By Sandra Varner
J. August Richards
J. August Richards, a University of Southern California (USC) alum, sounded energetic and upbeat, speaking form his Los Angeles home, as he effusively shared his view about the hit television court room drama, “Raising the Bar,” on cable’s hottest network, Turner Network Television (TNT).
The series follows the lives and cases of young lawyers who work on opposite sides – the public defender’s office and the district attorney’s office – as well as those who sit in judgment on their cases. Season 2 begins Monday, June 8. Check local listings for times.
Richards seamlessly inhabits the character, Marcus McGrath, a talented and brilliant, prosecutor with a strong sense of morality and responsibility. Not one to expect or rely on special treatment, he goes out of his way to prove that a kid from a difficult background can grow up to achieve success despite the obstacles. He also expects nothing less from the people he prosecutes, refusing to be lenient simply because they might be enduring difficult situations.
The character he portrays mirrors Richards’ strong identity and sensibilities away from the camera.
Having no experience as a lawyer, he holds a deep and abiding respect for the law, cultivated during his college years. “When I was in college, I took an elective course, Law 101, with Professor Charles Whitebread, a very prominent lawyer,” he said.
“There were about 200 people in the class, but it was literally as if it were he and I. He really excited me about the concept of law and what the law was; the logic and reason that goes into making laws, defending laws or changing laws. At the end of the course he said to me, ‘Richards, when you’re done with that acting crap, give me a call.’
“He felt that I had the mind of a lawyer and that I should be a lawyer in real life; of course, I couldn’t tell him that that was never going to happen, but, the law and what goes behind it is something that I feel I really understand. I feel I could defend myself (if the need arises) and I hope I never have to.”
Fortunately, Richards has only had to deal with criminal activity on TV. “Ironically, I’ve never had any sort of interaction with the legal system personally, but I have with friends and family. I understand the thought process behind the legal system but I do think that there are flaws and I do think there are certain aspects of the legal system that unfairly target certain people. That’s one of the aspects that this show explores.”
Read more at www.Talk2SV.com.
By Sandra Varner
Renowned gospel singer, Donnie McClurkin, has more to share than just a song. He will soon be seen on television on a weekly basis sharing the spoken word. The New York based pastor/singer has inked a deal with RNN (Regional News Network) to air “Perfecting Your Faith” on WRNN-TV on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. (ET).
The broadcast premiered May 17 and those in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas can check their local listings for exact channel and tune in for worship, inspiration and empowering messages.
The broadcast will launch regionally then expand to a national audience. The networks’ total basic cable and DBS Homes reaches over 5 million TV households. “Its my privilege to bring Perfecting Faith to the masses through our new television ministry. These practical messages and prudent instructions from the living Word of God will help you understand the will of God for your life. So get ready…as every bit of this television ministry helps you in Perfecting Your Faith!” Says McClurkin.
The weekly broadcast will feature sermons delivered by McClurkin from Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, NY where he is the senior pastor. The 2,700 member church opened its’ doors in 2001 and continues to grow as it increases its community outreach with annual events such as: Church Without Walls – summer services that are held outdoors at a municipal parking lot in Roosevelt, NY, Youth Explosions and the-ever popular New York Call (nycall.org).
The launching of New York Call, a coalition of pastors and churches throughout the tri-state area, was birthed in 2004. Families come together for a day of fun and activities highlighted by a fellowship in the park. Long Island’s Eisenhower Park has served as host to 17,000 plus people at the all day affair.
“We All Are One (Live in Detroit)” is a boldly eclectic collection from McClurkin, moving from the powerfully opener “Trusting in You” and the lilting call and response vibe of “You Are My God and King” (featuring a playful battle of the choir sections on the reprise) to the soul-soothing “Let the River Flow” and a duet with the ever-amazing Karen Clark-Sheard for “Wait on The Lord.”
For more information about the “Perfecting Your Faith” broadcast visit www.perfectingfaith.org.
FOOL’s GOLD in Theaters on Feb. 8th
Sandra Varner’s Celebrity Profiles
Kate Hudson (Skeleton Key, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and Matthew McConaughey (Amistad, A Time to Kill, We Are Marshall) re-team in the romantic comedy, FOOL’S GOLD, opening in theaters on Feb. 8th.
In this film, the two (Hudson as “Tess” Finnegan,” McConaughey as Ben “Finn” Finnegan) are a divorcing couple whose egos clash albeit they make a concerted effort to dig up buried treasure on the ocean’s floor.
Filmed in Australia, the story centers on the legendary 18th century Queen’s Dowry, chests packed with exotic treasure that was lost at sea in 1715. The wildly hunt sends the squabbling couple –along with several bumbling cohorts– on a water-adventure fiasco, finally getting the gold. Read more
Celebrity Profiles by Sandra Varner
Decades of memorable acting performances to her credit, Ms. Ruby Dee received her first Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for AMERICAN GANGSTER.
Last year’s awards ceremony bestowed the award upon Jennifer Hudson for her role in DREAMGIRLS. Hopefully, Dee will go home with an Oscar this February, another crowning achievement during Black History Month.
GANGSTER was one of the most anticipated films in 2007 and is the Harlem-heyday epic, starring Academy Award winners: Denzel Washington (Glory, Training Day), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and acclaimed actress, Ms. Ruby Dee (Do The Right Thing, Buck and the Preacher, A Raisin in the Sun and TV’s Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters). Read more
Ice Cube (left) and Tracy Morgan star in “First Sunday”
Sandra Varner’s Celebrity Profiles
Hollywood embraces the church community in David E. Talbert’s First Sunday, opening in theatres on January 11th.
What happens when a down-on-his-luck single father fails repeatedly and the one thing that he’s good at is threatened? Durell (Ice Cube) may not win an award for parenting, but there’s no doubt he loves his son, Durell, Jr., and will do anything for him.
Young Durell’s mother, Omunique (Regina Hall) wants a better life and is tired of doing hair at the salon and at home to make ends meet. Plus, she needs over $17,000 to keep the shop open if they are to stay in Baltimore. Frustrated, broke and tired of big Durell’s empty promises, she plans to move to Atlanta.
Taking his son away would destroy Durell, emotionally. Read more