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Hot Takes: Self Made

Can you IMAGINE!!! being a BLACK WOMAN in the early 1900s taking BUSINESS MEETINGS WITH RICH WHITE MEN!! What a LEGEND!!!!!

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1) Yes I am a sour & grumpy old lady, but I will never LOVE ultra-modern sounding songs in period pieces. This is Black people around the turn of the century. I don’t need to hear an 808.

2) As a standalone though, soundtrack kinda slaps. Had to cop a coupla those songs.

3) We were pleasantly and surprisingly entertained! There were a lot of unexpected laughs, but it didn’t feel like jokes were just thrown in for entertainment value. They felt like real conversations that just happened to be funny.

4) Tiffany Haddish is Tiffany Haddish. Either you think she’s funny, or you don’t. OR! Third option! You don’t think she’s ALL THAT funny but she’s such a delightfully positive person, you’re excited for her success even when her dramatic line delivery can be a little clunky. She’s easily the worst actress in the movie, but that’s partly because these folks are doing some good acting.

5) Nobody plays a shitty husband like Blair Underwood, bless his rich dark chocolate heart.

6) Garrett Morris is a blessing to any cast.

7) I don’t know if this production got as much critical (or even social) praise as it needed, especially this early in the year, for it to be an Emmy contender next year, but Octavia Spencer DESERVES! That woman can act her butt off and she can do ANYTHING! A lot of our faves have one lane — that they exquisitely excel in, but one lane nonetheless. Octavia has no lane. She can do comedy, drama, suspense — anything you throw at her, Octavia will embody the character. Watch it just for her alone.

8) That pomade ain’t nothing but petroleum jelly and sulfur. Just so you know. I haven’t looked up it’s effectiveness specifically, but this is true for a lot of beauty products: the thing itself isn’t why you see improvement — it’s the fact that you are taking the time out to do the thing. You bought this product, and now you are setting aside time to care for whatever part of yourself you bought it for. Plus, putting NOTHING in your hair would’ve been better than what Black women had been forced to put in their hair, but Madame CJ’s product itself wouldn’t make your hair grow any faster — it just gave women a better alternative than the terrible things they had used previously.

9) Can you IMAGINE!!! being a BLACK WOMAN in the early 1900s taking BUSINESS MEETINGS WITH RICH WHITE MEN!! What a LEGEND!!!!!

10) I don’t love the villain they painted. I understand it, but they should’ve made her further from the character. I’m about to elaborate, and there will be spoilers so you can stop here.

SPOILERS COMING!!

The light skinned witch in Self Made is Addie Monroe, a woman with a business of her own selling hair care. She’s clearly based on Annie Turnbo Malone, but whereas Addie was terrible to Madame CJ, Annie gave her a job and they worked together for years. And Annie was very successful as well — some say her peak net worth was higher than Madame CJ’s. She reinvested into her community, built schools, and should be studied as an icon in her own right, not serving as the inspiration for an amalgamation of villainous light skinned women used as a plot device to show how colorism would have affected Madame CJ alongside her other struggles.

Piggybacking on that, I’m not sure how I feel about basically portraying Madame CJ’s daughter as a lesbian. What we know for sure is that she facilitated an environment for LGBT people (especially artists) to flourish which directly affected the Harlem Renaissance. Nobody knows if she was actually a lesbian (or bisexual) or if she had relationships with women. I’m fine with artistic liberties in “inspired by…” stories, but declaring an actual historical figure’s sexuality is a little hamfisted to me.

Score: 7/10

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Hot Takes: Lenox Hill

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a more engaging reality TV series and I hope they get a second season.

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1) Lenox Hill is a hospital on the Upper East Side that has a freestanding emergency clinic in Greenwich Village. A lot of people don’t know those are the same hospital organization, so I just wanted to put that out there.
1a) Beyonce reportedly rented out the 4th floor of the hospital to give birth to Blue Ivy.

2) I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy for the past 37 years, and I care just as much about these doctors (if not more!) in just 10 episodes. This is excellent storytelling!

3) I had no idea the staff at Lenox Hill was so diverse. Two women of color basically run neuro research. The chief OB resident and her advisor are both Black women. The Black neuro guy is fine and I wonder if he’s married.

4) Amanda, the OB resident they cast, and her husband are ridiculously cute and I would watch a reality show with just the two of them. Her whole family is cute. At one point she talks about her privilege because she had two parents who could put her through medical school and I was like, “See? It’s so easy to admit that if you just own it. Why is it so hard for some people to admit that?”

5) There’s a Trump-supporting family from Tennessee. The white man actually has multi-colored dreadlocks and painted toenails. I wanted to throw a brick through my TV. I put that there without a spoiler because it’s the only part of the show that bothered me.

6) I’m not gonna say too much about it because it’s just great TV. If you like 1 hour medical dramas, you’ll like it. If you like “day in the life” reality shows, you’ll like it. If you like watching nice people help (mostly) nice people, you’ll like it. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a more engaging reality TV series and I hope they get a second season.

7) The Chair and Vice Chair of neuro are the definition of hot rich daddy and I’m in love.

lenox hil

Score: 9/10

 

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The story behind Hottie and that microwaved chicken.

Why did a grown woman with a college degree think it was OK to microwave a chicken?

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Question: Should I — as a pro-Black person fighting for the betterment of my people — be talking about Flavor of Love in this, the good year of our Lord twenty-twenty?

Ha! Yes I should! That was a moment and we got ten good years of terrible dating/reality/competition shows just because a few women decided to debase themselves for a gremlin with 87 children. I could really sit here all day talking about my favorite moments, from Pumpkin spitting at New York to Deelishis singing that lil white Latina girl under the table to Saaphyri starting a chapstick line from a 15 second fight to that random girl who pooped on the stairs on national television.

But Schatar “Hottie” Sapphira and this damn chicken has remained one of the most inexplicable things I have ever seen on TV.

Until now!

I didn’t watch Rock of Love, so I don’t know who Lacey Sculls is, but she has a podcast where she gossips with some of the other girls from her show and others from the VH1 “…of Love” universe. She had Hottie on there and we finally got the scoop on why a grown woman with college degrees thought it was okay to microwave a chicken.

Do I buy that she was a vegetarian so she didn’t know how to cook chicken? I think so! Listen, I can cook better than the average person, but this time in lockdown has had me experimenting and trying new things. I can cook what I know how to cook, but there are so many things I would embarrass myself with if I had to do it spur of the moment in front of people.

Plus, I’m a 30-year-old Black person from the South and I *still* don’t fry chicken because I burn it or undercook it more often than not and that grease do be popping. It’s not worth it.

Either way, we finally have Hottie’s explanation of the situation and one of reality TV’s great mysteries can be put to rest. So the next time you think about raw chicken, you can think about Pumpkin’s brief foray into softcore porn instead.

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Hot Takes: Locke & Key

What an interesting premise! I’m into it! What a bad series! I’m so not into it!

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1) What an interesting premise! I’m into it! (I don’t know anything about the source material.)

2) What a bad series! I’m so not into it!

3) When the main adult character of your series is far more interesting and engaging to watch when they’re drunk, maybe you’ve run into a little problem.

4) Why do they let this child roam around with no supervision? He’s going to the hardware store, carrying around bear traps — that child needs a parent!!!

5) Everyone in this series is annoying. I wanted all of them to die if we’re being honest here.

6) I’m trying to find something good to say about it……okay here’s a thing. I like that all the little seeds planted throughout the series did make sense at the end and nothing really felt like it was there for no reason. After Game of Thrones, I’m supremely annoyed when I’ve been “told” to pay attention to something that doesn’t matter. Everything does in fact matter here, so that’s a plus.

7) Another plus: The acting is actually pretty good for YA. The dialogue SUCKS and it’s SUPER PREDICTABLE but everybody is believable in their roles.

8) I don’t know y’all — if you liked it, let me know why so I can try to understand. I 100% will not be watching the second season and I regret watching the first.

9) The actor who plays the Dad does that dumbass Serious Actor Growling All Of His Lines bullshit and it’s SO UNNECESSARY! Sir, you’re just talking to your kids before bedtime. Why are you growling? I’m so over that. Nobody talks like that in real life. I have literally never met a man who growls all of his words.

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11) So if the lady just told y’all the only way to get rid of the demon was to lock it back in the well-house, why is y’all’s first idea to take the demon alllll the way back to the caves? That was literally just a plot device to get that girl hit with a bullet so the next season would be interesting.

12) Dad’s ashes really went through it!

13) If the Fear in Kenzie’s head only attacks things she’s afraid of (like Eden) why did it attack her brother? Is she afraid of him too? Or was it just more lazy writing to give Eden and Kenzie a bond?

14) Don’t name your autistic kid Rufus. It rhymes with Doofus and you are setting that child up for years of torment.

15) They really killed one Black man (the principal) and immediately replaced him with another Black man (the cop) and I’m tired of seeing that too.

16) If Dodge desperately wanted the Omega key so she could open the Omega Door, why didn’t she (as Kenzie’s lil friend, since she’s been cosplaying as him) do something when they were in the cave and the door was wide open?

17) I hated it.

Score: 3/10

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