All Articles Tagged "Black Hollywood"
‘Tis the season for hookups and love. That’s right, as the weather changes, that means cuffing season is drawing near. With so many baes to choose from, why not shoot your shot in the direction of some of Black Hollywood’s most elite single men? Prepare to hop on the ‘gram and slide into those DMs as we look at famous fellas who are on the market.
Michael Ealy On Black Hollywood Struggles: We Raise Our Children To Want To Shine In Front Of The Camera
Fun fact: “The Perfect Guy” hits theaters today. Extra fun fact: Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy, who star in the film alongside Morris Chestnut, are also executive producers of the thriller. It’s that fact that offered great insight into the struggle of Black Hollywood which is a never ending discussion whenever a project with African American leads is released.
At a blogger luncheon in New York City September 10, Ealy and Lathan were asked whether they were cognizant of hiring Black crew members to work on the film, given the greater influence they had for “The Perfect Guy” versus prior movies. Interestingly, in answering that question, Ealy pointed out a fact about so-called Black Hollywood most aren’t aware of: There are actually more Black actors than there are Black production crew members.
“It would be Utopian to say I need at least 16 Black grips and a Black DP (director of photography),” Ealy said. “The reality is, because of access to film, you don’t have a lot of Black people who want to go behind the camera. We raise our children to want to be in front of the camera and shine, and that’s on us. We have to change that ourselves and try to inspire kids to want to be DPs. We have to inspire them to want to do things behind the cameras, be costume designers.
“I’m not saying there are none,” Ealy added in response to a comment from the crowd about there being Black people interested in production roles. “I’m just saying there’s a lot more actors and singers than there are Black costume designers, for sure.”
Speaking less about Hollywood and more about his personal life, Ealy also dropped a piece of advice almost anyone can appreciate when he was asked about keeping his relationship so private. Likening the entertainment industry to high school, Ealy says he learned as a teen it’s best to keep certain things to yourself.
“The less people who are involved in what you’re doing, the more likely it is that you’ll be successful.”
The Scandal season finale is tonight, and it promises to be one that will slay our very essence. But then again, this season has provided shocker after shocker.
Before we go any further, be warned that from here on out, it is nonstop spoiler alerts if you’re not caught up on the season. Shonda Rhimes has put damn near everyone on the cast in danger this season. Let’s take a look at 15 of Scandal‘s most shocking moments from this season.
Deepak Nope-rah: 11 Times Stars Wanted Us To Believe They Were Deep When They Actually Sounded Crazy
We’ve all had those moments when we read a celeb quote that made us roll our eyes and shake our heads because the star absolutely tried it. Thanks to social media, you can always expect a head-scratch worthy quote from a fake deep celeb. Let’s take a look at 11 times celebs did the absolute most.
Motivation comes in many forms. One motivational musical piece for me is Nina Simone’s melodious proclamation that, “In the whole world there are a billion boys and girls who are young, gifted and Black, and that’s a fact!” But if I could add an adjective to this adage it would read, “To Be Young, Gifted, Black, and Fat.”
Yes, it must be written and archived! Notated and dialogued. Black women living on the plus–er side of life are walking with more confidence than ever and taking over Hollywood and primetime television at the same time. You no longer have to “watch out for the big girl.” We are here, taking names, and cashing checks.
In an industry where thin and white is the prototype for beauty, opportunities for actresses who are Black and thicker than thick used to be non-existent unless they were playing the Mammy; and in most cases, they were muted of all beauty and sexuality. We honor those Black actresses like Hattie McDaniel for breaking down barriers in the entertainment industry so that there would be a place, time and opportunity for actresses today to share their talent with the world. We are thankful that we are able to see images of our likeness on television and in film.
Today, the list of beautiful and plump actresses is steadily growing. Writers have started to give an authentic voice to female characters who have more to love. The characters now have more depth. We are transitioning from being able to play only the maid, the mom, and the sassy best friend, to having successful lives and even having love interests.
One evening I watched Raven Goodwin in her role as Niecy Patterson on BET’s Being Mary Jane. Goodwin was standing in front of the mirror, glowing in the eminence of her beauty as she tried on clothes for a night out. She stared proudly at who she saw in that mirror and I was ecstatic about it. The brilliantly edited montage of Goodwin getting dressed in form-fitting clothing even featured a moment where she stood in her bra and panties, showing the world that size does not diminish beauty. It was a scene I’d been waiting to see for my entire life.
But BET isn’t the only network to be blessed with a voluptuous beauty on one of their shows. Millions of us tuned in every Wednesday for eight weeks straight to watch the new FOX Drama, Empire. Cookie wasn’t the only one serving fierce night after night. Gabourey Sidibe came pumping through the halls of Empire Entertainment as Becky, the loyal yet firm executive assistant to Lucious Lyon. On Empire, Sidibe is witty and fearless, and her confidence is contagious. As a plus-size woman, I can admit that I have an insecurity about wearing tops that expose my arms. I just can’t do it. So I’d often yell at the screen, “Gabby, where are your sleeves?!” But I was honestly glad to see that Sidibe didn’t care one bit and wore the hell out of every outfit!
Fox may have its suspect views on pretty much everything, but it’s clear they love us BBWs. Before Sidibe, Glee featured the beautiful Amber Riley as belting diva club member Mercedes Jones. Riley even catapulted that opportunity into a stint on Dancing With The Stars, taking home the mirrorball trophy in 2013.
What’s most heartwarming is that even in an industry where competition is seemingly inevitable, these three young women can be seen flicking it up on Instagram and hanging out together. Yes, Black women of Hollywood do support one another.
But this is just the beginning for plus-size actresses. There are more of us out there patiently waiting in the wings. We are going from overlooked to overbooked. We are beautiful, smart, sexy, and have a rightful place in film and television. “Oh but my joy of today is that we can all be proud to say, to be young, gifted, Black, and fat is where it’s at!”
In 2014, the Hollywood Black Film Festival shut down after 16 years of offering an outlet for Black filmmakers to show their films, network with Hollywood insiders, and learn more about the trade via workshops.
Needless to say many in Black Hollywood were disappointed. But with a lack of supporting sponsors, Tanya Kersey, founder and executive director of the HBFF, and programmer Jacqueline Blaylock didn’t think they could continue.
But now, after a year off the HBFF is on it’s was back for 2016. And Kersey could be more happier.
“We had so many people texting, calling, emailing saying how disappointed they were we were ending. Many said they had been planning to participate in the event,” says Kersey in a phone interview with MadameNoire. “So we felt this responsibility to the Black filmmaking community. When we started this, it was to give them a much-needed outlet. And there is still a major need for the resources we provide. So we prayed on it and decided just to set a date and move forward. If we had to scale back, we would scale back. Whatever it took we decided we were coming back in 2016.”
Kersey says this time around they may be making some changes. One thing they will be doing is utilizing a young team to run the festival. “Jacqui and I will have our daughters be more involved this year. They are both in their 20s and have handled things for HBFF in the past. But for 2016 we will be turning over more responsibility to them. Jacqui and I can’t do this forever, so we think it is time to start turning it over to the new generation.”
Kersey says they are also looking for young people to volunteer and join the team for next year’s event.
They are also changing the date. “We decided to do it in February for Black History Month, right after Sundance but before the Oscars,” says Kersey. This was a strategic business move by HBFF. “We found that at lot of people were saying they could get their company to partners with us as a sponsor if we were in Black History Month. So this way we can get on the corporate budgets for February.” It will take place February 24-28, 2016.
They may also relocate the festival from Beverly Hills to Downtown Los Angeles, as the city have started to court the event. “That area is really thriving, so if it makes sense for us business wise we will be moving as well,” says Kersey.
HBFF was founded in 1998 and since that time it screened a total of 721 independent films including 132 features, 382 shorts, 108 documentaries, 73 student films, 14 animated films and 8 music videos, from all across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean. It hosted 339 world premieres, 13 U.S. premieres, 91 West Coast premieres and 59 Los Angeles premieres. And it has been attended by more than 50,000 people.
Despite the numerous successful black films as of late, it is still hard for black productions to get greenlit in Hollywood, Taye Diggs said in a recent interview with the Associated Press.
According to The Best Man Holiday star, major film studios hold black film projects to an unfair set of standards. Diggs charges that studios will not proceed with black-oriented film productions unless box office numbers are favorable for other similar productions. Other films are not held up to this standard, and it’s particularly unfair to tie one black film to another when they aren’t similar.
Take Diggs’ track record, for example. Guardian Liberty Voice notes the actor was in the 1999 hit The Best Man and the 2013 sequel, The Best Man Holiday, which made about $70 million at the box office and should’ve made the decision to run with another Best Man movie an easy one. This was not the case. Instead of looking at box-office results from the second installment, film studios are comparing it to films in theaters now that are totally unrelated, such as Think Like A Man Too, before agreeing to make a third Best Man installment. The only connection between films like Think Like A Man Too and the Best Man films is that they star black actors.
Diggs, who is now starring in the new TNT series Murder In The First (he talked about that show with Hoda and Kathie Lee on Monday), says that film studios find black films too risky, even though they have proven success.
Logically, black films should be judged on their own, individual merit. But they have also shown they are revenue generating. There were 48 “black films” released theatrically in 2013 (48 out of 669 total films), according to calculations by Indie Wire. The top grossing black film domestically was Lee Daniels’ The Butler at $116 million. In fact, it was the only black film to gross over $100 million last year. “And total box office (domestic) for all 48 black films is around $670 million, or about 6.2 percent of the total 2013 box office for all films ($10.8 billion),” reports Indie Wire.
When Tanya Kersey, the founder of the Hollywood Black Film Festival, posted this on her Facebook page, I was shocked:
“Unfortunately, due to lack of financial sponsorship support, there will not be a 2014 Hollywood Black Film Festival. A full statement is forthcoming in a day or so.”
The HBFF has given opportunity to filmmakers of color seeking to show their work, giving rise to other black film festivals around the nation. Nicknamed “The Black Sundance,” the HBFF debuted in 1998. Each October the four-day celebration of black cinema has attracted the likes of legendary actor Sidney Poitier, Forest Whitaker, director John Singleton, filmmaker Spike Lee, Cedric The Entertainer, Sanaa Lathan, Loretta Devine, among countless others. So to hear that in a year when black is the new green in Hollywood, with the monetary and critical successes of such films such as 12 Years A Slave, to learn that the HBFF could not get financial support, I was dumbfounded. This should be the year when sponsors are pouring in. But Kersey says it is just the opposite.
“HBFF has suffered from lack of mainstream industry support since Day 1,” Kersey added in another FB post. “It is through sheer will, passion, determination, commitment and untold sacrifice that HBFF has been around as long as it has… The studios and networks should support us as they do the other big film festivals. I don’t know about you but I consider HBFF a big and important film festival and I think we are worthy of the same level of support. We’ve screened over 1,000 films from 25 countries!”
Needless to say, Black Hollywood has responded and a “Save HBFF” campaign has sprouted up.
Kersey tells MadameNoire via FB message that she is gladdened by the outpouring of instantaneous grassroots efforts by HBFF fans. “It wasn’t until I announced the cancellation of HBFF 2014 that I really understand the full impact the festival has had on so many lives and careers,” she wrote. “I’ve received hundreds of texts and emails of support with people asking what they can do to help save HBFF. It’s been an emotionally overwhelming show of love and support that has really touched the hearts of the entire HBFF team. As a result, we are spearheading a ‘Save HBFF’ campaign. More details will be forthcoming days.”
We will keep you updated on the “Save HBFF” campaign. We know that it will include a crowdfunding push.
Angela Bassett, Malcolm X
Right before her astonishing work in What’s Love Got to Do with It, Angela Bassett played another famous, real-life woman — Betty Shabazz. Although, Denzel Washington led this amazing biopic, Bassett deserved a Best Supporting Actress nod as well. Tell me you weren’t moved by the final scene where Betty is holding her dying husband? But she was passed over until the following for playing Tina Turner, which she lost to Holly Hunter’s silent performance in The Piano.
Recently we saw how Bethenny Frankel tried to get the best of Omarosa Manigault on her talk show. After losing a $10,000 bet to Manigault when some rude comments on The View were brought to light, they engaged in a quick word exchange where Omarosa had to defend her brand.
Now if you haven’t seen this clip yet you have to be living under a social media rock, but in short Omarosa in her own brassy way explained why the black tax is in full effect in Hollywood. “It’s different for you and I,” she explained on the show. “I am an African American woman. You get to walk around and be mediocre and you still get rewarded with things. We have to be exceptional to get anything in this business.” I’m sure many black women, even outside of Hollywood would agree with this sentiment, but Bethenny’s predominantly white audience found the comments to be in bad taste.
Whether right or wrong, there may be something we can learn from Omarosa regarding building a brand. On the show she made the comment, “I think it’s important to understand you don’t stay on for a decade in reality TV without being smart and creating a brand…” and I could not agree more.
While I was attending Howard University’s MBA program back in 2010, the university decided to bring Omarosa in as an adjunct faculty member. Many students felt that this could be damaging to Howard’s brand, since Omarosa was known for her shady ways and being a self-proclaimed b***h, according to her book The B***h Switch.
I — and many students — decided to make our trepidation know to the faculty, but the university’s administration had its own motives and decided to move forward with the class. In the end I decided that I wanted to see for myself what Omarosa was all about and enrolled in her Global, Corporate and Personal Brand Management course.
With Omarosa as my “professor,” I got a chance to get to know her professionally and personally, and took a look behind the scenes at her brand management. And she was nothing like what I saw on television. It was almost like Omarosa the professor wouldn’t even sit with someone like Omarosa from The Apprentice. She was kind, articulate, patient, and, surprisingly, appeared to be very genuine. She opened up her Rolodex and had some pretty impressive people (no celebrities though) as guest speakers in our weekly classes.
Over the years it has been a challenge seeing how she is portrayed on television and how it directly conflicts with the person I came to enjoy throughout our four-month weekly night class. When I think of that person and the one on television, I’m not sure which is the real Omarosa. But what I do know is each character is deliberate.
Maybe the nice sweet side she shared as a professor is not what would have made for good ratings on The Apprentice and the backstabbing heffa we loved to hate on the reality show would not have made the positive impression on Howard’s faculty that secured her teaching position and gained the respect of her students. Now I have never read her book, and since it has some of the lowest reviews on Amazon I’m sure a lot of you haven’t either. But she definitely knows when to turn it on and off and it has been to the benefit of her career.
Omarosa is right: There are so many reality TV stars that have a moment in the spotlight and suddenly fall into the entertainment abyss, never to be heard from again. But to be a reality star that has actually managed to stay relevant for over 10 years displays smarts and effective brand management. Our brand should not be a mistake or something we stumble upon, whether at work, school, in our writing, on TV or in our relationships. We should be aware of what we want our brand to be and each day work to accentuate those impressions.
Although Omarosa’s brand class wasn’t the most educational. But my lesson wasn’t in the coursework. Rather, it was seeing how she effectively controlled her brand.