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The Search for True Love Shines On Film In “Don’t Marry Griff”

In This New Film, African American Gay Men Search for True Love Releasing Nationally

Don’t Marry Griff, the latest independent film by Color of Love Production Studios, tells the story of Lyodell Archer (Steven L. Coard) and best friend Sutton Brown (Chris DeLoatch) as their friendship is shaken to its core once Sutton confesses his love to Lyodell. Things get even more complicated because he chooses to do it as Lyodell is about to wed his fiancé, Griffith Lowell (JR Rolley).

Don’t Marry Griff is a romantic comedy about love shared between African American men,” explains director Steven L. Coard, who also stars in the film.  “I have always dreamed of the day when I could produce my own independent film for the gay African American community. I aim to create unique and original stories that will hopefully unite our community.”

Coard intends for Don’t Marry Griff to be the first of a series of movies that tackle love stories of gay African American characters.  “It’s important for African American gay men to have characters they can identify with while being entertained,” he says.

“I think most gay black men are striving to achieve the American Dream. I  know I want that white picket fence.  Although I am not looking for the children part,” he adds with a grin.

Don’t Marry Griff  stars Steven L. Coard, Chris DeLoatch and JR Rolley.

Coard had DeLoatch in mind for the role of Sutton when writing the film.  “I had seen him in the web series, ‘Bait’. He plays a psycho killer in the show but I saw a genuine goodness in him.”

The character of Sutton is the type of guy everyone dreams about being with one day.  He’s honest with a sense of humor.  He’s confident, courageous, communicative, a natural leader who listens and takes initiative.  He’s not afraid to go after what he wants and most importantly, he stands up to Griffith in the film and provides Lyodell a safe haven.

Coard originally had another actor in the role of Griffith, but as so often happens in independent filmmaking, two weeks before filming was set to begin, the actor dropped out. Coard was left scrambling to find someone to replace him.  DeLoatch recommended he consider JR Rolley, an actor known for playing  lovable guy-next-door roles.  Coard was doubtful as the role of Griffith called for a type-A, bad-ass personality.  “Despite my hesitation, I brought JR in to read for the part. I immediately saw the passion in his eyes and that he was very prepared and looking for a character opposite from the pretty boy roles he usually plays.”

All seemed to be back on track with filming, until the actor confirmed to play Lyodell unexpectedly dropped out, too.  Pressed for time, Coard decided to take on the role himself.  “I had wanted to focus on working behind the camera as executive producer and director but things don’t always work out the way you plan,” he laughs.  “I sucked it up and and called in my acting chops to start working again.”

Don’t Marry Griff is being distributed by Color of Love Production Studios, an award winning production company that specializes in creating stories about the LGBTQ community of color.   Founded by Steven L. Coard, the studio strives to  focus on unique issues of relevance to the gay African American identity.

“The wonderful thing about Don’t Marry Griff is that viewers do not need to be African American and gay to enjoy it,” says Coard.  “Anyone who has experienced a toxic relationship can relate to the film.  It entertains and is educational as well.   I won’t give away the ending but I will tell you, in Don’t Marry Griff , karma is a beeeotch.”

For more information, visit https://colorofloveproduction.com.

Kenn McLaughlin Celebrates 15 Years With Stages Theatre

Stages Theatre Kenn McLaughlin Celebrates 15 Years!

2016 Marks 15 Years As Artistic Director For Kenn McLaughlin With Stages, Serving As The Theatre’s Longest Tenured Leader.


Even after 15 years, this leader continues to raise the bar and elevate the quality of work produced at Stages Theatre located near Montrose. The 2015-2016 season marks McLaughlin’s tenth season as Stages’ artistic leader, following five successful years as the theatre’s Managing Director.

Under the leadership of McLaughlin, Stages has strengthened its commitment to sustainable innovation through projects such as producing the first American regional theatre production of Stephen Sondheim’s latest musical, Road Show; re-envisioning classics like Auntie Mame and Veronica’s Room.

McLaughlin has produced more than 100 productions, with record-breaking hits for the theatre. Also the revival of the theatre’s landmark original musical Always…Patsy Cline; as well as pivotal world and U.S. premieres such as Black Pearl SingsAn American BratElizabeth Rex, five original Panto-style musicals and The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical.

Prior to his arrival at Stages in Houston, McLaughlin spent time in Cleveland, Ohio being nominted three-times for the Ohio governor’s award for excellence in the arts.

In Houston, McLaughlin went full steam ahead, teaching classes in creativity at Rice University, directing at Sam Houston State University, as well as teaching diversity awareness to cadets at the Houston Police Academy.

GLAAD Announces Media Awards Nominees

Glaad Media Awards 2016 Nominees

(CNN)GLAAD announced the nominees for the 27th annual GLAAD Media Awards on Wednesday, and for the first time, more than 50% of the English-language nominations are trans-inclusive.

Nominees include Oscar-nominated films like “Carol” and popular TV shows such as “Empire” and “Orange is the New Black.” Streaming services earned a record seven nominations (up from three last year), with Netflix bagging five of those.

The nominees for outstanding film (wide release) are “Carol,” “The Danish Girl,” “Dope,” “Freeheld” and “Grandma.” “Arrow,” “Black Sails,” “Empire,” “The Fosters,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Nashville,” “Orphan Black,” “Sense8” and “Shameless” are nominated for outstanding drama series.

Outstanding reality program nominees are “I Am Cait,” “I Am Jazz,” “New Girls on the Block,” “The Prancing Elites Project” and “Transcendent.”

GLAAD — the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization — announced 101 nominees in 20 English-language categories and 46 Spanish-language nominees in 11 categories. Cable networks earned 27 nominations while broadcast networks garnered 18.

“For nearly three decades, the GLAAD Media Awards have propelled inclusion in media and driven LGBT acceptance forward,” GLAAD Chief Executive Officer and President Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “This year’s nominees have raised the bar for creating thoughtful and diverse LGBT images and storylines, deepening audiences’ understanding of LGBT people and accelerating acceptance across the world.”

GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be April 2 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and May 14 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. For the first time in a decade, the ceremony will be aired on Logo in April.