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February 27, 2015

Remembering Trayvon Martin

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Faces From Ferguson: Ashley 'Brown Blaze' Yates

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In the basement of St. Louis' Saint John's United Church of Christ at the end of the Labor Day weekend, Yates recounted almost a month's worth of harrowing encounters with a militarized police force to a room of Black Lives Matter freedom riders. She woefully explained that as the days bled into one another, she began "marking days by police tactics."

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Lance Gross: Doing Weddings On and Off-Screen

Comments (13)


Lance Gross has come a long way since his days at Howard University, where he contemplated a career as a professional track and field athlete. Making the decision to pursue his dream of acting and taking the jump to move to Hollywood has proved to be life changing.

This week, the 28 year-old actor will star opposite heavy-hitters like Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker, Regina King and America Ferrara in the romantic comedy 'Our Family Wedding.' The film tackles the topic of an interracial couple who decided to get married and the difficulties they face when they meet each other's family.

It marks, perhaps, the first wedding movie to tackle the subject of what happens when a Latino and African-American decide to tie the knot.

For Gross, the timing to shoot a wedding film couldn't have been better. The Oakland native is marrying 'America's Next Top Model' winner Eva Marcille in July. So wedding planning has really been on the brain.

"It's weird, working on this movie...was like a really bad test run of my wedding," he joked. "But, I felt like this is all the stuff that went wrong [and] it went wrong in this movie, so it's not going to go wrong on my wedding."

The NAACP Image Award-winning Tyler Perry discovery added, "I caught myself pulling things I didn't want for my wedding from this movie, like no goat at all...and a better cake."

Unlike Marcus, his character in the Rick Famuyiwa-directed film, Gross said the most stressful part of planning his real-life nuptials has been "writing the checks because I write the checks and I gotta pay for it."

After the large-scale wedding, complete with four hundred guests, the couple will honeymoon in Portofino, Italy.
Then, in August, Gross will begin shooting the sixth season of the hit TBS series 'Tyler Perry's House of Payne,' where he stars as Calvin Payne.

"It's definitely a lot more relaxed doing a film -- working with Tyler Perry is unlike any other sitcom show," he shared.
Perry has been known to pack in a hectic shooting schedule of three or four episodes a week, with only one day for rehearsal, which Gross said is "the best boot camp you can get."

In between 'Payne' and the film promotion, Gross revealed that he got really close to nailing a part in the upcoming revival of August Wilson's play 'Fences' opposite Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. He's staying positive that one day he'll be bigger than Will Smith.

"I'm a person who believes in the law of attraction, so if you claim it, it's going to be," he said.

"I didn't expect Tyler Perry to walk in my acting class and basically give me a job. I knew it would be hard work to break in, but I was always hopeful and knew it was going to happen."



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