One of our favorite—and admittedly most challenging—issues to produce each year is our Hollywood portfolio. It’s the perfect storm of inflated egos, overbooked schedules and mile-long requests. Undaunted, our entertainment editor and celebrity supersleuth, Cori Murray, works the phones and her BlackBerry around the clock to make sure we get the biggest names for our package. The ultimate goal of all this wrangling is to celebrate Black Hollywood. We start months in advance, mapping out our A-list so that we can put together the most stunning and visually surprising images. Our cast this year includes Oscar nominees, Grammy winners, media tycoons and a diva (of course); and our photo sessions took us from Atlanta to Harlem to Los Angeles.
Two of the participants we’re most proud to include this year are cover girl Jennifer Hudson (who didn’t love her in Dreamgirls?) and Tyler Perry. While most of you are familiar with his stage plays and blockbuster movies, you may not know that Perry is also a top-notch businessman. And with the recent opening of the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, he can effectively green-light any project he wants. Now that’s power.
You’ve got the power, too. As movie-ticket buyers, every time we plunk down our dollars we tell Hollywood what we want to see and the types of films it should be making. That’s why we encourage you to exercise your box-office clout by going out to see Black films on the opening weekend. Be sure to check out Tyler’s new movie, Daddy’s Little Girls, with Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba (in theaters February 14). And to celebrate some of our greatest—and not so great (Soul Plane, anyone?)—cinematic moments, log on to essence.com and cast your vote in our Essence.com Black Movie Awards poll. Then let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org which photograph in our portfolio you most enjoyed and what your favorite Black film is and why. See you at the movies.
Angela Burt-Murray Editor-in-Chief