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:

Beyonce’s LEMONADE and the Black Feminist Film (Cinema In Noir)

LEMONADE, Beyonce’s recently released visual album and film almost broke the internet when it debuted on HBO on August 23. On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I discussed LEMONADE,  it’s representations of black feminism, artistic celebrations of black women, and of course Becky with the good hair.  We also discussed other films and television shows that exemplify the black feminist tradition that LEMONADE follows (Eve’s Bayou, Something New, Living Single). Lemonade

May is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To commemorate the month, we discussed cinematic representations of illness and grief.  One of my faves is Ava DuVernay’s I WILL FOLLOW.  The film is an excellent meditation on grief for those left after someone passes. I highly recommend it. lemonade and grief

We also discussed one filmmaker in particular who seems to continuously miss the mark (#TylerPerryMovieCancer)

Also, in addition to the lastest film news, we discussed the recently released trailer to SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU, the film that reimagines Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date in Chicago back in 1989.  The film, which is directed by Richard Tanne, stars my fave Tika Sumpter and newcomer Parker Sawyers and is produced by John Legend. I  am SO excited about this film.  It got solid reviews at Sundance this year and I look forward to seeing the story on the big screen.  To quote my co-host Candice, SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU could be the blerd romance we’ve been waiting for.”  You  can check out the trailer here:

In case you missed the podcast, you can listen here:

Need to catch up on other episodes of Cinema in Noir? Catch up here, here, and here.

#ICYMI – CONFIMRATION and Whitewashing in GHOST IN THE SHELL (#CinNoir Chat)

During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-hosts ad I reviewed and discussed several new releases. Among them was the HBO film Confirmation, based on the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Confirmation hearing and the sexual harassment allegations that followed. The film starred Wendell Pierce as Thomas and my fave Kerry Washington as Anita Hill.

Confirmation

We also chatted about the whitewashing controversy surrounding the upcoming film Ghosts in the Shell as well as Islamaphobia in film and television.

In case you missed it, here is the recap:

ICYMI – #CinNoir Chat

During the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-hosts and I reviewed and discussed several new releases and premieres. One of my faves was Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill starring the incomparable Audra McDonald.

#CinNoir Chat
My co-host Candice also reviewed  Eclipsed on Broadway starring Lupita Nyong’o and written by Danai Gurira  (You can read her full review here). We also chatted about Billie Woodruff’s The Perfect Match and season 4 of fan favorite House of Cards.

In case you missed it, here is the recap:

Missed our February Chat? Check it out here

A Look Back at SOMETHING NEW

It was Saturday night and I was seated for the 7:00 PM screening at Southpoint Cinema in Durham, NC.  Anticipation does not begin to explain what I was feeling. Something NewA few months earlier while seated for  Pride and Prejudice at the same theater, I watched the trailer of  Something New and was overcome with excitement.  Fast forward two months.  On opening night,  Friday, February 3, 2006, I received two separate calls from friends telling me I HAD to go see the movie. Now this would not have been a miraculous event had it been ANY other two friends, but these two generally agreed on very little. So I was immediately even more psyched to see Something New.

After I saw the movie, it instantly became one of my all time favorites. Aesthetically it is gorgeous. I think director Sanaa Hamri’s background in music video added an extra something to the visuals. And the table scene in the beginning, with the camera circling the table is AWESOME! You feel like you are in the middle of the women’s conversation.

The screenplay is something special. Writer Kriss Turner transforms the basic rom com  into a film that addresses issues of race and class in the context of a romantic relationship.  The premise is simple, but complicated. Sanaa Lathan plays Kenya, a black, professional woman who is very reserved. Brian, played by Simon Baker,  is a white gardener/landscape artist who is a free spirit. She doesn’t do dogs, he owns one. They are complete opposites. Something NEw 3

Something New effectively addresses the issues and adversities that a mixed race couple might face. I loved the “Black Tax” references, although honestly, I had never heard the term before (but was familiar with the concept). One of my favorite scenes occurs in the grocery store where Kenya wants to talk about her hard day and Brian isn’t in the mood for another race chat. The question of right and wrong is never debated, that’s your opinion, but the honest dialogue is refreshing.

something_new06

When Mark (Blair Underwood) enters the picture, he and Kenya look like the perfect couple. He understands her world, moreso than Brian. He is a much better fit, not because he is black, but because he is wealthy, educated and is a member of the  high society community Kenya is accustomed to. But he does not have her heart. And ultimately that’s the only thing that counts.

The only gripe I have about Something New is the limited amount of  screen time dedicated to  Kenya’s girlfriends played by Golden Brooks, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Taraji P. Henson.  Although the opening  table scene was great, I would have liked more interaction with them. However, they did deliver some of the more comedic moments in the film.Something New Women

The flaws in Something New are overshadowed by what works in the film.   As the first major studio film directed, produced (Stephanie Allain), written by and starring women of color, I am proud of Something New. I am inspired by it and the work these amazing women put into making this historic film.  It is the epitome of Black Herstory.

Something New is currently streaming on Netflix.

#OscarsSoWhite + Writer Kirk Moore (#CinNoir Chat)

The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag which was created by April Reign last year resurfaced when the Academy Award nominees were announced and no people of color were nominated in the acting categories. On the latest #CinNoir chat, my co-host and I discussed the hashtag with April and chatted about the Oscar controversy.

#OscarsSoWhite

We also discussed Acedemy president Cheryl Boone Issac’s response to the public outcry for more diversity in the Academy.

PMPWNBAh

We also chatted with Kirk Moore, writer on the hit ABC series American Crime.

In case you missed it, here’s the recap: