Monthly Archives: April 2016

Gear up the Defense Squad, Dr Who’s new companion is a WOC

A new companion will be joining Dr Who on his adventures next year, and she’s a WOC. Pearl Mackie has been named as “Bill”, the latest in a long line of traveling companions for the titular Dr Who. She was introduced in this trailer, which aired during a major soccer match:

Bill is not the first WOC companion for the good Dr.,  Martha Jones, played by Freema Agyeman, traveled with him during the 2007 season and made a few appearances after she quit the time travel game. Unfortunately Freeman faced the usual racist crap during her time on one of the oldest and best loved SciFi franchises from so-called fans. We expect Pearl to face the same issues.

But for now I’ll just rejoice that we have another WOC lead in the SciFi genre. One with natural hair, who looks to be sharp and funny. As Pearl herself described her character, “cool, strong, sharp, a little bit vulnerable with a bit of geekiness thrown in.” I’m there for it.

“The Ballerina’s Little Black Book”

Brown Girls Do Ballet is an organization dedicated to encouraging the next Misty Copeland by bringing more diversity to the area of classical ballet. They mentor, assist and encourage young girls of color who express an interest in the art form.

BGDB has an Instagram account you can follow to keep up with the organization’s good works that has some frickin amazing photographs.

The co-founders, Brittani Marie and TaKiyah Wallace, have also compiled a book, available for pre-sale now. The book consists of stories by Misty Copeland and other WOC involved in classical ballet. From the website:

With over 90,000 fans, countless ballerina interviews and more, Brown Girls Do Ballet® has identified the missing strand to diversifying this classical performing art: a resource that speaks to their identity. The Ballerina’s Little Black Book compiles a wealth of stories, advice and training information directly from the women who are breaking down barriers. Aspiring ballerinas can read messages from famed dancers like Aesha Ash, Alicia Graf Mack and even a personal message from none other than Misty Copeland.

Filled with wisdom, solutions, and powerful visuals, The Ballerina’s Little Black Book is the ultimate handbook for ballerinas of color.

Continue reading “The Ballerina’s Little Black Book”

FOX Searchlight has released the trailer for “Birth of a Nation”

Fox Searchlight, as you will recall, paid a record $17.5 million for Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation at Sundance, and now we are getting our first glimpse of the film. I should warn you that this trailer has some disturbing images of implied violence and a little white girl leading a little black girl around on a leash. However, you can easily see why this film won the Grand Jury prize. And yes, that is Nina Simone’s Strange Fruit you hear.

Birth of a Nation will be out October 7th, but it’s already being dangled as Oscar bait. Maybe this year we can forget the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.

Brace yourselves, Thor gets a new love interest and she’s a WOC

Applications are now being taken for the Tessa Thompson Defense Squad and she’s going to need all the support she can get.  According to Deadline.com, she been cast as Thor’s new love interest in the 3rd Thor film. Details are still sketchy, but reportedly she will be “some sort of superhero” and will appear in other Marvel Universe films as well.

Can you hear the howls of outrage yet? If the reports of her being Thor’s new love are true she will be replacing Natalie Portman, who played Jane, the canon love interest from the comics. You just know how much the fans love it when they mess with canon, especially when they swap out the white woman for a WOC. Remember when The Flash announced that Candice Patton was playing Iris West? Candice is still taking shit for being black two years later. Hope Tessa has some thick skin.

Thor: Ragnarok will begin production at the end of July and is slated for a November 2017 release.

Another WOC is leaving a genre show

Hot on the heels of one of the few leading WOC on TV getting unceremoniously snuffed on her own show comes more bad news, another WOC is out on her genre show. Arden Cho is no longer a member of the cast of Teen Wolf and no one seems to know why.

Arden released this video on YouTube announcing her departure. It doesn’t sound like she made the choice to leave, just saying…

“But unfortunately, it looks like we’re wrapped up with Kira’s story line and she won’t be coming back for Season 6.”

Ever notice the WOC’s storyline always seem to wrap up before any other characters? Are you sick of this shit too?

I admit I do not watch the show, but from what I have read, her story line was not really “wrapped up.” Show creator Jeff Davis had said specifically that the writers were planning on returning a plot line with Cho’s character trapped in a WWII interment camp. Guess they changed their minds.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that genre TV remains a mostly hostile environment for POC. Given the changing demographic of the population, if producers want new viewers, they are going to have check their privilege and change their ways.

#AbbieMillsDeservedBetter #CancelSleepyHollow

They fucking killed Abbie Mills on Sleepy Hollow’s season finale.
It’s taken me a couple of days to calm down enough to write this. I asked fangirlu if she wanted to be the one to write this, but she’s too emotionally drained to do it.

Another black woman on a genre show has died to service the white male lead’s story line.

Sleepy Hollow was supposed to be different. It premiered with a diverse cast and Nicole Beharie was clearly the lead or at the very least the co-lead. Finally, we thought, a genre show where the black woman would get her due. And she did for the first season. Abbie Mills introduced Tim Mison’s Ichabod Crane to this century with humor and enough chemistry to torch a city block. The bad guy, the Headless Horseman, was off the charts badass. Who didn’t love a headless demon wielding an automatic weapon? The show was batshit crazy. Critics and fans alike were delighted. Continue reading #AbbieMillsDeservedBetter #CancelSleepyHollow

R.I.P. Daisy Lewellyn

Daisy Lewellyn, star of Bravo’s Blood, Sweat and Heels has died of cancer. Se was only 36. She had been diagnosed with stage 3 bile duct cancer a couple of years ago, but seemed to be “happy and healthy” according to cast mate Arzo Anwar.

In a interview with Madame Noir last year she said, “I’m not afraid to go to heaven, but I would like to stay on earth if I can. If it’s my time to go, then I can say that I had a great life.”

Our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Her time on Earth was far too short.

Something wonderful happens when a film has two black leads, and we can prove it

I’ve written before about studies that show that diversity has a positive impact on the bottom line, and now I have new one to add to the growing pile.

Researchers at University of North Carolina and McGill University decided to study how films featuring diverse casts performed at the box office compare to cast that feature all white people.

Remember how much money these guys made? Only $206 million

You can see this one coming a mile away can’t you?

The researchers found that after controlling for factors like genre, seasonality and the size of its opening release, having one black cast member did not significantly affect revenues, and having two black cast members correlated with earning roughly 60 percent more at the box office than the average film with no black actors. It was when films employed two or more black leads, however, that the real gains were seen: those films outperformed films with no black actors by 149 percent at the box office.

Yes honey, you read those number right. That’s a 149% increase in revenues bitches.

Cost to make: 13.5 million, box office: 54.3 million.

The Huff Post has a write up and more complete breakdown of the data if you want to see more. The fact of the matter is that this study aligns with previous studies, Diversity Sells and Hollywood executives are out of excuses.

Amandla Stenberg to star in movie based on Black Lives Matter

Outspoken actress and activist Amandla Stenberg has been tapped to play the lead in The Hate U Give, based on the Young Adult novel of the same name by Angela Thomas. Thomas first got the idea for book  after the shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant in 2009 by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop. As the Black Lives Matter Movement gained steam, she began working on it while a Senior at Belhaven University.

Apparently there was a huge bidding war on this book and it’s very timely subject matter.

Amandla will play Starr, according to the The Hollywood Reporter, which first broke the story:

a 16-year-old girl … who grew up in a poverty-stricken slum, but now attends a suburban prep school. After she witnesses a police officer shoot her unarmed best friend, she’s torn between her two very different worlds as she tries to speak her truth

George Tillman Jr (Soul Food) will direct.

My one hesitation over this film is the fact that Audrey Wells (Under Tuscan Sun, George of the Jungle) will write the screen play. I’ve read both the book and seen the film of Under the Tuscan Sun and I have to say that it was the crappiest book adaption I have ever seen. The movie had NOTHING to do with book aside from the location. Seriously, calling it crappy is an insult to crap. She set fire to the book and wrote her own story almost completely from scratch. Can this woman pull off the screenplay for what is sure to be a controversial movie? Nothing in her resume indicates she is up to the challenge. I can only hope the Tillman and Amandla can keep her honest and keep the focus on #BlackLivesMatter where it belongs.