It’s A Black Thang!

I’m not saying that Black people are the only ones who can watch these shows, but this is pop culture that is unapologetically aimed at Black audiences.

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Dolemite Is My Name

Some of us are old enough to have actually watched some of Rudy Ray Moore’s movies, like Dolemite and The Human Tornado, which they don’t show on Tv much anymore ,for…reasons.. Some of my younger readers would have encountered his movies as parodies on MadTV, or Key & Peele. They were often laughably bad in and of themselves but they were groundbreaking because Moore was one of the only Black independent filmmakers of the 70s, and was one of the primary directors in the Blaxploitation era.

The first time I saw a Rudy Ray Moore movie, it was at the Drive-In. I was maybe nine or ten years old, and the movie was The Human Tornado, which I wasn’t supposed to be watching, because I was supposedly asleep in the backseat with my two brothers, and because his movies ARE NOT FOR KIDS!!!! I don’t think I can stress this enough. Well anyway, I watched it and I don’t think my mom ever realized i saw the movie, and I haven’t ever told her. I suspect if I told her this, I’d be subject to this:

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Now couple that information with the return of one of the greatest comedians of the 80s and 90s, Eddie Murphy, who hasn’t been relevant in some time, and this is looking like a comeback role, in a classic film. Actually what it is is the making of Dolemite from Moore’s point of view. There are some other great actor/comedians in this, and even more importantly, this is airing on Netflix in September.

The Black Lady Sketch Show

The Black Lady Sketch Show is now airing on HBO, but you can watch select sketches on YouTube. This is such a great show, and I say that even though I don’t subscribe to HBO anymore. The sketches are soooo funny, and some of them are spot on.

Check out Invisible Spy for example. I’ve always thought that women of color would make exceptional spies, because so few people pay attention to us, especially when we’re doing something stereotypical, like housekeeping! The spy in this sketch is invisible all the time, and thats a commentary on how being fat, and dark skinned, renders a person irrelevant. Even her coworkers don’t know what she actually looks like , even though they’re looking right at her. I got that, as I’m always being compared to some other Black woman that people know, someone they went to school with, a cousin, or somebody’s neighbor.

But one of my favorite sketches is the Ball for Basic Bitches! I’m far too contrary to ever be considered “basic”, I think, but I perfectly understand it, though, and Basic Bitches can be fabulous too, only a lot more quietly, I guess.

Got to Youtube to watch the surreal Dance Biter, which stars my favorite comedian Quinta B, the hilarious Invisible Spy, and a sketch about how obsessed America is with beauty standards, called A Day With No Makeup.

 

 

The Rundown w/ Robin Thiede

Robin Thiede is currently one of the stars of the Black Lady Sketch Show, but if you want to see the kind of work that led up to her starring in the above show, then The Rundown is where you need to see it.

The Rundown aired on BET, and showcased different comedians, although Robin was the star. I never watched the show itself, and only just saw a few episodes because they were recommended after I viewed TBLSS, and frankly, I’m impressed. This first sketch is based on the show Stranger Things, and the character of Eleven, and is what I like to call , uncomfortably hilarious, a style that Key and Peele often specialized in.

My favorite though is this video for the Weak Black Woman, because not everybody can be woke and strong, Some of us are too tired from working on those spreadsheets for the Stevenson account, I guess. Not quite as pointed as the Basic Bitch Ball, but close enough. And the second is a parody of the series Stranger Things, that I laughed waaay too hard at.

Missy Elliott and Lizzo

I’m a huge Missy fan, and have been since that first song. Now I have a new heroine, Lizzo, who is fat, Black, and absolutely, unapologetic ally, who she is, here she teams up with Missy Elliot, and Megan The Stallion, to celebrate some more “Hot Girl Summer”. I wasn’t outraged by the dancing but I was bothered at the idea of these ladies wandering around a public parking lot, at night, in bikini wear. Well, theyre wearing fur ,so I know they won’t get cold, but apparently that was a bridge too far. (See what I mean about me being sort of Basic?)

Black Girl News

https://www.thedailybeast.com/lashana-lynch-a-black-woman-is-taking-over-as-james-bond-its-about-damn-time

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/lashana-lynch-007-james-bond_n_5d2c59b1e4b02a5a5d5df896

So, James Bond is still in the movie, but there is a statement by the creators, that she is a Bond Woman, (since the term Bond Girl is no longer being used), and that the code name 007 is used for multiple characters. So Daniel Craig is still in the movie, and isn’t actually passing the torch to a new face, but Lynch is playing an Agent with his status.

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Bond 25, as its being called will not be released until 2020, and the director is Cary Fukunaga and also stars a very diverse cast with Rami Malek as this episodes villain, Naomie Harris as Miss Moneypenny, who is an agent in her own right, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Letter, who has starred in at least two other Bond movies.

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A Black Little Mermaid

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So this happened last week, the announcement that the star of the live action Little Mermaid is being played by one Halle Bailey, who you have to admit is just cute as the dickens.

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The Little Mermaid is one of my all time favorite Disney movies. I did grow up with the usual Disney princesses, none of which struck any kind of chord with me. I don’t even remember watching any of their movies as a child. That’s how little impression they made on me, but I saw The Little Mermaid when I was an adult and I was simply “shooketh”! Apparently I was at just the right age to appreciate it. A few years earlier, or later and I would have paid it no mind because that’s sometimes how films work.

I loved both female leads in the movie. I learned all the words to Ursula’s song, which is probably one of the saltiest songs ever sung in a Disney movie, and I loved Ariel’s plaintive song calling for a different life, in the typical Disney “I Want” song, that’s featured in every Alan Mencken written film, from the Little Shop of Horrors, to Beauty and the Beast, to Mulan. I think The Little Mermaid was the first Disney film that ever brought me to tears (although, Pixar has done this consistently, for the past twenty years!)

Predictably, a certain percentage of White people reacted very badly to this news, and showed their whole and  unvarnished asses. I think. Its still up in the air exactly how many participated in this, and  whether or not the reactions, including the hasty creation of a hashtag that showed up a little too conveniently, is  believable. Someone, (its believed that this is fake) even started a petition to have Ariel be White!!! According to an article in Salon, and in online magazine reason, the backlash was faked, and the overwhelming response was one of support. The reason the hashtag trended is because people were protesting the #NotMyAriel! Personally, I consideer more than some of this completely laughable, but you know what, now they relaly got something to cry about with Lashana Lynch.

 

https://reason.com/2019/07/09/ariel-little-mermaid-backlash-black-halle-bailey/

It’s true that a few Twitter users seemed genuinely upset about the casting. But the overwhelming majority of people tweeting #NotMyAriel are doing so in support of Bailey and expressing outrage that anyone would be offended by a black Ariel. Their fury is well-intended but largely unnecessary.

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For those people who insisted that mermaids are White, well mermaids have only ever been depicted as White, but there have always been Brown mermaids. Just because White people don’t know about them doesn’t mean they lore isn’t there, and there have been folklore about them in every country, like the Caribbean version called:

Mami Wata

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The image of Mami Wata, also a water spirit, has taken on many forms, including a mermaid.
Mami Wata represents the finer things in life, such as luxury goods. Her story began long before Europeans crossed the ocean to Africa’s shores.
When people saw the European ships’ figureheads, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art Deputy Director and Chief Curator Christine Kreamer said they saw a powerful, long-haired. The African people linked her beauty and her relation to the Europeans to powers that could bring protection and wealth.
“These are depictions as imagery that came across and set into an existing set of beliefs,” she said. “These images that we look at as mermaids fit into to an existing sort of broader belief of powerful water spirits, and then how that’s picked up in the visual arts changes over time.”

https://face2faceafrica.com/article/mami-wata-the-most-celebrated-mermaid-like-deity-from-africa-who-crossed-over-to-the-west

And throughout history:
An indigenous painting of mermaids

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-11/mermaids-across-the-world-arnhem-land/9846210

 

 

 

Beyonce’s Spirit

Beyonce’s new song for the Lion King is an excellent example of her general aesthetic, with over a dozen different wardrobe changes.

https://theglowup.theroot.com/beyonce-made-so-many-costume-changes-in-the-spirit-vi-1836447151

https://thegrapevine.theroot.com/watch-can-you-feel-beyonces-spirit-tonight-1836444318

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Sasha Obama Statue

This week a statue of Barack Obama was unveiled for South Dakota’s City of Presidents, depicted while holding his daughter, Sasha’s, hand.

New Barack Obama Statue Unveiled and its Full of Black Girl Magic

https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/news/south-dakota-unveils-new-barack-obama-statue-and-its-full-of-black-girl-magic

 

 

Missy Elliott

https://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity/a28250119/missy-elliott-new-album-2019/

Missy is one of my favorite performers. Ive loved her style since that first vidoe. Well, she is finally getting her due respect, in that was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June of this year, and Monday was the 22nd anniversary of the release of her first album Supa Dupa Fly. Here she is stylin’ on the cover of Marie Claire, and in her first genre challenging video “The Rain”.