My buddy Meshach Taylor breezed into Manhattan for his appearance on the “Wendy Williams Show,” which airs at 10am this morning on WNYW, FOX, Ch. 5. (Check your local listings) The Emmy award-winning actor, most familiar to film audiences as Hollywood Montrose in Mannequin and Mannequin: On the Move, and as Anthony Bouvier on “Designing Women,” is in town to chat up Wigger, his new film by Emmy award-winning director Dr. Omowale Akintunde. I last saw Taylor in New York when he made his Broadway debut in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as Lumiere, opposite Toni Braxton in 1998.
Wigger chronicles the world of Brandon, a young White aspiring R& B singer, emulating and immersing himself in African American life and culture, who struggles to overcome the confines of a White racist, impoverished family headed by a neo-Nazi father. Meshach Taylor, who plays the role of Mr. Pruitt, a Quincy Jones-type music producer in the short version of Wigger for Akintunde’s thesis at the New York Film Academy, reprises his role in the full length feature which opens nationwide at Edge Theaters on May 27, 2011.
In addition to Taylor, the film features Anna Maria Horsford, David Oakes, Eric Harvey, Kim Patrick, Arkeni Turner, Justin Ruff, B-Daht, Tim Jennings, Elan Garfias, Pam Paulson and Braxton Davis.
Taylor’s first professional gig was in a National tour of Hair. He honed his craft in repertory theater as a member of Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, and the Organic Theater Company alongside André De Shields, Joe Mantegna, Dennis Franz, Keith Szarabajka, Jack Wallace, and director Stuart Gordon. While in Chicago, he received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Sizwe Banzo Is Dead, and an Emmy Award for his role as Jim in the WTTV production of “Huckleberry Finn.”
In 1979, Taylor moved to Los Angeles, where he has crafted a gallery of memorable characters in film and on television, including his Emmy nominated turn in the CBS sitcom “Designing Women” as Anthony Bouvier, the assistant at the fictitious Sugarbaker interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia, starring Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Jean Smart. He was a series regular on “Dave’s World” (CBS), and has had recurring guest starring appearances on Nickelodeon’s “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” and “Buffalo Bill” (NBC) with Dabney Coleman. He has appeared on “The Unit” (CBS), “Hannah Montana” (Disney Channel), “The Drew Carey Show” (ABC), “Static Shock” (Kids WB!), “Caroline in the City” (NBC), “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” (Nickelodeon), “Women of the House” (CBS), “In the Heat of the Night” (NBC), “Punky Brewster” (NBC), “What’s Happening Now!”, “Hill Street Blues” (NBC), “ALF” (NBC), “Melba” (CBS), “The Golden Girls” (NBC), “Cagney & Lacey” (CBS), “Barney Miller” (ABC), “M*A*S*H” (CBS), “Lou Grant” (CBS), “The White Shadow” (CBS), “The Incredible Hulk” (CBS), and “Barnaby Jones”(CBS). His made-for-TV movies include The Right Connections with MC Hammer, Sidney Sheldon’s Nothing Lasts Forever with Brooke Shields, Virtual Seduction, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child and Double, Double, Toil and Trouble with the Olsen Twins.
Taylor has appeared in the feature films Damien: Omen II, The Howling, Jacks or Better, Kid ‘N Play’s Class Act, How to Murder a Millionaire, David Mamet’s House of Games, The Allnighter, The Last Innocent Man with Ed Harris, Explorers, Friends and Family, The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, One More Saturday Night, Warning Sign, and Inside Out with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason. Taylor also hosted his own series on HGTV, “The Urban Gardener with Meshach Taylor” and was a regular panelist on a revamped version of “To Tell the Truth.”
Dr. Omowale Akintunde, Chair of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Black Studies Department, is a filmmaker (Communion, Mama ‘n ‘Em), and a prolific writer, well published in the subjects of education, race relations and diversity. He is the author of two books “Multiculturalism and the Teacher Education Experience” as well as a children’s book “The Adventures of Darrell and the Invincible Man”. Akintundes received a 2010 Emmy Award for his short film An Inaugural Ride to Freedom. The hour-long documentary shows how members of the Black Studies Department, students and members of the community traveled to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Below are special screening dates for Wigger at select locations around the country.
May 19, 2011 Birmingham, AL
The Edge 12 Theater
7001 Crestwood Boulevard
Red Carpet Arrival 6:30
Movie Screening 7:30
May 24, 2011 Las Vegas, NV
Galaxy Theatre, Cannery Hotel and Casino
2121 East Craig Road
North Las Vegas, NV
Red Carpet Arrival 6:30
Movie Screening 7:00
May 26, 2011 Los Angeles, CA
July 14, 2011 New York NY
July 18, 2011 Washington DC
August 15, 2011 Special Premiere and Conference in Denver, CO.
For more information and tickets check out www.wiggerthefilm.com
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Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
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