Black man pondering
*Ever watched a film and it hit the right note at just the right time? Who better to deliver that note than “Living Single’s” very own Kyle Barker? T.C. Carson (2023 NAACP Image Awards Nominee) sets the mood in “Speak Up Brotha!“—the latest film by Black Man Films, the Black-and Brown-owned production company responsible for the Oscar-qualifying short film “Silent Partner.”
Shot in Harlem, this ode to Black romance films of the 90s like “Love Jones” and “Poetic Justice” is a refreshing perspective on Black love and relationships and uniquely melds narrative storytelling with spoken word.
Ahmad, played by Roderick Lawrence (2022 BronzeLens Film Festival Best Actor) is a graduate student supplementing his income by driving rideshare when he has the chance encounter of a lifetime. Although he grapples daily with anxiety around communication, Ahmad must lean into the world of poetry and take a chance to win the heart of the woman he loves – will she finally see him now that he is ready to be seen? Find out when “Speak Up Brotha!” makes its world premiere at an Oscar-qualifying festival to be announced on March 3.
The all-Black cast includes Madeline Grey DeFreece (“Tahara”), Alphonso Walker Jr. (Broadway’s “The Skin of Our Teeth” and “Pass Over”), Toni Lachelle Pollitt, Justin Winley (“The Meyerowitz Stories”), and Jaleeca Yancy.
“Speak Up Brotha!” was developed by Roderick Lawrence for Black Man Films, directed by Wes Andre Goodrich (“Palm Sunday”), and written by Roderick Lawrence, renowned spoken word artist Obbie West, and James J. Johnson (“Silent Partner”). It was lensed by Nona Catusanu (“Let the Right One In”; “The Snakes”); produced by Salma Qarnain (“Silent Partner,” Black Man Films; Broadway’s “Life of Pi”); executive produced by Ike Mbanefo (“Silent Partner”), Cameron Carr (“The Inventor”), and Obbie West; and co-produced by Patrick Nichols and Emmy Award Winner Dario Harris (“The Girl in Apartment 15”).
Roderick Lawrence – Photo supplied
Roderick Lawrence is a highly acclaimed actor and the Co-Founder of Black Man Films. He is a 2022 BronzeLens Film Festival BEST ACTOR recipient (Oscar-qualifying) and a 2020 AUDELCO nominee. His credits include Simba in Disney’s “The Lion King” National Tour, Ramses in the Broadway-bound “The Prince of Egypt,” Othello in John Leguizamo’s “Othello: The Remix,” Floyd Barton in August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” and Jesus in “Godspell.” During the pandemic, Roderick created, starred in, and produced the multi-award-winning narrative short, “Silent Partner,” which dominated the festival circuit garnering 19 festival acceptances (4 Oscar qualifiers; 8 awards and nominations), was a finalist in the HBO MAX® Latino Short Film Competition, and qualified for Oscar contention. Lawrence is repped by Kat Hargrave at DGRW.
A trained dancer and an Emmy Award-winning actor, T.C. Carson has performed in iconic plays, musicals, and tour productions from “The Wiz” and “Sesame Street Live” to “Dreamgirls,” “Ain’t Misbehavin,” and “Blackberry Daze.” He is best known for portraying Kyle Barker on the FOX sitcom, Living Single; voicing Mace Windu on Star Wars: The Clone Wars; and his long-running voicing of Kratos in the God of War video game series. He is a 2023 Nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special, in the 54th Annual NAACP Image Awards.
T.C. Carson / photo supplied
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