Media Watch: Black Actress Update – Has Hollywood Been Good to Them Lately?

Last post of the year. So, Happy New Year. Have a prosperous 2013, and many more.

Let’s get down to business. I’ve compiled all the shows that I noticed have black women (two black parents or not) as main characters or otherwise.

Always feel free to add shows / movies I may have missed … I’ll update this post over time.

Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington – image from celebritynetworth.com

Scandal – Kerry Washington, Columbus Short

Update: The NY Times has discovered the historical nature of this show: “Scandal on ABC – breaking barriers“.

Update: Faith (actsoffaithblog.com) has written a very compelling and incredibly insightful post about the show. This is in regards to Star Jones trying to dictate via twitter to Shonda Rhimes (executive producer / writer / et al)   who she wants Olivia Pope to be partnered with.

Did I happen to mention that the analysis is awesome? Please, check it out:

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Apparently, for the first time in eons a black woman (with two black parents) had a show of her own on network television. I love soaps. I love the drama. The crazier the better. This show moves much faster than I expected. And what beats the most powerful man in the world being “wide open” for a black woman? Very stimulating. 😀

I was initially worried that Shonda Rhimes was going to bury her main character, Olivia Pope, behind all those “special” white women on the show. She did not, and does not, do that. What I love most about this character is that she is: petite, elegant, beautiful, smart and vulnerable. Yeah, she’s not superwoman. She cries, but when she’s ready – her mind gets to work and she runs a superb game. I love any show that brings on a woman as a “fixer”, but not someone physically pushing her weight around, cursing and screaming at anyone, or doing anything stereotypical. Not an eye roll, neck twist, lip smack, or hand-on-the-hip in sight.

It’s a fine line, presenting a black woman with this amount of complexity, but this show rides it nicely. And I like that with this character, there’s much more to learn about her. Every couple of episodes peels back another layer to that mysterious onion. Wonderful.

So, I want to thank you, Shonda Rhimes for making this show, and letting the world revolve around Ms Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington).

I like Columbus Short‘s character, Harrison Wright, as well. I’ve seen him in a few movies. I like the way he speaks, his careful delivery of lines. He really looks like one of the few actors who enjoys himself and gets immersed in his role. I think what I’m trying to say is, I can’t recall if he’s ever played a thug. He seems able to avoid falling into stereotypical “black guy” roles most other black actors get by default.

Maybe, unlike the others, he’s found a way to move beyond those roles….

Aunjanue Ellis - image from blackfilm.com/read/2012/09/aunjanue-ellis-tapped-to-co-lead-new-amc-legal-drama-series/
Aunjanue Ellis – image from blackfilm.com

NCIS: Los Angeles – Aunjanue Ellis, LL Cool J

Low and behold on NCIS: Los Angeles they found out that LL Cool J‘s character Sam Hanna is married and a father! Not only that! She’s a real two black parent black woman! I am shocked. Shocked! I tell you. Usually, when a brown skinned actor like LL is cast with a woman, she’s skim milk black with a teaspoon of chocolate.

She’s darker than him!!! Sorry, but the credo with color casting in the media is always a black guy who’s charcoal and a woman who looks half white. It’s racism against dark-skinned black women and lighter complexioned black men. So, it was nice to see something different for a change.

And the plot of the show? I don’t know. I had stopped watching NCIS: Los Angeles, because I was getting tired of all the other characters having a life whilst LL Cool J did not. I will have to catch up to the season. All I know is that Sam Hanna’s wife, played by Aunjanue Ellis,  is an undercover agent going by the name of Quinn. From what I see, I like how she rolls.

Part of me is afraid to see the next episode, because of what Hollywood usually does with black families….

Overall, I really like the NCIS shows. My longtime favorite is the original. Mark Harmon has aged well. Still a handsome man. The formulas for these programs work.

Update: Almost forgot there was an NCIS episode (Season 10, Episodes 10) that featured Rose Rollins as a Navy Lt Commander married to a former military officer who happened to be white.

Danai Gurira - Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage
Danai Gurira – Photo by Michael Kovac/WireImage

The Walking Dead – Danai Gurira

As I said to my girlfriend, “They killed off Shane (Jon Bernthal), why I need to watch it now?” The show follows the novel / comic book sorta closely. I heard they deviated from killing Shane off earlier, because he had a fan base. Why not keep him around indefinitely? Oh, well.

Apparently, a show with so many characters needed to make room for one of its centerpieces: Michonne (Danai Gurira). She’s a samurai-sword wielding warrior kind of woman. Keeping everybody safe from zombies. All right now!

I’m all into zombie, science fiction, action and mystery stories / movies, so I’m thrilled about this.

And I saw that trailer for World War Z with Brad Pitt. I cannot wait!!!

Salli Richardson-Whitfield
Salli Richardson-Whitfield

Eureka – Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Tembi Locke

This was the last season for the show. I love how it ended. I never saw the first episode, but it gives it a nice loop, which make the show self-containing. If that makes any sense.

I usually dislike (hate, hate, hate!!!!) it when the main characters of a show are required to fall in love. I know that’s what the fans usually demand. And 9 times out of 10, that will kill off a good show. It’s like, once the writers throw them into bed, they’re depleted of new material, and go, “Now what?”

I have to say that the chemistry between Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Allison) and Colin Ferguson (Jack) worked. It felt genuine. I wanted them to be together. And when they did, it didn’t get lame like we see with most other TV show couples. They seemed like a perfect fit. I think because they were really really good friends that respected and loved one another. Being “in love” was another aspect to their relationship. And goodness, I wanted to be in a couple like theirs!

Even though their erotic tension was muted, it wasn’t primary, like we see with most other shows, where everything goes flat the minute they get together. The failure with other couples (Moonlighting) was because the sincerity wasn’t there from the beginning. Other couples worked (Cheers?), because the tension never goes away, sometimes it intensifies.

And breakups are fine even after they get together, that shows the writers know how to work their material.

Tembi Locke
Tembi Locke

Update: Crazy of me to forget Tembi Locke. She played Grace Monroe, the wife of Joe Morton‘s character Henry Deacon in the alternate universe. She was a major character on the show as well.

Person of Interest – Taraji P. Henson

This is the first program I can recall where a black woman had the top billing on a network program, I mean as a major character, not just part of an interchangeable ensemble. And this show preceded Scandal – timewise – by a country mile. I enjoyed POI immensely. I love shows with intricate plots. But I lost track when CBS pulled the online plug. So I have to wait for it via DVD or some other method to catch up with it.

I liked the chemistry between Taraji P. Henson and Jim Caviezel. I don’t need for them to get romantically involved or hot and heavy (hmmm, maybe though). I liked their dialogue. When I started watching, the show gave me the feeling of a modern day revamping of Batman as a former special forces soldier (Jim Caviezel) with Catwoman (Taraji P. Henson) as a cop. Don’t know if anyone else feels that way, but that’s just my take.

Meagan Good
Meagan Good

Deception – Meagan Good

Brand new show. And if I’m not mistaken, will be the second major network show with a black woman as a lead character. Wow. If it’s fun like Revenge with the quality of Scandal, it should last. Haven’t seen it yet, so I cannot judge.

What’s also interesting is how Hollywood can now locate beautiful two black parent black women to star in TV shows. Were they hiding somewhere before?

Anyway, hope the show does well. I’ll try to catch up and see it.

Warehouse 13 – CCH Pounder as Mrs Irene Frederic, Genelle Williams as Leena

The character of Mrs Irene Frederic is still going strong. Although she doesn’t appear in as many episodes. The character Leena, played by Genelle Williams, “died” in episode 10, Season 4. Not sure what happens after that. I heard a new character – a black woman – will be joining the show. We’ll see.

Suits – Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson 

I love this show. The dialogue is witty and silly. It doesn’t lean too heavy on the lawyerly (is that a word) stuff, but deals more with problem solving before they reach the courtroom. The show manages to make chasing clients down and dealing with sheets of paper for court filing seem exciting. That takes talent.

And I don’t care how bad a show is, if Gina Torres is on it I’m watching. Yeah, I’m a fan. Did you know she’s Laurence Fishburne‘s wife? I had no idea. I only ask that she cut back on cooking for him: he’s gonna explode any day now.

Franklin and Bash – Dana Davis as Carmen Phillips, Garcelle Beauvais as Hanna Linden 

Yes, Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Mr. Saved By The Bell) has a show with two – count ’em, two – beautiful black women (with two black parents). And the show is already into it’s third season.

I think that’s a TV network record.

Parenthood – Joy Bryant

I’ve never watched the show. Unfortunately, I never had the time, and I didn’t realize it was still on and running. Maybe I’ll catch it one of these days. I don’t think I ever saw an ad for the show. Interesting.

It’s been on for a good number of seasons. Good for them.

Parks and Recreation – Retta

Community – Yvette Nicole Brown

I get these two shows – P&R and Community – mixed up. Although I shouldn’t. I honestly thought they were the same program. And like Parenthood, I haven’t seen any advertising for P&R.

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Last, Last, Last! Update:

Grey’s AnatomyChandra Wilson

After Isaiah Washington left, tried to hang in there. Couldn’t. But glad to know Ms Thing is handling her business on the show. I read somewhere that they found her character a man. Hmmm.

GleeAmber Riley

Years ago, I watched the first episode. Never went back. Although, good for her that she’s still there. She can sing. I don’t know about the others.

Penny Johnson
Penny Johnson
Grabbed from superiorpics.com
© Retna

CastleTamala Jones and Penny Johnson

Any major network show that can have two beautiful black women as major characters gets props from me. It’s been a while since I’ve watched. Gotta get back on track.

Justified – Erica Tazel

They took this show off online, and I cannot find it anywhere else! Not even on Amazon (instant video). I don’t know if I can bother with Netflix or iTunes.

I just need my fix of watching Timothy Olyphant swagger once in a while. Guess I’ll have to hunt down the DVDs.

Why do these entertainment companies do this? Don’t they want viewers? Not everybody has cable TV.

White Collar – Diana Barrigan and Diahann Carroll

Ms Carroll is not a main character, but I get very happy whenever I see her. I want to look as elegant, and be on point, when I grow up.

Cast Members Dominic West and Sonja Sohn  of HBO's"The Wire" Celebrate Season Finale at TAO Nightclub in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 8, 2008
Sonja Sohn
Grabbed from superiorpics.com © Retna

Burn Notice – Sonja Sohn

Sonja Sohn is in the following six episodes: Over the Line, Down & Out, Best Laid Plans, Odd Man Out, You Can Run and Game Change. Really enjoyed her performance. She needs her own show. Having her as a one-of-a-kind black woman Federal Marshal or Military Official hunting down someone would be FANTASTIC.

Like I wrote before (re: Scandal), love to see it when they have a woman doing this kind of thing. As long as it has tension and good drama, it will work.

Although I see Burn Notice as having run it’s course 2-3 seasons ago, I still check it out. Don’t know how they do it, but every episode gives me anxiety attacks. They just know how to rack up the insanity.

Love Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Cop Drama Genres

But the following three shows have gone beyond jumping the shark:

  • Vampire Diaries – Kat Graham
  • Fringe – Jasika Nicole
  • Bones – Tamara Taylor

True Blood – Rutina Wesley

Been trying to get started. One day I’ll grab the DVD collection and see what’s up.

Aja Naomi King
Aja Naomi King

Emily Owens MD – Aja Naomi King

Smart, as well as beautiful; apparently, a Yale graduate too. Haven’t watched the show. I guess it’s a funny Grey’s Anatomy?

Revenge – Ashley Madekwe

I had no idea she was there from the beginning, but yeah, episode 1, she’s there when it all begins. I like her character. Although my true favorite is Nolan Ross played by Gabriel Mann. He’s the guy with the best lines.

Nice campy drama. Doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Carrie Diaries – Freema Agyeman

She’s from Dr Who.

Touch – Gugu Mbatha-Raw

I wanted to watch this show, but I think the Fox network has been moving it around. I hope it stays around so I can check it out. GMR is from a short-lived black (married!) spy couple show on NBC a few years back.

The Neighbors – Toks Olagundoye

Spartacus: Vengeance – Cynthia Addai-Robinson

And thanks to all of you who reminded me to add these shows in the comments section. I appreciate it very much! 😀

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Mr. Easy-on-the-Eyes
Jay Ryan a.k.a. Mr. Easy-on-the-Eyes

Special Mentions: No Black Women Starring, But Enough “Color” to Be Interesting

The CW TV Network – Kristin Kreuk and Nina Lisandrello

I’ll give the CW props and much credit for having shows with black women. I watch the new Beauty and the Beast, and although the two mentioned above are not black women – I like Kristin Kreuk, and Jay Ryan is extremely easy on the eyes – it may be the first show I’ve seen with two minority women as cops in the lead.

Interesting show. And fun to watch.

The CW TV Network – Nikita – Maggie Q

I watched this show when it first came on. I have to give them credit, there was a black girl (Tiffany Hines) in the first season and partially in the second. There were a few more on the program, but since I lost track of it around season three, I couldn’t tell you who is in the current lineup.

As Faith says in the comments, this is the first time an Asian (or half-Asian) woman had her own show on a network. Not bad.

Elementary – Lucy Lui

I love this show. I also like the growing relationship between Jonny Lee Miller (as Sherlock Holmes) and Lui (as Watson). I’m a fan of Lucy Lui. I’ve always liked her “coolness” in the roles she plays. The show doesn’t rush the plot(s), although some episodes are a bit predictable, but I like that they refrain from constantly chasing after and shooting at people. I find that to be a waste-of-time filler on a number of cop dramas.

I mentioned in the comments, that by episode 5 – called Lesser Evils, Anika Noni Rose plays Lui’s best friend. I very much liked that, because I cannot recall the last time I ever saw a black and Asian woman portray friends, of any sort, on a major network TV show. Usually that role is filled by a bubbly blond with big teeth, head and a perfect disposition.

It was really nice to see a difference for a change. Sometimes I get the impression from TV programs that black and Asian women can only have white women as best friends. And that’s not a normal or healthy reality for the media to promote. As far as I’m concerned, anyone and everyone can play someone’s best friend.

MOVIES

Here’s the top 20 grosses of 2012 (grabbed from boxofficemojo.com):

  1. Marvel’s The Avengers
  2. The Dark Knight Rises
  3. The Hunger Games
  4. Skyfall 
  5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
  6. The Amazing Spider-Man
  7. Brave
  8. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  9. Ted
  10. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
  11. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax
  12. MIB 3
  13. Wreck-It Ralph
  14. Ice Age: Continental Drift
  15. Snow White and the Huntsman
  16. Hotel Transylvania
  17. Taken 2
  18. 21 Jump Street
  19. Lincoln
  20. Prometheus

And special mention to the following:

  • Battleship (2012) – Rihanna as Petty Officer Cora ‘Weps’ Raikes
  • Immortals (2011) – Ayisha Issa as High Priestess #4
  • Joyful Noise (2012) – Queen Latifah.  I wrote a post about this film.

Yeah, there are the Madea / Tyler Perry and other type of flicks that came out, but I have no intention of listing them.

Skyfall – Naomie Harris – Eve

Based on box office projections, this may be the most successful James Bond flick so far. Interesting.

And yes, it’s awesome to see another black woman in a big box office hit. See Hollywood? Including black women doesn’t hurt your bottom line at all. So, stop lying about how our lovely, dark-skinned faces cost you people money with the overseas market (and even domestic). I mean, if I can even see black women in Korean dramas speak a few lines, what’s the excuse for Hollywood besides racist sexism?

I confess that I haven’t seen Skyfall, yet. I will when it hits Amazon, Netflix or on a DVD at some point. I’ve cut back on going to the theaters.

You know the main reason I don’t see movies? Unless it’s an action film where I don’t care for the dialogue, I find that 90% of the time, I have no idea what characters are saying. When I watch something via Amazon or on DVD, I put the close caption on. And it turns out people are saying things completely different from what I expected.

I think that’s why I prefer classic old films, I understood what everyone said. Today, most of what comes out of an actor’s mouth is unintelligible. Not paying $10 plus to hear somebody mumble.

The Hunger Games – Amandla Stenberg as Rue

I don’t have much to say about this film. I didn’t see it. I have no plans to see it. I think there was an online ruckus, because white liberals admitted that they are indifferent towards the death of “innocent” black girls, don’t believe they exist or something to that affect. Please DO NOT explain the deal to me in the comments: I don’t care. I guess people were surprised by the blatant racist sexism hatred or something.

Hey, I grew up in NYC, capital of white liberals. Folks finding out that they don’t regard black girls and women as human beings is no shocker to me…. But, oh well … gotta find out the truth at some point, I guess.

21 Jump Street – Holly Robinson Peete as Officer Judy Hoffs

I had loved this show. This is where I became an early fan of Johnny Depp. I always hoped there would be something to that something between his character and Holly’s.

Didn’t see the movie, so I don’t know how much screen time she got. But it’s nice to know they remembered she was on the show. It was rare to see a black woman in a role like this one.

I’d give you more, but I’m exhausted. I’m happy there was a lot to include.

And if people remember other programs I may have missed, please list them, minus the Tyler Perry stuff.

So, Was Hollywood Good to Black Actresses in 2012?

I’ll give them a B. Was I too generous? Well, I’ve definitely seen an uptick in two black parent black women, even in commercials, so I’ll give them credit for remembering we exist. There are some movies or TV shows I wont watch if it seems like a waste of time, whether it has a black actress or not.

I always want to support the good, quality works that have black women in it. Like it or not, the media is an incredibly powerful image tool. If we look good / great, people do treat us accordingly, it’s conscious and subconscious.

So, I don’t mind if we’re invisible sometimes, I’m not looking for blind inclusion each and every time. It’s when we are included and look a hot dysfunctional mess that gets me upset.

Happy New Year. Let’s see what 2013 brings.

Prayers go out to all those who have lost loved ones. May we all find more love, forgiveness and peace in the coming year.

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Black Actress Update: Props to Queen Latifah For Making ‘Joyful Noise’

About Us For Us

I saw the movie Joyful Noise over the weekend. I had no idea what it was about. I saw it with a girlfriend (who’s Asian), she was the one who recommended it. I think most of the reviews have been half and half regarding this film. It’s a musical, a comedy with small bits of drama.

The storyline is rather old fashioned, family friendly, and when I watched it, I felt it would be a perfect musical for the stage (Off or On-Broadway). I liked the music so much, I’m buying the soundtrack. By the way, I’m also a Dolly Parton fan. It was nice to see her in this film. Kirk Franklin shows up to do a song.

The Film’s Focus

One thing about Queen Latifah, when she makes a film with a black woman / women in it – she doesn’t take the spotlight off of them to share it with others. That will be part and parcel of why this film wont get high grades: there’s no storyline about any white girl(s) in this. It’s about black women: their friends, frenemies, families and men (black, white and Asian).

Yup, all the interracial couples in this movie involve black women. 🙂

Think about that when others try to persuade you to see films where we are invisible, don’t exist, or only make up part of the background scenery.

The Audience

From my quick visual survey at the time, the demographics looked rather good: a mixed crowd of people over 25, although mostly white couples or white women with their kids.

That tells me that a variety of folks will come out to see a film with black women in the lead.

Praise

So, I stand up and applaud Queen Latifah for quietly putting out a movie, TV program, or whatever, year after year that focus on us. Somehow, she’s figured out how navigate the treacherous waters of Hollywood as an Executive Producer to get stuff done.

I hope more black women can do the same.

The Red Tails Discussion

Also, I wanted to point everyone to the awesome discussion over on What About Our Daughters regarding the lack of black women in the film Red Tails by George Lucas.

Ladies, at the end of the day, it’s your wallet, do as you please. 😀

 

Update: My bad … I should have mentioned Keke Palmer. Her singing is amazing. I say if they ever wanted to make a new and improved, yet younger version of, The Bodyguard, they’ve got their girl.

 

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Black Actress Update: Hollywood’s Shrinking Box Office

I know if I made money the way Hollywood did, I’d be ecstatic. Especially when you have the most creative accountants in the world who can turn billions earned into “losses”. All legally, of course. That’s what you get for having the US Congress in your back pocket. I expect when their earnings decline even more, they will be asking for public funds to keep the business afloat (See General Motors). That will occur right after they make it illegal for anyone to say or watch anything on the Internet (pending legislative as of now).

But I digress, imagine being able to push garbage at people and compel them to head to a filthy, loud and uncomfortable theater just to sit through crappy schlock for nearly three hours? That clearly takes genius to run this con year after year, week after week and day after day. If they think they are losing money now, wait until everyone can download a film in the blink of an eye and re-create a movie theater at home without the nuisance, annoyance and hassle of a public one.

Nothing To See Here, Move Along

The box office take for Hollywood has been weak: headlines blurb about the lower attendance rates. A money quote from the BBC article:

“It’s unbelievable how bad it is,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Are we supposed to weep for them? I thought this would be a bonanza year, since they have defenders, who say that films with too many black people – men and women, not just the guys – wont make money. This was the year of the whitest films around.

I’m usually a movie fiend, but this has been the year where I missed many of the “blockbuster films”, except for X Men: The Lamest Generation and Mission Impossible: Making Tom Cruise Hot Again. There may have been another, but I often forget a film the minute I leave the theater.

Come Back, Again, Ya Hear!?!

This was the year of sequels, remakes, prequels, comic books and animation. Proof of Hollywood’s emptiness.

The top 20 films of 2011, according to Box Office Mojo. I have a page that shows the same content of all the Top 100 films.

1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $381.00 WB
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $352.00 P/DW
3 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 $272.00 Sum.
4 The Hangover Part II $254.00 WB
5 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $241.00 BV
6 Fast Five $209.00 Uni.
7 Cars 2 $191.00 BV
8 Thor $181.00 Par.
9 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $176.00 Fox
10 Captain America: The First Avenger $176.00 Par.
11 The Help $169.00 BV
12 Bridesmaids $169.00 Uni.
13 Kung Fu Panda 2 $165.00 P/DW
14 X-Men: First Class $146.00 Fox
15 Puss in Boots $143.00 P/DW
16 Rio $143.00 Fox
17 The Smurfs $142.00 Sony
18 Super 8 $127.00 Par.
19 Rango $123.00 Par.
20 Horrible Bosses $117.00 WB (NL)

 

The fresh entries: The Help, Bridesmaids, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Rio and Rango. So, out of the top 20, roughly 6 of them were “original”, fresh-out-of-the-box material. Heh.

The Non-Mystery of the Twilight Lure

Honestly, doesn’t Breaking Dawn sound like a porn title, or is that just me? 😀

Breaking Dawn In

The funniest thing I’ve read were reports of women having “seizures” at this latest Twilight film, and no one knew what it was. It’s called an orgasm, people. Sheesh. It’s the 21st century and female biology is still a mystery. Um, women like Twilight and Vampire flicks, because of the eroticism. The yearning, withholding and anticipating. He’s a bad boy, and an eternally powerful man who bites and licks the neck, targeting one of the erogenous zones of the female body.

Yeah, “seizures.” Okay.

The Black Actress: Inclusion or Exclusion?

Forgive me for not listing all shows, or movies with a black actress. If you find some with a black actress of interest, please add it to the comments section. Let’s look at the top films of the year and see if that hypothesis is true, you know: less black women (or nice black male actors) equals more money per film.

When I glance at cast credits, I look at the first 5 to 10. They get the most speaking roles, so even if a black actress gets one line and is part of the scenery – to me – that doesn’t count.

Films that include black women in starring roles also (animation doesn’t count):

1. The Help – love it or hate it, we got a film about being maids, in 2011. Thank you, Hollywood. Thanks so much. All we black women can do is still be maids in the 21st century. A black woman is First Lady, but these people have us doing roles cleaning some white woman’s toilet with dignity! whilst pretending that’s got something to do with civil rights. Alrighty, then.

2. Bridesmaids – big hit – from the people that brought us Hangover. Not sure how much of a role she played, but Kali Hawk (love the name) is in it.

Update: Somehow I missed Maya Rudolph, and she’s one of the stars!

Thank you for the tip, Vonnie!

3. X-Men – Does not have a black actress with two black parents, but a half-half of two half-half was in it. So, I flipped a coin and decided to include Zoë Kravitz.

 Here’s the bottom 20 movies of 2011 for comparison:

80 In Time $36.00 Fox
81 Colombiana $36.00 TriS
82 Sucker Punch $36.00 WB
83 J. Edgar $36.00 WB
84 Larry Crowne $35.00 Uni.
85 The Descendants $35.00 FoxS
86 50/50 $35.00 Sum.
87 Drive (2011) $34.00 FD
88 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas $34.00 WB (NL)
89 Courageous $33.00 TriS
90 The Rite $33.00 WB (NL)
91 Arthur (2011) $33.00 WB
92 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) $32.00 Sony
93 The Adventures of Tintin $31.00 Par.
94 The Debt $31.00 Focus
95 Priest $29.00 SGem
96 The Mechanic $29.00 CBS
97 Abduction $28.00 LGF
98 Beastly $27.00 CBS
99 Winnie the Pooh $26.00 BV
100 Killer Elite $25.00 ORF

 

Anything Else We Need to Know?

An action film with a black actress is a miss, but the black actress as a maid might be up for an Oscar? Oh well.

1. Columbiana – Zoe Saldana. Perhaps she should stick to romances or something. Seriously, no one is going to believe that a 55 pound woman – soaking wet – can kick anybody’s ass.

2. Drive – Tiara Parker – don’t know if she has much of a role.

3. Larry Crowne – Tarina Pouncy – don’t know if she has much of a role.

4. Courageous – Eleanor Brown – don’t know if she has much of a role.

Notice that a lot of the big stars made spectacular flops this year? People are tired of them too.

Some of the bottom films are likely new releases, so those numbers will change for next year.

And that’s all folks….

Happy New Year. 😀

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**Updated** Black Actress Media Watch: Shows With Black Women

I’ve been meaning to do this list for a while. These are shows in which a black actress gets to say more than two or three words a scene. Oh, and yes, some are mixed, a few are foreign born, etc. etc.

The TV programs aren’t listed in any particular order.

Eureka

Salli Richardson-Whitfield

A town full of geniuses, where weird things happen. I started watching it two seasons ago, I stopped because the character Fargo got on my nerves. It got really interesting this past season, as it finally developed beyond near-miss awkward on the relationship between Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield).

She plays a nice, smart, easy going woman. Not only that, her character is central to the show. If I’d known about this program I would have watched it from day one. I always thought she’d be hidden away. Nope. They put her front and center. Props to the creators of Eureka.

Vampire Diaries

About two vampires in love with the same woman who looks exactly like her vampire ancestor. That’s all. Nothing more. Although there’s a smoking hot guy on the show who plays a werewolf, Mason Lockwood (Taylor Kinney). Pant. Drool. (Damn, they just recently killed him off.)

Woof. Woof.

The tiniest black woman on television is on this show. Her name is Katerina Graham. She plays a “witch” (insert eyeroll here) on the show. She’s so petite, the other little girls look like Amazons next to her. She sorta reminds me of Stacy Dash.

katerina graham

Detroit 187

This is a new program. It has a very strong Homicide, Hill Street Blues and other cop dramas, aura to it. Does it really take place in Detroit? Dunno. But wherever they’re filming, everything looks authentic. I’ve never watched the Sopranos, but the lead actor is Michael Imperioli, who I saw in a guest role as a Detective on Law & Order.

I like this show. The boss of the detectives is Lieutenant Maureen Mason, played by Aisha Hinds, who I last saw on the dreadful, waste of brain cells show Dollhouse (yes, I watched every episode to the bitter end). She didn’t have much to say on that show, but I admire her “look.” She does the baldie quite well.

aisha hinds

Law & Order: Los Angeles

I am a Law & Order fan girl. I am someone who can watch the first few minutes and know whether I’ve seen the show before or not. I’ve watched every single L&O and L&O: SVU episode. The only shows I’ve missed are the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episodes without crazy Vincent D’Onofrio as Det. Goren. He was as fun to watch as the psychos he badgered.

I was pleased to see Regina Hall as a District Attorney Assistant. They’ve already moved one actress off the show, and the DAAs don’t hang around for long. But it’s still nice to see her play a straight role. In case you don’t know her, if you’ve ever watched the Scary Movie parodies – that was her with the ditzy blonde (Anna Faris). They had nice synergy on screen. 😀

regina hall

Bones

I remember Tamara Taylor as the woman from Party of Five (never watched the show, but the ads for it were memorable). The main characters are a woman with a goofy voice Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) who’s supposed to be a “genius” and Angel (David Boreanaz) as Special Agent Seeley Booth. I enjoy the program for its humor and I like mysteries.

Tamara Taylor plays Dr. Camille Saroyan, who is the boss of the scientific investigative group (sorta like a CSI / CSU). She also plays a nice, smart, well dressed, professional woman at work. I like her character a great deal, and during the first year she and Angel used to knock boots. Alas, that didn’t last long. She’s been man-starved ever since. I get irked when a show lets all the unattractive women have a man, and the beautiful black woman has nobody. Spare me.

Tamara Taylor

Chase

This is a Jerry Bruckheimer production, so every week expect something to blow up and many people to die a gruesome death. The lead woman is a Becky The Vampire Slayer type. What do I mean by that? Ever since that show, nearly every tiny, little, rail thin blond / brunette / Asian (see new Nikita)/ Latina can fight a muscular guy nearly twice her size and beat him. She can ever buck him off her of her, when he’s sitting on her and she’s flat on her back. It’s funny, because male characters will be beat using the same method of fighting, and their combatant is an even match in size.

My Dad says I have to remember to suspend disbelief when I watch these shows: I think I also need to be drunk or high.

Anyways, it’s a new show, and the cast includes Rose Rollins. The men are easy on the eyes, especially big blond buff Cole Hauser.

rose rollins

Castle

This show has been on for a while, third season already. It has the Captain from Firefly. The “Brown Coats” know who I’m talking about. He’s gained a lot of weight on this show. Dude is getting wide. The girl who plays his daughter is so pretty. I love red heads.

I like Castle. Nice cast. Very amusing. Tamala Jones plays the medical examiner. Nice to see her in a steady role.

Tamala Jones

Warehouse 13

CCH Pounder

This show features the venerable C.C.H. Pounder as Mrs. Irene Frederic. She’s not there every week, but I believe her character is integral. She has a special link to Warehouse 13. One of the main characters of the show is the mysterious Leena, played by Genelle Williams.

I like the show. It’s sci-fi.

genelle williams

Fringe

I’ll admit, she wasn’t given much to say, or do, in the first season. Yet, Astrid (played by Jasika Nicole) has been in every episode since the first. Love her hair. I think I love the Alter-Astrid more. Having her do those probability calculations is rather awesome. Nice to see a woman doing mathematics so quickly.

Jasika Nicole

Dexter

Apparently, this show is still on. I stopped watching it around season 2 or season 3. Mindless gore gets boring after a while. I’ll probably catch up via DVD later on. The boss of the police squad is the very very ambitious Lt. Maria Laguerta, played by Lauren Vélez. I will say I missed the angry black guy who was her best buddy. There’s one season where she gets rid of a competitor in the most devious way…. Unbelievably good.

lauren velez

Hawthorne, R.N.

Outside of a few YouTube clips, I haven’t seen the entire show yet. I will. I love to catch up to cable shows on DVD. This show, as nearly everyone knows is produced by and stars Mrs. Jada Pinkett Smith. You go on with your bad self, Mrs. Smith.

Mrs. Jada Pinkett Smith

Private Practice

Why do some shows start off boring, and then dive right into overwrought? I’ve missed a few seasons. This show is … I keep looking for someone to like. For some reason, the pilot aired with Merrin Dungey as Dr. Naomi Bennett. I think I know who should play Mrs. Obama in any future film. Actually, she should be the wife of Blair Underwood on The Event, but don’t get me started.

merrin dungey

Audra McDonald takes over, managing to look like the most miserable black woman in America, episode after episode. You try to like her, but one has to give into the dislike for her character. After all, that’s what the Shonda Rhimes wants. And dutifully, we shall obey.

audra mcdonald

Law & Order: SVU

Sometimes they even give her a story line: Tamara Tunie. She’s the medical examiner. I’ve noticed that for many years she wore her hair dead straight, then one day BANG! There were the curls. Lovely.

tamara tunie

Grey’s Anatomy

I hate this show, and all the characters on it. It’s been crap since they got rid of Isaiah Washington. Why are there ninetyelevenhundredthousand unattractive white women (I’ll make a half exception for two) on the show, and one barking hyena (you know, the one they used to call “The Nazi”) that’s supposed to be the only woman who can’t get or keep a man?

Buncha idiots. They should kill fire everyone and start fresh. I meant the writers, not the cast. Nevermind.

Chandra Wilson

Other Shows

Feel free to add any I may have missed from BBC, BBC America, and all the rest are welcome inclusions. I don’t watch cable shows until I get the DVDs or start with Netflix again.

** Updates **

Thanks for the feedback, ladies! I have a few more shows to add.

The Defenders

It is new this season on CBS, and it might not last long. It has the bubbly, smart and lively Jurnee Smollet as new associate Lisa Tyler. The show has Jim Belushi and  Jerry O’Connell. I like this program. They give a good amount of time to Ms. Smollet, and her character is shown a healthy amount of respect. Nice.

Jurnee Smollett

The Closer

I don’t know if I can fairly say that the black woman, Gina Ravera (as Detective Irene Daniels) on this show ever got  to say more than two or three words. From what I’ve researched, she’s no longer on the show. She was characterized as “difficult” and was dating the only black male officer on the show. ¿Por qué? Why?!

I thought she made a better couple with the latino officer, Detective Julio Sanchez played by Raymond Cruz. The romance with the black officer created lots of drama, interfering with their work. She became the black drama queen. Everyone else could have drama, but hers was unforgivable.

Anyways, I’m giving her a head nod.

Gina Ravera

Parenthood

Haven’t seen it yet. This show is on its 2nd season already! Wow. Out of the massive white cast there is: Joy Bryant as Jasmine Trussell, and Tina Lifford as her Mother, Renee Trussell.

According to Truth P.: “She plays Jasmine. A single mother who is co parenting and I believe is rekindling a romance with the white father of her child. (rolls eyes at the fact the couple isn’t married and at the fact the son is 5 and has just met his father.)”

joy bryant
Tina Lifford

Tina Lifford and Alfre Woodard could play sisters.

alfre woodard

Justified

I searched to see if it’s returning. We’ll see if it happens. Jazine reminded me of this program: “…for a hot sizzling minute there were sparks between Timothy Olyphant and Erica Tazel in the F/X series Justified. They never got together romantically, but the sexual tension and chemistry between them was palatable in one particular episode.” Yes, girl. Lots and lots of undercurrents in that scene. Whoo.

And we can see why, she’s pretty and cute.

erica tazel

Rookie Blue

Now, I’m someone who likes cop dramas. I didn’t check this out, because I thought it was going be a version of Becky The Vampire Slayer in Blue, a variation on a theme of which I find highly annoying. Another heads-up by Truth P.: “Euneka Okuma of the show “Rookie Blue”. She is a main character on the show AND there is also another black woman on the show named Melanie Nicholls King.”

Awesome.

Enuka Okuma
Melanie Nicholls King

True Blood

Still waiting to catch up by DVD. And thanks to Truth P. for reminding me of this program: “…Can’t forget about Rutina Wesley. She stars on the hit show True Blood.”

Gotta give a special shout-out to the producers of this show. I’ve read the books. There is not one black woman in any of the books who is a central character. So thank you very, very much for that addition. As we all know, when a black actress gets work, she puts her heart and soul into the role, ’cause she knows it may be a couple of years, before (and if) she gets work again.

Rutina Wesley

Undercovers

My bad for not even mentioning this one the first time. Special shout-out to Boris Kodjoe,  J.J. Abrams, and Josh Reims for even entertaining this concept.

I mean, let’s get real here. His character has a black wife. Y’all know for yourselves, if this show starred some of the other negroes out there, he wouldn’t push for a black actress. He’d get to play, I dunno, a Cuban or something, even if he’s the darkest negro on television, and would be truly eager to have a white actress as his wife. He’d pretend he has no power to push for a black actress to get a few guest starring roles, ’cause he doesn’t have that kind of power.

Or he’d be happy to be a star in a program, in which show after show includes other black male actors guest starring, his co-stars having past loves / entanglements / romances, but he’ll be satisfied as the only character without any relationships. At all.

gugu mbatha-raw

Law and Order: UK

Freema Agyeman

As mentioned by Tyco: “Law and Order UK is now airing on BBC America. It stars Freema Agyeman.”

Thanks to everyone for mentioning these programs!

And a special, special thanks to the producers, creators, and writers of these programs for giving us such wonderful, professional, smart, hardworking, attractive, and interesting character roles for black actresses.

😀

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Black Actress Media Watch: Flashpoint’s Olunike Adeliyi

Flashpoint has been on CBS for four years! Where have I been? I don’t own a TV, so I don’t keep up with all the new or existing programs. Since I have to shift through Fancast, Hulu and Netflix, it’s hard to know which shows are still running and which have been canceled.

I’ve actually found a real black actress (of West African ancestry) on a prime time show! Wow. That is amazing.

It is actress Olunike Adeliyi as Officer Leah Kerns. Her character comes across as rather normal. I love the fact she wears a short natural. She isn’t strident, loud, angry, obese, fat, cheeky, overly sexy, or in any way stereotypical. She’s down-to-earth and speaks well. I appreciate seeing a black character like her on a cop drama.

The show is produced by an army of people, but I’d like to thank them for adding a respectable, dignified, and mature woman of color to their program.

The very pretty Olunike Adeliyi

Can I tell you how cool it is to see a black female cop? I wanted to be a cop at one time until I realized I might be trigger happy. I think I would prefer to be a detective. I like solving puzzles.

According to IMDb she’s in only 6 episodes. Right now, these are the ones I happen to be watching. It is wonderful to see someone with her looks (yes, I went there) on TV. I see so many beige and question-mark race women on TV, I wonder what’s going on. They have the right to get work, but I don’t want anyone pretending that that is what black women look like. Okay?

Flashpoint had me confused at first. I knew it was filmed in Canada. I watched the skylight for the show, but I’ve yet to hear them mention that it’s Canada. They don’t specify the city. Maybe I’ve missed it. It still has a very NY feel to it. All the accents sound regional like Chicago and NY to me. Very broad and very deep.

The show moves very fast, and even though it seems to involve characters issues, they aren’t deep or integral to the storyline. It’s the protagonists (new distraught gun wielding person every week) who sets things in motion, and it is the job of the police to diffuse the situation and/or neutralize this person by any means necessary. They work hard try to understand the protagonist’s motivations, issues, trigger points, family ties, and only use deadly force as a last resort.

I like the show, and I will try to watch it for as long as Ms Adeliyi is on.

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