Audiences rally around Rapman’s Blue Story after film pulled from Vue and Showcase cinemas

AUDIENCES HAVE rallied around Rapman by supporting his debut feature film Blue Story after Vue and Showcase cinemas pulled the film from screenings nationwide.

Supporters of the director, whose real name is Andrew Onwubolu, urged cinemagoers to watch it in alternative cinema chains and it seems as though their calls, and that of those connected with the film, have been heeded.

Blue Story has made £1.3 million at the UK box office in its opening weekend despite the reduction in showings, Screen Daily reported today.

“We lost nearly half of our screens on the third day but we still made history with 1.3m in three days. Blue Story is number three in the UK box office. Thank you,” Onwubolu tweeted.

Reporting the figures, Screen Daily described them as “an excellent result for a debut feature director with a largely unknown cast; even more so when taking into account the film’s removal from many locations”.

The film, which follows the lives of Timmy (Stephen Odubola) and Marco (Michael Ward), best friends who end up on rival sides of a never-ending cycle of postcode gang war, has a message of anti-violence but despite the film’s stance it was removed from listings at the two chains after a mass brawl at a Vue in Star City leisure centre in Birmingham.

Police were called to the complex on Saturday following reports that young people had been spotted with machetes.

Seven officers were injured and five teenagers were arrested – including a 13-year-old girl – during the incident that is believed to have involved around 100 people.

Joy Gharoro, whose company Joi Productions co-produced the film, said: “Blue Story is a film about friendship, love and a call to end gun and knife violence, and is especially resonant at a time when society is unsure of how to tackle this problem. As a majority people of colour cast and crew we have sought to create a piece of cinema that engages with young and old to tell a cautionary tale rooted in authenticity.”

“A film does not incite violence…people incite violence”
Joy Gharoro, co-producer of Blue Story
She added: “When a distressing incident occurs, such as this weekend at Star City, it is blamed on the collective and not the individuals, stripping away the messaging of the film. A film does not incite violence, nor does a video game, nor does a music video, nor does music. People incite violence and those people should be held accountable. We have had a fantastic opening weekend, with acclaim from both critics and audiences alike, so I urge people to continue to support the film and to decide for themselves.”

Some critics of the cinema ban have called the response racist, drawing comparisons with the Metropolitan Police’s crackdown on black British music via the 696 form and others have urged patrons to boycott Vue and Showcase cinemas.

Kehinde Andrews, professor of black studies at Birmingham City University, said the film had been used as a scapegoat and the response of the cinema chains had further marginalised those who need protection.

In a statement, BBC Films, which developed and co-financed the film, said: “We are appalled by the incident at Star City and our thoughts are with all those affected by it. Blue Story is an outstanding, critically acclaimed debut feature which powerfully depicts the futility of gang violence. It’s an important film from one of the UK’s most exciting new filmmakers which we’re proud to be part of.”

Paramount Pictures said: “We were saddened to see the events that unfolded at Star City and our sympathies are with all those affected.

“We feel that this is an important film, which we’ve seen play in more than 300 cinemas across the country, with incredibly positive reactions and fantastic reviews.”

Onwubolu, the creator of hit YouTube series Shiro’s Story, has received critical acclaim for his debut feature and been long-listed for The British Independent Film Institute Douglas Hickox award for debut director.

This evening Showcase reinstated showings of the film. source : https://www.voice-online.co.uk/entertainment/film/2019/11/25/audiences-rally-around-rapmans-blue-story-after-film-pulled-from-vue-and-showcase-cinemas/

The Stormzy effect continues: Voter registration increases 236% per cent

VOTER REGISTRATION increased dramatically after Stormzy took to Instagram to encourage people to vote yesterday (November 25).

The rapper pledged his support to Jeremy Corbyn in a lengthy instagram post, where he urged people to register to vote before outlining his support for the Labour leader.

He said: “I will be registering to vote and I will be voting for Jeremy Corbyn. There are several reasons as to why I’m voting for him – I would be here all day if I began to list them

“But in my 26 years of life I have never trusted politicians or relied on them to be the bearers of hope and righteous people that we’ve needed them to be. And for me, he is the first man in a position of power who is committed to giving the power back to the people and helping those who need a helping hand from the government the most.”

According to The Independent, around the time Stormzy posted the message on Instagram, the number of users registering to vote increased by 40,000 from 8,296 to 47,920.

150,000 of yesterday’s registrations came from people under 25, and 114,000 came from 25-34 years olds.

The grime MC also took the time to share his thoughts on Conservative leader Boris Johnson, stating that he is a “sinister man” who can’t be trusted.

“I also believe it is criminally dangerous to give the most powerful role in the country to a man who has said that the sight of a ‘bunch of black kids’ makes him ‘turn a hair’, compared women in burqas to letterboxes and referred to black people as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’,” said Stormzy.

“I think it’s extremely dangerous to have a man with those views as the sole leader of our country. These are all MY views, I don’t care for your love or hate for them. I just think it’s important that we all register and go out and vote. And I think it’s important that we use our vote to make sure that the person who runs our country for the next 4 years is someone committed to doing what is right.” source : https://www.voice-online.co.uk/news/uk-news/2019/11/26/the-stormzy-effect-continues-voter-registration-increases-236-per-cent/

Mo’Nique sues Netflix for pay discrimination

MO’NIQUE IS suing Netflix for pay discrimination after the streaming service offered to pay her $500,000 for a one-hour comedy special, while other comedians were given multi-million dollar contracts.

The Oscar-winning actress alleges that the streaming service discriminated against her on the grounds of her race and gender.

In an Instagram post, the comedian confirmed the news of the legal action.

She wrote: “I can confirm that today I filed a pay discrimination lawsuit against Netflix. I had a choice to make: I could accept what I felt was pay discrimination or I could stand up for those who came before me and those who will come after me.”

“The terms of Netflix’s offer to Mo’Nique were discriminatory based on her gender and race/color,” CNN reported the suit states.

It adds that when compared to the deals signed by comedians including Chris Rock, Amy Schumer and Ellen DeGeneres, “the offer tried to perpetuate the drastic pay gap experience by black women”.

“When the talent was not a black woman, Netflix offered to pay, and did pay, astronomically more than it pays to black women like it offered to Mo’Nique,” NBC News reported the suit states.

Netflix denies the allegations.

A Netflix spokesperson told NBC News: “We care deeply about inclusion, equity, and diversity and take any accusations of discrimination very seriously.

“We believe our opening offer to Mo’Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit.”

Last year Mo’Nique urged her supporters to boycott Netflix over the amount she was offered for the comedy special.

As well as focusing on her pay dispute with Netflix, the filing also accuses the company of being “plagued by a lack of racial diversity within senior leadership”. SOURCE : https://www.voice-online.co.uk/entertainment/tv/2019/11/17/monique-sues-netflix-for-pay-discrimination/