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Kat Graham Joins Forest Whitaker, Theo James in Netflix’s ‘How It Ends’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Kat Graham has joined the cast of Netflix’s upcoming action thriller “How It Ends,” also starring Forest Whitaker and Theo James.

The film follows James as Will, a young man desperate to get home to his pregnant wife Samantha (Graham) after an apocalyptic event turns roads to mayhem. Forest Whitaker plays Tom, Samantha’s domineering father. Samantha, a loving wife, encourages Will to stand up to Tom, not realizing that later on they’ll have to work together to find her.

Graham is best known for her role as Bonnie Bennett in The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” and has also acted in “17 Again,” “The Roommate” with Leighton Meester, and “Honey 2.” She recently played Jada Pinkett in the Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me.”

Graham also has a burgeoning singing career, with a new album “Love Music Funk Magic,” co-produced with Babyface. The lead single “Sometimes” is currently at #16 on the Billboard Dance Club Chart.

“How It Ends” is directed by David M. Rosenthal from a script by Brooks McLaren. The project is being produced by Paul Schiff, Tai Duncan, Kelly McCormick, and Patrick Newall, with executive production from Sierra’s Nick Meyer and Marc Schaberg. Sierra/Affinity developed the project with Paul Schiff Productions and is handling worldwide sales and financing.

Netflix acquired worldwide rights in January. Production begins in July in Winnipeg.

Graham is repped by WME and Brillstein.

  • (Door opens. Bell chimes)
  • Eugene: Good day, gentlemen!
  • Whit & Tom: Hello.
  • Eugene: Ah, you realize, of course, that there is a more efficient way to let you know a customer has come in than the employment of that small bell above the door.
  • Whit: Probably. Are you a salesman?
  • Eugene: No, sir. My name is Eugene Meltsner, and I am a science student, and, might I add in all modesty, a recognized genius at the Campbell County Community College. I'm sure you've heard of it. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?
  • Whit: Uh, I'm John Whitaker and this is Tom Riley.
  • Tom: Howdy.
  • Eugene: (chuckles) "Howdy." An abbreviated form of the phrase, "How do you do?" or in the older English, "How do you fare?" Um, in answer, ah, Tom, I fare well, thank you.
  • Tom: What'd he say?
  • Whit: (chuckles) I think he said he's fine.
  • Tom: Did I ask?
  • Whit: Well, I guess you did.
Why Howard is the Official College for House Niggas & Uncle Toms: Inspired by Lee Daniels' The Butler

Now, I know, the title sounds quite harsh. But it had to be said. I made this statement via Twitter the other day, but provided no explanation. So, before all you HU alums and HU hopefuls come for me, I just want to say that I attended an HBCU, just not Howard. But, I have noticed some peculiarities among the HU attendees and graduates that I don’t really see in my fellow HBCU alums that attended the Booker T. mode of thought HBCUs. It would seem that HU would be the dream of all HBCU hopefuls, but that just isn’t the case. Howard, Hampton, Morehouse, Spelman, FAMU, Tuskeegee….these institutions pump their students with the idea of a “black elite.”

 Now, you may think, “what’s wrong with that? If we are elite, then we should make that known.” Fair enough; but are you really? I came to this realization about HU, among other “elite” black institutions of higher learning, while watching Forest Whitaker’s lovely film, The Butler. 

Yes, The Butler is in fact what made it quite clear to me. I was taught by a professor who is a Fisk alum, the school of choice for Louis who plays Cecil’s radical son in the film. She taught Caribbean literature and literature of the African Diaspora during my summer studying at Clayton State University, and she was what most may consider very radical, albeit subversive in her methods. It was hard to watch Cecil practically beg his son to attend Howard personally because all I could hear him saying was, “just be a house nigga  like me son! Ain’t nuthin wrong with being a good house nigga if you do it right! You may even end up at the white house like me!“ 

So much symbolism here, but I digress.

First of all, Louis is the most interesting character in this entire film to me, and the dichotomy between Cecil and Louis shows the schism that existed within the black community during the civil rights era. Indeed, after Louis sowed his black radical oats as a Fisk University student, being involved in countless sit-ins and various non-violent protests as a Freedom Rider, he eventually reaches his peak of racial rebellion as a Black Panther, realizes he isn’t about that life, and becomes a democratic party representative soon after he has this epiphany. So in other words, he was eventually scared into house niggadom. 

Now, I don’t believe that Cecil meant to stay a house nigga or an Uncle Tom forever, but I do think that by the time he realized he may have been in too deep, it was too late. What happened to that little boy out in the cotton fields in the opening scene that challenged his daddy to do something about the white man having his way with his wife??? He too was turned into a house nigga; both literally (due to the mistress’s backwards act of sympathy for Cecil having witnessed his dad shot in the head right in front him), and figuratively (psychologically).

I’ve seen graduates of said elite institutions literally argue about which school was best. As a proud Alumni of Fort Valley State Universtiy, we don’t do that shit. We may engage in a little friendly rivalry when it comes to sports or some other form of competition while we’re students, and I’ll admit, some rivalries do run deep, (such as Albany State Vs. Fort Valley State); but it’s all in fun. In the end, we all attended HBCUs and support HBCUs no matter which one you attended. We’re one big HBCU family because we all have been informed of our similar history and know how to apply that to our daily lives, particularly in our dealings with the dominant race. We know how to “code switch,” we know the issues between Booker T. vs. Du Bois, etc. etc. It is my opinion that HU and others like them teach you how to assimilate into the white world, not challenge it. 

Not saying that there aren’t radicals who have and are currently attending HU, but just take a look at the IG picture above. I originally wrote this post in 2013 I believe…this was posted just this year, 2015). The non-existent Black Ivy League just seems to be a microcosm of blacks comparing their level of academic rigor and success to whites. But why is there a need for this correlation? In fact, the first black to ever graduate from an ivy league college didn’t occur until 1828, when Edward Mitchell received his degree from Dartmouth College. For the more popular ivies, like Harvard, blacks weren’t tolerated until the mid-late 19th century. And Barack sure as hell didn’t go to anybody's’s HBCU so what’s the significance of this picture? Do you not have enough of your own alums to champion in IG posts? What’s the big deal about Ivy Leagues in the first place? Who says attending an Ivy, black or otherwise, is even something we as black people should even aspire to? 

The mentality of black elites who have yet to gain entrance into the true Ivory Tower quite frankly baffles me. I’ve personally been taught by professors who’ve attended Yale, Stanford, NYU and even the University of Toronto, and have often outperformed my colleagues who were all educated at well-known PWIs. My success was based strictly off of my Fort Valley State educational background. 

I can even remember having a conversation with a HU alum who talked about how strict greek life was there. She informed my fellow FV friends and I that if you were an interest, you couldn’t even be seen going into the bookstore to purchase nalia for a friend who was about to cross. Hell, pretty much everybody at Fort Valley knew when processes were underway, but we also understood the importance of discretion. Me and a fellow friend, who is also a FVSU alum, were utterly confused because we don’t know how a lot of people that went greek while we were in school would’ve made it had they not told ANYONE that they there on line. We had to help each other. It was a communal affair. We were taught to speak to people even if you didn’t know who they were as freshman. That’s how you met a lot of people on the yard. 

I don’t get that same communal vibe and feel when I’m on HU’s campus, and I’m sure the other institutions mentioned aren’t too far from it. 

Just my thoughts.

And I’ll close with "I'mmmm soooo glaaaaaaaaad, I went to Fort-Vall-ey!!!!”

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