All Articles Tagged "documentary"
How My Black Is Beautiful’s “Imagine A Future” Documentary Proves The Cycle Of Self-Hate Can Be Broken
I’ve always had much respect for Proctor and Gamble’s “My Black Is Beautiful” campaign. After all it was started by six black women at the company and they do good work. And while the campaign seeks to uplift black women, I also realize it’s a way for P&G to continue to make money. Now, I’m not mad at them. We all want to make money. But since they are trying to make money, I’ll admit that I process their media differently than I would other P&G advertising. I’m constantly watching to make sure it’s still honest and that we, black women, aren’t being further exploited by another huge corporation.
And I can honestly say I haven’t seen that. The campaign has been run quite nicely. And that track record of fairness didn’t falter when they released a documentary entitled “Imagine a Future.”
Directed and produced by filmmaking heavy hitters like Lisa Cortes, Academy Award nominated for her producing role in Precious, directed by Shola Lynch, director of Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners and executive produced by “Black Girls Rock” founder Beverly Bond, the film had the right people behind the project.
And all of that came across in the story which follows Janet Goldsboro, a high school student who struggles with beauty and self esteem issues. Throughout the documentary we watch as Janet transforms when she visits South Africa to learn about the historical and societal context associated with being a black woman.
During her trip Janet learns about beauty standards that vary and are similar to the ones she’s been grown up with in the U.S. Her South African friend tells her that nobody wants to be skinny in South Africa but when she goes to the market, she sees how many places sell skin bleaching cream. There she learns about the earliest human ancestors, found in Africa and learns the tragic story of Sarah Baartman as she visited her gravesite.
After her trip to South Africa the change in Janet was visible. She went from a girl who was insecure about her looks and self confidence to a young woman who actively sought the standards of beauty that best matched her own. She started researching the history that was left out of her school’s curriculum so by knowing the truth of her past she could take pride in the young woman she is today.
Interspersed between Janet’s inspirational story, we hear black women like Gabourey Sidibe, Michaela Angela Davis, Tatyana Ali, Melissa Harris-Perry and Gabby Douglass talk about achieving their own self confidence and what makes them beautiful. It may sound cheesy but it was powerful. So powerful in fact that my mom leaned over to my sister and I and asked “why our black was beautiful?” We had to tell her not to ask the stranger sitting next to her because it really is a loaded question. The film really makes you think about your own levels of self confidence and beauty standards affect your everyday lives.
I walked out of the filming feeling hopeful and uplifted. Not to use one to tear down another but in many ways “Imagine A Future” filled the holes that “Dark Girls” didn’t. It talked about the lack of self esteem, the beauty standards many black women don’t meet but it also showed how that cycle can be broken. How these feelings don’t have to be permanent. And how, at the end of the day, we can be the solutions to our own insecurities.
Check out the trailer for the documentary on the next page.
Sunday night’s airing of “Dark Girls” on OWN drew a lot of differing responses, from women who could completely identify with the individuals highlighted in the documentary, to others who were grateful they couldn’t relate at all. Yesterday we pointed out what we thought was missing from the film, which was the experience of darker skinned women who never had issues with their complexion and actress Tika Sumpter has filled that gap with an essay she wrote in the Daily Beast in response to the film.
Tika begins her piece highlighting her brown-skinned experience in childhood, saying:
One of my favorite childhood memories is of listening to my mother describe the look on my father’s face the day I was born. Whenever my mother shares this story, she somehow manages to re-create it with images so vivid, I can simply close my eyes and feel as if I were still there cuddled in her arms.
It’s important to understand that I was born into a family with seven children, each of us equipped with varying personalities, dispositions, and, yes, skin tones as well. My mom has the most beautiful café au lait complexion, which she shares with my two older sisters and older brother. My three younger siblings have skin tones that range from caramel to a golden bronze.
And then there’s me.
My mother says that when my father, a striking man with kind eyes, broad shoulders, and deep ebony-brown skin, first saw me in the hospital that day, his eyes lit up brightly as he promptly proclaimed, “She has my color. She looks like me!”
The actress then goes on to relate that upbringing to the women featured in “Dark Girls” and what her experience as a dark skinned woman in Hollywood has been.
I was recently reminded of my childhood as I watched the amazing documentary Dark Girls. My heart broke just listening to the stories of so many young girls with brown skin traumatized by the cruel and hurtful views of those around them. I experienced that same emotion when I began my role as Raina Thorpe on the popular CW show Gossip Girl a few years back. I was truly unprepared for the tremendous impact I’d have while on that show. Each week I’d get the tons of letters from mothers, grandmothers, and young girls literally thanking me for simply existing. They wrote me saying they’d never seen a woman that looked like me on television before. Which really meant they’d never seen anyone that looked like them before. And it got much deeper than that. Some fans even remarked that they’d never witnessed any woman with my skin color speak the way I spoke, have a successful career the way I had on that show, or carry themselves in such a ladylike manner. Translation: in the very make-believe land of television and movies, women with darker skin aren’t smart enough to speak proper English or capable enough to be employed with a six-figure salary. And we most certainly can’t be ladylike. What complete nonsense!
Of course I did experienced my share of hurtful reactions to my skin color, but thankfully only after I was an adult. Who hasn’t heard the obligatory, “You’re pretty for a dark-skin girl”? Or my personal favorite, “I usually don’t date dark-skin women, but you’re so beautiful.” That one really warms the heart. But in reality, the most disturbing aspect of all of this is that those comments were most often made by men with exactly the same skin tone as my own.
Still, I always knew there were far too many other people who saw my beauty and embraced every part of me with open arms to think twice about what was said. It hurts me to know that so many young girls today are growing up without that same realization and reassurance. I also regret that so many are forced to seek their self-worth between the pages of mainstream magazines or in the background of a rap music video. I’d like to think that seeing someone like me on their televisions every week gives them some hope that things are changing slowly but surely. Finally, every day I’m thankful that I didn’t have to endure the pain that I know so many women do on a regular basis as a result of the color of their skin. My heart goes out to them all. And every day I’m even more thankful for a mother who was always there for me and a father (now deceased) whose first reaction to me on the day I was born paved my path to real self-love.
Check out more of her of Tika’s essay on TheDailyBeast.com. What do you think?
While nearly three-quarters of Americans believe that legal recognition of gay marriage is inevitable and an increasing number of states are proving their belief to be true, a new documentary is telling a different story about support for same-sex marriage in the U.S.
Produced by award-winning filmmaker and journalist Yoruba Richen, “The New Black” takes viewers into the pews and onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it tells the story of the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland and charts the evolution of this divisive issue within the black community, the film’s website explains.
According to Richen, the documentary, a follow-up to previous works that includes “Promised Land” and “Take It From Me,” is fraught with politics and personal stories on both sides of the same-sex marriage campaign. And at the core of it, the black church’s homophobic tendencies, she says.
“The reality is that the African-American community and the black church is diverse and opinions on this issue have reflected that,” Richen told POLITICO. “There were some black public figures who took stances very early on in support of gay rights — look at Jesse Jackson’s rainbow coalition in the 80’s — while others spoke out against it. Also in terms of polling, African-American support (like other groups) has varied depending how you phrase the question and the religiosity of the respondents.”
In one such poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center earlier this month, 66 percent of African Americans said that they believe being gay is a choice, a lifestyle that gay men and women decide to lead.
The poll also revealed that fewer Americans would be upset if their son or daughter were gay or lesbian, and that more people favor gay and lesbian couples raising children, findings that Pew attributes to the fact that most Americans now say that they know someone who is gay or lesbian. As Pew noted, “even holding demographic factors constant, those who have many gay acquaintances, or close gay friends and family members, are more likely to favor same-sex marriage than those who do not.”
Read and see more at BlackVoices.com
Last month we told you that über talented sisterly duo Venus and Serena Williams would be starring in a documentary that would recount their remarkable climb to tennis stardom. Venus and Serena, which is scheduled to hit theaters May 10th offers an in-depth look at their humble beginnings and their father’s relentless determination to make them the top two tennis players in the world. A brief description of the doc found on the film’s website reads:
“Ever since Venus and Serena Williams started playing in tennis tournaments, they’ve provoked strong reactions – from awe and admiration to suspicion and resentment. They’ve been winning championships for over a decade, pushing the limits of longevity in such a demanding sport. How long can they last? In Venus & Serena, we gain unprecedented access into their lives during the most intimidating year of their career. Over the course of 2011, Venus grappled with an energy-sapping autoimmune disease while Serena battled back from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Neither Venus nor Serena let their adversities hold them back. They drew their greatest strength from each other.”
Magnolia Pictures has since released their official trailer for the movie and if the trailer serves as any indication of how good the actual documentary will be, fans will not be disappointed. Opening with a young Venus accompanied by her sister on a tennis court, both girls express that they’d like to grow up to be tennis players.
“To Black girls from Compton who probably weren’t ever supposed to play tennis, let alone be really good at it. My Dad had one of the most revolutionary ideas when it came to changing the game,” says Venus.
“I had written a plan before they were born, 78 pages. The plan was for both of them to become number one in the world,” revealed Venus and Serena’s Dad Richard Williams.
Venus went on to laugh about her parents predicting that she’d be number one in the world and drilling it into her so much that she was “brainwashed.” The doc will also offer a peek into some of the life-threatening health woes experienced by the Williams sisters and how they dealt with them.
“I wanted to go out for sure and know that I couldn’t play,” Venus said of her determination to play despite her ailment.
As previously stated, Venus and Serena is available on iTunes and is slated to hit theaters May 10th!
Check out official the trailer below.
Chrisette Michele Talks Being Underrated And Shying Away From The Limelight In New Documentary, ‘Journey To Better’
I will never forget the first time I heard soul singer Chrisette Michele’s voice. I was 16 years old and Nas had just released “Can’t Forget About You” as the second single off of his Hip Hop Is Dead album. I listened to the track over and over as I sat by an oversized window in my living room while I worked on my homework. Nas did an amazing job on the song, but what really drew me to it, was the unique voice of the woman singing on the hook. I eventually came to know the songtress as R&B singer Chrisette Michele. I combed the Internet, looking for details on her. I had to learn more about her! But unfortunately at the time, my Google searches didn’t uncover much. Six years later, Chrisette’s newly released web documentary Journey To Better, which can be found on her website, offers a little insight as to why there wasn’t too much information available about her when she was first “thrown” into the music industry. The New York native reveals that she intentionally flew beneath the radar because she wasn’t sure if she could “get the job right.”
The documentary begins in black and white, showing Chrisette rolling her bicycle down a sidewalk.
“I’ve been afraid. I didn’t always know if I’d be a singer. It takes time to get a job right. When you come into most jobs, you get years to work on getting promotions, raises, to become a CEO, to become great. In the music industry you don’t get that time. You kind of just get thrown out there into this world of stages and red carpets and magazines. And if you aren’t great right away, you’re kind of fired. You don’t really get a chance to come back and do it again the next day,” she begins at the start of the video.
She went on to say that having known how unforgiving the entertainment industry can be, she intentionally stayed beneath the radar.
“I knew that when I first started this, so I did tried really hard to stay just underneath the limelight, people call it underrated. I call it careful. So I kind of just snuck my way through this learning process and I took notes. I carried a composition notebook and literally took notes from everybody from Babyface to Diddy, Kevin Liles to whoever I got to be around, Jay-Z. I would hang out with publicists. People would wonder why I was hanging out the guy who does the mail or the person who does the marketing or the person who is the engineer. Why am I hanging out with the sound guy? Why am I hanging out with the lighting guy? I’m hanging out with these people because I want to learn everything there is to know about the music industry before I put myself out there.”
Chrisette finishes up by saying that she believes that her studying and hard work has paid off because she’s no longer afraid to show herself and is confident enough to call herself an artist.
Skip to the next page to watch Part 1 of her doucmentary, Journey to Better. What do you think of her decision to shy away from the limelight?
It’s been 18 years since the death of Eazy-E but one person is not prepared to let his public image die.
E.B. Wright, the 22 year old daughter of the late rapper, is currently putting together a documentary about the life – and death – of her father, according to BET.com. E.B., a budding rapper herself, says that his legacy has not been properly represented and she wants to change that.
“A lot of people don’t know the truth behind his death. There’s definitely a story out there of how people think he died but a lot of it is a misconception, so I think it’s time to tell the story of exactly what happened.”
E.B. says that the documentary, tentative titled Ruthless Scandal, will have in-depth interviews with celebrities, family members, close friends and others who knew the “real” Eazy. Further, there will be interviews from doctors and lawyers as well as documents regarding the death of the rapper. As most of us know, Eazy reportedly died as a result of complications of the AIDS virus when he was only 31 years old. His daughter hasn’t stated whether or not she accepts this but she clearly has had more questions about it as she’s grown.
E.B. also envisions how important her dad would be were he still alive:
“He started all of this, and honestly I don’t even think his impact can be limited to the West Coast. I feel like, if my dad was alive today, he would be Jay-Z businesswise. He was a true visionary. He started the independent label, he started the idea of speaking your mind…”
Ruthless Scandal is currently slated for a 2014 release.
Were you an Eazy-E fan? Would you check out this documentary?
An hour before the television premiere of Beyoncé’s HBO documentary on Sunday, Oprah called the budding icon the “preeminent mistress of the universe” in their exclusive sit-down interview. This ridiculous group of words barely exaggerates Beyoncé’s place in pop culture. Over the past few years, the media has elevated her to the Queen of Pop, in a lane all her own.
Life Is But A Dream is meant to be film about a pop star finding herself. But it also documents a woman the public associates with perfection and power, in the vulnerable position of starting a new phase of her career.
The first topic Beyonce tackles in the film is her professional split from her father and manager Matthew Knowles, a pivotal moment that marks the official beginning of Beyoncé’s career as a mogul. Moguls don’t just make a living. They architect the deals and strategies that build their empire. The fate of Beyoncé, Inc. now rests entirely on the shoulders of its namesake.
Following the March 2011 announcement that she would take over managing her career, Beyonce sounds like any other new entrepreneur, telling MTV:
“My focus is not bigger; it’s quality, and I want to make sure it’s something I’m proud of years from now,” she says later on. “It’s very difficult managing myself. Every night when I go to sleep, I ask hundreds of questions. I’m making mistakes, and I’m learning from them. I’ve never been afraid to fall — and I say all these things, but now I’m being tested.”
The senior Knowles wasn’t just another stage dad. He was a high-level marketing executive at IBM before leaving the company to market his daughter’s career. From the beginning, the infrastructure and the strategy to maximize Beyoncé’s talent for mass consumption was in place.
Beyoncé talks a lot about her artistry in her film’s narration, but her success can be credited just as much to her ability to view herself as a product. Beyoncé isn’t a person for her audience to get to know. She is an experience to be bought and aspired to. She may have been born to entertain, but she was brought up to be a business.
And just like any other new entrepreneur, her time in business has been marked by highs and lows. Here’s a recap of what Beyonce has accomplished since striking out on her own. How do you think she did?
Sales & Income
- “4” is her first album not to go multi-platinum
- Comes in at number 16 on Forbes 2012 “Celebrity 100″ list, having earned $40 million in the past year.
- Releases “Run The World (Girls)” as first single from album “4,” igniting a debate on whether Beyonce is good for feminism.
- Announces pregnancy during her performance of “Love On Top” at the 2011 MTV VMAs; breaks the “most tweets per second recorded for a single event” Twitter record and makes the “Love On Top” the highest charting single of the album.
- Settles scandal over pre-recorded vocals for the inauguration by singing the national anthem live at Super Bowl press conference.
- Partners with First Lady Michelle Obama to boost her campaign against child obesity.
- Becomes an ambassador the 2012 World Humanitarian Day campaign; her song “I Was Here” becomes the campaign theme song.
- Partners with Pepsi in $50 million creative development deal; critics believe this deal goes against work with First Lady.
- Receives two nominations at the 54th Grammy Awards; Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Party”, and Best Long Form Music Video for I Am… World Tour
- Receives Millennium Award at the 2011 Billboard Awards
- Wins for Best Traditional R&B Performance for “Love on Top” at the 55th Grammy Awards.
- Takes the stage at New York’s Roseland Ballroom in “4 Intimate Nights with Beyonce.”
- Became the first solo female artist to headline the Pyramid stage at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival in over twenty years.
- Stages “Revel Presents: Beyonce Live” over four nights as a comeback after giving birth
- Sings the national anthem at the second inauguration for President Barack Obama.
- Serves as half-time performance at Super Bowl XLVII.
So the question is: Can we call Beyonce a mogul? How do you define a mogul these days?
C. Cleveland is a freelance writer and content strategist in New York City, perfecting living the fierce life at The Red Read. She is at your service on Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Beyonce’s Siamese Twin Sister Tells All! Exclusive Keyonce Bowles Documentary: ‘Life Is But A Scream’
She’s baaaaaaaack. No longer willing to be outshined by her twin sister, Keyonce Bowles decided to debut a documentary of her own on the same night as her Siamese twin sister. While Bey may have just told the world “Life is But a Dream,” for Key, “Life is But a Scream.” See her exclusive Madame Noire documentary right here.
That’s right, Baddie Bey isn’t the only one with a documentary debuting today. While HBO airs Beyonce Knowles’ “Life is But a Dream” special tonight, her Siamese twin sister, Keyonce Bowles, will be premiering her own documentary right here on Madamenoire.com: “Life Is But a Scream.”
In October, Keyonce came forward with her story of what it’s like to be the unknown sister of King Bey, now we uncover how her life has changed since she entered the spotlight. Watch the trailer for her special and check back for her documentary at 10:30 pm right here.
She Just Thought You Should Know: Beyonce Opens Up About Pregnancy, Miscarriage & ‘That’ Pregnancy Rumor
Before you all get mad at me, let me point out that “Bey season” has officially begun and there will likely be a rise in talks about Beyonce. Just bare with us, okay? This is entertainment news and Bey is…an entertainer. Still mad at me? Well, I tried. Let’s move on!
We’re starting to hear more and more about Beyonce’s documentary Life Is But A Dream which will premiere in February on HBO. USA Today was able to get an advanced screening and apparently, Bey decided to be extremely candid when speaking about pregnancy. By now, most of us have seen the trailer for the doc and know that we get a quick glimpse of her belly in the very early stages of her pregnancy with now one year old Blue Ivy.
But it goes deeper than that. She speaks on her miscarriage and how one week there was a heartbeat and the next week, she heard nothing. If you recall, we first learned about the Carters’ miscarriage on Jay-Z’s song dedicated to Blue, “Glory.” Beyonce says the studio became an outlet for her to deal with the loss.
Oh and about that rumor that she didn’t actually have a baby? Here’s what Bey had to say:
“There’s a stupid rumor. The most ridiculous rumor I think I’ve ever had about me. It’s crazy. To think I would be that vain – I respect mothers and women so much and to be able to experience bringing a child into this world, if you’re lucky and fortunate enough to experience that, I would never, ever take that for granted. It’s the most powerful thing you can do. Especially after losing a child, the pain and trauma from that just makes it mean so much more to get an opportunity to bring life into the world. It seems like people should have boundaries.”
I’m sure this does nothing for those of you who believe she didn’t carry Blue but she’s finally addressed it directly.
It’ll be interesting to see what else she has to say or share because as we learned in the GQ interview, she is filmed 16 hours a day. As much as people may love her, the struggle in her fame is that people still don’t feel like they know her and I’m not exactly sure the filming schedule will make her seem more believable. Still, there’s got to be something in all that footage that makes her feel more relatable, right?
Life Is But A Dream premieres on HBO on February 16th at 9pm.