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Girls Trip - Avoid This Nasty Adventure! [MOVIE REVIEW]

In Girls Trip, the decades have passed and four college friends Ryan (Regina Hall), Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), Dina (Tiffany Haddish), and Sasha (Queen Latifah) travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival. They are determined to have a GOOOD time and unleash all inhibitions.

Girls Trip is a Trip. It’s vulgar, crass and disappointing. This barrage of crudeness is ultimately the film’s undoing. There is a constant referencing to women as the “B word”. And, the “N word” and MFs are flying everywhere. There’s nothing funny about someone suspended in air urinating on the people below. This happened twice! Dina is sexually tempted by a filthy, old, homeless man who exposes himself to the group.

The characters are stereotypes fitting comfortably into pigeon holes. Tiffany Haddish, who I have to admit I had never heard of before, as Dina, is loud, crude, damn near a nympho. On the other hand, Lisa is matronly, prim and proper, and blindly devoted to motherhood. Sasha is the struggling one who’s trying to keep up a façade of financial and career success while things are crumbling. And then there’s the highly successful Ryan whose fairy tale marriage to former football star, Stewart (Mike Colter), is marketed as an example a woman who’s having it all.

The storyline involving Ryan and her husband is substantive and interesting. His ability to smoothly rationalize his misgivings is nothing short of amazing. Unfortunately, his talent and the film’s attention to worthy scenes are lost in a bombardment of B.S.

I am embarrassed for Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, and Jada Pinkett Smith because they are all talented actresses. And I understand that there’s a paucity of quality roles for black women in Hollywood. But, Girls Trip?

Further, I don’t know where they got the “guy” who’s hairless, lotioned, lady legs are featured in the film’s poster. Real men don’t shave their legs – unless they’re swimmers.

Girls Trip is written by Kenya Barris who penned Barbershop: The Next Cut. That film featured black men of dignity and character. I wonder why he chose to write such trash for women.

Girls Trip also trips up when it comes to casting diversity, earning a C-. We have to be fair in discussing diversity. Other than Kate Walsh who plays Ryan’s agent, Lara Grice, a TV exec, and a few minor roles, this cast is all black including individuals in the background.

Directed by Malcolm Lee and produced by Will Packer, Girls Trip has a modest budget for films today, $28 million. It’s rated R for crude (you can say that again), sexual content throughout, pervasive language, brief graphic nudity, and drug material. Girls Trip is 122 minutes too long.

Sorry girls but your trip is Dead on Arrival!

Jada Pinkett Smith Calls for Oscar Boycott

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Actress Janet Hubert calls Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Oscar outrage self-serving

It is the video that has gone viral. Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith said that she will boycott this year's Academy Awards due to the lack of diversity in actor category nominations.

The video has gotten over 5 million views. Pinkett made the call after the academy failed to nominate any actor of color for an award for the second year in a row.

Actress Janet Hubert, who worked with Will Smith, Pinkett-Smith's husband, on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air jumped into the fray. Referring to Pinkett Smith as "Miss Thing," Hubert opens her video by asking, "Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?" before launching into her thoughts on the controversy that has drawn so much attention.

"I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you're talking about boycotting just because you didn't get a nomination, just because you didn't win?" said Hubert. "That's not the way life works, baby."

Black Twitter, using the hashtag #oscarssowhite, also called for a boycott after Pinkett's husband, actor Will Smith was snubbed for Concussion and actor Idris Elba for Beast of No Nation. The movie Creed only received recognition for best supporting actor, Sylvester Stallone, and none for best director or actor.

The critically acclaimed picture, Straight Out of Compton, did not receive a nod for best picture. But actor and rapper Ice Cube said: "It's the Oscars. They do what they do, but I can't be mad. The movie grossed over $200 million."

 

  • Published in News

Episode 75: EMPIRE, Celine Dion, Bernie Sanders, Nicki Minaj, Tara Wallace

Janet Hubert claps back at Jada Pinkett Smith's call for Oscar boycott; Tichina Arnold kicks husband to curb after viewing his sex tape with another woman

411 QUICK TAKES

FOX TELEVISION has announced that "EMPIRE" has been renewed for a third season.

An Ohio fugitive was apprehended in Florida after he sent cops a better picture because he hated his mugshot. Forty-five-year-old Donald "Chip" Pugh posted his new picture on Facebook. "Here is a better photo, that one is terrible," Pugh wrote. Now he is doing a selfie behind bars.

In other news, actor and rapper Kendrick Lamar will receive the key to the city in his hometown of Compton, California. Congrats Kendrick.

Singer Patti LaBelle is reportedly dating again....her 41 year-old drummer! The singer, who is 71, has been seeing drummer Eric Seats over the past year.

IN MEMORIAM

And, we bid a fond farewell to:

• actor Alan Rickman, who played Professor Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" movies. He has passed away at age 69
• legendary blues singer Otis Clay, who passed away recently at age 73.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to singer Celine Dion, who lost both her husband producer Rene Angelil, and her brother, Daniel Dion, both died from cancer.

Lastly, we wish WCBS anchor Maurice Dubois a speedy recovery. Dubois has been diagnosed with Bell's Palsy.

What's The 411 - WHAT'S POPPIN'

Tichina Arnold Kicks Husband to the Curb

My family and I and I would assume most technologically inclined families do this as well, we send group chat text messages about something funny that happened or something we all should celebrate. Well, honey lamb, Tichina Arnold, who played Pam on Martin sent a group text for the ages! She found a sex tape with her husband, Rico Hines, a former assistant for player development with the Golden State Warriors, and another woman and sent it to her family as a group text!

Yes, it's reported that Tichina Arnold sent a copy of the video to his family and friends in a text message stating that "it's over between Rico and I" explaining that this was where she was drawing the line in the sand.

"This is where I part ways and all bets are off." She also stated that Rico wasn't using protection when having the alleged sex with this woman. I'm sorry "Pam" you waited so long.

Jada Pinkett-Smith Calls for Oscar Boycott and Janet Hubert Claps Back

It is the video that has gone viral. Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith said that she will boycott this year's Academy Awards due to the lack of diversity in actor category nominations.

The video has gotten over 5 million views. Pinkett made the call after the academy failed to nominate any actor of color for an award for the second year in a row.

Actress Janet Hubert, who worked with Will Smith, Pinkett-Smith's husband, on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air jumped into the fray. Referring to Pinkett Smith as "Miss Thing," Hubert opens her video by asking, "Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?" before launching into her thoughts on the controversy that has drawn so much attention.

"I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you're talking about boycotting just because you didn't get a nomination, just because you didn't win?" said Hubert. "That's not the way life works, baby."

Black Twitter, using the hashtag #oscarssowhite, also called for a boycott after Pinkett's husband, actor Will Smith was snubbed for Concussion and actor Idris Elba for Beast of No Nation. The movie Creed only received recognition for best supporting actor, Sylvester Stallone, and none for best director or actor.

The critically acclaimed picture, Straight Out of Compton, did not receive a nod for best picture. But actor and rapper Ice Cube said: "It's the Oscars. They do what they do, but I can't be mad. The movie grossed over $200 million."

UNDER THE RADAR:

Bernie Sanders Takes his Campaign to HBCUs

Okay Hillary (Clinton), feel the Bern. Fellow Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, is taking his message of income inequality and criminal justice reform directly to a critical voting bloc he hopes will embrace his presidential candidacy: Black college students.

To win the South Carolina primary on February 27 and win over black voters in upcoming presidential contests, Sanders, the self-described socialist candidate, is forging ahead with a brand new strategy: touring Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and talking face-to-face with black college students.

Sanders' HBCU tour kicked off at South Carolina State University on January 14, which is six weeks before South Carolina's crucial Democratic primary in February, and the year's first contest in the South.

January Bargains: Electronics and Linens

Most of us like to shop, and many of us like a good bargain. So as we end January, if you need linens, now is the time to buy them. Department stores generally have "white sales" in January. Also on sale are Christmas holiday items and toys, and electronic items, such as TVs, computers, and phones as stores are making way for new products.

FAB411

5 Essential Oils Recommended for Hair and Skin

Beauty expert Essence Semaj gives her recommendations for essential oils for beautiful skin and strong and healthy hair:

Jojoba Oil: Jojoba Oil is the liquid produced in the seed of the Simmondsia chinensis plant, a shrub, which is native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico. Jojoba oil is not very oily and is ideal for healthily hydrating skin and hair because it mimics the natural oils our bodies produce.

Castor Oil: A thick pale yellow oil obtained from castor beans, has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties and is high in Vitamin E, minerals, proteins, and Omega 6 and 9 beneficial fatty acids. Its unusually high ricinoleic acid ratio appears to make castor oil beneficial to skin and hair.

Additionally, castor oil has traditionally been used topically for acne and other skin conditions, as well as hair loss, rashes and more.

You can thin out castor oil by mixing it with another oil, such as mint, rosemary, or jojoba oil.

Hemp Seed Oil: Hemp seed oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant and has a history of use dating back thousands of years to the Chinese Ming Dynasty.

In addition to its uses for heart and brain health, emp seed oil is often used as a moisturizer for the skin. Studies have indicated that hemp seed oil can dramatically decrease skin dryness to alleviate itching and irritation. Moreover, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may protect against the aging process while soothing the skin.

When choosing a source of Hemp Seed Oil, you want to be sure it is derived from organically grown hemp that is GMO-free (not genetically altered). It should be first cold-pressed, and produced in low-light and a low-oxygen environment, as heat, light, and oxygen destroy many of its natural attributes. It should also be stored in the refrigerator to maintain freshness and prevent rancidity. Hemp Seed Oil, a quality oil appropriate for nutritional, cosmetic, and medical uses, should have a dark green color and a rich, nutty flavor, and should always be packaged in a glass container, never plastic.

Grape Seed Oil: Grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for controlling moisture of the skin. Light and thin, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over skin, when used as a carrier, oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils.

Grape seed oil is also used as a lubricant for shaving and as a growth and strengthening treatment for hair.

Tamanu Oil: Tamanu oil is derived from the large, blonde nuts of the Ati tree found in South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Tamanu is considered to be one of the most effective agents in promoting the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin.

What about coconut oil? Coconut oil is making a huge comeback and many people find coconut oil to be very useful for hair and skin. However, Essence recommends coconut oil for hair and body, but not for the face because of coconut oil's tendency to clog pores. She also recommends creating your own personal oils by mixing and matching essential oils to match your personal needs.

REALITY TV RECAP

Nicki Minaj Goes After Farrah Abraham and Abraham Returns the Favor

Stars get bored too, and some of them watch marathon episodes of Teen Moms!

Nicki Minaj blasted Farrah Abraham, on Twitter about the way she treats her mom, "your mother didn't open her legs and have that child. Be happy she's helping! Stop talking to her like that on TV u lil c***," Nicki Minaj tweeted at Farrah Abraham, a star of Teen Moms.

At first, Farrah Abraham didn't respond to Nicki Minaj's harsh words, but later decided to reply to Nicki's diss.

"Cause you're a parent right? You're videos look like porn. Horrible. Good luck being negative #godbless busy making TV."

Later, Farrah Abraham decided to use her daughter, Sophia, to deliver another slam to Nicki Minaj. The Teen Mom posted a Snapchat video of little Sophia saying,

"Hi everybody. Nicki Minaj is a total loser," along with the caption "Nicki Minaj please stop saying bad words."

Why is this 24-year-old woman on Teen Moms and why is she involving a minor in a conversation between grown people?

On Love and Hip Hop New York: Pregnancy is the Word

Peter Gunz impregnated two women, his wife Amina Buddafly and girlfriend, Tara Wallace. Ms. Buddafly made a decision to terminate her pregnancy, while Mistress Wallace decided to go through with her pregnancy.

IN THE PIPELINE:

Upcoming Events

The NAACP will hand out its 47th Annual Image Awards on February 5th

Comedian Mike Epps will appear at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on February 5th.

The legendary rap group Run DMC will receive a lifetime achievement award on the upcoming 58th Annual Grammy Awards on February 15th. The awards will be televised on CBS.

Chaka Khan! Chaka Khan, with special guest, Vivian Green, will be at The Kings Theater, on February 19th.

The grio.com is reporting that BET it will honor singer Patti LaBelle and movie producer Lee Daniels. The BET Awards will air on June 26th.

  • Published in Episodes

Theatre Review: HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, The Music of Tupac Shakur

HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is the Broadway musical based on the lyrics of the legendary rap artist, poet, and actor, TUPAC SHAKUR.

If you're looking for the Tupac story, this is not the one. HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is a social commentary on the plight of black men, particularly those from low-income communities. Tupac's lyrics and music undergirds the story.

When Tupac was alive he was revered by many and reviled by some. In HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, you get to see that Tupac Shakur was a rebel with a cause and HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME amplifies his message magnificently.

The principal cast members of HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME are: Saul Williams; Christopher Jackson; Saycon Sengbloh; Ben Thompson; John Earl Jelks; Joshua Boone; Dyllon Burnside; and Tonya Pinkins.

Kudos to director Kenny Leon. From the lead characters to the supporting cast and chorus, they bring their "A" game; you feel their passion and emotions. You will care about some of the characters, and dislike and feel sorry for others.

In HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME, as in real life, we meet young men who are seeking guidance for ways to navigate the world. They are looking for direction from their peers and from older people whose navigational compass should be intact but has gone awry. This is evidenced by examples of the misguided use of sexuality and bravado masquerading as real manhood.

The music will have you at times wanting to dance in the aisles. If you're a purist and want to hear the lyrics as much as the music, well you might be disappointed on that score. The sound system periodically precludes you from hearing the clarity of the singer's voice.

As good as the production of HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is, there is one element missing.

Star power.

Sure, Broadway has transformed many unknowns into stars. However, when you have a production built on the music of a larger than life figure, the production deserves star power.

The book could have been written with a cameo appearance by a rapper that has street cred that we don't see or hear from every day. There are several rappers that fit this bill and any one of them would have gladly taken on the role. Hey for that matter, a long-standing hip-hop radio personality would have also worked and they could have helped with the marketing. Just ask the founders of FUBU and other urban clothing lines.

As for marketing, I'm still amazed at the number of people who don't know about HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME. It's clear that there were missed opportunities and marketing miscues unless of course, the producers were just trying to reach the traditional Broadway theater audience. The HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME logo is very unappealing. Although HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME is not Tupac's biography, it is a perception of his life through his music. Consequently, the red carpet opening should have featured high-profile friends of Pac and those who worked with him and held him in high esteem, such as Jada Pinkett Smith, Snoop Lion, Malik Yoba, and director John Singleton; not to mention various hip-hop and urban radio and TV personalities, as well as influencers within the New York City urban community.

HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME makes a profound statement and it would be sad if it were to leave the Broadway scene too soon because the marketing plan doesn't match the level of intensity coming from the cast and musicians.

Moreover, the legacy of Tupac Shakur deserves better.

HOLLER IF YA HEAR ME!

  • Published in Theatre
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