Monthly Archives: November 2015

Kerry Washington receives the Giving Tree Award

Kerry Washington has been honored for her very important work with the Baby2Baby Foundation, a non-profit that provide basic necessities to children. Saturday night she was handed the Giving Tree Award for her charitable work after listening to testimonials from Shonda Rhimes, Tony Goldwyn, Jane Fonda an,d by video, First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey.

In her acceptance speech, Kerry described her experience going to her OB in Beverly Hills, an OB whose husband worked with poor women.

“I would ask about these other women because I would try to put myself in their shoes and make sense of their life versus my life,” Washington said. “Try to make sense of this little girl from the Bronx who suddenly was walking into a doctor’s office in Beverly Hills — try to make sense of the fact that I come from a neighborhood where really by now I should have five kids and no degree and maybe be on unemployment.” The actress said the experience forced her to reconcile her own privilege. She stopped thinking about less fortunate families as “other” and urged everyone at the gala to close the gap in their minds as well.

You can read a bit more and see some pictures on the Variety website here. This event raised over $2.1 million for charity. Great Job Kerry!

10 Experiences That Every Black Nerd Can Relate To

Aaron Barksdale of the HuffPost Black Voices has posted a list of 10 Experiences That Every Black Nerd Can Relate To. I think these are pretty much true for anyone who isn’t a straight white male nerd, so I thought I would post it here for your amusement.

#7 and #8 are the ones I identify with most. Which ones do you particularly identify with?

Whitesplaining Explained

Franchesca Ramsey’s MTV Decoded videos are some of the best things ever posted on YouTube.  Her discussions on race and racism are timely, informative and don’t pull any punches.  I love them all, but her recent video “White People Whitesplain Whitesplaining” is probably one of my all time favorites.

It shows how even someone who truly thinks they’re doing something good and well-meaning can be harmful and offensive.  Watch and be amused amazed:

And if that wasn’t awesome enough, one of the comments that the video received certainly is.  Just not in a good way.

Continue reading Whitesplaining Explained

Taraji P Henson on the cover of THR’s Beauty Issue

A black, middle aged woman who was fired from one job for a younger, beiger actresthr_issue_38_beauty_covers just a couple of years ago is now gracing the cover the The Hollywood Reporter’s Beauty Issue.

Since being let go from Person of Interest, which is now floundering in the ratings and on the verge of being cancelled, Taraji went on to take the world by storm as Cookie Lyon on Empire. Since the premiere of the biggest non-football show on TV, Taraji has been the Queen of all Media. It’s hard to name a magazine whose pages she hasn’t graced this past year, and this week she adds a new cover to her packed resume. The Hollywood Reporter has made her their new cover girl (splitting the duties with Reese Witherspoon) along with her highly talented makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff.

Check out the video for the photo shoot below or you can watch it here. Your browser will need to have Adobe Flashplayer enabled.

Watch Lea Salonga and Lin-Manuel Miranda sing “A Whole New World”

Not a lot of people know Lea Salonga provided the signing voice for Princess Jasmine in the movie Aladdin; Robin Williams got all the buzz.  Some the really good performances got lost in the completely justified controversy over the stereotyped portrayals of Arabs and their culture.

Fast forward to today, Lea is now starring with the legendary George Takei in Allegiance on Broadway and buddies with  Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda. Wednesday, she joined Lin for the Ham 4 Ham pre-show, an impromptu sidewalk performance by the Hamilton cast, with the help of some other Broadway stars, performed for the benefit of fans waiting in line for tickets in the ticket lottery. Even if you don’t get a ticket, you can see some really cool stuff.

Lea begins her performance by revealing she is friends with Lin’s ex, and sings a little song that Lin wrote for his ex-girlfriend. It’s obvious he never expected to see this little song performed in public, but he’s a good sport about it.

The really good part is Lin and Lea signing the iconic A Whole New World from Aladdin. Here is the complete video of Lea’s performance of both songs:

You’re Welcome!

Gabourey Sidibe to be honored with a New York Women in Film and Television Muse Award

Looks like Taraji P Henson is not the only Empire cast member to be showered with honors. Gabourey Sidibe will be picking up a 2015 Muse Award from New York Women in Film and Television On Decemeber 10th.

Though Gabourey is still pretty young she has had a extraordinary career that includes an Oscar nomination for Precious, a critically acclaimed turn on American Horror Story and now Empire.

Congratulations Gabourey! Keep smiling!

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12: Actress Gabourey Sidibe attends the Fox and FX's 2014 Golden Globe Awards Party on January 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 12: Actress Gabourey Sidibe attends the Fox and FX’s 2014 Golden Globe Awards Party on January 12, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic)

Variety asks why there are so few WOC directors

The answer will not surprise you:

“What we learned through that investigation painted what I think is a disturbing picture of very long-running, systemic discrimination throughout the industry,” says Melissa Goodman, director of the LGBTQ, Gender & Reproductive Justice Project for the ACLU of Southern California. “We thought this was very important because the effects of this exclusion from director positions is a cultural matter. …the discrimination happening within culture production actually helps reinforce discrimination that happens in the wider world.”

There are some efforts to get POC into the director’s chair, but they require the potential director to give up time and money to spend weeks shadowing a experienced director.

The article makes it clear that there is plenty of blame to go around, there is no one smoking gun. The failures are systemic and the worst part is that they are stifling creativity. As Irene Chaiken from Empire says:

“Studios and networks — their priority is success and that’s not a bad thing,” adds Chaiken. “That’s exactly what they’re supposed to be doing. The thing that makes the biggest difference is the recognition that this is what’s going to make us all successful. Telling new stories with new voices and diversity and representation and exciting voices that haven’t been heard is what’s going to make really good, dynamic television.”

Think maybe that is why Empire is a monster hit?

That article is long, but it is a good read. You can read it here. I highly recommend it. Tell us what you think in the comments!

Black Women of Bond

Gloria Hendry, Trina Parks, Halle Berry and Naomie Harris

Ahead of the release of Spectre this past weekend, the lovely black actresses that have been Bond girls over the years all shared a stage to celebrate the black women of Bond.  Halle Berry, Naomie Harris, Trina Parks and Gloria Hendry were brought together at the California African American Museum, where they recounted what there contributions meant to such a lauded and long-lived franchise.

According to Variety, Gloria Hendry was Bond’s first black love interest when she appeared in the 1983 film, Live and Let Die.

Hendry, who appeared in 1983’s “Live and Let Die,” became Bond’s first African-American love interest. Little known fact: Hendry’s love scenes with then-Bond Roger Moore were cut when the film was initially released in South Africa because it was prohibited by the apartheid government. At the time, her romantic role with Moore was a feat that she never imagined.

“When I was asked to do this movie, I said, ‘I’m not tall, I’m not blue-eyed, I’m not busty and I’m not white. What do they want me for?’” she remembered. “A week later I was cast for it.”

While I’m loving Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, but I certainly hope this doesn’t mean we’re only going to be seeing her stuck behind a desk and away from the action.  I also hope that there won’t continue to be such large gaps between the films being cast with black women and other women of color in major roles.

It’s 2015.  With all the talk of Idris Elba possibly taking up the mantle of James Bond when Daniel Craig finishes his run as the suave spy, I’d think they can do a little better when it comes to hiring actresses of color.  Here’s hoping.

(Photo credit:  Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Rex Shutterstock)