Motivation Monday: Jharrel Jerome Wins Emmy

Good Morning! I was so excited to post about the Emmys because the person I was rooting for most won. If you haven’t figured out from the title who that is, let me type in all caps so you don’t miss the memo: JHARREL JEROME!!! Many of you first became aware of him from his role in Moonlight and although I though he did a good job in that particular role, I didn’t really pay attention to him until June 1st 2019. I remember that day vividly because it was the day after my birthday but also the day where I watched a cinematic masterpiece “When They See Us” (directed by the genius filmmaker Ava Duvernay) with Jharrel’s heartbreaking performance in the forefront of my mind.

Even though “When They See Us” premiered on May 31st, I had birthday plans so I decided to watch it the following evening in the  comfort of my home. There were 4 episodes that felt like mini movies and while each episode touched my heart, the 4th episode is the one that made me break down and sob hysterically. The 4th episode featured Jharrel Jerome’s performance as Korey Wise, one of the 5 men previously known as the Central Park 5 who were tried and convicted of a crime that they didn’t commit. Since Korey was 16 at the time, he was tried and convicted as an adult and served time in a maximum security prison. Because of this, his experiences differed from the the other boys and Jharrel’s gut wrenching portrayal of Korey touched my soul. I was blown away by his commitment to the character and the fact that he was able to give the viewers a glimpse into what Korey went through (his solitary scenes and the scenes with his mom are the highlights of the 4th episode) gave me a better understand of how unjust the criminal justice system really is especially for people of color.

I knew he would be nominated for an Emmy and I was pretty confident that he would win but sometimes award shows become popularity contests instead of focusing on pure talent. Fortunately, Jharrel won and received a standing ovation so I believe it was a mixture of both, I loved his speech because it showed his humility, shock and appreciation. Even though he was more than deserving, he did not expect to win and I feel that he brought back the excitement and joy that award shows have been missing. He is a perfect example of when you give your all for someone you believe in, your hard work will pay off.  I can’t wait to see what is next for him and I know that he is definitely on his way to an Oscar. He’s only 21 years old so I can see it happening for him in another 5-10 years for sure! Gotta shout out Ava and the rest of the cast because even though they didn’t win, they showed the world the ugly truth about racism and prejudice from the past that people of color still deal with today. Hopefully the Golden Globes get it right 🤞🏽

Check out Jharrel’s acceptance speech below and let me know what you thought of “When They See Us” and the bigger conversation we need to have as it relates to race. New post will be up on Wednesday.  Until then, I hope everyone has a great week and remember to love and live luxuriously!

Black Panther Review *Spoilers Included*

Good Morning everyone! I know its been close to two months but I’ve been working on my side hustle “Amore Luxe Media” that I will be discussing within the next few days. Working on that project has taken up most of my time but I said in my last post that I would start posting more content so I’m gonna do better in 2018 I promise! I figured I’d start this year on a high note and what better way to do that than to discuss the year’s most anticipated movie. I am talking about Black Panther of course! I have been dying to see this movie for over a year now and when it was released in theaters 10 days ago, I made sure that I had the perfect seats and that I purchased 3D tickets because I had to experience Wakanda in all its glory and  I am very happy with my decision.  Black Panther was such an amazing film that I ended up seeing it a second time. I wanted to wait at least a week to discuss my favorite parts but I couldn’t wait any longer so if you haven’t seen it, close this tab now because I’m about to tell it all or at least the best parts lmao

 

spoiler alert

First off Wakanda is such a beautiful world.The mountains and waterfalls are what dreams are made of! I wish it was a real place so I could save my coins to go visit! The only thing that competed with the scenery were the people. I loved the different tribes that were represented and their attire and I enjoyed knowing that the beautiful people on the screen with their rich brown skin were being portrayed in a positive light and were a part of the most advanced nation in the WORLD! Now when have Black people ever been associated with anything remotely close to that level of magnificence in mainstream media???NEVER that’s what but seeing them reminded me of how great we are and showed the rest of the word that there is more to Black culture than slaves, maids and gangsters. The fact that the rest of the world underestimated the power and intelligence of Wakanda and thought it was just another third world country made it even better.I like being seen as the underdog because people will never see what’s coming when you finally decide to showcase your talents and abilities!

love their brother/sister relationship…couldn’t find the “What are those?!?” gif so I settled for this one lol

Now onto my fave characters: Princess Shuri is absolutely amazing! She was my favorite character because she was intelligent, witty and funny and black girls usually aren’t portrayed as such in mainstream media. She brought out the playful side of T’Challa who is normally very serious and stoic and made him more likable. She saved the CIA agent’s life (while reminding him that he was a colonizer lol) and ended up being his boss sort of speak when its usually the other way around in most movies. She had heart and hella jokes and even though I’ve never read the comic books, I’m sure Letitia Wright did the character justice.

Now my second fave character is a toss up between Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) and Erik Killmonger (played by Michael B. Jordan) Okoye is the definition of a strong, fierce, loyal bad ass woman. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and she didn’t succumb to a man because of love and valued loyalty and honor above all else. And she’s an amazing fighter and dare I say it, better than Black Panther when it comes to pure martial art like skills! I bet he couldn’t beat her without his suit on…I would put money on it :p Now as far as Killmonger goes, this was some of Michael B. Jordan’s best work yet. I was never impressed with him as an actor but he really committed himself to this role and I loved his fire and passion even though Killmonger’s approach was all wrong. The line at the end where he said “Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, ‘cause they knew death was better than bondage.” was so profound and prolific all I could do was say “Damn!” Like even while dying, he still remained true to himself and his beliefs and I respect that. M’Baku who was the leader of the Jabari tribe was funny too and really came through in the end as far as saving T’Challa’s life and protecting the throne. T’Challa/Black Panther and Nakia were good too and their relationship was kinda cute but they didn’t stand out as much as I thought they would…there’s always hope for more character development in   the sequel fingers crossed

Okoye in all of her fierceness/badassery!

Okay so I have to talk about the bomb that was dropped on us courtesy of Sterling K. Brown (Randall from This is Us). Now I knew that Sterling was in the movie but I didn’t realize that he would play such a pivotal role as King T’Challa’s uncle Prince N’Jobu. We find out towards the middle of the movie that N’Jobu was killed by T’Challa’s father T’Chaka,  the former king who died in Captain America: Civil War (I only watched the scenes with Black Panther’s character so I could understand the back story better lol). That was crazy enough but then we find out that the “villain” Killmonger is actually N’Jobu’s son who was abandoned so that T’Challa’s father’s secret wouldn’t be discovered…Mind Blown! That made the plot so much more interesting because it went from brother vs. brother to cousin vs. cousin and two points of view as far as how to advance as a nation. T’Challa believed in isolation as a way to protect Wakanda and its people and Killmonger believed in killing and conquering to help Black people who are struggling around the world. Killmonger’s passion along with Nakia’s reasoning influenced T’Challa to abandon the traditional way of thinking and share Wakanda’s resources with the rest of the world. Looking forward to seeing a sequel (if I keep putting it out in the universe, I can will it to happen lol) and how the world responds to the fact that Wakanda is so much more than what it appeared to be.

Killmonger was militant and violent but I still emphasized with him…crazy right!

I hope that seeing a Black Superhero with a majority black cast will show Hollywood that Black led films do well in the states as well as internationally. Black Panther has broken all kinds of records and has grossed more than 500 million worldwide in a weeks time. Now if that isn’t showing how much the world (not just the black people in it) wants to see diversity on their screens, I don’t know what else can be done. I also look forward to seeing what Ryan Coogler (the director of Black Panther) has up his sleeve because he has shown himself to be an amazing director and visionary so I know this is only the beginning for him!

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments below:)

Stay tuned for my “Amore Luxe Media” announcement and always remember to love and live luxuriously!

Light Girls

lightgirlsGood Afternoon! I watched the “Light Girls” documentary on OWN last night and wanted to express all the things that were running through my mind while watching. I didn’t comment on the “Dark Girls” documentary because I didn’t feel like I could completely relate to what the women on the documentary were saying but after watching the “Light Girls” documentary, I realized that I can’t completely relate to the “light-skinned” women and their experiences either. My mom is a beautiful brown-skinned woman who I’ve been told that I favor on countless occasions but my father was very light-skinned. People used to tell him that he favored Smokey Robinson pretty hazel eyes and all!  When I was younger, classmates would ask if he was white because of his light complexion. Most of the relatives on my father’s side of the family were just as light and some could pass for white. I remember one experience when I was with my grandfather at the supermarket and I ran into a coworker of mine who waved when we walked by. When I saw my coworker at work the next day, he asked me who was that “white man” I was with the day before and when I told him that was my grandfather, he didn’t believe me. As a result of growing around people who were considered “light-skinned” in my eyes, I never saw myself as light because many of my family  members had a much  lighter complexion than me. It wasn’t until my young adult life that I was placed in the light-skinned/redbone/yellow complexion category. When I would wear long weaves, people would ask me if I was mixed and the guy that I am currently seeing jokingly calls me “light brite” and “yellow cake” because he swears that I am of a lighter complexion than he is.

Being “light” was never something that I felt I should be proud of. My mom as I stated before is brown-skinned and my maternal grandmother had the most beautiful chocolate complexion that I’ve ever seen. Beauty, in my eyes was how you carried yourself and skin color had nothing to do with it. It bothers me that we are still having this conversation in 2015.  I feel like we can’t even begin to properly deal with racial discrimination until we address the colorism within our own community. Instead of putting people on pedestals or insulting them if they are light or dark, we need to talk about why we are focusing on skin color in the first place. It all stems from racism as far back as slavery and although it has been 150 years since slavery ended, the pain from the emotional wounds still linger. I know it is easier said than done but we must address the real issues that are more than skin deep.

I think we can all start by learning how to truly love ourselves. It is hard to not let appearance be a reason but we need to focus on being the best version of ourselves by changing what is on the inside. Once we learn to love and embrace our differences and accept others’ differences and be happy with what God has blessed us with, we can grow as individuals and as human beings. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Even though Dr. King was speaking about the judgment outside of the black community, we need to work on the judgment within the black community so we can begin the healing process.

 

Always remember to love and live luxuriously!

 

 

 

 

Selma Movie Review

Good Morning! I wanted to wait until “Selma” was released nationwide tomorrow (January 9th) but after seeing a preview for it for the millionth time on tv, I took it as a sign to give an early review so I could persuade everyone to go out and see it on Friday. I had the opportunity to see the movie right before Christmas at an advanced screening of it in NYC courtesy of http://www.gofobo.com. I knew I was going to love the movie because I am a Civil Rights History buff. When I was younger, I used to read  anything related to the Civil Rights Movement so I was familiar with “Bloody Sunday” and the importance of that moment in history but I didn’t realize how strategic the “non-violent” approach really was in the grand scheme of things. In “Selma”  the viewer is able to see how being non-violent played into the hearts and minds of the public by way of the media. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to show the pain and suffering of African-Americans in Selma and the south by showing that voting isn’t a privilege but a basic human right and being denied those rights is not only illegal but immoral.

I also loved how the director, Ava DuVernay (who is the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe award and hopefully Oscar) approached many of the scenes, in particular, the “Bloody Sunday” scene. The phrase that comes to mind after viewing that scene  is “tragically beautiful” because of all the emotions that occurred in those brutal moments. You could feel hate from their oppressors and mental strength and resilience from the marchers. It is so crazy to realize that all of this actually happened only 50 years ago. We have come a long way but as recent  event such as Ferguson and Eric Garner have  shown, we still have a very long way ago. “Selma” is coming out at an ideal time because we all can learn from the past to make sure that we handle current racial issues in a strategic way to see real progress.

I think that David Oyelowo (the actor who played MLK Jr.) did an amazing job showing the different facets of MLK.  He showed MLK as a funny, down to earth person who even in his greatest moments had imperfections and indiscretions like everyone else. I was really impressed with the fact that he was British because being able to capture the voice and overall essence of someone as well-known as Martin Luther King Jr. is not an easy task. I am sure he will be nominated for an Oscar for his role as well!

Make sure you go out and see “Selma” in theaters tomorrow and come back to the comments section and let me know what you thought of it! Can’t wait to read your replies!

 

Love and live luxuriously!