion therapies became popular as “therapeutic” techniques. This lasted throughout the earlier half of the 20th century into the 1960s and 1970s, during the rise of the LGBT Rights Movement, when psychiatrists began to shy away from the practice. In 1973 the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM. Unfortunately, conversion therapy did not stop but was instead utilized by faith-based groups, including Exodus International.    

Talk therapy now makes up the bulk of all current conversion therapy procedures. While this may seem a lot less intimidating, the effects of this talk therapy can be powerful, especially when utilized by the wrong people. The film exposed how many ex-gay leaders weren’t licensed professionals, and how, if they believed someone were gay, it was because they had a poor relationship with their parents. And if not, they must have been sexually abused even if they were unable to recall any abuse. To a lot of young people, this thought process made sense, as many were too young to truly understand its flaws.

The film also displayed how the people involved in this movement were dishonest about the “progress” they were making. They included the story of John Paulk, once claiming to have become a straight man through the therapy. John later admits that the entire time he was consumed with gay thoughts and was mendacious about his reformation.

The documentary exhibited that there are a lot of people that still hold their beliefs. Organizations still exist that enforce conversion therapy. It’s not a thing of the past. This was highlighted by the film’s portrayal of the leader of the Freedom March, Jeffrey McCall, an ex-transgender woman living as a man with the belief that being trans is a sin. The organization’s Facebook page now has 10,000 followers and is still growing.

While the film primarily covers people that were able to escape the movement and live better lives, there remains great struggle that many people experience. The film’s director, Kristine Stolakis, decided to make Pray Away when her uncle, who had gone through conversion therapy, committed suicide. Julie Rodgers talked about self-harm, which is something that’s incredibly common, most notably in people who have undergone conversion therapy. Participants have been 8.4x more likely to commit suicide and 5.9x more likely to undergo severe depression. It’s also been connected deeply to an overall sense of hopelessness and an increase in self-hatred.

Conversion therapy is a practice that causes pain for the many people that were subjected to it. But the film did also evince that there is, at least somewhat, a way out. Many of the film’s subjects were able to enter into healthy homosexual relationships. On the film’s website, they list a variety of resources for those anguished by conversion therapy. These can be found HERE.