Tag Archives: movie

“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.


Filed under african american, black men, black women, culture, relationships, women

“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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Django Unchained: I’m not interested in any movie where black women are repeatedly raped

I don’t know about you, but a movie featuring mildly thought out black female slave characters who are repeatedly raped at a club for white slave owners is not my idea of a great film.  I don’t want to see a female slave raped in front of her husband.  I don’t want to see her tortured and degraded…or locked in a cage naked.  OH and I’m not too keen about this content combined with a whole lot of other blaxploitation style slave torture (Whippings, beatings, etc).

What am I talking about?  Django Unchained.  The upcoming Quentin Tarantino film set to be released in Dec 2012 that black women need to start protesting now.  I mean really!!  We need to get on this, SIS. (I’m not going to even start on how I’m not for this movie coming out the month after Obama wins…again.  Let’s be real, no black person will want to see this if he loses either.)  Remember when Disney tried to give the first Black Princess the name “Maddy” (Too close to Mammy)?  Yep, WE got that changed and that wasn’t as bad as this.

Some sistas are ready to organize: “If all goes as the leaked script has planned for this “comedy”, audiences will get to see the character “Broomhilda”, an enslaved Black woman, naked for almost her entire time on screen, flashing her breasts on a slave auction block, and graphically raped – repeatedly – throughout the movie, at least 4 or 5 times, by individual and groups of white men. It’s also reported that this character is degraded in other ways throughout the movie, like being doused in mud, locked in a cage, and raped in front of her husband. Supposedly, all in good fun. And judging from Tarantino’s history of extremely graphic and offensive imagery in his past “comedic” works such as “Pulp Fiction”, the imagery used to degrade Black women in this so-called “comedy” will not be lighthearted fare. ” (Stop The Media Smear Campaign Against Black Women)

The script leaked and the reviews are all over the internet from those who have seen it.  Sure, Sure, a script can change and this one should if what I’m reading is correct.  Jamie Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kerry Washington have been named as potential actors interested (Here is a list of the roles in the movie).  I don’t think they would sign on to something as terrible as what I’ve read, but you never know.  The economy is bad.  Hell, Jamie did star in “Booty Call”.  He’s apparently up for the lead role.  Funny thing, people who’ve read the script are saying that the lead is not the “Mandigo”/Nat Turner role people think it’s going to be.  He’s playing second fiddle most of the film to a German bounty hunter who takes him under his wing.  Think of Tommy Lee Jones working with Will Smith’s character in Men in Black…but make Will a slave.  Yeah, something like that.  A slave revolt/retribution movie with a white male lead as the star.  That’s Hollywood.

Shadow and Act says: “I’ve Read Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” Script, And, Well, It’s Not Nat Turner’s Revolt…”

“Speaking of its blaxploitation influences… regarding the lead female character in this, named Broomhilda, Django’s slave wife, whom he’s separated from, and seeks. She’s the lead female in the film, but her part is limited to really just physicalities. She has the most screen time of any other woman in the film, which is why I call her the lead female character, but, really, there’s no Shosanna in this one, as there was in Inglorious Basterds. The black female “lead” here doesn’t get the same kind of dignified treatment that Tarantino gave Shosanna. Not even close. Yes, I know it’s a different time altogether, but, I’m sure he could have afforded Broomhilda some complexities, and maybe even made her a heroine in her own right.

There are some 4 or 5 scenes in which the she’s, shall we say, “exposed”… i.e. naked; and they felt gratuitous to me; 2 in which she’s raped by white men. When we first meet her, she’s on the auction block and asked to bare her breasts to potential buyers; later, she’s chased through a hotel, through hallways, and lobbies, etc, by a slave master, completely naked, after being woken up from sleep, with a whip across her naked body; and still later, she’s locked up naked in a steel box as punishment for trying to run away. Yes, I’m sure these are all scenarios that very well likely could have played out at the time; however, Tarantino could have opted to depict her in another light altogether, but instead chose this less flattering, exploitative one.”

I feel a campaign a-brewing to get the makers of this flick to scrap some of that exploitative sexual violence towards black women.   Oh and I’m sure that people (Spike Lee) will be mad about use of the N-word.  It will be Roots all over again for some of you, since it’s a period piece. If people thought there were a lot of N-words thrown around in “Jackie Brown” or “Pulp Fiction”, they haven’t seen anything yet.

I hope the script is a dry run because the concept his potential.  Hey, I’m up for a slaves vs. masters revenge movie.  Sure Quentin, show or all the brutality and violence.  Put it in people’s faces.  However, historical accuracy doesn’t call for this level of sexual violence against black women.  It’s not funny.  It’s in bad taste.


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What do you think about Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”?

Hi all,

I was so proud to strut out of the theatre rocking my long, natural locs after seeing Chris Rock’s “Good Hair”.  No perm over here, homey!

I’ve seen some reviews from sistas on blogs and all over the net… all largely positive.  I was enlightened by the information on how the chemicals in relaxer really work (that chicken example cured me from ever wanting the “creamy crack on my head AGAIN!!!) and the info on where weave really comes from.  It made me wonder if some of the women I know (who are very picky and won’t even eat the potato salad at a picnic if they don’t know who made it) will be weary of wearing hair that might have had “bugs” in it.

Things I loved about it:

  • Derek J – A tiny man in tall heels
  • The scene where the white guy gets botox.  Hilarious!
  • The reactions to Chris selling black hair – I wonder if someone is going to have some angry customers at their weave shop after that??
  • The fact that they didn’t show the hair being washed and chemical treated in India – Um…did they wash and treat it?  I mean he showed Dudley Product’s whole set up…just wondering.
  • Black men talking about how they can’t touch their woman’s hair.
  • Exposing how bad relaxer really is for the skin and hair.
  • Raven Simone – That is a REAL chick, right there!  Someone who you could just hang out with.  I love her!
  • Nia Long needs her own TV show.  She is so funny and real.  Loved her comments.
  • It’s a shame how early some little girls are taught that their hair is “bad”.
  • Where are women getting thousands of dollars to spend on weave?!?!  I never knew it cost so much for good quality “fake” natural hair.

Like many of the reviewers who’ve commented on the movie, I thought there was a lot of information missing regarding the source of self hatred when it comes to beauty in the black community and assimilation to euro standards (Sharpton did break it down, though.  Nicely!).   However, the movie is a winner without that information.  Rock is a commedian, not an activist.  I loved the movie and encourage others to see it.

Did you see the movie?  What are your thoughts on “Good Hair”?

Update: One of my black young female co-workers and a white older female co-worker were talking about the movie a few mins ago.  The younger one said “My boyfriend told me yesterday, “You’re wearing those people’s oppression on your head!”, referring to her weave.  Toooo Funny!  Although, he does kinda have a point.


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Tyler Perry in the new Star Trek movie

No he’s not wearing a dress.  Yes, Tyler Perry is in the new Star Trek movie.  I won’t spoil it for you by giving you the details of his cameo.  I know that some black folks who would have just waited on the bootleg may be motivated to see what is supposed to be a really good movie because their favorite cross dressing actor is in it.  I say “cross dressing” with all the love I can muster. :) Come on, you know you love Madea.

On his blog Perry advises: “Don’t blink because you’ll miss me. Seriously, if you have to go to the bathroom forget about it. You’ll really miss me. So hold it … LOL.”

Star Trek always had a diverse cast so I was expecting all kinds of lil cameos and what not.  Real cute…good job.

I would love to see Madea in a Star Trek parody movie.  Tyler and Seth McFarlane should get together with the Wayans brothers and do one.  That would be one heck of a script.  That’s for sure.  Let Madea be the queen of the Klingons.  lol


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For all my adult swim lovers…

I know this is way off topic, but I have to post this…hilarious!!!

LMAO!! I can’t breathe!


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Katrina Film Faces Racism at Sundance Film Festival

The Defamer is reporting that racism has reared it’s head at Sundance. This year’s award-winning (but undistributed) documentary Trouble the Water — about the odyssey of African-American survivors of Hurricane Katrina — might be off buyers’ radar because its “too black”. In the film an aspiring rap artist and her streetwise husband, armed with a video camera, show what survival is all about when they are trapped in New Orleans by deadly floodwaters, and seize a chance for a new beginning.

Eugene Hernandez (indieWIRE) relays an anecdote

“”Why aren’t more white people in the film?,” an exec apparently asked back in Park City. I’ve heard similar versions of this story from a few different people connected to the movie.”

“But, those involved with the film have hesitated to say much more about the film’s distribution prospects. After Sunday’s New Directors/New Films screening [in New York], filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal told me that they are hoping for a late summer release of their film, while another insider specified that an August opening is to be expected.”

Sources close to Water tell The Defamer that a primary sticking point for buyers is the producers’ grassroots marketing plan, which, like Wedding‘s, could take months to build in African-American communities across the country. (It’s worth noting that this is proven experience they have as former associates of Michael Moore.)

If we African-Americans can get behind Tyler Perry and some of the neo “shucking and jiving” we’ve seen on big and small screen lately, we can support this film too.

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New Ben Stiller comedy, featuring a black Robert Downey, Jr?

Who’s that man between Jack Black and Ben Stiller in this scene from the upcoming comedy? (Hint: he’s famous…and white)

TROPIC THUNDER How did people react at a test screening to Downey‘s character? ”It seems people really embrace it,” says Stiller Merie Weismiller Wallace
If you don’t recognize that African-American actor standing between Jack Black and Ben Stiller, there’s a good reason: He’s white. In Tropic Thunder, an epic action comedy co-written and directed by Stiller, Robert Downey Jr. plays Kirk Lazarus, a very serious Oscar-winning actor cast in the most expensive Vietnam War film ever. Problem is, Lazarus’s character, Sgt. Osiris, was originally written as black. So Lazarus decides to dye his skin and play Osiris, um, authentically. Funny? Sure. Dangerous? That’s an understatement. ”If it’s done right, it could be the type of role you called Peter Sellers to do 35 years ago,” Downey says. ”If you don’t do it right, we’re going to hell.”The film marks Stiller’s first directing effort since 2001’s Zoolander. With Thunder (opening Aug. 15), he takes aim at the sweetest target of all: actors. Downey plays one of a team of self-indulgent stars cast in the modern equivalent of Apocalypse Now. Stiller plays an action hero who has just adopted a baby from Asia but worries that ”all the good ones are gone.” Black portrays a comedian known for performing multiple roles in a single film — his latest is called The Fatties: Fart 2. But when the film’s director (Steve Coogan) and writer (Nick Nolte) get fed up with their prima donna cast, they drop them into the jungle to fend for themselves. The actors think they’re doing some sort of full-immersion filmmaking, but the danger they’re in is very real.Stiller got the idea for Thunder more than 20 years ago while shooting a small part in Steven Spielberg’s WWII drama Empire of the Sun. He’s continued to develop the script as his own star has risen, which makes taking on his brethren all the richer — watch for cameos from Tom Cruise and Tobey Maguire — and all the more perilous. For starters, Hollywood satires have a rocky box office record. And then there’s that little issue of a white guy playing a black guy. Stiller says that he and Downey always stayed focused on the fact that they were skewering insufferable actors, not African-Americans. ”I was trying to push it as far as you can within reality,” Stiller explains. ”I had no idea how people would respond to it.” He recently screened a rough cut of the film and it scored high with African-Americans. He was relieved at the reaction. ”It seems people really embrace it,” he says.Paramount is hoping so: The studio plans to debut the trailer online March 17, and Downey is all over it. (In one scene, he tries to bond with a real African-American castmate by quoting the theme song from The Jeffersons.) Downey, meanwhile, is confident he never crossed the line. ”At the end of the day, it’s always about how well you commit to the character,” he says. ”I dove in with both feet. If I didn’t feel it was morally sound, or that it would be easily misinterpreted that I’m just C. Thomas Howell in [Soul Man], I would’ve stayed home.”
Based on the pictue, I never would have guessed that he wasn’t really black… I can’t believe that’s Robert Downey, Jr.


Filed under black man, blackface, celebrity, hair, media, news, race, white folks

Another Movie for Beyonce

Etta James was a pleasantly plump woman in her heyday (she’s currently slim), is Bey going to get to let her “natural weight” shine and hips get bigger for this movie? I’ve always said that in her heart (and from the size of her knees…she’s got big girl knees.)  Beyonce will always be a classic “cute in the face, small in the waist” and huge in the hips and butt kind of chick.

While speaking to Cedric the Entertainer on his latest film, ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins’, he mentioned to blackfilm.com that Beyonce has been cast to play famed singer Etta James on his next film, ‘Cadillac Records’.  The story is about Leonard Chess, the legendary founder of the South Side Chicago blues label Chess Records. The period piece follows the rise and fall of Chess Records, which launched the careers of such R&B greats as Muddy Waters, Etta James and Chuck Berry. – BlackVoices

Adrien Brody will be playing Chess.

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The Great Debaters: Loved it, but they debated USC not Harvard

I loved “The Great Debaters”!  I saw it on Sunday and I think it’s something that the African American community should be excited about.  It’s a must see, especially for young people.  Take your children.  Take your family.  Discuss, discuss, discuss.  We need more movies like “The Great Debaters”!  Kudos to Oprah and Denzel…and all the actors too.  Especially that young man that played Mr. Lowe…good grief he is fine.  Denzel, you’re fine but you’re getting old.  Pass the torch to that young man, please.  Give him your mantle…your anointing…I think he can manage it.  LOL

My only issue with the movie was that Wiley College didn’t debate Harvard…they debated USC.  I heard this from a friend and went online to research…lots of people are buzzing about it…especially black news sites.

As part of their tour, Wiley College’s debate team defeated the reigning champions—not Harvard as in the movie, but the University of Southern California’s team—on the USC campus in Bovard auditorium. Denzel Washington is quoted in the Harvard Crimson as explaining that the site of the debate in the film was moved from USC to Harvard “because Harvard is the gold standard.”

In addition, according to the New York Times the “film omits one reality: even though they beat the reigning champions, the Great Debaters were not allowed to call themselves victors because they were not truly considered to belong to the debate society; blacks were not admitted until after World War II. The movie also explores the social milieu of the American South during the Great Depression including not only the day to day insults and slights African Americans had to endure, but also a lynching. James L. Farmer, Jr. , who was on Wileys’ debate team at 14 years old after completing high school (and who would later go on to co-found the Congress of Racial Equality) is also depicted. According to the Houston Chronicle, another character depicted on the team, Samantha Booke, is based on the real individual Henrietta Bell, “the only female member of the 1930 debate team from Wiley College who participated in the first collegiate interracial debate in the United States.” Also, according to the Marshall News Messenger, “there is no evidence that a debate with Harvard ever happened…. the debate Bell remembers was probably with Oxford University of England.” – Wikipedia

Reading the Wiki entry I found out that Denzel is giving Wiley College 1 million dollars so they can re-establish their debate team.  Awww, fine and a nice guy too!  That Denzel…so sexy.


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