“The Past Holds Onto Me”- Dee Barnes, “Straight Outta Compton”, & Revisionist History

I’m the type that has to see a movie in order to believe it’s hype. Critiques and reviews will only raise my interest (and anxiety) levels, but I have to view a film, feel it’s message in my bones, and then analyze it on the way home. Very few films hit me in the gut, much like “Southpaw” did recently, and with all the talk about “Straight Outta Compton” potentially being an Oscar contender, now I just can’t wait until it lands on Netflix/On-Demand/Redbox to give this movie a chance.

Then I read this article, courtesy of Gawker, penned by Dee Barnes, a journalist who was close friends with the members of N.W.A. before and during the height of their rap career. Now I will go to see “Straight Outta Compton” with another thinking cap on. Barnes’ article is a must-read, especially because, as we know, biopics tend to leave out a lot of information and insight into the subject’s life. There’s only so much of one’s story that can be summed up in two (and sometimes close to three) hours in a dark theatre. But if Barnes’ fateful, abusive encounter with Dr. Dre had been portrayed in “Straight Outta Compton”, would talk of a possible Oscar(s) lay on the imaginary table? Would that scene have eclipsed the overall praise that this movie continues to receive, as well as its current box office success? I sit here and wonder…

Unfortunately, while reading her article, I found myself horrified as Barnes’ words laid out the events that happened after Dr. Dre attacked her. From Hollywood’s blacklisting of Barnes to the migraines and tinnitus that remains as a haunting memory, her Gawker article is another example of revisionist history. The stories that we choose to tell others have two sides and it’s better to show the mo showinre pleasing one, isn’t it? The one that paints us as a hero, rather than a villain.

I also, along with many others, now understand who the “Dee Barnes” that Emimen raps about in “Guilty Conscience” (ft. Dr. Dre) is, and this revelation in conjunction with Barnes’ article BLEW MY MIND WIDE OPEN. Read Barnes’ article and find out for yourself. I truly hope that she finds a publisher for her upcoming memoir and I am more prepared than ever now to watch “Straight Outta Compton”.

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Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o Continue To Kill It

Photo Credits: Cineralia/ThandieKay.com

Both director Steve McQueen and Lupita Nyong’o were working hard at their respective artistic crafts before 12 Years A Slave, but now they have the mainstream clout and power to create and be a part of passion projects. Earlier this week, it was announced that McQueen’s next film will be about none other than Paul Robeson!

Paul Robeson was a true renaissance man who slayed at everything he set his mind to achieve. An actor, opera singer, activist, All-American football player, and scholar of law at Columbia Law School, Robeson was involved in both the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights movements. He was also investigated during the McCarthy era, accused of being a communist. He retired and passed away in my hometown of Philadelphia.

The first and only film that I ever saw Robeson star in was Oscar Micheaux’s black and white film, “Body and Soul“. This movie debuted Robeson in his first starring role on screen, at the age of 27. If you have never seen “Body and Soul” and ever get the chance to, I suggest that you take the opportunity!. It introduced me to the genius of both Micheaux and Robeson’s work in film and as an artist and film buff, it continues to inform my way of thinking about the art of directing, the business of church, and African-American identity.

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A Paul Robeson biopic helmed by Steve McQueen will be nothing short of extraordinary, especially as THE Harry Belafonte will have a part in making this film happen. What that part will entail of is unknown for the time being.

 

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McQueen has also been tapped to direct a heist thriller movie based from a 1980s British TV miniseries titled “Widows“, which you can watch on YouTube (from what I’ve seen so far, this may be another new British television obsession for me!)

Let’s not forget that McQueen is also working on his first television show to hit the States, “Codes of Conduct“, about a young Black man entering high society in New York. I. Can’t. Wait.

As for Ms. Nyong’o, she has the next Star Wars movie on her plate, as well as being the new face of Lancome Cosmetics.

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However, did you know that she has just scored another new film role in Mira Nair’s upcoming movie adaptation, “Queen of Katwe“? The film will be based on the real life of Ugandan chess prodigy, Phiona Mutesi. I am certain that Nyong’o will shine in her portrayal of Mutesi and maybe it could gain her another Oscar nomination….or award!

 

McQueen and Nyong’o….keep working, informing, and inspiring. I salute you!

The Beygency Has Always Been On My Tail Too…

Ever since college, I’ve always felt like The Beygency, otherwise known as 80% of everyone I’ve ever met in my life post-Destiny’s Child era, has had my name on their list. I just keep my mouth shut about my general neutrality when it comes to Beyonce. I don’t hate her music, but I’m not a die hard fan. Talk to me about Foals, Natalia Kills, Paramore, The Smiths, or Nirvana, but I won’t take a bullet for Beyonce. I’ll sing along to “Single Ladies” during a night of dancing and go home just fine in my happy night owl bubble. I don’t take my appreciation for Beyonce’s talents any further than that. But it appears that a good majority of the world has and please hear me when I say that YOU FRIGHTEN ME!

If you are a Beyonce do or die stan and have seen this video this past Saturday night or are watching here for the first time, I hope that you realize how much you’re scaring me and others who just want to live. If I ever meet Beyonce in my lifetime, I will pay my respects and keep it moving. There is no need for me to join the Beygency, but thank you SNL writers for giving a name to the leagues of folks who continue to side eye me whenever I calmly begin a sentence by saying, “I like Beyonce’s music, but…”

 

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I know Andrew. I know…..

 

 

p.s. This is THE BEST SNL video to debut this season, in my opinion, and Andrew Garfield was a wonderful host. Please bring him back Lorne!

Taco Tuesdays and Feeling Non-Essential: The Brilliance of “The Shrink in B6”

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I was messaged by House of June, an indie art film production company in Atlanta, with a lovely note and links to episodes of their webseries, “The Shrink in B6”. I’m so glad that I’ve watched the two episodes that they have on YouTube. So, so very glad. I’m also chuffed that they reached out to me to spread the word about their dramedy.

“The Shrink in B6″ centers around best friends (now ex-best friends…you have to watch to find out why!) Nadia and Farrah who are going through financial troubles. Nadia, played by the wonderfully natural and grounded Shayla Love Washington, is a grad school dropout who has been recently fired as a waitress. In other words, her life just became one big, epic HOT mess. Farrah, deliciously and humorously portrayed by actress Tabby Molapo, is less than understanding and gives Nadia a few days to get her act together because the rent has to be paid and a girl’s gotta eat more than ramen noodles and hot pockets.  Nadia ends up becoming a shrink for hire, fashioning the middle section of her living room into a makeshift shrink’s office.

The results of this webseries, so far, are certainly artsy and hilarious. Molapo as Farrah brings the comedy- I found myself laughing at her every turn. Washington is great at Nadia- I can see why she was cast as the shrink. Even while her life is in shambles, she exudes warmth and intelligence and proves that shrinks are just like us. They don’t have all the answers, but they can surely help others find them.

The directing, editing, and music choices are also innovative and nostalgic  (for all you Nickelodeon/”Doug” fans, the second episode has a gift just for you!). “The Shrink in B6” is up there with some of the best webseries alive and their hard work and refreshing artistic quality has caught the eyes of Clutch Mag, BlackWebSeries.com, and  ChicRebellion.TV, who have just partnered with House of June and will be airing future episodes of “The Shrink in B6” on the network!

If you’re looking for your new favorite webseries, this one is it. Check out “The Shrink in B6”!

 

Episode 1:  “Tacos and Ultimatums”

 

Episode 2: “Spin Gold Out of Shit”

 

“The Shrink in B6”: Promo Visual

House of June Featurette: Mini Introductions

View The James Brown Biopic, “Get On Up”, Trailer Right Here!

Lord knows that I don’t know the full story of James Brown and this legend rightfully deserves a movie biopic to his name! The cast is star-studded and I’ve taken to Chadwick Boseman’s talent since the first time I saw “42”. This trailer has caught my attention and I give this movie a green light, mainly based on my curiosity in seeing how Boseman brings Brown to life:

 

So…What Did You Think Of “Lindsay”?

Last night, Oprah’s docu-series “Lindsay” premiered and I loved it. Some may find it was sad and boring, but life isn’t all daisies and sunshine! It was refreshing to see Lindsay Lohan go about this new chapter in her life, looking for a place to live in New York City, supporting her sister during New York Fashion Week, uncovering”Fetch” t-shirts(“MEAN GIRLS” SHOUTOUT!) at her mom’s Long Island home, standing up for herself even when it means losing out on a job, and avoiding the paparazzi. 

This is a side of Lindsay Lohan that we have never seen and may never see again. It will be messy and may induce eye-rolling and/or heavy sighing, but above all let’s hope that it can help anyone who is going through/has gone through the same pain of being an addict.

Celebrity or not, we’re all human. 

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