All Articles Tagged "Viola Davis"
Viola Davis is no stranger to playing controversial roles.
While it was her role as Aibileen Clark in The Help that garnered her an Oscar nomination, her role, as well as the film in general, caused quite a stir in the black community for its Disney like portrayal of race relations in the 1960s, particularly that belonging to black maids and their white employers. Now, Davis now finds herself under scrutiny again for a her role in a new film called Won’t Back Down, which also stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holly Hunter and Ving Rhames.
In the film, which has a release date of September 28th, Davis stars as school teacher/single mom, who teams up with a bartender/single mom, to tackle the monumental challenges of fixing a crumbling inner city school. In the trailer for the film, we see Gyllenhaal angrily pontificating over the need for change after her daughter, who we learn can’t read, is seen crying in the school’s broom closet after being punched in the face by a teacher. Not sure what Viola’s plot points are, as the trailer doesn’t focus much on her grievances, other than being sidekick to a feisty, motivated white woman. But this film is said to have been inspired by a true events and we get to watch as these two lead the charge against an entrenched bureaucracy to takeover a school through a fictionalized version of a parent trigger law. These laws, passed in 2010, give parents the option to petition to overhaul the staff in an underperforming public school and turn it into a charter school.
The film has the same sort of David versus Goliath feel good education stories we come to be fond of over the years. Movies like Lean on Me, Stand and Deliver and Dangerous Minds largely appeal to us because it gives us hope that the answer to poverty and rampant violence in some of our poorest urban communities comes solely in the form of high educational standards and tough as nails, overly-devoted teachers, who are not only willing to buck the system but stand in as absentee parents to these wayward children as well. As such, it should be hit. However, despite the feel good nature, the film is also being heavily criticized for allegedly pushing an anti-union, pro-charter school agenda.
Some critics have complained that the film is a cloak its anti-teacher, anti-union slate, particularly highlight the films focus on “parent trigger” laws, which has been used to replaced unionized teachers with non-union charter schools. Such laws have been passed in several states, including California, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana with more states considering their adoption. Moreover, the film itself is produced through partnership between 20th Century Fox and Walden Media, a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which in turn is a subsidiary of the Anschutz Company. The Anschutz company is owned by Philip Anschutz, an oil-and-gas billionaire, who has donated money to Americans for Prosperity, a right wing, anti- union, anti-environment regulations, anti-Obamacare (among other things), political advocacy group founded by the Koch Brothers. Besides Won’t Back Down, Anschutz is also behind the 2010 film Waiting for ‘Superman,’ a documentary called by many educators as inaccurate propaganda meant to push a pro-charter school agenda.
According to Parents Across America, a pro-public school education group, these parent trigger legislations are part of a larger pro-school privatization model legislation, written and promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). For those unaware, ALEC is federalist and conservative lobbying group, which pairs corporations with legislators for the creation of model bills. Portions, if not all, of these model bills have found themselves the basis of actual state and federal laws including various school privatization acts, voter ID laws and Stand Your Ground/Castle Doctrine laws, which were hotly debated in the Trayvon Martin killing.
In the world of celebrity culture, the importance of an education often takes second billing to the bright glares of the spotlight. Many stars have opted to forgo their education in pursuit of their career. However, these 10 stars not only got their degrees first but raised the academic bar by attending Ivy League institutions.
Sanaa was born the daughter of famed director Stan Lathan and for some that might’ve been her golden ticket to Hollywood. However, Sanna pursued a degree in drama at Yale University. She graduated with her BA in 1995 and has made a name for herself all on her merit. Her roles in Love & Basketball and Something New are a testament to her talent.
What girl hasn’t saved a gazillion images of her favorite celeb hairstyles to serve as inspiration for her own ‘do? But with so many of us going sans relaxer, it gets a little tougher finding natural haired Hollywood heroines. Thankfully many have also decided to trade the touch-ups for twist-outs. But are the coils working?
Come take a look at 10 celebs who went natural and our verdicts on the state of their hair at styleblazer.com
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There are a myriad of reasons why marriage-minded people find themselves single in their 30’s and 40’s. We can’t all marry our high-school sweethearts days after graduation, but that doesn’t mean we won’t come across the love of our lives eventually.
In fact, Pew Research Institute found that a substantial number of people don’t get married for the first time until their 30′s. Further, study after study proves that marrying later in life is actually a benefit for those who want to get married and stay married.
The actresses on the following slides prove it’s never too late to live your “Happily Ever After” and you can still find “The One” after your 30th birthday.
Today TIME magazine released it’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, recognizing monumental figures across the globe in politics, entertainment, social activism, the arts, and more.
A handful of black faces made the list in expected areas like politics as well as a few entertainers, and a number of international political black figures were also acknowledged for their global influence. Check out each of these individuals on the next few pages, along with a few words from other notable figures in their areas of influence about the impact these leaders are making on the world. Let us know what you think about the list.
Since Whitney Houston’s death, we’ve heard from Fox’s president about plans to continue with the sequel to “Waiting to Exhale,” and even Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine have spoken out about the project, but the one person we haven’t heard from is the author of the original book, and sequel, “Getting to Happy,” on how she thinks things should proceed.
The Huffington Post recently spoke to Terry McMillan about her forthcoming projects and when they asked her about a “Waiting to Exhale” sequel without Whitney Houston or her character Savannah, she said she’s not sure what’s best:
“Myself and [screenwriter] Lori Lakin Hutcherson wrote drafts for the film and then Whitney passed away and so now the studio is trying to take a moment to think about how best to proceed. They’ve made it crystal clear that they want to proceed, but it’s just a matter of how. I have mixed feelings about which way might be best to tell the story. I have critics who feel like they are casting directors, and they know more about what should happen. You have no idea. People have said that we should just kill off the Savannah character, or have her go get a job somewhere and move out of the state. I mean, all kinds of things. And then I have people who think they have in mind who should play Savannah. And right now I’m not in a position to be an advocate one way or the other, with the exception of the fact that it’s hard to imagine the story without the Savannah character in it.
“Even though I know how other people may feel the opposite. I feel terrible about Whitney, just like everybody else, but there’s a part of me that also feels that she would want the film to go on. That’s just my gut feeling. And it has nothing to do with me not having an allegiance to her or respect for her. I just have a feeling that Whitney would love from heaven, to sit up there and watch who else can do the character.”
Oprah’s name is one that has been thrown into the mix as a possible replacement for Savannah, and Terry said she’s not for or against that possibility—although she did mention another possible option.
“Someone told me this and I said, ‘Oh, really?’ I mean, I don’t have any thoughts one way or the other. I love Oprah. I know that I heard that she would like to be able to act again. When she would possibly have the time, who knows? But I haven’t thought that far, because again, I am not a casting director. That is not my area. I mean, I also love Viola Davis, but we’re not there yet. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that Whitney is no longer here with us.”
Terry definitely threw another interesting possibility into the mix. Could you see Viola Davis as Savannah?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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In case you have been living under a rock, natural hair is the way to go. Whether you prefer it for its protective hair-styling options or for the kinks, coils or curls, natural hair is here to stay! Some of our favorite celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon, often by doing the BC (‘big chop’ to you non-naturals) and have been rocking natural hair in ways we absolutely love. Check out these au natural’ celebs who have ditched the creamy crack for curling custard instead.
For the fab photo gallery, visit StyleBlazer.com.
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Spring is coming. It’s almost here! If you like to switch up your hair with the seasons, it’s about time to start looking for a fresh and funky look.
You know you want to make a change but maybe you need a bit of inspiration. Never fear the good people over at StyleBlazer.com have come up with some great options for you to consider.
Head right on over there to find your potential new look.
Do you like you switch up your hair styles for the warmer weather?
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Viola Davis is about to take on another iconic movie role, except this time she’s calling the shots. In a project developed by her and her husband, Julius Tennon’s, production company, JuVee, Viola will bring to life the story of political pioneer Barbara Jordan in a new biopic.
Barbara Jordan achieved a number of firsts as an African American woman throughout her career. In 1966, the lawyer became the first African American woman to be elected to the Texas senate. In 1972, she became the first black woman from the South elected to the US House of Representatives (and was only the second elected to Congress after Shirley Chisolm in 1968, who hopefully has a biopic of her own on the way). Barbara was also the first black woman to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention.
According to Variety, the project has been in the works for some time and rights to Mary Beth Rogers’ biography, Barbara Jordan: American Hero, have already been secured. Writer Paris Qualles is said to be adapting the book to trace Barbara’s rise from “a poor Houston neighborhood to an elected member of Congress and an influential figure in liberal politics” for the film, and director Paris Barclay said he is thrilled to be a part of the project:
“In a world of movies about giants and Martians and toys come to life, if you can actually get involved with a movie about a human who single-handedly changed American politics, you say ‘yes.’ We’re hoping this becomes a movie that shows the world everything that Viola can do. People haven’t seen everything that she’s capable of, and this role is so powerful.”
Diane Nabatoff, who will also help produce this work, echoed similar sentiments about Barbara Jordan and Viola Davis’ ability to capture that influence to Variety.
“If you think about Jordan as being one of the most commanding and articulate speakers of her era, who else would you think of (for the role) than Viola Davis? She is so commanding, and she’s got the voice.”
With initial funding already secured, the only remaining hurdle is for the team to find a distributor once the script is complete.
Are you excited to see this project come to life?
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It’s been a good year for Black women on film, so the Oscars would have you believe. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer received well-deserved nominations, and Spencer joined the exclusive club of Academy Award-winning Black actresses. But, let’s not forget she is only the sixth Black woman to be recognized with this honor. The last African-American to take home the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role still struggles to find work and saw her latest performance go straight to DVD.
Black women may have been top of mind this awards season, but for the most part they remain invisible on-screen. A recent study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that 32.6 percent of speaking characters from 2007 to 2010 were female, which translates into an on-screen ration of 2.1 males to every one female. Black actors accounted for 11.6 percent of speaking roles.
Who’s Telling Our Story?
There is an old industry adage in Hollywood – “write what you know.” Best Picture-nominated films with one or more female screenwriters show a higher percentage of female characters than films written solely by men. Only 14.3 percent of directors from 2007 to 2010 were female. The stories of Black women aren’t being told because Black women aren’t doing the telling. Furthermore, they aren’t the ones deciding which stories are told. As chief executive and chief creative officer of OWN, Oprah Winfrey is arguably the only Black woman in television or film with the power to control the images that are presented.
The old guard of Hollywood is still very much in place. It is one where a select group of decision-makers, largely non-minority males, pander to the lowest common denominator of audiences. They subscribe to ideals like films and television shows with Black leads aren’t successful domestically or abroad. Waiting to Exhale, The Cosby Show, and Will Smith are all flukes.
The media is a notoriously monopolized industry. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, massive corporations; namely General Electric, Walt Disney, News Corp, Time Warner, Viacom, and CBS; now dominate the U.S. media. With everyone reporting to the same boss, it’s no wonder entertainment looks like one big homogenized, whitewashed mess. But, a shift in the tide is brewing.