All Articles Tagged "Alfre Woodard"
From The Grio
Numerous black actors have played the president of the United States over the years on film and television, including Morgan Freeman, Dennis Haysbert, Richard Pryor and Jamie Foxx. But with a new pilot called State of Affairs, NBC is offering up the first black woman POTUS.
Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actress Alfre Woodward will play President Roberta Payton in the drama that is being billed as a cross betweenScandal and The West Wing. Woodard is joined by Katherine Heigl, whose character is a CIA operative who does daily debriefings with the president. Heigl’s character is also the ex-girlfriend of President Payton’s late son.
No further details about the pilot are available, but just the fact that a major network’s drama will star a black woman as the leader of the free world is a significant milestone in how black women are depicted in pop culture.
Scandal, flaws and all, was met with much fanfare when it debuted in 2012 partly because Kerry Washington’s power-wielding, smartly dressed lead character was a welcomed departure from prevailing depictions of black women in popular reality television and Tyler Perry creations. The show has since gone on to receive Emmy nominations, countless magazine spreads for its star and the social media buzz for Scandal is unmatched.
So, it’s not shocking that NBC has a pilot in the works that it is billing as a Scandal/West Wing hybrid. Political dramas have a proven track record in primetime television and Scandal’s ratings success with a black woman lead shows that America is ready to see powerful black women in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
One consistent criticism of Scandal concerns the main character Olivia Pope’s love life. She might be able to handle any sticky situation that is presented to her at work, but Pope basically melts into romantic-hyperbole-blubbering butter as soon as her married lover is in her vicinity.
If the State of Affairs pilot is picked up, it will be interesting to see how President Payton’s love life is written. Is she a widow? If she has a husband, what is his race? Is she faithful? Often times, fictional presidents are presented as having complicated love lives, but for a black woman in that position, could she afford to have such messiness?
I’m thinking that the title State of Affairs is a bit of a play on words and the show will likely feature plenty of extramarital flings. With Woodard and Heigl as the named leads, the show appears to be following the Scandal (Shonda Rhimes) formula of having a diverse cast. This would be a win-win for the network.
Read more about Alfre Woodard’s new role at TheGrio.com
Alfre Woodard has snagged her next major role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “12 Years A Slave” actress has been cast to star in NBC’s new pilot drama, “State of Affairs”.
In the pilot, which has been described as “Scandal” meets “West Wing,” Woodard will be playing the role of President Roberta Payton, who enlists a CIA agent Whitney Tucker (played by Katherine Heigl), to counsel her daily on incidents occurring around the world and target America’s most pressing threats. Interestingly, Whitney also happens to be the ex-girlfriend of Roberta’s deceased son.
The script for the drama filled pilot will be written by Alexi Hawley and Joe Carnahan. Hawley will also executive produce the show along with Heigl and her mother-manager Nancy Heigl, Bob Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Julia Franz and Rodney Faraon.
Woodard joins a long roster of actors and actresses of color with leading roles in pilots this season. Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Terrence Howard, Octavia Spencer and Jada Pinkett-Smith. This definitely sounds like the makings of an interesting series.
Does “State of Affairs” seem like a show you’d be interested in checking out?
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Hollywood is brimming with incredibly beautiful people. However, we have to say that sexiness isn’t reserved for just the youngin’s. Some of entertainment’s most drop dead gorgeous women are mommies and even grandmommies. So, as a testament to the fact that women can be beautiful at any age, we’re taking a look at 14 fabulous women who still have it going on.
The Governors Awards took place over the weekend and all the stars who have been gaining Oscar buzz for their film roles this year stepped on the red carpet for the event. Out of all those good-looking celebrities, Idris Elba and his Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom co-star Naomie Harris were there, as well as 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and Alfre Woodard. They all looked fabulous in their designer duds, including Alfre Woodard and Idris Elba, who were both in Giorgio Armani.
Off the red carpet, someone who does the social media for Armani’s Instagram page tried to spotlight all the stars at the event who were wearing the designer’s clothing, and while trying to do that, they got Alfre Woodard mixed up with Idris Elba (see above picture)…
Could be a simple mistake of someone who wrote down different names and then wasn’t paying attention to what pictures they were attaching to that name. Or, could be that someone might have really thought Idris was a feminine name and thought it was Woodard’s. Worst case scenario, some fool actually thought Woodard looked like Elba, but let’s hope not…
Those behind the Instagram page tried to delete the picture soon after, but you know once people see it, snapshots will be taken and spread across the web. The simple accident then turned into Twitter’s usual comedy hour, where people went in on the Armani Instagram page with “#ArmaniCaptions”:
There were quite a few more (you can see the many options over at Bossip). You know black Twitter, folks always have jokes on deck. But mistakes happen, and whoever controls the Instagram page eventually re-uploaded the photo with the right name, but not before people went on the page and tried to call whomever was behind the mistake racist. I don’t know if I would take it that far though. Besides, working in media, I’ve seen worse trying to scrape for images of black celebrities from these photo agencies. Seriously. But what do you make of the blunder?
“Nobody Ever Says There Are Too Many Holocaust Stories”: Alfre Woodard Responds To “12 Years A Slave” Criticism
Most of us fell in love with Alfre Woodard during her role as Carolyn Carmichael. Known for not taking nonsense from her five boisterous children and laid back musician husband in the Spike Lee classic, Crooklyn, Carolyn Carmichael became one of our favorite mothers in the black film canon. Recently, Woodard added another layer to the black woman’s 19th century identity by becoming a privilege slaved on a New Orleans plantation in the critically acclaimed fall movie, 12 Years A Slave.
As you know, this movie has received as much criticism as it has praise, and in a recent interview with Uptown Magazine, Woodard shut down all of the negativity as she discusses how Django Unchained compares to 12 Years a Slave, post-racialism, and modern-day slavery. Here are her insights as she shared them with Uptown when prompted on the various topics:
Slave narratives.. “are vital for us to have our feet on balanced ground in the future. I think it’s a chunk of our history that we are in denial about and that we don’t accept. And it is the root, I would say, of our contemporary domestic problems.”
Nobody ever says… “There are too many Holocaust stories,” or “There are too many gangster movies.” But we tell three stories [about slavery] and they want us to be done.
Today… “there are more slaves held around the world, sexual and domestic, than even in the mid-1800s. But that’s all in the shadows, and it’s right in our suburbs and everywhere around us.”
If you’re a racist… “or not is absolutely off the point that the manifestation of 300 years of a slave economy is present in everyday [life]. If you’re going to deny that, you’re going to be constantly wondering why you’re anxious and off the tracks.”
Post-racialism… “brought the boil up. And now we just have to lance the boil, clean it out and heal the wound. People [mistakenly] thought, Now I don’t have to feel like I’m carrying the weight of something [that] happened when I wasn’t even alive. We are now forced into conversations. If we don’t have them, we’re going to be really sick.
Django Unchained is… “to 12 Years A Slave [what] the Atlantic Ocean is to the Pacific Ocean. We need a lot of oceans. One does not negate the other, and one occupies a different territory. And [they are] fed by different rivers. They’re absolutely different genres; they’re absolutely different filmmakers. And they’re different stories.”
Pictures like 12 Years a slave… “give us a common language, a common emotional experience, whether you’re British, West African, West Indian or American.”
Read more of Woodard’s wise thoughts, here. What do you think about what she said?
Alfre Woodard’s character in “12 Years a Slave” is brief (one scene), but unforgettable.
The veteran actress plays Mistress Harriet Shaw, a formerly enslaved woman who rises through the Southern caste system to become the wife of a wealthy plantation owner.
“She is a woman who, like all women during this period, whether they were field slaves, house slaves, white mistresses of households, whoever they were, women had a very tough road to hoe,” Woodard told NPR. “And you get to see how little actual power they had in the society. But they all figured out a way to use the personal power they had as women to make their lives livable.”
Mistress Shaw’s plantation sits next to the plantation that eventually lands free-born Solomon Northrup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) after he is sold into slavery.
Read more at EurWeb.com
Kanye always said “And when you get on he leave your A$$ for a white girl” in regards to black men, but he never mentioned black women.There are quite a few black women that have gained great success through music, acting and sports, but aren’t seen with black men romantically. Check out 15 women that love to date white men exclusively, or so it seems.
After Berry Gordy, Diana Ross hasn’t seemed to find another black man to date or marry. She married Robert Ellis Silberstein in 1971, the same year her oldest daughter was born. Although her real father was Berry Gordy, Diana failed to reveal that information until years later. She then divorced Silberstein in 1977 and married billionaire Arne Naess, Jr.
Contrary to popular belief, being an actor isn’t always glamorous. These stars had to reach deep inside themselves and take a walk on the dark side to play a part most weren’t familiar with at all — a drug addict.
Famed actress Alfre Woodard has played many characters. One unforgettable role was friend and neighbor to a gay drag queen played by Ving Rhames. Woodard was Wanda in the 2000 movie Holiday Heart, a drug-addicted single mom with a heart of gold who was down on her luck. This isn’t the first time Woodard portrayed a character addicted to a substance. Two years earlier she starred in Down In The Delta as an addict forced to move to Mississippi with her children.
The Last Slave Movie: See The First Trailer For “12 Years A Slave” Starring Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, And Alfre Woodard
Now I know you’re probably sick and tired of the slave/black maid movies that have been all over the place for the last couple of years, but before you turn a side-eye to this new film, 12 Years A Slave, you should check out the trailer first. It looks like it’s going to be epic.
Starring British (and Nigerian) actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry (from Beasts of the Southern Wild) and directed by London-born talent Steve McQueen (and he’s black too!), 12 Years A Slave is of course about the true story of Solomon Northup, a free-born black man who was later kidnapped and sold into slavery. After 12 years in slavery, he was later freed and because of his struggle, in 1840 a law was passed in New York to help recover free-blacks who were being taken against their will and sold into slavery.
The movie seems to tell Northup’s tale with brutal honesty, as well as his fight not to give up under a form of adversity most would crumble under. The acting looks great, the movie looks both entertaining and moving, and as usual, McQueen (Shame, Hunger) is providing us with another true story of courage in a way that only he can (and with the help of actor Michael Fassbender for the third time straight). Check out the trailer and let us know if you would go see it. 12 Years A Slave will be released October 18.
Last night, Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Union, Phylicia Rashad and Viola Davis sat with Oprah Winfrey to discuss the ins and outs and ups and downs of navigating Hollywood as women of color on Oprah’s Next Chapter.
With such an array of talents and accolades in one room it was most intriguing to watch the discussion of everything from how inconsistent work can be, to leaving within their means in such a volatile industry, to supporting fellow Black actresses.
Gabrielle Union, wo was essentially Oprah’s reason for this particular installment of Next Chapter, revealed quite a bit about her internal struggle with her mean girl demons and expounded upon the jaw-dropping-ly honest speech she gave during an ESSENCE luncheon earlier this year. When receiving the Fierce and Fabulous award, Union recounted how she had been only pretending to be fierce and fabulous for much of her life. She uncovered how she had at one point torn others down to feel better about herself.
“I had to really examine all of the choices I’ve made as an adult and what I like and don’t like,” she said. “And there was a lot I didn’t like. So from that point in like, my early thirties, I started really living my truth and my words matched my actions.”
An always timely message for women of color, and actually just women in general, as the “crabs in a barrel” mentality is one that seems to pervade in many parts of our lives, as if we all can’t succeed and shine together.
It was interesting to see the reactions of the older women because it was clear that they came up in a different era entirely, one where fierce support of each other reigned supreme. The differences were very evident as Viola Davis spoke of refusing to apologize for herself and of being “pathological about being supportive. To anybody.” She also spoke of how Black writers in Hollywood seem to only want to write characters that are not flawed, or show the ugly side of humanity because they are afraid of how they will appear to others.
Phylicia Rashad, in all her regal elegance, gave insight into the truth of The Cosby Show, remembering how many believed it was not a realistic portrayal of Black America at the time, when it absolutely was, in fact.
“I grew up in Houston, Texas in the third ward and it was very realistic. And it wasn’t just realistic in Houston, Texas – it was realistic in Charlotte, North Carolina, in Atlanta, in New York, in Richmond, in Hampton… It was realistic in a lot of places…I guess it just depends on (who you know) and what you know. People will always have something to complain about. [It goes back to] knowing your life and who and what you are. You can stand in that and it doesn’t really matter.”
The discussion covered a range of topics including light skin v. dark skin which segued perfectly into the “Dark Girls” documentary that followed. Twitter rang out, praising the OWN Network for sitting these beautifully talented women down to discuss their truths and change.
Check out videos from last night’s discussion. What did you think?