Nia DaCosta: Candyman reboot will explore the character’s origins

Nia DaCosta has confirmed that the new ‘Candyman’ film will include an origin story for the character.

The 30-year-old director has overseen the “spiritual sequel” to the 1992 horror classic and revealed that her take will give an in depth look at how the supernatural killer – again played by Tony Todd – came to be.

Speaking during her Virtual Fireside Chat at the Nightstream Film Festival, Nia explained: “In the original, he’s already a fully formed … I guess monster, we’ll say, because that’s definitely how he’s positioned in the original film, as a monster.

“And so, it’s really like a reveal of, ‘Here’s my chest. I’m fully formed, I’m fully grotesque,’ and this one, we really wanted it to be a slow progression, and for me, I really wanted to trigger the response of like, you know when all of us have had a heat rash or something, and we’re like, hmm, what’s that?

“Maybe it’s a heat rash, and then maybe it doesn’t go away for a while and you’re like, hmm, interesting. Should I go to the doctor? No, it’s probably fine. And then for a vast majority of people, it goes away.”

Nia continued: “In this movie, of course, it doesn’t go away, it gets worse, and so I wanted to have that effect. If someone goes home after watching this movie and looks at their own rash, or bump, or mosquito bite and is a little more freaked out, then I’ve done my job.

“And that’s really what I wanted to do, it’s about getting inside the head of the audience and really viscerally disturbing them and tracking it psychologically with the sense of the main character.”

The new ‘Candyman’ is set in the American neighbourhood where events began; a now-gentrified section of Chicago where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood.

The original movie – which is inspired by legendary horror author Clive Barker’s short story ‘The Forbidden’ – follows graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) who explores the story of the Candyman for her thesis on urban legends.

The legend states that the Candyman – who, in life, was African-American artist Daniel Robitaille who was lynched for falling in love and fathering a child with a white woman in 1890 – is summoned after his name is said out loud five times in a mirror.

Nia admits she has been afraid of uttering the words “Candyman” ever since she saw the first film when she was younger.

She said: “I remember hearing about it, always got dared to it, still haven’t, and then eventually I saw the movie and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s Candyman, this is what everyone’s talking about.’ “

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The Souls of Black Professors

… and tackling deeper structural racism. The Aspire program, … inequities on campus for African American undergraduate and graduate … STEM fields related to African American communities, she said, … undergraduates through the African American studies minor and … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

Bartees Strange: Opera Singer, Football Player, Genre Breaker

This is No Cover, a production of KOSU and Oklahoma State University and hosted by Matthew Viriyapah. On this episode is Bartees Strange.

One of Bartees’ fears is just being one thing.

Born in England, Bartees Cox Jr. grew up in a military family that bounced around from place to place until they settled down in Mustang, Oklahoma. His mother is an opera singer and he sang in church choirs and operettas, before taking up football.

He even planned to walk-on at the University of Oklahoma. Things changed, but for most of his life, he’s felt like he has been forced to just do and be one thing at a time.

Now as a musician, he released his debut LP Live Forever, where he wants his songs to be able to continue the conversation started by artists like Tyler, The Creator.

Why do we have these lowkey racist specifications for how we classify art?

On Opera

When people ask, “What’s your first instrument?,” mine would probably be singing. My mom’s a singer. She also sang in churches a lot all over Oklahoma and I sang in all those churches too.

I actually sang at the Cimmaron Circuit Opera company, which is an opera company based in Norman that my mom I think helped found with the late baritone Thomas Carey, who was a Black baritone that taught at OU for a long time that a lot of people don’t talk about.

That was a big chunk of my young life, performing in those. But I definitely wasn’t afraid of singing on stage after that, because I was always performing at a young age and I grew up with so many performers. It was just a part of being alive.

On Mustang, Oklahoma

I feel like race is a huge factor in a lot of spots in Oklahoma. Like at my high school, there were a handful of Black kids… and it was a really tenuous time. I remember, there was a house back behind from where we lived. And there’s this guy… and he had a confederate flag draped over the entirety of the house. And it was like rumored he was a Klansman.

You’re just always surrounded by fear and pressure. And you know, we played football so we were just high visibility people.

I think it’s like really great that the song (“Mustang”) is getting shared. And people like it. And I love that when people see it, they see like Mustang. That’s just where I’m from. That’s who I am.

I always was running from Oklahoma.

I had all of these negative connotations. But as I got older, I realized that the things that kind of separated me from people or made me like shine or do well at something was actually from things I learned from when I was in Oklahoma.

So I thought, how appropriate would it be to lead the first single to be this is who I am and this is where I’m from like proudly.

On ‘genre boxes’

One of my fears is I don’t want to ever be one thing. That’s kind of something I was always forced to do. I’ve always felt like, “Oh I’m going to play football, and that’s just what I’m going to do because I’ll fit in that way and my life is just going to be a lot easier if I keep my head down and do that thing.”

And I feel like people just expect Black people to just do like one thing. I don’t know. I hope there’s a lot of Black people nodding their heads in silence hearing that.

It’s very easy to be pigeonholed as a Black artist. And I don’t want that for my music. I want to stretch my music and put out things that are great and not be like hurt, because it doesn’t fit into a traditional pop white standard.

Kind of like that Tyler, The Creator record, the last two, Igor and Flower Boy. Those are like pop records in a big way. And it started an interesting conversation. I wanted to make something that continued that conversation. Like why do we have these lowkey racist specifications with how we classify art?

We need to rethink how we’re doing it. We’ve got countless examples over in just the last two years of artists breaking genre lines and the exciting future it paints for music.

Music featured in this episode:

  1. Bartees Strange – Jalousy
  2. Thomas Carey – Hold On
  3. D’Oyly Carte Opera Company – For He Is An English Man
  4. Bartees Strange – Going Going
  5. Bartees Strange – Mustang
  6. The Antlers – Epilogue
  7. The National – Fake Empire
  8. The National – Mr. November
  9. Bartees Strange – Mr. November
  10. TV On The Radio – Wolf Like Me
  11. Bartees Strange ft. Lizzie No – Get Over It
  12. Bartees Strange – Boomer
  13. Bartees Strange – Far
  14. Bartees Strange – Fallen For You
  15. Bartees Strange – In A Cab
  16. Bartees Strange – Flagey God
  17. Bartees Strange – Mossblerd
  18. Kelly Rowland ft. Nelly – Dilemma
  19. Bartees Strange – Kelly Rowland
  20. Bartees Strange – Ghostly

Subscribe to the No Cover podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get podcasts.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

From 2 Artists, 2 Ways to Tell Stories of Black America

This article is part of our latest Fine Arts & Exhibits special report, which focuses on how art endures and inspires, even in the darkest of times.

As museums are reopening this fall, the work of Black artists is prominently on display around the country, one result of a broad-based movement to feature diverse creators in a systemic and lasting way.

A sense that institutions are making up for lost time has added an element of urgency to the push.

As Erica Warren, an associate curator of textiles at the Art Institute of Chicago, put it: “We are overdue.”

Ms. Warren organized “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” opening Nov. 16 at the Art Institute. Ms. Butler, based in New Jersey, works in fabric, creating complex quilted textile portraits of what she calls the Black American story. It’s the museum’s first textile solo show for a Black female artist.

Ms. Butler shares a dealer, Claire Oliver Gallery of Harlem, with the artist Barbara Earl Thomas, who is having the most substantial show of her work yet at the Seattle Art Museum, in her hometown.

“Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence” features her striking and graphic cut paper works and opens Nov. 20, just a week after Ms. Butler’s show. It looks at how race informs our perception of innocence.

Both exhibitions — from artists who examine similar subjects, rendered in very different media — are evidence of how the art world is striving to spotlight diverse voices, and how museums and galleries have come in to alignment to support that goal.

The critical role of a gallery, nurturing and promoting artists and helping to sustain them during lean times so they can keep working, has only gotten more important.

Ms. Warren of the Art Institute said she discovered Ms. Butler’s work at Ms. Oliver’s booth at the Expo Chicago fair in 2018.

“I thought it was by far and away the best work at the fair,” Ms. Warren said.

Ms. Oliver, 56, is the first to say that her gallery is no Gagosian or Hauser & Wirth — the global powerhouses whose artists are frequently featured in museum shows, and who work to make that happen.

Credit…Jovelle Tamayo for The New York Times
Credit…Jovelle Tamayo for The New York Times

“We’re stealthy,” she said. “We fly under the radar.”

She founded her gallery 29 years ago in Philadelphia, and spent two decades in New York’s Chelsea before moving in February to Harlem. From the beginning, Ms. Oliver had a firm idea about whose work she wanted to show.

“When we started, I vowed to have more than 50 percent women,” she said. “And we’re about 75 percent now.”

Ms. Oliver has added to her goals over time. “We’ve also made a concerted effort to bring in more Black voices,” she said, especially since the Black Lives Matter movement has accelerated.

In these priorities, Ms. Oliver finds herself in alignment with prestigious museums that set the tone for the entire art world.

“I’ve talked to so many curators about this,” she said. “We see we have these big gaping voids in the collections, in the canon of art history, and they are trying to remedy that.”

Ms. Thomas, 71, has been featured in many exhibitions over the years and her profile is growing. She has a commission to design a set of windows for the dining hall of Grace Hopper College at Yale University that will go on view next year.

The Seattle Art Museum show is an apotheosis of sorts.

“What’s different is that I’m directing what it’s going to be,” Ms. Thomas said, alluding to the level of input she has had while working with the curator Catharina Manchanda. “I told them: ‘I have an idea and I want you to help me realize it.’”

Credit…via Claire Oliver Gallery; Spike Mafford
Credit…Claire Oliver Gallery; Spike Mafford

The subjects depicted are all Black children and Ms. Thomas knows most of them. The show includes three portraits on sandblasted glass, 10 cut-paper portraits and three handcrafted candelabras. There’s also a hanging sculpture made of hand-cut Tyvek, surrounded by Tyvek panels.

“How do we read faces — and what has culture put into our cup?” Ms. Thomas said of the show’s theme. “My stories are not epic. They are about the everyday.”

She cuts the paper works with a razor and then hand-tints them, and the effect is striking.

“I’m about the dazzle,” Ms. Thomas said. “I want to seduce with the figure. I don’t apologize for being graphic.”

She started working with Ms. Oliver in 2014. Though she was already known to the Seattle Art Museum, having a dealer based in New York, and a forthcoming project at Yale, will help give her “street cred, given that I’m not in the East,” Ms. Thomas said, referring to the art world’s center of gravity.

“Claire saw something in my work that people in my region haven’t always picked up on,” Ms. Thomas said. “She has an eye for people with a power mechanism.”

She added that there was a commonality between her own work and that of other artists that Ms. Oliver shows, including the textile work of Ms. Butler.

“There’s a devotion to materiality, and to really building things,” Ms. Thomas said.

Ms. Butler’s Chicago show, with 22 of her quilts and works by other artists who have influenced her, including the photographer Gordon Parks, is an ode to that city.

“I’m the ultimate Chicago fan,” said Ms. Butler, 47, who is based in West Orange, N.J.

“My heroes are people like Charles White,” she added, referring to the Chicago-born painter who was the subject of a 2018-19 posthumous traveling museum retrospective that many felt was long overdue. “I feel like the granddaughter to these artists.”

Image“The Safety Patrol” (2018) by Bisa Butler. 
Credit…Bisa Butler
Credit…Bisa Butler
Credit…Bisa Butler

Her interest in textiles started early. “I grew up sewing,” said Ms. Butler, who learned from her mother and grandmother during her New Jersey childhood. “My Barbies were decked out.”

After Howard University and a period of making works for friends and family, she became a professional artist around 2003. From the beginning, she wanted a wide audience for her work.

“When you’re in a segregated art world, you don’t realize it right away,” Ms. Butler said. “But I didn’t want to make art exclusively for Black people. My subject matter is Black, but I don’t only want to be in African-American museums or fairs.”

Things broadened for Ms. Butler “only when I met Claire,” she said. “It seems like the years before that didn’t count. Some people were saying, ‘Oh she’s an emerging artist.’ But I had been working for 20 years.”

In the Chicago show, “The Safety Patrol” (2018) — depicting a group of children who could have starred in one of Ms. Thomas’s works — was fashioned from cotton, wool and chiffon that has been quilted and appliquéd.

Ms. Butler’s projects often begin in black and white photographs, where she seeks a compelling image. The origin may be surprising, given how much color is in the finished work, but she said she preferred to begin with pure form, and then to add her own hues.

Ms. Warren of the Art Institute said that the use of textiles — not a dominant medium for contemporary artists, and one associated with women’s work — has additional meaning.

“She interrogates the history of the marginalization of her subjects, and she does it in a medium that has been marginalized, too,” Ms. Warren said.

Like Ms. Thomas, Ms. Butler has a humanistic approach that doesn’t dwell on conflict.

“I want to tell the story of Black America from the inside out,” Ms. Butler said. “My work is like a Black family’s photo album. You’re not going to see images of the worst day of life.”

With the opening of both the Chicago and Seattle shows, Ms. Butler said she recognizes a feeling of things clicking into place. She’s felt that before with Ms. Oliver.

“When Claire moved to Harlem, it just fit right,” Ms. Butler said. “It’s like when I touched a fabric, it felt right. Paint was not for me. Things align in the right time and space.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Teaching Anti-Racism to the Next Generation of Doctors

… classic multilevel framework emphasizes how racism is internalized, operates interpersonally … institutions, policies and ideologies. Racism’s multiple levels can … has lynched and massacred countless Black Americans. Accordingly, white doctors’ silence … RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News

ICv2 Insider Talks Livestream – Comics Track

ICv2 White Paper; Adapting Comics to COVID; NPD Insights; Comics, TV, and Racial Justice

An ICv2 Release.  The sessions for the comics track of the ICv2 Insider Talks Livestream, planned for 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, include the ICv2 White Paper, a conversation on creating and distributing COVID-era comic stories, insights on 2020 from NPD from its vast data resources, and a conversation with Keith Knight, whose comics with racial justice themes were the inspiration for the new Hulu series Woke, which he co-wrote.

ICv2 Insider Talks 2020 – Livestream is an invitation-only event for business professionals from all parts of the business, including retailers, wholesalers and distributors; publishers; creators; librarians and educators; licensees, licensors, and marketers; tech executives; and press.

If you are a business professional and would like to attend the event, email:

If you are press and would like to cover the event, email:

ICv2 Insider Talks Livestream – Comics Track: 2:00 p.m. ET – 4:30 p.m. ET

ICv2 White Paper
ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp will present a special ICv2 White Paper, examining the comics and graphic novel business leading into and during the COVID pandemic, helping to understand how trends were affected by the disruptions of 2020.

Milton Griepp is the founder and CEO of ICv2, which covers the Business of Geek Culture, and consults on geek culture business topics.  He was previously CEO of early geek culture e-commerce retailer NextPlanetOver, and was co-founder and CEO of Capital City Distribution, one of the largest distributors of comics and pop culture products through the formative years of the comic store channel.  He’s served on the boards of directors of comiXology and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Creating and Releasing Comics for the COVID Era
ICv2 columnist and author Rob Salkowitz will interview AWA CCO Axel Alonso and comic writer and journalist Ethan Sacks about the real-time comics journalism of Covid Chronicles, a series of webcomics published on the NBC News site beginning in the early days of the pandemic and now about to be collected in book format.

Axel Alonso has taken the creative reins behind AWA Studios’ upcoming launch, as their Chief Creative Officer, working to build a brand new superhero universe built from the ground up for a 21st century audience.  In the face of both extensive praise and an onslaught of conservative backlash, Alonso spearheaded Marvel’s efforts to revitalize and diversify their superhero lineup, including driving the creation of Miles Morales Spider-Man, Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel, Jane Foster Thor, along with publishing a controversial western comic about a gay cowboy, and bringing on National Book Award winner and MacArthur genius Ta-Nehesi Coates to write Black Panther.  Alonso was Executive Editor and Editor-in-Chief at Marvel.

Ethan Sacks is best known in comics as the writer of Marvel’s Old Man Hawkeye, Silver Surfer, Old Man Quill, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker: Allegiance and Star Wars: Bounty Hunters.  Before his career change to writing comics three years ago, Sacks was a 20-year veteran at the New York Daily News, covering film and geek culture, a role in which he interviewed everyone from Affleck to Zhang Ziyi.

Rob Salkowitz is an author, educator and consultant focused on media, entertainment, comics and pop culture.  He is senior media contributor at Forbes and a long-time columnist for ICv2.  He is author, co-author or editor of six books including Comic Con and the Business of Pop Culture and Comics and Economics: The Shadowy World of Capes, Cowls and Invisible Hands.  He advises clients worldwide on engaging with the pop culture audience and understanding the comics medium.  Salkowitz teaches in the graduate school of communication at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he lives and works.

Consumers, Comics, and COVID-19 – 2020, A Most Unusual Year
On one hand, comic categories, especially Kids’ Comics and Graphic Novels, and Manga, continued to show strong signs of growth in 2020 in the trade book market. At the same time, no sector of the Trade books market is as disrupted during the pandemic crisis, and a holiday season unlike any other is almost upon us.  Join NPD Executive Director of Business Development at the NPD Books practice Kristen McLean as she uses NPD’s POS, streaming data, and wider consumer data to help us understand exactly what happened in 2020, what kinds of trends were accelerated by COVID-19, and what the outlook for 2021 looks like in a cross-platform future.

Kristen McLean is the Executive Director of Business Development at the NPD Books practice, the team behind NPD BookScan.  Kristen is also the primary Books Analyst within NPD’s larger Entertainment practice, and she has been a major driver in expanding NPD BookScan’s coverage of the comic and graphic novel market.  A twenty five year veteran of the publishing industry, Kristen speaks broadly to entertainment industry leaders about trends in books, media, and retail culture, and she is deeply interested in the confluence of emerging consumer behavior, technology, literacy, and generational shift in the Digital Age.

Comics, TV, and Racial Justice in the COVID Year
Harvey Award-winner Keith Knight has been creating his comics for print and online outlets since the early 90s, with collections released from a variety of publishers and self-published.  Now Woke, the TV series he inspired and co-wrote about a Black cartoonist whose life is changed by an encounter with the police has dropped on Hulu, in a year defined by COVID and by the reckoning with racial justice issues brought to a head by the police killing of George Floyd.  The timing of Woke seems tailor-made for 2020, but Knight’s been raising the same issues throughout his career.  PW Senior News Editor Calvin Reid talks to Knight about his comics, the ways he’s reached his audience, how that led to the show, and what he’s planning next.

Keith Knight is many things to many people–rapper, social activist, father and educator among them.  He’s also one of the funniest and most highly regarded cartoonists in America, and the creator of three popular comic strips: the Knight Life, (th)ink, and the K Chronicles. Keith Knight is part of a generation of African-American artists who were raised on hip-hop, and infuse their work with urgency, edge, humor, satire, politics and race. His art has appeared in various publications worldwide, including the Washington Post, Daily KOS, San Francisco Chronicle,, Ebony, ESPN the Magazine, L.A. Weekly, MAD Magazine, and the Funny Times.

Calvin Reid is Senior News Editor at Publishers Weekly with responsibility for comics and graphic novel coverage.  He is also co-editor of PW Comics World, the magazine’s e-mail comics newsletter.

This invitation-only event will include two tracks of short talks with Q&A on consecutive days: one on the business of hobby games; and one focused on the business of comics and graphic novels.  For more information, click here.

 If you are a business professional and would like to attend the event, email:

If you are press and would like to cover the event, email:

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment