Sunday, January 08, 2006

Fantastic Four [#001]: Four Guys We Love

Anthony Mackie - actor

For nearly the past decade, every young, emerging African-American actor has been dubbed "The next Denzel." Anthony Mackie is no exception but to his credit, one label you can't throw at him is "Type-cast." The Julliard trained Mackie is a true actor's-actor. In his young career, he has breathed life into a myriad of characters for A-list hollywood directors including Spike Lee (She Hate Me), Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) and Jonathan Demme (The Manchurian Candidate). Anthony Mackie's smoldering good looks have made him a sex-symbol in the eyes of many of his female fans, but it's his innate acting ability that continues to build his film credits.

This winter, you can see Anthony Mackie in the much anticipated remake of Dreamgirls, starring Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover and Jamie Foxx.

K'Naan - rapper

Like most Hip-Hop artists, K'naan, has been rhyming since he was a youngster. But for K'naan, whose name means "The Traveller," his early rap memories were not set against the familiar backdrop of the American South, West, or East Coast. K'naan was far East, in Mogadishu Somali, spending his childhood in a country ravaged by conflict. Although the 28-year-old left his homeland at the height of the war, the music he makes continues to shed light on the day to day struggles of his people, "Where I'm from there are no police or fire fighters / We start riots by burning car tires," K'naan spits on a track entitled "What's Hardcore."

On his debut CD "The Dusty Foot Philosopher," K'naan offers an African perspective in a global language--hip hop--and his message is catching fire across the continents. Judging by the company he keeps (he's currently touring with hip hop heavyweights Mos Def and Talib Kweli) K'naan is definitely being heard.

DeRay Davis - comedian/actor

DeRay Davis' brand of comedy is gritty, jaw-dropping and hysterically funny all at the same time. This Chicago native does for comedy what Terrence Howard has done for film. He'll stand stoned-faced, and tell an audience about the time his mother stole drugs from him; nonchalantly describing what most people view as unsettling and turning it into one of those tear-jerking, gut-wrenching, belly-laughs you'll happily shell out $30 bucks for.

You may have seen him in television shows such as My Wife and Kids or co-starring in the summer hit, The Fog but you haven't seen DeRay Davis until you've seen him live and up-close, in the arena where he truly shines: the comedy stage. If DeRay's show isn't coming to a town near you, don't fret. You'll definitely see him in a slew of soon to be released films, including Scary Movie 4.

Vince Young - athlete

This young quarterback has been the recent talk of Texas. Despite being what many considered the underdog team, Vince Young led the Texas Longhorns to their first national championship in 36 years! Now, the local hero is on to tackle bigger waters--like the NFL. He'll be a pretty hot commodity for the 2006 draft, too; he's the only player in the history of the NCAA to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in a single season.

He won several awards this season including the Davey O'Brien and Maxwell awards but was edged out for the Heisman trophy by USC running back Reggie Bush. But it was Vince--not Reggie--who celebrated Rose Bowl night. Hats off to both competitors--we can't wait to see them shine in the NFL.