When you think of daytime television, you may think of programming for middle-aged women. The Real changes that. The latest The View-style talk show breaks the mold. Hosted by Tamera Mowry-Housley, Tamar Braxton, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon and Jeannie Mai, all hosts are women of color and honestly speak their minds. Hence the title of the show. Last week marked the beginning of a four week test run in seven FOX stations this summer.
The goal of the show is to provide a daytime TV space for younger, multicultural women to relate to women who don’t claim to have it all together. That point is made clear from the premiere episode and the ones that followed. From prenups to sex myths to ratchet tattoos, the ladies are very candid, and aren’t afraid to admit mistakes. Tamera is more conservative of the bunch and Tamar and Adrienne are probably the most blunt. Loni is the mother hen and Jeannie is the fashionista. Since the perspective of each woman is so different, there’s a good chance for many viewers to relate.
The Real isn’t available in my area, but I enjoy watching all the clips I can on YouTube. Plus, the folks at Telepictures were nice enough to upload the entire premiere episode for us. Hopefully the test run is successful. This kind of programming has an underrepresented audience.
Find out if you can watch The Real where you are here!
Sony Pictures Television
A little over 2 years ago Oprah Winfrey bowed out of the daytime talk show circuit, leaving lots of room open for competition among TV personalities, networks and distributors alike. Perhaps an unexpected person stepping into the realm is Queen Latifah. Continue reading
Screen Gems, Sony Pictures
The ’90s was a decade that holds special prominence in my heart. Not just because of the now cliché points of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon nostalgia, but because more mature programming and media featured casts of talented black actors. Think Soul Food (the movie, that is), Waiting To Exhale, Boomerang and yes Friday. Even the first few years of the 2000′s brought classic films that told stories from an African-American perspective.
In some ways, that era may be coming back. Continue reading
Last night’s episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter was one I was excited to watch when I heard about the line up. Alfre Woodard, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashād and Gabrielle Union sat with Oprah for the hour-long show to discuss personal perspectives and stories as black women in the entertainment industry, and the conversation was revealing and honest. Gabrielle Union opened up about her jealousy of other women of color in the entertainment industry. She discussed her acceptance speech for the Fierce and Fearless Award at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. The rawness of the speech launched the center of the conversation.
“We’re in a crisis mode…not only in the number of roles, but the quality,” Davis said. Union admits this has made for contention, especially on her part, as she acknowledged in her speech. The question is whether or not the bonding and understanding among black actresses Union spoke of can be realized in spite of intense competition for few roles.
The conversation turns to one about the perception of black families in film and television. Rashād notes that after The Cosby Show, there has been a majority of shows that go against the positive portrayal of black families. ”The black middle class has never been portrayed realistically,” Woodard says.
Oprah adds that in conversation Tyler Perry, he’s said “people write what they know”. Davis responds that “when we write we’re always aware of how we come off…if it veers off course to where it…airs our dirty laundry…it isn’t written.” She adds that “at times we celebrate the image more than the artistry.” Union acknowledges that the continuing trend of stereotypes is because that’s what’s profitable. Taking chances with alternate portrayals of black characters is financially riskier. To that point, Davis says that it was because of the maid role in The Help, and because of the film’s success that she had the leverage to create her own production company. So to that end, archetypal roles have led to broader opportunities for black actresses.
There’s so many layers to this conversation on Next Chapter that can’t be complete in one hour, but what I found to be encouraging is the sincere passion to the calling these women have as actors. The desire to tell stories is what makes these women, and others like them, persistent. That persistence and increasing cooperation among black actresses is what these women hope leads to more varied, realistic roles for women of color in Hollywood. As a black woman aspiring to report on entertainment, I hope for the same.
Duke Media, Urban Winter Entertainment
In the 1940s, psychologists published studies in which black children were given a white doll and a black doll. They were asked which one was pretty and good. Each time they picked the white doll. When asked which one was ugly and bad, they picked the black doll. CNN conducted a similar study decades later, and the results were very much the same. In the black community, colorism is very much a part of our culture. Dark Girls explores this on a deeper level, not just within the black community, but outside of it. The TV premiere aired last night on OWN, giving this cultural and social issue a broad platform.
There are numerous layers to the issue of colorism, defined as “a form of oppression that is demonstrated through the differential treatment of individual groups based on skin color.” This is often manifested by preferential treatment to lighter-skinned individuals and rejection of darker-skinned individuals. Through personal stories and experiences – including one by Alfrie Woodard – the impact of it is made tangible, even to those who haven’t had that experience. The documentary breaks down the topic into separate focuses: impact, family, men on women, women on men and global.
What was most striking were stories of how parents and other African-Americans reinforced colorism and the insecurity that reinforced, particularly when it comes to men on women. In an age where light-skinned men with light eye hues tweet vapid quotes about treating girls right for retweets and hits, this made for an interesting dialogue. Many black men interviewed said it was simply a matter of preference: some want a woman who looks like them and they want dark babies who look like them. For others, they say they just prefer light-skinned women. For white men, the natural features of black women were celebrated and embraced. But for one subject of the doc she wants to marry black man in her heart, although dating white men is “effortless” for her. She worries that the black men who do desire dark women all in prison because of their personal struggles.
The documentary’s intent is to create a conversation about colorism that will bring active change. During the film, the dialogue was encouraged on social media by #DarkGirls. There are pessimists who insist that while the documentary is well-intended, it won’t change the images predominant in media and our culture. I’d rather be hopeful and see the vignettes of Dark Girls subjects as a point of understanding to move beyond colorism, a message the documentary encourages.
Dark Girls will be available on DVD Sept. 24th, 2013. You can watch a preview of the doc below: Continue reading
Five Star Feature Films
I’d say there was a fair amount of skepticism when Ashton Kutcher was set to play Apple icon Steve Jobs in a movie. Some of that may (or may not) be put to rest with the first official trailer for Five Star Feature Films’ Jobs. The trailer gives viewers a peek into Kutcher’s portrayal of the man behind Apple’s brand at different points in his life. What’s most interesting to me from the teaser, however, is how they seem to portray Job’s creative, albeit flawed, genius: in one scene, he kicks out a co-worker from a meeting when he remarks that “typeface isn’t a pressing issue”. I guess it is.
It’ll be interesting to see how the quirks of Steve Jobs play out in the full film. It may be more interesting to see what fans and critics of Apple have to say about the way things are depicted, but it is a movie, after all. Watch the trailer below. Jobs will be in theaters August 16th.
Marvel.com officially announces that Robert Downey, Jr. will be back as Iron Man in the sequels to Avengers. Maybe I was out of the loop, but there won’t just be a part deux to the iconic blockbuster, but a third part! Joss Whedon is on board for Marvel’s The Avengers 2 screenplay. So even though he wrote Cabin In The Woods, a movie that was a waste of 95 minutes of my life, The Avengers was very much enjoyable, so I’m thinking the one-liners, quips and such will be just fine for the next installments of the superhero team franchise.
Marvel’s The Avengers 2 starts production March 2014 and will be in theaters May 1st, 2015.
Even from the trailer, I wasn’t too impressed.
In the latest sci-fi apocalyptic film from Hollywood, Will Smith and his son Jaden get split-face poster time for After Earth
Reaction on the film is harsh too. In the comments below The Hollywood Reporter’s piece on the disappointing opening for the movie, people are going after Jaden and what they see as Will’s “fading movie star power”. You have people tired of Will “shoving his kids down [their] throats”. I can understand that, but Jaden wants to act (and sing…or rap and date a Kardashian) by his own choice. I think that has little to do with the movie’s performance. Yes, misleading your audience (billing this a Will Smith movie when actually Jaden’s billed at the top) does damage, but the plot and how it was sold is a bigger issue to me.
Freedom Fighter says, “Will Smith sort of pioneered the wise ass cracking black guy in a big budget film with a diverse cast. While that was fun and fresh back in the 90s, it’s old and stale today. Unfortunately for Will, that’s the only schtick he’s good at. Add to that fact, After Earth lacks any diversity what-so-ever, it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out this movie has little appeal and was destined to flop royally.”
I have to disagree. Did he not see Seven Pounds? There wasn’t much funny in that movie. Same goes for I Am Legend. I think the bigger issue is the marketing of After Earth and the lofty, sci-fi approach that wasn’t totally action-based but had a nondescript storyline too. Only when we got closer to the release date did the true plot unfold (which happens with many movies in this genre), and do we really care enough about sci-fi movies in this style anymore?
Since it’s the second day of the month, I’m thinking this isn’t an april Fools joke.
Both Disney Pixar and Ellen DeGeneres herself have taken to social media to officially announce that everyone’s favorite funny Blue Regal Tang with short-term memory loss is getting her own movie. Ellen simply added along with the above graphic, “it’s happening.” But she added more detail in an official statement:
“I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time. I’m not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating Toy Story 16. But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is — it’s got a lot more Dory.”
If you’re still skeptical, the official Facebook page was created March 11th, so this definitely isn’t a cruel joke for Dory fans. The movie is set to take place a year after Nemo was found, and will have both old and new characters.
Finding Dory is set to hit theaters November 2015.
*Update: Ellen used her first day back on her daytime talkshow to share the news too! Watch her announcement after the jump: Continue reading
It’s official. The third installment of The Hangover is very much a thing. After releasing teaser poster yesterday, Warner Bros. released the theatrical trailer for the end of “the trilogy of mayhem and bad decisions”. Todd Phillips is on board as director and Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis reprise their roles. From the poster, I’m sure Mr. Chow once again has a lot to do with whatever the plot is. In the trailer, we get a look at the dopeness that is John Goodman, as what looks to be a drug lord of some sort… or at least he could be. Plus there’s a gross (but funny, if that’s your style of comedy) scene between Galifianakis’ character Alan and whomever Melissa McCarthy is playing in this movie.
Peep the poster and the theatrical trailer below! The Hangover Part III hits theaters Memorial Day 2013.