Posts tagged with "Maya Angelou"

Solange Highlight’s African American Disabilities

As we celebrate Black History Month, which takes place every February, RespectAbility recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of African Americans to the United States. It is important to note this includes more than 5.6 million African Americans living with a disability in the U.S., 3.4 million of which are working-age African Americans with disabilities. Therefore, we would like to reflect on the realities and challenges that continue to shape the lives of African Americans with disabilities. The full piece provides statistics relating to employment, education, criminal justice and more.

Some celebrities and business leaders are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and invisible disabilities. They are defying the statistics and have remained highly successful with their disabilities. These role models make a big difference in setting high expectations for youth with disabilities. RespectAbility will be sharing content throughout this month – and throughout the entire year – highlighting additional African Americans with disabilities, including some personal pieces from our own team members.     

INCREASING DISABILITY INCLUSION IN HOLLYWOOD

Maya Angelou, Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist Who Had Disability, Inspires Generations

– Tameir Yeheyes, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

Maya Angelou had selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that causes a child to not speak due to physical and psychological trauma they endured. In the five-year span that she experienced this, her listening, observing and memorizing skills improved and her love of books expanded. This helped her later when she began working in becoming successful in her career.

Halle Berry: Living with Disability While Taking a Stand against Domestic Violence

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Halle Berry is an advocate for ending violence against women, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, and has been fighting for virtually her whole life.

Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott ‘Works it,’ Serves as Role Model for Young Women with Disabilities

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

At the height of her career, Missy Elliott experienced a dramatic and dangerous weight loss; she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which attacks the thyroid.

Deafblind Lawyer Haben Girma Advocates for Disability Rights

– Ryan Knight, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

The first Deafblind person to graduate from law school, Haben Girma stated that removing barriers for herself helped in her journey to becoming a disability advocate. Her disability advocacy is not restricted to education; she also uses the media to decrease the stigma in the community.

Whoopi Goldberg: Talented Actress, Comedienne and Talk Show Host Lives with Dyslexia

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Reading scripts and writing books as often as Goldberg does was hard at first with her dyslexia. Like she did in elementary school, Goldberg found it easiest to have someone read to her so she could memorize the lines for her scripts. For her books, she dictates instead of writing before sitting down with an editor to adjust the language.

Actress with Cerebral Palsy Diana Elizabeth Jordan is Veteran of 17 Shows, Shorts and Movies

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Diana Elizabeth Jordan, actress, writer, producer and director, is an important figure in the conversation about the inclusivity or lack thereof of people with disabilities in Hollywood. She found a way to get into and around Hollywood, with the help of her faith and self-confidence.

Solange Knowles: Role Model for African American Performers with Disabilities

– Bryan Munguia, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

When it comes to the traditional expectations of a pop star in Hollywood, Solange Knowles shatters the glass ceiling as a woman of color who also happens to be diagnosed with a disability that affects 10 percent of the U.S. population: ADHD. Knowles has been outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her disability.

Jenifer Lewis of ‘Black-ish’ has Coped with Bipolar Disorder by Doing the Work

– Litsa Dremousis, The Washington Post

Jenifer Lewis resisted the diagnosis at first and refused to take medication until a self-described nervous breakdown left her convulsing in sobs, a hostage to her untreated neurochemistry. A quarter-century later, she is thriving and happy because, as she says, she “does the work.”

 

Letters Live

Star-studded British show announces the first wave of talent for its American debut.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jarvis Cocker, James Corden, Minnie Driver, Stephen Fry, Mark Hamill, Anjelica Huston, Catherine Keener, Shirley Manson, Ian McShane, and Annabelle Wallis all confirmed for ‘LETTERS LIVE’ line-up in its US premiere with more guests to be announced.

LETTERS LIVE, in partnership with NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER, is delighted to announce the first wave of performers for its first ever public performance in the United States on February 26th 2018, at the historic Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, from 8pm PST.

LETTERS LIVE celebrates the enduring power of literary correspondence by inviting brilliant entertainers to perform remarkable and unforgettable letters to a live audience.

“Hear the best letters in the world read by the best voices” – The Observer

Past LETTERS LIVE shows have included letters written by the likes of David Bowie, Mohandas Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Kurt Vonnegut, Charlotte Bronte, Tom Hanks, Katherine Hepburn, Richard Burton, Patti Smith, Abraham Lincoln, James Baldwin, and Che Guevara, performed by an array of talent including Benedict Cumberbatch, Gillian Anderson, Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Russell Brand, Thandie Newton, Riz Ahmed, Juliet Stevenson, LeVar Burton, Tom Hiddleston, Sally Hawkins, JJ Abrams, Noma Dumezweni, Oscar Isaac, Jude Law, Nick Cave and Sir Ben Kingsley.

To view a teaser video for the 26 February, click here.

As LETTERS LIVE producer and performer Benedict Cumberbatch writes “Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin. The relationship between the audience, reader and writer on a Letters Live night helps deepen our understanding of these inspiring artefacts of the human condition. They are windows into the love, beauty, pain, and humor of their creators and recipients. It’s a privilege to read this most ancient form of communication to a live audience.”

The February 26th performance of LETTERS LIVE in Los Angeles will be presented in partnership with NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER. The event will be held in the historic Theatre at Ace Hotel in the downtown neighborhood of Los Angeles, from 8pm – 9:30pm PST.

Tickets for the 26 February LETTERS LIVE performance are available for purchase here.

Ticket prices range from $50 to $200 with all the profits from ticket sales being donated to the two partner charities for the night, 826LA, and Women for Women International.

About LETTERS LIVE

LETTERS LIVE first took place in December 2013 at the Tabernacle in London and quickly established itself as a powerful and dynamic event format that attracted outstanding talents to performing remarkable letters in front of a live audience.

Inspired by Shaun Usher’s international best-selling Letters of Note series and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter, LETTERS LIVE is a live celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence. Each show always features a completely different array of great performers, reading remarkable letters written over the centuries and from around the world. One of the joys of Letters Live is that one never knows who is going to take to the stage or what letter they are going to bring alive.

The independent publishing house Canongate, who created and developed LETTERS LIVE, subsequently partnered with the film and television production company SunnyMarch to build Letters Live into an even more far-reaching and ambitious project. Their shared vision is to harness the power of letters through curated events of exceptional quality and to develop a multi-media platform that delivers the most memorable letters to people all around the world.

As well as celebrating the pain, joy, wisdom and humour expressed in letters, LETTERS LIVE has from the outset been committed to promoting literacy and to fund-raising for literacy charities. This remains an important part of its activities both in the UK and abroad.

About 826LA

826LA is a non-profit organization with centers in Echo Park and Mar Vista, a Writers’ Room at

Manual Arts High School in South LA, and relationships with Los Angeles public schools. 826LA’s mission is to support students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and to help teachers inspire their students to write. Since 2005, 826LA has served 65,000+ students. 826LA’s free programs target economically disadvantaged students.

About Women for Women International


With over twenty brutal armed conflicts across the globe and unprecedented levels of violence against women, there’s never been a greater need to support women survivors of war.
Through Women for Women International’s 12-month programme, women learn about their rights, as well as key life, vocational and business skills to access livelihoods and break free from poverty.
Since 1993, Women for Women International has supported over 462,000 women in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. They also engage men in their work, to break down prejudices and practices which prevent women from reaching their full potential. To find out more visit: www.womenforwomen.org.uk

Becoming AFI × 50 Years

 “This book puts you directly behind the scenes for a story that began with a dream, overcame constant challenges, and evolved into the institution it is today.”Steven Spielberg

“Documented here by the people who lived it, this is a remarkable tale of how a major institution, created out of whole cloth, wove itself into the American fabric.”

Cokie Roberts, author and political commentator for ABC and NPR 

Becoming AFI Celebrates 50 Years of the American Film Institute


For over fifty years, the American Film Institute has flourished as one of America’s great cultural entities. Its graduates, faculty, supporters, and trustees have included such acclaimed individuals as Steven Spielberg, Maya Angelou, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier, Meryl Streep, Les Moonves, Patty Jenkins, David Lynch, Jane Fonda, Edward James Olmos, Shonda Rhimes, James L. Brooks, and many other respected leaders in the worlds of film, television, digital media, and philanthropy.

In their new book, Becoming AFI: 50 Years Inside the American Film Institute (Santa Monica Press/October 2017), Jean Picker Firstenberg and James Hindman provide a candid look at how this remarkable organization brought together aspiring filmmakers, educators, and artists who helped AFI become the foremost national champion for moving images as a vibrant art form.

From its early years operating out of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and the legendary Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills under the leadership of George Stevens Jr., through its incredible growth into an influential cultural institution at its landmark Hollywood campus under the guidance of Jean Picker Firstenberg, to its continued excellence today under the dynamic leadership of Bob Gazzale, the organization and its history are chronicled in Becoming AFI through in-depth essays written by those who have been involved in its adventures, growth, and success.

 “After being asked so many times what our book would be about, we decided to put together AFI’s history as we experienced it personally,” explain Firstenberg and Hindman. “As we structured the book with the stories we wanted to tell from those years, we realized that some of those stories really belonged to other voices. So, we went to several former colleagues and asked them to join our band. Each chapter tells a stand-alone story about an aspect of AFI, but together, they add up to the full picture.”

Becoming AFI provides an insightful, behind-the-scenes look at how AFI, with passionate determination, overcame the hurdles of advancing technology, political shifts, and new audience dynamics to turn its aspirations into a substantial and highly successful organization, becoming a tireless advocate of moving images as one of America’s most popular forms of art, and maturing into one of the world’s most respected educational and cultural institutions. 

“No matter how divisive life in this country may become, the movie theater has always been a place where we can discover what unites us.”

Vernon Jordan Jr., New York Times  “AFI saved our film history. AFI celebrates filmmakers. AFI trains the next generation. Thanks to Becoming AFI for telling us the fascinating story of its fifty-year history. And a big thank you to Jean Picker Firstenberg and James Hindman for documenting all of it! Here’s to the next fifty!”

Edward James Olmos, actor and AFI trustee


About the Authors
Jean Picker Firstenberg served as president and CEO of the American Film Institute from 1980 to 2007, overseeing the development of AFI as one of America’s greatest national, cultural, and educational resources. She received an AFI Life Achievement Award for Service to the Institute and was named president emerita and a lifetime trustee. In 2016, Firstenberg was named to the California State University Board of Trustees by Governor Jerry Brown, overseeing the largest four-year public university system in the United States, with twenty-three campuses educating the most diverse student body in the nation. Prior to serving at AFI, Firstenberg spent four years as a program officer at the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation. She also served as director of Princeton University’s Publications Office. Firstenberg is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston University’s College of Communications. She has served on several boards, including that of Boston University (1984–1996), the George Foster Peabody Awards at Georgia University (1985–1997; board chair 1991–1997), and the United States Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (2002–2014; committee chair 2008–2014). She has won numerous awards and honorary degrees. 

James Hindman, PhD, has spent his career in cinema and performing arts, creating and leading professional and public education programs at major institutions. During his twenty-four years at the American Film Institute, where he served as co-director and chief operating officer, he was provost of the AFI Conservatory, which he nurtured through WASC accreditation. He was also the uncredited producer of the award-winning feature documentary Visions of Light and the television series Starring the Actor. He developed the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Springs, Maryland, as well as numerous television projects and international film and television festivals. Subsequent to AFI, he developed and led film schools in the U.S. and internationally, including the Red Sea School of Cinematic Arts in Aqaba, Jordan, and New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute in Las Cruces. He is currently on the board of the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, charged with creating a new cinematic and media arts program and facilities for the school. Prior to AFI, he served as head of graduate studies in the Performing Arts Department at American University in Washington, DC, having previously taught at the University of North Carolina. Hindman holds a PhD in drama from the University of Georgia and has served on the boards of the AIDS Service Center and LAMP in Los Angeles. He currently splits his time between Santa Monica, California, and Taos, New Mexico.

Patty Jenkins made history in 2017 when she directed her second film, Wonder Woman, becoming the first woman to direct a studio superhero movie and earning the biggest domestic opening of all time for a woman director. Jenkins wrote and directed her first film, the crime drama Monster, in 2003, launching Charlize Theron’s career with many awards, including an Oscar for Best Actress. Jenkins graduated from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1993 and the AFI Conservatory in 2001.

Dana Gioia was appointed Poet Laureate of the State of California in 2015 by Governor Jerry Brown. An award-winning poet who has published five collections of poetry, Gioia served as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009, and was named a USC Judge Widney Professor in Poetry and Public Art in 2011.

David Lynch, born in 1946 in Missoula, Montana. Eagle Scout. 


BECOMING AFI: 50 YEARS INSIDE THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE

By Jean Picker Firstenberg and James Hindman

Foreword by Dana Gioia

Preface by Patty Jenkins

Afterword by David Lynch

Santa Monica Press/October 2017

Hardcover/$27.95

ISBN-13: 978-159580-094-7


FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, REVIEW COPIES AND INTERVIEWS CONTACT:

Trina Kaye – The Trina Kaye Organization

TrinaKaye@tkopr.com / 310-915-0970