Burt Reynolds: 1936 – 2018

Side Note:  Before I started writing this post, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” started playing from my Apple Music playlist.  All things considered, I feel like that song perfectly conveyed my feelings concerning the legend I’m dedicating this acclamation to.

Usually when I write a tribute about a celebrity that’s passed on, I start with a story about the first time I was introduced to that particular person.  However, this article can’t start off that way.  The reason being is because I honestly can’t remember the first time I saw Burt Reynolds or heard of him.  He was always just there.  Burt was always in the news, or on the TV, or in a movie while I was growing up, and he remained a constant in my life as I transitioned into young adulthood.

Burt Reynolds - Explosion (Alt)

I remember all the headlines about his and Loni Anderson’s divorce like it was yesterday.  One of my favorite episodes of The Golden Girls centered around the ladies getting a chance to Burt Reynolds, and the shenanigans they get into behind the meet and greet.  When I was a little girl, I watched All Dogs Go To Heaven a million times (Burt voiced Charlie, the dog that forsaked heaven to get another chance at life).  I finally watched Smokey and the Bandit last year (don’t judge me), and I loved every minute of it…not to mention the fact I learned that once upon a time Coors couldn’t be sold east of the Mississippi River, and if it was found past that point, it was considered contraband.  Every time I see a case of Coors in Wal-Mart now, the first thing I think of is the Bandit and the Snowman, rushing the beer back to Atlanta for the Burdette brothers.

Burt Reynolds - Smokey and the Bandit 2 (Alt)

Even though I hated Boogie Nights as a teenager—I appreciate it a lot more now that I’m grown—I always thought that Burt’s role was the best thing about it.  I have to say that one of my favorite performances of his was as Nate Scarborough in The Longest Yard remake.  I know y’all are wondering why I haven’t mentioned the original film.  To be honest, I tried watching the 1974 version a few years back, but I couldn’t quite get into it.  I loved the remake, though (once again, don’t judge me).  The Longest Yard remains my second favorite Adam Sandler movie, and Burt Reynolds is a big reason why.  The role of the weathered, yet dedicated and compassionate coach fit Burt perfectly.  Sadly enough, I didn’t see Burt too much after he starred in the Adam Sandler vehicle.  About a year or so ago, I was curious to see what he had been up to, so I looked up his filmography on Wikipedia.  It turns out Burtwas still working, mostly on slightly smaller-scale films.  Despite having to deal with heart issues and overcoming an addiction to painkillers after being injured, he worked until the very end.

Burt was an extremely handsome, funny and talented man that brought lots of joy to me, my friends and family throughout the years.  Plus, he was bold enough to do this (WARNING:  NSFW):

Burt Reynolds Naked (Alt)

He’ll be sorely missed.  See you later, Bandit.

Burton Leon Reynolds, Jr.:  February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018

—Written by Nadiya

‘Luke Cage’ Season Two Review (WARNING: Slight Spolilers!)

Y’all…I finished watching the second season of Luke Cage on Jun. 29, and man…it was good.  Damn good.  I was pleasantly surprised, considering how disappointed I was with Jessica Jones’s second season.  It took me a week to binge the entire season, and the only reason it took that long is because of my day job.  If I had more free time, I’m sure I would’ve watched all 13 eps in about two days.  It was that doggone fantastic.  So much so, that I purposely missed Claws, Pose and the 2018 BET Awards to binge some episodes (although when it comes to this year’s BET Awards, I don’t think I missed much).

Luke Cage - Dab (Alt)

The second season picks up where The Defenders left off.  Luke is back in Harlem trying to protect the city he loves, but now, he’s a bit more of a local celebrity.  He finds himself fighting a lot more than bad guys.  He’s also fighting with some internal issues, which include crossing the fine line between being a hero and being a villain, and whether or not he should forgive his father for turning his back on him when he needed him most.  Of course, Mariah and Shades (who are now officially a couple) make Luke’s life harder with their shenanigans and their own personal battles.  To make matters worse for both parties, another villain comes into the mix named Bushmaster, a Jamaican crime lord that has a personal vendetta against Mariah and her family, and also carries a disdain for Luke, considering that his strength and power is nearly equal to Bushmaster’s.

This current season had all the usual stuff that makes it great:  action, intriguing plot, stellar performances, hot love scenes, and an even hotter man (Luke).  Even Danny Rand aka The Immortal Iron Fist and Colleen (Danny’s homegirl) made appearances (more on that later).  However, this season of Luke Cage had a little something else going on with it as well…it was really deep.  Season two was chock full of recurring themes that manifested from demons that nearly every main character had to face, and not all of them were able to overcome them.

WARNING:  THE FOLLOWING WILL CONTAIN SLIGHT SPOILERS TO THE NEW SEASON OF LUKE CAGE.  IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE SECOND SEASON YET, I SUGGEST YOU DON’T READ ANY FURTHER!

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

Heroism

Luke Cage 2 (Alt)

Throughout the season, Luke struggles with the true meaning of being a hero.  Luke believes that in order to protect Harlem, he has to do whatever he can to get the job done, by any means necessary.  This means sometimes stooping to the bad guys’ level.  There’s a scene—without giving too much away; as I said, these are slight spoilers—where Luke is confronted with a no good so-and-so that lays hands on his baby mama and child, so Luke decides to give him the same courtesy.  Needless to say, Luke beats the man half dead.  I have to be honest, I didn’t shed not one tear for that fool.  However, Claire wisely confronts Luke about the dark path he’s going on and they have this exchange:

Luke:  I’m finally getting results, Claire.  Shit’s getting done.  Pops always talked about Kenyatta*, right?  I see his point.  I’m rough, but I’m still a hero.

Claire:  Really?  If beating your chest around town is what you need to call yourself a hero, then I question your understanding of the word.  This shit is changing you, Luke.

Luke:  It’s making me more of who I am.

Ironically enough, Mariah fights the same struggle with heroism.  We as the audience know that she’s far from being a hero, but Mariah honestly believes in her mind that she’s the one and only savior of Harlem, and continues to struggle with being in “the life,” and trying to become 100% legit.  She even has a conversation with her daughter Tilda (a very interesting new character), that’s very similar to the one Luke had with Claire:

Mariah:  Your great-grandmother was a ghetto philanthropist.  Your cousin Cornell financed all of my campaigns.  Now I am a legit philanthropist.  That’s the American way, girl.

Tilda:  You’re a crook and a liar.

Mariah:  I serve Harlem!  And yes, I will do whatever it takes!  Your profession is not too pristine, my dear.  You never took money from a shady pharmaceutical company for a greater good?

Tilda:  That’s why my medicine comes from the ground.  To do no harm.

Mariah:  It’s better to do a little harm for a whole lot of good than it is to do no harm for jack shit.

Later in the series, Tilda herself is faced with some situations where she has to decide between doing what’s right, or doing what’s best for the people.  Seeing how she comes to those decisions—and the effect caused by her decisions—will surprise you.

Vengeance

Luke - You Started This (Alt)

Another huge theme in Luke Cage’s second season is vengeance.  Bushmaster’s taste for vengeance against Mariah’s family makes him blind to everything else around him, and his loved ones warn him that his vengeance can be his downfall.  Sure enough, we begin to see his desire for revenge eat away at him.  Bushmaster’s uncle tells him midway through the series that “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.”  It turns out truer words have never been spoken.

After Bushmaster comes at Mariah in the worst way possible, she decides to seek out her own vengeance and becomes everything that she once hated.  She’s able to see Bushmaster squirm a bit, but she loses her soul in the process.

Forgiveness

Luke and His Dad

Forgiveness is one of the other big themes of the second season.  This issue mostly affects Luke alone, considering that Mariah and Bushmaster aren’t trying to forgive any damn body for their trespasses.  As I mentioned previously, Luke is reunited with his father this season, and the initial meeting is pretty damn tense.  Unlike Jessica Jones, who didn’t know her mother was still alive, Luke his well aware that his father is very much alive, but would rather go on as if he wasn’t around.

Once again, Claire can read Luke like a book, and she knows that a lot of his anger stems from the fact that he can’t forgive his father for his past sins (yep, preachers sin, too!).  Claire warns that if Luke can’t forgive his father, his anger and resentment will continue to consume him…much like Mariah and Bushmaster’s anger and resentment consumed them.  Hmmm…  You could say that this ties into the vengeance theme, and in a way, it does.  However, Luke has the good sense not to go that route.  Luke would rather his father just leave him be.  Do they ever bury the hatchet and rekindle their relationship?  Watch and see.

Luke Cage - Bottle Smash and Kick to the Head

All this isn’t to say that this season of Luke Cage was without its flaws, because it wasn’t.  One of the things I had an issue with is that Danny aka Iron Fist only appeared in one episode.  Come on!  Y’all could’ve at least let him stick around for two episodes, especially considering that he was giving Luke some pointers on how he could defeat Bushmaster.  That was a wasted cameo.  The same thing goes for Colleen.  She was teaching Misty to not let the loss of her arm make her feel worthless, and the time she spent with Misty helped her be herself again.  Then, poof!  Colleen was gone, too.  Wasted cameo.  That’s it.  Everything else about the show was gravy.

I’m sure most of y’all have watched the second season of Luke Cage by this point, but if you haven’t, I definitely recommend it.  I know that the Netflix Marvel Universe hasn’t delivered in the past few months with Jessica Jones and The Defenders having lackluster seasons as of yet, but this season of Luke Cage certainly delivered.  Go check out this dark chocolate Boy Scout immediately.  😍😍

Luke Cage - I'm Just Getting Started (Alt)

SIDE NOTE:  I’m so sorry it took me this long to get this published.  Between all the overtime I’ve had to put in at my day job, my birthday last week (I’m officially 37!  Gettin’ on up there!), and these sinuses killin’ me softly day after day, I was lucky if I could produce two paragraphs a day!  However, I finally got this bad boy finished for y’all!  Sorry about the delay!

—Written by Nadiya

What did you think about season two of Luke Cage?  Was it as good as the first season, better, or just average?  Did you think the recurring themes were deep?  Did you notice some other themes in the show that I didn’t mention?  Do you think Danny and Colleen’s appearances were wasted, or did they spend the right amount of time on the show?  Let me know in the comments section!

 

*Kenyatta is the main series from a book series written by author Donald Goines.  His character is that of a black militant man that takes upon himself and his crew to rid Detroit of drug dealers and racist cops anyway they have to.

 

 

Elektra Abundance Is Trash!

Featuring:  The Episode Where Elektra Stole From The Salvation Army and Kept the Money For Herself

Note:  This post is mainly geared toward the folks that watch the FX series Pose.  For that reason, I’m going straight into the subject matter, and not giving any insight on the show as I usually doIf you’re not one of the people that watch it, I suggest you turn your TV on FX on Sunday night (you may wanna flip a coin between this show and Claws to decide which you’d rather tune into first).   And yes, I did steal this idea from my favorite YouTube series, Zack Morris Is Trash.  Sue me.

Elektra and Girls Looking (Alt)

In episode 3 of Pose, Elektra didn’t get too much screen time, which is fine by me, because she gets on my last damn nerve.  We started the episode off with Ms. Abundance sitting in a doctor’s office discussing sexual reassignment surgery with the current attending physician.  Elektra takes the time to mention how much she loved the late doctor that previously owned the practice and how he got her to embrace who she really is.  For a second, we believe Elektra is actually a human being.  That is, until she takes her scrawny ass home.

The other girls at her house (whose names I can’t recall right this minute), bring a wreath home to decorate the loft for Christmas.  Elektra scoffs at the wreath, because she’s a demon, but doesn’t make too big a deal about it.  However, when one of the girls ask if Elektra’s sugar daddy can give them some money to really spruce up the joint for Christmas (no pun intended), in true fashion, Elektra goes off.   She whines about how her man counts every dime and gift he gives her…blah, blah, blah.  I guess going to the dollar store would hurt her pockets too much.

Elektra Posing (Alt)

Elektra calms the hell down and apologizes for her outburst…but still makes sure to remind the girls they’re stupid.  She then tells them that they’re going to “deck the fucking halls” for Christmas.  In the next scene, she and the girls stake out Santa and one of his elves taking Salvation Army donations in front of a Manhattan hotel.  One of the girls cause a distraction, and while Santa and the elf are subdued, Elektra comes up with a chain cutter, breaks the chain holding the donation bucket and runs the hell off.  I’ve heard people say that The Salvation Army was very judgemental about the LGBT community, but that’s no reason to make starving mothers and children suffer because a few folks wanna act like dicks.

Elektra Stealing Salvation Army Money (Alt)

Back at the loft, the ladies count the money.  It turns out they made off with a cool $2,300.00 (which may be about $4,500.00 nowadays).  The girls start fantasizing about having a real Christmas, with real gifts and decorations, seeing how $2,300.00 was a lot more in 1987 than it is in 2018.  The wheels in Elektra’s head start turning and she tells the girls that “all their Christmas dreams” will come true.  She takes the dollar bills, leaving the coins on the table, as the girls continue to dream.

The next day, Elektra struts—like only Elektra can—into the hospital and hands the front desk lady a stack of dollar bills, proudly stating that she’s putting down $2,300.00 to have her sexual reassignment surgery.

Elektra Pays For Surgery (Alt)

So let’s review:

  • Elektra Abundance has decided to have sexual reassignment surgery, and while speaking with the doctor, we nearly empathize with her until…
  • …she gets home and starts acting like a total asshole with her children.
  • Then, she has a bright idea to decorate the house for Christmas just like the girls wanted, by knocking off Salvation Army volunteers, risking her girls getting arrested and causing starving women and children to go hungry and not have any gifts for Christmas.
  • Then, while the girls are counting the money and fantasizing about what they’ll do with the cash for Christmas, Elektra takes the money for herself and spends it on her sexual reassignment surgery, literally leaving her children mere coins to spend for the holiday.  I really hope the dollar store’s selling decorations.

ELEKTRA ABUNDANCE IS TRASH.

Elektra Posing 2 (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So, do you think Elektra Abundance is trash?  What am I saying?  Of course, she is.  Nonetheless, leave a comment.  😉

All the Times Earn Took an L During ‘Robbin Season’ and the Reasons Why

Hey, y’all!  As I stated in one of my previous posts, I’ve become a huge Childish Gambino fan (by the way, have y’all seen the “This Is America” video?  Check that bad boy out!), and as a result, I’ve also converted into a huge fan of Donald Glover’s series, AtlantaAtlanta is one of the funniest, most insightful and satirical comedies on television since The Boondocks aired.  There’s episodes that are completely slapstick, there’s episodes that are dark, and there’s even some episodes that have a combination of the two, but all of them give your brain a nice workout.

Atlanta - Stay Woke (Alt)

One of the most intriguing things about the show is the main character, Earnest “Earn” Marks, played by Donald Glover himself.  Earn isn’t intriguing because he’s the funniest character or the breakout star (those titles would go to Darius and Alfred aka Paper Boi).  Hell, this season he largely was MIA for about four or five episodes.  Earn is intriguing because despite being an intelligent man, he always sabotages himself due to his dumbass decisions.

When we’re first introduced to Earn in season one, we learn he had the chance to be a Princeton graduate…but he dropped out.  That turned to be the first of many stupid decisions he made, considering that we also learn that Earn is practically homeless and living off a non-existent commission from his dead end job.  To top it off, he has a toddler-aged daughter depending on him.  He initiates himself as Al’s manager, and although Earn succeeds in getting Al more exposure, in the long run he still continues to lose.  Earn’s had such hard luck during the “Robbin’ Season” someone made this meme:

Earn with an L

After watching the “North of the Border” episode (and witnessing Earn not taking responsibility for his actions) I decided to chronicle all the times Earn took an L this season, and why he took those losses.

“Alligator Man” – Earn Stays Homeless

Atlanta - Earn and Darius (Alt)

In the second season premiere, Earn is living in a storage facility unit, and before the episode can get off the ground, he’s basically “evicted.”  Earn wants to ask Alfred if he can stay with him, but he hesitates, and is later sidetracked with carrying out a favor to Alfred concerning his and Earn’s Uncle Willy (which was crazy within itself).  Long story short, Earn finally decides to build up the nerve to ask Alfred if he can stay with him a few days, but Tracy, Al’s trifling ex-con homeboy, already beat him to it.  If Earn didn’t allow his pride to get in the way and asked Al upfront if he could stay there, he probably would’ve had a place to lay his head.  Thankfully, he had another option…for the moment.  Sadly enough, this was the smallest loss he suffered all season.

“Sportin’ Waves” – Earn Squanders His Money

Donald Glover - Money (Alt)

Darius pays Earn $4,000 from a dog breeding investment he previously participated in a few months earlier (for further information on that check out “The Streisand Effect” episode from season one).  Now, as I mentioned before, Earn is broke and homeless.  The smart thing to do would’ve been to give some money to Van and Lottie (his girlfriend/baby mama and daughter, respectively) and open a checking and savings account.  However, this is Atlanta, and this is Earn.

Tracy tells Earn that he can invest the $4,000 in a gift card scam and spend up all his money at the mall.  At first Earn is reluctant—as he should be—but the thought of going on a spending spree is too tempting and Earn relents.  Of course, nothing goes as planned.  Not only does Tracy risk he and Earn getting arrested by shoplifting pairs of shoes from the mall, but the second Earn uses the janky gift card, it’s flagged, leaving him with 10 to 15 minutes to continue using it.  Worst of all, Tracy leaves Earn at the mall to get to his job interview, causing Earn to have to ride back home (wherever “home” is that particular night) on the bus with his arms full of merchandise, some of which he lost in transit.  That’s an L if ever there was one.

“Money Bag Shawty” – Earn Is Outright Disrespected

Atlanta - Not Happy (Alt)

“Money Bag Shawty” showcases the first time Earn taking an L wasn’t entirely his fault.  Earn is finally seeing some serious money coming his way now that Al’s single has gone gold and streaming services are paying commissions.  After Earn and Van reflect on how they’ve gotten nothing but insults lately (hours before receiving the check, an eager Paper Boi fan looking for a come up cussed Earn out, not realizing that he’s actually Al’s manager), they decide that they’re going to take the money and spend a night on the town.  The stunted will be the stunnas.  Earn soon learned that he’s not a #1 stunna.

First Earn and Van go to the movies.  The clerk refuses to accept a C note from Earn, although she has no issues taking a $100 bill from a white cop.  Then, they go to a hookah bar.  The owner, who is African, swears up and down the bill is counterfeit and demands that Earn leaves…but not before paying the $20.00 charge for entering the club.  Next, they hit the strip club, and Earn is finessed for nearly every dollar he has.  Now, here’s where Earn must take personal responsibility for this L.  When Earn and Van decide to call it a night, they see Michael Vick racing people for money in the parking lot.  Earn foolishly decides to race against him, in one last attempt to regain some dignity.  He loses.  Yet another stupid decision.

“Helen” – Earn Loses His Woman

Atlanta - Van and Earn (Alt)

Van, who is half black and half German, decides to bring Earn to an Ocktoberfest party in Helen, GA.  At first, Earn is excited to go to the festival, but he soon feels out of place, and isn’t really enjoying the celebration.  Instead of just sucking it up and doing something Van enjoys for a change, Earn sulks the entire time and makes very little effort to spend any time with her.  Earn’s behavior (along with some shady comments her childhood friend makes) causes Van to reevaluate their relationship.  When Van tells Earn that she doesn’t want to be an accessory that’s just around for Earn to screw, Earn admits that he doesn’t know what he wants, but he’s happy with their “arrangement.”  *Sigh*  A la Love and Basketball, Van challenges Earn to a ping pong game for her heart.  Earn loses, in every sense of the word.

“North of the Border” – Earn Loses It All

Atlanta - Earn Gets His Ass Whupped (Alt)

After going through a four episode hiatus, Earn returns for “North of the Border” with an appearance that lasts more than five seconds.  Sadly enough, this is also the episode that irked me to my soul so much that it inspired me to make this post.  Earn, Al and Darius are going to show at a college in Statesboro, GA.  Instead of Earn booking a hotel room for them like he should’ve done, he decides it’s a better idea for them to shack up with a co-ed Instagram model that’s obsessed with Al’s Paper Boi persona.  When the men arrive at her apartment, it’s clear the young lady is unbalanced.  After the show, the girl throws a drink on Al simply for acknowledging other female fans on campus.  Tracy, who insisted on coming along and was made a “security guard” for the trip (that’s not actually on Earn; that’s Al’s fault), pushes the girl down the stairs, which causes her brother and his friends to come after the men.  Oh yeah, and she slaps the shit out of Earn, although he was the one that caught her when she fell, saving her from injury and/or death.

Atlanta - Earn Gets Slapped (Alt)

After the fellas are chased through campus and find refuge in a bizarre fraternity (complete with guns, confederate flags and naked pledges dancing to “Laffy Taffy”), Al basically informs Earn that he’s over his shit and he’s fired (Al had his own come to Jesus moment about furthering his career during the “Woods” episode).  Earn only sees Tracy’s hand in all the trouble they’ve been through, not his own.  To make matters worse, the next morning the guys find their car broken into, their clothes sitting on the lawn—and destroyed—and many of their items stolen, including Earn’s laptop.  On the way back home, Tracy refuses to shut the hell up about what happened, and after he reveals that he stole one of the antique guns from the frat (and points it at Earn), Earn’s so pissed off that he makes yet again another stupid ass decision:  he wants to fight Tracy.

Tracy is a physically large, ratchet ex-con fresh out of prison.  Earn is small and wiry, and couldn’t bust a grape in a fruit fight.  It’s possible Earn decides to stand up to Tracy to make up for all the times he’s been disrespected and said next to nothing, or maybe he does it to try to reclaim a shred of self-respect.  Either way, good didn’t prevail and the nerd didn’t beat the class bully.  Once again, this is Atlanta, and this is Earn.  He gets his ass royally whupped by Tracy, and is forced to ride back home with the man that just physically decimated him (and I heard that the drive from Statesboro to Atlanta is three hours long!).  In one foul swoop, Earn loses his job, his clothes, his laptop, and his pride, all because he was too cheap to book a damn room at the Ramada.  SMH.

“FUBU” – Little Earn Is Clowned for His (Possibly) Fake FUBU Shirt

Atlanta - Same Shirt (Alt)

This is the second time Earn took an L due to circumstances.  Circa ’97 or ’98, when Earn was in middle school and independent designer clothing line FUBU (short for For Us By Us for all you youngins) ruled the world, Earn comes across a FUBU shirt for sale in Marshall’s.  His mother buys it for him and Earn can’t wait to go to school the next day to stunt.  Unfortunately for Earn, a young man named Devon comes to school that morning with a very similar shirt.  The only difference is that Devon’s shirt has a patch with the FUBU logo, whereas Earn’s has no patch, and more stripes on the sleeves.  The kids in Earn’s class figure that one of them is wearing a fake shirt.  Earn’s dilemma escalates when he accidentally tears a hole in the shirt.

Earn spends the rest of the day hiding the shirt, as the teasing has gotten worse as time passes.  Young Al advises Earn to just be confident and declare the shirt is authentic, but confidence isn’t exactly Earn’s forte.  Devon has to deal with being teased throughout the day too, and by time school ends, the resident “fashion expert” declares that Earn’s shirt is fake.  However, Al comes to save the day (as usual) and refutes the “expert’s” opinion,  announcing that Devon has the fake shirt.  Earn finally has a W, and Devon goes on to be mercilessly teased.  Unfortunately, the win is short lived.  Earn learns the next morning that Devon committed suicide the night before.  He was having issues at home due to his parents’ divorce and the teasing about his shirt pushed him over the edge.

Once again, I don’t blame Earn for taking this L, simply because he was a child behaving as a child, responding to cultural norms outside of his control.  Even Earn’s mother and aunt stress to him how important it is for a black man to be fashionable in society by the end of the episode.  She even goes out and buys him another FUBU shirt, although this time, Earn’s less than enthuasiastic about it.  Real talk, I don’t think either shirt was fake.  I used to see fake FUBU shirts all the time at discount stores and flea markets, but they always had a different brand name/logo listed (i.e.:  a “PB” logo instead of the real “FB” one).  Placing the actual FUBU brand on the clothing would’ve been copyright infringement.  As for the shirt tearing, I know for a fact that most designer brands used cheap materials for their goods.  When I was teenager, I loved wearing designer men’s watches, and during my junior and senior year of high school, I had a Calvin Klein watch and a FUBU watch, respectively.  Both watches fell apart by the end of the fall semester.

Tomorrow night (May 10, 2018), Atlanta’s season finale will air.  In the previews I noticed Earn being serious about his business, and taking more time with his daughter.  Maybe, just maybe, Earn will finally grow up, be the man that we all know he can be, and actually gain a W.

Then again, this is Atlanta, and this is Earn.

Donald Glover - Backing Away (Alt)

The Atlanta season finale airs on FX, Thursday night at 10:00 PM.  The previous season can be purchased at VUDU.com, and the current season can be viewed at fxnetworks.com.

—Written by Nadiya

What do y’all think?  Do you believe Earn’s bad luck is mostly on him, or are other cirumstances to blame for his misfortune?  Will Earn finally show some maturity and growth for the season finale, or will he continue to be immature and make stupid decisions?  Let me know in the comments section!

‘Jessica Jones’ Season Two Review

What’s up, y’all?  As I mentioned in my previous post regarding Mo’Nique, one of the many reasons I didn’t boycott Netflix was because I refused to miss the second season of Jessica Jones (I don’t plan on missin’ Luke Cage, either).  So, when I learned the new season was set to air on March 8, I couldn’t wait to see it.  My mom and I practically watched it all in three days.  That being said, despite season two of Jessica Jones being interesting, it wasn’t without its flaws.

Jessica Jones - Thumbs Up (Alt)

The current season has Jessica dealing with the fallout after killing the sociopathic Kilgrave and investigating IGH, the lab that experimented on her after her near-fatal car accident and provided her with superhuman abilities.  Malcolm is still working alongside Jessica as her “associate,” although he’s treated more like an annoying neighbor that’s a glutton for punishment.  Trish also gives Jessica a hand by using her celebrity status and connections, but deep down, she wishes she could do more; not only with Jessica’s case, but to help people in general.  Jeri Hogarth (who’ll always be Trinity to me—just sayin’) is still around, but Jessica isn’t on speaking terms with her after Hogarth caused her wife’s brutal murder by allowing Kilgrave to escape Jessica’s grasp…again.  However, Hogarth gets some life-altering news that could possibly soften her evil demeanor…or does it?  In the process of learning more about IGH, Jessica uncovers some seriously disturbing things about the company, as well as her past.

I can’t go any further without giving some major spoilers, but as I said before, this season just wasn’t as great as the first one.  The episodes started out strong, but they started to lose a bit of steam midway through.  The first season also had this issue, but the difference is, season one began to fizzle out around episode 11 or 12.  They may want to stick to just 10 episodes in the future.  Another thing that was interesting—and was also a detriment in a way—was that there was no clear villain.  Season one lets us know from the get-go that Kilgrave was the bad guy.  The dude was just evil incarnate, and he always managed to slip away from Jessica and/or stay two steps ahead of her.  That’s what made the show so intriguing.  This time around, the antagonists—and I use that term loosely—weren’t really bad.  On one hand, it was compelling to watch antagonists that weren’t malicious, as it’s very rarely seen in a series about a superhero.  On the other hand, with no real villain, the drama fades a bit, and the show loses its magnetism.  Hence, the reason some of the luster faded sometime around episode eight.

Jessica Jones 2

The only person that can be listed as an actual villain is newcomer Pryce Cheng, but Cheng is more of an aggravating nuisance than a real threat, which brings me to my other gripe about the new season.  The new men featured in this season of Jessica Jones are hella good looking, but I didn’t care for them as characters.  Pryce is a rival PI that wants to take out the competition by any means necessary, and the other newcomer is Oscar Arocho, Jessica’s new building super and eventual love interest.  As I said before, Cheng got on my nerves, and for the first half of the season, so did Oscar, as his attitude towards Jessica is just as shitty as Pryce’s when she first meets him.  When Oscar finally acts like he has some home training and Jessica falls for him, their scenes lack any serious chemistry.  This is no criticism against actors JR Ramirez and Terry Chen; their performances were good (besides, I always loved JR Ramirez as Julio in Power.  I’m still mad he got killed off the show!).  I just could’ve done without the characters themselves.  Worst of all, Luke doesn’t make a single appearance this season.  His absence was definitely missed. 😭😭

Luke and Jessica (Alt)

Jessica Jones’s second season wasn’t all bad.  Like I said previously, I did enjoy it.  There were a lot of cool action/fight scenes, and Jessica’s sarcastic humor always had me rollin’.  There was a scene where Pryce accuses her of murder and Jessica basically tells him that she didn’t “give a dead moose’s last shit” what he thought.  Classic.  The first few episodes had me on the edge of my seat, and the scenes that give the audience more insight into Jessica’s past were handled extremely well.  Trish and Malcolm have a story arc that’s very compelling, as does Hogarth.  I didn’t completely care for the way the season ended, but it definitely showed a pivotal change in the dynamic between Jessica, Trish, and Malcolm.  I for one can’t wait to see how this development is gonna play out next season, Lord willin’.

All in all, season two of Jessica Jones wasn’t completely explosive, but it wasn’t an absolute dud, either.  It was a lot like the less expensive fireworks we used to buy in the ’80s and early ’90s; they started off strong, but then ended with a wimpy little poof instead of a big bang.  Maybe season three will be the firework that’ll even make Katy Perry stare in wonder.

Jessica Jones - Butt Whuppin (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about Jessica Jones’s second season?  Was it well worth the wait, were you disappointed, or was it just…meh?  Did you miss Luke Cage?  Did you like the new additions to the cast?  What did you think about the “bad guys”?  What did you think about the season finale?  Let me know in the comments section! 

Mo’Nique: Is Her Stance Against Netflix Legit or Way Off Base?

Well…as my girl Lovelyti said, 2018 had a Black History Month to remember.  Black Panther was released to stellar reviews and is still tearin’ up the box office (if you haven’t seen that beautiful film as of yet, PLEASE watch it!), Blac Chyna and Safaree (rapper and Nicki Minaj’s ex) both had sex videos leaked to the world wide web (about a week apart, on top of everything else), Stacey Dash annouced she’s running for Congress (ugh), and Fergie attempted to channel the late jazz great Billie Holliday when she sang her rendition of The Star Spangled Banner” at the NBA All Star Game, but she ended up channeling memes, GIF’s and countless jokes for Twitter followers and late night talk show hosts instead.  In spite of everything that happened this past February, the lady that nearly everyone was talking about last month was the legendary comedienne Mo’Nique.

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As I’m sure all of you know by now, Mo’Nique was approached by Netflix to do a comedy show sometime around December.  The reported deal was $500,000, which was much lower than the $13M Amy Schumer walked away with (she was originally offered $11M), not to mention the $20M that was offered to Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.  Mo’Nique refused the deal and asked everyone to boycott Netflix in protest, due to the streaming powerhouse being biased against her because of her race and gender.  Very few people did so for two reasons:  The threat of missing out on the upcoming new season of Jessica Jones and other stellar shows/movies was too great, and most folks felt that Netflix’s decision wasn’t because of race and gender bias, it was due to Mo’Nique’s reputation of being hard to work with and the fact that the aforementioned comics sold out more shows and were more active than Mo’Nique as of late.  I muar admit, I am also one of those people.

Now, I know what y’all are thinkin’, “Nadiya, aren’t you a black woman?  And didn’t you just say that Mo’Nique is a legend?”  The answers are yes and yes.  I am a black woman that is well aware that gender and racial bias exists, and I’m from the south, just to add icing to the cake.  Also, Mo’Nique’s resume is very impressive.  She won an Oscar for Precious, had a hit sitcom for five years, and very successful stand-up specials, one of which was The Queens of Comedy.  I can see why Mo’Nique feels she was lowballed by Netflix, given her past successes.  I just don’t think that race and gender have anything to do with it in this particular instance.  Allow me to explain.

Netflix Has a Ton of Predominately Black Movies, Specials and TV Shows

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If Netflix only had one or two black actors and actresses on about two or three movies and/or TV shows, I’d see more validity in Mo’Nique’s claims of them being prejudiced against her.  That’s not the case.  Netflix gives jobs to a lot of black actors.  Movies and shows like Luke Cage, Mudbound, Bright, The Get Down (I hope this comes back, by the way), The Cloverfield Paradox, She’s Gotta Have It, Chewing Gum, A Message to the King, Seven Seconds, Coach Snoop, Imperial Dreams, and Dear White People consist of a mostly black cast and/or have black leading men and women.  Not only that, but I’ve seen other black comedy specials on Netflix featuring Marlon Wayans, Chris Tucker, DeRay Davis, Katt Williams and Cedric the Entertainer, just to name a few.  I haven’t been able to find out a lot of information on how much the comedians I named made for their deals, but considering there’s been little to no press on the subject—aside from Mo’Nique’s dissatisfaction with her deal—I can only assume that they were happy with what they made.  According to Vulture, more comedians are going to Netflix because “they want the money while [it’s being offered].”  Then, when it comes to the case of gender discrimination, I highly doubt Netflix is guilty of that, considering that they recently closed a multi-million deal with Shonda Rhimes, the female (and African-American) creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder.

Mo’Nique’s Reputation Proceeds Her (Still Love You, Though!)

MoNique - You Fuckin With My Money (Alt)

Steve Harvey once said that in order to be successful, you have to have some dog in you.  There has to be a dogged determination to grind and reach a certain level of success.  Mo’Nique is no exception to that rule.  She’s always had a strong personality.  That’s what made her so appealing when she first burst on the scene.  Women in the entertainment business have to have a thick skin and that dogged determination to strive in the industry.  However, Mo’Nique’s personality may be a little too strong.  Now, I’m not going to sit here and label Mo’Nique an angry black woman, because that’s a stereotype that’s always followed us, and is always thrown in our faces whenever we stand up for what we want.  I will say that Mo’Nique may need to learn to compromise and realize that everyone may not agree with her opinion.

The whole “Mo’Nique is difficult to work with” stigma started back in 2009 when Precious was screened by multiple film festivals.  The movie was nominated for the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival, and director Lee Daniels insisted that Mo’Nique fly to Cannes, France for the event.  She refused, opting to spend her free time with her family.  This situation reminds me of a quote from the film Gladiator that I often use myself:  “Sometimes in life, I do what I want to do…but mostly I do what I have to do.”  Family is important, but it’s also important to feed your family as well.

Mo’Nique also stated that she was not contractually obligated to promote the film overseas, which was another reason she refused to go to Cannes.  Once again, this harkens back to the quote.  Working as a customer service rep (my day job), I often have to go above and beyond my job description to make my clients happy.  That way, the company looks good, I look good, the client is satisfied, and I don’t have to worry about him/her calling back with an attitude.  Mo’Nique may not have been obligated to do international promotion, but whenever you help create a film—or anything regarding entertainment—you have to promote said work.  That’s the bottom line.  I’m sure my sweeties Bruno Mars and The Rock are tired as hell right about now (Bruno especially…he’s STILL TOURING!), but they’re doing what they have to do to promote their art.  If Mo’Nique had gotten on the plane to France (and I’m sure her family could’ve gone with her), she and the film would’ve received more press, she could’ve networked and garnered more roles and/or connections, and the powers that be would’ve seen her as a “team player” and contracted her for even more work and more money.  Everyone wins.  Plus she could’ve chilled at Cannes.  Have y’all seen that place?  It’s gorgeous!

Monique Berating Charlamagne 2 (Alt)

This brings me to the next point I mentioned:  Mo’Nique must make peace the fact with everyone may not agree with her.  As I’m sure all of you have heard, back in Jan., Charlamange tha God from The Breakfast Club gave Mo’Nique Donkey of the Day for declaring herself “the most decorated comedienne alive,” after receiving Netflix’s low bid.  Mo’Nique was none too happy about that.  Shortly after that show, Mo’Nique went on her live stream and asked “why [Charlamange] had so much hatred towards black women.”  By late February, she basically started a tour to speak about her issues with Netflix, and she was invited to The Breakfast Club for an interview.  While she was there, Mo’Nique let it be known that she didn’t appreciate Charlamagne giving her Donkey of the Day, and pretty much talked down to him the entire interview.  As a matter of fact, she made it her business to refer to him by his real name, Lenard, instead of his radio persona whenever she addressed him.  Before she left, Mo’Nique made sure she had the last word, and strongly implied that Charlamagne was a house negro.

Cynthia - Side Eye (Alt)

Now Mo’Nique, that was all the way wrong.  No one is exempt from Donkey of the Day.  I get Mo’Nique feeling some type of way about getting it, but at the same time, she acted as if she was above that title.  As Charlamange himself once said, “Donkey of the Day [doesn’t] discrimate.”  What’s worse is that Mo’Nique implied that Charlamange only gave it to her because she was a black woman, which wasn’t true.  She could’ve let it be known that she didn’t appreciate what Charlamange said without being condescending and twisting the situation around.

Now you may be asking what this has to do with the Netflix deal, considering this incident occured afterwards.  Once again, Mo’Nique’s reputation proceeds her, and other stories like that have bounced around for years.  That interview at The Breakfast Club may have confirmed those stories.  Then, let’s not forget how she put down Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey at one of her comedy shows a few months back (although I can understand why she’s angry at Oprah; the way she handled that interview with Mo’Nique’s brother—who molested her as a child—was rude and wrong).  All these things combined more than likely caused Mo’Nique to get that low offer, and The Breakfast Club interview probably made the suits at Netflix say, “See!  We knew we shouldn’t have offered her anything more than $500,000!”  I’m not saying Mo’Nique has to be a shrinking violet that just accepts everything (we can all agree that the $500K offer was low), but you can’t be completely uncompromsing and offputting.

MoNique - Clownery (Alt)

I’ve been a fan of Mo’Nique’s since I was a teenager, and I still love her.  I want her to win, and I want her to have a successful career.  I get her feeling that she was a victim of bias, especially given the fact that Netflix gave her wack ass excuse as to why she was lowballed, instead of telling her the truth (see the Variety article about the Netflix offer I hyperlinked earlier).  I also understand why a lot of African-American people—namely black women—are taking her side, given that we’ve gone through legitimate bias time and time again, and still experience it.

But this particular situation has less to do with Mo’Nique being a black woman and more to do with her being inflexible.  Even her “Netflix tour” is inflexible.  She’s not giving up this fight by any means, despite the fact that Netflix isn’t the only network out there.  Mo’Nique is talented enough to go to Hulu, Amazon Prime, Epix, HBO, Cinemax, or Showtime and have them give her the deal she really wants.  My suggestion to her is to show Netflix that they made a mistake in lowballing her.  If no one else will make a reasonable deal, she should put her own money up and try another project.  She should definitely showcase more comedy on her Instagram page (at the moment, all her posts are either fitness videos or content regarding the Netflix controversy).  Not only that, she should continue to do more comedy shows at bigger venues, which honestly, may be another reason Netflix offered such a low amount.  She hasn’t been as active as she once was.  Mo’Nique, keep that strong personality, and that dogged determination, but don’t burn bridges, and be a little more accomodating and open to different opinions.  Show everyone that why you are a Queen of Comedy, Ms. Mo’Nique, and why you should be treated as such.

MoNique - Shade (Alt)

—Written by Nadiya

So, what do y’all think about this situation?  Is Mo’Nique right about Netflix being biased against her because of her gender and race, or do you think it’s due to her past reputation?  Do you think Mo’Nique deserved Donkey of the Day, or was she right in putting Charlamange down for doing so?  Do you believe she should keep fighting against Netflix, or should she leave them alone and try finding a better deal and/or starting her own project?  Let me know in the comments section!

My Personal Thoughts On ‘American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace’

Hey, y’all!  As some of you may know (or maybe not), I’ve posted some articles on other websites, and I recently did one over at ViralHare.com, about American Crime Story:  The Assassination of Gianni Versace.  This show has nearly the entire nation buzzing, including yours truly, and I truly felt the need to put my two cents in about the series.  Here’s the link:

Ugliness Among Beauty:  The Second Season of American Crime Story

Hope y’all enjoy it!  Bye!

American Crime Story - Andrew Dancing (Alt)

This scene was particularly insane.

What do you think about the second season of American Crime Story?  Be sure to let me know in the comments section (or, if you’d like to leave a comment on the site where the actual article is, that’s fine too!)!