Monday, April 26, 2010

Hill Harper's "The Conversation" LA Book Signing

There's a major problem, a breakdown in communication if you will, between African-American men and women...a lot of he say, she say, but who or what is really to blame? Societal changes, racism, misinformation, and misguided perceptions all play a role as we heard last week in Nightline's televised heated discussion on the issue. And providing sound insight and advice in the tv debate was "CSI:NY's" actor turned author, Hill Harper talking from his new book, "The Conversation."

But could all this talking about the issues between African American men and women be simply a Mars versus Venus comparison that all ethnic groups experience, or are we dealing with a major crisis within the black family traceable all the way back to the slave auction block? Must I take it that far? Yes! Because in order to get to the root of the problem we must first look at where we've come from and then see where we're going. In order to go forward, we must look back. Sankofa!

In his newest book, "The Conversation", Hill, the award-winning actor and best selling author, addresses the heart of the matter and provides a "road map" to possible solutions. I attended a recent book signing here in LA and was able to hear him explain what sparked this newest literary achievement and saw its potential impact on the growing debate.

My next post will feature more from Hill Harper from the event. In the meantime be sure to checkout all his books. Just click the book images to learn more.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nightline's "Why A Successful Black Woman Can't Find a Man"

After viewing "Nightline's" engaging discussion on "Why A Successful Black Woman Can't Find A Man" online, it reminded me of another vocal entertainer, Jill Scott, on the related subject of interracial dating. She's now writing for Essence and her article in the March issue of the mag sparked a lot of conversation too even before "Nightline." If you missed her interview on CNN, here's some of what you missed. Thoughts?

Now back to the subject of this post. Though I enjoyed the lively conversation on "Nightline," I really disliked the title, "Why A Success Black Woman Can't Find A Man". We FIND men all the time, it's just connecting with the RIGHT MAN at the perceived RIGHT TIME that's the problem. It also makes it appear we're desperate for men. Ladies, are we really or am I being too sensitive to how we are perceived in what's considered mainstream?

I work in this game of show so I understand the entertainment value of a strong title that connects with the targeted audience and is easy to remember. However, between scary statistics being thrown out at us every month plus addressing what others are saying in and out of our community about us in general, I'm about to have a complex! Not really, but hopefully you understand my growing angst. If you believed all you hear and see lately about us you might be led to think that black women are indeed at the very bottom of the desirable totem pole.

Basically, what I'm saying is based on the program's name, "Why A Successful Black Woman Can't Find a Man," was I to watch Nightline or a VH-1 reality show? A little bit of both I suppose. Controversy sells!

That said, with so much negativity surrounded black women in the news now where will the positivity come from? Inward, inside. Ladies, we'll have to continue to look inward 'cause outwardly right now there isn't a lot for us in the mainstream. But you knew that already, right?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

On Set With the Cast of "Death At A Funeral": Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan, & More

Go with me behind-the-scenes of Sony Picture's new comedy, "Death At A Funeral." See art imitate life as the cast members laugh at themselves as they shoot. Hear too interviews with cast members Zoë Saldaña, Loretta Devine, Danny Glover, and of course the comedic trio, Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, and Tracy Morgan!

The film opens this weekend. So if you laugh yourself to death at the theaters let me know! What was your favorite scene or scenes?

Friday, April 09, 2010

At A Theater Not So Near You: Tyler Perry vs Hollywood For More Screens

Round one went relatively well for Tyler Perry and the cast of "Why Did I Get Married Too?" on April 2nd. It came in at #2 at the box office with heavy competition. Now round two will be another "Clash of The Titans" of a different nature this weekend with highly anticipated comedy, "Date Night" starring hilarious actors, Tina Fey and Steve Carell.

But the never ending battle for Tyler is not with other films. It's with the Hollywood machine that produces and distributes them. As an African-American film go-er have you ever wondered why you have to travel out of your way sometimes to see certain films?

On his website Tyler sheds some insight into the drama in a letter to his fans. Here's what I find interesting. Despite all the money he's made Hollywood, why is he still struggling with this issue of lack of screens for his films? And if he's going through this, just think what other black filmmakers are going through. Here's an excerpt from his letter:

For some reason, I have never been able to get my movies to play in more than 2,150 theaters. I have fought until I'm blue in the face and nobody can give me a clear cut answer. To put this in perspective, when most movies open, take for instance CLASH OF THE TITANS, it was on 3,800 screens, or the Miley Cyrus movie, which was on 3,100. Most movies open on between 3,000 to 5,000 screens.

Anyway, if I keep fighting, maybe one day I'll get enough screens so that you won't have to be packed on top of each other, as well as be turned away time and time again after driving all the way to the theater. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I just want there to be adequate seating for the demand. That's all I'm saying.

Read the entire message on then tell me what's your take on this situation? Truly, what more does Tyler have to prove to get more screens? Is it that Hollywood is scared that if he's given more screens, his box office profits will be even greater, and thus the money holders will have no reason not to give him bigger budgets? Things that make you go, "hmmmmmm!"

Friday, April 02, 2010

"Why Did I Get Married Too?": Tyler Perry Delves Deeper This Time Than The First

"It's a thin line between love and hate" sang the Persuaders and in Tyler Perry's new film, "Why Did I Get Married Too?" we see all too well just how such a beautiful thing can turn ugly then potentially become beautiful again.

Back from the first "Why Did I Get Married?" are Dianne and Terry, Sheila and Troy, Angela and Marcus, and Patricia and Gavin. This time their annual couples' retreat occurs in the tropical Bahamas. But trouble brews in paradise at the arrival of Mike, Sheila's ex. He's had enough of the "20" ( ex-girlfriend Trina) and wants the "80" back he had with Sheila.

And while everyone is having fun in the sunlight, Gavin and Patricia, the once ideal couple, are in a dark place in their relationship. Still grieving the loss of their child, the two can't seem to reach out to each other in their grief and decide to divorce.

Taken from the pages of Janet's own life and Terry McMillan too, what was thought to be an amicable divorce turns real nasty when unreasonable demands are made from the husband. So both Gavin and Patricia, now angry and resentful, set out to hurt each other in ways neither will be able to recover.

Add to their drama, the three other couples' issues. At first glance Terry and Diane have no issues, but look a little closer. Diane's got a secret that only "Victoria" could tell. Troy and Sheila are having money issues with a new house, new baby, but no new job for Troy. Marcus, this time, has a great new job as a sportscaster, but Angela can't cope with the attention it brings him and suspects he's cheating again.

Overall, "Why Did I Get Married Too?" definitely lives up to expectations. There's some laughter and plenty of drama to make you squirm in your seat. And yes, many will be surprised at the raw emotion Janet literally explodes on screen, but look too for great emotional scenes from Malik Yoba and Lamman Rucker too.

If there's one thing, well maybe two, I'll complain about the film, it's the overuse of Angela for comedy and how some scenes are cut together. In the first "Why Did I Get Married?", Angela's loud, sometimes drunken, "keeping it real" approach was fun to watch. But in "Married Too?" she's on blast for much of the movie and it's annoying making her character stereotypical and predictable.

Sometimes scenes have to be sacrificed for time. But to see one character in a really emotional scene with her husband and then see her again calmly in the next is a bit jarring. And there's a couple of other directing decisions I'd love to ask Tyler about, but for the most part I enjoyed "Why Did I Get Married Too?".

So is this one better than the first? Honestly, I like them both for different reasons, so you'll have to get to the theaters this weekend and see for yourself. LEAVE THE BOOTLEG ALONE and support a black business. Tyler Perry isn't merely a businessman, he IS the business, man! Support his growth as a filmmaker.

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