News Brief
Headshot and film still via Sundance.

Chinonye Chukwu's 'Clemency' Will Be Released in Theaters This December

The theatrical release of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner comes just in time for awards season.

Chinonye Chukwu's Clemency is due to be released in theaters on Dec. 27—which qualifies her for awards season consideration, Deadline reports.


The Nigerian-American director is the first black woman to win a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance for the film that's also been receiving rave reviews since the acknowledgement. Clemency was acquired at the festival by NEON—the U.S.-based film production and distribution company behind the likes of I, Tonya and Border.

"I'm so thankful and can't wait to share this film with many more audiences," Chukwu shares on Twitter.

Death Row Drama 'Clemency' Cast Share What Drew Them to The Project | Sundance youtu.be

Revisit the synopsis of the film starring Alfre Woodard, who plays a prison warden grappling with how emotionally demanding her job is:

Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams. As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.

Clemency's producers include ACE Pictures Entertainment, Bronwyn Cornelius Productions and Julian Cautherley. Chukwu is in the process of directing A Taste of Power—a drama based on former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown's life. Read more about the project here.

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Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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