A Chat with Tichina Arnold (Cinema in Noir)

Tichina Arnold is a awesome. After watching her on the small and big screen in a career that has lasted nearly 30 years with no signs of slowing down, I figured as much. But after chatting with her on the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, I am further convinced of her awesomeness.  Tichina Arnold Main Shot

My Tichina Arnold obsession began in 1986 the first time I saw the greatest movie EVER made, Little Shop of Horrors. During our chat, I asked Tichina about making the film and whether or not she and the cast knew the film would become a cult classic.

Tichina Arnold
Michelle Weeks, Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, 1986, © Warner Brothers

My co-hosts and I also asked Tichina about her latest role as Cassie Calloway on the hit Starz series, Survivor’s Remorse and how the character is resonating with fans.

TA Survivors Remorse

The down to earth actress also reminised with us about fan favorites Martin and Everybody Hates Chris. The consummate entertainer also talked about and her desire to bring the life story of Sarah Vaughn to the screen, her Broadway dreams, and hopes to put together a one woman show.  Lastly, she discussed her work with the We Win Foundation, an organization she established with her sister to raise awareness about lupus. It was a great interview. Tichina Arnold is the real deal.

Keiynan Lonsdale

We also checked in with our friend Jamie of Black Girl Nerds about the controversy surrounding the casting of black actor Keiynan Lonsdale in the role of Wally West on the CW series, The Flash. This week, dudebro angst was at an all time high, despite the fact  news regarding Wally being black was announced over a year ago.


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Jennifer Phang Q&A (ICYMI, #CinNoir Chat)

Jennifer Phang co-wrote and directed a great science fiction film that recently began streaming on Netflix.  During the latest #CinNoir chat, the filmmaker chatted with me and my co-hosts about her film Advantageous.Jennifer PhangIn addition to chatting with us, Jennifer answered questions about her film inspirations, casting for her film, and her approach to filmmaking.

In addition to our Q&A with Jennifer Phang, my co-hosts and I discussed recent news that Zoe Kravitz was labeled “too urban” for a role in the Dark Knight film.Zoe_Kravitz_2_by_David_ShankboneWe also chatted about the good, the bad, and the snubbed from this years Emmy nominations.

In case you missed it, here is the recap:

Happy 80th Birthday Diahann Carroll

Today is Diahann Carroll’s 80th birthday. In honor of the occasion, I decided to pay tribute to the legendary actress and singer. Although I came along in the 1980s and missed the first wave of Ms. Carroll’s fame, she has always been one of the women in entertainment whose career has inspired me.


Born Carol Diane Johnson on July 17, 1935, Ms. Carroll grew up in the New York the eldest of John and Mabel Johnson’s two daughters. At age 19, she got her big break and was cast in the Broadway play House of Flowers opposite Pearl Bailey.

Diahann Carroll FLowersIn 1954, Ms. Carroll appeared on film for the first time in Carmen Jones, starring Dororthy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, and Pearl Bailey.

Diahann Carroll Carmen

Ms. Carroll made history by becoming the first black woman to star in her own television series when her show Julia premiered in 1968. I have seen episodes of Julia throughout the years and I think it is a solid show.

Diahann Carroll Julia

It was groundbreaking  but more importantly, it portrayed a black woman that the public had not seen previously. Julia represented an independent, middle class black woman and mother.   Check out Ms. Carroll’s own comments on the show:

Ms. Carroll won a Golden Globe award for her portrayal of Julia and was nominated for an Emmy for the role. The accolades continued when in 1974, she became only the fourth black actress to receive a “Best Actress in a Leading Role” nomination at the Academy Awards. She garnered the nomination for her work in the 1974 film Claudine.

Diahann Carroll

As an 1980s baby, my first introduction to Ms. Carroll was on the prime time soap opera, Dynasty. Her character, Domonique Devereaux symbolized everything that we love about the eighties: excessive wealth and big hair.

Diahann Carroll DOminique

Ms. Carroll joined the show in 1984 as a foil to Joan Collins’ character Alexis Carrington. She was later revealed to be the half sister of the show’s leading male character Blake Carrington, played by John Forsythe.

Ms. Carroll has achieved so much during her career that has spanned for nearly 50 years. What I love most is her range. Ms. Carroll excels in comedy (like her Emmy-nominated role as Marion Gilbert on A Different World) and drama and her talents cross mediums as she has appeared on the stage, television, and film. A few years ago I read Ms. Carroll’s memoir “The Legs Are the Last to Go” and discovered new reasons to adore the legendary artist. Beneath the regal glamour lies a woman who is candid, honest, and comfortable in her own skin. That is truly beautiful.

Happy 80th Birthday , Ms. Carroll!!

Matthew Cherry, Diary of a Filmmaker (Cinema In Noir)

Matthew Cherry is a man on a mission. The independent filmmker and friend of Cinema in Noir is on a quest to create more content by filming a year long daily vlog entitled Diary of an Independent Filmmaker.  On the latest Cinema in Noir, Matthew chatted about his motivation for the vlog, his upcoming projects, and his unbeleiveable social media game (I have crowned him the King of Periscope).

Matthew Cherry

Additionally, my co-host Candice reviewed the Amy Winehouse documentary and Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez’s latest film Lila and Eve. My co-host Rebecca reviewed the film Inside Out. We also discussed the highly anticipated trailer to Superman vs Batman that premiered over the weekend at Comic-Con 2015.

Penny Dreadful

Lastly, special guest caller Daniel Jose Older called in to discuss the season finale of the Showtime drama Penny Dreadful and it’s magical Negro problem. We also discussed the distinctions between tokenism and diversity.


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OITNB Season 3 & The Worst On-Screen Dads (Cinema In Noir)

Orange is the New Black (OITNB) is BACK! Season 3 of hit Netflix series was released on June 12 and despite my BEST efforts to savor every moment, I finished binge watching the season in a week.


On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-host Candice and I discussed our thoughts about Season 3 of OITNB. Candice also reviewed the upcoming Netflix documentary What Happened, Miss Simone. And  I reviewed Rick Famuyiwa’s latest film, Dope.

Bad Dads

Also, in honor of Father’s Day, we chatted about the worst onscreen dads. From Papa Pope to Darth Vader, these bad dads really are THE WORST.


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#CinNoir Chat – Summer TV and Trans Visibility

#CinNoir chat is here again. Today, my co-hosts and I recapped the Critic’s Choice Television Awards.  We discussed the highs  (uh, did I tell yall Lorraine Toussaint won?) and lows (WHO is Cat Deely?) of the show that was broadcast last Sunday.

Next, we reviewed two trailers that hit the web this week. The trailer for Lila and Eve intrigued a lot of our #CinNoir chatters.  While the consensus is The Perfect Guy looks predictable. But super hot.


Our topic for the night was Summer TV. Remember when we were all forced to watch re-runs from May to September? Now, we are lucky enough to have plenty of options to choose from. Lastly, we discussed the Laverne Cox effect and trans visibility in film and television.

#CinNoir discussionIn case you missed it, here is the recap:

Critics Choice Television Awards, 2015 : Lorraine, Taraji and Bessie OH My!!!

Critics. You either love them, hate them, listen to them, totally ignore them or you are one. Well, they have spoken. The 5th Annual Critics Choice Television Awards aired on Sunday night and a few of my top picks took home awards.  Congratulations to three of my faves who won big at the award show:

Lorraine Toussaint, Best Supprting Actress in a Drama Series for Orange is the New Black

Critics Choice, Lorraine

I have loved Lorraine Toussaint since she starred on the Lifetime series, Any Day Now. She always brings her A game and I am OVERJOYED that she won for her work on one of my favorite series, Orange is the New Black.

Taraji P. Henson, Best Actress in a Drama Series for Empire

critics choice

Taraji P. Henson has been killing it on Empire. Cookie Lyons is one of my favorite characters on television right now.  I am so happy for her win.

Bessie, Best Movie Made for Television

Bessie Cast

Bessie was a GREAT movie. Director Dee Rees did an amazing job. And the cast that includes Queen Latifah and Khandi Alexander really embodied their characters and gave powerful and nuanced performances.

Click here for a FULL list of the winners.

Summertime Films 2015 (Cinema in Noir)

Summertime and the living is easy.

We’re BACK from our Memorial Day break and ready for some summertime fun!! On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I had a LOT to talk about. First we discussed Zoe Saldana and her comments in support of Michael B. Jordan in the upcoming Fantastic Four movie.  We also discussed Hollywood’s history of casting white actors as ethnic characters.
Summertime films

Summertime us upon us and with is comes a great time for movies. My co-hosts and I listed the films we are most looking forward to this summer. Personally, I’m not big on summer blockbusters, but there are quite a few independent films that are on my rader for the summer.

DopeSummertime films

Lastly, we chatted about the nominees for the Critics Choice Television Awards. Listen to see if our favorites won.


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#CinNoir Chat – Ridiculous 6 Controversy

During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-hosts and I chatted it up about the latest news and happenings in television and film. We started with our movie reviews.


I reviewed the Queen Latifah produced film Brotherly Love which stars one of my faves, Keke Palmer as well as Cory Hardrict and Macy Gray.  Also, Rebecca reviewed the teen horror flick, Unfriended.

We also discussed the Bruce Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer and the trouble surrounding the Adam Sandler project “Ridiculous 6.” Several Native American actors and one consultant walked off set because of the project’s degrading and stereotypical images of Native Americans. Of course we weighed in on the controversy.

In case you missed it, here is the recap:

#CinNoir Chat – Body Diversity on Primetime TV

Primetime television is leading the charge in Hollywood when it comes to body diversity and the images we see of women on a weekly basis.  Shows like Being Mary Jane and  The Mindy Project are going boldly where few have done before.  During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-hosts Candice, Rebecca and I discussed this new wave of body diversity and the shows that we think are getting it right.


We started by discussing Being Mary Jane and the recent recurring storyline of Mary Jane encouraging her niece, to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose weight.  In a recent espisode, Mary Jane even insunuated that Neicy need not wear a semi revealing dress because of her size. Body diversity, fat-shaming, and body acceptance are not topics usually discussed on television. For so long, we have been inundated with the blond haired, blue-eyed, thin standard of beauty.  But with the recent influx of more ethnically diverse women on television, we are seeing that there is more than one standard of beauty.

Also, Rebecca reviewed the upcoming documentary Mavis! about the life and career of soul singer Mavis Staples. Check out the trailer:

Mavis! – Documentary Trailer from Film First on Vimeo.

And lastly, we chatted about the Empire season finale.  We dished about the good, the bad, and what we hope to see in season 2.

black female characters cookie

In case you missed it, here is the recap: