This Week In Good Black News: Alicia Keys' ‘Hell’s Kitchen' Earns 13 Tony Nominations, Issa Rae Is Producing a Buddy Comedy Staring Keke Palmer and SZA, and 50 Cent Is Developing Soundstages In Houston

Plus, 6LACK announces a new tour and Zoë Kravitz makes her directorial debut.

1. Alicia Keys ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Earns 13 Tony Nominations

Alicia Keys is now a multiple Tony Award nominee. Her play, “Hell's Kitchen,” which is based on her childhood in New York City, has earned 13 nominations. "Hell's Kitchen" received nominations for Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction, and Best Choreography. Additionally, the play earned nods in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category for Maleah Joi Moon and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for Brandon Victor Dixon

“Hell’s Kitchen” is currently playing at the Shubert Theater on Broadway in New York City.

The 77th Tony Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 16, 2024, at 8 pm ET.

2. Issa Rae To Direct Buddy Comedy Starring Keke Palmer And SZA

Issa Rae is known for making power moves in Hollywood. For her latest endeavor, it was announced that she is producing a buddy comedy starring Keke Palmer and SZA

While details of the film have not yet been released, Rae is producing the project through her company HOORAE Media. 

Palmer and SZA first worked together on “Saturday Night Live” in Dec. 2022, when Palmer hosted and SZA was the musical guest.

Palmer took to Instagram to confirm the upcoming film, writing, “I CAN’T WAIT!!!”

3. 50 Cent Developing Film/TV Soundstages In Houston

After launching the second-largest Black-owned film studio in Shreveport, Louisiana, 50 Cent is transforming two vacant warehouses in Houston, Texas into a film and TV soundstage, and an educational facility for local film students. 

Announced on Sunday (April 28), the entertainment mogul recently acquired the Houston property from Al Kashani, a land developer and vice president of Horizon International. 

The project will launch in the next six months and is expected to be completed within a year. The two soundstages are set to be 8,500 and 7,800 square feet and the entire renovation project is estimated to cost between $3 million and $4 million.

50 has become a major part of the Houston community since relocating to the city in May 2021. His Tycoon Fest, an annual weekend music and comedy festival with a celebrity basketball game, is held in the city and 50 was awarded the key to the city.

4. 6LACK Announces ’No More Lonely Nights’ Tour

6LACK is heading back on the road with his recently announced “No More Lonely Nights” Tour. Produced by Live Nation, the tour is set to be an intimate series of shows that is performed “around his latest acoustic EP in NY and Atlanta, taking folks through his personal journey of healing + personal growth.”

On X (formerly Twitter), 6LACK confirmed the new dates.

“Didn’t get to hit every city we wanted to last time, so we had to run it back with a special series we like to call, NMLN. Without giving away too much, this show experience leans more into live music, improvisation, the art of storytelling, and has some extra surprises,” 6LACK wrote on Instagram.

The tour commences on May 18 at The Republik in Honolulu, Hawaii, and concludes at Roxian Theatre in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. 

Tickets will go on sale on May 3 at 10 am local time.

5. Joy Taylor and MJ Acosta-Ruiz To Co-Host Season 2 of ‘Like A Girl’

Joy Taylor, host of “Speak For Yourself” on FS1, and MJ Acosta-Ruiz, host of “NFL Total Access” and co-host of the “El Huddle Podcast” will co-host season two of “Like A Girl” on Fuse Media. The show centers on the success of women in the world of sports.

"We are very excited about 'Like A Girl,' season two. And, not only is this an incredible time for this show to be coming out, but MJ and I are also executive producers on the show as well,” Taylor said in a statement. “So it's not just that we are hosting, but we are also pouring ourselves into the interviews and the incredible athletes and figures that we're going to talk to on the show.”

"We've been very connected to this for pretty much our entire lives. And, it feels like the rest of the world is finally catching on to what we already knew," Acosta-Ruiz added. "So to be able to tell these stories and to be as intentional as possible about the stories we tell, how we tell them, and giving not just the platform and the voice, but the equity to these athletes is really, really important for us."

The show is scheduled to premiere in the summer.

6. Google Launches $75M AI Opportunity Fund and AI Essentials Course To Empower People of Color

Google has announced the launch of a 75 million dollar fund to provide AI training for underrepresented groups—including Black, Latinx, Indigenous, AAPI, people with disabilities, rural residents, and veterans. Also, the company has developed an AI Essential Course.

Created by leading AI experts at Google, this AI Essentials Course offers foundational AI skills and promotes best practices of AI. For just $49.00, the course seeks to “enhance productivity and decision-making across various industries, thereby expanding economic opportunities for individuals and communities alike”. 

Maya Kulycky, Google Research's VP of Strategy and Operations shared the importance of communities of color embracing the power of AI.

“Grow with Google’s AI Essentials course is a great resource for our community to tap into, especially if you’re someone looking to get a better understanding of this evolving technology,” Kulycky told “I’m fortunate to work with a number of teams across Google that are doing cutting-edge research and developing AI tools to help people be more productive and creative in their daily lives. This course pulls from that work and is taught by experts at Google to help people, across jobs and experience levels, learn how AI can help them level up in their career.”

7. Xavier University and Ochsner Health Partner To Establish HBCU Medical School

Xavier University of Louisiana (Xavier) has partnered with Ochsner Health (Ochsner) to launch the Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine (XOCOM). It will be the fifth HBCU medical school in the country and will be located in the BioDistrict New Orleans, downtown in Benson Tower next to Caesars Superdome.

“With the establishment of the Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine, Ochsner and Xavier aim to address long-standing health disparities and foster stronger, healthier communities in pursuit of the mission to promote a more just and humane society gifted to Xavier nearly 100 years ago by our foundress, St. Katharine Drexel and her Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament,” said Dr. Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University. “Our partnership with Ochsner affirms our commitment to advancing health equity and excellence. XOCOM will provide cutting-edge medical training and biomedical research and, through a culture of mentorship and leadership, empower our students to be agents of change in healthcare.”

The medical school is slated to open in 2027.

8. 5th Annual Pink Awards Gala Honoring Breast Cancer Warriors 

The 5th Annual Pink Awards paid tribute to breast cancer survivors and supporters and was broadcast for the first time on The Impact Network on Tuesday, April 30. 

Hosted by Malik Yoba and Carl Anthony Payne, the star-studded event took place in Atlanta, featuring performances by Jagged Edge and Kaelyn Kastle. Special guests included Orlando Jones, Porsha Williams, Da Brat, Jesseca Dupart, and William Murphy. Honorees included Jermaine Dupri, Dallas Austin, Elizabeth Omilami, Pastor Jamal Bryant, and Ricki Fairley.

The Pink Awards were founded five years ago by cancer survivor April Loven “to honor survivors, caregivers, and advocates within their respective industries and surrounding communities.”

9. Zoë Kravitz Makes Her Directorial Debut In ‘Blink Twice’

Zoë Kravitz is making moves behind the camera as a first-time director of the feature film Blink Twice. 

The film is description reads: “When tech billionaire Slater King meets Frida, he invites her to join him and his friends for a dream vacation on his private island. However, as strange things start to happen, she'll have to uncover the truth if she wants to make it out alive.”

The ensemble cast includes Naomi Ackie, Channing Tatum, Christian Slater, and several more.

Blink Twice premieres in theaters on August 23, 2024.

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