All Articles Tagged "Hollywood"

“My Soul Is Unchanged…” Social Media Maven Simone Shepherd Addresses Her Nose Job

August 29th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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If you’re on social media, chances are you might have seen Simone Shepherd’s face. She, along with her collaborator and boyfriend King Keraun, have completely changed the game when it comes to content creation. The two, who got their start on Vine, utilize all social media platforms to not only make users laugh but also collect some checks along the way. Simone has said that when she found she wasn’t getting the roles she wanted, she decided to create them for herself.

And the rest is history. By history I mean, more than just internet popularity. Simone creates advertisements for large companies, including car companies. She’s done more than well in surviving in the fickle, entertainment industry. Since Simone is the one starring in a majority of her videos, her fans know her face. And they were the first to notice some changes in it.

Particularly, her nose job.

On a recent, Instagram picture, one fan pointed out the shifting of Simone’s face and expressed a bit of disappointment.

Social Media Maven Simone Shepherd Addresses Her Nose Job

Source: Instagram

Simone responded to the comments on Instagram.

Social Media Maven Simone Shepherd Addresses Her Nose Job

Source: Instagram

Later, she got on Facebook to offer a more in depth response.

Social Media Maven Simone Shepherd Addresses Her Nose Job

Source: Facebook

At the end of the day, I understand that our personhood is so much more than our outward, external appearance. We are souls, who just so happen to be housed in a body. And no matter what you do to your exterior, your soul, the essence of who you are, does not change. Still, it literally makes my heart hurt to think that Simone found her physical appearance lacking in some way before she got the nose job. I’m not against plastic surgery. I can understand how it can improve confidence and self esteem. The fact that she had a boob job bothers me much less than the decision to alter her nose.

While I don’t think tampering with your nose negates your Blackness, (Blackness is more than a wide nose.) I do believe that the notion that her nose needed to be smaller, narrower is based on a standard of beauty that doesn’t celebrate Black features. To make it plain, it’s a Eurocentric (read: White) standard that for far too long, has been one of the only representations we’ve seen in Hollywood. And it saddens me to think that Simone, who was and still is beautiful, might have fallen victim to that non-inclusive, “White-is-the-only-way-to-be-right” standard.

I don’t want to be too hard on Simone because I know that a barrage of negative or dissenting opinions on social media can be a bit too much for the psyche. Still, I feel like the reason her fans and I are so saddened by this decision is because for as long as we’ve seen Simone Shepherd out here on the social media scene, it appeared that she was succeeding on her own terms. We’ve watched as far too many of our favorite actresses and personalities of color have sliced and diced their faces. And while it might be a bit disappointing, it’s not all that surprising. People play the game to win. And plastic surgery is often a part of the recipe for success. But with Simone, it was clear that she had done it without all of that. She tried to cookie-cutter Hollywood formula and it didn’t work. And instead of giving up, changing her career path or living in the street as an embittered, starving artist. She took control over her own destiny, determined to do her own thing in a new and innovative way. And it paid off. Simone is so talented and so intelligently in tune with her audience and her brand, I’m sure she’ll be wining for a while. It just would have been nice if she could bucked another Hollywood standard and decided to kick down doors, defy tradition and succeed with the undeniably Black nose she was born with.

No Black Women Are In Top 10 On List Of Highest-Paid Actresses

August 25th, 2016 - By Ann Brown
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 Nicky Nelson/WENN.com

Nicky Nelson/WENN.com

Mo’Nique has complained about the Black women pay gap in Hollywood countless times and people painted her as a troublemaker. Chris Rock even came out and claimed that Black women get paid less than everybody in Hollywood. He said, “Black women have the hardest gig in show business. You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman — if she was Black, she’d really have something to complain about.”

Now here is evidence that is hard to refute. A new list from Forbes shows that the highest paid actresses make much less than actors, but Black actresses don’t even get in the top 10.

Jennifer Lawrence landed in the top spot for a second year in a row, pulling in $46 million in the year from June 1, 2015 to June 1, 2016. Coming in second was funny lady Melissa McCarthy with $33 million, followed by Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston in third and fourth with $25 and $21 million, respectively. Chinese actress Fan Bingbing finished fifth, with $17 million this year. Compare this to the list of top men, which lists men of color–Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who earned $64.5 million, followed by Jackie Chan at $61 million; Matt Damon, $55 million income; Tom Cruise, $53 million; and Johnny Depp, $48 million. Counting the receipts, The Rock outpaced Lawrence by almost $20 million. And these numbers include supplemental income from outside endorsements.

Still, glaringly missing in the top female moneymakers in Hollywood are Black women. And they haven’t made the Forbes list for nearly a decade. “Halle Berry, arguably the most recognizable Black actress in Hollywood, has been absent from the list despite starring in the X-Men franchise since 2000,” reported Atlanta Black Star.

Here’s’ the complete list of 2016’s highest-paid actresses:

  1. Jennifer Lawrence – $46 million
  2. Melissa McCarthy – $33 million
  3. Scarlett Johansson – $25 million
  4. Jennifer Aniston – $21 million
  5. Fan Bingbing – $17 million
  6. Charlize Theron – $16.5 million
  7. Amy Adams – $13.5 million
  8. Julia Roberts – $12 million
  9. Mila Kunis – $11 million
  10. Deepika Padukone – $10 million

Are you surprised?

Are You Tired Of Talking About Diversity In Hollywood? This Showrunner Is

August 7th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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During a Television Critics Association panel on Thursday (Aug. 4), Black-ish creator Kenya Barris made it known that he’s over the “D” word in Hollywood. Diversity, that is.

A journalist asked Barris about the percentage of African Americans that tune into the hit ABC comedy, interjecting that there was initially “uncertainty about how [the show] was going to be received by the African-American community” and Donald Trump “weighed and tweeted something about it being racist,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I will be so happy when diversity is not a word. I have the best job in the world and I am constantly having to talk about diversity. I have the best actors. It’s ridiculous,” Barris responded. “We’re in a time when everything is about black and white, and this and that. We get opportunities and we are happy to be the people who can step up and say, ‘We can do this.’ But these are amazing actors. It doesn’t matter who is watching our show. The fact is that they’re watching it.”

As we all know, Black-ish has amassed a large following and success since its 2014 debut (recently racking up three Emmy nominations: one each for Anderson and Ellis and then one for the series itself) but for the showrunner, questions as much plague the show. Instead of focusing on the talent, the tunnel vision focus on diversity distracts from the mission of the show, and Barris is fed up. “I feel like every question at every panel … I’m so tired of talking about diversity. These are amazing, talented actors and amazing writers who give their all … and it’s clouding the conversation.”

Tracee Ellis Ross, who was seated next to her co-star Anthony Anderson, chimed in on the conversation.  “Is that a question that you’ve asked other shows that are not predominantly of a certain color?” she asked the journalist to which he admitted, “Not necessarily.”

An visibly emotional Barris continued, “We’re so divisive as a community and we always have to box everything in, and I kind of feel like, isn’t it just a good family show? It’s specifically about a black family, but don’t you see yourself in it? Don’t you see your family reflected in it? Why is that important who watches the show? Why does it matter? Why do we have to keep having these conversations? Why can’t we just look at the show for what it is and celebrate these actors?”

What are your thoughts on this discussion and general conversation of diversity in Hollywood? While we as a people have fought raucously to be respected in the entertainment industry, is the push for diversity positive or negative in the overall scheme of things?

Was It Really That Difficult To Find An Asian Actress To Play The Lead In Ghost In The Shell?

April 20th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

The latest episode of Hollywood’s ongoing whitewashing saga comes in the form of the upcoming movie, Ghost in the Shell. Based on a wildly popular Japanese manga series that spawned three films, a TV series and video games, the upcoming live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell stars Scarlett Johansson. She plays a character named the Major, a law enforcement officer known as Motoko Kusanagi in the source material. Though the film won’t hit theaters until 2017, it’s already making news because of its blatant erasure of cultural and racial identity. A character conceived and written as Japanese, who lives and works in an environment distinctly reflective of a technologically booming Japanese economy does not automatically make one think of Johansson, her talents aside.

This, on top of rumors from independent sources who, according to ScreenRant, claim that Paramount and DreamWorks “commissioned visual effects tests that would’ve altered Scarlett Johansson in post-production to ‘shift her ethnicity’ and make the Caucasian actress appear more Asian in the film.” Paramount, however, asserts that they did not and will not conduct such tests.

If that weren’t enough, writer/director Max Landis uploaded a self-described “profession-splaining” video on YouTube stating that the ownness of this epic fail lies not on the studio, the film industry, the director or ScarJo, but on the fact that there are no internationally recognized A-list female Asian celebrities. The system, he insists, is the reason why Johansson is the best thing that could have happened to this film; otherwise, it would not see the light of day.

There’s so much to unpack in this story. Let’s start here:

How about we stop promoting and encouraging the same lame, tired excuses? If there’s one thing we all know to be true about Hollywood, it’s that studios, directors, agencies, casting directors, etc. break talent, both on screen and behind the scenes. That’s a part of their job. It’s a tremendous amount of power and influence, none of which is 100 percent guaranteed by the way, no matter what certain outdated or biased number crunchers assert to uphold the belief that White is standard, universal and the ideal against which everything else is measured. This is not an attack on Johansson or a suggestion that studios greenlight multimillion-dollar projects with inexperienced, just-started-acting-yesterday leads (although non-professional actors sparked movements like Italian neorealism – and with a lot less money), but was it really that difficult to find an Asian actress to play the lead role in Ghost in the Shell? If an Asian actress wasn’t even considered to begin with, why not? More importantly, how do we change the thinking and the practices that uphold whitewashing instead of simply blaming “the system”?

The system, by the way, is not some ether-adjacent, independent entity that movers and shakers in Hollywood are completely immune to, as Landis seems to suggest in his video. He also acknowledges that the film industry at large operates out of fear. That is precisely the problem. For a place that funds imagination and pours millions into stories conceived by creative minds – some in Hollywood lack exactly that – imagination. In the case of Ghost in the Shell, it seems that the studio could not imagine an Asian actress playing an Asian role. But if casting a known White actress is so safe, why is there a Care 2 petition nearly 95,000 signatures deep asking DreamWorks to reconsider casting Johansson? Why is all the talk surrounding this film about its whitewashing? If White is so safe, why did Gods of Egypt tank at the box office? Why were people up in arms about the casting of Emma Stone in Aloha, another flop at the box office?

Virtually every film that is made is a risk. But Hollywood is in the risk-taking business. And while I personally would not consider hiring a non-A-list, non-White actress to play the lead in Ghost in the Shell a bold act, imagine the discussion we would be having if the studio took that “risk.” By playing it old-school safe, the studios behind this film upheld a system (there goes that “s” word again) that would erase cultural and racial identity, all while, if the rumors are true, attempting to give a White actress Asian features. This is a huge part of the reason why the words “access,” “opportunity” and “inclusion” hover in the dense L.A. smog and circulate in every entertainment-related report.

It’s also ironic that Paramount is adapting Ghost in the Shell, but stripping it of its intrinsic identity. Adaptation is so common in the realm of entertainment. A great deal of the films and some television shows out there are adapted from another source, be it a book, a short story, a film or show from another country. This happens so often because once something is a proven hit or has a so-called built-in audience, studios equate that with money. And while things naturally change during the adaptation process, it’s clear that some of the changes being made to Ghost in the Shell are unwanted and unnecessary. So if this film goes the way of Gods of Egypt, we’ll all know why.

Terrence J Addresses Criticism Of “Colorism” In “The Perfect Match”

March 10th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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When the poster and trailer for the new, Terrence J-led film, The Perfect Match, hit the internet, there was a bit of a controversy as to why all of the actors and even entertainers who made cameos were light complected. So when we had the chance to sit down and chat with Terrence J, who stars in and executive produces the film, we had to ask him about it. See what he has to say about colorism, how men and women handle heartbreak differently, and how the movie is about men learning to understand the value of a woman. Check out the video above.

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies? Hollywood’s Crazy Movie Mashup Trend

February 26th, 2016 - By Nneka Samuel
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Madea vs. Freddy Kreuger

Image: Madea vs. Freddy Kreuger

Hollywood has a thing for combining well-known entities, historical figures, and popular genres into movie mashups like Alien vs. Predator, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and the recent parody, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Makes you wonder whether executives and studios are randomly picking a bunch of words and names out of a hat or using a Netflix algorithm to create the films that they’ll pour millions of dollars into and expect moviegoers to support.  But support they will because mashups above all else prove that there’s an audience for all kinds of content. (So there’s really no excuse the next time Hollywood denies a Black film for fear it’s too niche, not marketable, etc.)

For kicks and giggles, here are some movie mashups featuring modern Black films and beloved classics of yesteryear.  Don’t be surprised if you see one of these crazy concepts in a theater near you (or on demand)!

Creed Marvel Mashup

Captain America Creed Avengers

Pretty straightforward, here.  Lots of ass-kicking, plenty of superheroes.  There’s room for all kinds of factions, alliances and in-fighting.  Michael B. Jordan will have his shirt off for at least two-thirds of the movie.  Most importantly, Captain America Creed Avengers can produce prequels and sequels, which equals Hollywood gold.  Booyah, cha-ching.

Celebrities Who Successfully Rebranded Themselves

February 9th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Feeling bogged down by the past? Take a lesson from these celebrities who rebranded their way to Hollywood success.

In Tinseltown, your reputation is everything. So when the buzz got bad for these Hollywood stars, they simply decided to change the conversation. They went from Hollywood bad boys and girls to some of the most respected celebrities on the red carpet. And some of these 180s were so good that we completely forgot about their not-so-clean reputations from way back when.

These famous celebrities who rebranded themselves remind us that it’s never too late to turn things around. If these stars can go from prison to popularity overnight, certainly we can make moves and change up our own image.

What’s your favorite celebrity comeback story? Or do you have your own inspirational story of image rehab to share? Leave it all in the comments so we can spread some of the inspiration around!

About Time! Celebrities Who Finally Got A Star On The Walk Of Fame

February 1st, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Planning a trip to the Hollywood Walk of Fame sometime soon? Even though there are nearly 3,000 stars moving up and down that long walk, there are a lot of deserving celebrities who have been left out for a long time while newer, more popular celebrities have been receiving such honors sooner than later. But just around the time we were all wondering if these celebrities were ever going to get their own star, they were finally immortalized on Hollywood Blvd.

So the next time you make a trip to that other H-Town, be sure to be on the lookout for these stars who were recently added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

Pharrell

“Happy” was Pharrell’s latest hit to blow the charts away. But he was making hits long before the minions were dancing along to his tune. Did you know that one of Pharrell’s first hits was “Rumpshaker” way back in 1992? Talk about a Hollywood star that’s overdue!

Honestly, Janet Hubert Has A Good Reason To Be Bitter…And It’s Bigger Than The Smiths

January 22nd, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Source: NBC

Source: NBC

So, Janet Hubert is still talking…

More specifically, Hubert has done an interview with the LA Times elaborating more on her disdain for the Smiths as well as talk of a boycott.

The interview is very insightful; and way too long to copy and paste here, So I encourage you to read the whole thing. But for the sake of brevity, I just want to focus on her responses to the criticisms that her original call-out of the Smiths was rooted in bitterness.

In particular:

People have said you’re bitter for bringing up “old stuff.” How do you respond?

Every day of my life, I’ve had to deal with “old stuff.” Every time I try to move forward, somebody brings up “Fresh Prince.” Every time I walk into a room or make a phone call, somebody brings up “Fresh Prince.” I brought that story up simply to say, “You didn’t stand up 25 or whatever years ago to get more money for your cast” — and I asked him as a fellow actor, not as the person who owned the show. I had no idea. I brought it up to say that if you don’t stand up all the time, you can’t pick and choose when you decide to stand up.

If you Google me, you’ll see I’ve worked with the [National Coalition on Black Civic Participation’s] Black Women’s Roundtable from school to school, community center to community center, church to church. I’ve always been a warrior.

I have dealt with the ramifications of [rumors about being difficult on the “Fresh Prince” set] and I’m tired. You’re asking my fellow actors to step out and put their lives in jeopardy, and hang themselves the way you hung me. No, bro. I’m not going to let you do that. Especially when you put your woman out there to do it.

What then do you have to say regarding the broader issue of diversity in Hollywood, as it pertains to award shows?

Why do people need awards? Don’t you know your value and your worth? I don’t need anybody’s award or acceptance. We have a bigger problem. There needs to be huge changes in the system, but it’s not our system. Let’s make our own system. But I don’t want to hear those two. When you don’t stand up for the people who helped you get your start and now you’re asking people to stand up with you, it’s ironic to me. And it’s suspect.

If I understand correctly, you’re saying diversity is an issue, but black Hollywood has its own problems?

I think the black community has a lot to work on internally with what they deem successful. Did you know NeNe Leakes made it on Broadway before Janet Hubert? Something’s wrong with the whole system of bad behavior being rewarded. I think in the black community, ratchet has became the new black, ghetto has become the new black.”

This is not just about the Oscars. And truthfully, it doesn’t sound like it is just about The Smiths either.

For all intents and purposes, it is clear that Hubert feels a bit slighted here by all of Hollywood. Some may call it bitterness. I could definitely see that.

But if we are being honest, we can also see where she is coming from. And that is important too.

Because it is a narrative that speaks to how we tend to treat and relate to each other. In particular, how we treat those of us who have not been chosen as “exceptional” by the very institutions, which do not respect us all.

Even without White folks being present; (which is a oxymoron because thanks to White supremacy, the White gaze is omnipresent), Black folks will still make decisions about each other based upon what White folks think.

That’s what I gathered from her first video in which she called out Will Smith for not standing with her during contract negotiations. And that is also what I gather from Hubert when I read this portion of the aforementioned interview:

So you’re not saying diversity in Hollywood isn’t an issue?

We’re all complaining about diversity in Hollywood, but we’ve got to address the colorism within the black community of Hollywood first. I’m called “dark-skinned Aunt Viv.” [Reid] is called “light-skinned Aunt Viv.” The whole ridiculousness of black Hollywood — there is no black Hollywood. It’s every man for himself. We’ve got to address that first before we can start attacking someone else’s awards that were never designed for us.

The Oscars were never designed for us. There are actors who have never gotten an Oscar and have done amazing work. If you are waiting for an award of a little … gold statue and that’s supposed to validate you, then you’re not in this business for the right reasons. We do the work. It’s about the work. It’s about taking the pages of a script and bringing them to life. It ain’t that deep. We get paid a lot of money to do very little work.”

Hubert might be bitter. How else can you explain her saying “it ain’t that deep. We get paid a lot of money to do very little work” after a lifetime of calling out folks for not taking the issues that Black folks go through in Hollywood seriously?

Still, there is no denying that she has suffered greatly for being the difficult one in an industry, which has been less than welcoming to Black folks.  And while everyone was keeping their heads down low and doing all of the things that Hollywood told them to do and be, Hubert had something to say (and seeing how she is now, we can imagine that she had something to say about all of it).

And when she stood up, she found herself standing alone – and ostracized for it. And not just by White folks but by a bunch of us too, who felt she and her causes were too much of a risk and a liability to their own careers to be on that “old radical stuff.”

Generally, I agree with the Smiths’ personal pledge to not only boycott the Oscars but to bring resources back to the community. Regardless of what the motivation, the outcome of said action has the potential to bring about a lot of reform, which could help a lot of Black folks in Hollywood make inroads – even Hubert’s bitter behind.

But I also believe that Hubert has a right to feel some type of way about years of being passed over and disregarded in favor of folks who might be less trained but could say “yessir” more.

And while we are calling out White folks in Hollywood for overlooking us, we need to pay attention to the ways in which we have been complacent in our own oppression.

Lionsgate Apologizes For Whitewashing “Gods of Egypt”, Ava DuVernay Responds

November 30th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Women In Film 2015 Crystal + Lucy Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Featuring: Ava DuVernay Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 17 Jun 2015 Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

In this digital age, it’s easy to express collective outrage over a particular subject or event. Such was the case when the poster for Gods of Egypt was released. As the title suggests, the movie takes place in Egypt. Yet, the primary actors and actresses are White.

The people spoke up about their confusion and disgust of the blatant and unnecessary Whitewashing.

Their voices were so loud that both Lionsgate and the film’s director Alex Proyas apologized for the lack of diversity in their casting choices.

Proyas said, “The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse.”

Then the studio reiterated the statement.

“We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize.”

The apology means very little considering the studio is not planning on changing anything,

Director Ava DuVernay stepped forward to say as much.

Then she celebrated the films that are starring actors of color.

Facts.

What do you think about the apologies? Does it mean anything to you?