Category Archives: Seven Sistas

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?

 

Seven Sistas of Film 2015

In my opinion,  2015 has been an underwhelming year for film.  Despite a bunch of mediocre movies, these women have given us some memorable performances. So with a few hours to spare, I give you my seven sistas of film 2015.  Enjoy!

Viola Davis as “Lila” in Lila and Eve

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Viola Davis never disappoints. In Lila and Eve she delivers another powerful performance as a mother dealing with the loss of her son. I mourned with Lila, felt her pain, and even rejoiced as she fough to regain her sense of self. Viola drew me in from beginning to end.

Jacqueline Kim as “Gwen” in Advantageous

Seven Sistas of Film 2015

In Advantageous, Jacqueline Kim portrays a mother desperate to do whatever it takes to provide for her daughter.   From the begining Jacqueline, as Gwen, exhibits a sense of urgency that is palpable and heartbreaking. She delivers an amazing performance.

Sanaa Lathan as “Leah” in The Perfect Guy

Seven Sistas of Film 2015

Sanaa Lathan is one of the few bright spots in The Perfect Guy. Despite a super predictable plot, she shines in the second half of the film when she transforms from Ms. Woe is Me to Ms. I Can Save My Damn Self and exhits the fierceness and fearless that she does so well.

Fulu Moguvhani as “Ayanda” in  Ayanda

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I was unfamiliar with  Fulu Moguvhani before I saw Ayanda. The South African actress  gives an amazing debut performance as a girl trying to find her niche while preserving the legacy of her father. Fulu exhibits the kind of scene stealing charisma that Hollywood careers are made of.

KeKe Palmer as “Jackie” in  Brotherly Love

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It has been really cool following Keke Palmer’s career as she transitioned from child actor to young adult. She holds her own as Jackie in the Romeo and Julietesque drama.  Keke displays a level of toughness and vulnerability that makes her performance ring true.

Teyonah Parris as “Lysistrata” in  Chi-raq

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So, I didn’t love Chi-raq. But I loved Teyonah Parris in Chi-raq (this makes sense). I have been a fan of Teyonnah since I saw her in last year’s Dear White People.  Just as Lysistrata carries the weight of Spike Lee’s Chicago on her back, Teyonnah carries the often heavy-handed Chi-raq with bravery, dedication, grace and believability.

Tessa Thompson as “Bianca” in Creed

Creed_2015-21Tessa Thompson is one of my favorites. In Creed, she  gives a great performance as Bianca, the love interest of Michael B. Jordan’s Donny. What I love is that she is more than “the girlfriend.” She has her own storyline and goals and Tessa infuses the character with a sense of realness that makes her three dimensional.

Who do you think gave a memorable performance this year?

Seven Sistas of Television 2015

I think we can all agree that 2015 has been a stellar year for television. And when it comes to quality roles for women of color, television is leading the charge in Hollywood. Choosing my favorite for the year was a pleasantly difficult task. But here they are, my seven sistas of television 2015. Enjoy!

Tichina Arnold as “Cassie” on Suvivor’s Remorse

Seven Sistas of Television 2015

I have been down with Tichina Arnold for almost 30 years!  Little Shop of Horrors is one of my favorite movies and one of the reasons I started this blog. This year Tichina killed it as the Calloway matriach. She is a comedy legend and I love the levity she brings to Survivor’s Remorse. Her shining moment?  The vaginal rejuvenation episode.

Sidenote: We interviewed Tichina this year on Cinema in Noir and it was AWESOME! Listen here.

Loretta Devine as “Cynthia ” on The Carmichael Show and “CeCe” on Being Mary Jane

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Loretta Divine is one of the most talented women in Hollywood. There isn’t much that she can not do.  This year we were lucky enough to witness Loretta in not one but two memorable roles.  This summer she proved to be the MVP of the NBC sitcom, The Carmichael Show. Loretta’s one liners made her stand out among that cast of comedians.
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For her role as CeCe on Being Mary Jane, Loretta flipped the script playing the pro-black, fedora wearing extortionist who blackmails her way into Mary Jane’s life. Loretta’s performance was definitely tweet-worthy. She stole every scene she was in.

Taraji P. Henson as “Cookie Lyons” on Empire

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So we can all agree that 2015 belonged to Taraji P. Henson, right? Her portrayal of Cookie Lyons garned her numerous award nominations, a gig hosting SNL, and USA Today’s honor as Entertainer of the Year. What I love most about Taraji is her commitment. Cookie is the most outrageous (and quotable) character on primetime. And Taraji always brings her A game.

Niecy Nash as “Didi Ortley” on Getting On and “Denise Hemphill” on Scream Queens

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Niecy Nash is one of the most underrated women in Hollywood. I too am guilty of not recognizing how amazingly talented she is.  I started watching Getting On when it premiered in 2013 and was pleasantly surprised by her performance. The dark comedy allows us to see a different side of Niecy. I appreciate her understated and compassionate performance.

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On the flip side, Niecy’s performace as Denise on Scream Queens is over-the-top. But the entire show is over-the-top, so it’s perfect.

Danielle Nicolet as “Jenna” on Born Again Virginbav_sneakpeek_ep111

I really enjoyed Danielle Nicolet on The Game so I was excited when it was announced that she was starring in her own series on TV One. As Jenna on Born Again Virgin, Danielle gives a convincing performance as a blogger abstaining from sex until she finds Mr. Right.  The tension created from trying to keep her promise to herself and her attraction to her neighbor allows Danielle to comedically and adorably manuever the trials of a single and celibate woman.

Lena Waithe as “Denise”on Master of None

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Master on None is one of the best new shows of 2015 and Lena Waithe is definitely one of the hightlights of the series. Denise  is the BFF we all wish we had.  She is the hilarious voice of reason that is the perfect foil to Dev. Lena is a natural and I can not wait to see more of her onscreen.

Kerry Washington as “Olivia Pope” on Scandal

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Olivia Pope is been through it all. And regardless of where you fall on the pro or anti Olitz spectrum, there is no denying that Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope is a compelling anti-hero. This season her performances have ranged from “she’s breaking my heart” to “WTF is she doing” and Kerry kills it every time.

Honorable Mention

The Wives of  Real Husbands of Hollywood (Nicole Ari Parker, Salli Richardson Whitfield, Eva Marcille, Holly Robinson Peete, Erica Ash and Nadine Velazquez)

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The Broadtalk episode of Real Husbands of Hollywood was the funniest of the season.  These women are funny individually. But all together, they created a magically hysterical episode.  These women flawlessly portray their characters and disply their comedic talents which rival the undeniable insanity that is Kevin Hart.

Who do you think gave a memorable performance this year?

Seven Sistas of Film, 2014

2014 has been a pretty good year for film.  And these women have given us some amazing, fun and memorable performances. These performances run the gamut in terms of genre. So with a few hours to spare, I give you my seven favorite sistas of film for 2014.  Enjoy!

Rosario Dawson as “Chelsea” in Top Five and “Dolores Huerta” in Cesar Chavez

RosarioI have been a fan of Rosario for a while now. In Top Five, she effectively plays a journalist on a mission to find out why a comedian respects in no longer funny. As always, Rosario brings her charming nature to the role.

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Likewise, In Cesar Chavez, Rosario give us a glimpse of the force of nature that is Dolores Huerta.  I just wish she’s been featured more in the film.

 

Regina Hall as “Joan ” in About Last Night

about-last-night-regina-hallRegina Hall is a force to be reckoned with.  It takes a true comedic talent to hold her own against Kevin Hart, but Regina does just that. In About Last Night, she does more than hold her own, she brings the funny and will have you dying of laughter.

 

Taraji Henson as “Catana Starks” in From The Rough and “Terry” in No Good Deed

taraji-henson-from-the-roughTaraji plays a woman on a mission with fierce determination and heart.  This is evident in two of her performances this year.  In From The Rough, she portrays a dedicated coach with a band of unlikely golfers.

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In No Good Deed, she plays mother determined to save her own life and the lives of her children.  On both occasions, Taraji’s performances reminded me of why I enjoy her work.

 

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as “Dido Elizabeth Belle” in Belle and “Noni” in Beyond the Lights

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I don’t care what ANYONE says, 2014 belonged to Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The starlet starred in not one, but two critically acclaimed films, both written and directed by black women.  Has this EVER happened before? And Gugu delivered in the radically different roles.  In Belle she exudes hopefulness and passion.

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In Beyond the Lights she channels pop divas Rihanna and Beyonce in a way that makes you do a double-take. Both roles exemplify Gugu’s versitility and talent.

 

Teyonah Parris as “Coco” in Dear White People

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I thought I was gonna hate Coco, the blue-eyed, sometimes blond diva on the hunt for fame in Dear White People.  But in the capable hands of the super-talented Teyonah Parris, I found myself drawn to her every time she was on the screen. I long to see Teyonah more on the big screen.

 

Tessa Thompson as “Sam” in Dear White People

Sam in Dear White PeopleTessa Thompson is being heralded as one of the breakout stars of 2014.  And deservedly so. As Sam in Dear White People, Tessa brings life to the undergrad trying to establish her identity on a divided Ivy-league campus in our “post-racial” society.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Women of Selma

I previously mentioned in my Best of 2014 post that I have not yet seen Selma. But I am obsessed with the female cast, namely Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, Oprah Winfrey, Tessa Thompson. From what I’ve heard, this is no doubt a film about MLK (as portrayed by David Oyelowo). But the women of Selma hold their own and I can not wait to rave about them once I see the film. In the meantime, check out this featurette on the Women of Selma.

Watch here:

Who else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of film for 2014?

Seven Sistas of Television, 2014

2014 has been an AMAZING year for television.  It seems television is blazing a trail for women of color in leading roles. Trying to narrow down  this list down to seven was damn near impossible. But these seven women (plus a few bonuses :-)) have given us some complex, layered and memorable performances. So  I give you my seven favorite sistas of television for 2014.  Enjoy!

Viola Davis as “Annalise Keating ” on How To Get Away With Murder

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Viola Davis gave us one of the most “OMG WTF just happened” moments of 2014.  Actually, she gave us two or three courtesy of her work on the Shonda Rhimes show How To Get Away With Murder.

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In an unprecedented move, Viola shed her make-up and wig in a pivotal scene that had the world talking.  As usual, Viola brings strength, grace, and an unparalleled sense of humanity to her character Annalise.

 

Nia Long as “Billie Page” on  The Divide

zap-the-divide-season-1-photos-20140715-001The Divide was hands down one of the best shows of the year. Unfortunatly, it was cancelled prematurely.  But we will always have one season of the awesome Nia Long as Billie Page. I love that Nia always brought the drama while playing this strong, intelligent, yet conflicted character balancing work, family, and a little corruption. The show may be gone, but Billie will love on in our hearts forever.

 

Kelly McCreary “Dr. Maggie Pearce” on Grey’s Anatomy

MaggieI have been a fan of Kelly McCreary since I watched her on the short-lived Emily Owens, MD. So I was super excited when she appeared on Scandal and doubly excited when I learned she was joining the cast of Grey’s Anatomy.  As the recently discovered sister, Kelly is bringing new life (and drama) to the long running series.

 

Naturi Naughton as “Tasha St. Patrick” on Power

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Power has to be one of the most underrated shows on television right now.  And Naturi Naughton is bringing it as the wife with her own agenda and goals. I am really impressed with Naturi’s career path.  Her transition from 3LW to serious actress has been great to watch.

 

Gina Rodriguez as “Jane” on Jane the Virgin

1.02lWhen I saw Gina Rodriguez in the indie film, Filly Brown, I knew that sooner or later, the world would know her name.  And I was right.  Although the scenarios on the show can be over-the-top and outrageous (as a good soap should be), never have I doubted Jane’s sincerity or the respect Gina has for the character.

 

Tracee Ellis Ross as “Bow” on black-ish

10218196 We’ve know for a while that Tracee Ellis-Ross excels in comedic roles. So I was overjoyed by her return to television comedy.  This time around we  get to see an older, wiser Tracee as Bow, the matriarch of the Johnson Family on black-ish.  Tracee ‘s hilarious interactions with the kids has her in the race for best TV mom of 2014.

 

Lorraine Toussaint as “Vee” on Orange is the New Black

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Full disclosure: I am obsessed with Lorraine Toussaint. So,  I was more than excited when I found out she was going to be on one of my favorite shows.  And boy did she deliver.  As a fan, I got a see a completely different side of the actress. Lorraine’s portrayal of Vee had me shook. I loved every minute of it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Abby, Jenny, and Mama Mills on Sleepy Hollow

Mills-sisters-forehead-touch-Sleepy-Hollow-2x09-e1416336896862On Sleepy Hollow, the Mills sisters (played by Nicole Beharie and Lyndie Greenwood) personify badassery every single week.  But one of my favorite moments of the season came when we got to meet their mother, played by Aunjanue Ellis.

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I loved the backstory and the chemistry between the three characters.

Who else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of television for 2014?

Seven Sistas of Television, 2013

Khandi Alexander as “Maya Lewis” on  Scandal

RS KAScandal fans have been clamoring to know more about the family of Olivia Pope.  At the end of last season we met her father and this season we got to meet  Mama Pope.  Khandi shines as the mysterious Maya.  A highlight of the season?  Her ode to the walking dead, arm gnawing scene.  THAT took guts.

 

Angela Bassett as “Marie Laveau” on American Horror Story: Coven

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Angela Bassett always delivers, so I wasn’t surprised by how much I enjoy her as the voodoo queen who goes toe-to-toe with witches of the coven.  But I was ultra impressed by her cool, calm, and collected characterization.  Angela’s portrayal of  Marie is totally bad ass.

 

Nicole Beharie as “Lt. Abbie Mills” on  Sleepy Hollow

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I have admired Nicole Beharie for a long time now.  So I was super excited when i heard she was starring in her own show.  What makes it even better is that it’s a sci-fi series, a genre that has long excluded people of color. Abbie Mills is complex,   funny,  and kick-ass. Nicole totally rocks as Abbie.

 

Kylie Bunbury as “Lacey Porter” on Twisted

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I was unfamiliar with Kylie prior to Twisted but she has become on of my faves. As Lacey, a girl torn between her past and present, peer pressure and what she thinks is right, Kylie exudes strength and vulnerability in her portrayal.

 

Tia Mowry-Hardrict as “Stephanie” on Instant Mom

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I was so happy when I found out Tia was returning to television.  And Instant Mom is the perfect vehicle for her.  She get’s to flex her comedic chops as the young step-mother of the three kids. Tia really shines in comedy and has found her niche on the show

 

 

Sherri Saum as ‘Lena Adams” on The Fosters

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Sherri got her start on the soap operas Sunset Beach and One Life to Live, so she is no stranger to drama.  On The Fosters Sherri  has opportunity to explore the ins and outs of a same sex relationship ass one-half of a couple with three children and two foster children.  As Lena, we see Sherri’s altruistic and soft-hearted side (quite a contrast to Keri Reynolds on OLTL).

 

Gabourey Sidibe “Queenie” on American Horror Story: Coven

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Gabourey is one of my faves.  I have loved her in almost every role she has been in since Precious.  As Queenie she holds her own against a racist maid and her fellow witches in the coven and  she has definitely gotten to do some wild and crazy things this season, namely Minotaur sex.  I just hope that Queenie survives this latest trauma and returns for the second half of the season

 

Who else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of television for 2013?

Seven Sistas of Film, 2013

2013 has been an amazing year for film.  And theses women have given us some amazing, fun, heartbreaking, and memorable performances. These performances run the gamut in terms of genre. Below are my seven favorite sistas of 2013.  Enjoy!

 

Essence Atkins as “Kisha” in A Haunted House

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I have been a fan of  Essence Atkins since she was a teen on the sitcom Smart Guy.  And I LOVED her as little Dee Dee on the cancelled- too- soon series  Half and Half.  So I knew that she had comedic chops.  But it takes a true comedic talent to hold their old against one of the Wayans and Essence does JUST that. She was definitely one of the highlights of the film.

 

Halle Berry as “Jordan” in  The Call

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In the film Halle plays a Los Angeles 911-operator who is traumatized and guilt ridden after she makes a fatal mistake during a call. Six months later she receives a similar call and is determined not to make the same mistake. Halle gives a solid and compelling performance.. She excels as a woman on the verge of losing it.  She shines in the role and handles it with the necessary restraint and emotion.

 

Monica Calhoun as “Mia” in The Best Man Holiday

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It’s hard to stand out in an ensemble cast. But Monica Calhoun manages to do just that in the highly anticipated sequel to 1999’s The Best Man.  This time around Mia is happily married to Lance and the mother of four children.  She gathers the gang back together for a Christmas celebration at her palatial home.  Mia and her situation serves as the catalyst that brings the group together. Monica’s performance is subtle, emotional, and tugs on the heart strings.

 

Danai Gurira as “Adenike” in Mother of George

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I was pleasantly surprised by Danai Gurira’s performance as Adenike. She immersed herself in the character.  Danai’s portrayal of a women torn between traditional Nigerian customs and American culture, being a devoted wife and an independent woman  is nuanced.  She displays a level of vulnerability and  depth that allows you to feel every emotion she goes through.

 

Deborah Mailman  as “Gail” in The Sapphires

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The Sapphires tackles issues of race, the Stolen Generation of Australia, and  family. The film is based on the real life story of a group of Aboriginal women who are discovered at a talent showcase and transformed into a soulful group who travel to sing for the American troops.  As the eldest sister in singing quartet, Deborah Mailman portrays Gail with equal parts protective love and  sarcastic wit. Her performance is quite impressive.

 

Lupita Nyong’o as “Patsy” in 12 Years a Slave

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I was completely moved by Lupita Nyong’o’s performance in 12 Years A Slave.  While Chiwetel Ejiofor is the heart of the film, Lupita’s Patsy is the soul.  Her performance is heartbreaking and soul stirring.  In the pivitol scene where Patsy endures a rather excessive punishment, your heart literally stops in the moment.  Lupita’s strength and courage as an actress is compelling and captivating. She humanizes Patsy in a way that is palpable.

 

Oprah Winfrey as “Gloria” in The Butler

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Oprah Winfrey only appears on screen every blue moon and when she does it is a treat.  Her performance in The Butler is no exception. As the alcoholic wife of the the butler, Oprah paints a  multi-layered portrait of a woman who wants to support her husband but has her own issues to work through as well.

 

What else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of cinema for 2013?

Seven Sistas of 2012: Television

2012 has been a good year for women of color on television.  Although we still have a long way to go until seeing a black woman anchor a show as commonplace, this year was historic in that we saw the first African-American woman lead a network dramatic series in over 30 years.  And several other sistas of television have given us some amazing and memorable performances as well. Below are my favorite Seven Sistas of 2012.  Enjoy!

1. Loretta Devine as “Adele” on Grey’s Anatomy

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This year, Lorretta gave an emotional performance as Adele Webber, the wife of former Chief Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy. The Emmy winner blew me away as her character battled dementia, forgot her husband, and found new love in a heartbreaking turn of events.

 

2. Danai Gurira  as “Michonne” on The Walking Dead

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Dania plays the mysterious Michonne on the wildly popular series, The Walking Dead. As a fan of the show, it is refreshing to see a woman of color be her own hero and save some other folks as well.  I can not wait to see how her character continues to develop…if the zombies don’t get her :-).

 

3. Jerrika Hinton as “Dr. Stephanie Edwards” on Grey’s Anatomy

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I first saw Jerrika on Scandal as the medical examiner who shared a cute scene with Harrison (played by Columbus Short).  So I was really excited to find out that she was joining Grey’s Anatomy this season. I love that her character is somewhat of a Yang 2.0.  But I also like that we have recently seen her show a more vulnerable side.

 

4. Samantha Logan as “Nona Clark” 666 Park Avenue

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Despite being one of my favorite new shows, 666 Park Avenue has been cancelled.  This is really upsetting because I loved the character of Nona, played by Samantha Logan. She did a great job portraying the the teen clairvoyant/kleptomaniac whose family has an unknown connection to The Drake.  I was looking forward to learning more about the character and seeing Samantha’s work.

 

5. Toks Olagundoye  as  “Jackie Joyner-Kersee” on The Neighbors

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I had MAJOR doubts about The Neighbors when I heard the premise: a family moves into a neighborhood of aliens.  But the show is actually funny and Toks Ologundoye is a major factor in the success of the show.  As the matriarch of the head alien family, the Jackie character could be read as corny.  But Toks injects her with a dose of lovable quirkiness that makes the character endearing.

 

6. Retta as “Donna Meagle” on Parks and Recreation

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Parks and Recreation is one of my favorite shows on television and Retta is one of the reasons why.  She is hilarious as Donna.  I love everything about this character and her portrayer.  I adore that she is so witty, I respect her devotion to live-tweeting movies and tv shows, and I love the “Treat Yo Self” movement that she has inspired.

 

7. Kerry Washington as “Olivia Pope” on Scandal

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I fell in love with Scandal and Olivia Pope after the very first episode of the show. Kerry’s weekly performance as the political fixer has been nothing short of amazing to watch.  Aside from portraying one of the most talked about and complex characters on television, Kerry’s talent is indisputable. She can evoke more emotion with her eyes than most could ever dream of.

 

Honorable Mention

Aunjanue Ellis as “Ann Pettaway” in Abducted: The Carlina White Story

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The highly underrated Aunjanue Ellis did the seemingly impossible by taking a character deemed despicable by many and transforming her into a woman, desperate to be a mother who makes a terribly mistake.  Aunjanue’s portrayal of Ann made me feel sorry for the misguided woman, but never see her as a full on villain.  That’s talent.

 

What else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of television for 2012?

 

 

 

 

Seven Sistas of 2012: Film

2012 has been a pretty good year for film.  And the sistas of cinema have given us some amazing and memorable performances. Below are my favorite Seven Sistas of 2012.  Enjoy!

 

1.  Emayatzy Corninealdi as “Ruby” in Middle of Nowhere:

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Emayatzy Corinealdi can tell a story with her eyes.  As Ruby, a woman who puts her dreams on hold to support her husband who is incarcerated, she brings hope to a character in a seemingly impossible situation. Emayatzy’s performance is moving, understated, but extremely powerful.

 

2.  Carmen Ejogo as “Sister” in Sparkle:

Sister (Carmen Ejogo) in TriStar Pictures' SPARKLE.

The movie was called Sparkle, but Carmen Ejogo shined the brightest in this remake of the 1976 classic film.  As Tammy aka “Sister” Carmen’s performance was astounding as she portrayed Sister  as both sultry and seductive yet vulnerable and mature and completely captivating.

 

3.  Rashida Jones as “Celeste” in Celeste and Jesse Forever:

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I was so excited when I found out that Rashida Jones would be tackling her first starring role in the film Celeste and Jesse Forever. I was doubly excited when I found out that she also co-wrote the film because I think she is a very smart and very funny woman.  What I appreciate most about Rashida’s performance is that she manages to make you root for Celeste despite her many flaws.

 

4.  Sharon Leal as “Kari” in Woman Thou Art Loosed on the Seventh Day:

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Sharon Leal gives a star performance as a seemingly happily married woman whose family is torn apart when her young daughter is kidnapped. Her character is deeply wounded , dealing with the possibility that her fractured past has come back to haunt her in the worst possible way.  Sharon brings her “A” game to the role and despite the character’s questionable actions, you root for her to overcome her demons.

 

5.  Amandla Stenberg as “Rue” in The Hunger Games:

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Who didn’t love the uber adorable Amandla Stenberg as the youngest tribute in the wildly popular adaptation of Suzanne Collin’s book The Hunger Games?  As Rue, Amandla stole the hearts of fellow tribute Katniss and film goers alike. In addition to giving a great performance on-screen, Amandla has proven to be a class act wise beyond her thirteen years.

 

6.  Lorraine Toussaint as “Ruth” in Middle of Nowhere:

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I adore Lorraine Toussaint! Her command performance as Ruth in Middle of Nowhere is pitch perfect. Ruth is a mother who wants the best for her daughters, but laments the choices they have made in life.  Lorraine’s portrayal is brutally honest.  She deserves every accolade she has received for her performance.

 

7. Quvenzhane Wallis as “Hushpuppy” in  Beasts of the Southern Wild:

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“A wonder,” “a dynamite,” and “a revelation” are just a few of the words I’ve heard used to describe Quvenzhane Wallis.  And this super talented little girl and  her performance in the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Beasts of the Southern Wild is all of those and so much more.  Quvenzhane is absolutely enchanting in the heartfelt performance that proves she is talented beyond her years.

 

Honorable Mention:

Whitney Houston as “Emma” in Sparkle:

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Whitney Houston’s role as Emma in Sparklemarked the perfect final act to a career that ended too soon.  I think it is Whitney’s best film performance.  She will be forever missed. Rest in Peace, Whitney.

 

What else gave a memorable performance this year?  Who is your favorite sista of cinema for 2012?

 

 

 

The Seven Sistas of Summer

This summer was HOT! Below are the Seven Sistas of Sumer who gave great reel performances in roles both big and small. The Summer of 2007 was definitely the summer of the sequel. The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Fantastic Four’ series all added new chapters. Remakes, adaptations, and biopics also found a place in the theatres. What they all have in common are quality performances by these reel sistas. Here’s a recap:

Naomie Harris in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End’
This summer, London-born Reel Sista, Naomi Harris reprised the role of “Tia Dalma” in the 3rd installment of the wildly popular Pirates of the Caribbean series.
The film opened at number 1 and dominated the competition. A Cambridge grad, Naomie was trained at the Anna Scher Theatre School in England. Since ‘Pirates’, Naomie has been keeping busy. She has finished shooting and has three films (‘Morris: A Life with Bells On,’ ‘August,’ and ‘The Night Watchman’) in the pipeline for 2008.

Taraji P. Henson in ‘Talk to Me’
Taraji P. Henson has been the girlfriend/baby mama/wife to some of Black Hollywood’s best and brightest. This summer she paired with Oscar nominee Don Cheadle in the biopic ‘Talk to Me.’ This hometown girl and Howard grad played “Vernell Watson,” the fictional girlfriend of the real-life Washington, DC Legend, Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene. Taraji called working with Cheadle “the best experience” of her career. Taraji can next be seen starring opposite Brad Pitt in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.’ In the film, she plays Pitt’s mother and ages from 26 to 70.

Alicia Keys in ‘The Nanny Diaries’
Following her film debut in ‘Smokin’ Aces’ (opposite fellow reel sista, Taraji P. Henson), Alicia Keys went low-key for her second film role. Keys plays “Lynette,” best friend of the nanny, in the film adaptation of best-selling novel, The Nanny Diaries.
Keys received favorable reviews for the role and rumors are circulating that she may be in the running for a coveted role in the highly anticipated ‘Sex and the City’ movie. I, for one, would love to see a sista in the city (I mean, it is NYC, right?). Rock those Manolos Ms. Keys!

This summer Queen Latifah returned to the genre that garnered her critical acclaim and an Oscar nod for 2002’s Chicago. In the musical ‘Hairspray’ Queen (whose real name is Dana Owens) plays “Motormouth Maybelle,” a local television personality who comes face-to-face with the pains of racism in 1960’s Baltimore.
Adapted from the John Water’s cult classic film, which was later adapted for the stage before returning to the big screen, ‘Hairspray” features an all-star cast that includes Michelle Phifer, Christopher Walken and a cross-dressing John Travolta. Queen Latifah can next be seen opposite reel sista Gabrielle Union, Morris Chesnutt and Terrance Howard in the holiday film ‘The Perfect Christmas’ due out later this year. Queen Latifah also serves as producer on the film. All Hail the Queen!

Noemie Lenoir in ‘Rush Hour 3’
Although you may not know her name now, you (or more accurately, your boyfriend or husband) has seen this French model’s face before. Wildly popular in her homeland and seen on the pages of Sports illustrated, Noemie Lenoir has made the transition from model to actress. This summer Noemie starred opposite Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in ‘Rush Hour 3’ as “Genevieve,” a famous singer who holds the key to the mystery.
Discovered at 16, Noemie made her film debut in France before making her American film debut in “After the Sunset” (which also featured reel sista Naomie Harris). Noemie, who once considered a career as a veterinarian, plans to continue modeling and acting.

Wanda Sykes in ‘Evan Almighty’
Simply put, Wanda Sykes is a thief. In ‘Evan Almighty,’ she continually stole the scene. Wanda brought her unique brand of acerbic wit and sarcasm to the role of “Rita.”
She received laughs and praise from the millions who saw the film, including the critics. This Virginia-native can be seen weekly on the CBS comedy, The New Adventures of Old Christine. Wanda also continues to do her comedy thing to sold-out crowds.

Kerry Washington in ‘The Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer’
Every man in Hollywood wants to get next to Kerry Washington. This reel sista of summer has starred opposite two of the last three Academy Award winners for Outstanding Lead Actor (Jamie Foxx in 2004’s ‘Ray’ and Forrest Whitaker in 2006’s ‘The Last King of Scotland’). This summer, the NYC-native reprised her role as the blind artist, Alicia Masters in ‘The Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer.’
Kerry received the role despite the fact that in the comic books, Alicia has blond hair and blue eyes. That’s a REAL superpower!!! Kerry is signed to play Alicia in the third installment of the blockbuster series. Next year Kerry has three movies coming out: ‘Lake Terrace,’ ‘Life is Hot in Cracktown,’ and ‘Bury Me Standing.’

I look forward to seeing all the projects these sistas have in the works.
Keep Shining!