If You Need Me, I’ll Be Under The Sea

“Allow me to re-introduce myself. MY NAME IS HOV OH”–Alright, we can both agree that I do not need to do all of that. Can we also agree that I do not need to explain why I have not posted on this blog for m-o-n-t-h-s? Yes?! I can’t see what you are doing with your head right now, so I am going to pretend that it is nodding. YES!

As always, time is doing that thing where it keeps on going no matter how much I will it to chill the hell out and slow down. Can you believe I am about to turn 23? And don’t–DO NOT–start with that nonsense about 23 being my “Jordan year.” That popular phrase is a reference to Michael Jordan’s jersey number, NOT his age. At 23, Michael Jordan was already one of the most prolific young players in the NBA. At 23, I am set to be one of the most prolific patrons at my local Chipotle.

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A more accurate representation of my forthcoming “Jordan year.”

Believe it or not, I came back to this blog for reasons OTHER than self-deprecation. But, I still have to face the facts; I’m getting old and have to start making some serious changes. Most importantly, I have to put more mental energy towards my big girl goals like advancing in my career, contributing to my 401(k), and rolling my burrito intake back to only three times a week. My childhood dreams of becoming an Olympian backstroker or winning Who Wants to Be A Millionaire probably aren’t going to come true (I still pray on ’em though!), so it’s time to let the childlike habits die too. It is time to WOMAN THE HELL UP.

…..But then, this happened.

ME: As a very mature individual with elevated taste, I have to say that I am so sick of all of these silly, live-action Disney movie remakes. Can’t we please teach the children something new? Something real?!?! 

DISNEY: We doin’ The Little Mermaid y’all.

ME: …*scoffs* 

DISNEY: And Ariel is ’bout to be Black. 

ME: I AM DISNEY, DISNEY IS MEEEE, DISNEY GIRL FOR LIFE, LET ME BE PART OF YOUR WORLD BECAUSE THE COLD NEVER BOTHERED ME ANY DAMN WAY OKAY?!?!?!?!? LET IT ALL GO BECAUSE IT’S TIME TO WATCH A DISNEY CHANNEL MOVIE, YAS MICKEY YOU SO FINE YOU SO FINE YOU BLOW MY MININDINDIDNDIN!!!!!!!

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I want to be a part of THIS world, okay?!?!

Now, I have NO shame about my fakeness. Nor do I have any shame about the sheer exuberance that bursted out of me when I found out that a young, beautiful, Black girl (with locs!!!!) named Halle Bailey would be the one bringing this timeless tale to a whole new generation. Not to toot my own horn in any of this, but I did kinda tell y’all about how dope Halle and her sister Chloe are way back in this post right here. In the words of the all-powerful Beyoncé, “I been on.” 

Halle’s casting came as a bit of a shock, but falls in line with a lot of the “color crossovers” rippling through the entertainment industry today.

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Give some love to these amazing artists and more here!

Quick confession: more often than not, modern day debates about “representation in Hollywood” deeply disappoint me; they are mind-numbingly surface level. Megawatt studios think slapping a brown face on a poster is enough to keep the social media call outs and clapbacks at bay, but rarely make concerted efforts to justly support women and girls of color. Lest we forget these same Disney titans were the ones who released an official poster of Avengers: End Game and credited every one of the thirteen actors featured on the poster EXCEPT for Danai Gurira–the only Black woman.

 

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My copyediting resume is going to be on Disney’s desk TOMORROW.

Of course, I want artists like Halle to thrive in major roles like this one. I want Black and Brown people to see their cultures, traditions, languages, stories, skins, SELVES reflected widely across television and film. But, I also want the awkward, Black, low-level, production assistant fetching everyone coffee to feel valued too.* I don’t want all the talk of representation and diversity in the industry to solely focus on what’s happening on screen. Behind the scenes, there are entire worlds of directing, writing, marketing, editing and distribution, that need rectifying too. 

All that being said, the fact that there is going to be a Black mermaid spread across this screen is the primary reason why I’m going to support the hell out of this movie. Unless Disney does something truly heinous like casting one of the “Jamaican” actors from Season 2 of Luke Cage to voice Sebastian, my butt is going to be there on opening night.

In the spirit of conscious casting and inclusion, here are a few more examples of times when a Black woman’s involvement changed my opinion on something:

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Me: Tennis is so boring, why do people even watch? 

15-year-old Coco Gauff: *breathes* 

Me: DON’T TALK TO ME, I’M WATCHING WIMBLEDON BABY!!!!!!!!! 

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Me: Ugh, I really have to get serious about going to the gym. My body is not ready for swimsuit season.

Megan thee Stallion: Hot girl summer begins now.

Me: EFF A BEACH BODY, I BRING MY BODY TO THE BEACH AND Y’ALL ARE GUNNA GET THESE ROLLS TODAY!!!! 

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Me: Luxury fashion is such a waste of money and resources. Clothes don’t mean anything.

Rihanna: I’m making a Fenty line.

Me: THIS STUFF’? OH, OK. I SEE, YOU THINK THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. YOU GO TO YOUR CLOSET AND YOU SELECT OUT, OH I DON’T KNOW, THAT LUMPY BLUE SWEATER, FOR INSTANCE, BECAUSE YOU’RE TRYING TO TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY TO CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU PUT ON YOUR BACK. BUT WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW IS THAT THAT SWEATER IS NOT JUST BLUE, IT’S NOT TURQUOISE, IT’S NOT LAPIS, IT’S ACTUALLY CERULEAN. YOU’RE ALSO BLINDLY UNAWARE OF THE FACT THAT IN 2002, OSCAR DE LA RENTA DID A COLLECTION OF CERULEAN GOWNS. AND THEN I THINK IT WAS YVES ST LAURENT, WASN’T IT, WHO SHOWED CERULEAN MILITARY JACKETS? AND THEN CERULEAN QUICKLY SHOWED UP IN THE COLLECTIONS OF EIGHT DIFFERENT DESIGNERS. THEN IT FILTERED DOWN THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT STORES AND THEN TRICKLED ON DOWN INTO SOME TRAGIC “CASUAL CORNER” WHERE YOU, NO DOUBT, FISHED IT OUT OF SOME CLEARANCE BIN. HOWEVER, THAT BLUE REPRESENTS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND COUNTLESS JOBS AND SO IT’S SORT OF COMICAL HOW YOU THINK THAT YOU’VE MADE A CHOICE THAT EXEMPTS YOU FROM THE FASHION INDUSTRY WHEN, IN FACT, YOU’RE WEARING THE SWEATER THAT WAS SELECTED FOR YOU BY THE PEOPLE IN THIS ROOM. FROM A PILE OF “STUFF.”

End scene(s).

 

*It’s me. I’m the awkward, Black, low-level production assistant fetching everyone coffee. 

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#OscarsSoGrEeNbOoK?!?!?!

Dear Oscars,

Hosts are hereby CANCELLED…forever! You should never hire one (or God forbid two!!!) ever again. Oh sweet Oscars, I wasn’t even planning on watching you this year, but you were smart. You invited Billy Porter to host the red carpet, he showed up in the ensemble pictured below, and boy oh boy was I sucked the hell in. I cannot tell if that makes me weak or Billy Porter’s stylist super super strong. 

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Both are probably true.

Anyway, at some point I accepted that I was indeed and in fact watching the 91st telecast of this eternal award show and just surrendered to my defeat. 

Here are some of the wins that prevented me from regretting it:

Ruth Carter. I know l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y nothing about cinematic costume design aside from the fact that you exist. Thank you for decades of work on every black movie that has ever existed since the dawn of time. Seems like a helluva lot of Kente cloth and for that we are so grateful. 

Olivia Colman. THAT IS HOW YOU MAKE A GAHTDAMN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH! Curse a little, snort a little, make it genuinely funny and inherently dorky just like my entire middle*** school experience. 

Lady Gaga. Sometimes when I look at you for too long I get flashbacks of that meat dress you once wore on a red carpet. Now that I think about it, that moment was probably the real genesis of my vegetarian journey and I should stop lying to folks and saying that I made the switch because of “digestion problems” or “SyMpAtHy FoR tHe AnImAlS.”  Regardless, I’m still gunna give you your props for winning and then singing (SEDUCING) with Bradley Cooper live on stage a mere 10 FEET AWAY from his real life supermodel girlfriend. That is the 2019 energy we need. Someone cue up Ariana Grande’s “Break Up With Your Girlfriend” right now!

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Both of them are in committed relationships! With other people lololol!!!

Regina King. You’re it sis. You looked stellar. You’re one of the best performers we have (I know y’all remember her clinging to that 40 in Poetic Justice). You’re arms are Angela Bassett-y as heck. And you deserve everything! 

Spike Lee. That jump into Samuel L. Jackson’s arms was a meme I did not know I needed. I feel like we both won something special on this night.

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No one in the history of forever has ever been THIS excited about a KKK movie. 

And of course, because we all like a little sour with our sweet, I ought to share my least favorite moment of the night: 

Green Book winning best picture. Now, I did not actually watch this movie (and never will no matter how many times the trailer tempts me with frames of Mahershala’s devilishly smooth skin), but I think it’s fair to say you should give that award back. Pull an Adele circa 2017 Grammys (or Lindsey Lohan circa Mean Girls for that matter) and break that thing into pieces. Then, proceed to distribute those pieces to every single Black Panther extra who had to stand in that colossal waterfall. Actually, keep one piece for executive producer Octavia Spencer. She has done a marvelous job acting like she is happy about all the success of this movie.

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Justice for those people at the tippity top!

On a serious note, I’d be remiss if I let this brief blogging moment go by without acknowledging the fact that this year’s show actually seemed to really embrace this diversity movement everyone else is just pretending to care about. Every time I stopped whipping my neck around and screeching those moans from the song “Shallow” in the mirror and actually focused in on what was going on, it seemed there was a person of color, a woman or, if I was real lucky, both on stage. And not just in the acting categories! There were also non-white dude wins in production design, best animated short, best documentary, best director, best original screenplay and on and on. MORE OF THIS PLEASE! When historically marginalised folx are actually given the opportunities they deserve, they can create magic. When we’re not, we’re just gunna keep doing it anyway. (So you might as well help us!!!)

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***Also my elementary and high school experiences. Also college. 

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To All The Books I’ve Loved This Year

2018 has been…a year, am I right? On a national level, everything is falling apart and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is my only saving grace. On a personal level…same. If I include freelance writing, I have had four different jobs in this one year alone. I have spent time in Trinidad, Washington D.C., Brazil, and Jamaica. My moods have traveled the full gambit of emotional range possible. I have made and spent time with many new and wonderful friends. In short, whether it was for good or bad, nothing about 2018 has been steady. Except…DRUM ROLL PLEASSSSSSEEEEEEEEE…my adoration of the written word.

Ahhhh, books, sweet sweet books, and scripts, and plays, and poems, and blogs, and hell, even clickbait-y Noah Centineo-centered Refinery29 articles (re: the title of this blog post) have all helped me get through this year. A few nights ago, I watched this truly awful film called Cloud Atlas “starring” Halle Berry and Tom Hanks. It was three tedious hours (three!!!) of convoluted interwoven stories about humanity’s connections throughout time and space, but I continued to watch because of this one line that Korean goddess/actress Bae Donna’s character said, “knowledge teaches us who we are and who we want to be.” That one line had me hooked. I don’t think my love affair with words has ever been explained more succinctly. I like reading because other peoples thoughts teach me about my own. Words take me on an adventure, and along the way, I learn a lot about what I like and don’t like, judge too harshly or let slide, find compelling or exhausting. I learn what I actually give two craps about. I learn what makes me cackle and what makes me cry (spoiler alert: everything makes me cry). I learn me.

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A picture of Bae Doona in a show that actually deserved her talent, Sense8. 

ALL THAT BEING SAID…Let’s roll out a few of my 2018 favs. 

Gemini: An Extended Autobiographical Statement on My First Twenty-Five Years of Being a Black Poet – Nikki Giovanni (book) 
I do not know what on God’s green Earth possessed me to buy this book. Perhaps, it was my growing interest in the poets of the Black Arts Movement. Perhaps, it was the fact that I had Beyoncé’s song “Signs” on repeat. Who knows!!! But regardless, I am so grateful that I did. It is hard to believe that Ms. Giovanni wrote Gemini so early on in life because each page carries the wisdom of a woman three times her then-age. I believe that every young woman should read this book. I believe that every young woman of color deserves this book. More than any other work I’ve read, it has redefined my thoughts on my own identity, my relationship to this complicated country, my relationship to blackness, my relationship to my sister, my mama, my body, my brain, ERRYTHANG. 
Standout line: “The possibilities of life are so great and beautiful that to see less wears the spirit down.”

“This Is Us,” “Queen Sugar” – Kay Oyegun (TV scripts)
I’m not gunna lie. When I realized that an amazing, talented, and smart woman was a staff writer on TWO of my favorite shows of the year……………………I was pissed off. Like??? How?? Dare??? She??? Some of us are out here struggling to write an Instagram caption and she is on staff for two hit/critically-successful shows that I love?!?! SHE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR SO MANY OF MY TEARS?!!?!? To make matters worse, Ms. Oyegun is set to write the script for an upcoming Angela Davis biopic that will probably be really great. Ugh!!!!! She’s annoying!!! 

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EXCUSE ME MA’AM, aren’t you just a LITTLE bit too bubbly and isn’t your skin just a LITTLE bit too clear to be so young and successful?

Hoodoo Love – Katori Hall (play)
I LOVE reading plays, man. Plays aren’t read enough. Honestly speaking, I don’t think people always remember that plays exist. People think Broadway is only “Hamilton” and Off-Broadway is “Set It Off Live.” But plays exists you guys, and they are glorious. They are (usually) short, action-packed reads that give you explosive characters, lyrical dialogue, and a message or two on how to navigate through the hardest parts of life. I have read so many shows for work and pleasure, but Ms. Hall’s dark, sexy, spell-binding “Hoodoo Love” definitely stands out as a 2018 favorite. 
Standout line: “Perk it up, baby! You gotta bring somethin’ more than sorrow into this house.”

FancyPastaBitch.com – Kara Brown (blog)
Although I do not eat a ton of pasta (a personal problem that I am actively trying to solve), there are few things I find more pleasurable than watching people make it. This blog, written by TV writer and “Keep It” podcast host Kara Brown, is just so freaking fun. It is the perfect mixture of satisfying pasta pics and snide commentary about our socio-political climate that keeps me coming back for more. 

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Doesn’t this look fun?!?! I want to eat noodles and be her friend!!!! Photo by Ethan Gulley.

The Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks
I love an Instagram popular page poem as much as the next gal, but every once in a while, I want to do a deep dive into the kind of poetry that will challenge my mind, as well as my emotions. Poets are a very unique brand of writers. They often try to use the least amount of words possible to crack your skull open and plant a few ideas in there. It’s hard, and it requires a lot of work from the mind of the writer and the imagination of the reader. I decided to revisit the work of Ms. Brooks over the summer and many of the questions she hurls at her readers are still sitting with me two seasons later. 
Standout stanza: 

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Really, who is?!??!

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi (book)
Never did I think I’d see the day when my mystical/magical/Game of Thrones-hating behind would purchase (and LOVE) a book like this one. But somehow, 25-year-old Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi snuck up under my hardened Harry Potter-hating bones with this epic tale. Not only was reading this book a ton of fun, but I got really into it. I knew what powers belonged to what clans, I chanted the spells along with the protagonist, I photoshopped white dreadlocs onto a picture of myself to see if I could pull off the lewk. (I can’t). 
Standout line: The whole thing, TBH. 

Becoming – Michelle Obama (book)
Now, I just got this book for Christmas and have yet to read it, but I am just including it on this list in order to cover my bases.

What were your favorite reads of the year? Seriously, please tell me. And believe it or not, I do read books that are not written by black women (not preferred, but it happens) so I am open to all suggestions! 

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Who Knows Anything Really?

I love writing, but you wouldn’t know that from how infrequently I have been updating on this blog. WHOOPS! I could list any of the normal reasons as to why I am not keeping up with this (i’ve been busy, i’ve been sick, I had to fully recover after seeing Michael B. Jordan in the Creed II trailer, etc.), but the honest truth is, I didn’t know what I wanted to write about. 

A lot has been going on y’all. In the world, of course, but specifically in the worlds of media and entertainment, where I spend most of my time. I spent a lot of time wondering what topic I wanted to try to “tackle” next. What big event, issue, movement, movie did I want to bring attention to? Did I want to keep it light and create a fun list of my favorite podcasts** or did I want to expound upon the intense conversations I have been having in real life about the representation of black people in mainstream media? Did I want to fashion a collage of all of Susan Kelechi Watson’s amazing natural hairstyles in Season 3 of This Is Us

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Damn.

or discuss the lack of sufficient media coverage on the alarming murder rates of our transgender citizens? Did I want to share my “Top 10 FAV Fall Eyeshadow Colors” (spoiler alert: I don’t have any because eyeshadow is the Devil’s maquillage) or did I want to GO OFF on how ridiculous I think it is that the opinions of straight, white, and able-bodied theatre critics can still be so damaging to theatrical works that were intentionally created for people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled, and all intersections of these folks? Decisions, DECISIONS!!!!!

Anyway…I think I’m going to touch on just a few of the things that have been rambling around my media-centric mind lately. The following passages may not be cohesive. You may disagree with them. You may not have the ability to even pretend like you care about them. But I’m gunna write them down anyway so, LEGGO! 

1. No matter who you are, you should feel emboldened to FOLLOW YOUR DREAM. Why? BECAUSE OLD WHITE DUDES HAVE BEEN DOING IT UNSUCCESFULLY FOR CENTURIES. Of course there is nothing wrong with anyone making mistakes (we are artists, we are in the business of mistakes), but if the mediocre work of white writers, directors, and actors is going to continue to be produced-let’s balance these scales with some more mediocre shows of color as well. Tyler Perry cannot carry this torch alone. Earlier this week, I attended a screening of a film that I cannot mention because everyone in the entertainment industry guards their work like it’s Fort Knox. It was helmed by a very well-known and respected artist who has been working on this project for almost a DECADE. You’d think that would be enough time to make it good right????? HAHAHA, WRONG! Even though the cast was stuffed with A-list actors, the script was finally “perfected,” and the majority of the film was all edited…………..Y’ALL…………….it was awful. The only thing I left with is inspiration to create whatever I wanted to, because if this guy could get millions upon millions of dollars to make this nonsense come to life, then I deserve to start making some nonsense too. 

To give this even more context, I am watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV as I type this, and there are two white bros hopping around on a float (I think they are trying to dance??) called “Jack & Jack.” I mean…c’mon. 

2. Nikki Giovanni is a great writer because she knows how to whip words around until they know how to serve her. She is not the kind of writer who “finds the right words” to explain what she means, she is the kind of writer who explains what she means and her words make damn sure that they are telling the story correctly. Does this make sense? If it doesn’t, check out a copy of Gemini: An Extended Autobiographical Statement on My First Twenty-Five Years of Being a Black PoetIt’s one of the best books I have read all year. 

3. A lot of men do not take the #MeToo movement seriously. I mean, a lot of women don’t either, but I’m not coming for them right now. I cannot even count the number of times a grown man has said something sexually inappropriate to me, and followed it with a bellied laugh, and then something along the lines of “whoops, not tryna get #metoo-ed” or “you’re not gunna #metoo me, are you?” The ridicule of this movement has got to stop. More importantly, the predatory nature of grown (and usually ugly!!!) men has got to stop. Do not call me out in the street. Do not comment on any part of my body. Do not ask for my Instagram before asking for my name. What will that get you? From the normal me, it’ll probably get you a smart remark, a flip of the old bird, or an eye-roll of epic proportions. From my alter ego, the one that comes out approximately 5-6 days before I get my period, it’ll get you a full on expletive-filled mouthful and at least one abstract object chucked at your head. Don’t roll the dice as to which chick you’re gunna get. If a girl looks good, it is more than possible to tell her that without making her feel like a piece of meat. I know you can do it. And if you can’t, you don’t deserve us. 

4. As if the cast of the Cats movie adaptation could not get any stranger…

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So many questions…

…Jason Derulo (the worst) and Rebel Wilson (who is convinced that she is the only fat rom-com lead to ever exist, even though Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, and Mo’Nique have been doing the damn thing since I was in diapers) were just added. Who needs this? Literally, can you name ONE person who needs this? I can’t. 

5. Let’s end on a positive note, shall we? Or, even better, let’s end on a note of gratitude since it is Thanksgiving time. Nevermind the fact that Thanksgiving is an extremely problematic holiday, thatessentiallyglorifiesthegenocideofanindegenoussocietyculturenationvaluesideals…………………..lemme stop 🙂
Aside from the usual blessings that I try to honor every day (peace of mind, family, health, friends-in that order), I am also grateful for:

Eucalyptus Candes
Women who feel genuinely called to lift each other up
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (see above) 
Shake Shack’s vegan burger (at select locations)
The Hallmark Channel releasing its first set of Christmas movies with black leads 
Rihanna
And this Tweet:

Screen Shot 2018-11-22 at 11.27.21.pngHAPPY HOLIDAYS!

 

***This will probably happen…and it will probably be my next blog post. 

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The Good, The Bad, And The Emmys Pt. II

Oh look at that, I? Am? Actually? Writing? A?? New??? Post??????? I almost thought I forgot how to do that. In a miraculous turn of events, a lot of the time I planned to dedicate to posting on this blog has now been dedicated to writing for other people, websites, and publications. (Check out some of that work here)! A year ago, I did not even realize it was possible to get compensated for my rambling thoughts on all things pop culture and entertainment. Now, I’m sending freelance pitches left and right, and some of them are?? actually??? getting??? picked???? up?????????? LOL. 

Believe it or not, the purpose of this post is not to brag, but to follow up on my first Emmy-related piece, The Good, The Bad, And The Emmys. Even if you are a rabid television fan like myself, I urge you not to take the Emmys too too seriously. In fact, I urge you not to take ANY award show too seriously. (Except the Country Music Awards, apparently those are EXTREMELY SERIOUS). The entertainment industry spends MILLIONS of dollars promoting specific shows and their standout stars in order to be considered for a nomination, and then a win. Have you ever walked down the street and seen a billboard with the words “For Your Consideration” on it? FYC is a campaign meant to draw up money, attention, and public interest in pursuit of an award show nomination. If a show is not nominated for an award, often times it’s just because it was not promoted enough, not because it was not worthy. The “winners” of these competitions should be taken with a grain of salt. All that being said, WHERE IS MANDY MOORE’S NOMINATION? WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS ITITITITITT?!??!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

Anyhooooooooo, it’s been exactly one week since the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards premiered on NBC. Let’s get into everything that happened.

The Good

Regina King won a much deserved Emmy for her role in Netflix’s Seven Seconds. In the show, she plays the mother of a teenage boy killed in a hit-and-run by a police officer. In true crooked cop fashion, the officer and a few of his cohorts attempt to cover the crime up, leaving the victim’s family and the detectives on his case with a slew of unanswered questions. The show, written, directed, and pioneered by a dope Asian-Canadian woman named Veena Sud, was cancelled by Netflix after one season, but is still up on the streaming site for anyone who wants to take in some of Regina King’s best work. 

LOL…so a man proposed to his fiancé mid-win? As if it was not enough for Glenn Weiss to honor his late mother during his victory speech, he then proceeded to ask the woman of his dreams to marry him on live television. I’m SOOOO happy for them and not jealous or single or reduced to a puddle of hopeless romantic tears at all. Cool. 

One of my favorite parts of the mostly banal evening was a little skit called the “Reparation Emmys.”  In it, one of the hosts, Michael Che, gave out “reparations Emmys” to iconic black TV actors and actresses that never received one in real life (Tichina Arnold, Marla Gibbs, Kadeem Hardison, to name a few). Others I would have included: Tisha Campbell for her role as “Gina” in Martin, Erika Alexander for her role as “Maxine Shaw” in Living Single, and the man who played Barney

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Thank you for your iconic work dear sir. Photo/businessinsider.com

Honorable mention:

 61-Year-Old Jennifer Lewis Doing A High Kick, Clad In Nike Athleisure

The Bad

DIVERSITY. Yes, that’s right, I am listing “diversity” under the BAD section. Not because of what the word means-I love what the word means-but because of how often it was used in spite of the fact that the same Caucasian led shows continued to win every award. Don’t believe me? Rewatch the program when you get a chance and play a little game. Every time the word “diversity” is uttered, eat something healthy, like a carrot. Every time a person of color actually WINS, eat something delicious, like a french fry…………………….WORST GAME EVER RIGHT?!?!! 

No one from This Is Us won on this night, but shout out to the OG cool cat Ron Cephas Jones for winning Best Drama Guest Actor at the Creative Arts Emmys. (Why, yes, there is another Emmy ceremony that takes place a week before the televised event. As mentioned in  The Good, The Bad, And The Emmys Pt. I, there are 5093904392304932 million categories and each one needs a winner). 

You know those corny jokes that presenters have to read off the teleprompter before announcing the winners of each award? I’M OVER IT. STOP DOING IT. Unless you’re Tiffany Haddish or Betty White, please leave those awkward 30 seconds alone. 

Honorable Mention:

Honestly, I am just going to re-iterate my frustration with the lack of diversity wins. How much longer must I live in a world where Sandra Oh doesn’t have an Emmy?

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Photo/ Moviefone.com

The Emmys 

In accordance with recent award show trends, not a lot of people watched this year’s show. In fact, it hit a record viewership low with just over 10 million people tuned in. My suggestion? Get a better host! With all due respect to the late night talk show hosts of the world, we can’t continue to stick to the status quo. The Emmys are already a hard award show to pitch; they aren’t quite as high-brow and flashy as the Academy Awards and don’t have any music performances like the Grammys. Furthermore, there are so many television shows out there in the world, it’s hard to narrow down a select few that are widely enjoyed by all people. The most popular shows are largely segregated by age, race, and genre. Therefore, we need a killer host who appeals to the masses enough to invite EVERYONE in. My suggestions: Ellen, Will Smith, or King T’Challa. 

Do the Emmys matter to you…at all? Did you even watch last week? Let’s discuss! 

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Coming Soon To A Netflix Near You

Ohhhhhh naa naa, what’s on Netflix? Ohhhhh naa naa, what’s on Netflix? Ohhh naa naa, what’s on Netflix? What’s on Netflix? What’s on Netflix

Oh, Netflix. Do you know just how much I LOVE YOU?! You always know how to make me laugh. You’re there for me when I need a good cry. You’re loyal. You’re consistent. And most of all, you keep me on my toes! Whenever I log in, you have a new treat waiting for me. I will admit that sometimes you get my taste wrong. (Let us not forget the Boss Baby incident of 2017). But, for the most part, you have been and continue to be a great friend. You have already accomplished so much in so little time (dethroning HBO, changing the way people consume media, introducing Chewing Gum to the rest of the non-UK world) and I know there is no limit to your potential. As your friend, I am so excited for all the new things that are in store for you in the next couple of years:

Nappily Ever After

So I know that Sanaa Lathan may have bitten Beyoncé and all, but she is still a film favorite of mine. Anyone who knows me for approximately half of a second knows about my obsession with Love & Basketball, one of Lathan’s first break out films. Since then, there has been a string of stints on TV (Nip/Tuck and currently Showtime’s The Affair) and some work in the theatre (Broadway’s A Raisin In The Sun, The West End’s Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, Second Stage Theatre’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark).

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After seeing this play, I ran into Janet Dacal in the bathroom. If you’re a Broadway fan and don’t know who she is, you should probably be ashamed.

But, I am so thrilled to see Sanaa back in her sweet spot, the ROMANTIC COMEDY (Brown Sugar, Something Special, The Best Man Holiday, and Disappearing Acts being some of her best). I can’t wait for Nappily Ever After, which is adapted from Trisha Thomas’ series of novels by the same name, to be added to this list of rom-com classics. 

Ava DuVernay’s Adaptation Of The Central Park Five Case

If there is anything Ms. DuVernay does best, it’s making me jealous of her locs. Also, adapting historical events to/exposing broken institutional systems on screen. She has done so with the Martin Luther King Jr. led march from Selma to Montgomery in Selma, with the state of black farmers and agriculture in OWN’s Queen Sugar, with America’s industrial prison complex in 13th, and with the only children’s book to ever confuse the hell out of me as an adult, in A Wrinkle In Time. Next up, the landmark case of the Central Park Five. By bringing the project to Netflix and the 74% of subscribers between the ages of 18 and 29, Ms. DuVernay will usher in a new generation of movers, thinkers, and shakers who are not already aware of the significance of this case.

Shonda Rhimes Lands 8 Shows For 9 Figures

Shonda Rhimes is the queen of doing a million things at once. Do you remember when she was executive producing, writing for three hit Thursday night primetime dramas, doing press for her New York Times best-selling book, while also running her own production empire (seriously, it’s called Shondaland…not just Shonda’s Studios or Shonda’s Stages…ShondaLAND) and raising two daughters as a single mom? I KNOW I DO! Now, she is adding EIGHT new series to her plate with a  nine-figure production deal at Netflix. The woman hasn’t even turned 50 yet. Perhaps, in the second half of her life she will decide to pull an Oprah and create an entirely new network altogether.  

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The Obamas Are Going To Hollywood

Need I say more y’all? Earlier this year, it was reported that Barry and Michie Mich signed an exclusive production deal with Netflix in order to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world. While this sounds incredibly important and necessary and exciting, a litttttttttlllllleeeee teeeeeeeeennnnnny part of me just wants to see some kind of feel-good family sitcom à la ABC after 8:00 p.m. Obama-ish anyone? I’ll play Bo!

Keeping Up With The (Quincy) Joneses

Quincy Jones has been one of the most notable figures in popular culture for over seven decades. Now, thanks to a newly announced Netflix documentary, we are getting an even deeper look into the life of this music mogul. Maybe, you’re not a documentary person? You’re more of a scripted guy/gal/non-binary person? You like your shows funny or dramatic and documentaries just seem way too stiff? DON’T WORRY BUDDY, THIS ONE WILL STILL BE PERFECT FOR YOU! The film is co-directed by Jones’s actress/activist daughter Rashida Jones, who will surely be able to give us a unique, intimate perspective on her father’s life, that is atypical for a lot of documentaries. Additionally, in case you forgot, Quincy Jones is pretty freaking wild. I’ll remind you of this 2018 interview with Vulture, in which he claims that he knows exactly who killed John F. Kennedy, Richard Pryor and Marlon Brando were once lovers, and Michael Jackson lifted music from other famous artists all the time. Who knows what other famous secrets he is holding on to? Soon, it’ll be us! We will know! Yay!

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Don’t judge me for having this autograph so readily available. I was a big Parks and Rec fan…like really big. 

**Honorable mention: Black Panther

This is not a new project, but it will be new to Netflix. And I will watch it as if it is new. And as if I haven’t already seen it 14 times. Because the motto is “Wakanda forever.” Not “Wakanda over the summer” or “Wakanda a few times” or “Wakanda on my flight back from vacation.” Wakanda FOREVER! 

Thoughts? What are you currently binging on Netflix or looking forward to seeing for the first time? Do you even have a Netflix account or are you leeching off of your parents like me? 

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Your Fav Probably Isn’t A Genius. If They Can Do It, You Can Too.

Clair Huxtable was the best, right? She was wickedly intelligent, a loving mother, an adoring partner, and her hair remained perfectly coiffed throughout all of those fictional Brooklyn summers. The same could be said for Phylicia Rashad, the actress who portrayed this character for over eight years. Late last year, I attended a talk with Ms. Rashad hosted at NYU. She spoke about her experiences in theatre and Hollywood, workshopped a few scenes with some talented members of the Graduate Acting class, and most importantly, shared her wisdom with a roomful of doe-eyed artist wannabes. 

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I was suspended in her grace for the majority of the night and clung on to every word she said, but then someone asked a question

Someone: What advice do you have for those of us in the room who want to work in the entertainment industry, but are too scared to try? 

Living Legend Phylicia Rashad: My advice is to just go for it because there is no limit to your potential. Each and every one of you in here is capable of so much greatness. You have no idea how capable you are. 

Me (to myself of course): GTFOH Clair! 

There absolutely are limits! At that point in my life, I had recently graduated from a school I didn’t love with a degree I didn’t treasure and, worst of all, was working in the fashion industry. Me? Fashion!? I OWN APPROXIMATELY TWO DRESSES AND WEAR THE SAME DIRTY ADIDAS EVERY DAY!!!

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^^^^^ EVERY. SINGLE. DAY

As everyone in that auditorium applauded Ms. Rashad’s answer, I was left stewing.  It felt like all of my goals were a lifetime away and this glorious, successful woman had the nerve to tell me (and 200 others) that I (and 200 others) was capable of greatness

But, several months later, I think I get it. This is why. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the opening night and following after party of the Off-Broadway revival of Smokey Joe’s Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller.

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To some, this may not seem like anything to write home (or a blog post) about. To me, it was prettttttty freaking cool. There I was, a lowly former intern, schmoozing with writers, cast members, talent managers, leading producers, Tony nominees, and Todrick Hall who randomly showed up for about fifteen minutes and then disappeared into thin, super talented air. And, get this, the most thrilling part of it all was that I did not feel out of place. Somewhere after my third plate of onion rings, but before my fourth glass of chardonnay, I had an epiphany. All of these awesome people that I so greatly admired…WERE…NOT…GENIUSES. They weren’t prophets, or deities, or prodigies. They were people who value art and worked extremely hard to create it. A.k.a, they were adult versions of me. (Why yes, I am still rejecting the notion that I am also an adult, thank you so much)!

Why was this a revelation? Well, there has never been anyone in my family or friend group with a career that I want to emulate. There aren’t many artists or writers or producers with high-profile connections. The other day my father asked me “what does Drake sing?” So, yeah, that’s what I’m dealing with. Because of this, the life I dreamt of felt impossible. I deemed the entertainment industry a place solely reserved for exceptional people with exceptional gifts. I don’t anymore. Over the course of this year, I have managed to scramble my way onto sets and theatres and enjoy a diverse array of artistic experiences. Don’t get me wrong, there is A LOT left to figure out. There are so many more people to meet. There’s a universe of things to learn. There’s a handful of habits to break. I have to write more. I have to act on ambition. I have to stop living above my (non-existent) means. I am not yet my idea of successful. Maybe you aren’t either. But, if you can, stand around someone who is doing the thing that you want to do. Watch them. Talk to them. Stay around for a spell. Chances are, you’ll realize that you can do it too.

P.S. If you’re wondering about Smokey Joe’s Cafe and whether or not you should go see it, the answer is YES. It’s 90 minutes of beautifully sung throwbacks including “Stand By Me,” which is every black choir’s favorite warm up song. 

 

 

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