Monthly Archives: January 2016

POC kick ass at the SAG awards

In the midst of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Screen Actor’s Guild weighted in with their choices and POC came out out overwhelmingly on top in just about every category where they were nominated.

Idris Elba, who couldn’t even get a nomination for an Oscar, (but Sylvester Stallone could, go figure) took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actor in a movie for Beasts of No Nation. He also scored as Lead Actor in a Drama for Luther. Take that Oscar voters!

Viola Davis repeated her SAG win from last year for Lead Actress in a Drama for How to Get Away with Murder. I repeat, this is win #2 for her. And that is after she won the Emmy.

Uzo Aduba also repeated her win from last year for Lead Actress in a Comedy for Orange is the New Black. She snagged a second award of the night when Orange is the New Black snared the Comedy Ensemble award. As you will recall, she also won the Emmy for this role

Rounding out the stellar evening for POC, Queen Latifah won for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or special for Bessie. She was also nominated for the Emmy, but lost to Frances McDormand,

So whenever the lack of color in Oscar nominees is brought up, inevitably some douche makes the comment that that maybe the POC just aren’t good enough. Note that the SAG awards are voted on solely by members of the Screen Actors Guild, people who know this craft and know wht ti takes to succeed. They chose to hand their highest awards to Viola and Uzo for the second year in a row, and they chose  Idris for two very different roles. All of these people have been nominated for numerous awards and won. POC are plenty good enough, these were not pity wins.

Archie Panjabi nabs starring role in new pilot “The Jury”

The Good Wife‘s Archie Panjabi is returning to to TV! She’s been signed to star in ABC’s new pilot legal eagle drama The Jury. Described a cross between 12 Angry Men meets the podcast Serial, the show will follow a single murder trail all season as seen through the eyes of the jurors.

Archie will be playing Kim Dempsey (please tell me she wont be white washed!) described as:

“…a force of nature cloaked in a professional demeanor. She’s not interested in making friends, she’s just interested in the truth. She’s a crusader — someone who’s always had/is always looking for a cause. She’s been accused of jumping from cause to cause in the past, and maybe that’s true, but nobody can accuse her of not doing a hell of a job while she was there. When we meet Kim in the pilot, it’s been less than a year since she was ripped from the cause she thought she’d champion until her death.”.

Sounds very different from her Good Wife badass character.

See Amandla Stenberg’s new short film “Blue Girls Burn Fast”

Every time I look up, Amandla Stenberg is doing something amazing. She has now made her second short film where she acted as director. producer, casting director, camera operator and editor, called Blue Girls Burn Fast. Does this kid ever sit still?

The film is a coming of age story that follows Andy, a world weary teen living ins foster care. Leeza Lester stars as Andy, while Julia Rocha, Kelley Smith Wait, Duke Nicholson, and Kyleigh Booker round out the cast.

Amandla posted two versions, a short and a longer version. I’ve embedded the longer version here. Enjoy!

Cush Jumbo to star in all female Taming of the Shrew

The long running and free Shakespeare in Central Park series has been a treasured tradition in NYC for several decades now. Many name actors have graced the stage, among them Meryl Streep and Morgan Freeman. Both have starred in different adaptions of crowd favorite The Taming of the Shrew.

The new Shrew, Cush Jumbo credit: Deadline.com

This year we will see an new version of the audience fave, but with a twist. This new edition will be all women. Cush Jumbo (The Good Wife) will stat as Katerine, the Shrew of the title while her Petruchio will be played by two time Oscar nominee Janet McTeer.

The production is slated to run May 24 through June 26. I hope some readers may be able to make it and report back!

Gina Rodriguez launches Movement Mondays to support Latino artists

Hoping to lead by example, Jane the Virgin‘s Gina Rodriguez has launched Movement Mondays in order to highlight and increase the visibility of Latino actors and actresses. Her first post, featuring Oscar Isaac, can be seen on her Instagram right now.

With all this Oscar Talk and lack of diversity I decided to start a movement and speak from the perspective of a Latina American who desires to see more Latinos on screen. There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds our unity can make a movie explode at the box office or a tv show soar to the highest viewers possible. The better these projects do financially, the more money they will spend on putting Latinos In blockbuster films, as leads in tv shows Etc. My solution is this, support is needed. Right now there isn’t one Latino that can Greenlight a movie. That means no studio will put their money behind a Latino face as a lead of a movie because they don’t believe we can make their money back. I am told time and time again “Latinos dont watch Latino Movies. Latinos don’t support each other” and sadly that is true. I’m not saying go and see a movie you don’t like to blind support, im saying if you want to see us represented on film and tv, if you want to see Latinos nominated for Oscars, we NEED to support one another. The industry sees money, the excuse can’t just be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community.

She will be featuring a different artist each Monday and she is asking her followers to do the same. Keep an eye on her Instagram for more.

I think she raises a valid point, Hollywood is all about the $$$ and if they see that there is money that can be made, they are more likely to go after that market like a dog after a bone.

Radio Imagination: a year long celebration of Octavia Butler

“I have the kind of imagination that hears. I think of it as radio imagination.”
-Octavia E. Butler

It’s been ten long years since we lost one of the most imaginative people ever to write in the science fiction genre, Octavia E. Butler. The mark this milestone LA based arts organization Clockshop will be kicking off a year long celebration of her life and work. Dubbed “Radio Imagination” from the quote above, the celebration will kick off on February 27th with a FREE (with RSVP) launch party at ClockShop headquarters

Each month for the rest of the year has an event scheduled. There will be a tour of Octavia’s native Pasadena, including her childhood home and her grave site, an exhibition of art works inspired by her work and a discussion of “radical reproduction” focusing on her story Bloodchild among other events. They will even screen the movie that Octavia credited as her anti-muse, Devil Girl from Mars. As Octavia said:

“It’s impossible to begin to talk about myself and the media without going back to how I wound up writing science fiction, and that is by watching a terrible movie. The movie was called, “Devil Girl from Mars,” and I saw it when I was about 12 years old, and it changed my life… As I was watching this film, I had a series of revelations. The first was that ‘Geez, I can write a better story than that.’ And then I thought, ‘Gee, anybody can write a better story than that.’ And my third thought was the clincher: ‘Somebody got paid for writing that awful story.’ So I was off and writing, and a year later I was busy submitting terrible pieces of fiction to innocent magazines.”

Makes you want to run out and rent a copy, doesn’t it? Actually I sympathize, I read an awful fan fiction and thought “I can do better,” so I started writing. So far I have shown no Octavia Bulter-type genius though. Sigh.

The complete calendar can be found here. Hopefully you can get out to LA and participate sometime during the year.

#1000BlackGirlBooks

11-year-old Marley Dias was sick of reading books about white boys and their dogs. Specifically Where the Red Fern Grows and the Shiloh series. (Editorial comment: They were reading this shit when I was in school and I’m nearly 53 years old! No wonder the poor kid is sick of it.) When she complained to her mother about it, her mother gave the best reply, “What are you going to do about it?”

Marley decided to hold a book drive. “I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.”

#1000BlackGirlBooks began it’s drive in November and they already have around 400 books. Marley is looking to collect 1000 books by February 1st. You can send your donation to to 59 Main St., West Orange, N.J., 07052, Office 323.

Marley is working with her mother’s organization GrassROOTS Community Foundation on the drive. On Feb. 11, she’ll travel to her mom’s hometown, St. Mary, Jamaica, to host a book festival and give the books to schools and libraries.

This is not Marley’s first social project. Last year, Marley won a Disney Friends for Change grant to teach girls how to tap into their talents at a youth empowerment camp and gave food to orphans in Ghana. She also regularly serves food at a soup kitchen with two of her peers as a part of their nonprofit, BAM, which stands for the first letter in the three girls’ names — Briana, Amina and Marley.

This 11 year old is making me feel like a slacker!

Birth of A Nation tears up Sundance

I have to admit I cringe every time I see the title Birth of a Nation, since I am familiar with the original 1915 movie that shares the title. The 1915 movie is one of the most racist flicks ever placed on film. Set in the South after the Civil War, the KKK are the good guys and the black people are all pure savages. White actors wear black face. The history book isn’t just kicked to the curb, it’s shredded, feed to the dog and whatever the dog threw up is kicked to the curb. It persists because unfortunately it also pioneered so many film techniques still in use today. As much as we would love for this movie to be forgotten, it never will be. Ugh.

So when I saw that Birth of a Nation was HUGE at Sundance, I flinched, but clicked on the link anyway. OK, maybe we will never be rid of the racist 1915 movie, but it appears this new film by Nate Parker, co-starring Gabrielle Union and  Aja Naomi King, will go a long ways towards trashing the memory of the previous travesty. This movie is 180 degrees from the previous film. This Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner as he leads a slave revolt in 1831. Here the black men are the heroes and the white slave owners are the savages.

This film was a labor of love for Nate Parker, it took him 7 years to get the film made, but he is getting paid back for it many times over. The film was greeted at it’s premiere with a standing ovation that lasted throughout the entire closing credits. It’s not just getting positive reviews and lots of buzz, it just sold for a record 17.5 million to Fox Searchlight. Not bad for a film that was made for a mere $10 million. Take that #OscarsSoWhite!

The Hollywood Reporter talked with the cast about the film, Nat Turner, and what it was like to work for first time director Parker. Here is the video.

Shonda Rhimes gives one of the best acceptance speeches ever

Even if you don’t watch Shonda Rhimes’s shows, you have to agree that she has done a lot for diversity on TV. For her efforts she was awarded the Producers Guild’s Norman Lear Award for Achievement in Television Saturday night. Her acceptance speech was nothing short of EPIC. I have not been able to find a video of the complete speech, but here are some highlights I have managed to cull from various sources:

Shonda Rhimes accepts her Producer Guild award. credit: Vulture.com

“It’s not trailblazing to write the world as it actually is. Women are smart and strong. They are not sex toys or damsels in distress. People of color are not sassy or dangerous or wise. And, believe me, people of color are never anybody’s sidekick in real life.

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