All Articles Tagged "Viola Davis"

Why I’m Thrilled To See More Complex Black Female Characters On TV, No Matter How Messy Some May Be

July 29th, 2014 - By La Truly
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"Nia Long pf"

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“It’s not positive images of Black people that we need, but complex ones.”Teyonah Parris

The tense debate about the representation of Black women in entertainment is not new. It has been a hot-button issue since the beginning of modern film and television. From the controversy over The Color Purple and the outrage over acclaimed actress Viola Davis being nominated for an Oscar for playing a maid, to the hype surrounding Olivia Pope “handling” primetime television and Gabrielle Union bringing the lovestruck crazy as Mary Jane Paul, we have been at a war of sorts over our image. We’ve been at said war with one another, with the writers, with the actresses themselves and with those who hand out the Oscars and the Emmys. We get extreme images that either display the really good or the really downtrodden (and I’m not bringing up reality TV because there are so few positive images): Clair Huxtable or Precious. Vivian Banks or Kizzy. We’ve not seen or embraced anything remotely close to complex characters on a consistent basis until recently, and I, for one, am thrilled about this new interest in and push for complexity.

It’s a welcomed change. It’s high time we acknowledge the multi-faceted Black woman. She is loving, angry, confused, ambitious, intelligent, greedy, giving, depressed, faithful, needy, searching, joyful, fly, pleasant, messy, neurotic and becoming. It’s reaffirming for me to see this type of woman portrayed because I have been and can be all of these things. This Black woman is relatable for me and I know it will be for my future daughters. In this time, the Digital Age where so much of our lifestyle, social interaction, and ideals are informed more by entertainment than ever, more true-to-life representation is necessary to balance the skewed view that many young Black girls are growing up with. Sure, I’ll teach my daughters that it is possible to be a wife, mother AND businesswoman. But I will also teach them that sometimes bad relationships happen. How excellent would it be if they were able to recognize such a spectrum in what they see on television too? If what they saw on television was more reflective of our real emotions, issues, triumphs and struggles? We are just now breaking through the barriers and producing content that will help us, and the generations after us, see a vast number of Black women onscreen, as well as young Black girls too. Doc McStuffins, Princess Tiana and Penny Proud paint a subtle but solid picture of what/who Black girls are and what they can become in the developmental stages. I could have shed tears when I walked into Target and saw a Doc McStuffins costume! We are beginning to pair the the telling with actually showing our girls (and ourselves) what diversity within our Blackness, and as women, looks like in entertainment. Now we can consistently view ourselves just as varied and adaptable for all stages in life. To me, this proves very valuable for Black women and girls and I am ecstatic.

My daughters will have me to look up to, but also diverse images of WOC in their books and on their televisions that we can have open, honest and stimulating conversations about. This will be a good change from only looking to either the perfect or the downtrodden caricatures that Black women on-screen have been made to bounce between for too long.

With complex Black women characters like Nia Long as the politically savvy Billie Page in WeTV’s new drama series “The Divide,”  Gina Torres as Jessica Pearsona top law firm executive trying to maintain her spot as the only WOC at her level on USA’s hit show “Suits,” or the highly-anticipated arrival of Annalise Keating in “How To Get Away With Murder,” starring Viola Davis as the charismatic and seductive professor, we are getting to see ourselves onscreen as composite and colorful as we are in reality. Because regardless of what we say, entertainment is a large part of our lives collectively. Pushing for the range of our stories to become available in these spaces of entertainment for all to see is half the battle. We, as Black women, are starting to win and I, for one, am excited about what the future of entertainment holds for us.

La Truly is a writer, college professor and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @ashleylatruly and check out her site: www.hersoulinc.com.

Viola Davis Gushes About Her ‘Messy’ Role In ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

July 16th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: ABC

Source: ABC

Earlier this year, we told you that Viola Davis had been cast to play an adulterous law professor in Shonda Rhimes’ in newest ABC thriller, “How To Get Away With Murder.” In case you missed it, the seasoned actress will be playing Annalise Keating, a ruthless criminal defense professor who, along with her flock of students, finds herself in the middle of the campus’ shocking murder plot.

“Annalise Keating is everything you hope your Criminal Law professor will be – brilliant, passionate, creative and charismatic,” ABC describes her character. :She’s also everything you don’t expect – sexy, glamorous, unpredictable and dangerous.

As fearless in the courtroom as she is in the classroom, Annalise is a defense attorney who represents the most hardened, violent criminals – people who’ve committed everything from fraud to arson to murder – and she’ll do almost anything to win their freedom. On the surface, Annalise seems like she has it all – a successful career and loving husband, Sam (Tom Verica) – but her relationship with a local Philadelphia detective, Nate (Billy Brown), will force her to confront secrets about her life she never saw coming.”

This may be the Academy-Award nominated actress’ most scandalous role to date, but apparently Viola is “here” for all of the messiness that is Annalise Keating!

“I love the fact that she’s messy and mysterious and you don’t know who she is,” Viola was quoted telling reporters by the Associated Press.

“I think as human beings we are a mess,” she continued.”But a lot of times the narratives we see in TV, film or even theater don’t match the mess. I think that’s a challenge for any writer, any artist, to match the art with the mess of what we call life. And that’s the appeal of this character.”

“How To Get Away With Murder” premieres Sept. 25. Will you be tuning in?

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Celebrities You Probably Didn’t Realize Got Their Start On “New York Undercover” Back In The Day

July 7th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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I don’t know about you, but I watch New York Undercover on YouTube like it came out last night. I was a huge fan of the show when it used to come on after Martin and Living Single on Fox on Thursday nights, and I’m still holding out hope that the show will be released on DVD soon. Until then, I catch up on episodes online and find myself surprised by all the now-famous faces I see getting their start as actors (or just getting that young paycheck in between roles) on the show. I thought I would share a few with you. Here are 10 famous folks who had a role on New York Undercover back in the day and you probably didn’t notice.

Taye

Taye Diggs – “No Greater Love”

The Brookly-bred actor who mostly talks about his days on Broadway in RENT before getting his big break in Hollywood had a role on the show in 1996. He played Stephon Phillips, the brother of a young man gunned down whose death he’s out to avenge. With his puffy Tommy Hilfiger coat, earrings and Brooklyn accent, Diggs was actually pretty convincing as a gun-toting hoodlum. Check him out at the 1:10 mark.

Watch: First Look At Viola Davis In ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

May 13th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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How To Get Away With Murder

 

Last winter, we told you that Viola Davis had been cast to star in Shonda Rhimes’ new ABC thriller, “How To Get Away With Murder.” In case you missed it, the “sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller” centers around ruthless law professor Annalise DeWitt and her flock of legal students. As the storyline unfolds, Annalise and her students will find themselves wrapped up in a murder plot that could drastically alter their lives and rock the university. To make things even more interesting, Annalise is involved in a steamy extramarital affair that no one can find out about.

The supporting cast of the series includes Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Alfred Enoch, Karla Souza, Jack Falahee and Charlie Weber. ABC recently debuted a trailer for the series and it looks like it’s going to be a great show.

“How To Get Away With Murder” is slated to debut on ABC this fall on Thursday nights, following popular Shonda Rhimes thriller, “Scandal.” If this new show is as good as the trailer presents it to be, then Thursday nights will never be the same again!

Watch the teaser below. Does this look like something you’d be interested in checking out?

“I Would Jump In Trash Bins Looking For Food”: Viola Davis Speaks On Past Struggle With Poverty

April 25th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

In an interview with People magazine, Academy Award nominated actress Viola Davis opened up about her journey, which included a very harrowing childhood. While she is decked in designer threads and one of Hollywood’s brightest stars now, Davis revealed that while growing up in Central Falls, R.I., her family was very poor and she rarely knew where her next meal was going to come from.

“I was one of those kids who grew up hungry. I’m 48 years old now, and it’s only been recently that I can admit that I would jump in trash bins looking for food and I would steal from the corner store because I was hungry. I would fall asleep in school on a daily basis because we had nothing.” 

Davis also said that she never hung out with her friends at her family’s home because they lived in a condemned building: “It was boarded up and infested with rats.”

Davis is sharing her remarkable story because of her new partnership with the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation. They are collectively working on a campaign called Hunger Is to help put the spotlight on childhood hunger. 

“We have an image of hunger that comes from Africa, but this is America. And unless your belly is distended we don’t have an image of what hunger looks like here.” 

According to her interview with People, food programs in Central Falls helped Davis (and her five siblings) with her situation, and without them, she wouldn’t be where she is now. 

“I am the first generation of my family to go to college. Those programs made all the difference for me. It’s been cathartic for me because I always had a lot of shame with going in the garbage dumps that had maggots in it, too. It has brought healing in my life to be able to talk about it.” 

A-list Movie Stars Joining TV Shows

March 17th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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There was a time when A-list movie stars wouldn’t have been caught dead doing television shows but times have surely changed. Instead of catching them on the silver screen, you can now find these actors on the small screen.

Movie Stars Joining TV Shows

WENN

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey’s first words ever uttered on the big screen were “Alright, alright, alright” in 1993’s Dazed and Confused. Since that breakout performance he’s gone on to star in over 30 movies. This month the Texas native won the Academy award for Best Actor as ladies man turned AIDS activist Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club. Starring in HBO’s acclaimed series True Detective, McConaughey is an early favorite to win an Emmy for his role. If he does, he will become the first to win an Oscar for Best Actor and an Emmy in the same year.

Viola Davis To Play Adulterous Law Professor In Shonda Rhimes’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

February 26th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

It appears that Shonda Rhimes has been busy in the lab whipping up another hit for ABC. According to The Hollywood Reporter, two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis has been cast to take the leading role in Shonda’s newest drama pilot for the network, “How to Get Away with Murder.”

The show is described as a “sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller” that will center around a group of ambitious law students and their brilliant criminal defense professor, who find themselves wrapped up in a murder plot that could drastically alter their lives and rock their university. Viola’s character, Annalise DeWitt, the professor who leads the flock of eager students, is pegged as “ruthless” in the courtroom and classroom. She is also described as a mega manipulator. Annalise, who is married to a psychology professor, is also carrying on a steamy affair that no one can learn about.

The script will be penned and executive produced by “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Peter Norwalk along with Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers. Michael Offer will direct the pilot, which is scheduled to film in Philadelphia. Joining Viola in the pilot’s cast will be Matt McGorry, Aja Naomi King, Alfie Enoch, Karla Souza, Jack Falahee and Charlie Weber.

Sounds like a bunch of scandalous goodness waiting to unfold!

Classic White Savior Movies

February 5th, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Hollywood just loves to have a white person donning a cape come in and save some poor, Black soul. While some of these White Savior movies were based on true stories, others were just made up and a little too over the top.

"The Blindside pf"

The Blindside

Sandra Bullock is known as America’s sweetheart but she won even more hearts over in the 2009 film The Blind Side. Based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, the film follows Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher’s life from impoverished beginnings to the NFL. Oher had nothing in his life going for him but football until a white couple, played by Bulllock and Tim McGraw, came along to adopt him. The film grossed over $300 million and Bullock earned critical acclaim and accolades for her performance. She also won a Golden Globe and the coveted Oscar gold for Best Actress.

Check Out A First Glimpse At Chadwick Boseman As James Brown In Upcoming Biopic

January 14th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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James Brown Biopic

Entertainment Weekly

I will say, this is a lot better than that first image of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone with that prosthetic nose and fake teeth that we saw in 2012…

Entertainment Weekly showed off the first image from the set of the new James Brown biopic, Get On Up. Chadwick Boseman, star of last year’s hit Jackie Robinson biopic, 42, plays Brown and can be seen above with Brown’s signature pompadour as his band (is that comedian Craig Robinson in the back on sax?) goes to town. According to EW, a blend of Boseman’s own singing voice and an overlay of Brown’s voice are used to make the musical performances come to life.

The movie is being directed by Tate Taylor (who directed The Help) and also features Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer (who will play Brown’s mother and aunt), and Jill Scott, who will play Brown’s wife, Edie. When speaking on why he was so intrigued with Brown that he wanted to do a picture on his life, Taylor had this to say to EW:

“I love that he would stop at nothing to keep reinventing himself so he could stay current, and as a result he changed music.”

Ain’t that the truth? The film is currently being shot in Mississippi and will hit theaters this summer on August 1.

What do you think? Does Boseman make a convincing Godfather of Soul?

 

Underneath It All: Celebs Who’ve Shown Off Their Real Natural Hair

November 18th, 2013 - By Iva Anthony
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Is it an accessory or a necessity? These 15 celebs prove that although they may wear weaves out in public, they actually have a head of beautiful hair underneath it all.

Celebs Who've Shown Their Real/ Natural Hair

Source: Facebook

Sanaa Lathan

Actress Sanaa Lathan is known for her high-end hair extensions but over the summer, the Best Man Holiday star decided to switch things up. Posting a photo of herself on Facebook sans a weave, Lathan revealed a thick and full head of hair. Lathan added the following caption: And the weave is out! #yesihaveALOTofhair #sandybrown #ineedatrim #ilovemyscalp