All Articles Tagged "Entertainment"
Meet Karen Civil, Social Media Maven, and Founder of Always Civil Enterprise. After crafting social media campaigns for artists and brands, including Lil' Wayne and Beats by Dre, this entertainment powerhouse leveraged her connections and name to create a strong lifestyle brand that is slowly becoming a household name. Find out why She's The Boss.
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A woman of many talents, Eboyne’ Jackson is a mogul in the making with an arsenal of talent as a brand strategist, lifestyle journalist, and creative visionary. As CEO/brand strategist for her boutique PR firm, Divine Influence PR, Eboyne’ found her niche in the beauty/entertainment industry, and has worked with many viable brands such as Echelon Hair, Lyfe Jennings, Jazmine Sullivan, Victoria Monet, Bethany “Queen B.” Bell, and Rodney Jon, scoring credible media placements for her clients in top outlets such as The REAL, Essence Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Fox, Arise TV, Ebony Magazine, and the Source. From producing shows during New York Fashion Week, to rubbing elbows with some of the industry’s elite such as Beyonce’, Rihanna, Kimora Lee Simmons, Vera Wang, Tracey Reese, Beat Face Honey, and Sam Fine, Eboyne’ Jackson is a woman on the move.
Check out her video entry above and for more info on how you can nominate a woman you know to “Be the Boss” and win a makeover courtesy of African Pride, click here.
The new trailer for She’s Got Game has reality show lovers already wondering who The Game is going to pick. And I have a feeling the rapper is going to surprise us. Remember these surprising winners of celebrity dating shows?
With school out soon, there are many ways to keep your little ones engaged while indoors. Consider introducing them to never before seen nostalgic classics from the 1990’s such as Cool Runnings or Good Burger–remember that one? Click continue to browse our selection of classics.
Flashback Friday: 17 Nostalgic 90’s Films to Share with the Kids
Rachel Dolezal may have made headlines, but she’s not the only person to lie about their race. These folks lied about their heritage to get ahead, get a job or get deeper into a major identity crisis.
Meet Courtney Kemp Agboh, co-creator, Executive Producer and showrunner for the Starz hit crime drama Power. Agboh, a Brown University graduate whose early days started in journalism, built her career in the writing chair with gigs working on shows like The Bernie Mac Show and The Good Wife. Power, which stars Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, Joseph Sikora, and Lela Loren, was recently renewed for a 10-episode third season and airs in more than 175 countries and territories worldwide. (50 Cent is a producer on the show.)
We chatted with Agohb about her experience as a woman of color in the TV industry, advice she has for aspiring writers, why she’s tired of people comparing the show to Empire, and her hopes for the show’s larger impact.
MadameNoire (MN): What has been your experience as a woman of color in the TV industry?
Courtney Kemp Agboh (CKA): Obviously I am Black and female all the time. You can’t really separate the two. I was recently quoted in Entertainment Weekly saying it was harder to be a woman than it was to be Black. They cut off the part where I meant as showrunner for Power. When people watch Power and they find out the showrunner is Black, it’s not surprising. What is surprising is that I am a woman and my background is not particularly urban. We use the word “urban” to mean Black or Latino but that’s not what the word means. It actually means “from the city.” I’m not from the city. I’m from the suburbs of Connecticut. I grew up with mostly all White people.
My experience as a Black woman in the industry is simply that often I was the only one in the room. Often I would be the only woman AND the only person of color. Sometimes I would be one of several women but the only person of color. Sometimes I would be one of several people of color, but the only woman.
I really wanted to do one-hour drama. I did not want to write specifically stories about people of color. I was interested in making a long career that looks (on paper) like anyone else’s career. If you look at my resume, it does not indicate my race at all. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t go the other route (and there will be more opportunities to go the other route now), but I think playing it safe and being around people who are like you is not going to give you the career you want. You have to get comfortable really quickly with being places alone.
MN: How did you hone your ability to create stories and characters that appeal?
CKA: It’s a tough thing. There’s a difference between talent and skill. You might have writing talent, but skill is learned. You have to practice. I remain teachable. I was sure that I didn’t know everything. People who work with me will tell you I don’t think I know everything. I watch people sink around me thinking that they knew everything. Or, that they showed up and thought their talent was enough.
You have to learn skills. I was fortunate and worked for great showrunners like Greg Berlanti, Michelle King, Jeff Melvin, and Yvette Lee Bowser (who created Living SIngle and is one of my mentors.) All of them taught me different skills. Some of those are writing skills. John Eisendrath (who runs The Black List) and I worked together briefly on My Own Worst Enemy. John knows more about story structure and reversals and where you need them in a story. He is so great at that. I really learned. It’s important to be open to different styles and to recognize that the medium and the message are not the same thing. Sometimes someone who may not be like you or may not agree with your point of view has a lot to teach you.
I think people (especially younger people) are vested in the instant gratification culture. If I write something, it’s good and it’s fast. I can just put it up. It’s [the world] of self-publishing. You press “tweet” and it’s there. It takes a long time to get to be good. I still have a long way until I think that I am good. I would also say any comparison between me and Shonda Rhimes is wrathful. Shonda is the Dick Wolfe of our generation. Shonda is an industry. I am one Black woman with one little show. Whenever people bring it up, I feel like I have to say don’t. I’m so irrelevant to her in what I’m doing and what she’s able to accomplish on a grand scale.
MN: Are people quick to compare you with Shonda Rhimes because the industry for Black showrunners is so small?
CKA: Yeah, that’s why people bring it up. I had one person say to me, “Has Shonda Rhimes opened any doors?” I’ve been asked that multiple times. Shonda and I have never met. She never opened the door for me at all, but Greg Berlanti and Robert and Michelle King did. They don’t look like me. They helped me get where I am.
In order to survive, human beings (like any other animal group)… we identify our own and then we go and are safe with them. Sometimes people think because people look like each other, that’s what engenders community. It doesn’t always.
I try to go out of my way to help young women, young women of color, and young people of color in general because I feel that is my responsibility. My parents raised me as “each one teach one.” As you go up the ladder, reach behind for those behind you. You can’t expect people to help you because they look like you.
MN: What is a good path to get on if you want to eventually be a showrunner on a hit show like Power?
CKA: My answer is not popular because it’s not about instant gratification. The path to get on is to get somebody’s coffee. You’ve got to go and start at the bottom. Work in the mailroom at an agency. If you really want to be a writer, the best thing to do is get that writer’s PA job where you are going to get everyone’s lunch every day and you are answering the phone. That’s how you get exposed to writers. In the industry, there are two ways to get a television writing job. You either get an agent and the agent sends you out for writing gigs. Or, you meet other writers and they go, “Hey, you know who I know…” and they make a phone call for you. You get the interview that way.
Write constantly. You have to always be writing. There’s no excuse for not having multiple scripts. Not just pilots. You have to have that but you need to have specs for it. I won’t hire you off of your pilot. I’m not interested in whether or not you can write a great piece of material that is about characters you created. That’s not what I’m hiring you for. I’m hiring you to write Power. Most of the job that television writers do is writing someone else’s show. I have eight writers. They are writing my show. When I was on The Good Wife, I was writing Robert and Michelle’s show. You have to go in and have that humility and skill set.
My assistant, the woman who worked for me the last three years… I promoted her to writer’s assistant now. She’s in the writer’s room on Power doing the notes. In time, I’ll promote her to staff writer and she will be a television writer. I promote from within. Some people don’t. Find out who those people are. To me, there’s no way to do it from outside.
I say 15 percent of people are so talented they can cold-send their script to an agent and somehow it will get read. With the other 85 percent (which includes me), you’ve got to work your way up. I didn’t do my coffee getting in the television industry. I was an editorial assistant at Mademoiselle. After that, I was a editorial assistant, then assistant editor at GQ. I worked my way up.
Here’s why this is important: If lightning struck and you were able to write a script that someone wanted to buy and make into a TV show today and you had no television writing experience up until that point, they would give you a showrunner who would run the show. You wouldn’t be the boss of your show. That’s why you have to work your way up. People don’t see that. I had 10 years of television experience before they let me run my own show.
MN: Some people have compared Power to Empire. How has the show Power pushed you as a writer to remain authentic?
CKA: It’s hard. That Empire comparison is frustrating. I find that we (as people of color) are doing this thing to ourselves that we always say we resist, which is the ghettoization. If you continue to compare Power and Empire, what is that conversation about? That conversation is about two shows that are completely different but have Black people in them. Instead of comparing Empire to great long-standing soaps like Dynasty or Grey’s Anatomy… any of these that are so awesome and delicious, people are comparing it to Power, which is not fair to that show because we have sex and violence that they can’t show. Our show is dark.
Instead of talking about our show and talking about The Sopranos and Breaking Bad… now the conversation is about Empire, which is a soap. I am more frustrated when Blacks say it. As long as we are trying to compete against each other, we are never going to get out of the box. It’s like a bunch of rats crawling over each other. Get out of that! Think about it as you’re trying to tell a great story and so are they.
MN: How is Power contributing to the larger conversation regarding diversity in media internationally and overseas?
CKA: When the show was being developed, there was some concern (not from Starz) that there would be no foreign market for the show because the lead of the show was African American. It was this thing that people were sadly, unashamed to say. They said shows with African American leads don’t sell overseas.
When I heard this I said what the hell has Will Smith been doing all this time? I keep seeing him opening movies overseas. Do people really care that much? Hip hop, rap, and R&B sales around the world are huge. Isn’t Beyonce the biggest star in the world? I was so confused about this idea that that people of color were somehow [unappealing] to our foreign neighbors. The show got made anyway. Starz believed in it from the beginning. Then we started to sell the show abroad. The idea that the show would not work overseas has been dispelled to some extent.
Before setting her sights on a career in stand-up and winning The Moth GrandSLAM storytelling competition, Clark she grew up in the entertainment industry. Her very first memories are of being on TV sets in LA.
“I wanted to do screenwriting, but I talk way too much. I knew my thing wasn’t to write, it was to perform. So I started taking improv classes,” she says.
Clark got the itch for stand-up unexpectedly when she was asked to perform a story solo on stage while studying at the ImprovOlympic in Chicago. She liked being on stage so much by herself that she decided to give performing stand-up comedy a shot.
“My first [performance] was around Christmastime and I found a journal with all the stuff I hoped my parents would get me for Christmas and it was really funny to me. So I read experts from the journal on stage. It went really well and I never stopped after that,” Clark says.
Since then she credits stand-up for opening a million doors. She’s performed at some well-known venues and events including the Laugh Factory, Comedy Store and the TBS Just For Laughs Festival. She found that most people who like stand-up also like hearing stories and that’s what gave her the idea to try her hand at The Moth open-mic contest in Chicago.
Moth StorySLAMs take place in several major cities. Participants are given a topic beforehand, then they must memorize and perform a five-minute story. A winner is chosen by audience judges and they move on to face off in the GrandSLAM Championship.
The story that won Clark the title of GrandSLAM Champion is on conflict and she’ll be performing a shortened version of it this Tuesday, May 12th at the highly anticipated Superheros Moth Ball taking place at Capitale in Manhattan. The ball is an annual fundraising event held to support The Moth organization, a nonprofit committed to the art and craft of storytelling. Proceeds of the ball go to The Moth productions like its radio show, podcast and community programs. The event will be hosted by storyteller Ophira Eisenberg and it will honor Louis CK, from the hit FX show Louie.
Attendees will enjoy cocktails plus stories from Clark and other GrandSLAM champions and dinner. Clark says she loves hearing other people’s stories and that’s what she’s most looking forward to at the ball. Without giving too much away about her own performance, Clark says the outcome of her story will be unexpected, but the audience will be entertained.
Out of all of her stand-up accomplishments, Clark says the best one so far was the first time she performed in California and received a standing ovation.
“Being a part of the TBS Just for Laughs Festival was considered a big thing to a lot of people. But for me [the standing ovation] was really big because I had never done comedy outside of Chicago. I know a lot of people who do stand-up that can only work certain crowds or people. I felt on ’10’ to be able to go to California, be an unknown and get a standing ovation. That’s the best feeling ever,” she says.
In addition to stand-up, Clark also fills in for a morning radio show in Chicago which she’s looking forward to doing more of in the future. Clark says her next steps are gaining more exposure in stand-up and as a radio personality. She’s also considered appearing on the small and big screen.
“I’ve always wanted to be a guest star on TV. I’ve never wanted to be a series regular. I’ve wanted to be the funny quirky character that has 10 minutes of screen time,” she says. “I also love being on the radio, so I see myself doing some more national radio spots. My goals are to do what I’m doing now on a greater scale.”
Outside of her father’s fame, Clark’s trying to make a name for herself and she’s even beginning to get noticed for her own work. “I was going for a walk yesterday and the Comcast man said, ‘I know you from somewhere… Oh, I saw you last month at a show,'” Clark laughs. “It’s cool to start getting recognized for stand-up.”
Tickets are still on sale to view the show at the 2015 Superheros Moth Ball, for a limited time. For updates on other performances by Clark connect with her on Twitter @MrTsDaughter or Facebook at Erica Nicole Clark.
— DIY Network (@DIYNetwork) March 19, 2015
It’s hard to be anything but stick-thin in Hollywood. But these celebrities who refuse to diet say they’re defining their own beauty standards — so keep your salad and your diet crazes to yourself.
When leafing through the files of relationships past, every woman asks herself “am I a good girlfriend?” And what does that mean anyway? We don’t know if we’ll ever come up with a definite answer. But in a mean time, these celebs dish on what it means to be a good partner. Do you agree?
With the premiere of the much anticipated biopic, Whitney, just hours away, Yaya DaCosta is definitely the queen of the night. The America’s Next Top Model alum has taken on the daunting task of portraying the late great Whitney Houston with respect to the family, friends, and fans who loved her. Something that audiences are hoping Lifetime has learned how to do the hard way (ahem– Aaliyah).
“It’s scary playing anybody who is a real live person,” Yaya admits to the Chicago Sun-Times. “There are people who knew that person that are going to look for evidence. They want to see similarities. …For me it was more about capturing her essence. It’s the overall essence that I was trying to portray. It’s her soul that I was hoping the audience would feel.”
For that, DaCosta turned to the film’s director, Angela Bassett, for some sage advice from someone who’s been there and done it– well. Well enough to earn an Academy Award nomination. It was Bassett who told her:
“It takes confidence and trust in oneself to be able to attempt to step into the shoes of someone so great. If there isn’t that trust within, it’s very difficult to make anybody else believe that you’re a diva.”
And it seems that Yaya had enough confidence left over to step into the shoes of some more greats. In the days leading up to the movie’s premiere, the young model and actress posed for a series of photos honoring eight legendary ladies and sparking a movement to unite women everywhere.
“I wanted to celebrate how Whitney always embraced sisterhood and do a photo series in the spirit of ‘I’m Every Woman’ (which I sing in the movie). This week, I’m paying homage to 8 other women who inspire me and I’m inviting us all to celebrate seeing ourselves in each other — no matter what color we are or where we come from.”
From Audrey Hepburn to Eartha Kitt, DaCosta captures the essence and the soul of each woman — make that, every woman — flawlessly.