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Green Book Gets the Green Light! [MOVIE REVIEW]

It’s the 1960s and Don Shirley, originally from Jamaica, a renowned classical pianist, is the darling of the east coast wealthy elite. While he’s not the outspoken civil right advocate type, he believes that displaying his talents in the segregated south might help to change the rigidly racist views held in that part of the country. So Shirley (Mahershala Ali), or Dr. Shirley, as he was referred to because of his Ph.D., and his record company hired-bouncer, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) to serve as his driver/bodyguard during the trip south. The odd couple has very little in common. Shirley is highly educated, cultured and lives alone in his Manhattan penthouse. Vallelonga is a family man, not formally educated and steeped in the customs of the Bronx Italian American community where he lives.

Green Book is everything a film should be. It’s amusing, entertaining and educational. The film’s title refers to the real publication, The Negro Motorist Green Book, which guided black travelers as to what hotels and facilities they could stay in, eat at and/or have their vehicles serviced while traveling through segregated states.

The two characters exchanged views and disagreed on about everything from food to music, to driving habits, and even on writing letters. There’s a validity to positions taken by both of them. And Dr. Shirley’s lack of familiarity with black performers such as Chubby Checker and Aretha Franklin shocks Vallelonga.

The fact that the screenplay’s co-written by Nick Vallelonga, and the director, Peter Farrelly results in Vallelonga’s character being a bit more credible and consistent. Dr. Shirley’s character is written where he knows well the rules of the Jim Crow south and seems to accept them but without any explanation tries to reject them. Like when he suddenly insists on eating in the formal dining room at a club where he played. This had not been an issue before or thereafter. So why in that scene?

However, in a very subtle and effective way, the screenwriters capture the doctor’s loneliness as a well-educated and refined single black man who would never be accepted as a part of a community of people he performed for; and did not have much in common with most black Americans at that time.

Based upon a true story set in the early 1960s, the film’s dialogue has some current day phrases like traveling while black. And the often heard rhetorical question about strange behavior: Who does that?

Part of the Green Book’s success is due to the excellent performances of the two lead characters. There has been Oscar buzz about both Ali and Mortensen. The selection of the darker Ali to play lighter hued, Dr. Shirley, raises an issue that black journalists have discussed before: why are famous black people played by actors who look nothing them, i.e. the fair skinned, light eyed, Terrence Howard playing the South African leader, Nelson Mandela. While how much a performer looks like the famed white person he or she will play, is always a factor.

The characters reflect not only the rich diversity of cultures in New York City but how very different communities reside in close proximity. Vallelonga’s folksy Bronx neighborhood was very likely no more than a mile or two from Dr. Shirley’s wealthy Manhattan enclave.

The cast of the film is diverse. However, it’s difficult to grade the diversity of the cast of a true movie. It has to be assumed that the scenes accurately reflect the races of the people at the time the events occurred.

Ultimately, Green Book is more than a movie; it’s an experience. It gets a See It! rating. It’s rated PG-13 for language, smoking, violence, and some suggestive material. Green Book is 130 minutes in length.

Janet Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Kim Kardashian, Omarosa, Nicki Minaj and more! | Episode 131

Janet Jackson and Daddy Yankee perform for 30,000 people in Harlem; LisaRaye criticize for ending engagement | VIDEO

 

QUICK TAKES

 

It’s official. Tamar Braxton has confirmed she’s NO LONGER with her ex, Vincent Hubert. Also, they quietly sold their L.A. property for $9.25 million, much less than the original asking price and even less than the $10.5 million they paid to buy it in 2012. They also paid their former nanny $213,431.37 from a judgment she won relating to unpaid wages.

 

The beef between Nicki Minaj and her ex-boo, Safaree, has gotten so loud that MTV beefed up its Video Music Awards security.

 

ESPN has decided to not televise the National Anthem during NFL Games.

 

Jesse Williams went before a judge to get his child support payments lowered, but the Judge in the case said no way. So, thus far, the Grey’s Anatomy actor will continue to pay his ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee the court-ordered $50K for his two children. OUCH!

 

Bossip is reporting that Lauryn Hill’s NJ mansion is in foreclosure because a nearly $1 million tax bill has gone unpaid.

 

Pop star Janet Jackson performed before 30,000 adoring fans in front of the State Office Building in Harlem for Harlem Week.

 

And, we end this Quick Takes segment with condolences to the family and friends of two icons, Kofi Annan and Aretha Franklin. Annan was the first Black person to serve as UN Secretary-General, and the first officeholder to be elected from the UN staff itself. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul, was not only a pop singer but a cultural icon that helped to bridge the racial divide with her music. Franklin’s first hit, “Respect,” immediately became an anthem of the African-American civil rights movement and later other movements. In addition to Franklin’s 20 Grammy Awards, she was the first woman to receive a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame award. She performed at the White House for several presidents and received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George Bush in 2005. Thank you, Aretha, for your life-long contributions to the world.

 

WHAT’S POPPIN – CULTURE

The culture of taping everything. In the last few weeks, we have learned that Omarosa Manigault Newman has perhaps, hours of tape from her time in the White House. And, we already know that Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, has hours of recorded telephone conversations with Donald Trump.

 

WHAT’S POPPIN –RELATIONSHIPS

Recently, LisaRaye McCoy got engaged to Anthony B. on the television show, The Proposal. A month after a 2nd proposal at her home with family and friends, LisaRaye has called off the wedding. During a Facebook Live, LisaRaye said she's glad she did the show, and that she did the show because she was "lonely" and wanted to find a companion. LisaRaye then went on to say that she wants a man that's "equally yoked."

Soon after that comment, some on the Facebook Live started calling her a gold-digger because in effect, she considered Anthony B’s net worth to be too low.

Q. Is it fair to call LisaRaye a gold digger?

 

WHAT’S POPPIN – HEALTH

Southwest Airlines has joined the list of airlines to crack down on “Emotional Support Animals” flying with passengers.

The airline is limiting the ESAs to dogs and cats, so no, you can’t bring your pet peacock or kangaroo, and claim they are emotional support animals.

Q. As one who travels by plane often, do you welcome this announcement? Do wish the NYC Transit would do the same?

 

WHAT’S POPPIN – RELATIONSHIPS

Refinery29 posted an article, What Happened When I Moved in With A Casual Fling. A woman’s roommate unexpectedly moved from their rent-stabilized NYC SoHo apartment, so she now had to find a new roommate or a new apartment, and a guy she had been dating for six weeks became her new roommate. They broke up for financial reasons and both moved on with their lives. Lo and behold, a few years later they are both financially stable, living in L.A. and married with children.

Q. This story went well, rather fairytale like. Do you think this happens more than we know?

  

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Our Quote of the Week is:

“Kindness comes back like a boomerang by those who are kind. Perhaps its return takes years. Perhaps the kindness returns from a different direction. But, it will return. It is never lost.”

This is a quote attributed to John Marks Templeton and was posted by Denise Hurley.

If you would like for us to shine a light on a quote, hit us up on our Facebook page or on LinkedIn.

 

 PHOTO OF THE WEEK:

Our Photo of the Week is a photo of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at the wedding of 2Chainz and Kesha Ward this past weekend in Miami.

What's The 411 Episode 76: David Bowie's Last Will and Testament, Terrell "T-Rex" Simon, Mariah Carey Engaged

 

VIDEO: Plus, Barbie is Every Woman, Tyra Banks and Photographer Boyfriend Eric Asla welcome a new baby; and Aretha Franklin enters the pie war

In this episode of What's The 411, hosts Essence Semaj, Onika McLean, and Courtney Rashon are talking with our featured guest, vocal powerhouse, Terrell "T-Rex" Simon. They are also doing a quick take on rocker David Bowie's last will and testament, the new Barbie doll, the passing of actor Abe Vigoda, upcoming events, Aretha Franklin entering the dessert product line at Walmart, and more.

  • Published in Episodes

QUICK TAKES: Chicago Mayor Rushes Back from Vacation Amid Police Shootings

 VIDEO: Actor Samuel L. Jackson highest grossing actor; Keshia Knight Pulliam gets engaged and more

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel rushed back from vacation after two people were inexplicably shot by police. Samuel L. Jackson has become the highest grossing actor of all time. USA Today names Taraji P. Henson Entertainer of the Year. Keshia Knight Pulliam announced her engagement to former NFL player Ed Hartwell; and former Destiny's Child, Letoya Luckett announced her engagement to Rob Hill, Sr. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, brought the house down at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to singer-songwriter Carole King.

In memoriam, we bid farewell to William Guest, one of the backup singers to Gladys Knight; renowned psychiatrist Dr. Frances Cress Welsing; Harlem Globetrotter and Basketball Hall of Famer, Meadowlark Lemon; Harlem Globetrotter "General" Lee Holman and former Major League Baseball player Dave Henderson.

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