The Black Woman on TV: Making Room for Imperfection (Cinema in Noir)

The black woman is more visible than ever on primetime television. On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I have a spirited conversation about making room on the television landscape for the new black woman. Today, characters like Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating, and Mary Jane Paul represent a more flawed reality than their television predecessors.

black woman, Annalise Keating, Olivia Pope, Mary Jane Paul

The discussion was inspired by a Crunk Feminist Collective article called Clair Huxtable is Dead: On Slaying the Cosbys and Making Space for Liv, Annalise, and Mary Jane. The writer suggests that the time has come to let go of the ideal black woman on television. She wants us to slay the legacy of Clair Huxtable and embrace the complicated and flawed black woman that exists in the lives of this new generation of characters.

But I have questions. Do we have to kill Clair for Annalise to  live? When talking about the black woman, why is it a matter of either/or and NOT both? Does this type of discussion occur when talking about male characters?  As you may expect, my co-hosts and I have our own thoughts on the situation.

Also, in honor of Halloween we listed some of our favorite women in the genre. We also discussed the  Gotham Award nominations that were announced last week. Congrats to Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tessa Thompson on their nominations!


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ISSA Talks with Gina Prince-Bythewood and Lena Waithe

Black girls REALLY do rock.

Gina Prince-Bythewood, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe

Issa Rae, one of my faves and former Cinema in Noir guest, recently launched Issa Talks on her YouTube channel.  In the first installment she chats with writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood and writer/producer Lena Waithe.  The women discussed their initial meeting, the influence of music in their work and the journey to getting their latest projects (Beyond the Lights and Dear White People, respectively) made.

I can not say enough WONDERFUL things about this series of videos.  I have been a HUGE fan of Gina Prince-Bythewood since I saw Love and Basketball back in 2000. And I have been raving about Lena Waithe since I discovered one of my favorite webseries, Hello Cupid, which she co-created. It is really cool to get to know these women behind the camera.

Check it out here:

#CinNoir Chat 10.19.2014 (ICYMI)

Today, my Cinema in Noir co-hosts and I hosted our bi-weekly #CinNoir chat. During the chat,  my co-host Candice reviewed the new releases Dear White People and Birdman.


We also discussed the new series Jane the Virgin as well as the latest groundbreaking episode of How to Get Away with Murder and the season premiere of The Walking Dead.

In case you missed it, here is the recap:

Fall TV Review (Cinema in Noir)

Fall TV is upon us and it’s really, REALLY good. On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I reviewed the best this Fall TV season has given us so far. From returning shows like Sleepy Hollow and Scandal, to new shows like Gotham, Black-ish, and How to Get Away With Murder, the Fall TV line-up has given us some solid premieres.

In addition to giving us comedy, great drama and fast paced action, the Fall TV line-up is full of diversity.  Jada Pinkett Smith, Lorraine Toussaint, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Viola Davis are all making their mark this Fall TV season.  Each woman, in her own way is expanding the image of black women on television with their remarkable performances and unforgettable characters.

Also find out which former teen actor will be making his return to television on the highly anticipated season on The Walking Dead.


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ICYMI: Social Justice Films and Television (Cinema in Noir)

Social justice is a topic that is constantly at the forefront of the media.  On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I dedicated the majority of the show to the exploring the theme of social justice.  We started by chatting with Shanelle Little. Like the majority of the country, Shanelle has spent the last week watching the volatile situation in Ferguson, MI.  She noticed that many celebrities who usually have so much to say about everything were suddenly silent.  So Shanelle decided to keep a running list of celebrities who decided to use their social media platform to tackle the issues of social justice (including Jesse Williams, John Legend, and Kerry Wasington).  We also discussed whether a celebrity has a responsibility to comment on matters of social justice.

Social Justice TV

In keeping with the theme of social justice, the ladies and I listed some of our favorite social justice films and television series.  At the top of the list, is the WeTV series The Divide.  We all agree that it is one of the best shows on television right now.  The Divide handles the theme of social justice in a fresh and exciting way (Best explained here).

Social Justice Movie

Some of my other favorites include American Violet, Fruitvale Station , and the documentaries Let the Fire Burn and The Spies of Mississippi.

In addition to covering the latest news in film and television, my co-host Rebecca reviewed the film Expendables 3.

Listen here:

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Cinema in Noir – #CinNoir Chat

It’s #CinNoir Sunday. Today my Cinema in Noir co-hosts and I hosted our very first #CinNoir chat. We discussed the casting controversy surrounding Ridley Scott’s latest film, Exodus. We also reviewed the Annenberg report on diversity in film.

#CinNoir Chat
Lifetime Missy and the real Missy

In case you missed today’s #CinNoir chat, here it is:

Stunt Casting & Young Hollywood (Cinema in Noir)

We are sick and tired of stunt casting.  On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-host Candice and I were joined by guest co-host, Afiya Augustine.  We discussed the Hollywood habit of stunt casting. By stunt casting, we mean using the same three or four young actor/actresses for roles based on their popularity and not whether or not they fit the role. For instance, Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley are the current Hollywood ‘it girls.” But we think there are other actresses out their who despite the spotlight.  and we listed some of the actors who we think have suffered as a result of stunt casting.  We think these talented actors deserve more screen time. Gina Rodriguez, Saoirse Ronan, and Jurnee Smollett stunt casting We also chatted about the recent Hollywood Reporter article that declared the summer of 2014 as the worst summer box office in eight years. o-A-MILLION-WAYS-TO-DIE-IN-THE-WEST-TRAILER-facebook And as always, we discussed the latest in film and casting news. LISTEN:

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Eljon Wardally: A Q&A (Cinema in Noir)

Eljon Wardally is an inspiration. And on the latest edition of Cinema In Noir, we had a great chat with the talented playwright and screenwriter.

Eljon WardallyEljon Wardally discussed her short film turned webseries Docket 32357 . She also discussed getting back to writing after having a stroke at age 29. Eljon Wardally has a story that you need to hear.

We were also joined by actress Pia Glenn when we discussed the racially charged casting notice for women in the upcoming NWA biopic, Straight Outta Compton.

Pia GLennPia shared her experience as a black actress in Hollywood and how she deals with the drama.

In addition to the latest in film and television news, we also reviewed The Purge: Anarchy and the premiere episode of WeTV’s The Divide.


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Ernest Dickerson: A Q& A (Cinema in Noir)

Ernest Dickerson is a legend. And on the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I had the amazing opportunity to chat with the legendary cinematographer and director, Ernest Dickerson.

Ernest DIckerson

Ernest Dickerson discussed his illustrious career. He also discussed his collaborations with Spike Lee.  Ernest Dickerson also talked about the process of getting the classic film Juice made, the current state of television, and what it’s like to direct for The Walking Dead.

We also gave our thoughts about the 2014 Emmy nominations that were announced this week. While we all agree that the list is better in terms of diversity, we still have a few issues with the list. We break it all down…the good, the bad, and the snubbed.

In addition to the latest in film and television news, we also reviewed three new releases (Boyhood, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Life Itself) and the trailer to the new Jimi Hendrix film, All is By My Side. 


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