All Articles Tagged "debbie allen"

Debbie Allen Speaks on Surviving in Hollywood as a Female Director

October 17th, 2016 - By jade
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In this episode of She’s The Boss, Mrs. Allen talks about how she has been able to sustain in the entertainment industry and her role as the Executive Producer of Grey’s Anatomy. From directing some of your favorite shows such as A Different World, Debbie talks about how women are prone to be great Producers because of how much we can handle. Along with her accomplishments behind the scenes, she is also the founder of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles. Click here for tickets to her upcoming production, Freeze Frame.

Season 3 Episode Schedule

Episode 1 : Misty Copeland “Creating Your Own History” – Aired October 3rd

Episode 2 : Lita Lewis “Thick Thighs Save Lives” – Aired October 6th

Episode 3 : Chef Lauren Von Der Pool “Eat Yourself Sexy!” – Aired October 11th

Episode 4 : Debbie Allen “Taking Charge On & Off The Screen” – Aired October 17th

Episode 5 : Ariell Johnson “Blerds Rule” – Aired October 20th

Episode 6 : Zim Ugochukwu “Explore The World” – Airs October 24th

Click here to watch past seasons of She’s The Boss.

Misty Copeland, Debbie Allen & More on She’s The Boss Season 3! (SNEAK PEEK)

September 28th, 2016 - By jade
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Your favorite series is back! She’s The Boss Season 3 premieres on Monday, October 3rd at 10AM! This season we’re highlighting 6 amazing women who are taking the world by storm. Watch the teaser above and let us know your comments below.

Season 3 Episode Schedule

Episode 1 : Misty Copeland “Creating Your Own History” – Airs October 3rd

Episode 2 : Lita Lewis “Thick Thighs Save Lives” – Airs October 6th

Episode 3 : Chef Lauren Von Der Pool “Eat Yourself Sexy!” – Airs October 11th

Episode 4 : Debbie Allen “Taking Charge On & Off The Screen” – Airs October 17th

Episode 5 : Ariell Johnson “Blerds Rule” – Airs October 20th

Episode 6 : Zim Ugochukwu “Explore The World” – Airs October 24th


Click here to watch past seasons of She’s The Boss.


#LifeGoals: Debbie Allen And Husband Norm Nixon Celebrate 32 Years Of Marriage By Breaking It Down On A Boat

July 19th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon

Nicky Nelson/

With so many couples in Hollywood calling it quits these days (literally, about three big couples split this week alone…), it’s always nice to see happy, long-lasting couples celebrating their love. It’s especially beautiful when it’s Black love.

And that’s why we’re so into the images and video Debbie Allen shared of her and husband Norm Nixon celebrating their 32nd wedding anniversary with the help of family and friends. Norm is a retired NBA basketball player who spent 12 seasons in the league. The couple have two children together, and they’ve followed in their parents’ footsteps: Vivian Nixon is a dancer and their son Norman Ellard Nixon Jr. is a basketball player. Nixon also has a son from a previous marriage, actor DeVaughn Nixon from The Bodyguard.

My man.❤️

A photo posted by Debbie Allen (@therealdebbieallen) on

Allen and Nixon hopped on a yacht in Marina del Ray to commemorate their anniversary, calling the party the #WhiteParty. Their family, friends, as well as individuals from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and actor Wesley Snipes all came through to mark the occasion.

Crusin’ with @realwesleysnipes @thumpnixon and crew at @therealdebbieallendanceacademy White Party!

A photo posted by Debbie Allen (@therealdebbieallen) on

At one point in the evening, the pair even made their way to the dance floor (which Allen is known to cut up on) to show that they still have the same love, but even better dance moves than they had back when they tied the knot in ’84. They grooved to Drake’s “One Dance”:

That’s right!!!!! 32 years of lovin!!!!❤️❤️❤️

A video posted by Debbie Allen (@therealdebbieallen) on

If they don’t work it! Here’s to 32 more years of greatness for the happy couple. We’re definitely getting all the #lifegoals (and the feels) from this pair.

12 Moments That Made This Black History Month One For The Record Books

February 26th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Don’t let Stacey Dash fool you, Black History Month is vitally important. In a country that seeks to downgrade, disregard or outright ignore our accomplishments and our beauty, we need a month (and then some) to acknowledge the brilliance of Black people. And for one reason or another, it seemed like this year the celebration was unavoidable. Check out the moments that made this year’s Black History Month one of the record books.

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “A Different World”

June 15th, 2015 - By Deron Dalton
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a different world feat

Source: Carsey-Werner Productions

A Different World was added to Netflix recently, becoming popular all over again. Newer generations can watch what life is like at a historically Black college or university as well as witness other relatable experiences to most young people. However, there are plenty of behind-the-scenes secrets you all might not know about this college-set sitcom, which was a direct spin-off of The Cosby Show.

“I Will Live The Life I Choose”: Why Essence’s “Game Changers” Cover Is So Important To Me

April 24th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes And More Cover Essence


“I hope someone sees this and thinks: ‘I will live the life I choose,’” tweeted director Ava DuVernay. She was speaking about her Essence magazine cover and feature story with fellow storytellers Debbie Allen, Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, and Issa Rae. In the magazine, the five women, who have individually and collectively made history several times over, discuss the current state of the entertainment industry, sex, and relationships. The friendly, open conversation amongst these powerhouse friends reflects the growing, lasting legacy these women have built, one we should all see ourselves in.

These women are proof that diversity, both in front of and behind the camera, is not a fad or too much of a good thing. They have staying power, and in an industry obsessed with numbers — from box office and Nielsen ratings to clicks on YouTube and the obvious dollar, dollar bills. Numbers don’t lie. And time and again, numbers have proven that viewers are craving diverse content, hunger that seems to surprise critics when a film like The Best Man Holiday does well. We’re smarter than the prevailing assumptions: that movies (or TV shows for that matter) with predominantly Black casts are “race films,” stories that won’t resonate with people not of color. We’re smarter than that.

The success of these women is no accident or mere fluke, folks. Content – great content, is king. It generates viewers, loyal fans and sends social media abuzz. Ava, Debbie, Shonda, Mara and Issa create honest portrayals of humanity, womanhood, femininity, and Blackness; multi-dimensional characters who own their agency and women who openly embrace their sexuality. Diversity is a fact of human existence, and their work gives it a chance in beautiful ways.
These women didn’t ask for permission, nor did they sit around and wait for opportunity to come knocking because, in all honesty, it wasn’t looking for them. They saw a need, coupled it with vision, and moved mountains to make some of the most poignant stories that have ever hit screens and stages.

Months ago, I saw Unsung Hollywood’s episode on A Different World. Debbie Allen made a hilarious yet serious comment about the lack of hot sauce on tables at Hillman’s hangout spot, The Pit. It being on the campus of a Southern HBCU, the absence almost seemed absurd to Allen. It’s that kind of attention to detail, something that all of these women have, that assures us that our stories are in capable hands. Our voices will be heard. We will be understood. In their arms, we aren’t reduced to mere stereotypes or caricatures. We won’t be led astray.

These women have done more than open doors. They have paved permanent paths and created a landscape that pushes past the labels put on us. A landscape that drives past our perceived limitations, past the absurd notion that we don’t rightfully belong here, in this space of abundance, awareness, possibility, and agency. And they do it while juggling marriage, motherhood, and multiple projects – while running the world with their bad selves.

In Ava DuVernay, Debbie Allen, Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, Issa Rae and other storytellers like Felicia D. Henderson and Gina Prince-Bythewood, I see support and opportunity. I see a reason to push past my fears, to tell the stories that dance around in my head and keep me up at night. I see the next generation of storytellers. I see beauty and resilience. I see us. And I am thankful. Very thankful.

Game-Changers Debbie Allen, Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes & More Talk About The Black Women Who Inspired Them

April 17th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Shonda Rhimes & More Talk About The Black Women Who Inspired Them

Source: Essence

We were happy to report the news that Essence magazine was featuring a few of our favorites, Debbie Allen, Mara Brock Akil,  Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, and Shonda Rhimes, on the cover of their Mary issue.

Not only did the women look absolutely beautiful in their white, in some recent videos from behind the cover shoot, the cover girls talked about what it meant to be featured with this group of women and the Black women who inspired them to pursue careers in film and television.

Check out some of the highlights from the videos and the full clips below.

The Black woman who inspired DuVernay to tell stories

The Black woman who inspired me to be storyteller was my Aunt Denise. She was a storyteller in her own right, as many people in our families are who may not be able to amplify their stories through film, or television or books or media. She was the storyteller of our family, the keeper of our stories, the one who made sure that we were connected through our own narratives in the family. She loved film, she loved theater and she was really the person who inspired me to say that I want to tell stories and that it was ok to do that and pursue that.  


The Black woman who inspired Debbie Allen 

The Black woman that has inspired me to be in arts is really my mother, Vivian Ayers. She encouraged me to dance, to study ballet, to train, even though things were segregated in Houston, Texas. She’s also been my greatest critic, my biggest fan. She is an accomplished writer, composer, cultural activist, great cook and she’s beautiful. My mom.

The Black woman who inspired Shonda Rhimes

The Black woman who inspired me to go into show business was Whoopi Goldberg. I saw her live on Broadway show when I was about 17 and it was so brilliantly written and it really inspired and made me think that I could be writer. It was a really different kind of writing and it spoke to me. It had nothing to do with me, it had nothing to do with my life and yet it was entirely familiar. It made me feel like I could be a writer.

The Black woman who inspired Issa Rae

The Black woman who inspired me to go into show business is Gina Prince Bythewood. I remember the first time I saw Love and Basketball knowing that it was written, directed, co-produced by a Black woman, shot in my neighborhood, I just remember my eyes opening wide with like ‘Oh my gosh I can do this and I want to do this and I want to create these stories.’ I definitely credit her for me taking that leap. The first step I took was writing a script. I wrote her a letter asking her to direct the script actually. She wrote me back and encouraged me to keep writing and that was the fuel I needed. Like, ‘Yes, she wrote me back, I’m supposed to do this.’

The Black woman who inspired Mara Brock Akil 

It’s funny that Debbie Allen is here today. I remember her on “Fame” but I think when I found out that she was behind the storytelling of “A Different World” I was like, ‘I’ve got to get in that world.’ I think before, television was something that I experienced but then when I realized she was doing it and how much the stories moved me, I wanted to be a part of that conversation. It’s such an honor to be here with her because our journey has continued but for us to be documented together in this way, I’m near tears, actually I’m so excited.

I love these stories about the women who inspired them. It really illustrates how doing what excites us and following our passions can open the door for the next generation. Beautiful. You can check out the full video from the behind the cover shoot below.

Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes And More Cover Essence’s Game Changers Issue

April 14th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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essence cover

Apparently, white is the color of the season—at least if you’re judging by the May cover of Essence it is. Hollywood’s movers and shakers Ava DuVernay, Shonda Rhimes, Mara Brock Akil, Issa Rae and Debbie Allen all appear on the magazine’s Game Changers issue rocking winter white ensembles. Inside, they dish on sexuality and diversity in television and film.

Shonda Rhimes on why women of color making waves in Hollywood is not a trend:

“It’s an economic fact. There are more people of color than ever before…When the shows start doing bigger numbers than what they think are going to be their top ten shows, it becomes really hard to suggest that it’s a trend.”

Ava DuVernay on the need for more diversity behind the camera:

“Of course that has to happen […] but it is more about people working autonomously, independently, to create their own structures, mechanisms, companies, outlets. Look at you, Issa—nobody was giving you anything, so you created your own work and your own platform and your own way to distribute.”

Debbie Allen on seeing progress and hope in regard to diversity in Hollywood:

“I look at it as an opportunity. It is wide open and for the taking. When I first started, there were no women in the room, there were no Black people in the room.”

Mara Brock Akil on showcasing Black women’s sex lives:

“I’ve been relentless [about discussing sexuality] since Girlfriends… My feeling about sexuality and showing a consenting adult having sex is that it’s so empowering “Because if you are making the choice, you then have to be responsible for the choice. I think that message is conveyed to the audience. You’re not just there for the convenience of a man, you are there because you want it. It creates an opportunity—well, hopefully—for the young lady watching or the other women watching to understand you have a say in this.”

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To “Empire”?

February 3rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To Empire

Source: FOX

Though Diddy has said that he doesn’t want his son Quincy to star on the show, it won’t stop Lee Daniels’ “Empire” from snagging some big names.

As you all know Debbie Allen is something like a beast in this entertainment industry. With a long and illustrious career, Allen continues to star in, produce and direct some of our all time favorite shows. And she’s showing absolutely no signs of stopping.

In addition to her work with Shonda Rhimes and ABC, her Twitter timeline has shown us that she is also working with Fox, directing their new hit show, “Empire.” And she’s not directing just any ole episode, Ms. Allen is directing the finale. And the season closer includes a very special guest. You may have heard of her.

Ms. Patti Labelle.

Allen confirmed the news yesterday on Twitter.

Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To Empire

Source: Twitter

And since she was in the building Ms. Allen also took the opportunity to take a snapshot with the star of the show Taraji P. Henson, aka Cookie Lyon.

Guess Which Legendary Diva Is Coming To Empire

Source: Twitter

Watch The Cast Of A Different World On Where Are They Now? + Raven Symone And Vivica Fox

September 17th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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A Different World On Where Are They Now

Source: OWN

The impact of “A Different World” cannot be overstated. A television show that inspired students of all races and ethnicities to attend college? That’s major. And although the show has long since been off the air, its impact is still very strong.

So Oprah sat down with some of the cast members for her “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” series on OWN.

Hillman alum Jasmine Guy (Whitley Gilbert), Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne Wayne), Dawn Lewis (Jalessa Taylor), Sinbad (Coach Oakes), Darryl M. Bell (Ron Johnson), Cree Summer (Freddie Brooks) and executive producer of the show Debbie Allen all sat down to discuss the things they’ve been up to since they left the hit NBC series.

As you know, “A Different World” was a spinoff of “The Cosby Show” so the cast took time to pay homage to the genius of Bill Cosby in creating this groundbreaking show.

See what they had to say.

The cast of A Different World will appear on OWN on Sunday, October 26 at 9pm.

A Different World On Where Are They Now

Source: OWN

But before you catch up with these folks, Raven Symone sits down with Oprah to speak candidly about her life after childhood super stardom, including the Tweet that presumably announced to the world that she was a lesbian. You can watch Raven’s “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” episode on October 5 at 9pm. On that same day, you’ll have a chance to catch up with Jenna Von Oy  (aka Six from “Blossom” and Stevie Van Lowe on “The Parkers.”)

And then on the following Sunday, October 12 you can see what Vivica Fox is doing these days.

Looks like a jam-packed season full of familiar faces. We’re here for it.