Director Robert Townsend is well-known for his comedy films like “Hollywood Shuffle” and “Meteor Man” as well as for the beloved film “The Five Heartbeats,” about a male singing group. But he moved to darker fare last year with his film “In the Hive,” a movie about a school in North Carolina run by the extraordinary Vivian Saunders. The school, now sadly closed, but reopened this year as a community center, was the last resort for young violent offenders who could not return to regular schools. Townsend said that story drew him to do this film.
“In the Hive” came out last year but now it’s out on DVD,” Townsend told the Tom Joyner Morning Show “It aired on BET, but the version on DVD is the director’s cut. It’s a very powerful movie and it’s a true story based on the life of this woman in North Carolina who turned around the lives of these boys. They were called the discarded boys. They were kicked out of schools all around North Carolina – they were drug dealers and gangbangers. This is my edgiest film to date. It’s rated R and it’s like Robert Townsend doing and R-Rated movie? But they say it’s like “Boyz in the Hood” or “Menace to Society” for this generation.”
Townsend said the loss of young men around the country impacted his motivation to direct “The Hive.” Although he’s currently in New York City to see his own daughter, Alexia, graduate from New York University, and is very proud that she wants to become a director, he is conscious of the struggle that young people are waging for survival who are not as privileged.
“We’re losing all these kids. Every day, there is a shooting going on in Chicago, and around the country because these kids are wilding out. So for me as an artist, I always have to do something special and something different and I think “In The Hive” is really a powerful movie. I just want people to see it. I’ve shown it to the college boards and different teachers. I want people to support the film, but I think it could be used as a powerful tool as well. It’s entertaining. If you liked “The Five Heartbeats,” and other movies I’ve done in the past, this movie has a lot of heart and it will make you laugh and cry.”
Loretta Devine, who plays Saunders, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for the role, competing with Halle Berry and Viola Davis. Jonathan McDaniel, best known as Raven’s boyfriend on the Disney series “That’s So Raven,” plays Xtra Keys, the film’s main character. He receives high praise from Townsend, who calls him “the next Brando or James Dean” of this new generation of actors.
But sadly, “In The Hive” is also Michael Clarke Duncan’s last film. Townsend says a scene from the movie was played at his funeral.
“It broke my heart,” Townsend said. “”We showed one of the scenes of the movie at his funeral, because everyone was like we gotta show his final performance.”
Click here to buy or stream “In the Hive.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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