Brown Sugar

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Brown Sugar: A new subscription-based streaming service of classic movies. Think Netlflix for Black people. There are 111 un-edited movies (and counting) with no commercials! The service launched just this week and a free-month trial awaits you. Brown Sugar is available in the Google Play StoreiTunes App Storewww.BrownSugar.com and costs $3.99 per month.

Brown Sugar is a project from the African-American network Bounce TV. Atlanta-based Bounce TV, a multicast TV network distributed in markets across the U.S., was founded by Martin Luther King III and Georgia politician Andrew Young. #ATL

Check out the promotional video below featuring none other than Rick Ross.

Sign up here.

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Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi plays Zoey on ABC’s Black-ish. She’s only 16 years old and already brands herself as a budding humanitarian and activist (her words). I recently ran across Yara’s work on Tracee Ellis Ross’s Instagram page. Tracee wrote, 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾I don’t remember being this ‘woke’ or this clear when I was her age, but intelligent, conscious young women like my TV daughter @YaraShahidi give me so much hope for the future! After reading Tracee’s statement, I was intrigued so I watched the short video of Yara on Tracee’s Instagram page before finding and listening to her full speech on YouTube.

2-minute video snippet. Here are two of my favorite quotes from Yara’s speech at the 2016 Conference on Volunteering and Service (blog post):

  • Children are the anomaly if they succeed, the expectation if they fail.

  • I’m cool plus I’m black which is cool so I win twice ✌🏽️

Click the image below for more pics of Yara at the BET Awards.

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2016 TV Time

o-HBO-STREAMING-facebookA few weeks ago one of my co-workers told me she doesn’t watch tv, like ever. When I first heard this I was kind of shocked. Why? She says it’s because she’s always on her computer (i.e. The Internet). She also said when the cable man comes, The Internet is THE only thing she really cares about – in essence, WiFi is her most important at-home entertaining asset – she really could care less about the TV.

So today, I am sitting here thinking about my own tv-watching habits. If I had to summarize my week with the shows that are absolutely required for me to watch, it would go something like this:

  • Sunday: NFL (weeks when the Steelers are playing and when we get the game in Atlanta, which is not very often) + Game of Thrones & Silicon Valley on HBO.
  • Monday: NFL (same as above).
  • Tuesday: None.
  • Wednesday: None.
  • Thursday: TGIT on ABC: How to Get Away with Murder + Scandal
  • Friday: Real Time with Bill Mahr + VICE News on HBO
  • Saturday: College Football (always when Alabama is playing or other good games from time to time, mostly SEC schools).

But there’s one more thing I need to mention that’s not tied to a particular night or channel: House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Netflix is a MUST HAVE, just like HBO.

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abccom_logoAfter writing what I consider to be my must-have shows, something occurs to me – I watch way more tv than that each week!! So what gives? MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, I PASS THE TIME WITH HGTV, FAMILY FEUD AND LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT. So, back to the original comment about watching TV and thinking about how I will spend my time in 2016 – this is not a New Year’s Resolution – it’s a:

2015 realization that I waste too much of my time watching things / entertaining myself / doing things that bring me little to no satisfaction or value to my life.

One may argue the shows I listed above are in the same category and that may certainly be true – for you. So what does this mean for me? It means I need to find something more constructive to do with my spare time and spend time watching only the short list of shows on my must watch list. I can also limit my tv-watching time to “high impact days”: Sunday, Thursday, Friday – that’s three days out of the week (now that college football is mostly over). What things could I do with all this newly-found free time?? I have a few ideas; but, that is the very question I will ponder over the next few days! #moretocome

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Evolve

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Scream Queens on FOX

I saw an advertisement about a new FOX series, Scream Queens, in a magazine on Monday. I recognized a few familiar faces: Ariana Grande, Niecy Nash, Nick Jonas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Keke Palmer, and more – all with blood splattered all over their hands. And of course, I chalked it off to a typical scary movie saga and I thought to myself, “Which black girl will get killed first?”. I had no intentions of watching Scream Queens but somehow, after watching The Muppets (and ignoring the show that followed – I spent that time shopping on my iPhone), I noticed Scream Queens was starting and I paid attention. It was actually very good! It’s like the cool version of a murder mystery in a sorority house! Everyone is trying to find out who The Red Devil is!!! (his/her costume is phenomenal!!!)

Of course it’s slightly cheesy at times, but it’s enough that you can’t get past it. What’d you expect? It’s Glee’s Evil twin (at least in my mind). You can watch the full 2-hour pilot (90 minutes online) on Fox’s website here.

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Now, we all know Ryan Murphy ♥ Nene Leakes. And Nene Leakes ♥ Ryan Murphy. I’m a fan of both so ♥♥. I’m hoping, if the parents of these Sorority girls ever stop by (which they often do), we’ll see NeNe play Keke’s mother. It’s not too far fetched since she just played the Wicked Stepmother to Cinderella (KeKe) on Broadway honey! #Bloop! Tune next Tuesday at 9 PM EST for Episode 3 (1 hour).

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September 2015 – the month of the Black Woman

I’m calling September 2015 the month of the black woman. Incredible things have happened. Not just in terms of what black women have accomplished – that has been happening for many years – but in terms of ACKNOWLEDGEMENT by the media. This is a hot topic that has been talked about in The Huffington Post, The New York Times and others news/media outlets. I’m summarizing a few of the awesome news stories / articles you can read up on at your leisure, complete with pictures, videos and tweets from social media.

  • The Emmy’s: How to Get Away with Murder’s Viola Davis became the the first African-American to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama. Viola is amazing and her speech was perfect – she came out rocking her natural hair and did not shy away from the significance of the moment, quoting Harriet Tubman. Also, Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba won Best Supporting Actress Drama category and American Crime‘s Regina King as Supporting Actress in a Limited Series Or Movie — a record for diversity in the top categories. (Deadspin).
  • TV and Advertising: Shonda Rimes had an amazing spotlight in Essence magazine, called ShondaLand, featuring her hit shows on ABC: Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. You should definitely buy this issue – all the covers are fabulous. It was also just announced that the hit show Empire on Fox, produce by Lee Daniels, starring Emmy nominee Taraji P. Henson, is getting Getting Half a Million Dollars for 30 Seconds of Ad Time – that’s as much as it costs in some top-tier NFL programming. #score
  • Movies. The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathanwon the box office its opening weekend with a gross of nearly $26 million.
  • Magazine Covers: We’re talking majors here. Vogue (Beyonce), New York (Serena Williams), Self (Kerry Washington), Essence (Misty Copeland), i-D (Willow), Dazed (Amandla Stenberg), Shape (Ciara), Variety (Queen Latifah) – all in the month of September. This is definitely first. Buy one or all of them. Check out Black Enterprise for more great shots. When black women are on the cover of major magazines, we should support it with our dollars by purchasing a copy of the magazine.
  • Music: Last night during The Emmy’s, Apple released a new ad featuring Mary J. Blige, Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson promoting Apple Music. You can watch it here. Beyonce also headlined Jay Z’s Made In America fest in Philadelphia and brought the house down! #wishiwasthere You can watch her full performance here.
  • Sports: Serena Williams is #1 tennis player in the world. She is also the first person since Stephie Graff (1988) to play for a chance to complete a Calendar year Grand Slam. She also launched a new campaign with Chase. (This is a happy post so I won’t talk about her pay discrepancy or endorsement deals, you can read more about that in The Atlantic).
  • Politics. Loretta Lynch was recently photographed for Vogue Magazine and recently spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus (transcript here). She has an even more magnificent spread in the October issue of Essence. President Obama also paid homage to Amelia Boynton Robinson who died last month at age 104 and other female civil rights leaders. “Even if they weren’t allowed to run the civil rights organizations on paper, behind the scenes they were the thinkers and the doers making things happen each and every day, doing the work that no one else wanted to do.” At this conference Essence and BWR also release the results from its survey, “The Power of the Sister Vote.” The results are not alarming. #wevote Read the results here.
  • Fashion and Beauty. Janelle Monae is the Face of COVERGIRL’s Star Wars Collaboration and Samira Wiley will hit the runway for Christian Siriano.

The very essence of this post alone shows that the country is showing the positive faces of many Black Americans in an array of fields.The many faces of Black American Women. And I’m almost sure I missed something we should feel good about. These features should make us  all proud, they certainly make me smile. And while our individual efforts may not be showcased to the general public, the question I have for you is, “What are you doing to continue to display and embody these positive messages and themes?” #BeTheChange #readAnything

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity,” Viola Davis

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click image to watch the video
click image to watch the video

 

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