Tag Archives: Lena Waithe

#BestOf2017 – Seven Sistas Who Did the DAMN Thing in 2017

2017 has been an interesting year.  Despite the ups and downs, these women have given us some amazing and memorable works of art.  They have changed they way I look at life., given us something to talk about and given us hope for the future of television and film.  So with a few hours to spare, I give you my #BestOf2017 list of seven sistas who did the damn thing in 2017.  Enjoy!

Ava DuVernay, director of Jay-Z’s “Family Feud” videoAva DuVernay ended 2017 on the highest note. She damn near broke the internet when the video she directed for Jay-Z ‘s “Family Feud” dropped.  The video short film features a star-studded lineup and paints an amazing future for America. In 8 minutes Ava built a world where women not only have a seat at the table, they run it. It is EPIC!

Tiffany Haddish as “Dina” in Girls Trip and EVERYWHERE else

2017 belongs to Tiffany Haddish.  From her breakout role in Girls Trip to her historic turn as host of Saturday Night Live, everything she does turns to gold. Additionally, she helmed her first stand-up special, She Ready,  for Showtime and found time to release her book, The Last Black Unicorn.  And she is JUST getting started.  Tiffany’s 2018 is looking bright as well.

Bianca Lawson as “Darla” on Queen SugarSeven Sistas of Television

Bianca Lawson has been killing it onscreen for YEARS.  But playing Darla on Queen Sugar has given her fans a chance to see a different side of her acting talent.  Darla, a  former drug-addicted sex worker is unlike any character we’ve seen on television in the past. Supported by amazing writing, Bianca embodies strength, vulnerability, and hope in her portrayal of Darla.  I can’t wait to see where the story and the character go next.

Stella Meghie, director of Everything, Everything

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Stella Meghie made #BlackWomenDirect headlines in 2017.  She is the only black female director at the helm of a studio-backed film released in 2017. This statistic is even more impactful  because Everything, Everything is only Stella’s second feature film. Boasting an amazing cast that includes Amandla Stenburg and Anika Noni Rose, the film is a charming and delightful story of young love.

Lena Waithe as “Denise”on Master of None and badass Emmy Winner
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Master on None was released this year.  The highlight of the season was “Thanksgiving,” an episode co-written by series regular Lena Waithe.  The episode centers around Denise’s coming out story. Hands down, it is one of the most well-written episodes of television this year.  This sentiment was cosigned by the Academy when the Lena and Dev Patel won the Emmy for Comedy Writing, making her the first black woman to receive the honor. If you missed it, you can check out her AMAZING acceptance speech here.

Susan Kelechi Watson as “Beth Pearson” on This Is Us

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Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC

Susan Kelechi Watson is a joy to watch onscreen. Let’s keep it real. The show is called This is Us, but the “us” we are MOST interested in are Beth and Randall. And to be realer than real, Beth Pearson, played by Susan is the MVP of the Pearson family.  Beth is the voice of reason, the keeper of clarity, and the one that we can ALWAYS count on to keep it real. And we have come to count on Susan to deliver masterful performances each week.  She is us.

DeWanda Wise as “Nola Darling” on She’s Gotta Have It and “Shameeka Campbell” on Shots Fired

DeWanda Wise had an AMAZING 2017. She starred in two critically acclaimed shows, Shots Fired and She’s Gotta Have It.  These characters could not be more different. One is a single mother navigating the grief of losing a child to police violence and the other is a young, sex-positive single girl navigating life in New York.  DeWanda portrays each masterfully, convincingly, and with haunting sense of presence and truth.  She is simply a pleasure to watch.

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?

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.

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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: