All posts by reelsistas

Three More HIDDEN FIGURES we NEED to See on the Big Screen

On the latest edition of Cinema in  Noir, my co-hosts and I discussed women of color in period films. It didn’t take long for the discussion to turn to HIDDEN FIGURES.   As you probably know by now, the film centers around the three brilliant African American women who worked behind the scenes at NASA. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson aided in the successful launch of John Glenn into space. HIDDEN FIGURES is a very important film.

hidden figuresThe  Black Girl Magic in HIDDEN FIGURES runneth over. The cast is superb and the story is historical,  but relevant.  I can’t count how many times during the course of the film I uttered an audible “amen” or nodded my head in silent agreement. No, I have never had to walk a mile to use the restroom at work. But I identified with the struggles of doing a job without the title or pay that aligns with the duties involved or having someone try to minimize your contributions to a project.  HIDDEN FIGURES  is a rallying cry to anyone whose had their contributions trivialized in the workplace.

As Women’s History Herstory Month comes to a close, here are three hidden figures who deserve to have their stories told.

Dr. Alexa Canady
Hidden Figures

HIDDEN FIGURES shows little girls of color that despite what people say, they can succeed in science and math. Alexa Canady attended a summer program focused on health careers and decided to pursue medicine. Although, she originally aspired to be in doctor of internal medicine but later became fascinated by neurosurgery. Despite being discourage from the field, Dr. Canady persisted and became the first black woman neurosurgeon in the United States.

Rose Butler Browne
Hidden Figures Rose

If you know me, you know I LOVE North Carolina Central University.  One of the most distinguished former professors is Rose Butler Browne.  Back when my alma mater was the North Carolina College, Dr. Browne worked tirelessly to educate students of color. Her journey began years before as she fought for her own education. While working full-time as a maid, she earned her bachelors degree in Rhode Island. Ultimately, she became the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in education.  She received it from Harvard.

Alice Allison Dunnigan
HIdden Figures

The recent #BlackWomenAtWork hashtag was partially inspired a condescending and disrespectful remark made to journalist April Ryan by the White House Press Secretary.  It is a reminder of the challenges that black women journalist face daily. Alice Allison Dunnigan is a journalist whose story deserves to be told. As the first African American woman to get White House Credentials and the first black female member of the Senate of House of  Representative press galleries, Dunnigan faced many challenges. Most noteworthy, she had to cover Senator Taft’s funeral from the servant’s quarters.

What other HIDDEN FIGURES do you want see on the big screen?

Happy Birthday Ms. Ross!

Happy Birthday Ms Ross!

In my world, March 26th is an unofficial holiday. Every year, in honor of this special day,   I like to pay tribute to Diana Ross, the singer, the actress, the legend. Although her film and television credits are few in comparison to her music credits, they are all memorable.

Happy Birthday Ms. Ross

Ross received critical acclaim in 1972 for her first film performance as Billie Holiday in the film Lady Sings the Blues. In his review of the film, famed critic Roger Ebert praised Ross for her willingness to transform herself for the role:

“As a gangly adolescent set out to work as a maid in a whorehouse, the diva Ross somehow manages to actually look gangly and adolescent. When she is transformed into a great beauty later in the film, it is a transformation, because she was brave enough and good enough, to really look awful at first.”

For her efforts, Ross earned a Golden Globe and received an Academy Award nomination.

Happy Birthday Diana Ross

Ross’ next two film roles in Mahogany and The Wiz did not garner the same critical acclaim as Lady Sings the Blues.  But both films are fan favorites. In Mahogany, Ross plays Tracy, an aspiring fashion designer who has to choose between career and love. The film is full of great fashion and great music. And Tracy and Brian (Billy Dee Williams) are one of my favorite movie couple of all time.

Directed by the late, great Sidney Lumet, The Wiz is a classic in my house. The all-black version of The Wizard of Oz  is considered to be one of the great financial film disasters of the time, but fans love it.

The all-star cast includes Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Richard Pryor and Lena Horne. Visually, The Wiz is colorful and exuberant. When paired with the vibrant dance numbers and the soulful music, what’s not to love about it?

Happy Birthday Diana

The Wiz marked the end of Ross’ big screen career. However, she gave an amazing performance in the 1994 made for television movie Out of Darkness in which she portrayed a woman battling schizophrenia.

Here is a scene from Out of Darkness:

The movie is one of my favorite made for television movies. Ross was nominated for another Golden Globe Award for her performance.

Happy Birthday Ms. Ross

I am a huge Diana Ross fan and saw her perform live in concert last year.  Undoubtedly, she will go down in history as a legendary singer and performer. But I think Diana Ross is an equally talented actor. She once said,

“I’m not really a songwriter – I’m an interpreter. So in a sense, I am an actress first and foremost. I act out the songs, and I lead with my heart.”

I agree with her 100%. So to celebrate the life of the living legend, I challenge you all to take a Diana Ross Twirl Break and seize the day! Do it for Ms. Ross!

Happy Birthday, Ms. Ross

Music and Movies – #CinNoir Chat (ICYMI)

Music and Movies go together like peanut butter and jelly,  mornings and coffee,  Barack and Michelle.  During the latest #CinNoir Chat, my co-hosts and I relived some of our favorite moments in music and movies.  From amazing soundtracks to iconic songs from lackluster films, we discussed it all. We also mentioned some of our favorite movie musicals. Check out a clip from my personal favorite, Dreamgirls.

Additionally, we talked about two upcoming films.  A documentary about the legendary Prince is in the works.  Although it seems a bit soon, I am intrigued to see how the film takes shape.music and movies

Also, TV One is producing a biopic on Bobbi Kristina Brown, the late daughter of music icon Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.

In case you missed the music and movies chat, here is the recap:

Happy Birthday, Renee Elise Goldsberry (aka Happy Birthday My Dearest, Angelica)

Happy Birthday, Renee Elise Goldsberry!!

Happy Birthday, Renee GOldsberry

I have been a fan of Renee since she started on One Life to Live as Evangeline Williamson.  She is also in one of my favorite movies, All About You, which features one of my favorite movie couples. Renee has tackled the theater, television, and film.  She is a truly talented performer.

Additionally, Renee is an accomplished singer and is featured on the All About You soundtrack. Renee also recorded her own LP entitled Beautiful.  Renee also exhibits her rapping skills as Angelica Schulyer on the Hamilton Broadway cast album.  Her work earned her a Grammy and a Tony award. RS Renee CD

Here is her AMAZING acceptance speak at the 2016 Tony Awards:

So, Happy Birthday, RENEE!!!

#NFOTD2016 – A Year in Review

As 2016 comes to a close and we gear up for 2017, the time has come for my #NFOTD2016 post.  As you all know, I have been participating in #NFOTD (New Film of the Day) for the past four years. For those who don’t know, NFOTD was started by film-lover and director of photography, Cybel Martin. Every day for the last year, #NFOTD2016 participants have watched a film that they have never seen before and tweet (and/or Instagram) about it.

Here are my #NFOTD2016 superlatives:

Favorite Theatrical Release: FencesDirector: Denzel Washington

Screenwriter: August Wilson

Cinematographer: Charlotte Bruus Christensen

Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Mykelti WIlliamson

 

Favorite Streaming/Online/At  Home: Miss Sharon JonesDirector: Barbara Kopple

Cinematographer:  Gary Griffin, Tony Hardmon, Kyle Kibbe

Starring: Sharon Jones

 

Favorite Most Obscure aka WTHAIW (What The Hell Am I Watching): Accidental LoveDirector: David O. Russell

Screenwriter: Kristin Gore, Matthew Silverstein, Dave Jeser

Cinematographer: Max Malkin

Starring: Jessica Biel, Jake Gylenhaal, James Marsden, Tracey Morgan

 

Favorite Documentary: 13th Director: Ava DuVernay

Screenwriter: Spencer Averick, Ava DuVernay

Cinematographer: Hans Charles, Kira Kelly

Starring: Michelle Alexander, Cory Booker, Henry Louis Gates, Newt Gingrich

 

Favorite Better Late Than Never: BasquiatDirector: Julian Schnabel

Screenwriter: Julian Schnabel

Cinematographer: Ron Fortunato

Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott, Benicio Del Toro, ClarecForlani

 

Member’s Choice: 9 Rides#nfotd2016

Director: Matthew Cherry

Screenwriter: Matthew Cherry

Cinematographer: Richard J. Vialet

Starring: Dorian Missick, Omar Dorsey, Robinne Lee

 

2016 resolutions

What new to you films did you love this year?  Want to track the films you watch in 2017? Here is the link to the #NFOTDSpreadsheet.  Feel free to save a copy and get to watching!

 

 

Seven Sistas of Television, 2016

To quote the great show Hamilton Musical: “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.” On the latest Cinema in Noir, we chatted about how it’s almost an embarrassment of riches with the amount of quality television that is being produced.  And many of these amazing series feature women of color in prominent roles.  2016 marks my 5th year doing my year-end seven sistas post and this year it was particularly hard narrowing this list to seven. But here they are, my seven sistas of television, 2016.

1. Erica Ash as “M-Chuck” on Survivor’s Remorse and “Bridgette” on The Real Husbands of HollywoodErica Ash is one of the most underrated women working in television. She pulls double duty bringing the drama on Survivor’s Remorse and hilariously goes toe to toe with Kevin Hart on the Real Husbands of Hollywood. Erica was included in my Seven Sistas of 2015 last year as an honorable mention. In 2016 she was a shining star.

2. Kylie Bunbury as “Ginny Baker” on PitchPitch is a show about being the first.  But this isn’t my first time raving about it’s star, Kylie Bunbury. Back in 2013, I fell in love with Kylie in the now defunct series Twisted.  Today she portrays the first woman signed to a major league baseball team. And Kylie does so with the same strength and vulnerability that first caught my attention.

3. Michaela Coel as “Tracey” on Chewing GumI heard about the series Chewing Gum for the first time a couple of months ago. At the time, I added it to the never-ending-Netflix-queue and moved on. When I finally watched Chewing Gum this week I literally laughed the entire time.  Michaela Coel is the quirky black girl icon we have been clamoring for.

4. Issa Rae as “Issa” on InsecureIssa Rae was a Hollywood MVP before Hollywood knew her name.  I first fell in love with her work back in 2011 when she released her web series Awkward Black Girl. Fast-forward to 2016 and Issa is bringing the same unique perspective and fresh voice that the world deserves to the masses via Insecure.

5. Jurnee Smollett as “Rosalee” on UndergroundJurnee Smollett has been delivering stand out performances for over almost 20 years.  In Underground she portrays Rosalee, a house slave turned runaway with the same dignity, strength, and badassery that we have come to expect from her performances.

6. Lorraine Toussaint as “Donna Rosewood” on Rosewood

Yall know how much I love me some Lorraine Toussaint. It is well documented. This season, I was ecstatic that her character on Rosewood got a storyline worthy of her amazing talent. And in true Lorraine form, she delivered an amazing performance.

7. Rutina Wesley as “Nova Bordelon” on Queen SugarIt is a revelation to watch Rutina Wesley on screen.   As Novalee, she embodies the spirit of a loving sister, a loyal friend, and fierce protector.  Rutina’s portrayal of the perfectly imperfect Nova is one of the best of 2016.

HONORABLE MENTION – The Women of Luke Cage (Rosario Dawson, Simone Missick and Alfre Woodard)Seven Sistas of Television, 2016

I could go on and on, but yall already know!

Who would you put on you Seven Sistas of Television, 2016 list?

 

#CinNoir Award Nominations Round-Up (The Best and Worst of 2016)

Tis the season for award nominations galore.  On this week’s edition of Cinema in Noir, we chatted about the NAACP Image Award nominations in addition to the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and the Independent Spirit Award nominations.  There has been an abundance of great film and television this year. The nomination lists provide a diverse group of nominees.

Award Nominations

NAACP Image Awards 

The NAACP Image Awards always acknowledge the underappreciated black talent that doesn’t get the mainstream recognition they deserve. And this year is no different.  The Best Comedy Series category is the most exciting.  The nominees include five of the best shows on television: Atlanta, black-ish, The Carmichael Show, Insecure, and Survivor’s Remorse. Tika Sumpter is nominated for her work in the film Southside With You. Shout out to my soror, Twitter homie, and BFF (in my head).

Golden Globes and SAG Awards

These two are basically the same lists.  The film Loving . It is without question one of the best films of the year.  Ruth Negga’s performance is understated perfection. I am glad both received nominations.   Also, Issa Rae and Tracee Ellis Ross made history with their nominations. They are the first black women nominated in the Best Actress in a Television Series Musical or Comedy category in over 30 years.  The last time a black woman was nominated in the category was 1984 when Debbie Allen, Nell Carter, and Isabel Sanford were nominated.

Independent Spirit Awards

The Independent Spirit Awards are always fun to watch because I am introduced to films I have not seen and some I’ve never even heard of.  Shout out to a few of my faves: Ava DuVernay, whose documentary The 13th is nominated in the Best Documentary category, Edwina Findley who is nominated in the Best Supporting  Female category for her work in the film Free Indeed, and Stella Meghie who is nominated for Best First Screenplay for her film, Jean of the Jones.

The #CinNoirAwards – The Best and Worst of 2016

We ended the show with our yearly round-up of our personal picks for the Best and Worst of 2016. As usual, you can expect some films that you may not see on other mainstream Best of lists.

So, in case you missed it, you can catch the podcast here:

Missed a podcast? Catch up and listen to our shows from October and November.

Fall 2016 TV Preview and Our Fave Actors Under 25 (Cinema in Noir)

The Fall 2016 television season is upon us!  Tonight, my co-hosts and I will be live-tweeting the Emmy telecast as we root for some of our favorites who are nominated.
5da611e5-5d70-4b0e-b77d-982668a4b23cThe fall 2016 season officially kicks off tomorrow with the premiere of many new and returning shows.

Last week on  Cinema in Noir, we talked about the shows we are most looking forward to this fall 2016 season. The most highly anticipated show of the season is Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar, which premiered on September 6. Rebecca and I reviewed the show which is a joy to watch. Additionally, Rebecca reviewed Atlanta and the Netflix series Luke Cage.

Fall 2016

Other shows I am looking forward to include Issa Rae’s Insecure, NBC’s Parenthoodesque This is Us.  Also, I am super excited about Pitch.  Kylie Bunbury stars as the first woman to play professional baseball. Finally, the TV adaptation of Lethal Weapon is also on my list of shows I am looking forward to.

We are witnessesing a boom in the number of talented young actors working in Hollywood. Due to this resurgence, we chatted about some of our favorite actors under 25. Most noteworthy, include Ethan Hutchison and the entire younger cast of ABC’s blackish.

Fall 2016

Finally, if you missed it, you can catch the podcast here:

Missed a podcast? Catch up and listen to our shows from July and August.

Tony Awards Preview and Remembering Muhammad Ali (Cinema in Noir)

The Tony Awards are TONIGHT!! On the latest edition of Cinema and Noir, my co-hosts and I chatted about the 2016 nominees, the shows we are most excited about and Broadways ongoing commitment to diverse and inclusive casts.

Eclipsed Tony Awards

Of course,  the show I am most rooting for tonight is the groundbreaking musical Hamilton.  With a 16nominations, it is expected to win big.  But I am also hoping Eclipsed and The Color Purple get some love tonight.

Tony Awrds

We also remember the late Muhammad Ali who passes away June 3, 2016. We talked about Hollywood’s treatment of The Champ and discussed the films and documentaries that best explored his life and career.

In case you missed the podcast, you can catch up here:

#BlackPantherSoLIT – #CinNoir Chat (ICYMI)

During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-host Rebecca reviewed the film Captain America: Civil War. The film features Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.  The character and casting news about the upcoming Black Panther movie inspired the hashtag #BlackPantherSoLIT. We discussed the casting and the popularity of the hashtag  with creator @ChadwickNChill.

#BlackPantherSoLIT

Lastly, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, chatted about @StarringJohnCho, the hashtag and social movement dedicated to showing  the world “what it would look like if today’s Hollywood blockbusters cast an Asian-American actor as their leading man.”

In case you missed it, here is the recap: