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Hot Takes: Princess Meghan & Her Husband with Oprah

Meghan never said “they were racist” but we got it anyway.

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1. Princess Meghan looks so cute pregnant — I loved her outfit.

2. Okay. I was tweeting all last night, so these are just more fleshed out observations to my gut reactions but basically it all boils down to the fact that Meghan Markle is a woman of color who was treated differently by the institution that is the monarchy (The Firm) because they’re not ready for brown folks in their dusty palaces. There are welcoming individuals in the family, but even they shouldn’t be given a pass because if you are warming to Meghan one-on-one but still allowing the antiquated “rules” of the British Family dictate your lack of response in defending her against the press, you are still at fault for what happened to her — I’m looking at you, Elizabeth.

3. The number of times Meghan (genuinely!) expressed her affection for Queen Elizabeth while she ain’t have say boo to say about anybody else? Yeah. She hates them. Phillip, Charles, William, Kate. She hates them all. But Meghan is way better than I am. The the British press said she made Kate cry, and nobody inside The Firm (what they call the institution of the monarchy) corrected them. In actuality, Meghan cried because of something Kate said leading up to the wedding. Everybody knew what happened, but nobody — including Kate — corrected the narrative for the press. Meghan wouldn’t say what the comment was to Oprah because she said Kate apologized, took accountability, and is a good person so this would only serve to damage her for no reason. I repeat: Meghan is better than me! I don’t care if you apologized later. If you let an entire country drag me for something you did, we are not on good terms, ever. I don’t care if The Firm told you not to say anything. I’m not protecting you to Oprah.

4. Meghan spent a lot of time not saying the thing we wanted her to say, that The Royal Family and/or The Firm treated her differently because she’s Black, but it all came out eventually anyway. This was the moment Black Twitter was ready to dump the rest of the tea in the harbor: the security detail. The royals get security detail, which makes sense. They’re vulnerable to wackos who want to kill them or criminals who want to kidnap them for ransom. Harry especially is vulnerable because he brought a Black woman to Buckingham, so his death threats were laced with racism toward his wife. While Meghan was pregnant with Archie, they told her Archie wouldn’t have security detail. This was essentially the conversation.

The Firm: Archie won’t have the title of a prince.
Meghan: Why not? Kate’s babies do.
The Firm: He just won’t.
Meghan: Well, I don’t really care anyway. That’s fine.
The Firm: And he won’t have security.
Meghan: What? Why!
The Firm: Because he’s not a prince, so he won’t need it.
Meghan: But he’s a member of the royal family and we are particular targets.
The Firm: Yeah but only princes and princesses get security, and since he won’t be a prince, he won’t really need that.
Meghan: Okay then make him a prince! Do the thing that gets us the security detail!

For some unnamed reason ::cough BLACK cough:: The Firm decided that Archie would not be a prince which not only canceled the security but also removed the need for other things Diana and Kate had done. When Meghan and Harry had Archie and didn’t do the whole “leaving the hospital photoshoot” the British press dragged her for refusing to do it, but she wasn’t even asked, because Archie wasn’t a prince. That photo-op is only for princes and princesses, but the Firm decided Archie isn’t a prince, so she wasn’t asked to do it.

Little things like that kept adding up. The Firm kept setting her up to be lambasted by the press but then refused to issue the most basic statements to defend her against criticism when The Firm created the situation for which she would be criticized!

5. The Firm is a jealous institution that doesn’t have the best grasp on its function in the modern age. The Royal Family only exists at the pleasure of the public. If public opinion in the UK ever dropped to such a level where there was widespread and vociferous animosity toward the monarchy, they would cease to exist. So, it would behoove them to try and be as popular as possible. The Royal Family needs to make people like them and its basically every member’s job to engender goodwill. They’re bad at it because of their archaic upbringing so far removed from the public. They can’t relate to regular people because of all the royal protocols that The Firm won’t revise because they’re more concerned with tradition than changing with the times to keep a positive relationship with the public.

Enter Diana. She was so naturally good at it and the Royal Family couldn’t take it. Charles was extremely jealous of the way the people responded to Diana and he tried to downplay her natural talents at relating to people. She would have wildly successful tours of the commonwealth and he would nitpick some inconsequential event that no one else cared about. Before Diana came along, Charles was seen as the most normal of the Royals and relatively well-liked, when compared to the rest of the family. Diana showed them what a popular Royal should be and they neither had the ability to thank her for making them popular nor the humility to follow her lead and seek her advice to make themselves more popular.

Enter Meghan. Same. Thing. Another “normal” person who was naturally warm and empathetic, who was not raised within the strict confines of an outdated institution, but she was also a marker of modernity: a divorcee with a career who wasn’t white. She was all over the press, so they kept her in the house for months at a time. They were warm toward her initially, and then she went to Australia on a tour and they saw how the public responded to her. Jealousy crept in and they couldn’t bear to be upstaged by a commoner who wasn’t an inbred white person.

6. The Diana parallels kept coming, but definitely when Meghan discussed contemplating suicide and how she felt like she couldn’t go to Harry because he had enough to deal with. She tried to seek help through the proper channels and she was denied. She felt like she should be a help to her husband, not a hindrance, and she felt embarrassed that she wasn’t strong enough to adjust to this new life or take the criticism from the press. It finally came to a head when she was to accompany Harry to an event and he said she wasn’t well enough to go. Meghan however felt she wasn’t well enough to be left alone, so they went, both of them holding on by a thread, white-knuckling it through the event with fake smiles plastered on their faces.

I’ve read, watched, and listened to so much about Diana (the single best series is probably by You’re Wrong About)  and Meghan’s mental health struggles mirror Diana’s so closely. She too sought help and didn’t receive it. She was ashamed and no one was there for her.

The difference is Harry. Charles is a terrible person. Harry is the husband Diana hoped he would grow up to be. Diana went through it alone while her husband was having an affair with the true love of his life. Meghan went through it with Harry, who eventually gave it all up for her.

7. Harry said Charles stopped taking his phone calls. And that’s for the best because, I repeat, Charles is a terrible person. When Diana died, Charles forced Harry and William to walk in the funeral procession with him because Charles was afraid the public would boo him if he went alone. He used his children as human shields to protect him from a public who hated him. He’s never been a father to those boys and Harry will do better thousands of miles away from him. Harry also repeatedly stressed his admiration and affection for Queen Elizabeth — not a single word of praise for anyone else in the family. Oprah did her best to find out what was said and by whom on the topic of Archie’s skin color and how brown it would be, and Harry refused. This morning, Oprah said Harry didn’t tell her who it was, but he stressed that it was not Queen Elizabeth or her husband Phillip. So you know it was Charles, Kate, and/or William.

8. A lot can be said for marrying into a family and knowing what you should expect, but I believe Meghan when she said it wasn’t something she gave too much thought to, because she grew up in Los Angeles around celebrities. A lot of Americans figure the Royal Family is famous the way celebrities are famous, and it’s no big deal. Plus, celebrities don’t usually google each other when they’re dating, because they’re celebrities, and they know how gossip and tabloids are built on half-truths and outright lies. Harry was just another celebrity to her. Meghan would learn about and get to know Harry through Harry, not through what the public says about Harry, because that’s how she would want someone to find out about her.

Not until she was unexpectedly meeting Queen Elizabeth did she realize how wrong she was. Harry asked her in the car if she knew how to curtsy and she thought he was joking. Surely curtsies were for public appearances, and behind the scenes she was just Grandma Lizzy. No, she’s always The Queen. The Royal Family isn’t just a family that happens to be famous. They’re a thing wholly unto themselves that she really had no frame of reference for.

9. Meghan realized the bad press (with no correction from The Firm or the Family) would be her life from now on. The loneliness of being shut up in the house all the time because The Firm didn’t want her saturated in the press would be her life. The brand new treatment of her babies in contrast to Kate’s would be her life. So they asked to step down. There are Senior members of the Royal Family who work full time and Junior members who work part time. They still draw a salary and live on Royal properties, but they have a more private life and are only called upon when needed. As Meghan put it, “We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel” because the positions were already there and other people were living those lives, but she was seen as wanting new and special treatment. They weren’t allowed to be Junior so they left. What other option did they have? She fell in love with a celebrity, who happened to be an entirely different type of famous person in a family she would never fit into living in a country that hated her with a child who wasn’t even getting security. So they left.

10. Harry really loves her and they look happy and comfortable together.  Good for them. Best wishes to them and their new baby girl on the way.

11. We stan Queen Doria Ragland in this household and I’m mad she wasn’t invited to at least say hey or something.

 

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On Television

Hot Takes: The Housewife & The Hustler

This is a good True Crime Documentary for anybody, not just Housewives fans.

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1. Imagine sitting at home with a bowl of popcorn watching a documentary about how your co-worker funds her hobby with money her husband stole from burn victims and families of plane crash victims? What is it like being on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills right now?!

2. You don’t need to like, watch, or even be remotely familiar with The Real Housewives (of Beverly Hills or anywhere else) to enjoy this quick little documentary. If you like true crime and/or you enjoy that feeling of outrage you get watching grifters grift, this is just another documentary about rich people stealing money.

3. For backstory: Erika Girardi was a young, struggling actress who married a mega-wealthy lawyer 40ish years her senior, Tom Girardi (of Erin Brockovich fame). She then decided she wanted to become a popstar and Tom funded her career, spending millions of dollars to turn her into a bonafide artist (she had nine consecutive number one hits on the Billboard Dance/Club chart, before she was ever on Real Housewives. Only Katy Perry, JLo, and Madonna have longer unbroken strings of hits.) Now she’s divorcing him because he’s a grifter and she’s pretending she didn’t know about it.

4. The fact that the first person we see in this documentary is Danielle ProstitutionWhore Staub absolutely sent me to the moon.

5. I’m ready to fight when somebody owes me $50. If I gave you money, but then I see you on Instagram at the club, I’m ready to fight, because you are drinking the money you should be giving back to me. I cannot imagine the amount of rage in my spirit if I knew you owed me millions and millions of dollars and I see your wife on TV spending my money on hair and makeup and clothes. I would be in jail right now.

6. The fact that Erika is still filming the show is beyond my powers of comprehension. Your husband, who stole money from his clients to fund your career and your image because you wanted to be a celebrity and you wanted to be on a reality TV show, is giving depositions about being broke….and you are still letting the cameras follow you and your $2,000 a day glam squad? Are you joking?

7. She absolutely knew. I think Tom was a grifter long before Erika came into the picture and she genuinely had no knowledge of his business when they got married. I think she was young and saw a meal ticket, which isn’t a judgement of her character. Tom saw youth, beauty, vitality. Erika saw money and stability. And they both like each other. Great partnership. But you cannot convince me that she didn’t put the pieces together over the years and she was just sitting in the dark about everything her husband was doing.

8. And she divorced him so she could shelter his ill-gotten assets under her own corporation.

9. Tom Girardi is going to jail. I don’t know what would make a crook want to go on national television and risk being exposed, but we saw the same thing with Russell Armstrong (and he eventually committed suicide because of the light shown on his shady business due to his wife’s visibility on this same franchise.)

10. This is so dark. I just be trynna watch Housewives for petty arguments and fashions. It feels so dirty watching Erika walk around in Chanel now…

Score: 8/10

 

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Vanity Fair: A Different World: Cast Members and Crew Tell the Oral History

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In 1987, one of television’s most influential shows was born. The stars, writers, and producers look back on their years at Hillman College.

(cont.)

This is faaaannnnntastic!

Random things I did not know:

Meg Ryan was almost cast as Marisa Tomei’s character.

Dawnn Lewis wrote the theme song for A Different World — is that common knowledge?? Am I late?

Jasmine Guy got the role of Whitley and 20 minutes later was sitting at a table read.

A Different World was the #2 show, between Cosby and Cheers. I didn’t realize it had been so big.

Yvette Lee Bowser fought for a job on that show. It was her first one and she was a glorified intern for awhile. And look at her now!

This wasn’t in the article but I just looked it up: A Different World still holds the record for the highest rated premiere pilot.

 

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Watch: Abbott Elementary (ABC) first look teaser

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From “he got money” to “she got top billing over Sheryl Lee Ralph in a network sitcom”

We must AS A FAMILY throw our entire weight behind this show. How often do we see Black people — not beige ones either! — leading a primetime sitcom? That they’re also creating and writing?!

 

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