Archive for category TV
“Rap was about rage not beauty. Rap hated most women.” –Michel’le
After Straight Outta Compton premiered in theaters last year, many remarked how the film completely avoided depiction of N.W.A.’s violence against women. Here’s the counterpoint. It’s hip-hop artist Michel’le’s powerful and courageous story. As Michel’le narrates the film, this is her truth. Raised by her grandmother in Compton, Michel’le learned to expect men to hit women. That it was just something men did and that women should avoid provoking men and if he hits you to “fix it.” There’s this tragic conditioning of women and acceptance of violence against women. This is Michel’le’s story about her experience in the rap world, particularly her relationships with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight.
Plucked from a department store, Michel’le [adeptly portrayed by Rhyon Nicole Brown] starts singing on N.W.A. albums. She’s a surprise as she speaks in a high voice like Minnie Mouse but sings in a deep, gorgeous tone. She almost immediately attracts Dre’s attention and the two start dating. Michel’le remarks: “We were like family. They were like my brothers. Except for Dre of course.” Dre [Curtis Hamilton] had five children and “didn’t take any of these girls seriously.” Almost every guy that Michel’le knew had a baby. She said it was nearly a “Compton right of passage.” She and Dre move in together and she records her first album.
In the studio, Dre comes up and punches her hard. Repeatedly. It’s a disturbing scene. Being young and in love and not understanding love, Michel’le stayed with Dre. Another time he chokes her and exclaims: “Sing the song stupid bitch now.” They’re together for several years and have a son together. Here’s this distorted perception on love and loyalty. Women are afraid of men who control them. It’s often difficult to leave. Many women don’t feel self-confident enough to do so. She’s also young, inexperienced and swept up into this wild scene with drugs, booze, parties. In order to numb the pain, Michel’le started drinking and doing drugs. She also starts becoming successful apart from Dre. She opens for MC Hammer on tour in 1990. She also becomes an alcoholic and drug addict. Death Row Records co-founder [and Dr. Dre’s business partner] Suge Knight [R. Marcos Taylor] becomes an ally, a protector of sorts, and offers to get her into rehab. While Suge’s in jail, they marry. She has a baby. She takes her child to her grandmother because she doesn’t feel confident enough in raising her own child. When Suge beats her, Michel’le leaves him.
See this film. It provides a memorable and potent first-hand female perspective on the rap world. Although a music critic, I only know what I read in the news about the rap world. Alternative music has always been by genre. It’s literally about a woman being knocked down and picking herself up and carrying on. Tremendous respect to Michel’le for this film.
Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge and Michel’le premieres Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.
Heading into episode three on S15 of Project Runway, two designers have been eliminated: Linda and Ian.
In episode two, the designers needed to design something that would appeal to a wide variety of women. The winner’s design would be sold on the Just Fab website. Laurence won. Linda got eliminated.
winning design by Laurence:
Project Runway S15 Designers
Hometown: Shreveport, LA
Resides in: Shreveport, LA
Favorite Designers: Kanye West, Control Sector, Daniel Patrick
Style Icon: Kanye West, Jesse Boykins, SZA, Rihanna, Janelle Monae, Pharrell
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Christian Siriano, Samantha Black, Sonjia, Mondo Guerra, Dom Streater
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Resides in: Portland, OR
Favorite Designers: Jean Paul Gautier, Ungaro, Walter Von Bierendonck and
Style Icon: Madonna
Favorite past Project Runway designer: Amanda Valentine and Mondo Guerra
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Resides in: Miami, FL
Favorite Designers: Different designers for different moments. I prefer those with a unique point of view and ideas.
Style Icon: Bjork
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Resides in: Los Angeles, CA
Favorite Designers: Maison Margiela, Acne Studios, Rick Owens, Lanvin,
Style Icon: Gwen Stefani
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Seth Aaron
Hometown: Framingham, MA
Resides in: Boston, MA
Favorite Designers: Alexander Wang, Eileen Fisher, Riccardo Tisci, Stella McCartney, Jeremy Scott
Style Icon: Rihanna, Cher, Gwen Stefani
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Layana Aguilar & Kelly Dempsey
Education: Framingham State University design program
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Resides in: Philadelphia, PA
Favorite Designers: D2square, Zac Posen and Versace
Style Icon: Pam Grier, Lil Kim
Favorite past Project Runway designer: “I don’t have one, I love them all.”
Education: Art Institute of Philadelphia
LINDA MARCUS [eliminated week two]
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Resides in: Milwaukee, WI
Favorite Designers: Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Ricky Owens, Vivian Westwood
Style Icon: Iman, Jessica Alba, Zendaya
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra, Austin Scarlett, Dom Streater
Hometown: Paris, France
Resides in: Los Angeles, CA
Favorite Designers: Tom ford, Balmain, JPG, Alexander McQueen
Style Icon: Grace Jones
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Kini Zamora
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Resides in: New York, NY
Favorite Designers: Rodarte, Marchesa, Valentino, Stephane Roland and Vera Wang
Style Icon: Miroslava Duma
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Christian Siriano
Education: Art Institute of New York
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Resides in: San Francisco, CA
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Mondo
Hometown: Provo, UT
Resides in: Cambridge, MA
Favorite Designers: Elsa Schiaparelli, Pheobe Philo, Miuccia Prada, Roksonda Ilincic, Alexander McQueen, Iris Van Herpen,
Style Icon: Anna Dello Russo
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Sean Kelly
Education: BFA in Fashion Design and Fiber Art from Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Resides in: Oakland, CA
Favorite Designers: Victor and Rolf, KTZ, Hussein Chalayan
Style Icon: Grace Jones, Prince
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Michael Costello
Hometown: Boston, MA
Resides in: Boston, MA
Favorite Designers: Marc Jacobs, Rick Owens
Style Icon: Janelle Monae
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Sonjia Williams
Education: bachelors in Fashion Design and Retailing from Framingham State University
Hometown: Baton Route, LA
Resides in: New Orleans, LA
Favorite Designers: Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, and Kenz Style Icon: James Dean
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra
Education: Bachelor of Science in Textiles, Apparel and Merchandising from Louisiana State University
Hometown: Boca Raton/Delray Beach, Florida
Resides in: San Francisco, CA
Favorite Designers: Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, and Christobal Balenciaga
Style Icon: Frida Kahlo, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, the Mara sisters, Sia, and Kate Blanchet
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Jay McCarroll
Education: MFA in design (unspecified school)
IAN HARGROVE [eliminated week one]
Hometown: Cary, IL
Resides in: Chicago, IL
Favorite Designers: Proenza Schouler, Altuzarra, Baja East
Style Icon: Jaden Smith, Jenna Lyons
Favorite past Project Runway Designer: Fabio Costa
INDISCRETION starring: Mira Sorvino; Christopher Backus; Cary Elwes; LisaGay Hamilton; Melora Walters directed by: John Stewart Miller written by: Laura Boersma and John Stewart Miller
It’s not always a guarantee when couples act in films together that it’ll work. Superbly talented Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino excels at her craft. If you watched Underground you saw her husband Christopher Backus in supreme creep mode. In the psychological thriller Indiscretion, New Orleans psychiatrist and politician’s wife Veronica [Sorvino] and artist Victor [Backus] partake in a steamy weekend fling. Veronica asks him why he isn’t out with some younger woman on a Friday night. He responds: “Girls my age don’t really have any life experience other than throwing up on Bourbon Street.” Interesting as there’s a 14 year age difference between the duo who have been married for 12 years and have four children. I’m a Mira Sorvino fan! She’s brilliant and lovely and kind.
As Veronica she’s tough, sexy and smart. Plus there’s intense onscreen chemistry between Sorvino and Backus. There’s sweet chemistry between Sorvino and Elwes. Veronica tells her psychiatrist friend: “It made me feel like anything could happen. Guess I just wanted male attention.” The film starts with Veronica in a sit-down interview and that’s interspersed throughout the film—a strong indicator something wicked will happen. Add to the scenario that Veronica’s husband Jake [Cary Elwes] had a very public affair recently. Elwes glides smoothly as the seemingly perfect politician. It’s mentioned by Victor: “Why’d he cheat? Why’d you cheat? Why are you here?” Of course when Veronica attempts to end the affair with Victor, he refuses to accept that they won’t be together. Victor befriends her husband and daughter. Indiscretion contains all the elements one wants in a Lifetime movie: sex; betrayal; attractive, success family with families; deranged lovers and violence. The story’s not too predictable and the film brims with all the emotions. A few twists and turns and a surprising ending will keep you riveted. Plus Sorvino’s eyelashes are on fleek! Tune in to find out what Victor does to destroy that which he cannot have and how Veronica protects her family.
Indiscretion premieres on Lifetime Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 8:00PM (ET/PT)
Thirteen designers return to compete on Project Runway All-Stars S5. This season started last Thursday and no one got eliminated! The judges want to see more. Alyssa Milano hosts Project Runway All-Stars. The judges are designer Georgina Chapman and designer Isaac Mizrahi as well as a celebrity guest judge each week. Zanna Roberts Rassi will again be the workroom mentor.
Here are this season’s competing designers:
Valerie Mayen–S8, 7th place
education: graduated from Cleveland Institue of Art with degree in illustration
–started a company called Yellowcake
–first generation Guatemalan-American
Stella Zotis–S5, 9th place
New York, NY
inspiration: Ozzy Ozbourne; David Bowie; The Rolling Stones; Iggy Pop
fashion icons: Alexander McQueen; Balenciaga; Vivienne Westwood
Sam Donovan–Under the Gunn, 2nd place
education: Parsons School of Design
Mitchell Perry–S13, 12th place
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
education: Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
–teaches children to sew and up-cycle clothes which then get donated to the homeless
Layana Aguilar–S11, 5th place
New York, NY
–grew up in Brazil
–interned for Oscar de la Renta
–launched the lines Layana Aguilar and Laya Land
Kini Zamora–S13, 3rd place
–started his own label called Kinizamora which includes the lines KiniZamora Custom; KiniZamora Ready to Wear and KiniZamora Bridal and KZHawaii
Ken Laurence–S12, 8th place
–writing a book
–launching his own online boutique
Fade Zu Grau–S13, 9th place
Coral Gables, Fla.
–born and raised in East Germany
–works in graphic design by day
Emily Payne–S13, 5th place
San Francisco, Calif.
–grew up in a small town in Texas
–has a children’s line
Dom Streater–S12, winner
–born and raised in West Philadelphia
–first African American to win Project Runway
–designed an exclusive clothing collection for Belk stores
–designed a collection of headphones for Velodyne
Daniel Franco–S1 and S2
Los Angeles, CAlif.
education: BA from Otis College of Art and Design; AA from FIDM
–worked as assistant to Richard Tyler in New York
–worked as designer for BCBG
–inherited the Albertson Chapel in 2007 from his father
Asha Daniels–Under the Gunn, 3rd place
education: University of Cincinnati
–interned at Marchesa
Alexander Pope–S12, 7th place
–grew up in Hollywood in the 80s
–former drag queen
–designs costumes for Broadway shows
Project Runway All-Stars airs on Thursdays at 9pm on Lifetime.
First, I’m not sure if The Conversation is returning as a series to Lifetime. This sounds like a one-off special. Following Amanda de Cadenet on Twitter, I think it airs online. Second, I have zero idea who any of the YouTube “personalities,” “experts” or “influencers” are or how one becomes one. Is this now something that millennials and the next generation aspire to be? But kudos to young women for speaking out. I’m a GenXer. I just don’t understand that kind of celebrity.
On Wednesday, January 13 at 10pm ET/PT on Lifetime will air an exclusive one-hour presentation of The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet featuring Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. de Cadenet and Clinton discuss her childhood, life as a grandmother and what drives her to run for President of the United States. The two discuss issues facing women and girls, the importance of friendship, the definition of success and the best advice Clinton’s ever received.
For the second part of the special, de Cadenet invites social media influencers – comedian and YouTube personality GloZell Green, fashion expert and stylist Chriselle Lim and creator of the “Be Shameless” movement, Maya Washington to discuss a variety of topics important to women.
The Conversation airs Wednesday, January 15 at 10pm ET/PT on Lifetime.
I like to think I don’t watch all that much television– that I read and watch films more than I watch TV programs. And it’s true particularly with television seasons starting several times throughout the year. At times I can be watching several shows and at other times only a couple. Then there’s Netflix of course and either binge-watching or watching at-will. I also don’t get any cable channels so I couldn’t watch season two of The Knick (which I adore), the most recent season of Homeland and have yet to check out The Affair. I did manage to watch the final season of Nurse Jackie during a free preview weekend and I think it ended perfectly. Other perfect series endings included Justified and Mad Men.
[listed in alphabetical order]
Being Mary Jane [BET]
created by: Mara Brock Akil
starring: Gabrielle Union, Lisa Vidal
Call the Midwife [PBS]
created by: Heidi Thomas
starring: Helen George, Jenny Agutter, Laura Main, Judy Parfitt, Pam Ferris, Miranda Hart
Getting On [HBO]
created by: Jo Brand, Mark V. Olsen, Vicki Pepperdine
starring: Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash
Halt and Catch Fire [AMC]
created by: Christopher Cantwell, Christopher C. Rogers
starring: Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy, Mackenzie Davis, Kerry Bishe
Jessica Jones [Netflix]
created by: Melissa Rosenberg
starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville
created by: Graham Yost
starring: Timothy Olyphant, Nick Searcy, Joelle Carter, Walton Goggins, Jacob Pitts
created by: Hunt Baldwin, John Coveny
starring: Robert Taylor, Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips
Mad Men [AMC]
created by: Matthew Weiner
starring: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, Kiernan Shipka, Aaron Staton, John Slattery, Jessica Pare
Master of None [Netflix]
created by: Aziz Ansari, Alan Yang
starring: Aziz Ansari, Noël Wells, Lena Waithe, Kelvin Yu, Eric Wareheim
Nurse Jackie [Showtime]
created by: Liz Brixius, Evan Dunsky, Linda Wallem
starring: Edie Falco, Merritt Wever, Paul Schulze, Dominic Fumusa, Anna Deavere Smith, Peter Facinelli, Ruby Jerins
Orange is the New Black [Netflix]
created by: Jenji Cohen
starring: Taylor Schilling, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Dascha Polanco, Samira Wiley
Orphan Black [BBC America]
created by: John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, Alex Levine
starring: Tatiana Maslany, Dylan Bruce, Jordan Gavaris
created by: Ray McKinnon
starring: Aden Young, Abigail Spencer, J. Smith-Cameron, Adelaide Clemens, Luke Kirby, J.D. Evermore
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt [Netflix]
created by: Robert Carlock, Tina Fey
starring: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess
Taped last week in New York and hosted by Savannah Guthrie and Tamron Hall, Billboard Women in Music 2015 honored six-time Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and actress Lady Gaga as Woman of the Year; Missy Elliott as Innovator; Loretta Lynn as Legend; Selena Gomez as Chart-Topper; Kelsea Ballerini as Rising Star; Tori Kelly as Breakthrough Artist; Fifth Harmony as Group of the Year, Demi Lovato as Rulebreaker, Brittany Howard as Powerhouse; and Lana Del Rey as Trailblazer.
The two-hour special features performances by Lady Gaga, Brittany Howard, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, Tori Kelly, and Kelsea Ballerini.
Presenters included Ciara, Alicia Keys, Martina McBride, Paul Rudd, Hoda Kotb, Hilary Scott (Lady Antebellum), Jussie Smollett, Hailee Steinfeld, Pete Wentz (Fall Out Boy) and presenting Billboard’s Woman of the Year honors to Lady Gaga, her mother Cynthia Germanotta.
Billboard Women in Music 2015 airs Friday, December 18 at 8pm ET/PT on Lifetime.