Sunday, May 30, 2010

2010 Gracie Awards Red Carpet...Tyne Daly, Sharon Gless, Jessica Simpson, Macy Gray and more

The annual Gracie Awards are presented by the Alliance for Women in Media, formerly known as American Women in Radio & Television. And for more than three decades, the Foundation of AWRT has been a leader in celebrating and honoring programming created for women, by women and about women, as well as individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the industry. The Gracies strive to encourage the realistic and faceted portrayal of women in entertainment, commercials, news, features and other programs.

To get a full list of the 2010 winners visit

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sex And The City 2: Fun, Fashion, and Fabulous Men

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know the critics supposedly hate it! Well that's their opinion and just because someone pays them to share it doesn't mean they are always right! I've got an opinion too and I'm giving it freely, though if someone wants to pay me, holla at a blogger via email. I digress...! Pure and simple, "Sex And The City 2" is just a fun movie for the ladies and the boys that love to dress up like them.

That said, "Where my girls at?" Just like you did with "Waiting to Exhale" and the first "Sex And The City" gather your clique, roll out for dinner, a movie, and a few hours of escapism with Cary, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda. Don't forget your designer shoes and hand bag!

Undoubtedly, escapism is the word for the day in this girl-power flick! Whether it's work, family, or relationships these ladies check out of their stressful reality and check-in to an all expenses paid trip to luxurious Abu Dhabi. As we learn in the film, Dubai is now played and so "last year". Really? Let me get there and find out! I promise to send back some pictures! Rock the Casbah!

Opulent. That is the best way to describe the measure of wealth and extravagance Abu Dhabi provides. But despite the magic red carpet treatment the ladies receive, they find it a little difficult to adapt culturally in their new surroundings, especially Samantha. A public display of affection, actually lust, earns her jail time.

And for you die-hard fans, one of Carrie's ex-boyfriends from the tv series is added to her "must see" list while in Abu Dhabi. Should Big be worried? Yes! Sparks fly as the former love birds reminisce over dinner, catch up on personal lives, and get a little closer. Then in my head "Rock Me Tonight For Old Times Sake" begins playing as both currently-married individual plays with fire.

Speaking of fire, there's enough gorgeous men in "Sex In The City 2", to get you warm down under. From handsome prince of Persia servants, to muscle bound athletes playing in the pool, to sexy "Lawrence of Labia" Dutchmen playing in the sand dunes, this movie is pure female fantasy. And just in case my four (4) eyes missed something the first time, I'm going back!

But despite how much I enjoyed "Sex In The City 2" I couldn't help but feel as if it were a commercial for Abu Dhabi. At moments it really seemed like I was being offered a timeshare there. Were executive producers given a handsome sum from wealthy businessmen there to make the movie? It wouldn't surprise me at all since more and more filmmakers seek funds outside the US. Talk about product placement!

So on a scale of 1 to 5, I give it 4 veils and a pair of harem pants! I had fun watching this movie and by Monday I'm sure there will be millions that feel the same! So ladies, never mind the critics! Go get you some sex this weekend in the theater..."Sex In the City" that is! What you do while its playing on the big screen is none of my business!

Janet Jackson Reminds Us & American Idol Who's Bad!

I'm a keep this brief for one 'cause it's 3:16 am and two I've got to go to sleep! But before I go I wanna say something to one Janet Damita Jo Jackson concerning her "American Idol" performance tonight. In a word and I mean this is with the most up most respect, "YOU'S ONE BAD ASS BITCH!" At 44 you've got to know it and tonight you reminded the globe of not just WHO you are in the world of show biz, but what you can STILL deliver!

With all gossip blogs and regular press concerned with who the new Prince of Persia is in your life, the new hair do, and the over exaggerated attention to your weight gain, I want to thank you for shutting motherf..kers up for one glorious night and making the haters recognize! Throughout blogsphere, Twitter, Facebook, and even in traditional press come tomorrow morning, you'll be receiving praise, kudos, great reviews for a wonderful performance and making the end of this "American Idol" season memorable, even for those who don't watch the show!

So now on to Essence Music Festival! Laaawd! After tonight's performance people are gonna be pushing little old ladies out the way to get to your show opening night. LOL "Sorry, Mrs. Jane Pitman, the fountain's that way! Janet's on stage!"

UPDATE: Janet's "American Idol" performance is now available on Janet Jackson Medley (American Idol Performance). Download the high quality video and enjoy without the YouTube ads!

Friday, May 21, 2010

NBC's "A Different World" Bootlegged Online

Recently while surfing Facebook, I noticed an ad for NBC's "A Different World" on DVD, a complete series boxset. As a huge fan of the show, I clicked on the ad hoping to add to my own "A Different World" DVD collection of the first season. But fans of the show know it didn't really take off until season 2. That's when famed choreographer turned director/producer, Debbie Allen, led it to tv hit status. Here's the ad:

I clicked on the ad and was led to this website, For a mere 50 bones you get ALL the episodes of "A Different World"--all 144 uncut episodes! Sounds like a great buy, right? But hold up, playa!

Notice the Amazon "Buy Now" button? It's a fake! I'm an Amazon Affilate so I know! Secondly, site now is a mere page! WTF? Obviously somebody is bootlegging one of my favorite tv shows of all time and selling it online! I'm sure they've got plenty of other titles for sell too.

Now to be totally honest, if "A Different World" was show I didn't give a damn about, this post wouldn't exist! I'm ringing the alarm because the show DESERVES to get all the financial success it has coming to it, like any other show. When NBC dropped it, we felt the loss and there's been NOTHING close to it on television sense.

What made "A Different World" special was that it was the first time campus life of HBCU students--that's Historical Black College & University-- was portrayed on television. That struck home with me and millions of other HBCU graduates, many of which are Hollywood's most successful stars. Most of the writers too were from a similar background and Debbie Allen made the sitcom important by tackling many of the serious issues from racism to date rape to student activism.

"A Different World" also provided a "master class" if you will not only for some now well-known actors (Jada Pinkett-Smith, Jasmine Guy, Alan Payne, even Tupac Shakur) but also writers and producers like Reggie and Gina Bythewood ("NY Undercover", "Love & Basketball"). I dare say too the show also helped give birth to the coveted The Cosby Writing Fellowship.

So no! I don't want to see it bootlegged! "A Different World" is NOT merely just another black sitcom! And second there's NO GUARANTEE any of the show at all is on that boxset. I mean really, did they record EVERY episode on VHS-which was then the visual medium du jour--then transferred it to DVD? If so, the quality of what's supposed to be on those discs isn't worth your money.
And lastly, just what is the damn hold up on OFFICIALLY releasing the rest of the seasons on DVD? No audience? That's bull and we know it! Here's what a little Googling found. According to this 2006 post on Carsey-Warner, the original production company has to re-license the show to distributors. Unfortunately, UrbanWorks, the original distributors, was acquired by another company several years ago. A summary on supports this.

So in the end that leaves "A Different World" fans with catching seemingly the same three episodes on cable a couple of times a month. Maybe one day soon, the powers that will stop holding the show hostage and make a deal beneficial to errbody, including the fans. In the meantime, resist the bootleg! What are your thoughts?

Friday, May 14, 2010

5 Reasons Why You Should See "Just Wright" This Weekend

Okay folks, if you're week has been anything like mine then you've had a challenging week. You need a mental vacay and a good movie provides just the right escapism. Fox Searchlight's "Just Wright" starring Queen Latifah and Common is a great choice this weekend. Here's 5 reason's why:

1. THE CAST. Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad AND Pam Grier. This line-up is definitely a dream team and it shows. The role of basketball star, Scott Mcknight, fits Common "just right" and he really gets the chance to show his growth as an actor in this film. It was great seeing him in a LEADING ROLE without a gun and partnered with some henchman in a movie.

In "Just Wright" he's a raw peanut complexioned, beautifully sculpted, sexy, intelligent, talented man that we love to fantasize about! Lawd, if I wrote every thought that just popped in my mind, this post might turn into! (LOL) And having spent a few minutes alone with him in an elevator during the 2006 Grammy Awards, I can personally say he's as a nice as he seems. Despite all the eyes see, it's his spirit and how he expresses it that makes him so sexy to me. Sorry, I digressed!

Of course Queen does what she does best! Truly, was there any doubt? She brought her A-game on screen and definitely behind the camera in co-producing this film. And musically, producing "Champion" for the film's soundtrack just demonstrates how multi-talented this queen really is.

Paula Patton, Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad, and James Pickens, Jr. totally fill out this winning cast in their respective roles. Though their parts were small they are very important to the story. In fact, I wish there were scenes with all the parents together just see their characters interact. Hopefully, there's a deleted scene of them on the DVD.

2. THE STORY. Admittedly, it's a story we've all seen before and experienced in real life too, but HOW the story is relayed is important. We relate to this story just as we did to "Love and Basketball". The films do have some similarities but what we love about them both is the fact that we see some part of ourselves in the lead characters.

I especially liked the comparison and contrast between Leslie (Queen) and Morgan (Patton), the typical pretty girl vs "" girl-next-door, often overlooked and under appreciated. There is an underlying lesson concerning self-esteem, but it's not preachy which keeps the film focused on what we're paying to see--Queen, Common, and romance on and off the court.

3. IT'S FUBU. And no, I'm not talking about the designer clothing line! I'm talking about how "Just Wright" is created FOR US AND BY US. No dis to white folk, so don't get it twisted, but to have films written by African-Americans, produced AND directed by African-Americans AND giving balance to the usual portrayals of us on the big screen is important to the culture as a whole.

Shout outs to the writer, Michael Elliot ("Brown Sugar"), director, Sanaa Hamri ("Something New"), and producers, Debra Martin Chase ("The Cheetah Girls"), and Queen and Shakim ("Perfect Holiday").

Special shout outs as well to some non-Black people, Wendy and Lisa! Yep that dynamic duo that help make hits for Prince back in the day is alive and well. These ladies have been busy over the years behind the scenes producing soundtracks for films, most recently, "Just Wright" "Something New", and tv shows, "Heroes".

4. IT'S A GREAT DATE MOVIE. Black, White, or whatever you checked on your Census form, this is a movie that is balanced and has broad appeal. Yes, it has much for the ladies but fellas, there's more than enough court action in this film to keep you interested. Secondly, Common's role is not one that's unrealistic. Take away the wealth and he's a regular guy that loves his mom, friends, the ladies, and the game of basketball. The writer does a great job in balancing his good side with basic flaws we all have.

5. THE POST-GAME INTERVIEW. Movies that stir up those on-the-ride-home debates are the best. Undoubtedly, this one will definitely start some honest dialogue on dating and relationships, which seems to be an on-going hot topic. There are great scenes in "Just Wright" that spark "what would you do and why?" conversations. Just be careful how you answer in the car, the wrong answer may leave you on the side of the road!

So, if nothing else I've said convinces you to see this movie IN THE THEATERS this weekend, just remember this. FILMMAKING IS A BUSINESS. If you want to continue seeing more films like "Just Wright" then you have to make them PROFITABLE. Hollywood doesn't give a damn about our cultural sensibilities, what it cares about is money. WE HAVE NOT, CAUSE WE FINANCIALLY SUPPORT NOT! SO LEAVE THE BOOTLEG alone! I'm out! Enjoy the movie!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Iron Man 2 Press Conference: Robert Downey Jr. Keeps It Lively

If you're one of the few who haven't seen "Iron Man 2", here's a little incentive...the cast of the film discussing individual roles and what they think audiences will get out of the film. After watching this vid, I wonder if Robert Downey Jr. ever did stand up comedy. He definitely keeps the discussion lively.

Legendary Singer, Actress, Activist Lena Horne Dies at 92

Lena Hornes needs no introduction. And for you youngsters who don't understand the significance of her life, please watch the videos showcasing her work, ageless beauty, and contribution to the world at large, not just entertainment. Her autiobiography, "Lena", though currently out of print is worth a read.

I read "Lena" in 2004 in preparation for working on ABC's Lena Horne project. The insights she shared about life, marriage, racism, and working in the entertainment field still hold true today. That book was obtained through the local library and I'm wishing now, like a lot of people, I owned it or could at least find my notes.

In the meantime, for those of us that remember many of her great performances take a moment and enjoy the videos. I love that YouTube has great vintage vids like the ones below!


The Tonight Show Part 1

The Tonight Show Part 2

Rest in peace along with soror, Dr. Dorothy Height. Thank you both for lending strong shoulders for us to stand. I imagine you two together just like the old days of the Civil Rights Movement, enjoying your time together, supporting one another as individuals, as black women, as well as for the cause of the collective. Because of your work, contributions, and public service, I too pledge Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. Yet, both of you belong to a larger legendary sorority of dynamic women who paved the way in politics, entertainment, sports, and any area a young woman desired to pursue. And for that...

We celebrate your courage
We celebrate your spirit
We celebrate your genius
We celebrate your loving kindness
We celebrate your faith in yourselves, and in us

We thank you for the dues you've paid
and the prayers you've prayed

We thank you for showing us how to fly by flying

We speak your names
We speak your names

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Hill Harper "The Conversation" Book Signing Pt 2: New Projects & Twitter

Here it is! Part 2 of "The Conversation" book signing with Hill Harper talking about upcoming projects he finds interesting and how he uses social media, specifically Twitter, to stay connected with fans and friends. Importantly, he also mentions how we should be using social media to support projects we care about, like film "Just Wright" starring Queen Latifah, Common, and Paula Patton.

Iron Man 2: A Stark Difference Between 1 & 2

If you're like me then you were never really into Marvel Comic books as a kid, but nothing complemented a big bowl of cold Frosted Flakes better than those super hero cartoons on a Saturday morning. Now fast forward 20 or 30 years later, if you're honest. Your Saturday mornings are void of cartoon watching, that's for the kids! But there you are at Paramount Pictures "Iron Man 2" screening this weekend, sans the young'uns because there's still a little bit of kid left in you.

Metal verses metal action, loud explosions, pretty women, hi-tech special effects and gadgets. For more than two hours "Iron Man 2" provides plenty of things to marvel over. But if you're not an avid Marvel Comic nor Iron Man fan all that visual eye candy is a distraction from an epic super hero story you may need an Iron Man primer to understand in all its glory.

I'm not saying seeing the first "Iron Man" featuring Robert Downey Jr, Gweneth Paltrow, and Terrance Howard is necessary. However, it is helpful. Cocky, billionaire playboy and weapons maker, John Stark, isn't merely an uber-successful businessman, he IS the business, man! And as Iron Man he uses his business, resources, and scientific knowledge to make peace not war the world over.

In "Iron Man 2", Stark has changed and the forces around him have too: The US government deems the Iron Man designer business suit collection a weapon and wants Stark to turn it over; the very element that keeps Stark's ticker ticking, is slowly killing him and he begins acting irresponsibly; and a pissed off Russian (Mickey Rourke) seems to have created his own Iron Man knock-off and vows to destroy Stark Industries to avenge his father. You think YOU'VE got problems!

Stark is running out of time and out of ideas to keep himself alive. Not to mention his best friend, Lt. Col. James Rhodes (replaced by Don Cheadle in the film) is mad at him too and delivers one of the Iron Man suits to the US government. Cheadle in the role delivers a strong performance as expected, but honestly I would've like to have seen what Terrence Howard would have brought to the role.

Now here's where that Iron Man primer would've been useful. Mid-way in "Iron Man 2" Samuel L. Jackson appears as Nick Fury. He delivers a mysterious chest once owned by Stark's deceased father. In it is the key to saving Stark's life and the family empire. But if you know little about Marvel Comics, you miss the whole relevance of Fury's presence. I totally forget his brief introduction after the credits of the first film, but luckily I saw the new film with a human Marvel Comic aficionado who explained everything.

Ladies fear not! "Iron Man 2" loves the ladies! In it Stark promotes Pepper (Paltrow) to CEO of Stark Enterprises and hires sexy Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johnansson) as the new assistant. But what Pepper nor Stark know is that the new employee "from legal" is actually Fury's implant and she kicks ass with the best of the men.


Overall, I enjoyed the first "Iron Man" better than I did "Iron Man 2" possibly because I didn't know what to expect. The second time around, expectations were high creatively but I got lost in some of the technical stuff and how all the characters fit into the Marvel story as a whole.

So is "Iron Man 2" worth the long lines at the theater this weekend? YES! Just replace that big bowl of wet corn from your childhood for the large bucket of dry, air-popped kind then let the big ass kid in you come out and play!

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