Women’s History Month: Lena Waithe

March is Women’s History Month and what better way to start it off then to have Lena Waithe on the cover of Paper Magazine, along with her the cast of both her shows on BET; Boomerang and Twenties. 

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Paper magazine
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cast of Boomerang; Paper magazine
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Cast of Twenties; Paper Magazine

She was the first Black Woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for her work on Master of None in 2017. Any Black Woman to be the first of doing ANYTHING is an accomplishment.

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nytimes.com

Lena’s other great works includes:

queen and slim

the chi

  • Dear White People 
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She’s continuously being a bad ass in the LGBTQ community and and film industry. Kuddos to Lena!!

featured image credit: hollywoodreporter.com

 

 

 

 

 

“The Photograph”: Generational Behavior

Issa Rae and LaKeith Stanfield starred in the romantic comedy The Photograph and it was a beautiful love story, but with a deeper meaning.

Mae, played by Issa Rae, lost her mother at the start of the movie. She didn’t know much about her mom’s life until she left her a letter explaining things. Mae’s mother Christina was invested in her work and less into love and emotion. She didn’t show much emotion around Mae and in her defense….it was because her mother didn’t show her much love.

When Christina, played by Chante Adams, was dating Mae’s father Issac, played by Y’lan Noel, her mother discouraged her from dating him because he was content where he was in life and wasn’t making much money. Her mother gave her the impression that she needed to be with someone who could take care of her…so she could move out the house. Christina’s mother told her she was getting too old to be living with her. That is what pushed her to move out the house, better yet the state and pursue her photography career in New York. Christina’s mother lacked emotion with her and felt that being taken care was more important than love.

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Once Christina had Mae, of course she’s going to teach her daughter what was mimicked to her, which is how to NOT properly love someone and somewhat be scared of commitment. Since Mae wasn’t shown much love as a kid, the feeling of commitment scared her. Mae said she broke up with a guy because he proposed to her. She is/was more content with living in the moment and not being married. She had a change of heart eventually once she got to know Michael, played by LaKeith Stanfield. He and Mae connected when was doing a story on a man who worked in the oil industry during the oil spill and he came across pictures shot by Mae’s mother and even a picture of her. The guy used to date Mae’s mother Christina. Michael was intrigued by Christina’s photos that he decided to find more of her images, and when he did, that’s how he met Mae.

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thewrap.com

When Christina passed away, she left Mae a long letter and another to give to her father. Mae learned so much about her mother in a letter, than she learned about her her whole life. In the letter, she found out who her real father was and their love story. The man whom she thought was her father, wasn’t and the man who is her father was the man whom Michael did a story on, Isaac– hence, the reason why he had a picture of Christina in his home. Unfortunately, Isaac didn’t know that Mae was his daughter but they started to form a relationship towards the end of the movie. Christina had left her hometown in Louisiana to pursue a career in photography in New York. She left without telling Isaac and months later when she returned for her mother’s funeral, Issac had married someone else (HOW QUICK IS THAT!)

Where the generational behavior comes into play is the fact that Christina’s mother didn’t really seem affectionate with Mae and showed her tough love. Don’t get me wrong, tough love is fine but when it’s more tough love than affectionate love, that can have a long term affect on you and how you raise your children. Christina lacked some form of emotion when it came to her relationship with Mae, due to the way her mother was with her. Mae recalled a time when she was going away to school and her mom was too busy to take her to the airport. Mae’s step father told her that when he came home from dropping her off at the airport, Mae was crying in a corner because she was sad to see Mae go but she had a hard time showing emotion and was not good at goodbyes. Her mother was also a workaholic and expressed in her letter to Mae, “I wish I was as good at love than I am about working;” meaning, her mother was more into her work than she was with being present and transparent in her relationships with people such as Mae and even Isaac.

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Luckily Mae learned from her mother’s mishaps in relationships and decided to break the generational disconnect of loving someone and showing it with Michael. This movie is a prime example of “be who you want your children to be.” Tell them to learn from you mistakes and show them how. Leaving your child lost and left with question is not the way to go. Don’t hold back, show them love, be transparent with them.

What are your thoughts on the movie?

Comment below and let me know.

“Just Mercy” Movie Will Bring You to Tears

Over the weekend, the story of Walter “Johnny D” McMillian was told in theaters starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B Jordan. Based on a true story, Johnny D was wrongfully accused and charged with killing an 18 year old white woman in 1986 in Monroeville, Alabama. The judge urged the death penalty on Johnny before a jury of white people urged a life sentence. A judge overrode the jury’s sentence and sentenced Johnny to the death penalty.

Johnny’s lawyer, the incredible Bryan Stevenson, was determined to not only prove that Johnny was innocent but other inmates as well. With Bryan being a fresh Harvard graduate, he had a lot of knowledge and determination. He quickly learned that the south was nothing to play with. They threatened him and tried to scare him away but he was bent on proving Johnny’s innocence, as well as Herbert Richardson.

Herbert was a Vietnam veteran who fought for his country but he was discharged due to psychological issues. He was from Brooklyn but eventually moved to Alabama and was still suffering trauma from the war. Due to his trauma and mental issues, he placed a bomb on a front porch that killed a young girl. He was charged with capital murder. Bryan tried to stop Herbert’s execution due to the fact that his previous lawyer did not attempt to appeal his case due to his psychological issues during and after the war. The jury failed to acknowledge that, not only was he an army vet but he suffered a mental illness and that should’ve been considered when they gave him the death penalty. He should’ve been placed in a mental ward for life versus getting the death penalty. One of the saddest scenes is the moments leading up to his execution. Herbert stated that more people had asked him if he needed any help in his last 14 hours of living, than they did his entire years that he battled with his mental illness and trauma. A tearful moment is when Johnny and the other inmates said goodbye to Herbert, told him that he wasn’t alone and that they were all there with him in spirit. They rattled their pans as the execution was going on, so Herbert could hear them and know that they were present with him.

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USAToday.com

 

Bryan took initiative to meet Johnny’s family to learn more about him and the day the young woman was murdered. Johnny was at home that day cooking fish for a fish fry that his family was hosting at his house. So, how was he miles away at a murder scene if he was truly at home? I’ll tell you how…bribery. The sheriff bribed a white felon named Ralph Myers to say that he was with Johnny when he committed the crime. The sheriff had bribed him by taking him off death row. As time went on and after further investigation, Bryan not only got the truth out of Myers but he found recordings of his initial statement saying he didn’t want to lie on an innocent man.

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Ralph Myers, played by Tim Blake Nelson- icantunseenthatmovie.com

 

The case was told on 60 minutes and they even took the case to the supreme court to overturn Johnny’s conviction and exonerate him. The district attorney, who initially wasn’t for Johnny getting released, went in favor of getting his charges being dismissed. It was definitely a cheerful moment for the Johnny, his family and Bryan. Walter Johnny D McMillian went from being on death row for 6 years to being one of the first people in the state of Alabama to be released from death row.

Walter “Johnny D” McMillian—eji.org

This was definitely a miracle story but it still brings sadness due to the fact that…this happened in the late 1980’s to early 90’s. Racial injustice should have never been a thing in the first place but it was and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr fought for equality and much more in the 60’s so there shouldn’t have been any reason that this unjustness was still happening. A few takeaways from this film:

  • Shit like this still happens…as of 2020
  • We should reconsider giving army vets who have trauma psychological help instead of the death penalty
  • I hope white people really dissect the film and see that black people aren’t making this shit up when we say that we are wrongfully accused for crimes.
  • Bryan Stevenson did all this work for pro bono
  • GO SEE IT!!

IF you’ve seen the film already. What are your thoughts?

Walter Johnny D McMillian & Bryan Stevenson–eji.org

 

Movie “Hustlers” Teaches Consistency, Motivation and New Strategies While Running A Business

The movie Hustlers, which is based on a true story, is more than women robbing men blind. It’s about being about your money and having motivation behind your purpose. One of the main characters Destiny, played by Constance Wu, needed money to help her grandmother so she was dancing at the strip club. She wasn’t the best so she got help from Ramona, played by Jennifer Lopez. Ramona gets her hip on the kind of guys to scout and from there, she starts making good money.

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cosmopolitan.com

Sidebar: The ladies went after guys who worked on Wall St since they had money and there was a wide range of them.

With the mindset of needing more money, Destiny was motivated to learn new business tips in order to support her family. In the midst of meeting new guys, Destiny meets a guy, who becomes her boyfriend; they have a daughter together. During that time, she stops dancing to raise her daughter. After two years, her boyfriend decides to leave. At this point, she has two people to take care of so she decided to go back to dancing. 

Once Destiny returns, the club is different and she has to try harder to make her money. She reunites with Ramona and to up their game, they think of a strategic way to make more money. They come up with the idea to meet guys at bars, slip some “happy powder” into their drinks, lure them into the strip club, take their credit card, and charge it at the bar and have the bartender eventually cash them out or they’ll take the card to the ATM. 

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YES, all the scamming they did sounds CRAZY; they were dedicated to making money because they had families to feed. Destiny and Ramona looked at this scam as a business and when operating a business, you think of new way to better your business, new strategies. The ladies were consistent with their strategies and did whatever it takes to get to the top. Ramona didn’t care about scamming the Wall St guys because they screwed over America and crashed the stock market, so in her eyes, why should they sympathize with them.

Of course they were caught; Destiny took a plea deal and Ramona had to serve little time but more than anything, they did what it took to have a successful business. They were motivated by making money, which made them consistent in finding the right men to get money from, which made them find better strategies to get money from them. As crazy as it sounds, the more scheming they did, the more money they made. Was it worth it in the end? Yes, because they grew a great business mindset. Men can over sexualize and even skeet women but when women get their extra moneys worth out of men, then we are forced to go overboard at times. Was it right what they did? No, but as Ramona said ..

“This country is a strip club. You got people throwing the money and people doing the dance” 

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And that tailors more to life and politics than just dancing.

What are your thoughts on the movie/real life depiction?

 

[Exclusive Interview] Miami Artist Teenear Opens Up About Her Fame, Influences, Collaborations & More

Miami native Teenear has groomed herself for the moments she’s living in right now. She’s been singing since she was a toddler, singing covers on YouTube since she was 15, and she is signed to Slip N Slide Records. Teenear has a single with Sage The Gemini, which went global, gracing the presence of Japanese dancer Kahonna. She’s living in her moment and making Miami proud. Check her interview below as she talks about her influences, experiences and much more.

Danii Gold: Being from a musically inclined city such as Miami, what influence did you have growing up?

Teenear: Miami is such a melting pot of genres and sounds. There’s the Miami Sound Machine, disco, R&B and hip-hop in our music history. That inspired me to want to break barriers with my music. Betty Wright was one of my early vocal coaches and is a hometown legend who I can still reach out to at any time.

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Danii Gold: Back in 2015 you had a single with Sage the Gemini titled “Friday Night”, and it went global after a well-known Japanese dancer, Kahonna used it in a dance video. What was it like getting such exposure, especially with “Friday night” being your first single?

Teenear To be honest, at that moment it was 100% surreal because I had just started and for somebody, all the way from Japan to recognize a song and do so much with it for me was appreciated to the fullest. 

Danii Gold: What was it like to collaborate with Lil Baby on your latest single “I Like It”? And having your video play on BET Jams? Congratulations on that. How are you feeling?

Teenear: Thank you so much! Collaborating with Lil Baby was amazing! I’m genuinely so grateful that I was able to get him on “I Like It”. He did an amazing job on his verse and I am really appreciative of BET; they’re always super supportive towards me and my team!

YouTube: “I like it” video

Danii Gold: What was the process like, when you signed with Slip N Slide Records?  

Teenear:  I had a conversation about if being an artist is something that I really wanted to do. From there, I started putting myself out there doing  a lot of covers, and during that time I was doing a lot of recording to a lot of records that people sent in. It wasn’t until I met with a producer from Atlanta named Anthony, and he played me a beat he had and that’s when we created “Friday Night” ft Sage the Gemini and from there I just kept growing with Slip N Slide.

@TeenearR Instagram

Danii Gold: Do you have any plans on collaborating with any of your label mates such as Trina, Plies, Trick Daddy, Sebastian Mikael, etc.?

Teenear: I’ve already collaborated with Trina on one of my earlier records named “Streetlights”. In the future, I definitely see myself collaborating with my newer label mates F$O Dinero, Mike Smiff and Sebastian.

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@TeenearR Instagram

Danii Gold: What other artists would you like to work with now or in the future?

Teenear: I am a big fan of so many artists right now but at this moment I would love to be able to collaborate with H.E.R, Ella Mai, Megan Thee Stallion, Saweetie, Bruno Mars and honestly, the list can just continue. There are so many talented artists out right now that I can’t wait to be able to work with! 

Danii Gold: If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?

Teenear: Growing up I’ve always been a big fan of not only music but also acting and I have a really big passion for musical theater exclamation! So if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now I most likely would be pursuing a career in musical theater.

Danii Gold: Any upcoming projects in the works?

Teenear: I definitely have quite a few projects coming out really soon that I’m really excited about! I’ve been working with a lot a new and extremely talented people that have been helping me create some amazing records so make sure you’re following me on my socials so you can stay updated on when I’m dropping them!

@TeenearR Instagram

Danii Gold: Of course! What message do you want to send in your music?

Teenear: To be honest I just want my music to be able to reflect me as much as possible. A young girl growing up, finding herself and just having fun in every moment that life is giving her.

Make sure y’all check out her new single “I Like It” featuring Lil Baby along with multiple videos she has for the song.

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Check out her website: https://teenear.com
Instagram: @TeenearR

DNA vs No DNA: OJ Case Compared to the Exonerated 5

Over the past two weeks, I finished watching When They See Us and The People vs. O.J on Netflix. I watched part 1 of When They See Us and took a week break because, well, it’s sad. In that week, I watched The OJ series and I know I’m late on it but it was really shocking how much evidence they had and he was proven innocent.

All The Evidence In The World and No Conviction

OJ was known to be abusive to his ex-wife Nicole Brown, according to police calls ad documents. He was also known as being a charming professional football player. He wasn’t caught at the scene of the crime, but his blood was there. A glove was found at the scene at the crime, but it didn’t fit his hand. When he got the call about Nicole being dead, he didn’t ask how she died. OJ was on a whole speed chase with his friend Aj Cowlings driving him because he was threatening to kill himself. Why would he threaten to kill himself if he didn’t kill Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman? There were too many red flags. Of course Black people wanted him to be innocent because there have been several instances where black people were wrongfully convicted and it was probably time for a black person to get away with something. An instance when black people were wrongfully convicted were the Central Park 5, also known as the Exonerated 5, also known as Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Kevin Richardson.

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todayshow.com

The story about the exonerated 5 is this; five young boys [Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Kevin Richardson] were accused of raping a white woman jogging in Central Park on April 19, 1989. They were coerced into admitting to the crime so they would get less time. No DNA placed them at the scene of crime. Yes, they were in the park around the time of the incident but they were on a totally different side. Some fight broke out at the park and as some of them were trying to leave, they got picked up by the police. The next day, the police picked up the others and one in particular, Korey, came along with his friend Yusef just so he wouldn’t be alone.

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nydailynews.com

The police accused these young boys because they were black and they so happened to be at the park at the wrong time. They manipulated them so bad they made Korey, Yusef, Kevin, Antron and Raymond make up stories and pin stories against each other just so they could leave the police station. Some of the boys were questioned without a parent present. This was a sad story to watch because the boys were so young and didn’t know how corrupt the system was. Between the 5 of them, they spent between 6 years to 13 years behind bars. Even though the real rapist admitted to the crime, the men had already did their time. Korey was still doing time when Matias Reyes admitted to the crime and he was even in prison with him.

The exonerated 5 sued the City of New York and got a large settlement, but no amount of money could give these men back the time they spend in prison and the time they lost. They will forever be mentally scarred from this traumatic life event.

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deadline.com

My Analysis

It’s crazy how the system doesn’t properly serve justice but it’s a reality. In New York, Korey, Yusef, Antron, Kevin and Raymond were young boys, kids in a sense and they were 100% innocent but the way Linda Fairstein saw it, they were black, young and guilty. Innocent kids were forced into a juvenile detention and even prison all over the rape of a woman (in which they didn’t do). The prosecution placed judgement on them and wanted to so desperately solve this case, even if it meant wrongfully convicting someone. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, during their sentence, O.J is found not guilty of murdering Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. As I stated above, black people have been wrongfully convicted for years and it was time for a black person to get away with something but murder tho? With plain site DNA? What if some of jurors (the many that were selected) knew that OJ was guilty and they paid attention to the Central Park 5 case that happened in ’89 and figured “Those boys were innocent, OJ isn’t but we’re gonna vote not guilty anyway.” It’s sounds crazy but it’s a thought. The justice system has still come a ways, but they have a long way to go, especially with police brutality and them being proven innocent.

What are your thoughts on the two cases? Comment below and let me know.

Danii Gold out

 

Aladdin Review

If you’re a 90’s baby like myself, then you truly loved and enjoyed Disney movies, one in particular Aladdin. During that time, Princess Jasmine was the closest thing to a Disney brown skin princess besides Pocahontas, which was nice to see, me being a woman of color. This movie would make you feel like a kid again.

The intro starts off pretty similar to the original movie, except Disney added the genie, played by Will Smith, telling the story of Aladdin in the beginning. Genie also was telling the story to his two children which will be a significance at the end of the film. Of course the real life action movie couldn’t be an exact replicate of the original but that’s what made it so great! The fact that the story line was still in tact plus Disney showcased the Arabian culture with their clothing and dancing style which was good because it’s nice to see the lifestyle of other cultures.

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Disney addressed women’s right in a sense. When Jafar wanted to take over and be the Sultan, Jasmine brought up the fact that she could be the Sultan. Of course the idea was shot down but towards the end of the film she got the respect she deserved as the female Sultan.

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Will Smith is dope! Of course that is obvious but I had to say it. He didn’t try to be like Robin but instead, he acted like his normal goofy self. Will is usually a great big ball of in energy, especially when his character as Fresh Prince. He played a sentimental role and honestly, the film wouldn’t have been comedic or as relevant without him. 

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The actor and actress who played Aladdin and Jasmine perfected A Whole New World. Them singing the song brought back so many childhood memories. Besides that song, all the other songs were brought to life and were sang to perfection. Will Smith even threw his own twang and beat boxing to the songs. 

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Of course the creation of the movie wouldn’t be visually appeasing without CGI (computer-generated imagery), from the genie’s appearance, to Abu’s appearance, to EVERYTHING else in between. God bless CGI because it truly made the cartoon film come to life.

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As a whole, the film was dope! I do wish that the characters were more brown skin but they weren’t too far off. The music was on point and so was the culture depiction. I tried not to give too many spoilers so others can still go see the movie and still read this beforehand.

I encourage everyone to go see the movie, especially if you were a 90’s baby. I give them movie 5 stars!

Danii Gold out!