All Articles Tagged "lee daniels"
Lee Daniels has never shied away from his sexuality since stepping into the mainstream, following the success of such films as “Precious,” “The Butler,” and now his Fox show “Empire.” But for the first time ever, the 55-year-old critically-acclaimed director is putting it all out there when it comes to his five-year relationship with 33-year-old boyfriend Jahil Fisher and the joys of their union (the sex) as well as the insecurities (the age difference) and what makes their partnership more special than ones he had in the past. Both men were profiled in Out Magazine earlier this month and this is what Daniels had to say about the man by his side and how they make their relationship work.
On what attracted him to Fisher
“I heard his voice before I saw him, and that’s what attracted me first — the laughter. Then I was blown away by his sense of humor. He’s pure and in the moment, and he doesn’t have a poker face. When he’s happy, it’s like happiness on steroids, and his physical features change if he’s upset. I hide my stuff well — I’ve learned to. But he doesn’t. And he makes me laugh. It’s a completely different mind-set: He introduced me to The Real Housewives of Atlanta and he’s best friends with the Kardashians’ hairstylist. He’s very hip, and he brings all of that into my antiquated way of thinking.”
Their age difference
“[I]t’s tricky. I’m 55 and he’s 33, so there’s a huge age difference between us, and I’m nervous about that. Thinking of the future, I get very Demi Moore–ish about it all. But if I’m living in the now, I know that each of my relationships has given me something important. My first gave me kids. My second gave me stability. This one — he makes me feel more responsible and accountable.”
Their sex life
“[T]he sex is continually off the chain. I remember first being attracted to his legs, and it’s nice to be in a relationship where, five years in, the sex is still there. That’s unique for me, because I get bored quickly.”
How fame affects their relationship
“I feel very protective of him. He was bullied horrifically as a kid, and he’s still bullied on the streets. And it’s hard for him when we’re in public. I’ve seen people push him out of the way to have a conversation with me. It’s the nature of the beast, but it’s disturbing, and I’ve freaked out. And while he has his own identity, I know he gets lonely during my absences, which can be weeks on end sometimes. That’s why I’ve decided that whatever film I’m doing now has to be shot in New York City — so I can be close to him.”
Check out what Fisher had to say about being with the very “intense” Daniels and quitting his job to support his man’s gift on Out.com. What do you think?
When Denzel Washington’s acting career was first taking off, he did a few television movies here and there, and played Dr. Phillip Chandler on more than 130 episodes of the hit NBC show “St. Elsewhere.” But after two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, a Tony, and a slew of lauded performances over a career spanning more than three decades, could he finally make a return to television? If director Lee Daniels has his way, his good friend could be back on TV sooner than later.
When chatting with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daniels said that after watching “Empire’s” pilot, Washington seemed excited about the possibility of making an appearance in some form or fashion.
“Denzel hasn’t done television in 30 years. But he saw the pilot and said, ‘I’ve got to be a part of this.'”
And it looks like it might really happen. Daniels posted pictures on his Instagram account from a big dinner he had in Hollywood over the weekend at Giorgio’s at the Standard. Denzel was in those pictures, along with “Empire” cast members Jussie Smollet and Tasha Smith, friends Lenny Kravitz and Brandy, along with Common and even George Clinton (yes, Parliament’s George Clinton). Daniels is working hard to get Washington on board: “Trying to talk this one into doing a guest star on#empire #nextweekdinneronme”
Big stars slated to appear in this season alone include Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Naomi Campbell (who we saw in episode three), Mary J. Blige, Courtney Love, Lenny Kravitz, Foxy Brown, Snoop Dogg, Mariah Carey, and even Patti LaBelle. But Denzel Washington? Now that would be a kick-ass episode! Fingers crossed!
Oh yeah, while you wait with your fingers crossed, check out a few more pics from Daniels’ recent chic and invitation-only dinner outings:
“Empire” is already a big hit on FOX after the premiere ended up pulling the biggest numbers for a show debuting on the network in years. And now that people are thirsty to see how the storyline will unfold, for the show’s creator, Lee Daniels, it’s time to line up some big guest stars. We’ve already seen Naomi Campbell and Courtney Love in previews for the full season, but other big stars set to appear include Snoop Dogg, and according to the rapper’s Instagram page, Foxy Brown.
Sharing an alleged text message between herself and Daniels, Fox Boogie/Bizzle let followers know that they would be seeing her on TV sometime very soon:
To say she’s excited would pretty much be an understatement.
When the show premiered last week, she helped promote it on her social media and hinted that something big was on the way:
“My baby Lee Daniels Killed it! @TarajiPHenson Bodied it! AND Y’ALL KNOW WE GOT SOME SURPRISES COMING BABY!”
I haven’t seen Foxy Brown on-screen since Woo, but this should be good!
Did you get a chance to watch the new Lee Daniels-produced, Timbaland-scored Fox series “Empire”? If you did you saw, like most of us, that the show was not only entertaining the storyline was pretty engaging. I know, personally, I’m excited to see what happens. But if there was a standout in the show, it was undeniably Taraji P. Henson in the role of Cookie Lyon. Homegirl absolutely slayed and then stole every scene she was in. Check out some of her best moments.
Tonight another set of brown faces will be added to our TV lineup as Fox debuts its latest series, “Empire.” Starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson, the hip-hop family drama explores the grit and grim of running and being a part of a music empire and last night we got a chance to chat with some of the stars of the show like Terrence Howard, Malik Yoba, and show creator Lee Daniels. Watch our “Empire” Red Carpet coverage to see what they all had to say about this non-politically correct drama series, and more importantly see why Lee Daniels called Terrence Howard a bastard.
Yesterday, I saw an advance screening of the new Fox television series “Empire,” which was written by Lee Daniels. I can see the gazillion think pieces that will come up about it already…
I don’t want to give much away about the show, which is scheduled to premiere Wednesday, January 7. But I will say that the pilot episode of the series, which stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson in a family drama that centers around a hip-hop mogul named Lucius Lyon, his felon ex-wife and their three adult sons, will be pretty polarizing and a bit jarring, mainly because of how the series goes about addressing what it is like to be gay within the black community.
Again, I don’t want to spoil the pilot episode for anyone, but I will say that there is a kiss shared between Jamal, who is one of Lyon’s sons, and his live-in boyfriend Michael Sanchez. It happens in the same scene where Jamal explains to Michael why it is unlikely that he would be chosen by his father to run the family business, which is up for grabs. In short: He thinks he would be shut out because he is gay, and hip-hop would never accept a gay hip-hop mogul. Nor would his father, Lucius, who while still present in his son’s life, is pretty homophobic and acts ashamed of Jamal at times. As his Latin lover does his best to reassure him that everything would work out, Jamal shakes his head and says, “the black community is notoriously homophobic.”
At this point is when I groaned because, well, really?
For a split second, I was a bit offended at the generalization of an entire community as being “notorious” in our bigotry towards the LGBTQ community. I’m black. And I live in a black community. While probably not the best ally on the squad, I do my best to not be homophobic – much in the same way that some white people, bred in white supremacy culture, do their best to not be racist. And I know there are others like me and better in their acceptance. So why do the select few homophobes seem to always speak for an entire group of people? Because we are talking about a select few who feel this way about gay people, right?
But then in the next scene, Michael, the Latin lover, pulls his despondent boyfriend Jamal into his arms and they share a kiss, and the mostly black audience I was sharing this screening with simultaneously groan and suck their teeth. After I palmed my face in embarrassment, I started ruminating in my mind about how this must be exactly how some white people feel about their racist uncle Jeb…
As much as I hate to admit it, black folks have no chill when it comes to expressing disdain or even fear towards gay folks. We are brash and unapologetic and always politically incorrect about it all. Some even make and dance to music about it. This outward expression of homophobia and antagonism is why I am not at all surprised at the way in which Daniels, who is gay, has decided to present the topic of homosexuality within the black community on his series.
And if you’ll recall from a previous interview, Daniels spoke very honestly about how he believes this homophobia has manifested itself into a dangerous down-low culture in the community. More specifically, the Precious director spoke on “Larry King Live” (as transcribed by the Huffington Post) about a visit to a health clinic, which mostly serves Black women:
“They [the center] service black women with AIDS. Why? Because black men can’t come out. Why? Because simply you can’t do it. Your family says it, your church says it, your teachers say it, your parents say it, your friends say it, your work says it. So you’re living on this ‘DL’ thing and you’re infecting black women. So it’s killing us. I think that because the black culture and the Hispanic culture have a thing about this.”
At the time of those comments, Daniels received lots of pushback from quite a few people who thought his comments were misinformed as well as inflammatory. However, he is not the only Black gay celebrity to have made those statements. Wanda Sykes once told Piers Morgan that being gay today was way harder than being Black in America. And most recently, Tyler James Williams, star of the recently NAACP Image Award nominated film Dear White People, told the Huffington Post:
“Whether we like to address it or not, the African American community is notoriously homophobic. We have been coming up on this rough side of the mountain, as far as civil rights issues go, but we haven’t necessarily addressed the fact that there is a whole other side to that civil rights coin, which are gay rights.”
He continued on about the lack of progression in LGBTQ characters on-screen:
“I feel like the new stereotypical character[s] are gay characters, where you can’t just have a regular everyday guy who just happens to be gay, just like many people that I know. You don’t automatically need to see and know that [the character is] gay just by his mannerisms. That’s not everybody.”
As annoying as the blanket statements are, I would be disingenuous if I didn’t acknowledge and co-sign the ways in which certain cultural structures make certain folks, including those within the Black LGBTQ community, feel like outsiders. That has to be seriously and intentionally dealt with.
Still, is the centering in on the Black community as “notoriously homophobic” really a fair assessment of the community at large? Also, does it really help to whitewash over the entire “Black” community, which does also include Black people, who are also gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning? For one, there are very few cultural, racial and ethnic groups on this planet who aren’t fighting for rights and respect as LGBTQ people. And those other groups are not just brown folks.
There are videos of white kids being kicked out of the house, disowned and even brutally beaten by homophobic parents. There are tales of killings and suicides of mostly young white kids bullied for being, or just allegedly being, gay. Russia has a horrible human rights record when it comes to LGBTQ issues. Not to mention that the most fierce political opposition to gay rights here in America comes from Republicans.
I am in no way excusing the homophobia in hip-hop, but let’s not forget that some of the biggest consumers (and producers) of its homophobic as well as misogynistic content are white people. You would think that a show about the hip-hop industry would make note of that. And even among predominately white produced film and television shows, there is a fear of homosexuality. What comes instantly to mind is the hilariously yet antagonist “You Know How I Know You’re Gay?” scenes in the film 40 Year Old Virgin, in which two characters trade jabs back and forth about who is more gay. Although it is all wrapped up in innocuous mockery (one of the jabs was that a guy was gay because he made spinach dip and sourdough bread once), the implication here is that “gay” is an insult and the complete opposite of what you are supposed to be.
And this happens a lot on mainstream and predominately white media lots. Whereas black folks are loud, bold and upfront about our fears, white folks are more subtle. Moreover, their fears are normalized into the culture, which presents it as the standard of decency, even if the standard is not all that progressive in itself. But it is Black folks who get called out for being “notoriously homophobic.” The whole narrative reeks of the same sort of Cesare Lombroso-esque cultural maligning, which likes to paint Black folks specifically as both primitive and uncivilized compared to the rest of society.
Not to mention, it’s simply not true. As noted by Gene Demby of NPR, while Georgetown researcher Greg Lewis has found that is true that “black folks are less likely than white people to believe that homosexuality is ‘not wrong at all ‘(25 percent to 40 percent). He also found that the gap is true even when he controlled for other variables like educational attainment, church attendance and age. Yet blacks have historically been more likely to support nondiscrimination initiatives for gay people.”
I don’t know what it is like for a gay kid to grow up in inhospitable surroundings, but I can imagine that it is not an easy life. I don’t want to lesson that or make it appear insignificant at all. No buts about it. I do hope that Daniels can parlay this part of the storyline into a more nuanced story about Black gay male life specifically. Perhaps, taking a cue from Tyler James Williams, by eventually turning the Jamal character into an “everyday guy that happens to be gay.” In the end, I am not opposed to having conversations about homophobia within the black community, and what can be done to change it, but I just hope that the conversations we do have are fair ones.
Looks like Nick Cannon lost out on that much coveted Richard Pryor role, even after that very unfortunate hair cut.
Instead the role went to fellow comedian Mike Epps. And judging by Epps’ past in the dramatic field (see Sparkle), I would say this is a pretty good choice.
And if you didn’t believe it was official, all you have to do is look at Oprah’s Instagram page for confirmation. A couple of weeks ago, Winfrey posted a picture of herself, director Lee Daniels and the film’s star after one of their first read throughs of the script.
So what role will Oprah play?
She’s going to be a pimp.
If you know anything about Richard Pryor, you know his formative years weren’t exactly…conventional. As a child Pryor was raised in his grandmother’s brothel in Peoria, Illinois where his mother was a prostitute. His mother abandoned him when he was 10 and his grandmother, a notoriously violent, woman raised him.
Richard Pryor’s widow, Jennifer told TMZ, once Oprah got the script she was desperate to play Marie Carter, Pryor’s grandmother because she’s anxious to play a more, meaty and gritty role after her performance in The Butler.
In random entertainment news, Former Rock-A-Fella Records CEO Damon Dash is reportedly suing Lee Daniels—at least that’s what TMZ is reporting.
According to reports, Daniels and Dash entered into an agreement ten years ago where Dash invested in Daniels’ film projects—including “Precious,” “The Woodsman,” “Precious,” “The Paperboy” and “The Butler.” Dash claims that he invested $2 million into Daniels’ “The Woodsman” project, but never received a dime in return.
Daniels “attempt(ed) to deprive (Dash) of the monetary benefits and producer and executive producer credits owed to Mr. Dash as per the parties’ agreements,” the summons said, according to Business Insider.
Damon also argues that he was swindled out of his executive producer and credits on the projects. As a result, asking for no less than $25 million from the director. So far, Lee Daniels’ reps have yet to respond to the allegations.
Most of us remember Brian Banks, the football player who was falsely accused of rape at 16 and spent five years in prison. And even when he was released, he had to register as a sex offender and had trouble finding work.
After his exoneration, at 26, Banks decided to release a documentary describing what his life had been like for the past ten years. And he started a Kickstarter to help raise funds for the project. He ended up earning $47,000.
After two years the film is not complete because it grew far beyond Banks’ own expectations. He shared that initially he thought it would be a small project but as more and more people learned about his story, they wanted to help him. First he was trying out for NFL teams, eventually joining the Atlanta Falcons for training camp. He would go on to play in four games during last year’s NFL season.
And in the meantime, Banks has been touring the country speaking at schools, organizations and events across the country and meeting with politicians and lawmakers bringing awareness to wrongful convictions.
Most recently Banks’ documentary attracted the attention of Michele Farinola, the producer behind the Oscare winning documentary Undefeated.
And then on top of all that good news, Lee Daniels, director of The Butler and Precious has signed on to direct a scripted feature film based on Banks’ story.
The project is currently looking for screenwriters.
It’ll be interesting to see what Daniels does with the feature film but personally I’m more interested in the documentary.
Check out the video Brian used to solicit funds for his Kickstarter.
“Do You Want To Be A King?” Watch The Trailer For The New Series, “Empire” Starring Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson
There are a wealth of new shows coming to TV this fall, and we’re happy to say that quite a few have black leads. One such example is the new drama from FOX called “Empire,” starring Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson.
According to Shadow and Act, the show stars Howard as Lucious Lyon, the head of the record label Empire Entertainment, which is on the verge of an IPO. Aka, big money, big money money money money. Henson is Cookie (yes, Cookie) Lyon, the ex-wife of Lucious who was just released from prison after 17 years for dealing drugs, and drug money she acquired helped Lucious start his label. Of course, she is back and looking to claim what is hers out of his megahit label.
And to cap off the drama, there is beef between Lucious’ sons, Jamal (played by Jurnee Smollett’s brother Jussie), Hakeem (played by Bryshere Y. Gray), and Andre (played by Trai Byers), as they struggle with one another over their father’s empire. And did we mention that Lucious has only three years left to live because of cancer?
Talk about drama. I will say, the first minute or so of the trailer is a bit on the corny side, but as it went on, I saw a lot of potential for the drama. The show is directed by Lee Daniels, and The Butler writer, Danny Strong, is also working on it. Other guest roles include Gabourey Sidibe as Lucious’ assistant, Becky, and Macy Gray as a woman having an affair with Hakeem.
Check out the trailer for yourself and let us know if you think you will give it a chance, and why or why not.