Actor Larenz Tate attends the Soul Train Awards 2013 at the Orleans Arena on November 8, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada
*Larenz Tate will have a busy 2014.
The “Rescue Me” alum will star in the film “Sylvie’s Love,” which is set in NYC’s late-’50s/early-’60s jazz scene and features the actor as a prodigious Harlem saxophonist. The story follows a young woman who struggles to balance her loyalty to her fiancé fighting in Korea against her love for the sax man.
Tate will also produce the pic under TateMen Entertainment — the production banner he runs with his brothers LaRon and Lahmard Tate.
The event will include 60 films, both features and shorts, including David E. Talbert’s romantic comedy, “Baggage Claim,” the and black western “They Die By Dawn,” starring Erykah Badu, Rosario Dawson, Idris Elba, Giancarlo Esposito and Isaiah Washington.
Tate will attend the screening for his new film “Gun Hill” on Friday, September 20 at 8:00pm. “Gun Hill” was directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood and centers around a pair of identical twins on opposite sides of life: Trane, a cop, and Bird, a con. Both characters are both played by Tate.
“I’m honored to not only have my new BET project, “Gun Hill,” premiering here, but to also be festival ambassador of this year’s Urbanworld Film Festival,” said Tate. “This festival is a celebration of multicultural art and its diverse and innovative contributors. I look forward to working with the Urbanworld team and enjoying some great films!”
The festival’s closing night film “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete” stars Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson, Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jordin Sparks, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Jeffrey Wright, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Anthony Mackie. Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, and Bob Teitel produced the film with Alicia Keys, Susan Lewis, Clay Floren, Aimee Shieh, Julio Depietro, Keith Kjarval, Mary Vernieu, and Amy Nauiokas executive producing.
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete is a moving film about salvation through friendship and the way transformation sometimes can happen just by holding on long enough.
Urbanworld Founding Sponsor HBO returns to host the 4th Annual Urbanworld Digital, a one-day digital track on September 18 at the HBO Theater, featuring key industry influencers who will discuss topics including digital marketing, social media and distribution.
“HBO is pleased to take part in the continuing discussions on the growing demand for personalized entertainment and its impact on how we interact,” said Dennis Williams, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, at HBO. “From connecting with viewers via a variety of digital platforms and social media outlets to cutting-edge promotions, this new environment offers a myriad of opportunities to become better communicators and removes many barriers traditionally faced by emerging filmmakers.”
The 2013 Urbanworld Film Festival runs Sept. 18-22 in New York City.
*Actor and activist Larenz Tate, whose credits include the television show “Rescue Me” and films such as “Ray,” “Love Jones”, “Crash” and “Menace II Society” will be the keynote speaker (9 a.m.) for the 6th Annual Fatherhood Solutions Conference hosted by The Children’s Institute (CII).
Taking place Friday, June 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Renaissance Los Angeles Hotel, the Project Fatherhood SM conference is at the heart of “Strengthening Relationships Between Fathers and their At-Risk Children,” and joins nationally recognized experts, parents, and the community for a daylong exploration of the most important issues related to fatherhood and healthy marriage in an effort to discover new ways to build and strengthen relationships between fathers and their children. Tate will speak to an audience of over 400 Los Angeles based community service providers including probation officers, social workers, policy advocates, government representatives, mental health professionals, public health professionals, and concerned community members on the importance of fathers in underserved communities from a specialized and culturally sensitive perspective. For more information, please call (213) 260-7604.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America — one out of three — live in biological father-absent homes, creating a “father factor” in nearly all of the social issues facing America today including poverty, emotional and behavioral problems, maternal and child health, education, crime, incarceration, childhood obesity, teenage pregnancy and sexual activity, child abuse, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Now in its sixth year, the Fatherhood Solutions conference is a project of the CII’s Project Fatherhood SM, a nationally-recognized program that gives fathers the opportunity to play a meaningful role in their children’s lives. The program recently opened offices in Monterey Park Los Angeles’ Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court and is now available to fathers involved in parenting and custody. Additionally, the CII has successfully offered specialized and culturally relative and sensitive services for fathers in Watts’ Jordan Downs Housing Projects and in South Los Angeles near the intersection of Western Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
According to CII Project Fatherhood SM director Alan-Michael Graves, the program serves at-risk children, youth and families throughout Los Angeles County. “Over the past few years we’ve grown tremendously as the need has grown in our communities,” explains Graves. “We have centers in Watts and in the San Pedro/Long Beachareaas well as 11 early childhood centers and more than 60 family child care homes throughout the County.”
Topics to be explored this year are:
Working with Fathers: Building Skills for Practitioners
The Partnering of DV and Fatherhood Programs
Women in the Fatherhood Movement
Mastering the Co-Parenting Conflict
The Broken Man
Make Room for Dad
Working with Men in Group Settings
Undoing Racism: Working with Fathers of Color in Child Welfare Systems
Legal Advocacy with Quality and Affordable Legal Services for Fathers
Child Support 101: Understanding How Child Support Really Works
Restoring and Rebuilding Relationships Through Supervised Visitation
We Are What We See: The Importance of Role Models in Diverse Communities
PF Model: Combining Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Relationships
Working with Men and Boys of Color (Community Panel)
CII specializes in working with children, youth and families who have been affected by trauma. Using an integrated service model designed to serve the whole child as well as the entire family, Project Fatherhood SM focuses on the importance of being a father and helping other men, especially Black and Latino men become better fathers in their communities.
*The Los Angeles Urban League of Young Professionals/LAULYP is celebrating other professionals, including actor Larenz Tate as one of the “Divine 9.” The honor will happen at its 3rd Annual To the Nines Affair.
Set to take place this Friday at the Beverly Hilton, the event will be a party and a time of honor.
USC professor and National Poetry Slam champ Dr. Javon Johnson will host the event along with comedian Tahir Moore and the organization’s Gerreka Gilliam who will work the red carpet.
“Our LAULYP leadership team is thrilled to honor these nine trailblazers in entertainment, business and community for their professional achievements and contributions to the Los Angeles community,” said organization president, Abby Harris.
Other’s being honored include Jameeka Green Aaron, information assurance manager for Lockheed Martin Corporation; Malcolm Darrell, founding general manger for Ebony Repertory Theater; Joshua Fredenburg, creator of the Circle of Change Leadership Conference; Andre Johnson, executive VP for Magic Johnson Enterprises and executive director of the Magic Johnson Foundation; Michelle Merriweather, business development manager for Starbucks Coffee; Breanna Morrison, healthy policy analyst for Community Health Councils; Starlett Quarles, owner and president for Urban X Marketing; Camille Townsend, deputy counsel for LA County’s Office for the Labor and Employment Division and president of Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles.
*Anthony Davis barely qualifies for the so called “Y” generation.
Young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 represent this category, and according to sociologists and economists in the know, hard times are in store for almost anyone born beyond the early 80′s.
It seems unwise to argue the contrary, since the proof, at least for now, is in the pudding, which includes a floundering economy, continuous unemployment, crippling budget cuts to schools nationwide, among other civil services, as well as the ever-looming threat of global fatality, be it nuclear or from natural causes.
Needless to say, growing up in the “hood” puts minors even further behind the eight ball. Such was the case for young Anthony, who, at 19, has already served a half-decade behind bars. With no father to provide a sense of direction, he comes from a neighborhood where gunshots ring like doorbells. Turf wars, drug infestation, academic decay, and abject poverty also plagued his environment during his childhood. It wasn’t long before Anthony, who hadn’t yet graduated from junior high, caved under the pressure of his surroundings. With a full deck already stacked against him, the youngster further exacerbated matters by making several ill-advised choices.
For starters, early in his adolescence, Anthony stumbled into a life of crime and delinquency. Bit by bit, various criminal charges (he declined to specify) began to mount against him. With the walls of punishment slowly closing in, and the judicial system calling, all hell eventually broke loose. At only 13, he was arrested and subsequently issued his first sentence. Several court appearances thereafter forced the hand of a county judge, who was presumably looking to make a statement.
What resulted was a ruling for Anthony to serve a five year accumulated term in one of many juvenile correctional facilities scattered about L.A. County. Like herded cattle, he and many others were forced to migrate from one location to the next, due to an overload of inmates throughout county institutions.
Five years elapsed before Anthony was released from the last of several detention centers he had come to know for “at risk” youth. It was then that Anthony, one year into adulthood, was confronted with two opposing destinies. The first option would have cast him back behind bars. The alternative provided the contrary: freedom, opportunity, family contact, and most of all—hope.
With his forehead glazed in sweat, his hands trembling, and his eyes taking inventory of the slew of flashing cameras encamped about the room, Anthony slowly pulled the microphone in front of him closer. The occasion, which took place inside one of downtown L.A.’s swanky Hilton hotels, was a roundtable luncheon in honor of BLOOM’s (Building a Lifetime of Options and Opportunities for Men) one year anniversary.
As the heavy-hitters in attendance looked on, including veteran actor and BLOOM spokesman Larenz Tate, the bold teenager spoke at length about his past missteps. He also credited the program for helping him become a productive member of his community, despite an ongoing family history of gang affiliation and criminality.
“When I was younger, I didn’t have the finer things in life,” he expressed while wiping perspiration from his brow. “It was around me—the cars, the jewelry and all of that. But I didn’t have it. So I did bad things to get what I wanted. Going to jail never crossed my mind. I wish it had.”
“When I was locked up, my mother didn’t support me because she couldn’t accept who I was and where I was. “Even when I got out I thought no one would be there and that I would eventually go back to jail. But when I joined BLOOM they helped me readjust. They bought me work attire, set me up with job interviews, got me back in school, and helped get me off probation. My own family couldn’t even do that.”
Tate also weighed in:
“This initiative changes lives. It affects families. I look at what BLOOM is doing and I’m thankful because if my loved ones had this, I think some of them would still be alive or would have chosen a different lifestyle.”
“My focus is to use my visibility and my celebrity to shift more eyes to this cause,” he added during an interview. “One of our first priorities is donorship. We also want to get more teens admitted to college. We want to provide them with jobs and opportunities to sharpen their skills. And we want to keep them off the streets and out of jail.”
The “Love Jones” actor occasionally switches hats and operates behind the camera directing music videos with assistance from his elder brother. Not long ago he was joined on set by handful of BLOOMers who got a chance to soak up the atmosphere. Tate’s verdict?
“They fit right in—no one had a clue where they came from.”
Other speakers on the panel included George Weaver, special program administrator for the Brotherhood Crusade, a mentoring program for African-American males, as well as Kareem Webb, a Buffalo Wild Wings franchisee.
The crux in regard to “getting out” of prison is, conversely, avoiding going back in. With recidivism rates among minorities reaching a fever pitch, staying clean seems easier said than done. In addition, employers generally shun individuals with a criminal background or disposition.
These harsh realities lend perspective into the importance of the BLOOM initiative, a lifeline for young men fresh out of the “joint” in need of direction and support. The well-to-do program is subsidized by a multitude of grants and sponsorship from various affiliates, benefactors and sister organizations, among other outlets. They include McDonalds, AEG, Martin Alder Media, LA Metro, UPS and Buffalo Wild Wings, to name a few. As a result, participants (otherwise called “BLOOMers”) have access to a cornucopia of available jobs, internships, apprenticeships, and educational opportunities. Additionally, interpersonal and etiquette courses are made available to those who desire sophistication and polish. The California Community Foundation (CCF), a tax-exempt, public nonprofit organization committed to transformative change across Los Angeles, set a precedent by launching the BLOOM campaign, the country’s only safety net for teenaged African American males with a criminal past. That participants become fully functioning adults underlies the purpose and overall intent of the initiative.
From an economic standpoint, pulling kids out of “juvie,” and keeping them from the big house, pays dividends for taxpayers in that an estimated $100,000 per year is required to incarcerate a youth in any of the various L.A. County probation camps. On the flip side, by subtracting one percent (at minimum) from the total amount of teens caught up in the justice system, taxpayers, as a result, would annually save $4 million in crime-related costs and tax money otherwise siphoned into large scale prisons throughout the region. A 10 percent drop off (of incarcerated youth) over the next five years translates into a savings of $48.8 million yearly.
Because Los Angeles’ ongoing debt crisis remains a hard pill to swallow (it’s well into the hundreds of millions of dollars despite the minimization of California’s overall deficit), securing leftover tax revenue from reduced incarceration and recidivism rates—particularly among young Black males—is an appetizing proposition to say the least. But is it feasible? BLOOM initiative director Robert Lewis, tends to think so. When he was given the floor to speak during the luncheon, Lewis made it a point to emphasize the socioeconomic advantages of clearing space in prisons. He also hammered home that recidivism (the chronic tendency toward repetition of criminal or antisocial behavior patterns) is likely to occur without the provision of various necessities.
“Some might see this as a challenge, but we see it as an opportunity,” declared Lewis, who is also CCF’s Program Officer.“ It costs taxpayers $240,000 per year to house an inmate in state prison. It costs roughly half that amount for juveniles in the probation system. That money could be used to strengthen the budget in this city [Los Angeles].”
In theory, additional funding would also generate more opportunities for employment throughout the Southland and surrounding areas. The numbers show that 45.7 percent of Blacks in Los Angeles County are either unemployed or not in the labor force, the highest among any racial/ethnic subgroup in the area. In addition, South Los Angeles’ populace of African-American males ages 14 to 18 account for only 10 percent of the county’s youth population, but also represent 33 percent of all youth under probation supervision. Adding insult to injury, teenaged Black males reap the consequences of juvenile felonies 16 times more often than their White counterparts.
To reduce the risk of further disproportion between both groups, leaders of the BLOOM campaign have kept a watchful eye on South L.A., home to 23 percent of all young Black males in the entire county. Lewis concluded the open forum by outlining BLOOM’s course of action for the future. That includes a town hall meeting on May 2, multiple efforts to secure additional sponsorship, the continued supervision and expansion of active BLOOMers, as well as the distribution of available resources.
“It’s long overdue,” Lewis said in reference to the program. “We all reap the benefits of the civil rights movement, but many of do not take advantage of those benefits. This is our way of facilitating the process.”