All Articles Tagged "waiting to exhale"
Grab the tissue and half pint of cookie dough ice cream. With classic sisterhood movies playing all day on your big screen one rainy Sunday afternoon, you simply can’t go wrong. The mere mention of these movies will have you dusting off old DVDs, yanking on some sweats, and cuddling in that Lazyboy, ready to revisit your favorite film with your girls.
The Women Of Brewster Place
The women living in the rundown housing projects on Brewster Place pumped it full of love, gossip, grief and joy. The black women are strong-willed and pitted against the dreadful brick wall and weak, oppressive black men. Oprah Winfrey’s matriarchal role comforted us as character Lucielia as we wept over the loss of her baby, Serena.
Why We Need More “Medicine for Melancholy” And “Miss Dial”: Where Is The Average Black Love On Film?
As winter makes its final stand, I decided to take this chilly and snowy opportunity to catch up on some romantic comedy movie watching and surprisingly caught a good one called Miss Dial.
The synopsis goes:
“A consumer affair rep who works from her apartment decides to play hooky one day, and spends her time calling random people, looking for new connections.”
I say “surprisingly” for a couple of reasons: 1. I’ve never heard of it so I assumed that it was one of those straight-to-DVD black films that used to come on late night on BET; 2. And while the main character, played by Robinne Lee, was black and the cover for the film featured Gabrielle Union, Dulé Hill and Hill Harper prominently, the film was definitely not a black love type of film. I mean, there was love in it, but most definitely the post-racial kind, which appears to be a common “thing” nowadays since the popularity of Something New. The black guy is the bad guy while the white guy gets to play the dashing hero on a horse. I looked it up on good ole’ IMDb and discovered that the film technically, while featuring a black lead and other black stars, was written and directed by a white guy, particularly a white guy who had a hand in writing American Pie Presents: Book of Love and National Lampoon’s Barely Legal. Surprise!
Yet despite not technically being a cinematic manifestation of FUBU, there is no denying the charm of this film. If you have ever had a job that paid the bills but almost certainly drained the life out of you, you will most certainly relate to the main character, Erica, who spends her day basically goofing off when she should be working. Then there is the whole fantasy element, which is the allure of all romantic comedies, regardless of color inclusion. But what makes this different is that the plot is simple, understated and very casual. In fact, the entire film takes place in Erica’s apartment with her basically sitting around, on the phone, in loungewear chatting up a handsome stranger.
This kind of subtle storytelling, particularly around the theme of black love, is missing in black films of today. In the ’90s we were troubled men and women or drug dealers and gang bangers, who occasionally fell in love, such as the case in Jason’s Lyric and Poetic Justice. And then came the rise of the bougie black couple, which gave birth to the high-power and profile blacks, specifically the buppies (black yuppies) in Waiting to Exhale, or the Afropolitan-bobos (bohemian bourgeois) of Love Jones. Throughout our contemporary cinematic history, these extremes have left a void for many of us, who fell on the outskirts of either of these images. You know, us folks with regular jobs and regular apartments/housing, who are too poor for daily Happy Hours at the trendy tapas bars, but ain’t hood enough to be ride or die boo in the back of the mail truck?
The first time I’d seen such everyday-black-man-and-woman portrayal on screen was in Barry Jenkins’ independent classic, Medicine for Melancholy. As described by IMDB, this story revolves around the “24 hours in the tentative relationship of two young San Franciscans also dealing with the conundrum of being a minority in a rapidly gentrifying city.” More than the question of, are they going to fall in love or not?, and whatever social commentary the film hoped to illicit, what I always found most interesting about this story was the inclusion of black folks, contemplating love while riding bicycles. And that was the entire appeal for me. Through the media, we have been led to believe that black folks just aren’t into the whole bike culture thing. And yet, there they were, pedaling through the streets of San Fran, looking comfortable and natural.
A few years later I purchased on a whim the movie called I’m Through with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks), which was directed by Jennifer Sharp and written by Courtney Lilly. As the title suggests, the film revolves around a black guy named Jay Brooks (Anthony Montgomery), who, according to IMDB, “digs indie rock, graphic novels, and dates white chicks.” After not being able to commit to his white girlfriend, thus breaking up with her, Jay decides that the problem is white women and begins a quest to find an authentic black girlfriend, which he sort of finds in Catherine Williamson (Lia Johnson), a half-black, half-Puerto Rican Canadian. While whimsical and a slightly offensive premise for sure, the film’s main charm comes in the form of presenting us with characters, who enjoy activities and interests (i.e. comic books and indie bands) outside of basketball, hip-hop, family fish frys and other things we associate with exclusively black activities in movies. In fact, both of these films act as a subtle coup in how we tend to define the black experience – at least on film.
This kind of portrayal is important to me and I imagine other black folks, who either exist outside of the realm of what is thought as traditional blackness, or at the very least ride the fence. Personally, I ride bikes, although more for leisure endeavors as opposed to my main form of transportation (got to justify those car payments somehow). I live in the ‘hood, which means that I know how to roll a tight blunt, will unapologetically drop it like it’s hot to some ratchet s**t and be loud and boisterous for no damn reason at all. However, I also have a college degree; will frequently venture to the more affluent parts of town for Chai tea, samosas and obscure subtitled foreign films, and will kick it with the Afropolitan friends for some spoken word and drum circles. For some, that may make me abnormal, however, I see myself as a well-rounded person. And I suspect that there are many others in the community, who too encapsulate the versatile of the black aesthetic. It is certainly true of the men I tend to date and attract.
There are times when my experience as a black person in America can seem pretty ubiquitous. However, there are times when my version of blackness isn’t always pronounced. Despite what we see on television, some days we do get to take a day off from police brutality, racial discrimination and all the other things that seem to plague the community. Sometimes my life is pretty damn boring and innocuous. So while love stories like Medicine for Melancholy, I’m Done with White Girls and even Miss Dial exist, because clearly they do, they still remain largely hard to find and available mostly through only word of mouth. Whereas, I can go to the local cinema and watch Think like a Man playing on multiple screens. Not saying that Think Like a Man or Love Jones or even a Poetic Justice are too not representative of black love, I see them in me. But I also want to see the others parts of me represented too. And why can’t the diversity of our experience be seen on the screen just as they are off?
More and more women, according to Forbes, are holding down the fort while their man gets their career or business going.
Think about Tina Knowles, mother of Beyonce and Solange. She toiled long hours in her beauty shop while her husband, Mathew, quit his 9-to-5 as a corporate executive in 1992 to manage Destiny’s Child. It was a gamble that paid off. But, writes Umaimah Mendhro in Forbes, most often while the women pay the bills, they really don’t expect to see a big payoff from their husbands’ ventures. The women are doing it all for love.
Still when one person is carrying all the weight, it can put a strain on a relationship, regardless of how much love there is.
“It should be expected that lots of strain on the marriage will occur when one partner who used to be available in the evenings for helping the children complete homework or taking care of the household, is now cooped up in the den working countless hours on the business plan, marketing ideas or he is out networking or promoting the business,” says licensed psychologist Dr. Tiffany D. Sanders. “His lack of availability can build resentment especially if the wife feels her work is not being appreciated.”
Cutbacks on family expenses and activities are also inevitable. “It can cause a financial strain because discretionary income is now being diverted into the business, which can cause tension because the family may feel deprived from doing fun things it loves,” notes Sanders.
The couple needs to remember they are in it together. “Through joint contribution, both husband and wife play a role in the husband’s personal accomplishments. A wife’s supportive role often creates the time, space and opportunity necessary for the husband to succeed. Every accomplishment should, therefore, be attached to a shared vision for their marriage, their family and their future,” explains relationship expert Hasani Pettiford of the Couples Academy via email .
Being supportive is a must, but being naive is another thing. A wife — or husband — shouldn’t support every whim of their mate. Before any new venture is undertaken that will affect the household income, discussions need to take place, outlining the kind of commitment that needs to be made, says Sanders.
“To keep the marriage intact, a system must be implemented. Seeking hired help or assistance from family is essential. Scheduling both spousal and family time together is non-negotiable. Allocating funds to adjust for the change in finances is paramount,” adds Pettiford.
And don’t put your own needs—emotionally or professionally — aside. “Just like some businesses have weekly meetings, couples need to make regular time to cultivate their relationship, whether that’s dinner dates or frequent communication,” suggests Sanders. And wives need to continue to pursue their dreams to avoid resentment from either party, Sanders adds..
But who can forget the classic scene in Waiting To Exhale when Bernadine, played by Angela Bassett, having been dumped by her husband — a man who she supported while he got his business up and running — burns his car and clothes in blaze of revenge? What if the Bernadine scenario plays out?
“The more she’s recognized as a partner in the business the less likely he will want to ditch her after his success because his success is her success too,” advises Sanders.
And if that isn’t enough insurance, check the law in your state to find out about spousal rights to startups. Your spouse is your first investor, regardless of their role, reports the Financial Post. If necessary, draw up a legal document with your husband prior to his starting the venture, laying out your interest in the company.
“Wives should be the number one beneficiary of all success obtained by their husbands. Any person who financially invests in another person’s venture, company, or dream deserves a return on that investment,” Pettiford sums up.
Lord knows Angela Bassett can deliver the mess out of a line. Whether she’s playing the battered woman, the maternal figure, or a snobby housewife, Angela always makes you believe in her portrayal. Check out her best lines over the years.
Bernadine to John Sr. in Waiting to Exhale
John: Oh by the way, I’m coming to pick up my kids on Saturday.
Bernadine: Yeah? And if I hear you had em anywhere near that tramp bi**h, you’re gonna regret it for the rest of your life!
It’s one thing to be pissed at your unfaithful husband; but you can’t rightfully keep him away from his children, even if he is morally bankrupt. Bernie recognized this but at the same time she wasn’t about to have her soon-to-be ex husband parading his new woman in front of their children. And with this line, we think she made that perfectly clear.
When Terry McMillan’s novel Waiting to Exhale sat on the New York Times’ bestseller list for 38 straight weeks in 1992, it was only natural that the studios would want to capitalize on some of those potential earnings. So, just three years later, in 1995, Fox Studios brought us Waiting to Exhale a star-studded, female-led film. As expected, the film was a huge box office success, eventually raking in $67.5 million. Though some critics claimed these women’s problems weren’t that drastic, it was an instant hit and an eventual classic among the black community.
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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When was the last time you listened to (or downloaded) an entire album from beginning to end? Chances are, it was the last time you heard a good soundtrack.
A great theme song can define a film (think Diana Ross’ theme from the 1975 film Mahogany, “Do You Know, Where You’re Going To?”) but when the entire soundtrack is great, it can help turn even a so-so movie into a classic.
Head over to theGrio.com to see if your favorite soundtrack made the cut.
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“Sparkle” wasn’t the only movie project Whitney Houston had lined up before her passing. The sequel to the 1995 classic “Waiting to Exhale” was also slated to be in the works, and Fox’s president says the movie will still go on without her.
Fox 2000 Pictures purchased the rights to the movie sequel from Terry McMillan after she published Getting to Happy in 2010, and President Elizabeth Gabler said there are no plans to cancel production in light of news of Whitney’s death.
“I don’t think she would want it to,” Elizabeth said in an interview with Vulture Monday afternoon. “It’s almost in her honor that we think to soldier on.”
Once the shock over Whitney’s sudden death passes, Elizabeth says discussions will begin about who would be an appropriate replacement for her character, and she mentioned that since Oprah Winfrey has done her share of acting and worked over time to promote the film, “it isn’t inconceivable” that she might have an interest in playing the part, although Elizabeth adds:
“We literally have not talked about anybody for that part. Forest [Whitaker], I know, is just … grieving. He’d been the one who was speaking with her, updating [Houston] on its progress.”
It’s hard for me to envision Oprah taking on that part for a number of reasons and it seems as though it may be best to try to cut Savannah out of the script as much as possible. But since it’s nearly 20 years after the original film debuted, maybe no one will mind the character change.
What do you think Fox should do about Whitney Houston’s character? If they replace her, who would be a good choice?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Your boyfriend, boo thang or husband has been known to work your nerves on occasion. But he’s human. You probably irritate him a little bit too. Despite his flaws and quirks, hopefully he’s still a good dude. If he’s really been testing you as of late, compare him to some of these fictional fellas who had no type of act right whatsoever. If you finish this list and realize your man is just like one of more of these men, it’s time to get your life together with a quickness.
Mark this day in your calendar people, it’s an important one: Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on this day, and today she rings in her 48th year. One of the most talented vocalists out there EVER has caressed our eardrums with her mezzo-soprano voice for years, becoming one of the best-selling artists to do music. And despite the slip ups she’s had over the years and a relationship we weren’t too thrilled about, this Newark-born chick has always been one of our faves. To help her celebrate her 48th year, we compiled a short list of our favorite Whitney songs. There’s so many bangers we could have gone on with this list for days, so we kept it short and sweet. Include any of your faves in the comment section and don’t forget to send Whit Whit some birthday love!