Posts tagged with "tv"

Golden Globes Illustration by Heather Skovlund

Golden Globes 2021

By Dana Feeney

The Golden Globes have kicked off the 2021 awards season despite the many production disruptions in television and film in 2020 due to the CoronaVirus pandemic. For those who may not be familiar with the Golden Globes, the globes are a film and television award show that happens once a year run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The awards were done remotely and hosted in tandem from opposite coasts by comedy powerhouses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Instead of the usual stacked audience of the biggest names in Hollywood, the members of the in-person audiences were front-line workers and first responders while celebrities watched from the safety of their homes via zoom. Fey and Poehler did not pull any punches during their opening monologue, which you can watch here.
The HFPA, a group of 87 international journalists from around 55 countries, does not have any black members. Fey commented on this almost immediately in the opening monologue saying, “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 international, no-black journalists.” Throughout the night different personalities commented on the lack of representation, including “Schitt’s Creek” co-creator Dan Levy who said “in the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year this ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated,” during his acceptance speech for Best TV Series. More critically, Sacha Baron Cohen, who won multiple awards including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” and said in his acceptance speech, “Thank you to the all-white Hollywood Foreign Press.”
One of the biggest snubs of the night was the lack of nominations for “I May Destroy You,” a British-American series starring, written, co-directed, and executive produced by Michaela Coel for BBC One and HBO. Many people are frustrated by the fact that “Emily in Paris,” which is a story about a white woman navigating Paris as an American, garnered nominations over “I May Destroy You.” Deborah Copaken, a writer for Netflix’s “Emily in Paris,” spoke to The Guardian and explain how much she believes “I May Destroy You” “deserves to win all the awards.” She speaks about how well the show “takes the complicated issue of a rape – I’m a sexual assault survivor myself – and infuses it with heart, humor, pathos.” You can read the rest of her take on “I May Destroy You” here.
Additionally, the film “Minari” won Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language, you can watch director Lee Isaac Chung‘s acceptance speech which features his daughter here. “Minari” was left out of the Best Motion Picture category supposedly because portions of the film were not in English, although the film is the story of a Korean-American family set in Arkansas. This created very similar dissent to last year’s exclusion of “Parasite” written and directed by Korean Filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, from the same category at the Golden Globes, which went on to win four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. You can find more information about “Minari” and where to watch it here.
On a more positive note, many deserving producers, directors, screenwriters, actors, actresses, and more were recognized for the high caliber of content produced this past year. One of the most heart-wrenching being Chadwick Boseman, who won his first Golden Globe for Best Actor in a motion picture, drama for his performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.His wife, Taylor Simone Ledward Boseman, accepted the award on his behalf and gave a beautiful acceptance speech which you can watch here. It’s highly anticipated that Boseman may go on to win a posthumous Academy Award for his performance.
History was made in many categories throughout the evening. Chloé Zhao is now the first woman and the first Asian woman to win Best Director. She won Best Director for the film “Nomadland“. Of the five individuals nominated for Best Director, three of them were women, Chloé Zhao, Emerald Fennell, and Regina King. This is the first time the HFPA has recognized more than one female director. You can see Zhao’s acceptance speech here. You can read more about this historic moment for women in film here.
Andra Day won Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her role in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” She is the second black actress to win the category since Whoopie Goldberg won for “The Color Purple” 35 years ago. You can see her ecstatic reaction alongside her family and her acceptance speech here and read more about her thoughts on her win here.
After his Best Screenplay, Motion Picture win for “The Trial of The Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin is now tied with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Bolt who respectively have three wins in the screenplay category. His past two wins were for “The Social Network” (2010) and “Steve Jobs” (2015), but he has received multiple other nominations for screenwriting in the past. You can watch his acceptance speech here.
Netflix, with 42 nominations and 10 wins, Amazon, with 10 nominations and three wins, and Apple TV, with four nominations and one win, took home huge victories for streaming services. Netflix’s limited series “The Crown” and “The Queen’s Gambit” were hugely popular and won a variety of accolades. For Amazon and Apple Tv, their ringers were “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “Ted Lasso” respectively.
You can see the full list of winner’s here.

Cardi B Illustration for 360 Mag

21 in 21

21 Afro-Latinxs to celebrate in 2021 and beyond! 

By: Javier Pedroza

It’s Black History Month, which gives the planet time to reflect on how African American achievements have contributed to US history and how African achievements have contributed to the world. Although, don’t forget it is important to highlight and celebrate Black accomplishments year around. Due to the current global climate, it’s important to become more knowledgeable and celebrate the Afro-Latinx population for its contributions to US history and the world.

After 2020, it is an especially important time to embolden the community to take part in the celebration of Black culture. This year, the Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” which explores the African diaspora and their contributions.

To really understand the African diaspora it is essential to acknowledge that there were more African slaves to Latin America than to the United States. “There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States,” Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said in a discussion about his PBS documentary series Black In Latin America. He added, “The real black experience, in terms of numbers, is all throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Today, Latinx should understand their roots, which have an undoubtedly long history of African heritage. Hispanics & Latinx identities are beautifully complex, multifaceted and multidimensional. A Pew Research Center survey of Latinx, adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinx self-identify as Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latinx population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latinx.

Many Latinos identify with their ancestral countries of origin – Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Peru, the Dominican Republic, etc. Others may also identify with their Indigenous roots and all of these experiences made contributions to Black History. A goal to have moving forward is to celebrate global Black History and continue to recognize the contributions African-Americans have made to the world, including achievements made by Afro-Latinxs & Afro-Indigenous people. It’s imperative for Latinxs to acknowledge their African & Indigenous heritage given that history and cultures are inextricably linked to slave trade in the Americas, genocide and the African Diaspora. 

Here’s a growing list of amazing Afro-Latino (a,x) heroes and their contributions. 

1. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

(January 24, 1874 – June 10, 1938)

Place of birth: Santurce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born to a Black mother and father of German descent, was a historian. Mr. Schomburg is considered to be one of the Fathers of Black History & a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Schomburg’s lifework consisted of research and preservation—work that would lead him to become one of the world’s premier collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, artwork, and diasporic materials. 

2. Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega 

(January 3, 1942)

Place of birth: East Harlem, New York

Contributions: Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega is an Afro-Boricua who established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas. 

3. Celia Cruz 

(October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003)

Place of birth: Havana, Cuba

Contributions: Celia Cruz was a singer & recording artist born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She was one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. Her many honors included three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys for recordings such as Ritmo en el corazón (1988; with Ray Barretto) and Siempre viviré (2000).

4. Dr. José Celso Barbosa 

(July 27, 1857 – September 21, 1921)

Place of birth: Bayamón, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. José Celso Barbosa was a Physician, Sociologist and Politician.  Known as the father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement, Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican, and one of the first persons of African descent to earn a medical degree in the United States.

5. Ruth Fernández (Ruth Noemi Fernández Cortada) 

(May 23, 1919 – January 9, 2012)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Contributions: Ruth Fernández, “El Alma de Puerto Rico Hecha Canción” (“The Soul of Puerto Rico Turned Song”) was a Puerto Rican contralto, actress, and a member of the Puerto Rican Senate. She was the first and only singer ever elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico. She was considered by many to be the Rosa Parks of Puerto Rico when she refused to enter the Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan through its back entrance because she was a woman of color. The owners of the hotel stated that blacks had to enter through the rear of the building, but during one evening where she was set to perform at the hotel’s ballroom, she marched into the hotel via its front entrance. After this event, the hotel changed its policy.

6. Cardi B (Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar)

(October 11, 1992)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York

Contributions: Afro-Latina Cardi B is a Dominican & Trinidadian rapper, songwriter, and actress raised in the Bronx, New York. Recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential female rappers of all time, Cardi B is known for her aggressive flow and candid lyrics, which have received widespread media coverage. She is the highest certified female rapper of all time on the RIAA’s Top Artists (Digital Singles) ranking, also appearing among the ten highest-certified female artists and having the two top-certified songs by a female rap artist.

She is the only female rapper with multiple billion-streams on Spotify and became the first artist to top the inaugural Billboard Global 200. Her accolades include a Grammy Award, eight Billboard Music Awards, five Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, eleven BET Hip Hop Awards and two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards. In 2018 Time magazine included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020, Billboard honored her as Woman of the Year. 

7. Rosa Alicia Clemente 

(April 18, 1972)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Afro-Boricua Rosa Alicia Clemente is the 2008 United States Vice-Presidential Candidate, Producer, Journalist, Political Commentator & Scholar-Activist. Rosa is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies of University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

8. Congressman Ritchie John Torres 

(March 12, 1988)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Ritchie Torres is an Afro-Boricua politician who is a member of the Democratic party. He is the US representative for New York’s 15th congressional district. Torres was the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx, and the youngest member of the city council. Torres won the November 2020 general election and assumed office on January 3, 2021. This makes him one of the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress (along with Mondaire Jones). This also made Torres the first openly gay Afro Latino elected to Congress. As such, he is one of the nine co-chairs of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in the 117th United States Congress. 

9. Zoe Saldana (Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario)

(June 19, 1978)

Place of birth: Passaic, New Jersey

Contributions: Zoe Saldaña is of mixed ethnic heritage, with her mother being of Puerto Rican descent and her father hailing from the Dominican Republic. Zoe is the only performer to get star billing in more than one movie that grossed over $2 billion worldwide with Avatar and Avengers: Infinity War. 

10. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos 

(September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican attorney, social activist, nationalist and the son of a mixed-race mother who was the daughter of slaves and a Basque father from a farming and landowning family. The latter not only provided no financial support but also did not legally recognize his son until he was 19, and Albizu Campos grew up in poverty. In 1912 he was awarded a scholarship to study chemistry and engineering at the University of Vermont. He transferred a year later to Harvard University, majoring in chemistry and literature and becoming the first Puerto Rican Harvard graduate. Many people in Puerto Rico consider Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos the father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. 

11. Carmelo Kyam Anthony

(May 29, 1984)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Carmelo Anthony is an Afro-Latino professional basketball player. He has been named an NBA All-Star ten times and an All-NBA Team member six-time Anthony also played in the 2016 Olympic Games, his fourth straight stint in the Olympics, which was a record for a US male basketball player, breaking the old record of having played in three Olympiads he shared with James and Robinson. He has celebrated his roots by giving back to Puerto Rico, remodeling basketball courts in a poor neighborhood 3 years in a row now. 

12. La La Anthony (Alani Nicole Vázquez) 

(June 25, 1981)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: La La Anthony is an Afro-Puerto Rican actress, host, producer and New York Times best-selling author. La La Anthony has supported charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gabrielle’s, Angel Foundation, GLAAD and Voto Latino. 

13. Rosie Perez (Rosa María Perez) 

(September 6, 1964)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Rosie Perez is an Afro-Latina actress, choreographer and community activist. Rosie was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by President Barack Obama in 2010. Among many honors, Rosie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fearless as well as three Emmy Awards for her work as a choreographer on In Living Color (1990–1994).

Perez has also performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. In addition, she was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series’ 18th season. 

14. MJ Rodriguez (Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez) 

(January 7, 1991)

Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey

Contributions: MJ Rodriguez is an African American and Puerto Rican actress who is among the largest cast of transgender actresses on the show Pose. MJ made history by becoming the first Trans woman to ever sign a beauty deal with Olay Body. MJ was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Special Trailblazer Award at the 31st Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington D.C. 

15. Ramon E. Contreras 

(22-years-old)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Ramon Contreras is a young political activist, advisor and filmmaker who is changing the nature of civic engagement by championing and encouraging minorities to participate in politics. Ramon is a fierce gun control enthusiast and founded YouthOverGuns, a platform advocating for change in underserved communities of color. He led a protest of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge and is the National Strategist for the nation-wide organization, March for Our Lives. 

16. Laith Ashley De La Cruz 

(July 6, 1989)

Place of birth: Harlem, New York

Contributions:  Laith Ashley is a model, actor, singer-songwriter and entertainer of Dominican descent. He was the first transgender man to be featured in a Diesel campaign. Laith has been on the cover of countless magazines and has had featured stories published on countless others all around the world; ie, British GQ.

Laith was on the cast of the reality TV series, “Strut,” executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, and raised the heart rates of viewers in his appearance on hit series, “Pose,” on FX. Ashley is also an activist, particularly in transgender issues. He worked with FLUX, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to trans and gender-nonconforming people. 

17. Dianne Morales 

(June 21, 1967)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York 

Contributions: Double Ivy League graduate Dianne Morales is an Afro-Boricua with degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. Dianne is the former CEO of several multi-million dollar social service nonprofits and is also the first Latina / Afro-Latina candidate for New York City Mayor. 

18. Johnny Pacheco 

(March 25, 1935 – February 15, 2021)

Place of birth: Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Contributions: Johnny Pacheco was one of the most influential artists of Latin music. He was one of the creators of The Fania All-Stars and Fania Record (#latinmotown), the most successful record label in the history of Latin music. 

19. Aida Rodriguez (Aida Margarita Parada Rodriguez) 

(August 29, 1977)

Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts

Contributions: Aida Rodriguez is a comedian, host, producer, actress and the first Latina / Afro-Latina (Puerto Rican & Dominican) to appear in two comedy specials airing in one month on both HBO and Showtime. Aida’s latest comedy special premiered on Netflix as part of the “They Ready” series hosted by Tiffany Haddish. Rodriguez has also appeared on Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, The Nightly Show, five-time host of the PBS Imagen Awards, NBC Last Comic Standing’s finals, TRUtv’s Laff Tracks and is also a regular contributor for The Young Turks. 

20. Indya Moore 

(January 17, 1995)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Indya Moore is of Haitian, Puerto Rican, and Dominican ancestry. They are an actor among the largest cast of transgender on the show Pose. Moore does not identify as a Latinx, and instead identifies as Afro-Taíno. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named them among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.” 

21. Gina Torres 

(April 25th, 1969)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York 

Contributions: Gina Torres is an actress and the first Afro-Latina to create, produce and star in her own show, ‘Pearson’. Torres won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series for her role in Cleopatra 2525. Gina also received the Best Supporting Actress award by The Imagen Foundation (Spanish for “image”) Awards, the only premier Latino entertainment awards program dedicated to honoring the positive portrayal and creative excellence of Latinos and Latino cultures on screen. 

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Michelin chef article illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

“Top Chef” Season 18

Bravo’s “Top Chef”, produced by Magical Elves, calls Portland, Oregon home for season 18, kicking off with two weeks of supersized premieres starting on Thursday, April 1 from 8:00 – 9:15 pm ET/PT.  This season, a new batch of 15 extremely talented Executive Chefs and restaurant owners, representing a cross-section of kitchens and food around the country, vie for the coveted title bringing their unique skillsets, diversity of cuisines and gamut of flavors.  With Portland as a picturesque backdrop and culinary inspiration, the chefs compete in a variety of challenges including celebrating PDX’s Pan-African cuisine to feeding hundreds of frontline workers and crabbing on the Oregon Coast in a tribute to the culinary icon and Oregonian James Beard.  For a sneak peek, visit Bravo’s website.

The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series returns with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.  For the first time ever, a collection of “Top Chef” all-star winners, finalists and favorites are joining an elite rotating judging and dining panel including Richard Blais, Carrie Baird, Nina Compton, Tiffany Derry, Gregory Gourdet, Melissa King, Kristen Kish, Edward Lee, Kwame Onwuachi, Amar Santana, Dale Talde and Brooke Williamson.   This season also includes appearances by José Andrés, Massimo Bottura, Gabriel Rucker and Alice Waters, as well as “Portlandia” stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein who stop by “Top Chef” Kitchen for a Quickfire Challenge.

Beginning Thursday, April 8, Bravo’s Emmy-Winning digital companion series “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen,” hosted by Tom Colicchio, returns for season ten as the eliminated chefs go head-to-head to try to cook their way back into the competition. Presented byBMW of North America,each week’s episode will be availableon Bravotv.com, On Demand or wherever you stream Bravo’s “Top Chef” at the conclusion of each week’s episode.

Meet the New Cheftestants:

*For more information on the cheftestants, please visit  Bravo’s website.

During a time of extreme hardship in the restaurant industry, these chefs have more on the line than ever before.  From working with foraged mushrooms and picking produce at the famous Hood River Fruit Loop to visiting the Tillamook Creamery, the chefs are tasked with cooking with Oregon’s natural bounty of ingredients.  With Padma, Tom and Gail and a table full of alums to impress, the expectations have never been higher, especially in this year’s unique Restaurant Wars where the teams must perfectly execute on a micro-restaurant concept with a cohesive seven-course tasting menu that rivals the best in the world. To stay in the game, the chefs must cook at their best while contending with a Quickfire using ingredients used on the Oregon Trail and a surf and turf elimination challenge honoring the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. While in the “City of Roses,” the judges definitely don’t hold back their thorns as they narrow it down to find this season’s “Top Chef.”

The winning chef will earn the coveted title of “Top Chef,” $250,000 furnished by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, a feature in FOOD & WINE magazine and an appearance at the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.

Last season, “Top Chef” ranked as 2020’s #1 food show across all of cable, averaging nearly 1 million P18-49 and 1.1 million P25-54.  Additionally, the season was up 42% on Video On Demand/Streaming, all told, it was viewed over 10 million times.  (Food Show: Nielsen, L7, P18-49/P25-54, FY 2020, including food programs across cable, excluding repeats. VOD/Streaming: Rentrak and Adobe Analytics, S17 vs. S16, includes STB, TVE (on+off), dMVPD, and OVD.)

“Top Chef” is produced by the Emmy Award-winning production company Magical Elves with Casey Kriley, Jo Sharon, Doneen Arquines and Hillary Olsen serving as executive producers.

About Magical Elves 

Magical Elves is a leading producer of award-winning, non-fiction content for domestic and international television markets. Known for hits like “Top Chef” (Bravo), “Nailed It!” (Netflix), “Sugar Rush” (Netflix), “Cold Justice” (Oxygen) and “Brain Games” reboot (Nat Geo), Magical Elves is a veteran production company with a long track record of consistently delivering the highest quality programming. Magical Elves is a part of The Tinopolis Group’s portfolio of production companies. For more information, visit www.magicalelves.com.

About Bravo Media

Bravo is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content across all platforms. The network features a diverse slate of original programming, including Emmy Award-winning “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” fan-favorites “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Southern Charm,” and the highly popular “Million Dollar Listing” and “The Real Housewives” franchises. Bravo also boasts the only live late-night talk show on television with the critically acclaimed “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” which has become a nightly destination for A-list celebrities. Bravo is part of the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming portfolio, which includes NBCU’s broadcast, cable and streaming platforms: NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA Network and Peacock. For more information, visit BravoTV.com.

QxA Davis Mallory

By Vaughn Lowery and Hannah DiPilato

Davis Mallory from MTV’s The Real World, discusses his struggle with alcoholism as well as how far he has come in his career. 

360 Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with Davis Mallory, a contestant from The Real World on MTV. He is now pursuing a music career while educating others about alcoholism. As an openly gay Christian, he hoped to share his story with others as a television personality as well as a musician. 

What was it like being on MTV’s The Real World Season 18? Any regrets? Do you still stay in contact with other cast members?

I was a senior in college, 21-years-old, when I auditioned for and was cast on MTV’s 18th season of the Real World, located in Denver Colorado. I was a fan of the show and had just come out of the closet to my classmates that summer. I felt that I had an interesting story to tell – being a Christian and openly gay was not something I had not seen on TV before – and I wanted to prove you could be both, while also showcasing a more masculine image of homosexuality than was often shown on TV.

Immediately after the show ended I flew around to colleges in the USA discussing and often debating Biblical professors in front of a student body; dissecting Bible verses and their interpretations on homosexuality. My grandfather James Davis Mallory JR (whom I’m named after) is a Christian author and psychiatrist – and so I was raised very orthodox – Southern Baptist. I found this time to be very rewarding and something I’m proud of – to date I still receive messages from viewers of the show expressing their gratitude for my story on The Real World.

I of course have regrets during my time on the show – I think most people who have done that show in their 20s will tell you they regret things they did or said. We were all heavily fed alcohol which created chaos, confusion, fights and hookups. I’m still close with several cast members, two of them live in Nashville so I see them most often. Tori Hall, who was on Road Rules and married Brad Fiorenza (I attended their wedding) and Brooke Labarbera, who was on my season of the Real World are two people I remain close with and I spent much of this summer 2020 with both of them!

What led up to you having an issue with drugs and alcohol? How’s life after sobriety? Are there any triggers that make it difficult to remain sober?

When I was younger (before trying alcohol) my mother told me to NEVER drink, instead of teaching me how to drink. This was because my parent’s divorce was caused in part by my father’s alcoholism. When I went off to college, I got drunk for the first time and I quickly progressed into blacking out when I drank. I would sometimes wake up the next morning and hearing stories from my friends about stupid things I said or did the night before. I tried to get that under control by lowering the amount of alcohol I drank and by not drinking hard alcohol.

I went through many chapters of my life taking breaks from drinking and reducing my alcohol intake. My father has now been completely sober for over a decade and his example is a big inspiration in my own decision to completely quit drinking. I’ve now been sober for 4 years. After reaching my 1-year mark of sobriety I had a big regret – that I hadn’t quit earlier. I felt so much better – I looked so much better and I just wished I had fully quit earlier in my life.

Thankfully, perhaps due to God or just growing up, I have ZERO temptation to drink anymore. I’m constantly reminded why I quit when I see other people’s struggles with alcohol. I have seen people wheeled off in an ambulance with alcohol poisoning, I’ve had close friends die from alcohol poisoning, a friend’s mother recently did; another close friend died from an overdose of drugs mixed with fentanyl recently. These everyday reminders keep me sober.

I really wish our society didn’t glorify drinking in movies/commercials/music, because the downfall from alcohol is not being taught to children: accidentally death, liver disease, the fighting it causes, relationships ruined, horrible, absent or addicted parents, job losses, physical damage it does to our bodies and faces are never shown in these alcohol commercials.

What was it like growing up with an uncle who had access to major recording artists like Wynonna Judd? Did that experience help shape you into the artist you are today? If so, how?

My uncle Chaz managed pop artist Amy Grant for many years and still manages Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith. My uncle John Mallory wrote songs for artists Wynonna Judd, Sixpence None the Richer, Ty Herndon and more. I  grew up in the music industry, attending a lot of these artist’s concerts and meeting them – I spent summers on Amy Grant’s farm in Nashville – I was a huge fan of her and Michael W. Smith.

As a kid I dreamt of being a singer and wanted to have careers like theirs – my positive message songs “Faith,” “Not That Far Away” “Lost” and “Somebody’s Watching” are examples of songs influenced by Amy & Michael’s music. I did not expect to become a songwriter. How songs were written was a mystery as a kid – I knew singers sang them but didn’t know how they were created. When I started out on this journey to becoming a recording artist I had to watch and learn from others in numerous songwriting sessions until I really got the hang of doing it myself.

During your first year in Nashville, one of your former cast members (Diem Brown) passed away from cancer. How did their loss impact your life at the time?

Diem Brown passed away in 2014 – I moved to Nashville at the end end of 2013 – so I had just started my journey into songwriting. My first original released song is titled “Beautiful Girl’s (Diem’s Song)”, a song I wrote about Diem with award-winning songwriters Ben Goldsmith and Tori Tullier. The song debuted in People Magazine, where Diem was a news reporter and received press in E! News, US Weekly and more outlets.

Diem and I grew up in nearby parts of Georgia (I’m from Marietta, she’s from Roswell – just 15 min away) although we did not meet until we did the show. Diem was a sorority sister with my mother’s best friend’s daughter, Carly Hartwick, who first introduced us over email prior to our meeting in person for the first time when Diem and I did an MTV Challenge together: The Duel II in New Zealand.

Diem and I gave a school speech together where she shared wisdom on pursuing one’s career goals by interviewing those with the same job, Diem becoming a News Anchor where she met her idol Katie Couric to ask questions on how to get to Katie’s place in life. Diem’s speech really inspired me as I chased after my own career dreams in music, so when she lost her battle to cancer I was deeply saddened and wrote the song to memorialize her through music. Her sisters’ often use the song on the anniversary of her death, which I’m always touched to see.

You grew up in Atlanta but now reside in Nashville. Do you prefer one city over the other? If so why?

I was born in Atlanta and raised in a suburb of Atlanta called Marietta. After attending college in Florida at Stetson University, I returned to Atlanta for 2 years before moving to NYC. I have not lived in Atlanta since 2009; however, I return every year to see my family who still live there. It’s changed a lot, the movie industry was not there when I left, and in my song titled “Atlanta,” the first song on my upcoming album Little Victory, I talk about my journey from Atlanta to New York and now Nashville with a longing for my hometown and noticing how much the city has changed.

I moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music, hearing it was a land full of songwriters. The things I really like about Nashville are the people and culture here. There are really great moralistic people here and I am thankful for that as it’s a safe great place to live. Nashville is like going to college in the music industry – people in all stages of their careers are here and many are willing to collaborate. I would not be where I am today if not for Nashville.

What are some of your musical inspirations? Can you name a few people that have inspired you or who continue to inspire you?

Aside from mainstream pop artists like Britney Spears, George Michael, NSYNC, Michael Jackson, Robyn, Prince, Mariah Carey, the real-life connections that have influenced my career include Parson James (vocalist on Kygo’s “Stole the Show”) who is one of the first people I wrote music with. We met in NYC in 2013, I followed him to Los Angeles to write with him and moved to Nashville prompted by advice from his then-manager who thought I sounded like a Country artist.

Roger Murrah (BMI Songwriter of the Decade and writer of several Country music #1s) is one of the first people I met when I moved to Nashville. At the time I was still learning how to write songs, so I watched him work in several sessions and I began to understand how to write the way he did.

Scot Sax (Grammy-winning songwriter for Tim McGraw/Faith Hill’s “Like We Never Loved At All”) is another person who was very influential on my songwriting journey – he taught me how the B52s recorded “Love Shack” in a go-as-you-flow style recording their ideas on the spot to build the song.

Aside from these few names, I have been in over 300 songwriting sessions, and I’ve traveled writing music in Europe (Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Malmo, London, Amsterdam), New York and Los Angeles. Everyone along the way has taught me something, a new trick or technique to writing music or producing music and I’m thankful for everyone who has worked with me.

As a songwriter, how do you come up with themes? Is your music based on an isolated experience or a chapter of your life?

I keep an ongoing note on my phone called Songwriting Ideas so that whenever I get an idea for a song I write it down there. I then bring these ideas into songwriting sessions to get something started. Sometimes I get a melody (occasionally during a dream) and record these on my phone, using it as another tool to get songs started.

In 2018 music publicist, Lyndie Wenner asked me what my most popular social media posts were – to which I replied: shirtless photos of myself. So she told me I needed to write a song called “Shirtless” and I did, releasing that song in 2019. This conversation with Lyndie changed the way I wrote songs. Before I was writing broader subjects, and after I began to write more about the things I saw my audience interested in. I still observe that the things I write about center around one of 4 themes: 1. God and my faith; 2. Love lost of found; 3. Partying and dancing, of 4. Overcoming addictions.

Another influential person in my songwriting career is PollyAnna (Dutch pop/EDM vocalist, songwriter of Paris Hilton’s new song “I Blame You”). I spent a summer writing with her in Nashville, Los Angeles and Berlin and  I observed her taking random phrases we said in conversations and writing them down for future songwriting materials. I now do the same, whenever something unusual is said in a conversation. PollyAnna and I wrote a song together in Berlin called “Without You, I Feel Good”, which has now been signed to Soave Records, produced by a DJ named Nexeri, and coming out on February 26, 2021.

What words of wisdom would you offer an emerging artist who is trying to break into the business?

The words “If you build it they will come” from the great baseball movie Field of Dreams, is a motto that holds a strong place in my mind regarding my strategy to release music and gradually having people discover your work. I have a business model of writing songs and selling them to DJ/producers and I think this is a great move for up-and-coming singers to build a name for themselves.

My first job after college (post-Real World) was a sales job that required reaching out to 100 potential customers every day with the expectation that between 1-10 would buy something – I now use this strategy in my music career in so many facets and find the same results.

Is there anything you would like to speak about that we didn’t already touch on? What can your fans look forward to?

2020 was set to have me perform in Germany, Boston, Chicago, Palm Springs, North Carolina but the shows were of course canceled due to the pandemic. I look forward to getting back to touring though and to meet more people who have been asking when I will be in their city. I have been spending the last year working on new music with DJs, finally releasing the sophomore album that I have been alluding to and even developing an idea for a third project of which some of the songs are ready 🙂

Little Victory is an upcoming single/video that you’re pushing. It’s an extremely inspirational piece of work about someone feeling like a fish out of water. What prompted such a piece?

I wrote “Little Victory” after returning from Israel where I had met and was at the time long-distance dating Israeli singer-songwriter Elhay Cohen, the song idea came from my co-writer: female Canadian producer and songwriter Robyn Dell’Unto. December 2020 French DJ RetroVision released a version of this song on Don Diablo’s record label Hexagon and the original version is going on my forthcoming album of the same name.

Retrovision, Davis Mallory – Little Victory 

Little Victory Music Video 

Little Victory single 

Pre-Save for the album Little Victory

Here is a private SoundCloud tracklisting for the “Little Victory” album:

  1. Atlanta –a song I wrote about my hometown, my journey to NYC and Nashville to pursue music – with nostalgia for Atlanta – the city where I had my first heartbreak and how much the city has changed since I left (it’s now a film industry).
  2. Ain’t Afraid – features a big name in the EDM industry Luma (Seven Lions, Nurko, Zack Martino) – who I co-wrote the song with – it’s about not being afraid to fall in love
  3. Little Victory– co-written with and produced by female Canadian artist Robyn Dell’Unto – a remix of this song made by French artist RetroVision released on Don Diablo’s label Hexagon. “Little Victory” is about a summer romance with my Israeli ex who I met after I opened for Eurovision winner Netta who told me I had to visit Israel.
  4. Fire Signs – features Miss Audrey the Katy Perry-inspired Best Pop Artist at the Nashville Industry Music Awards, I wrote this song in Sweden about zodiac chemistry compatibility – I’m a Leo and Miss Audrey an Aries, we’re both Fire Signs.
  5. Shirtless– this is a new Countrified mix of the song that aired on MTV’s War of the Worlds and became the theme song for men’s swimwear line: Poolboy
  6. Heavy – features an all LGBTQ identifying cast – with vocalist Blake Leider and rapper Daisha McBride – discusses why relationships have to be so heavy, produced by Danish Aren Anderson and Ukrainian Depdramez.
  7. Can You Tell Me?– produced by Canadian artist BLEM and written in Berlin with Vincent Stefansson and Valentin Glage – “Can You Tell Me?” is about being ghosted. Where does all the love go in this modern era when two people separate and the romance suddenly dies.
  8. Say You Hate Me– written in Sweden the same week as “Fire Signs” “Shirtless” and previously released single “Jane Fonda” – “Say You Hate Me” is a very Britney Spears/NSYNC-style Swedish pop song co-written with and produced by Magnus Funemyr about a relationship that has grown stale.
  9. Sink or Swim – with references to Madonna, Beyonce’s “hot sauce,” and Whitney Houston’s “receipts” – “Sink or Swim” is about a cheating partner and the end of a relationship, produced by Option A. Music video coming by Russian filmmaker Dmitry Zhitov.
  10. Forget You– co-written with Nashville female EDM vocalists Notelle & Luma, produced by artist Swiss DJ FENOX – “Forget You” is about the end of a relationship and having a hard time letting go of the memories.
  11. Broken Dreams– this unreleased version by Ukrainian producer Depdramez – was co-written with pop artist Drew Schueler – tells the story of all the hard work artists put into chasing their dreams of stardom.
  12. Faith – written in 2020 at the start of this pandemic with American Idol contestant Madeline Finn, “Faith” is an uplifting anthem giving hope for all to not lose their faith in these trying times, produced by Austrian producer Jakob Koller.

The music video for Can You Tell Me?” is scheduled to release on 2/19/2021

Serpant Image

The Serpent Soundtrack

Dubois Records releases a soundtrack album for the BBC and Netflix limited series The Serpent.

The album features selections of the show’s original music composed by Dominik Scherrer who has worked on The Missing, Primeval, Ripper Street, The Widow, and Requiem.

The Serpent is developed by Tom Shankland & Richard Warlow and stars Tahar Ramin, Jenna Coleman, Billy Howle, Mathilde Warnier, Ellie Bamber, Alice Englert, Gregoire Isvarine, Sahajak Boonthanakit and Fabien Frankel. The 8-part drama tells the true story of Charles Sobhraj, a murderer, thief and seductive master of disguise, who was the the chief suspect in the unsolved murders of up to 20 young Western travelers on Asia’s hippie trail in the mid-70s.

The Mammoth Screen production currently airs in the UK every Sunday night on BBC One and will premiere worldwide on Netflix later this year.

“This is a real story: a very fascinating one, but also an extremely disturbing and frightening one. The victims were real, and some of the characters are still alive. The material needed to be treated with respect and sensationalism avoided,” said composer Dominik Scherrer on his inspiration for scoring the serial killer drama.

Lead director Tom Shankland and I already discussed this project five years ago. It had been in preparation for a long time. In terms of the music, Tom wanted the story to be told through a haze of psychedelic 1970s upheaval: drugs, ruthless politics, the old world order changed,” continued Scherrer.

For a story set in the 70s, it would have been all too easy to resort to cliches such as funky Wah-wah guitars. We wanted the music to live in this tumultuous, cultural restlessness, and to create an environment, where Sobhraj’s brutality could breed, and go undetected for so long.

Charles Sobhraj was an admirer of Nietzsche, dominating and subjugating his victims, as if he saw himself perhaps as the superior ‘Ubermensch’. I was keen to infuse the musical strands with a kind of Zarathustran drive to banish otherworldly values. The young hippies were in search of these otherworldly values, they wanted to explore the teachings of Eastern spirituality, and Sobhraj put a brutal end to their journeys.

In the 1970s, composers like Steve Reich and Philip Glass started to draw influence from Asian music. Their study of southeast Asian music, such as gamelan, on its subsequent influence on Western minimalism was an inspiration for the score of The Serpent. Their music felt forward-thinking, which was important as we wanted to avoid the notion of ‘retro’ throughout the score. ‘Retro’ would have resulted in cosy nostalgia, the opposite of what we wanted.

“Score recording took part in London  and Bangkok, where most of the filming took place as well. At Karma Sound Studios, some of the country’s finest singers and instrumentalists played gongs, ranat ek (Thai marimba), phin (Thai mandolin), khaen (Thai harmonica), together with a Western line-up, and myself on piano in the same room. Other solos were simply recorded in Bangkok hotel rooms. The idea was not to pursue ethnic authenticity, but to evoke the aforementioned cultural tumult clashing with the kind of eastern spirituality as explored by George Harrison and John Lennon.”

“Another influence were the new developments in advanced synthesis, which in the mid 1970s was seen a major new avenue in music creation and performance. In the early 70s, a huge, room-filling modular synthesiser called “Tonto” was built and musicians created extraordinary sounds with what is still now the largest polyphonic analogue synth ever built. It was subsequently used by Steve Wonder and Michael Jackson. It still exists, and our synth programmer Stephan Baer, who happened to use the same technician who also serviced ‘Tonto’, managed to recreate patches of that synth, which contribute to the sound of “The Serpent” with unexpected and brutal elements.”

Sight & Sound said, “Dominik Scherrer’s marvellous score, a riot of analogue synths and percussion drawing on exploitation movie soundtracks of yore to intoxicating effect, and adding just a hint of illicit viewing pleasure to spice up the schedules.”

About Dominik Scherrer:

Dominik Scherrer has created award-winning music for some of the finest film and television dramas in recent years. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the critically-acclaimed series The Missing, and recently won his second Ivor Novello Award for his score on Netflix’s Requiem, which he co-composed with Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes.

Dominik first won the prestigious British Ivor Novello Award and received a Royal Television Society (RTS) nomination for his riveting score on Ripper Street. He earned two additional Ivor Novello nominations for Amazon’s The Collection and the British crime series Agatha Christie’s Marple.

Dominik recently reunited with the Williams brothers to score Amazon’s thriller series The Widow, starring Kate Beckinsale. He also scored the landmark dramas An Inspector Calls and Monroe.

Equally accomplished in film scoring, Dominik’s credits include The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz for which Dominik won the Best Music Award at Spain’s Estapona Film Festival; Alice Through The Looking Glass starring Kate Beckinsale; Alina Marazzi’s Tutto Parla Di Te (All About You); and Scenes of a Sexual Naturestarring Ewan McGregor and Hugh Bonneville. He scored Appetitestarring Ute Lemper, and wrote the film’s title song which reached No. 2 on the UK classical charts.

Dominik also created, directed and composed the kinetic operaHell for Leather, which premiered at Sundance and won 10 awards on the festival circuit.

In addition to scoring film and TV, he produces sound design and composes for fine art installations – most notably for artist Suki Chan – and creates performance music for theatre.

Dominik is a British-Swiss composer and works from his studio in London.

Tracklist

1. He likes to Escape (1:50)
2. State of Flux (2:46)
3. Herman in the Rain (1:14)
4. Drive to Kanit House (1:08)
5. Discotheque Darkness (0:29)
6. Teresa Knowlton (3:47)
7. Afghanistan Driving (2:24)
8. Embassy Phone Calls (1:04)
9. Malevolent Beach Game (0:54)
10. Searching Apartment 504 (1:47)
11. Homocidal Übermensch (1:31)
12. Colonel Somphol of Interpol (1:59)
13. Dominique’s Passport (2:51)
14. Gem Dealers (2:42)
15. Front Page News (1:50)
16. Copy Shop (1:08)
17. Cashing Cheques (1:08)
18. Tihar Jail, Delhi (3:02)
19. Epic Journey (2:11)

Straight Up Steve Austin Season 2 Returns Jan. 11

In “Straight Up Steve Austin,” WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and a celebrity guest get real, heading out to different cities across America to take part in one-of-a-kind adventures, while swapping stories about their lives and careers. It’s a unique twist on the standard interview show, with no studio, no couch and no cue cards — just a straight up good time and good old-fashioned American fun. Season one was 2019’s #1 new unscripted cable series for men between the ages of 18-49 and 25-54.*

Second season guests include stand-up comedian and one of this generation’s best storytellers Bert Kreischer, NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre, WWE Superstar Charlotte Flair, hip hop icon and actor Ice-T, award-winning country musician Luke Combs, acclaimed comedian, actor and host Joel McHale, “Jackass” prankster Steve-O, and producer and Emmy Award-winning comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish.

The series is produced by Line by Line Media and executive produced by Steve Austin, Dave Barsky, Deb Cullen, Sam Sarkoob and Bob Unger. 

Watch the trailer: HERE

#StraightUpSteveAustin

About USA Network

USA Network has been a #1 cable entertainment network for 14 years, and is home to the most compelling television properties in the industry. Serving a broad, passionate fanbase, USA’s diverse slate includes popular award-winning dramas, unfiltered family comedies, buzzy unscripted, weekly live WWE programming, and a portfolio of sought-after acquired series and movies. USA is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

*Source: Nielsen L3 (000), 12/30/18-11/19/19, M-Su 6p-12a, 6+ telecasts

Rita Azar Illustrates an Entertainment Article for 360 MAGAZINE

E!’S “DAILY POP” LISTINGS: JAN 5th – JAN 8th

Tune into E!’s “Daily Pop” weekdays at 11:00am ET/PT. Continue reading to see what E!’s “Daily Pop” will have in store January 5th through January 8th.

Tuesday, January 5  – Matt James joins us to talk about the season premiere of “The Bachelor.”  And we recap, discuss and get all the inside dirt on the 25th season of “The Bachelor” with Chris Harrison. Plus, Hollywood Skin Expert, Nurse Jamie joins us LIVE to discuss top plastic surgery trends for 2021.

Wednesday, January 6  –  Erin McKenna joins us LIVE in-studio to show us healthy treats for the New Year.

Thursday, January 7  – Author and Relationship Expert Diann Valentine joins us LIVE in-studio to chat about making over your love life in 2021 and celebrity fitness trainer Diann Valentine joins us LIVE in-studio to breakdown his fitness routine for the stars.

Friday, January 8  –  Fashion expert, Allison Deyette joins us LIVE in-studio to discuss styles to keep, ditch and try in 2021.

ABOUT E!’S DAILY POP

E! brings fans even more custom content when and where they are watching with the introduction of new live daytime broadcast series, “Daily Pop.” Hosted by pop culture personalities Carissa Culiner, Morgan Stewart and Justin Sylvester, the program delivers fun, insightful and relatable conversations centered around the biggest, most fascinating pop culture stories of the day. “Daily Pop” airs weekdays at 11:00am ET/PT on E!.

Top TV Social Conversation for 2020

In a year of superlatives – unprecedented, unbelievable, unexpected, one thing that could be counted on was how much more screen time we’d all be adding to our day. Lockdowns and quarantines meant that, film and television viewing saw quite a boost; by the second half of 2020, TV streaming had increased 25%.

Talkwalker Social Content Ratings measured the social conversation around this increase to understand what people were saying about their favorite shows, actors and networks this year according to online engagement numbers through its Top Social TV report.

While 2020 was a year of many challenges, the results from this report will not disappoint TV fans. Top programs saw millions of engagements, with many new series getting just as much buzz as returning hits. From “The Last Dance” to “Dancing With The Stars,” the results show that TV and film provided a welcome respite to audiences (and a nice way to escape the 24-hour news cycle) during a pretty heavy year.

The analysis shows not only which programs people were talking about most in social media, but what they were saying, too. Combined with social listening data, we can see how cultural moments, emotional drivers, and product tie-ins impacted conversations around top series, films, and talent in 2020, according to Talkwalker Social Content Ratings.

“Talkwalker Social Content Ratings’ Top of 2020 lists showcase programming that captures consumer attention and buzz generated across social platforms,” says Sean Casey, Head of Media, Talkwalker. “As consumer behavior evolves and television expands, SCR is able to keep pace with the growing volume of programming, network promotional strategies and dynamic consumer conversation to provide comprehensive social ratings across the television marketplace.”

The full report is available here.  Some highlights include:

Top Primetime & Late Fringe Series

1. The Last Dance                    4.1 million interactions /episode

2. WWE Monday Night Raw   2.15 million

3. American Idol                     1.92 million

Top New Series

1. The Last Dance                    4.1 million interactions/episode

2. The Undoing                       210.3 thousand

3. Celebrity Game Face           203.2 thousand

Top Scripted Series

1. Grey’s Anatomy                  1.12 million interactions/episode

2. Riverdale                             885.6 thousand

3. This is Us                             602.7 thousand

Top Premium Cable Series

1. Insecure (HBO)                                410.4 thousand interactions/episode

2. The Undoing (HBO)                         210.3 thousand

3. Lovecraft Country (HBO)                162.1 thousand

Top Ad-Supported Cable Series

1. The Last Dance                                4.1 million interactions/episode

2. WWE Monday Night Raw               2.15 million

3. WWE NXT                                       790.7 thousand

Top Spanish-Language Prime & Late Fringe Series

1. Tu cara me suena                            172.1 thousand interactions/episode

2. La Voz                                              135.4 thousand

3. Quien es la mascara?                      35.9 thousand

Top Prime Series Talent Overall

1. Katy Perry (American Idol)                          16.3 million owned engagements

2. Sean Hannity (Fox News)                            13.9 million

3. Terry Crews (America’s Got Talent)           7.44 million

Top Spanish-Language Prime Series Talent

1. Ana Brenda Contreras (Tu cara me suena)             573.4 thousand owned engagements

2. Luis Fonsi (La Voz)                                                   536.5 thousand

3. WISIN (La Voz)                                                        472.6 thousand

Top TV Specials

1. 2020 MTV Video Music Awards                              40 million engagements

2. 2020 American Music Awards (ABC)                      33.4 million

3. The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards (CBC)                24.9 million

Top Sports Events

1. Super Bowl (FOX)                           43.9 million interactions

2. NBA Finals (ABC) Oct. 11                27.5 million

3. NBA Basketball (ESPN) Jan. 31       21.9 million

*Total Interactions = Original social media posts across Facebook, Instagram Business/Creator  Accounts, and Twitter related to a linear TV episode and the engagement with that content.

**Owned Engagements = Social media activity generated off of the original posts sent by accounts owned or affiliated with TV programming. Owned engagement for Facebook includes comments, shares, and likes. Owned engagement for Instagram includes comments and likes. Owned engagement for Twitter includes retweets, quotes, replies, and likes.

About Talkwalker

Talkwalker is a social listening and analytics company that empowers over 2,000 brands and agencies to optimize the impact of their communication effohttp://bit.ly/2KnRvjbrts. We provide companies with an easy-to-use platform to protect, measure, and promote their brands worldwide, across all communication channels.

Talkwalker’s state-of-the-art social media analytics platform uses AI-powered technology to monitor and analyze online conversations in real-time across social networks, news websites, blogs and forums in 187 languages. Talkwalker has offices in New York, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Frankfurt, and Singapore. It is also the home of Talkwalker Alerts, a free alerting service used by over 500,000 communications and marketing professionals worldwide.

Griffin Matthews Photography By Carson Davis Brown

Q×A With Griffin Matthews

By Justin Lyons

360 Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with actor, Griffin Matthews, to discuss his successful career. Matthews has been able to work on shows such as Dear White People, Ballers and The Flight Attendantas well as co-writing a successful musical. We were able to discuss his future career plans as well as his activism in the community.

Among acting, writing, directing and other creative positions, which one do you like the best, and which one allows you to best express your own creativity?

I love acting. I love writing. But I ultimately think I’m a director through and through. The responsibility of guiding the entire vision is so exciting to me. It’s such an honor when I get to direct because every story is a little baby that needs to be nurtured properly and guided along her way. And guess what? I’m such a dad. 

How has working with streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max changed the way you address your audience?

When you work on Netflix or HBO you get to really find your unedited voice. You get to be risky, controversial, imperfect, fabulous, complicated, political…I’ve been so lucky to get to work on Dear White People, Ballers and The Flight Attendant because I always felt like I could fire from all cylinders on day one. I did not need to ask for permission. I got to bring my entire self to each role. I got to curse. And kiss boys. And wear g-strings. And travel the world.

How do you use your experience acting in productions like The Flight Attendant to inform and influence your ideas on the stage?

I will always go back to the theater. I’m a theater kid. It’s where I honed my talent. So every experience that I have, I think about how I will translate that to the stage. I was lucky enough to travel the world and meet incredible people and see exotic places while we were shooting The Flight Attendant. I spent afternoons alone rummaging through the Bangkok market and got lost in the streets of Rome. I made friends with strangers and made peace with being a grown man and also homesick. As a writer, I’m a sponge. I soak up life and then look for an opportunity to let the water run out all over the stage.

How do you approach the assembly of a theatre show differently from how you approach the direction of a concert?

I approach concerts the exact same way that I approach theater. When I directed Shoshana Bean and Cynthia Erivo’s holiday concert at The Apollo, we had endless conversations about story and themes and vulnerability. All of those things make for an exciting night in the theater! I think a lot of concert directors only think about pyrotechnics, but I like to think about the heart of the performers. The message. The mission. And let all of those things spill out…and of course, we add some pyrotechnics, too!

How does your activism influence the projects you choose to be involved in or choose to create yourself?

Activism is such a sexy word these days. It seems like everyone claims to be. For me, my personal pledge is to be an activist when everyone’s looking, but more importantly when no one’s looking. That pledge always checks my motives and my ego as I navigate projects and stories that I want to be a part of it. Every time I sign on to a project, I bring my whole self, my whole truth, the parts that are great and the parts that are ugly. That’s what I’ve learned running a nonprofit for over 15 years. So much of the work is tough. It’s messy. But it’s real.

What are you most excited about with your career in the near future?

I’m currently developing a musical series with Ester Dean that will center black queer voices. It’s really exciting because I’m a fan of Ester and her work (Pitch Perfect, songwriter of Katy Perry’s “Firework” and Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”). She’s broken many ceilings in this industry as a songwriter, actor, musician, and host. We both want to create a show where young people (who look like Ester and I) will see their truths accurately and joyfully reflected on screen. I’m also directing a film called The Amish Project by a playwright named Jessica Dickey. When I tell people that I’m working on it, it can raise eyebrows because people don’t often hear about black directors working on pieces that don’t center black narratives. But here’s the thing: black directors want to direct EVERYTHING. And we can. And we will. And I’m excited to finally get my shot!

What is a creative role you haven’t taken up that you’d like to at some point in your career?

I really want to direct for TV. For some reason, the thought scares the hell out of me! There’s so much to manage: logistics, people, locations, safety, technology, performances, but I’m fascinated by it. It’s time for me to tackle that fear and get behind the camera ASAP. 

Rita Azar Illustrates an Entertainment Article for 360 MAGAZINE

ABC’S LOCALISH ANNOUNCES ‘OUTstanding’

Localish introduces a limited digital series OUTstanding” executive produced and hosted by award-winning “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Localish.com on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The limited series consists of five episodes focusing on LGBTQ individuals throughout the country making major contributions to their communities. Grounded in its mission to bring out the good in cities across America, each episode will highlight resilient and inspiring LGBTQ individuals ranging from a gay couple adopting a teenager during the COVID-19 pandemic and a bisexual country singer/songwriter to a business owner/winemaker and local activists who are unapologetically “OUTstanding.”

“These people have been inspirations in their own communities for years and I can’t wait for more people to get to know them,” said Michael Koenigs, executive producer of the Localish Network. “Their remarkable lives and uplifting stories are just the thing we need right now!”

“Jesse has been such a tireless advocate for LGBTQ issues over the years and brought so much personal energy to this project,” continued Koenigs. “By featuring extraordinary LGBTQ families in all different corners of this country, we’re excited to inspire audiences with real examples of leaders trailblazing more inclusive paths in their communities.”

With producers based in major cities across the U.S., Localish worked with Ferguson to identify and remotely film LGBTQ individuals who faced major challenges, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives.

“The pandemic forced us to rethink our approach to production, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for telling amazing stories that make us proud of our neighbors,” added Koenigs.

In addition to streaming on Localish’s digital-owned platform Localish.com, the series will post one episode a week on Localish’s social platforms with cross-promotion on Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s social media platforms @jessetyler on both Instagram and Twitter, and on ABC Owned Television Stations’ 32 connected TV apps across Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

Episodes include the following:

  • Episode 1 – Record-Breaking Zoom Adoption:  The Beanblossoms fostered their now-son Michael for a year before adopting him, during the pandemic, in what became the biggest Zoom adoption ever. During this time, the  Beanblossoms lost their home in a fire and now look to the future to build a new house that meets the needs of their growing family.
  • Episode 2 Queer Country Star:  Sarah Shook grew up in a fundamentalist Christian family rural in North Carolina where she was only allowed to listen to classical and worship music. Shook identifies as bisexual and is politically active in supporting LGBT and civil rights causes. Sarah Shook formed a country band, the Disarmers, with an outspoken message for all.
  • Episode 3 Formerly Homeless Activist: Young, Black, gay and homeless, TyRon Jackson used to think he didn’t matter. Now his work speaks for itself.  His nonprofit Operation Warm Wishes (OWW) has been giving back to those in need for 13 years. Unbeknownst to him, his community has come together to surprise him with a life-changing gift.
  • Episode 4 Trailblazing Winemaker: Winemaker Krista Scruggs has a history of defying expectations. She’s a young, queer Black woman who has chosen to make wine in Vermont that is uniquely made from biodynamically farmed grapes, sometimes co-fermented with foraged apples to create a singular hybrid style. After founding her own label, Zafa Wines, one of her first bottlings, a provocatively named sparkler called Jungle Fever, sold out quickly in its 2017 debut. She was quickly recognized in the industry as a wine wunderkind.
  • Episode 5 – Meet the Chicken Lady:  Ken Thomason was born in rural Indiana where there was a church on every street corner. Feeling displaced in a small city, Ken moved to California where he met his first best friend who later sadly passed away of AIDS. Before his death, Ken’s best friend gifted him a chicken plush toy. In his honor Ken rode in a week-long fundraiser bike ride, the AIDS LifeCycle, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Thus Ken’s alter ego The Chicken Lady was hatched.

Joining the team behind “OUTstanding” include Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Justin Mikita, Amy Rice, Craig Gartner, and Michael Koenigs as executive producers, Chris Casey as production manager, Georgia Krause as producer, and Elie Sokoloff as editorial producer.

Follow Localish (#Localish) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. View additional Localish series at abc.com/shows/localish.

Localish is a multiplatform lifestyle brand from the ABC Owned Television Stations aimed at bringing out the good in cities across America through positive, feel-good storytelling. A digital native brand launched in September 2018, Localish expanded on Feb. 17, 2020, and debuted its broadcast home in eight top markets across the country.

Localish has produced over 3,000 pieces of digital video, totaling more than 400 million video views, with 60% of its audience under the age of 44. Most recently honored with the 2019 Innovator Award – the highest distinction among TVNewsCheck’s annual Social Media Excellence Awards – Localish was credited for its forward-minded ideas, sleek execution and all-around positive impact.

As a broadcast network, Localish expanded its short-form series of local storytelling into long-form programming to reach approximately 14 million households across America. The brand also continues to debut stories on localish.com, ABC digital platforms and social media platforms, as it transcends city limits and inspires its audience to live like a local wherever they are.

Keep up with Localish on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.