Tag Archive | Taraji P Henson

The Movie Every Woman Should See…

hidden-figures

After the election upset, women lost faith. We had crashed the glass ceiling and we all thought Hillary would be the first woman President. Well that didn’t happen and the whole world is ready to scream I told you so with the “so” called choice. But I digress…

This movie was made before the election but its message rings true and its more relevant than ever. “Hidden Figures” is doing more than making a mark on history, its is sweeping every category and won the SAG award for best picture tonight. This is one of the most competitive Oscar races in recent history. “Fences” “La La Land” and this movie have managed to take almost every category. The funny thing is that I knew about this movie months before anyone else. It was one of the darlings of the film festival circuit. Premiered at TIFF, I picked three movies I absolutely had to see. “Catfight”, “The Belko Experiment” and this one. It is the ultimate chick flick. It shows that girls can do it all. It is a testament to black history, but more than that. It is a testament to women’s history as well.

The movie begins with the young Katherine taken from her school because of her gift of working with math and numbers. Flash forward, Katherine is now an adult and played by that minx of music Taraji P Henson (Cookie on Empire) . Katherine and her two friends Dorothy and Mary.( Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae). The three of them work as computer counters at Langley for NASA. Their job is checking numbers as the US competes with Russia for the race for space. Unfortunately these women  are fighting two battles , one as a woman the other as a colored women. They encounter colored bathrooms and at the same time not being allowed to be in meetings that are crucial to the future Apollo space program because they are women. They faced discrimination at every turn. But there are others in this award winning cast that should be given credit for their performances as well. Kevin Costner deserves kudos as Al Harrison , the man who tore down the barriers to let these women do their jobs. Kirsten Dunst pushed the envelope as the woman who finally accepted the women and admired what they had  accomplished. Jim Parsons showed his versatility of jumping from comedy to drama to portray Paul Stafford. Stafford had the most trouble accepting the women because of the way society had taught him. These three women went further and were single handledly one of the most valued assets that the United States had in accomplishing one of the biggest events in history. That event was landing on the moon.

I think that every mother and daughter should see this movie. Not just black girls, but all girls. Just like the blacks, our struggle still isn’t over. If a little girl is called a freak because she likes math or is a geek, she should know the story of these women. She should know she is not alone. Another reason to see this movie is the powerhouse talents in this ensemble. Everyone from Oscar nominated Octavia Spencer to multi Emmy award winning Jim Parsons. Run don’t walk to see this movie that is breaking all records and winning all the awards. Mind you , it will be a film experience that you will not soon forget.

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A cop stops Mary, Katherine, and Dorothy and gives them a hand.

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Glenn Powell plays the charming John Glenn as he meets the girls responsible for his trip into space.

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Katherine (Taraji) finally feels like an equal when she stands with her fellow NASA workers as they watch Friendship 7 launch

There Are More Roars in the Lyons Den

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Less than twenty four hours from now, viewers will be returning to that place of evil known as the “Lyons Den” and rooting for Cookie, yelling at Boo Boo Kitty, and loading Jamal’s tunes to their phones. It’s “Empire’s” season three premiere. Before we find out what happened in that ending with Rhonda and Boo Boo Kitty, let’s just take a quick look back…

Our season premiered with Luscious in jail and Cookie having a Free Luscious concert in Central Park. Cookie made quite an appearance in a gorilla suit and the boys sang for their father. Jamal was the ceo of Empire but Cookie and the others with Anika were planning a hostile takeover. Chris Rock took a chance by going out of the box and playing an old partner of the Lyons. He didn’t last long since Luscious had his boys take care of him.

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The Empire has its problems and Cookie decides to break away from Empire Records and form their own company Lyon Dynasty . Hakeem wants to show he is more than talent and auditions girl groups. He falls hard for the lead of his new discovery, Valentina Galindo.

valentina

Luscious is out and tries to reconcile with the family. But Cookie ain’t having it. She unites with Boo Boo Kitty and crashes a party at Club Leviticus. Hakeem is sleeping with the lead singer of Mirage A Trois. The girls cry foul and Cookie takes over the training. Luscious makes a vicious move when he signs Valentina to “Empire” . He is haunted by his past as memories of his childhood and his mentally ill mother come to his mind

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Things are looking up for Jamal as he works with Ne Yo and is sleeping with his new producer Michael. An artist commissions a painting that is destroyed by a jealous Hakeem. Jamal agrees to be marketed as a straight artist  Michael is also threatened by a budding relationship between Jamal and him.

jamal-painting

Family becomes more complicated as Luscious is inspired by a childhood moment. Cookie tries desperately to save her sister. Andre is torn between his new faith and his old past and family history. Hakeem tries desperately to get away from Anika. Good news for Andre and Rhonda turns tragic when she is mysteriously pushed down the stairs . Rhonda loses their baby.  Despite their public kiss, Jamal tells Skye and Luscious he is still gay. Alicia Keys made the biggest impression as a guest star when she kissed Jamal.

alicia-keys

Luscious makes an impression when he goes back to recording and the video becomes a testimony to his troubled childhood. Old enemies come back to settle old scores .Hakeem is kidnapped and Cookie starts sleeping with the enemy. He pays a high price for his involvement with the kidnapping .Luscious gives his son a gun when he tells him that he killed Bunky for the Empire. He then tells him to kill him.  The ASA comes out and its son against father as Jamal and Luscious are both nominated for their songs.

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Jamal is shot by Freda and its serious. Boo Boo Kitty is being called by the grand jury to testify . At the same time, Hakeem proposes to his Valentina and she accepts . Her father is leery of her hooking up with a family with drug ties. All of Luscious’s friends are invited except for Shine. Shine made a deal with Cookie and shows up for the wedding. All hell breaks loose. Before this, Anika announces she is pregnant with Hakeems child. Valentina’s father demands she leave Hakeem. In the midst of everything, Anika is served with a summons to testify. The only way to save her is for Luscious to marry her and the couple is married by Andre. Rhonda goes nuts and the two battle on the portico of the Drake. One woman falls. Who was it?

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Red Carpet Royalty Shines at Emmy Awards

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Well the festivities are over and Hollywood is partying . It was definitely one of the most glamorous Emmy awards of the past few years. In this election year, it was very appropriate to have three Presidents at the ceremony. The nineties seemed to have returned with the two movies about the two biggest news stories of the decade. Add to that two stars that were part of that friendly group of friends that were also nominated tonight.Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer were both present. Schwimmer was a nominee for his role in The People vs OJ Simpson   ABC paraded their best and finest tonight in designer gowns and tuxes. (Question, why didn’t we see any other cast of comedies beside Modern Family and Blackish? ) The gal who stole the show on social media tonight was mama to be Kerry Washington. Her Chaka Kahn look rocked the carpet with her Brandon Maxwell and natural curls. The cutouts fit very well around the impending baby embracing her curves. Her hubby was there but the man she was photographed with the most was her leading man and co star Tony Goldwyn. With his Brooks Brothers tux , it looked more like the two were appearing on their hit series than presenting an award.

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Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra reminded me of an Indian princess in her fiery Jason Wu gown. It is the perfect introduction to a new season of Quantico since there is bound to be an explosion and fire. Love how it flows and how it spells fun

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

Black girls rocked tonight and that was obvious . “Empire” star and nominee Taraji P Henson shined in a yellow Vera Wang gown  that clung to her well toned body. Her clutch sparkled with her initials and was made by  Edie Parker. She became chameleon for the night when she swapped out her curls for a wig that was a black bob. Love how the silver sandals went with the gold of the dress

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It was truly a night of celebration for Angela Bassett as her man won and she won raves in this C Siriano gown that shouted class with its flowing  cap sleeves . Angela’s husband is Courteney B Vance who won for “The People vs OJ Simpson . The limited series also took the honors for Best Limited Series.

68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

 

Not since Rachel as Princess Bubble Yum has someone wore something on television so bright and blatant. Viola’s show is called “How to Get Away With Murder” and that is what she did on the carpet last night. Her too bright Marchesa gown reminded me of a bad bridesmaid gown that someone made her wear to make the bride looks gorgeous. The silver brocade that emphasized the v neck and cleavage further made the gown look like it was a left over from a past prom.

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Sarah Paulson of “OJ” may have won the prize , but lost the fashion award with her hideous Prada gown. The designer was obviously trying to channel J Lo’s gown from the Oscars but instead made a hideous glittery mess. Her hair made her look like a Claire Underwood  wanna be with that bob. The smoky eye also was a mistake and so was showing off the farm. It was just all a mess and not even any of Ru ‘s girls would be caught dead in it. Sashay away!

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He may be the most fashionable music mogul but with this combination Terrence Howard looked more like he was getting his school picture taken back in the 70’s. His bow tie is just too distracting and it reminded me of a old time test pattern on a television.

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It is one thing to show up at the Emmys dressed looking like your television character if he wears Brooks Brothers and is the President of the United States, but not if you are a hopeless alcoholic and loser. The carpet is not the place to show off your character’s lack of style , so a big boo to William H Macy. and his unironed  suit and unshaven face . Felicity had style as always

68th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 18 Sep 2016

 

 

Revisit A True Phenenomenom – “EMPIRE” is now on DVD -REVIEW

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 Everyone has been talking about it and downloading the music. Every award from the BETs to the Emmy Awards has nominated the cast members for their mesmerizing roles. People in Chicago hope they are at their parties and women have dusted off their animal prints imitating Cookie. It’s “EMPIRE”. Fox’s runaway hit and it is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. Last weekend I binge watched it and reacquainted myself with the LYON clan and their friends.

It was so exciting to start from the beginning and follow the story of Lucius wanting to give his Empire to his sons. I have been a fan from the beginning , but still wanted to see the show again before I started Season 2.  I always love a family that battles for power and fame. This would explain my love for the former show “Dallas”  The Lyons are a little different than the Ewings. Their empire was built with drug money. Cookie may have taken the fall but she is back with all her glory and no one is taking her part of the family pie. Academy Award nominee and BET Award winner for Best Actor in a Drama  Terrence Howard and  BET Award Winner as well as  Emmy and Academy Award nominee Taraji P Henson bring the patriarchs to life. I also love to listen to the great music produced by Timbaland and performed by breakout stars Jussie Smollett and Bryshere Y Grey. So many great legends have appeared on the show as well in cameos and guest performances like Mary J Bilge, Gladys Knight, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Hudson and Patti LaBelle as well as many others.

But the reason that people buy the special DVD is extras and there are plenty of those , especially on the BluRay. Since the true star of the show is the music, there are quite a few uncut performances . This includes one of my favorite moments when the Lyons forget their problems and have some fun in the studio singing “You’re So Beautiful”. This also includes featurettes as well. about the style and music of “Empire.” It is a full entertainment package that any fan doesn’t want to miss.

terrence and taraji

Award winners Terrence Howard and Taraji P Henson play record mogul and his ex wife, Lucious and Cookie Lyon. Their story is far from over.

you're so beautiful

One of the best songs of the first season is “You’re So Beautiful” and you will enjoy an uncut version of this scene from “Empire” in the uncut performances part of the special Blu Ray.

EMPIRE is on Fox on Wednesday nights.

They’re Back Bitches!!!! Empire Returns with a Vengeance

empire cast

“Empire” roared back into America’s homes with a vengeance last Wednesday. it was the highest rated premiere of the week even beating the ABC TGIT machine. Ferver for the show was at an all time high here in Chicago, where the show is shot. There was a ton of “Empire” watch parties in homes across the Windy City.  Coincidentally, the Blu ray and DVD also rolled out last week as well. (A review of each will be included in the future)

When we last left the Lyons, Lucius(Terrence Howard) had been put in the slammer for the murder of Bunky . Jamal is now comfortable in his position as CEO of Empire, but watch out because Hakeem and Andre led by Cookie are coming for a hostile takeover. The show exploded with the Empire label and artists staging a huge “Free Luciius” concert. Hakeem and Jamal performed and the highlight was when a huge cage was suspended over the stage for spectacle. Imagine everyone’s faces when non other than Cookie addressed the crowd dressed as a gorilla.

EMPIRE: Taraji P. Henson as Cookie Lyon in the “The Devils Are Here” Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

But Cookie (Taraji P Henson) has been thinking as well. She arranges a party for a lesbian investor played by Marisa Tomei. One of the main attractions for the woman is none other than Boo Boo Kitty. There is also an entire room of girls that will make any man drool as they kiss each other. Lucius has a reunion in prison with his former pusher Frankie. In an unusual casting choice , Chris Rock plays the deadly crook. Frankie finds out that Cookie snitched on him and he has it in for her. He sends her a warning, a head in a box and then Cookie comes in to warn Lucius that Frankie was on the war path. Lucius pulls a turn about and has his boys kill Chris instead. He can deny it all he wants , but Lucius still loves Cookie and always will.

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As Jamal gets comfortable as the CEO of Empire, Cookie and the boys come in and announce they are taking over the company. But as the deal goes down, the mysterious investor has been talking to Lucius and he informs them that once again Cookie has been screwed. He is the controlling investor and Jamal stays. Jamal then promptly throws everyone out of the house . Is Jamal really becoming his father?  Find out this Wed on FOX!

EMPIRE: Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon in the “The Devils Are Here” Season Two premiere episode of EMPIRE airing Wednesday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Chuck Hodes/FOX.

Jamal (Jussie Smollett) is still the head Lyon, thanks to Dad.

Black is Beautiful !!! Especially on Prime Time Television

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Tonight was a milestone for television actresses. Viola Davis attended Julliard , but has spent year in roles in television shows and movies. She paid her dues , got acclaim for her movie roles , and achieved the biggest coup of her career by landing the role of Analise Keating in “How to Get Away with Murder”. She showed that the gutsy professor can be flawed and even at her age can be sexy.She is an example of the Shondaland school of strong and powerful women. Tonight , she climbed the mountain and took the trophy for all of those who have gone before her and those to come. It is an age of empowerment  as she described a speech that was made by Harriet Tubman that reminded her of the road she went down as an actress. Ego was not exercised as she praised her fellow actresses who have made marks of their own. Empire actress Taraje P Henson stood up and cheered when Ms Davis took the stage and accepted the Emmy for Best Leading Actress in a Drama. She was the first black actress to do so.

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Davis works for one of the most diverse producers in Hollywood, Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes has basically only made hits that break the norm. “Grey’s Anatomy” was a show that promoted a diverse cast and introduced the viewers to men that were too handsome for words. “Scandal” introduced the public to a strong woman who was an interloper to the halls of power and to some of the hottest love scenes on prime time television. She has proved that older men and women can still be sexy and powerful.

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Henson shows that sexy doesn’t mean stick figure. She shows she got ass!

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James Pickens Jr and Debbie Allen are wed on “Grey’s Anatomy” . Older black couples are not pushed to the back, but given romantic storylines

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Jussie Smollett’s (Jamal) character on “Empire” embraces a long taboo part of black culture , being gay.

don't ever leave me again... i almost died

Once taboo and even laughable, interracial couples have been embraced by society thanks to Shonda Rhimes and “Scandal” Kerry Washington is a woman who fixes everyone else’s mess, but has trouble with her own, including her love affair with the married President of the United States.

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Miranda Bailey is a woman in the man dominated world of surgery on “Grey’s Anatomy” Actress Chandra Wilson is similiar to her in some ways but she shows her power when she directs . Along with Wilson, Debbie Allen and Regina King  direct for Shondaland shows. Wilson recently directed for “Scandal”.

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The queen sits with her girls as they grace the cover of Entertainment Weekly

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“The family that plays together” , its not this one. Fox “Empire’ has broken sales records for ratings and the show’s soundtrack.  The cast has been acclaimed for their roles in the drama.

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Anthony Anderson was nominated for “Blackish” for best leading male in a comedy. The show lifts black stereotypes and also makes fun of them.

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Joe Morton plays the most evil man on television, Rowan Pope. Last year, Morton won an Emmy for his role on the ABC show, “Scandal” Khandi Alexander was nominated this year, but sadly didn’t win

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Twists and Turns In the Lyons Den!

empire-foxWow ! For the show not being a Shonda show, there was certainly enough twists and turns for two  . I was relieved to know that Lucius is not dying, Terrence has taken this character and made it is his own. He has managed to alienate every one of his family. He has now seen his dream of Empire going public come to fruition. Unfortunately, he has also finally had to pay his dues for so many crimes. Guest stars filled the Empire roster last night. Jennifer Hudson was adorable as the gospel singer who made Andre see the light and the other feature was the legendary Patti LaBelle.

The biggest shock was when Lucius had made his decision of which son would take over. Jamal is obviously the most talented and with Cookie’s leadership (when he forgives her) will take Empire into the future . Will Lucius and the public  be able to tolerate Jamal’s gay lifestyle? Andre and his bride are expecting so there will be another Lyon soon. Andre (Trai Byers) wouldn’t make a good candidate for the CEO because of the unpredictability of his illness and his decision to not take his medicine anymore. Hakeem (Bryshere Gray) is obviously not mature enough to handle that much responsibility as well. He also has a lot of mother issues because of Cookie’s incarceration. This explains his dallyings with older women, including Boo Boo Kitty , Anika. Jussie Smollett takes the prize for his music and soulful voice. I got a chance to listen to  the Empire soundtrack and he shines . (Coming up my critique of Season One Soundtrack.) His voice is full of soul and reminds of the greats from Motown.

Taraji P Henson wins the prize for tapping into the spirit of the grande dames of the eighties. Her fight with  Anika was reminiscent of the fights that Alexis and Krstyle had on “Dynasty.”But Cookie also has been in prison and is also one tough ghetto bitch, Nika hasn’t . You knew it was going to come down to this.  Cookie definitely is looking for revenge especially when she found out that Lucius had killed Bunky. She also let it slip when Lucius caught her trying to smother him with the pillow. He got the last laugh, or so he thought.

Now we don’t have the whole summer, we have way into next year to wait.  Can’t wait until the DVD rolls out , and also you can watch the show on HULU.

cookie and booboo kittyIt just got real bitches! Cookie and Boo Boo Kitty get it on!

empire goes publicJamal takes the Empire into the next level at the NYSE

EmpireLucius gifts his sons and then tells them he isn’t dying. He also lets Cookie know he knows about her attempted murder of him by giving her a miniature pillow.

game time bitchesLucius has been abandoned by his whole family . But its game time bitches. Lucius survives and lives to tell.