Gillette Commercial and America’s Take on Masculinity

This past week Gillette debuted their newest ad campaign that tackled what many people consider to be toxic masculinity in our society. Once I viewed the ad, my only opinion was when are other companies going to follow suite with creating more content that is responsible and socially correct? I thought it was very fitting for the social climate and undertones that we presently face in both society and via media. Did I expect the backlash that was given towards it? Yes. Why? Because nothing that addresses social correctness or being morally right is every taken easily.

It takes a strong person to address the wrongs in the world. And it takes a stronger company to address those wrongs while having products that are explicitly geared towards a group of people that are presently labeled in society as contributing to some of the injustices of our nation and world. Check the commercial out below. Do you think Gillette hit the mark or do you think they were just taking advantage of a sensitive time in media and politics?

Underground: Why Its Presence on Any Screen Is Desparately Needed

It’s been well over a year since we last saw our favorite characters running and escaping all odds to get into freedom. But my heart and mind still feel like it was just yesterday that I recieved the crusshing news the this gem of a television series was set to be cancelled by the very network that had oringally supported it. Many feel that it was during a time when one of televisions biggest company mergers was occurring and the new incoming execs didn’t want anything to do with creative programming on their network. All of the other shows that featured actors and creative drama were also cancelled in favor of tired and recycled syndicated programs that can be found on various networks. 

Others seemed to think it was a matter of the subject matter that was being covered on the show itself. Many historical shows in the past have not always portrayed the African Diaspora or the African slave experience in a way that Underground effortlessly did. Each week the show would feature and highlight the southern slavery and way of life experience that many viewers were not aware had occurred in history. 
And lastly, many networks decided to pass up on the television series gem due to the financial costs that were behind making a historical drama. However, with the quality of projects that have been loosely produced and promoted in media, having a project of substance like Underground was an investment in historical documentation for our nation, socially and for our future. 

I personally feel that it was combination of all three responses. Recently, streaming services have been very adament about establishing original programming and most of the newest and most interesting serials have been originals created and produced by the streaming services. However, the biggest profit of most of the streaming services are the older syndicated programs of the past few decades. The programs are usually a form of nostalgia for audiences who have not had the opportunity to experience them in a while and they are usually an introduction for audiences that were not around to witness them. However, syndicated programming can only support a network or platform for so long. 

Many social media analysts and execs argue that the attention span of the audience is almost as fickle as our fashion choices. Many would even say that television audiences wouldn’t support a show that is not laced with salacious drama and scandal that is commonly riddled in “reality” television programming. I on the other hand witnessed a network showcase a television masterpiece, partook in weekly Twitter conversations with the stars of the show and other fans, received a fan giveaway prize and waited with baited breath to see a network turn its back on the fans that brought new life to the channel and a new generation of viewers to an often forgot about station. 

So, in the words of my two-year daughter while reading bedtime stories, “What’s next?” Currently the answer to the question, is nothing. There have been no talks of reviving the series or picking up the series in different platforms. Personally, I suggest a movie format   that could neatly wrap up the stories of Miss Ernestine, Noah and Rosalee among others. I along with millions of other fans that tuned into the show every week would happily support it. Underground is not just a show that featured fictional slaves and their experiences on the road to freedom. 

Underground represented a movement of people that desired to see the truth told about a history of people that canceled many often relegated to pain, misfortune, and suffering. Underground represented a voice for the countless generations of slaves and indentured slaves in America that did have the opportunities to feel and express their feelings about their situations once they arrived here. Underground ultimately represented a stark comparison of where our nation currently stands when it comes to positive, uplifting but powerful depictions of people of color in the media. 
No matter how popular reality television has made ordinary and unknown citizens in our society, it is no comparison to the stories of real hero’s and heroine’s from the past.

Their experiences helped to influence our futures and it is unfortunate that like their existence television execs still want to remain oppressive to their stories and mark in history. We’ve seen what happens when people rally behind a cause. Shows and programming have triumphantly returned despite their initial cancellations. Hopefully, the creators and actors behind the series can one day find the pull to bring this show back on any screen willing to accept their magic. Though chances are extremely slim, hopefully 2019 will open more doors for black storytelling beyond fantasies and thrillers. Just maybe, Underground can be the flagship that inspires more to bring reality back to television. 

Creed II: Experiencing and Embracing the Family Ties that Connects Us

With the return of the highly anticipated movie, there was much speculation about how Creed II would measure up against its predecessor. However, after a few minutes into the movie, you realize that it was well equipped and written to stand on its own.

Given the knowledge that this film was not going to be helmed by its original director Ryan Coogler, there were concerns from fans and critics alike that the movie’s core character storyline structure would be different. However, adding Steven Caple, Jr as director was a great addition to Creed movie franchise. In my opinion, the movie flawlessly executed the plans and aspirations left over from the original film. The transition between the characters storylines appeared effortless as the main character and the supporting characters displayed growth and humility; two qualities that are often lacking in today’s film standards and plot lines.

But the aspect that made me most appreciative of the movie was its display and relatability when it came to family ties and bonds. As a semi-spoiler alert for anyone that has not taken themselves with the quickness to see this film, both of main character Adonis Creed, as reprised by Michael B. Jordan and the lead antagonist Viktor Drago portrayed by Florian Munteanu, had a lot of aspects that were in common despite their very different upbringings. I felt it was these similarities that allowed the audience to see both of the characters from a different narrative, despite the shortcomings and or insecurities. I also felt by showcasing the element of family in this film, that is set up the film to be thrust into the franchise stratosphere with an entirely familiar yet different feel.

Based on the film’s success at the box office over the Thanksgiving Weekend, it is no secret the film will be up for a possible third installment. However, what is very unlikely is the return of the franchise showrunner Rocky Balboa helmed Hollywood film legend, Sylvester Stallone. His storyline in so many ways was finally addressed, and neatly packaged should the character and actor decide to hang up their gloves. Also, the actor himself as expressed that after 40 years he was ready to give the franchise over to the bright and buzzing talent of Michael B. Jordan. At the time of this article post, Creed III has yet to be announced. However, with the creation of the Adonis Creed Family and the potential to bring back other characters from the past to stand in the way of Adonis’ title, Creed III would definitely be a great contender in the ring of movie releases by 2020.

Nappily Ever After: Finding Yourself Amid Societal Confinements

So, let’s just first start by saying this post is long overdue. However, I have finally gotten the opportunity to share my thoughts about Netflix’s latest breakout movie Nappily Ever After. If you didn’t get the hint from the title of the film and this article, then you should know that this movie is focused on hair. Specifically, African American hair. And if you really want to get even more detailed, African American Women’s hair and styling processes.

The streamable movie, which debuted in late September on the service, features famous movie actress Sanaa Lathan as Violet Jones. Violet, is a highly successful marketing promotor that has lived most of her life in the confines of the ideal “perfect” image. Spurred on by the likes of her mother, Paulette Jones, who is portrayed by acting legend Lynn Whitfield, Violet struggles with accepting her hair and appearance in its natural form. From starting her day extremely early to primp and mull over her appearance to avoiding wet situations, Violet has settled in an unnatural and un-maintainable lifestyle.

In typical, Lifetime Movie “esque” fashion, her world comes tumbling down as she is given the reality check of a lifetime when her longterm boyfriend presents that he has grown bored with her perfection. Naturally, a person that has spent most of their life confirming to images of beauty that are often mainstream and westernized standards, they would want to change everything and go for a more daring path in life to end their current conundrum. And Violet does just that. If you haven’t seen the movie, I will hold back on providing a full overview of the film.

But if you have seen the movie, I will say that I was happy with the ending and the overall message that the film represented. For far too long, the African American and other minoritized communities have accepted what has been forced upon them as “beauty” standards and norms. That mindset and time are now viewed as toxic. Watching Violet display both her struggles and triumphs as she discovered her true feelings for her own beauty was rewarding and refreshing to see. Over the past few years, the natural hair and just natural movement have gained a lot of attention from beauty companies and fashion houses. Hair product lines have now targeted and marketed their products to people that feel their natural beauty is more than enough.

One final message that I gleaned from the film was the importance of surrounding yourself with people that believe in your overall life visions and your development. I am a firm believer in that your life’s journey is not a straight path. There are several twists and turns and even plot changes that ultimately shape you as a person. With that in mind, it is quickly forgotten that sometimes the people that start your journey with you don’t always continue or end it with you and vice versa. And even though, Nappily Ever After had a quirky delivery, but in all, it represented the quirkiness of life when you are in search of your self and who you ultimately present to the world. Catch it on Netflix while it’s available!

Skin Bleaching: Beauty Guru Takes On The Topic

Video of YouTube Influencer Jackie Aina sharing her thoughts on Skin Bleaching and the latest product marketed to darker skinned consumers. 
(Courtesy of YouTube and Jackie Aina’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/lilpumpkinpie05

I would like to start this post off by saying that I was more than elated that Ms. Jackie Aina, one of Youtube’s biggest and brightest makeup and beauty influencers decided to create a video dialogue concerning a topic that has reached far beyond America.  As a fellow millennial, I was  fangirling throughout this entire video.” The topic of Skin Bleaching alone is a very touchy and soar topic for many people because of the ramifications and implications that usually follow beyond someone that chooses to bleach their skin.

Now, of course, we are aware that skin bleaching has been marketed to everyday consumers around the world alike. And you even have to note that there are some people that do not abuse the bleaching products and use them for spotted discoloration temporarily. However, without proper education on the products and also have a system that consistently tells young girls and young men that if they are darker than fair they are not deemed beautiful, it is easy to fall prey to abusing bleaching products for the sake of “feeling better” about your appearance. What’s worse is that thousands of companies and entrepunuers around the globe profit off darker complected people without ever having any intention of stating that use of their products can cause serious health side effects and or death.

Personally, I have been following Ms. AIna’s Youtube Channel for almost two years and I am proud to be a fan of her work and her overall platform. She’s made every effort to make women around the world accept their beauty and realize that they are beautiful both inside and out by showcasing unique and inspiring videos each week. This video is just a small sample of her spirit and her wits about her platform for women around the world. At the time of this article, her latest video was under 500,000 views.

I hope that many of the viewers that tune in each week to view her makeup tips and playful banter give this video a chance. Everyone is entitled their own opinion regarding the matter, but like with everything else in life, everyone deserves the right to stand up for those that may not have a voice or may have had their opinions silenced  in the past.  I look forward to more conversation on this matter as it’s a problem that has been pushed under the radar for far too long in the melaninated communities. 


Night School: The Hilariously Funny Lesson About Life

Night School Article Cover

This past weekend, the movie Night School hit theaters nationwide and it was without question going to be a successful beginning of the Fall movie season. With an opening weekend of about $28 million, Night School shot up past the other movie contenders to take the number 1 spot in American film.

The biggest thing about the movie, besides the top-grossing comedians in entertainment right now, was the lesson that was craftily woven between the movie’s overarching plot. If you haven’t seen Night School then I would suggest stopping right here. But if you have seen the comedy, then you realize that the biggest lesson that movie sold was the lesson of taking advantage of second opportunities.

Many times in life, opportunities and chances come around once. If you’re wise, then you will take notice of the opportunity and it’s relevance and do the best you can humanly do. But sadly, there are times in life when a person’s youth, inexperience and poor judgment outweigh those experiences and you find yourself wishing and hoping for a second chance in hindsight.

With the help of a caring and highly passionate teacher played by Tiffany Haddish, a group of unlikely friends, and the unlikely motivation from an old high school rival, Teddy, portrayed by Kevin Hart, finds himself on the emotional and self-discovery journey of a lifetime. Over the course of the journey, Teddy finds himself facing life’s uncomfortable truths and in the end, he celebrates with success.

In all, despite the movie’s hilarious moments and laughable scenes, I appreciate Night School for its lesson and self-reflective themes. Laughing at comedy is one thing but learning lessons while laughing is a perfect nod to classic cinema and to learning to live and thrive among life’s twists and turns. I even think it would be apropos to state that class is officially dismissed.

Netflix’s Show Dear White People Vol 2: Welcome Back

Dear White People VOL. 2

From the subject dialogue of cyberbullying to dealing with differences from political lines and relationships goals, Dear White People had moments this season that will make the viewing audience self-reflective towards either their own actions or to the actions of those around them.

In regard to the overall flow of the storyline this season, I was pleasantly surprised to see the versatility of Logan Browning’s character Samantha’s personality and the development of Lionel who is portrayed by DeRon Horton. I even enjoyed the storyline that incorporated the historical reference between the campus’ past students and the racial tensions they faced while in the end showcasing an actor in my opinion that represents classic college days Giancarlo Esposito also known as Julian from School Daze, a 1988 Spike Lee film. But I felt the other characters storylines were mildly advanced. I guess in order to remain light-hearted while still showcasing serious and often triggering subject matter, the show’s creator decided to take the break out experiences of the previous season to carefully highlight and craft his character development and advancement around this season. Perhaps we will see the other characters that were mildly advanced this season be showcased in Season 3.

As mentioned Dear White People currently airs on Netflix where you can catch up on Season 1 and 2 before the third season begins. On June 21st, actor Giancarlo Esposito, who was aforementioned above mysteriously announced that Dear White People had been renewed for Season 3. So, I advise you to catch up on Season 1 and 2 and be prepared for what new adventures the show will take us on in Season 3. Check the video and the article in regards to the Season 3 teaser here.

Featured Article Source: Variety.com

Written By: Danielle Turchiano

Video Courtesy of youtube.com

Grown-ish: To Be Young, Wild and Free

Grownish Season 1
Oh, to be young, wild and free is the theme that I gathered from the FreeForm hit show Grown-ish this season. Featuring a cast of young actors from the ABC hit show and spinoff originator Blackish, Grown-ish set out to tackle what current college students face in the path of pursuing higher education, better opportunities and just plain old growing pains in early adulthood.
After surprising fans of the show and critics with the real to life issues and dialogue that the show contained, Grown-ish was quickly renewed for another season with the start date currently listed as TBA. As far as the premise of the show goes, the lead character, Zoey, who is portrayed by Yara Shahidi, faces typical transitions from being the most popular girl in school to being one in a thousand new college freshman on the campus with their own views on life, politics, and love.
She quickly surrounds herself with a group of quirky other college students that are all currently trying to find their way as well. From the hometown, favorite track stars to the strong political activist, Zoey and the other cast of characters learn from each other and their experiences over the course of the Fall and Spring semester or in television terms, thirteen comedically and satirically driven episodes.
Some of the best-featured storylines that I enjoyed watching from Grow-ish this season were the plotlines involving political and cultural differences and the relationship/friendship/situationship that occurred between Zoey, Luca (fashion model and photographer, Luka Sabbat) and Aaron (actor Trevor Jackson). The season finale ended on a bit of cliff note so I’m happy that we are definitely getting a season two. That is probably one of my biggest pet peeves when following a television serial and the show gets canceled and never renewed or developed in another platform.
I certainly hope that Grown-ish continues to take on the issues of politics in its second season considering the millennial generation and the Generation Z are currently under attack for having polarizing views on both sides of the political lines that are vastly more diverse than the generations before. I also hope that Grown-ish will continue to march the beat of its show’s drum by staying original and creatively edgy.