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.
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.
Hot Takes: The Last Dance
This is an excellent work of television production even if you don’t care about basketball.
1) I don’t know how you can be a child of the 90s and not have some memories of the Chicago Bulls, but I grew up in a sports household and basketball was very much a thing. (I actually got my very first college scholarships from the Charlotte Hornets when I was in 7th and 8th grade for winning two essay contests.) I love basketball, so I’m interested to see what a casual fan or non-fan thinks of this documentary. I THOUGHT IT WAS RIVETING!!!!
2) I didn’t know any of these details. I did not know the Bulls general manager was a Napoleanic shitgibbon. I did not Michael Jordan failed to make his varsity basketball team the first go round. I did not know Scottie Pippen was SO UNDERPAID!! I did not know some deranged fans poisoned MJ during the NBA finals.
3) The footage is so good. Apparently, Jordan and the Bulls agreed to let cameras follow them around for the 97-98 season under the condition that the footage would only be used if Jordan approved it. He finally did and it’s such a time capsule. Michael Jordan was literally the most famous person on the planet for a few years.
4) It has to be said — some of these men are aging like a fine wine. Isaiah Thomas (who I didn’t know everybody hated!) is STUNNING. Horace Grant can still get it. BJ Armstrong is the cutest lil BB and I just wanna scoop him up!
5) Why is Justin Timberlake here?
6) Why isn’t Oprah here? They got Obama. If you’re gonna do Chicago, it’s Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey!
7) Michael Jordan was a much better baseball player than I remember. I don’t like baseball, so I wasn’t paying attention to that, but I thought the general consensus was that it was ridiculous and he had no business trying to play baseball, but he actually would’ve made it to the major leagues if there hadn’t been a strike.
8) Oh! Also! Michael Jordan’s children are ridiculously attractive! I was not aware of that.
9) The Kobe episode hits hard and kind of comes out of nowhere. Steel yourself.
10) I love the way this documentary sets up two different timelines and jumps back and forth. This isn’t the kind of documentary that you can listen to like a podcast — you actually have to sit and watch or you’ll forget what year you’re in. I don’t always love that, but it keeps you really invested, which is necessary since you already know the outcome. You already know the Bulls are gonna win six championships.
11) Also love watching the players react to the interviews of other players. The way Michael Jordan still hates Isaiah Thomas 25 years later? Excellent editing.
12) This country is nasty to its heroes. We built up Michael Jordan for ten years only to manufacture a controversy to tear him down. Obviously it didn’t work, but watching the media of the time try to dig for something that isn’t there against the backdrop of the worst period of his life is actually a little enraging. I actually came out of this liking MJ less than when I started, but they really put him through some mess.
13) I forgot Dennis Rodman and Madonna dated. I forgot Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra dated.
14) I think this has replaced Cheer as my favorite sports documentary of all time and I think it’s just an excellent work of television production even if you don’t care about basketball.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
14 years later we finally get the story about hottie microwaving the chicken. iconic pic.twitter.com/PljSBSV8lt— winston (@waterslide) June 30, 2020
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.
Today I Learned: Gloria Richardson is still alive.
Revisiting the New York Undercover theme song.
Today I Learned: Gloria Richardson is still alive.
Revisiting the New York Undercover theme song.
Race5 months ago
How to respond to “riots never solve anything!”
LGBT2 months ago
Niecy Nash ties the knot with singer Jessica Betts.
Pop Culture1 year ago
Today I Learned: Betty White Gave Arthur Duncan His Start
LGBT4 months ago
Fire Island said “what pandemic?”
LGBT6 years ago
A lesson on what bisexuality means and what it doesn’t.
LGBT4 months ago
Valentina Sampaio, Sports Illustrated, and trans women under the male gaze.
Race3 months ago
Why don’t we say “Ebonics” anymore?
Race2 months ago
Appreciation vs. Appropriation, featuring Adele