Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:00 am.
Fourteen years ago today, the action-crime drama Set It Off opened in theaters nationwide. This wasF. Gary Gray’s second film, the first being Friday in 1995. In many ways, Set It Off was a first of its kind, starring four Black women as bank robbers. Also, it didn’t hurt that the film featured some of the favorite Black actresses of the time, Vivica Fox, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and newcomer Kimberly Elise.
The ladies played women who were stuck in the poverty of Los Angeles, California. Ironically, none of the leads were from California. After Fox’s character is blamed for a robbery at the bank she worked at and is wrongfully fired from her job, the women start robbing banks on their own, hoping it will be a way out of their neighborhood.
The movie stirred some controversy with Queen Latifah playing a lesbian character, causing many to question her sexuality. Fans credit her performance as Cleo as one of the best in her career.
The film was extremely violent for its time and had some hardcore action scenes. But, at its heart the storyline focused on friendship, and with its tear-jerker ending, Set It Off grossed nearly $42 million.
Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:00 am.
In the ’90s, Larenz Tate was one of the hottest actors in Black Hollywood. His career started in television with small roles on Family Matters, The Royal Family and Oprah Winfrey’s The Women Of Brewster Place. It was his role in 1993’s Menace II Society, playing O-Dog, that officially made him a star.
Tate could’ve easily got lumped in the gangster films of the decade, but he would expand his horizons in films like The Inkwell, Dead Presidents and playing Frankie Lymon in the biopic Why Do Fools Fall In Love, which also included Vivica Fox andHalle Berry.
But, it was his role as Darius Lovehall in 1997’s Love Jones that made him a sex symbol. Playing opposite Nia Long, the film captured a time in young Black America where the poetry scene was huge, neo-soul music was about to explode and folks were tiring of the gangster films.
There was talk of a sequel, but Nia Long told BET.com, “I heard that it’s possible there might be a sequel in the works that’s going straight to video with two other actors because I would never do that and Larenz [Tate] wouldn’t either. I think that’s going to be the biggest mistake they could ever make. It’s a cult classic and people love that movie. If you try to serve that up with different actors and a sequel straight to video, you’re going to piss a lot of people off.”
Larenz Tate’s career has continued to flourish with roles in 2004’s Crash and Ray, and he is currently on the FX Network’s Rescue Me. Larenz turns 35 today!
Check out the clip below of Larenz and Nia at this year’s BET Awards.