Tag Archives: book

“Think Like a Man…”: Are you shocked at the success of this movie?

IF you are shocked at the success of “Think Like a Man“, I have one word for you.  “Boomerang“.

1992 was the year and Boomerang was THE movie.  I love that movie.  I wish they would get the band back together and make a sequel!  Someone please tell Reginald Hudlin that there is money in the air.  And tell Eddie Murphy too…his last few movies have been terrible to so-so.

Wikipedia: Released in the United States on July 1, 1992, Boomerang received mixed reviews from film critics. Nevertheless, the film was a commercial success, ranking as the 18th highest grossing film in North America that year. Boomerang earned over $131 million worldwide during its theatrical run.

There hasn’t been a black relationship movie with that kind of star power behind it in a minute.  Hallie Berry, Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Martin Lawrence, Eartha Kitt…wow.  If you can think of another movie with a majority black cast that can compare, please comment below.

In terms of talent, I’m comparing the 2 casts and overall star power moment in time to moment in time.  The cast of “Boomerang” went on to do a lot of great acting and many were young and full of potential at the time.  I don’t think this is a total apples to apples comparison talent and acting wise.  That being said, I can see many parallels.

The other star power involved is that of Steve Harvey.  Harvey is said to have an audience of about 6 million listeners in more than 60 markets.  With that following and Oprah’s blessing of the book this movie is based on…I’m not surprised that the movie reached #1 and made 33 million.

Sidenote: Yes, yes, I know who Tyler Perry is, but I don’t put his movies in the same category.  Not taking anything away from his success, I think of him as a phenomenal businessman who is very focused on black audiences.  I don’t think he’s trying to put out mainstream movies for mainstream success.   He’s doing what has worked for him for years, just on a huge scale due to his success.

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“The Help”: Is it just me or…

…are black people not feeling this movie trailer?  I’ve witnessed a very conflicted reaction to the trailer of the new movie “The Help” recently, in a movie theater that was filled with black folk.  Conflicted is the best way I can describe the mix of disgust and curiosity.  Am I surprised? No. It’s 2011, but the subject matter and images still sting.  Nothing like a dark-skinned black woman serving white folks in a maids uniform…in a period movie…set in the deep south.  Sigh.  Especially when it centers around a classic white savior character.  Since it takes place during the Civil Rights era, I think the author could have done a better job of developing the black lead character.  However, would Hollywood even make such a movie if it didn’t have a white lead?  I don’t know.

Unlike a lot of people I know, I read the book last year.  I can see how the movie trailer is off-putting without the book as reference.  I had some problems with the book, but overall I thought it was a decent read given the full context of who wrote it and the back story presented.  At times, reading it was heart wrenching for me as a black woman whose family is from Mississippi (mom’s side) and who’s great-grandmother was a maid for several white families.  Parts of the story were plain old scary, as racism sometimes is.

I don’t know for sure how this movie is going to be received by the black community.  I think Michele Wallace’s recent review in Essence is dead on (if they post it to the site, I’ll link to it).  In my opinion, this is not going to be a celebrated movie (like “The Color Purple”), but I’m glad that great actresses like Viola Davis and Cicely Tyson are taking on the roles in this film so that they are played with dignity.

One more point that doesn’t help: A Maid Sees Herself in a Novel, and Objects – Yep, a black maid, named Ablene, that worked for Kathryn Stockett’s older brother is suing her.  Dag! At least name the main black character in your book something other than your brother’s REAL, black maid’s name.  Come on!  To add insult, the woman says that part of the storyline was taken from her life.

NY Times | “Ablene Cooper, a 60-year-old woman who has long worked as a maid here, has filed a lawsuit against Kathryn Stockett, the author of the best-selling novel “The Help,” about black maids working for white families in Jackson in the 1960s.

In the complaint, Ms. Cooper argues that one of the book’s principal characters, Aibileen Clark, is an unpermitted appropriation of her name and image, which she finds emotionally distressing.

It is more complicated than that. For the past dozen years, Ms. Cooper has worked for Ms. Stockett’s older brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Carroll, and still does.

“Ain’t too many Ablenes,” Ms. Cooper said at a law office after a day’s work at the Stocketts, for whom she has helped raise two children. Ms. Cooper also said that she had their support in her legal quest.

“What she did, they said it was wrong,” Ms. Cooper said of the Stocketts, members of a prominent Jackson family. “They came to me and said, ‘Ms. Aibee, we love you, we support you,’ and they told me to do what I got to do.””

Quote from Viola Davis in the August issue of Essence magazine:

”Of course I had trepidations. Why do I have to play the mammy? But what do you do as an actor if one of the most multifaceted and rich roles you’ve ever been given is a maid in 1962 Mississippi? Do you not take the role because you feel like in some ways it’s not a good message to send to Black people? No. The message is the quality of the work. That is the greater message… As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences – experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point.”

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Once Upon a Time, You Were Not White

Once upon a time in America; Italians, Jews, and Irish people were not considered White.  Yes, it’s surprising.  Some people who are classified as White may not consider themselves Caucasian.  Many people consider the concept of race to be an illusion, a construct to be defined and re-defined.  For example, you may consider yourself white until you find out that your great-great-grandfather was a Louisiana born Black Creole who passed for white in the north.

Last night I saw author  and Princeton professor Nell Irvin Painter was on “The Colbert Report” discussing her new book  “The History of White People” [Read some of it for free on Google Books].  She talked about how race is not permanent, how definitions of race are affected by education, class and sex, and the history of the definition of whiteness.  The interview was a lot of fun, but I [like Colbert] had no idea what the book was really about at the end of the segment.  Her interview with NPR provides A LOT more information.

Painter is the author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol (1996) and several other scholarly works on the history of slavery and race relations in America, most recently Creating Black Americans (2006). Her latest selection examines the history of “whiteness” as a racial category and rhetorical weapon: who is considered to be “white,” who is not, what such distinctions mean, and how notions of whiteness have morphed over time in response to shifting demographics, aesthetic tastes, and political exigencies. After a brief look at how the ancients conceptualized the differences between European peoples, Painter focuses primarily on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There, the artistic idealization of beautiful white slaves from the Caucasus combined with German Romantic racial theories and lots of spurious science to construct an ideology of white superiority which, picked up by Ralph Waldo Emerson and other race-obsessed American intellectuals, quickly became an essential component of the nation’s uniquely racialized discourse about who could be considered an American. Presenting vivid psychological portraits of Emerson and dozens of other figures variously famous and obscure, and carefully mapping the links between them, Painter’s narrative succeeds as an engaging and sophisticated intellectual history, as well as an eloquent reminder of the fluidity (and perhaps futility) of racial categories. –Brendan Driscol, Booklist

Video – ColbertNation.com

Here is part of an awesome documentary that aired some years ago on PBS that deals in detail with the evolution of race

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Sen. Reid’s remarks: light-skinned with no Negro dialect

Negro dialect?  Really Senator Harry Reid?  Just because you mean well doesn’t mean your comments were not racially insensitive.  If you’re dark-skinned with a negro dialect…guess you’ll never be elected.  Bright=right, huh?

Democrats continue to close ranks behind Sen. Reid after the book “Game Change” revealed that he made comments suggesting that Barack Obama could become the first African-American president because he was “light-skinned” and because he did not speak with a “Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”  Reid has apologized, but the right is milking this situation for all it’s worth and calling for him to step down.

In this situation I feel that what is said has been said and there is no good excuse.  There is a lot wrong with Reid’s remarks.  Blacks shouldn’t give him a pass, and Democrats shouldn’t either.  He shouldn’t the spokesperson for the Dems, anymore than Trent Lott should be the spokesperson for Republicans.  If he going to see any real repercussions? Perhaps when he’s up for re-election.

We should hold politicians to a higher standard and sometimes you don’t get a second chance after you put your foot in your mouth.  Joe Biden is the exception to that rule, the Dems can’t afford to have more than one loud mouth who doesn’t think before he speaks.  That’s what the Republicans and Fox news are for.

The NY Times makes some great points:

Supporters of Mr. Reid said the Reid and Lott situations were also different because of what they say is Mr. Reid’s unimpeachable record on civil rights. They mentioned Mr. Reid’s support from black leaders across the country as well as his efforts to integrate the Las Vegas strip and Nevada’s gambling industry. Mr. Lott’s record was more mixed, and included, among things, his previous opposition to making the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday and his vote against the Voting Right Act as a member of Congress.

“They are not in the least bit comparable,” said Lani Guinier, the Harvard Law School professor whose nomination as assistant attorney general for civil rights in 1993 was pummeled by conservative groups and eventually withdrawn by President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Lott’s remarks, Ms. Guinier said, seemed to be expressing nostalgia for the segregationist platform of Mr. Thurmond’s 1948 presidential campaign, while Mr. Reid comments seemed to be addressing “an unfortunate truth about the present.” That truth, she said, is that Mr. Obama would have had a more difficult time getting elected if his skin were darker and if he spoke in a dialect more identifiable as “black.”

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Clark Gable gave a damn about racism on the set of Gone With the Wind

Clark Gable almost stalked off the set of “Gone With the Wind” when he discovered studio bathrooms were designated “White” and “Colored.”

In an excerpt published by the New York Post of “Victor Fleming,” a biography about the film’s director, writer Michael Sragow says Gable “got on the phone to Fleming, who called the prop master and told him, ‘If you don’t get those signs down, you won’t get your Rhett Butler.’ ”

The signs were taken down immediately.

“Victor Fleming” hits shelves in December.

source

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Duke Lacrosse Rape Scandal Accuser to Write Book

When I saw the headline something just told me that the media is going to drag her through the mud…for the second time. I hope Obiden doesn’t comment on this, but you know some dumb reporter is going to ask their opinions.  Sigh…Anyway. As you can imagine there are a lot of different takes on this possible book already. Here we go…

Since three former Duke Lacrosse players were declared innocent of rape and assault charges, the alleged victim in the highly publicized Duke Lacrosse case has remained out of public view until now. In a press release, Crystal Mangum’s manager has announced plans to release a tell-all memoir entitled “The Last Dance for Grace: The Crystal Mangum Story.”"

BET NEWS“”It is “the only definitive account of the life and struggles of the woman at the center of the Duke Lacrosse case, the alleged accuser,” said Clark, who is also Mangum’s manager, in a news release. “Were it not for the Duke Lacrosse Case, she likely would be described as a bright, young woman from Durham, North Carolina, who has had a difficult life.” He said that the alleged victim plans to donate $1 from each book she sells to help battered women.”

The Duke Lacrosse Rape Accuser Memoir That Nobody Asked For – “So, remember that Duke University lacrosse rape case? Remember how they were cleared of all charges and the only reason it really got any traction was because a politically ambitious district attorney forced the issue? Yes, that case. No, Duke lacrosse players didn’t forcibly tag team a stripper they hired. But the aforementioned stripper, who made the accusations on three men who were indicted then ultimately cleared, remember her? Well, she’s writing a book about it. In what will make Miley Cyrus’s upcoming memoir look like The Audacity Of Hope, get ready for…”

Fox News – “The press release for the memoir says that Crystal Gail Mangum has been “called an exotic dancer and a prostitute, and the public was led to believe she wanted to frame some ‘good college students’ from Duke and put them in jail. … “Published reports throughout 2006 and 2007 portrayed Crystal as a gold-digging hooker searching for a big payday or as an unstable, troubled young woman. The truth about Crystal’s life, her account of what happened on March 13, 2006, accusations and the motives of the people criticizing her were never seriously explored,” the release continues.”

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Scott McClellan “hating on” Bush in his new book

LOL, I just love it when people act like they had nothing to do with a terrible situation when they were right in the midst of of. Scott…you were one of the main talking heads…the HEAD talking head when it came to the media. Now…years later you want to tell the truth? Well…thanks buddy! Thanks for lying to us and then writing about it. $$$ellout. Are you donating any of your book sales to veterans of the Iraq war?

Note to all you Politicos: Don’t tell the truth on the backend, be a whistle blower and help your fellow Americans. I’m sorry but blaming Bush is like blaming a 5 year old who’s mom dresses him funny. Sure he might want to wear that red and white stripped long sleeve shirt and pea green and orange pants, but mom and dad are supposed to bring guidance and direction. It’s a team effort.

Steve Holland / Reuters WASHINGTON – Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan charges in an explosive new book that President George W. Bush shaded the truth and manipulated public opinion to make the case for the “unnecessary” Iraq war.

McClellan, the first Bush insider to write a book criticizing his former boss and fellow Texan, drew instant condemnations on Wednesday from former White House colleagues who wondered why he stayed on the job.

“If he thinks he’s going to ingratiate himself to his critics, he’s sorely mistaken, and unfortunately, the only friends he had, he just lost,” said Dan Bartlett, who served as White House counselor.

McClellan, in “What Happened — Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” presents himself as a one-time true Bush believer who mistakenly fell in line behind “the campaign to sell the war” in Iraq.

McClellan, who had argued strenuously from the White House podium on why the war was justified, wrote that the decision to go to war in Iraq was a “fateful misstep.”

“What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary,” he said.

McClellan called Bush “a man of personal charm, wit, and enormous political skill,” and “plenty smart enough to be president,” while sprinkling criticism of him throughout the 341-page book. Continue reading

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White Woman’s Gang Life Memoir is a FAKE

Margaret Jones wrote about being a half-white, half-native American foster child growing up with black family South LA in her acclaimed memoir “Love and Consequences”. Now she’s been outed as a fake.  She’s really Margaret Seltzer, a private school white girl from Sherman Oaks, CA.  The L.A Times reported that in her deception, she went as far as to gave broadcast interviews about her book voicing a fake tough-girl cadences.  I was browsing through this book on Friday waiting for a friend at Union Station. I thought the cover was sorta OFF (looks like a black grandma with a light-skined black girl).  I did think it might be an interesting read…in paperback. LOL

I love what she admitted to the NY Times
“For whatever reason, I was really torn and I thought it was my opportunity to put a voice to people who people don’t listen to,” Ms. Seltzer said. “I was in a position where at one point people said you should speak for us because nobody else is going to let us in to talk. Maybe it’s an ego thing — I don’t know. I just felt that there was good that I could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it.”  Oh the great white saviors of the world!  What would we poor colored folk do without them??

Read all about it…


LAist

Memoir ‘Love and Consequences’ Revealed as Fiction

Entertainment Weekly - 12 hours ago
Margaret B. Jones admits tale about growing up as a drug dealer in South Central LA is pure fiction (THE NEW YORK TIMES) — The book Love and Consequences,
Fake memoir not going to change book business CNN International
Author Admits Gang Memoir Was Fabricated NPR

The New York Times reports…

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I Love Black Hair Shows…and so does my coffee table

hair wars bookI love black hair shows for the drama, the styles, and of course the half naked muscle bound men that delight a crowd of women and gay men.  There is nothing like it.

Photographer David Yellen (Time, Life and People) and writer Johanna Lenander (I.D., Surface and The New York Times’ T) explore the jaw-dropping outrageousness and artistic coiffures from African-American hair trade shows in a new book called Hair WarsYou can get it on Amazon.com

We have one of the greatest shows here in DC, The Golden Scissor Awards.  I just love it.  I’ve also been watching a reality show on BET J called Tears, Shears, and Beauty about contestants in this year’s Bonner Brothers show in the ATL.  People use everything from glitter, bibles, fishbowls, and of course tons and tons of fake hair.  It’s an art form that is uniquely African-American.  Here are some examples…

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Juanita Bynum’s ex-husband has a new TELL ALL Book

Oh Lord, it was bound to happen. Bishop Thomas Weeks III (You can hear the interview he had recently with Tom Joyner on his site) has written a tell all book, What Love Taught Me – View the chapter list, sample info, and details at whatlovetaughtme.com. I smell a best seller…hey, Tyler Perry should by the movie rights NOW!! Today. Is it just me or did he write that book really really quick?

Can someone say…”The white usher gloves are off!“?? It’s on!

what love taught me
The site says that the book, “Uncovers the truth about the internet media driven controversy that has created the most talked about “dual religious and secular” public display in this modern day era of the worldwideweb community.” Ummm….Negro, Please…get over yourself. Continue reading

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