Tag Archives: Jurnee Smollett

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?


Cinema in Noir – The Problem with Tyler Perry (or rather HIS problem) & Remembering Roger Ebert.

Today Cinema in Noir returned from spring break with a spirited and lively show.  First, we deciding to join in the ongoing conversation regarding Tyler Perry’s latest film Temptation, starring Jurnee Smollett and Lance Gross. While some die-hard Perry loyalist are raving about the film and it’s “important message” others are critical of his characterizations of women, his ideas of rape, and his use of HIV/AIDS as punishment in his movies. You can probably guess which side of the debate with fall on.

Lance Gross and Jurnee Smollett

This week the film community lost one of it’s legendary figures with the passing of Roger Ebert.  On today’s podcast, we discuss his influence on film, his dedication to black film in particular and remember his lasting legacy.

"Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you."
“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”

In addition to this weeks film and casting news, our friend Tim Gordon aka Film Gordon of Keeping it Reel called in to RAVE about the documentary Free Angela which is directed by Shola Lynch and co-produced by Jada Pinkett Smith. My co-host Rebecca was equally impressed by 42, the story of Jackie Robinson which opens on Friday.


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Casting “Steel Magnolias”

It was reported this week that “Steel Magnolia” is the latest film getting the remake treatment. It was announced that Lifetime will be producing an all-black version of the 1989 classic that starred a young Julia Roberts.

As reported by Deadline.com, director Kenny Leon has signed on to direct the movie.
I must admit, I am a little over all the remakes. But this is one that really caught my attention. I loved the original film. And I think that Lifetime has really stepped up its game in the movie department. I am very interested in seeing how the made for TV version of Steel Magnolias will be cast. So in the spirit of southern hospitality, I have decided to help the folks at Lifetime out by giving them some of my suggestions. So I hope you’re listening Lifetime.M’Lynn Eatenton : Sally Field’s unforgettable portrayal of M’Lynn, the heart of the group will be hard to top. The actress who gets the role needs to possess the matriarchal strength to anchor that cast, but also a flair of southern charm. I’m sure that many will automatically go to Angela Basset for the role, but I believe that Lynn Whitfied is the way to go. In my opinion, the Louisiana native is one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood. I believe this role could be a great opportunity for Whitfield to play opposite the snobby socialite that she does so well.

Shelby Eatenton Latcherie: Julia Roberts, in one of her early movie roles, stole our hearts as Shelby. Roberts was even nominated for her first Oscar for her portrayal. So needless to say, the actress who wins this role has some pretty big shoes to fill. I know that Jurnee Smollet would be amazing as Shelby. She embodies the tough as nails spirit of Shelby but also the endearing vulnerability that made us
fall in love with the character.

Truvy Jones: The always over the top Dolly Parton played Truvy, the owner of the hair salon that serves as a gathering place for the women. My first and only choice is Loretta Devine. No explanation necessary.

Annelle Dupuy Desoto: Casting the role of Annelle was the most difficult for me. Darryl Hannah shined as the plain Jane who blossomed during her journey. The actress who takes on the role has to be a chameleon. So after much thought, I think that Joy Bryant is my Annelle.

Ouiser Boudreaux: I think Viola Davis would be stellar as the caustic, seemingly bitter, but lovabale and endearing widow Ouiser. The role was originated by the incomparable Shirley MacLaine. I would love to see Davis deliver some of the hilarious one liners courtesy of Ouiser. In addition to playing the role to perfection, I also think Davis would make an excellent foil for the actress I think should play Clairee.
Clairee Belcher: Phylicia Rashad is my first choice, hands down. Like Olympia Dukakis who originated the role in the film, Rashard has a vibrant personality that shines on camera. She also has worked with director Kenny Leon before, when he directed her in the television adaptation of A Raisin In The Sun.

Below is the trailer from the original 1989 movie. Check it out: