“The Book of Negroes”

Unfortunately, BET’s miniseries “The Book of Negroes” did not get as much fanfare as say the “Love and Hip Hop”, “Real Housewives”, or “Bad Girls Club” franchises. I have to admit the only reason I heard about it was because I watch “Being Mary Jane” and “The Game”.

For those of you who have never heard of it, “The Book of Negroes” is a 3 part miniseries based on the true life of Aminata Diallo, an African woman who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery.  What is unique about Aminata is that she wrote The Book of Negroes, a ledger of free Blacks that lived in New York, most of which sailed to Nova Scotia to escape the injustices of America.  Aminata was an educated woman who was not afraid to back down from anyone.  In a time when slaves were to “know their place”, she demanded respect.

This miniseries is one of the best things I have seen on television.  It was well written, included amazing acting, and was well produced.  For me, it made me think about the Black community as a whole and how we are looked at by other cultures.  Of course, the first thing that came to mind was the separation of the Black family.  Chikura, a young African boy that Aminata met right before she was kidnapped, found Aminata once they were adults on plantations in South Carolina.  They ended becoming husband and wife, only to be torn apart NUMEROUS times.  And both times Aminata gave birth to their children, they were not together.  The great thing is that Chikura ALWAYS found her, which to me shows that even though their family was not always together and was broken many times, Chikura never gave up on her.  Not to mention Aminata never had eyes for any other man.  Something else I noticed were the enslaved Blacks.  It’s no secret, if you know the history of the US, that whites commonly referred to slaves and Blacks as “animals”.  Watching slaves in chains, practically dying from thirst and starvation, I couldn’t help but think that there was something animalistic about them.  When given water and/or food, with no utensils but their fingers…how else is one to act?  I wonder how non-Blacks would think if they saw (or knew) that their ancestors were placed in chains, having to use the bathroom on themselves, using their fingers to eat.  It’s a super disheartening and disturbing sight.

There are some of you, a friend of mine and Southern Dad included, who believe that “I’m tired of slave movies” or “I don’t want to see anything like that”, and you have no interest to watch “The Book of Negroes”.  The thing that I will say to you (and the same thing I said to them) is that this miniseries is SO much more than a slave movie.  It’s an opportunity to learn about our history and heritage and a story that is not widely known and that was not shared in any history class you had in school.  So, if you’re snowed in (like I am today), you should definitely start watching it. Or look up the actual book.  You will learn so much.

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Successful. Sexy. Searching.

Last night, BET premiered its much anticipated movie/series “Being Mary Jane”, which stars Gabrielle Union.  If I may be transparent with you guys, I was kinda excited about this movie, especially after seeing more of the previews during the BET Awards on Sunday.  And I am very happy to say that BET did not disappoint.  For those of you that are not familiar, “Being Mary Jane” tells the story of one single, successful, and beautiful woman, Mary Jane Paul.  She’s a television news anchor who is winning in her professional life, but has to deal with troubled family members and a troubled love life.  And even though the movie started out saying this story was only about one woman, it actually wasn’t; it WAS a story about all of us.  As I sat on my couch engrosssed in what was happening, I would check Facebook during commercials to gauge others reactions, and I saw that my friends were saying the same thing I was thinking-it was like looking in a mirror.

Some of us, and by that I mean Black women, are educated and successful and attractive and just have a lot going for us in general.  But we may come from a family that is ok with the status quo.  Or we may come from a family that is alwasy asking us for money.  Or we may be single and looking for love.

I can honestly say watching the first hour of this movie (minus sleeping with the married man), I thought someone had had a hidden camera in my life over the last few years and decided to make a movie about it.  When Mary Jane was talking to her niece and Niecy stated that, “You have it all together” little does she know Mary Jane cries.  There are times when I want to scream and throw tantrums and break things when I’m alone, but I can’t show that side to the public.  Why?  Because there’s so much pressure to be perfect and happy and appear that you have everything the way you want it to be.  I could also related when Mary Jane was satisfying her shoe fanaticism and her confidant/the Shoe Salegirl had the nerve to piggyback on Mary Jane and talk about her family.  MJ quickly shut that down; it’s ok for me to talk about my family, but you are off limits.  I actually went through that not even an hour before the show came on.  And most importantly, when Mary Jane walked to her male BFF’s house, I thought, “That is so me and TyAnthony!  It would be AWESOME if he lived next door to me!!!”  But then I saw her BFF had a BF and quickly deduced that he would be my other male BFF, who I don’t mention a lot here, but he’s been in my heart since we met our freshman year at FAMU.  Lastly, I was SO proud of Mary Jane when she left ol’ boy sitting in the restaurant.  I know what it’s like to be so enraptured with a man that you can’t get him out of your system, so I appreciated her calling it what it was, because as women, we don’t do that too often.  But darn him for coming to her house!!!

I was so enamored with this movie until the last 60 seconds.  I was TOTALLY thrown and disgusted when she saved his sperm, because it was totally coming from left field.  And I was equally thrown when they started rolling the credits.  I was thinking, “I know this movie is not ending like this…SERIOUSLY!?!?!”  But I am happy to say that “Being Mary Jane” will be a series on BET!  AND it looks like it’s actually going to be pretty darn good.  Some may say, “She’s not perfect. She’s flawed and has all of these issues.”  But who is?  Aren’t we all flawed?  For once, I see someone that I can relate to.  But where are her girlfriends??? Well, I guess there is Kara, but she needs more.

All in all, kudos to the cast for an AMAZING job.  And to the writers.  I can honestly say I saw a bit of myself and my friends in Mary Jane.  And I think they got it wrong.  It’s not just the story of one single Black woman; it belongs to all of us.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

P. S. Don’t worry if you missed it.  An encore presentation will air tonight at 9 pm!

I Watch Too Much Drama

Some of my favorite scripted shows currently on television are “Scandal”, “The Walking Dead”, “Law and Order:SVU”, and “Deception”.  Some of my favorite reality shows are “Braxton Family Values”, “Mary Mary”, and “Real Housewives of…” Atlanta AND Beverly Hills.  See a pattern???  I do.  All of these shows are an hour long and can be considered dramas.  While I may be entertained when I watch these shows, I don’t laugh.  Well, the Braxton sisters may get a chuckle out of me every now and then, but for the most part everything is drama, drama, and more drama!  I need to smile and laugh and have fun when I watch a show.

Enter “Real Husbands of Hollywood”.  Honestly, I’m not sure what made we start watching this show.  Well, it could be Boris Kodjoe…  Since BET is trying to switch up its programming, I decided to see what this show along with “Second Generation Wayans” was all about.  RHOH got me the first time I watched it.  In a nutshell, Kevin Hart is hilariously funny.  He is 90% of the reason I watch it each week.  I have never (NEVER) laughed so hard watching a television show.  Honestly, I think it’s the best comedy on right now.

I’ve tried to watch other 30 minute comedies on other channels, and it has not worked out well.  I’m bored, and what I’m seeing is not funny.  Not even a little bit.  “The Game” is coming back on Tuesday, but even that isn’t as funny as it used to be.  And now that the RHOH had its season finale, what am I supposed to watch to make me laugh and bring a little funny to my day?  I’m open to suggestions.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Black Girls Rock!

The first televised “Black Girls Rock!” special brought together some of the best talent in the world.  Black women were honored, celebrated, and viewed in a positive light.  Once again, BET and Beverly Bonds, the founder and CEO of Black Girls Rock! have joined forces again to bring this award ceremony to the masses.  Honorees this year include actresses Tatyana Ali and Taraji P. Henson, Gospel songstress Shirley Caesar, and activist Angela Davis. 

This year’s hosts, Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, are sure to bring laughter, elegance, and entertainment to the show this year.  I have to admit I missed most of the show last year (yes, even with the many replays on BET), but the parts I saw were phenomenal, especially the finale with Jill Scott, Kelly Price, Marsha Ambrosius, and Ledisi performing my favorite Nina Simone song, “Four Women”, whose lyrics encompass the many facets of being a Black woman.  Originally taped on October 15, the network premiere will be this Sunday, November 6 at 8 pm on BET.  I have to admit I think it’s very ironic that this show is coming on a few hours before the new season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” begins on Bravo.  And no matter what we think about some (or all) of the women on this show, they rock in their own right. 

If you have a daughter, sister, cousin, friend, mentee, or niece, I highly suggest you invite her over.  We have Grammy parties and Oscar parties, so I highly suggest having a Black Girls Rock! party.  I would probably host one if I didn’t have to take a friend to the airport…In any event, maybe one of my friends who’s reading this post will get the great idea to host her own shindig….*ahem, cough, cough*  I hope you all tune in, and share the empowerment with another Black girl!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

To get a sneak peek of Sunday’s show, go here.

To find out more about the non-profit Black Girls Rock, go here.

Southern Girl Show Review- The Game

Photo Courtesy of bet.com

I said I wasn’t going to do it…but I can’t help it!  TONS of people (at least in my Twitter timeline and my Facebook friends) were watching the season premiere of “The Game” last night on BET.  Everyone had high hopes for the show but some didn’t think that BET would do it justice, even though the same writers and cast came over.  Instead of saying what was wrong with the show, I’ll just ask some questions that ran through my head while watching the premiere. 

(SPOILER ALERT:  If you haven’t seen it, you may want to skip this post…)

– Why does Melanie have such a big mouth?   Why did she take the DNA test in the first place? 

– I do have love for the Bruhs (Coleman Love) but why was Terrence all over the TV screen with Tasha Mack last night?  Who is his character?  Is he a regular??? And WTH was Rick Fox???

– Speaking of love interests, WTH was Stacey Dash?  Actually, it’s probably a good thing she wasn’t in this episode.  Jason had too much to deal with.

– WTH happened to Kelly??? Although I love her new look (clothes notwithstanding), her new attitude has got to go. I know she was bitter about Jason choosing Camille and Tasha introducing them but that doesn’t mean she has to become a Grade A diva.  She’s the EXTREME of these ex-wives and ex-girlfriends we see on these reality shows.  It’s the worst…

-What happened to Brittany??? I do not like this new girl (no, it’s not the same Brittany).  She’s too grown and needs a good butt-whooping.  She’s on her way to becoming a(n) old Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, or Kim Kardashian.

– I totally understand Malik being pissed he’s not the franchise player anymore.  I get that he’s pissed at the Sabers General Manager. But to be sleeping with his wife?  And can I just mention I really don’t like Meagan Goode.  Real talk, I haven’t liked her since “Eve’s Bayou”…

– Are we really surprised that Malik ended up with T.T.’s girl, Allison? I think not.

– Although Melanie is wrong for her actions (did I mention that already?), Janay did the ULTIMATE no-no when she went and bought the bag JUST LIKE Melanie’s!!!!

– Speaking of Mel, why can’t she just leave well enough alone?  She has her man, they’re famous, and he’s the star player.  She created this mess now she’s got to deal with it.  And she chose to marry a man that had a baby.  I really just want to slap her.  She’s always causing unnecessary drama.

Ok, that’s all I’ve got for today.  My final assessment of the the Season 4 premiere?  Overacting, too dramatic, and too much.  And ya’ll know I love “The Game”.  But I’m just really disappointed with what I saw last night. I’m hoping it gets better as the season goes on, but I feel like the show lost the essence it had on the CW.  It’s not the same.  Oh, and the only person who has TRULY grown in these past two years is Derwin.  And maybe Tasha (but I miss Foxy!!!)  I know you all have thoughts, and I’m DYING to hear (well, read) what you think!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl… in the city!

P.S. I didn’t like Sheree’s cameo. Was I supposed to know who the big bronze woman playing Ashley was? And if Kelsey Grammar (with his racist self) was involved, do you think the show would have been better????