All Articles Tagged "OWN"
The new OWN series Greenleaf has more drama than Joanne The Scammer. The soap opera-style series executive produced by Oprah Winfrey centers around a wealthy Black family and their megachurch in Memphis, Tenn. Given that Black churches are the backbone of Black culture, this show is crazy relatable. I’d assume, whether you’re rich or poor, nine out of 10 Black people know a super religious, self-righteous Southern lady or a scandal playing out behind the pulpit. Yet, as much as church folk can probably see their cousin’s cousin in the show and relate, it also has its flaws — and is best watched via on-demand when you’re tired of Netflix.
Within minutes of the premiere episode, Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge) returns to her hometown 20 years later for her sister Faith’s funeral. She’s not exactly welcomed with open arms as her mother Mae (Lynn Whitfield), a Southern primadonna, suspects that she will disrupt the peace. Likewise, Grace’s brother Jacob (Lamman Rucker) and sister Charity (Deborah Joy Winans) reject Grace’s presence back in the family’s estate as if she will steal their shine. It all seems like petty family drama until Grace accuses her Uncle Mac (Gregory Alan Williams) of being a sexual predator and the reason for her sister’s death.
Grace dredges up the past and reestablishes her role in the church family. And with the help of Oprah Winfrey’s Aunt Mavis, a bar owner and the least delusional character on the show, as well as her father Bishop James, a T.D. Jakes type of character played by Keith David, she forces everyone around her to come face to face with their demons.
Out of the gate, Greenleaf is melodramatic proof of what we already know: No one in the pulpit is perfect and Black families love covering up secrets with the Good Book. Uncovering the dark corners of spirituality, including characters who question God, grapple with homosexuality and take part in less than holy acts in the pulpit, this Craig Wright-penned series tackles Christian ethics and family secrets while trying to find a way to humanize every character involved.
However, some storylines are just so thin and predictable. For example, Charity’s husband Kevin (Tye White) poorly attempts to keep his homosexuality stashed in the church closet. And Jacob’s affair with a White girl? Seriously, OWN? Conversely, some key details are too slowly revealed or left out altogether. Wright may have purposely written holes in the episodes to keep the audiences tuned in to what is to come, but it often just feels like a church service that runs a little too long.
However, despite those hiccups, I believe that it is the best of OWN’s current scripted programming. (Seriously, guys, I can’t with Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor.) At least with this show, the acting is good, and it’s clear that the program definitely has potential.
For now, Greenleaf is good enough to hold us over until Empire returns with all its delicious Cookie drama. However, I do have a feeling that it will have a really hard time continuing to be a fan favorite once Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar steals all of our attention.
If all darkness comes to the light, it’s a safe bet that Greenleaf has a good chance of getting a whole lot crazier. So I don’t know about you, but at the very least, I’ll be watching until season’s end.
Last month, OWN released the first trailer for their new series, “Queen Sugar.” Not only was it beautifully shot. Thanks Ava! The story, based on Natalie Baszile’s novel seems intriguing. As a recap, the book follows Charley Bordelon, who lives in Los Angeles but relocates to Louisiana after her father’s death.
The series though, will place Nova in the position of the protagonist.
The series, according to OWN’s YouTube page, chronicles the lives of the estranged sisters Nova and Charley. After the death of their father, the family must run an ailing sugarcane farm in Saint Josephine, Louisiana.
DuVernay served as the director for the first two episodes and all subsequent ones will be led by other women. DuVernay, Melissa Carter and Oprah Winfrey serve as executive producers.
The series will air in the Fall.
We’ve been talking about the arrival of “Queen Sugar” for over a year now. And while it’s not exactly here yet, the time for its premiere is nearing.
Just yesterday, via their Facebook page, OWN dropped the series’ first trailer. For those who’ve missed the news about it, “Queen Sugar” is inspired by Natalie Baszile’s novel, bearing the same name. It follows the life of Charley Bordelon, who lives a privileged life in Los Angeles. But things change after her father’s death in Louisiana, forcing her to move there with her child.
But the series is going to flip a few things on its head. Instead of Charley being the main character, her sister Nova takes center stage. Retina Wesley, best known for her role as Tara in “True Blood,” will take on the lead role. While Dawn-Lyen Gardner will portray Charley.
Check out the trailer for the new show below.
From this brief clip, it would seem that Ava, Oprah and OWN just might have another hit on their hands this Fall.
I’ve seen the softer side of Evelyn Lozada up close. Each time we’ve spoken, she’s always fiery but never offensive, shady like an old friend but sweet and evidently cut from an authentic cloth. I’ve never seen the Bronx-bred Latina toss a bottle IRL, though as a Basketball Wives fan, I know she’s got it in her. On the VH1 show orchestrated by Shaunie O’Neal, she played a villainous bottle-tossing bully a lot of us cringed at and swore off as any type of role model. After her violent altercation with ex-husband and former NFL star, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, however, Lozada did the emotional labor to mature and finally showcase a side of herself that young women can learn a thing or two from on her reality show, Livin’ Lozada.
A shining star in the OWN network lineup, Lozada’s latest TV platform chronicles her life as she manages her mommy duties to 22-year-old daughter Shaniece and 2-year-old son Leo, expands her career and enjoys life with fiancé and MLB player, Carl Crawford. Here, Lozada’s hardened demeanor–fostered by an anger further steeled by a rocky relationship with her father, a lack of self-worth, and shi–y men she once dated––softens. The Angry Black Woman trope that cloaked her ascension to success, even though she’s not African-American, slowly fades. In the second season, which premiered on Mother’s Day, she’s emotionally miles away from the petty he-said-she-said drama we witnessed on BBW. That’s now been replaced by Thanksgiving dinners with the in-laws and dealing with the aftermath of devastating traumas, such as losing a child. The show even tackles the impact her past choices have had on her daughter.
Thanks in part to Iyanla: Fix My Life, where the former fiery BBW frontwoman unpacked her violent relationship with Johnson and admitted to accepting tumultuous situationships due to a lack of self-worth, Lozada’s misdirected anger and hurt has now waned. On this reality show stint, she has done away with talks about her “inner circle,” becoming much more transparent about her emotional hurdles and ultimately, more likeable. Don’t get it twisted, though. You can tell she’ll still knuck if a person bucks in her direction unprovoked. However, everything about her actions screams that she’s evolved into a more secure, self-controlled version of herself. She’s much less crippled by her tattered past as she’s slid into her mommy and soon-to-be wife role with the ease of a fully actualized and emotionally unbroken woman.
Of course, every BBW fan will always remember that one time she lunged across a table to attack Jennifer Williams, her then ex-BFF. I mean, when not-so-shining moments play out on national television, they tend to have incredible staying power in that way. At one point, a bulk of the discussion surrounding her was overwhelmingly and, arguably, unnecessarily negative. But what’s great is that Lozada has shattered those stigmas she once carried around like a Chanel bag.
For anyone working on their own daddy lessons and past pains, you’ll find yourself smiling at how she has blossomed into someone inspiring. Though the reality TV queen is not sitting down giving you a play by play of how to get your sh-t together every week, her everyday life is a glaring example of how unpacking your past hurt will lead your life in an overwhelmingly positive direction; how you can overcome anything that’s weighing you down. People’s assumption of who you’re supposed to be can fester and paralyze you into becoming nothing more than their expectations of you, but the point is to break those emotional chains.
While you could probably tune into a million other shows, I say give the second season of Livin’ Lozada (which airs on OWN on Saturday nights at 9/8c) a shot. It’s an inspiring example that we all owe it to ourselves to not only be happy but to also be whole.
Holly Robinson Peete became a household name in the ’90s due to her roles in 21 Jump Street and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper, and although the actress’ hustle remains strong well into the new millennium, many have never seen what a day in the life of Robinson Peete is like, until now. Thanks to OWN, viewers will get to see just that in the new docu-series For Peete’s Sake giving viewers a peek inside how the actress and advocate has made her marriage with NFL retiree Rodney Peete last for more than 20 years, what it’s like to raise a son of color living with autism and the values she instills in her teen daughter.
We chatted with Robinson Peete about her newest TV endeavor ahead of its spring premiere. Check out what she had to say in our Q&A and be sure to watch For Peete’s Sake on March 19 at 9/8c on OWN.
MadameNoire (MN): What can you tell us about For Peete’s Sake?
Holly Robinson Peete (HRP): For about 10 years, we’ve been on the short list to do a show like this, but it was always all about timing and wanting to make sure the kids were ready and fully understood what it meant to be on TV in this capacity. It feels like the right time; timing is everything. Everyone is in a transitional period, right now. I just had a big milestone birthday and my husband is coming up on his big milestone. My mother is coming up on 80 and my daughter is applying to college. My son is getting a job and my middle child is being the middle child and my baby is my baby. It’s just a lot of transitioning going on in life and it feels like a good time to document it. And production-wise and network-wise, I just feel like all the pieces are right.
MN: How did your family’s experience on Wife Swap prepare you for your docu-series?
HRP: Wife Swap is more about comparing yourself to another family and drawing differences. For Peete’s Sake, it’s way more organic and authentic. Wife Swap was fun but you have to fit into a formula with that show. For Peete’s Sake, we were inventing our own formula. [For example,] I am a lot less structured in For Peete’s Sake than I was in Wife Swap.
MN: How have you rebranded yourself as a Black actress? And, do you think there is a lack of roles or content being created for Black women?
HRP: I think there is a lot of content right now! We have way more outlets than we had when I first started. We only had three networks and we were starting the fourth with 21 Jump Street on FOX. Today, we have cable, webisodes and there are so many more ways to get ourselves and our brands in front of consumers. The whole game has changed from when I started in the ’80s. I think where we are not seeing equity is in the celebration of what we do.
MN: What advice do you have for Black mothers raising black male children, especially those with special needs in a social climate where police brutality is prevalent?
HRP: I stay awake at night. I can’t relax as a mom of young Black boys. I just can’t ever relax. I worry about where they are; I worry about them getting singled out, wrong place, wrong time situation— with all three of my sons. But especially with my son with autism because he doesn’t always know how to navigate the social cues. We have drilled him and role played the situation. I say, “What would be the first thing to do?” and he [my son] would say “I would pull out my phone.” And I say, “Oh no!” We touch upon this in the show. I have a huge fear for any mom who has a boy of color in this funky climate. For those of us with special needs sons, we have that extra worry about if law enforcement [doesn’t] understand how to approach our sons, will they harm first and ask questions later? I thought of taking a proactive approach (at least in our neighborhood) where we took our sons to the local police department and introduced them [to the police officers]. As a special needs mom, you must advocate any way you can.
MN: Social media is so influential in how we view beauty standards, what conversations do you have with your daughter about her self-esteem and womanhood?
HPR: I constantly try to lift her self-esteem and tell her how beautiful she is. Ryan is a very natural girl. She has that kind of hippie flavor; she reminds me of a ’70s throwback type. But yet she does enjoy getting her hair and makeup done. But most of the time, [she wears] sweats, hair tied back. Most of the time I’m like “Can you put some lip gloss on?” She’s very, very bohemian. But she enjoys glamming it up. I always tell her to feel good about who she is. The best way I think I’ve been able to lift her self-esteem is by encouraging her to travel the world at a young age. And we’re blessed to be able to do that. But it’s very important for her to see other cultures and lift her CQ– cultural IQ.
MN: What have you learned from your mother that you’ve also instilled in your children?
HPR: [My mother has taught me to] be professional. Every time you do a project, the crew, the makeup, the hair, the [other] actors will all go on to other projects and [people will ask] “How was it working with such and such? Was she nice?” And my mom always used to tell me [that you] always want the crew to walk away and go, “Boy, she was fun to work with!” That’s what keeps you working in the business. Always be friendly and very affable and care about the crew because they are working longer hours for a lot less money. And [when you’re] working in this business you’ll see a lot of actors do themselves in [by behaving the opposite].
MN: You’ve been with your husband former NFL quarterback Rodney Peete for over 20 years, what makes a successful marriage, especially in the entertainment industry?
HPR: Scheduled “fun time.” You fill in the blank. [Laughs] You got to schedule “fun time” because if you don’t schedule fun, it ain’t going to happen. Whatever your fun is: play dates, hangouts, sex, whatever it is. And then [there is] same page love, that’s what I call it. You have to be on the same page because I know when Rodney and I are not on the same page, that’s when the conflict comes. Whether it’s a situation with the kids or an issue we are having with each other, we figure out how to get back on the same page. Rodney’s favorite thing to do is 20-second hugs—it sounds like a really stupid thing but instead of the little fake hugs you may do in passing, you have to hug each other for 20 full seconds. Sometimes you’ll be like, “I really want to let go at 10” but with 20, it takes you to another place of connection. And you let go of any little issues that you’re feeling. I feel like that works very well.
MN: What advice do you have for women who work with their husbands?
HPR: I don’t necessarily recommend it. I think you should have separate businesses or maybe do part-time work. The show was part-time for us and we only shot eight episodes. I liked it but I wouldn’t recommend it full time. Some people really make it work but I really like being a consultant for him and vice versa. We work better in moderation.
MN: Netflix recently debuted Fuller House, would you want there to be a reboot of Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper?
HPR: Yeah! Mr. Cooper’s (Mark Curry) daughter and my youngest son are in fifth grade together. So, I am still “hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” 20 years later. I see him all the time and we are still great friends. We’ve been having this conversation for the last 10 years, so I would do it in a heartbeat.
In the earlier part of last year, we brought you the exciting news that Oprah and Ava DuVernay were partnering once again (after they worked together in Selma) to bring Natalie Baszile’s Queen Sugar to OWN.
And today we learned that the role of Nova Bordelon will go to actress Rutina Wesley, best known for her role as Tara Thorton on HBO’s hit series “True Blood.”
Though in the book, Charley is the main character, a press release from OWN states that Wesley will play the lead as Nova.
In the series, Nova is a “formidable journalist and activist based in New Orleans. Her life, and that of her brother and their extended family, undergoes significant change when her sister Charley, returns to Louisiana from Los Angeles to help run the family sugarcane farm.”
Oprah who executive produces along with DuVernay, will also appear as a series regular.
Ava DuVernay developed Queen Sugar for television by writing the pilot episode. She is set to direct several episodes throughout the show’s first season.
According to the press release, Wesley also had a recurring role on the NBC drama “Hannibal” and recently guest starred in multiple episodes of The CW/Warner Bros. Television hit action-drama “Arrow.” Wesley co-starred in the hit 2015 Screen Gems film “The Perfect Guy” and previously appeared on Broadway in David Hare’s “The Vertical Hour,” opposite Julianne Moore. She began her career with a starring role in the independent feature film “How She Move,” which debuted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Wesley is a graduate of the drama division of the renowned Juilliard School.
After banking a major stake in Weight Watchers, media maven Oprah Winfrey has rolled out yet another major power move from her well-cuffed sleeve.
If you haven’t already heard the good news, Winfrey’s OWN network is hosting a legendary music icons concert series, Legends: OWN at the Apollo. Appropriately held at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, the place many legendary musicians got their start, the series premiered on OWN last night (Oct. 24) and will continue to air with iconic acts for the next three Saturdays. For the series kicker, Gladys Knight performed her six decades worth of hits.
“I’m always happy to do anything for OWN. That’s Oprah’s network and I love her,” the soulful chanteuse said. “They chose me and I’m flattered by that,” The Grio reported.
Knight also shared the stage with Yolanda Adams, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick for a performance of “That’s What Friends Are For.”
Legends like Smokey Robinson (10/31), The Isley Brothers (11/7) and Earth, Wind & Fire (11/14) are all set to perform their catalogs of equal parts of extensive and influential for sold-out audiences.
Tune in to Legends: OWN at the Apollo on Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN.
In the first episode of her show, “Living Lozada,” Evelyn Lozada announced, much to our surprise, that she was expecting another child.
Sadly, the exuberant feelings didn’t last too long, in the promo clip for the next episode, her doctor told her that her hormone levels were so low, they seemed to suggest that the pregnancy wouldn’t come to term.
Later, in an interview with People, Lozada confirmed that she did indeed have a miscarriage.
“When I went to my first appointment, everything looked great. My progesterone levels were good.
My hormone levels were dropping. My doctor said, ‘Let’s just see what happens and if anything changes.’ ”
“At my next appointment, my ultrasound went from looking really perfect and beautiful to looking pear-shaped,” says Lozada. “You could just tell, it didn’t look normal.”
Sadly, the process wasn’t a smooth one.
“for me the most heartbreaking thing was knowing that it could take up to a day to maybe a week for it to happen,” says Lozada. “I became so obsessed with it. I kept taking pregnancy tests and one would come out positive, then one would come out negative. It was so hard not knowing when I’d lose the baby.”
The miscarriage finally happened during a photo shoot her family had scheduled to help her feel better.
“I had to stop the photo shoot and just lay down. It was hard.”
Though Evelyn had the love and support of her family, she said it was mostly an experience she endured alone.
“You have a million and one questions in your mind as to what happened. You just feel responsible. It’s your body. It’s a loss that only you can relate to.”
Evelyn questioned everything, from the things she ate during her pregnancy to her age.
“It’s nothing that you ate, or did; it’s not your age. One out of all four to five pregnancies end in miscarriage,” she explains. “I have three girlfriends and it’s literally happened to each and every one of them.”
I responded to the news that Evelyn was pregnant with joy. Yet, others thought she was too old to be having more children. As someone who comes from a family where women have babies into their forties, I didn’t see an issue with it. Particularly, at a time in her life when Evelyn is not only in a seemingly more stable relationship but she’s in a better emotional and psychological space. A better adjusted mother is an asset to a child.
Plus, I thorough enjoy women over thirty giving birth to children, defying the notion that we all need to rush to have children before we’re all “dried”and”shriveled.” We all have a different story. And they don’t have to include a husband and baby before 30. There is life after 35. You can even produce it.
And like the news that she was pregnant, people are equally disappointed with Evelyn’s decision to share her miscarriage story, claiming that she was using the tragic event to further promote her show.
That’s a given. All reality stars are profiting off the stories of the lives, good, bad and ugly. While many are tripped up over the method, I think the message is a pretty necessary one.
Like Evelyn said, many women have suffered from miscarriage and many of them needlessly blame themselves for the loss. There’s a certain level of shame many women feel about having lost a child, so they keep the traumatic nature of their experiences to themselves.
My mother who had at least two, possibly three miscarriages, before I, her first child was born, describes that own period in her life as rather dark. She spoke about hearing a ripping sound and realizing she’d lost a child, trying to collect and save one of the embryos and feeling like everyone around her had a baby.
I don’t say that to be morbid, though it is. I say that because it’s such a common occurrence and women need to know that there is hope after this.
And that’s the message Evelyn was trying to spread in sharing her story.
She concluded her story with People saying, “This was just another tragic incident in my life that I had to deal with. But I say God doesn’t make mistakes. Women just need to hold out hope.”
Evelyn is taking her own advice and is still optimistic about the prospect of having a child. “I’m not checking for when I’m ovulating or anything. I’m like look, I’m pushing 40. I’m going to be 50 with a 10-year-old! If it happens again, that will probably be my last.”
Will Evelyn gain further exposure from this story. Of course. You’re reading about her right now. But I’m also sure her words will help someone who believes their suffering through this alone.
“Flex & Shanice” premieres tonight on OWN at 10pm ET/PT and follows the lives of husband and wife duo, actor Flex Alexander (“One on One”), Grammy-nominated, ’90s pop singer Shanice (“I Love Your Smile”) and their extended family all living together under one roof. From the outside looking in, Flex and Shanice are living the dream – they are beautiful celebrities with a long-standing marriage, gorgeous kids and a lovely home in suburbia. But what this fairytale couple has been hiding from the world is that they have been struggling financially for the past five years.
So they moved their hilarious extended family in to help make ends meet, but nine people under one roof can add just as much stress as it relieves. While Flex hustles to support the family and kick-start his career, Shanice struggles to balance being a mom with her demanding new recording schedule. This family is just trying to hold it together for long enough to capture that one big break that could turn their luck around.
Oprah Winfrey Network is the first and only network named for, and inspired by, a single iconic leader. Oprah Winfrey’s heart and creative instincts inform the brand – and the magnetism of the channel. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent to join her in primetime, building a global community of like-minded viewers and leading that community to connect on social media and beyond.