All Articles Tagged "Vanessa Williams"

“I Only Speak From My Own Experiences” Vanessa Williams Explains Statement On Colorism In Hollywood

April 21st, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Vanessa Williams Talks Colorism

It Is Done Communications

Vanessa Williams has been dubbed the most successful Miss America winner in the entertainment business and by all accounts that would be correct. Instead of resting on her laurels, though, the mother of four has remained gainfully employed through expression of her love of the arts. Fresh on the heels of her “After Midnight” Broadway debut, we chatted with Williams about her experiences as a black actress, what she thinks about the backlash to her remark that it’s no easier for a light-skinned black woman to make it in the business, and her advice for those looking to break into the industry. Vanessa Williams performs in After Midnight through May 11th at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway!

You’ve covered all mediums when it comes to entertainment, where do you feel most at home and alive?

“I feel the most alive on Broadway while on the stage. I get a chance to do all three — sing, dance and act – in front of a live audience and you are able to get their immediate response.”

How is it being a part of a rotating cast like “After Midnight”?

“What drew me to the project was the all-star Wynston Marsalis Band playing, Duke Ellington’s arrangement and the incredible ensemble. I also decided that I wanted to work with the director, Warren Carlyle. It’s an all-star line up with music that I love.”

What advice would you give to up and coming entertainers?

“I would encourage them to start on stage with theater training because it is a total body commitment in terms of using your instrument physically( projecting your voice) and capturing an audience. In other venues or mediums, whether it is television or film, you have to learn how to engage your acting skills more precisely. Also, I encourage those interested in acting to work as much as you can. It is not about fame but it is about creating and honing your skill set. So, you would have to go to school so you can learn your specific artistry.

You recently commented in an interview with The Grio that it’s hard for black women to get roles no matter how fair or dark they are. Do you still stand by those comments?

“I only speak from my own experiences. I know what has been challenging for me, in terms of my past as an actress. I know of the roles that have come to me and have not come to me. I am not a spokesperson for an entire race and everyone else’s experience.”

You told Oprah that black actresses are in crisis mode right now, what do you think it will take to change the landscape and increase opportunities for African American actresses?

“Roles come with the projects that are being produced, whether it be television or film. Things are made creatively with the hopes of it being successful, so the bottom line is what or who will generate the most money. You have to deal with the corporate America (networks and movie studios) who are concerned about how they will make money.”

You recently traced your ancestral DNA, how was it for your family finding out these results and have you done anymore exploring of your roots?

“It was fascinating to find out my DNA results because as an African-American the records that we have are pretty slim compared to others of different backgrounds. It was good to go through the journey so I can get a chance to learn about my ancestry.”

We’ve found in our project that a lot of black people don’t see the value in tracing their roots and assume searching for your ancestry means running from your blackness. Why do you think that is and have you received similar reactions?

“For me, when I got my DNA breakdown it made me want to travel to Ghana, Togo, Benin and Senegal — especially because I wanted to make that connection. I think it was fascinating and it’s all about education. The more you know, the more interesting it is and you’ll want to delve (deeper) into your past.”

Vanessa Williams performs in After Midnight through May 11th at The Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway!

‘It’s Hard To Get Roles No Matter How Fair Your Skin Is:’ Vanessa Williams On Colorism In Hollywood

March 7th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Many dark-skinned actresses have come forward before in the past to speak on injustices that they’ve suffered in Hollywood due to their darker skin tones. But if you ask “Trip to Bountiful” actress Vanessa Williams if she thinks having fair skin makes securing quality gigs a walk in the park, she’ll tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Getting a good role is hard no matter what you look like,” the 50-year-old beauty told TheGrio before going on to praise Oscar Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o.

“Lupita did a phenomenal job. She brought her sensibility, growing up and having a dream. She went to Yale School of Drama. [12 Years a Slave] was the first thing she did out of her tutelage and she’s a brilliant actress… she’s amazing because she embodied that role and made you feel.”

Williams then went on to reiterate her point that good roles are hard to come by regardless of your complexion.

“It’s hard to get good roles anyway, no matter how fair your skin is…no matter how brown your skin is. It’s up to you to make the best out of each opportunity that you’re given.”

Whether or not light-skinned actresses have an easier time securing roles is debatable, but as Viola Davis told Oprah last summer, the shortage of quality roles for Black women is Hollywood is the bigger issue.

“We’re in crisis mode as Black actresses, not only in the sheer number of roles that are out there, but the quality of the roles. And there in lies the problem,” Viola explained. “We’re in deprivation mode because listen, me, Alfre [Woodard] and Phylicia [Rashad] and you [Oprah], are in the same category. Where as if you take a Caucasian actress, you have the ones who are in their teens, in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and there are roles for each of them. But when you only have two or three categories for Black actresses, there’s the problem because you want to work.”

Watch Vanessa’s interview on the next page. What do you think of Vanessa’s stance on colorism in Hollywood? 

Celebs Who Traced Their DNA Roots

February 13th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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With advancements in modern technology, we can now have our DNA traced back hundreds of years with just a couple swabs of the cheek. As you know, the MN editorial staff is currently awaiting results of the DNA testing with Ancestry.com, so we decided to shout out these celebrities who went on a hunt to find out where their lineage lies. Here are 15 celebs who traced their DNA roots.

"Whoopi Goldberg pf"

WENN

Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg was born and raised in New York City but after having her DNA traced a few years back, the talk show co-host now has another place to call home. Her genetic make up consists of 92% sub-Saharan African descent. The Sarafina star’s ancestors are from the Papel and Bayote tribes, who mainly clustered in what is now modern-day Guinea-Bissau. Goldberg is interested in receiving her citizenship from the tiny African country.

Are Those Your Real Eyes?? Celebs With Gorgeous Light Eyes

February 10th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Whether it be the big screen or television, these celebrities stand out from all others because of their stunning eyes, which we are proud to say are not contacts. Check out these Black celebs with light eyes that make us swoon — and jealous — all at the same time.

Celebs With Light Eyes

WENN

Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash starred in a couple episodes of “The Cosby Show” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” early on in her career but her big break came in 1995’s Clueless as the self-centered Dionne Davenport, opposite Alicia Silverstone and Brittany Murphy. Part Barbadian, African-American and Mexican, the former “Single Ladies” star caught a lot of flack in 2012 for endorsing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Using her platform to express her conservative views, Dash also criticized Jay Z and Beyonce for their 2013 trip to Cuba.

Is There A “Soul Food” Spin-Off In The Works?

December 27th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Soul Food

Source: WENN

“Soul Food” is a 90s classic that was so good, Showtime eventually turned it into a television series. The series had a decent four-year run, but was eventually taken off of the air in 2004. Though fans may still be able to catch a rerun here and there, for the most part, it seemed like it was a wrap for Bird, Lem and the gang. But then again, maybe not completely.

Actress Vanessa Williams recently chatted it up with Sister 2 Sister where she hinted that there may be a possible “Soul Food” spin-off in the works featuring herself, Malinda Williams and Nicole Ari Parker.

“Perhaps, perhaps,” Vanessa said in response to “Soul Food” sequel questions. “We’re plating the seed. There’s definitely something between the three of us [myself, Nicole Ari Parker and Malinda Williams].”

We can’t even begin to imagine what they’re cooking up, but whatever it is, it’ll probably be very interesting. Vanessa also gushed about being reunited with her “Soul Food” sisters on the Soul Train Awards stage.

“I’m glad to be invited,” said Vanessa. “I’m looking forward to presenting with my ‘Soul Food’ sisters!”

I suppose we’ll have to just stay tuned to see what the ladies have up their sleeves.

Watch footage from Vanessa’s interview on the next page. Would you be interested in checking out a “Soul Food” spin-off?

Get ‘Em! Middle-Aged Celebrities Who Still Have It Going On

December 20th, 2013 - By M A
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Middle-Aged Celebrities

PNP/WENN.com

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Hollywood is brimming with incredibly beautiful people. However, we have to say that sexiness isn’t reserved for just the youngin’s. Some of entertainment’s most drop dead gorgeous women are mommies and even grandmommies. So, as a testament to the fact that women can be beautiful at any age, we’re taking a look at 14 fabulous women who still have it going on.

SideEye: Celebrity Women Who Are Surprisingly Single

November 18th, 2013 - By Iva Anthony
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These single celebrity women have a lot going for them. They’re smart, Hot, beautiful, talented, and make their own money So why hasn’t anyone but a ring on it yet — assuming they want one?

single celebrity women

WENN

Sanaa Lathan

Actress Sanaa Lathan has been a Hollywood staple since the late ’90s. While she has maintained consistent work since leaving the theater world behind and relocating to L.A., Nathan has kept her private life mostly private. The 42-year-old Best Man Holiday star dated football player Adewale Ogunyele for a few years but other than that, Lathan has kept her dating life to herself. A few months ago, she shared a photo of herself and San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick out together on a romantic dinner date. No word on if the two are a couple or if it was just dinner with a friend.

KeKe Palmer And Blair Underwood Join Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams In “The Trip To Bountiful” Movie

November 6th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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 Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com

We informed you last week of the fact that the popular Broadway show, A Trip to Bountiful, starring Tony-winner Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams, was going to become a Lifetime movie. A Trip to Bountiful started off as a TV-movie, then made its way to Broadway before becoming an Academy-Award winning film in 1985 starring Geraldine Page. After returning to Broadway in April and having an extremely successful run (including having its run on the Great White Way extended twice), the play will turn into a Lifetime movie with Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams reprising their roles as Carrie Watts and Jessie Mae Watts. But according to Shadow and Act, Blair Underwood and KeKe Palmer will also be joining the cast, most likely to play Ludie Watts (Carrie’s son) and Thelma, the young woman Carrie met and befriended. The film will be shot this month in Atlanta and will be helmed by Michael Wilson, who also directed the play. Here’s a quick synopsis of the whole thing if you haven’t heard about A Trip to Bountiful. SPOILER ALERT!

“Set in the 1940s, the play tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return home to the small town where she grew up, but is frequently stopped from leaving Houston, Texas by her daughter-in-law, and an overprotective son who won’t let her travel alone. However, old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains don’t go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a girl traveling alone and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives. Her son and daughter-in-law eventually track her down, with the help of the local police force. However, Mrs. Watts is determined. The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The village is deserted, and the few remaining houses are derelict. Mrs. Watts is moved to tears as she surveys her father’s land and the remains of the family home. Her son eventually turns up, and drives her back to Houston.”

As someone who was blessed with the chance to see the play here in New York with Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Condola Rashad (as Thelma) and Cuba Gooding, Jr. (as Ludie), I can say that it was an amazing production, well-acted with a great balance of both humor and sadness. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see the Lifetime movie and see the legendary Ms. Tyson do her thing once again.

Coming To A TV Screen Near You: The Trip To Bountiful’ Heads To Lifetime

October 29th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Broadway

Source: Broadway

Did you miss all-black revival of the 1953 teleplay The Trip to Bountiful? Well, dry your tears darling, looks like you’ll still be able to see it after all. The Broadway play, which was extended twice due to popular demand, is headed to a TV screen near you, thanks to Lifetime.

According to Backstage.com, Lifetime is casting stand-ins for Vanessa Williams and Cicely Tyson…meaning these two women will be in the made-for-television movie. Tyson played the role of Carrie Watts and Williams was her bossy daughter-in-law, Jessie Mae Watts.

Shooting is set to take place in Atlanta, Georgia from November 4-30.

Although Williams and Tyson are set to appear in the film, there’s still no word on whether or not the play’s other stars will join them. Condola Rashad co-starred as the “Young Woman on Bus,”  who Tyson’s character befriends. Rashad was replaced by Adepero Oduye when she left to star in the adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Cuba Gooding Jr. played the role of “Ludie”, Carrie Watts’ son, initially until he was replaced by actor Leon Addison Brown when he left to go promote The Butler. 

In case you’re unfamiliar with the story, here’s the gist:

“Set in the 1940s, the play tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who wants to return home to the small town where she grew up, but is frequently stopped from leaving Houston, Texas by her daughter-in-law, and an overprotective son who won’t let her travel alone. However, old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains don’t go to Bountiful anymore…” 

Throughout the play, Carrie encounters several roadblocks and meets a friend along the way. The audience goes on a ride as we see whether Carrie makes it to Bountiful or not and what she sees when she gets there.

Will you check this out when it comes to Lifetime?

Werk Mama! Celebrities Who’ve Established Successful Careers While Raising Children

October 28th, 2013 - By Meghan Reid
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Many women face the challenge of choosing between a career and children, but there are plenty who choose both. Raising children is the hardest job to have and to balance that with a successful career is even harder. These 15 celebrity moms have been in movies, television shows, on runways and red carpets looking stunning, full of energy and have even brought their little ones along to celebrate with them. Hard work, drive and determination have served these women well in their public and personal lives.

Screen shot 2013-10-14 at 10.55.05 AM

Source: Twitter

 

Nia Long

Nia Long has starred in some of our most classic films like “Boyz in the Hood,” “Love Jones” and “The Best Man.” She’s been on episodes of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and many other projects and with the length of her career you may forget that she is a mother of two sons Massai, age 12 and Kez, age 1.

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