All Articles Tagged "arrested development"

Who Knew Prison Could Be So…Funny? Why You Need “Orange Is The New Black” In Your Life

July 24th, 2013 - By Clarke Gail Baines
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Orange Is The New Black

When I first heard about Orange Is The New Black, I was reading Shadow and Act. They had done a piece on the new Netflix series before it debuted, showing you the trailer so you could get a glimpse at what to expect. Of course, before even watching one episode, those commenting had decided that it was racist. If it wasn’t racist, it was another story where an innocent little white woman has to deal with the crazies–black women. Checking out the trailer and reading all the comments that day in June, I could have have gone with the consensus and avoided the show, but being that I had watched enough ’90s movies and revamped Arrested Development episodes through my Netflix subscription, I decided to have my own opinions and watch the show for myself.

Thank goodness I did. For some reason, the trailer didn’t do the actual series justice. In less than a week I’ve finished the entire first season. My co-worker watched the season like a G and finished it within one weekend. For a series that so far is 13 hours+ long, it was over before I knew it and just that quick, I miss it already. Why? Because it was nice to see such a diverse group of women, with just a few men (of course they were in positions of power, power they often abused), acting a hot damn mess. But I assume that’s what prison probably does to a person…

Despite what folks had to say before the show even started in that article I read, this isn’t a black and white show. It’s a black, white, Hispanic, old, religious, LGBTQ and a little crazy show that tells the stories of women we often don’t get to see on television. The fact that it’s based off of a true story (that of Piper Kerman, whose memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, inspired the show) makes it all the more compelling. Every hot mess of a woman is relatable and even likable, even when you dare to give them the side-eye. And what makes them even more relatable is the fact that for most of the women, you actually find out their back stories. The insecurities that pushed them into foolish and dangerous positions that inevitably put them in prison. The drug and alcohol addictions. The family drama or lack of a family to have drama with. Maybe most prevalent of a reason, the want to fit in and receive respect. It’s the thing that pushes a lot of the characters to starve one another out at lunchtime, to act like complete jerks so as to not appear soft and be taken advantage of, and to stick with their own kind. But when the main character of Piper, a privileged bisexual white woman who doesn’t really have direction and blames her drama on others arrives (not a ditsy character, an actually cool but self-absorbed chick), just as she is, a foolish smarty-pants, and extremely vulnerable, in the end, she actually causes a change to happen in the women around her in one way or another. Ironically, it’s Piper who snaps and becomes something out of an episode of Lockup by the last five minutes of season one’s finale while her cohorts come out of their shells and come together (and they do so to celebrate Jesus).

You have so many choices when it comes to watching shows and movies online and on Netflix, but I feel so motivated to recommend this show because it’s hilarious and real at the same time. There are cringe-worthy moments, including some of the racist jokes used by different groups (usually not to the face of the women they’re joking about), and the behavior by one C.O. Mendez, aka, “P**nstache.” However, all of that foolery adds to the show. Midway through the season, the women, once separated by groups that defined them, find themselves coming together to celebrate releases, to mourn deaths, and to drop it like it’s really hot in the middle of a cafeteria when Kelis’ “Milkshake” randomly comes on. In the end, you’ll have a few characters you’ll love (Tastee, Poussey, Piper, Red, Miss Claudette and Crazy Eyes are my faves), and a few you won’t be able to stand (evangelist Pennsatucky), a few whose change in mentality will make them endearing (Daya’s mom and Big Boo Black), and you might get a little too inspired by prison culture and the show you’re watching and maybe start wanting folks “offed” (that’s for you Officer Mendez!). And you’ll also be glad you got to see so many talented women on-screen who probably wouldn’t get a shot on some of the stale network shows that get Emmy noms in magazine covers. But most of all, you’ll probably want to watch the whole damn thing one mo’ gin. Season two please?

What Had Happened Was…Rap And R&B Groups That Didn’t Last Through The Fame

February 13th, 2013 - By Iva Anthony
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Making it in the music industry as a solo artist is hard enough but when there are two or more people in a group, tensions are bound to arise because mo’ money plus mo’ people equal mo’ problems. Although they made beautiful music together, these 15 popular rap and R&B groups just couldn’t set aside their differences in the long run.

"Arrested Development album"

Arrested Development

Afrocentric alternative hip-hop group Arrested Development became very popular in the early 90’s. Founded by Speech and his former best friend, DJ Headliner, along with Dionne Farris and spiritual leader Baba Oje, they are best known for their song “Everyday People.” In 1993 the group won Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Rap Performance. They were also tapped by Spike Lee to record a song for his “Malcolm X” biopic that same year. However, Arrested Development never eclipsed the success they had with their debut album. Their sophomore album was panned by critics and shortly after that the group broke up due to “creative differences.” The band patched things up four years later but things were never the same as they struggled to reclaim their popularity in the U.S. Today, the group continues to tour internationally and released their 10th album in 2012.

‘Still Standing:’ A Documentary on Black Couples Who Made Their Marriages Work

March 14th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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The statistics on the chances of a marriage surviving are as dismal as the probability of finding someone to marry in the first place which is why single black hopefuls and those whose marriages are in turmoil, need reminders that there are couples who beat the odds. That’s where authors Lamar and Ronnie Tyler come in with their new documentary, Still Standing.

The film is the third installment in the couple’s “Timeless” series and features in-depth conversations with several couples, including “Speech” Thomas from the group Arrested Development, and his wife, on how various circumstances threatened their union and how they pulled through together. From chronic illness, to financial struggles, to infidelity, and the difficulties of blending two families into one, these couples have been hit with issues we all can relate to, and in the documentary they’ll talk about working through those problems and being on the successful side of marriage. Dr. Sherry L. Blake, who we’ve seen counsel Gabe and Trina on the “Braxton Family Values” will also offer a psychological perspective on marriage and it’s challenges.

The film is slated for a May 1 DVD release, and if you happen to live in Chicago, Dallas, DC, Houston, or Atlanta, you can check out a live-screening of the film at the end of the month and in April.

Watch the trailer for Still Standing and tell us what you think. Will you check this out when it’s released?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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Celebrating Your Crown: 8 Songs That Make You Proud to be Natural

August 1st, 2011 - By Veronica Wells
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Today I was on Wikipedia and I searched the word “Afro” (actually it gave me Afro textured hair) It was relatively lengthy based on Wiki standards and rightly so. There is a history behind our hair, a legacy even. Now as we find ourselves in another natural wave it’s good to have music to celebrate and encourage us through our natural-haired journey. Check it out.