Lena Waithe’s ‘Twenties’ Comedy Gets Pilot Order from TBS
Emmy Award-winning writer and actress Lena Waithe will be pretty busy this year and we’re here for all of it. Her phenomenal Showtime series The Chi was recently renewed for a second season and her Hillman Grad Productions comedy Twenties just received a pilot order from TBS. The script, originally written by Waithe in 2009, will center on the life of Hattie, a queer Black girl, and her two straight besties Marie and Nia. “I always wanted to tell a story where a queer black woman was the protagonist and I’m so grateful to TBS for giving me a platform to tell this story. Queer black characters have been the sidekick for long enough, it’s time for us to finally take the lead,” she was quoted as saying.
We’ll keep you updated on all things Twenties as stories develop.
Congratulations again to the more than deserving Lena Waithe on all this amazing success.
“Atlanta’s” Official Season 2 Trailer Kicks Off the Countdown to ‘Robbin’ Season’
Our clocks were already ticking for March 1st when we first heard news that the second season of Donald Glover‘s Atlanta would premiere then. That said, it should come as no surprise that restlessness is peaking with the arrival of the first full trailer for the countrified drama that is “Robbin’ Season.” Watch the season 2 trailer for the Emmy, Golden Globe, NAACP, Peabody, PGA, WGA, and Critics’ Choice Award winning Atlanta above.
“It’s robbin’ season…and everybody gotta eat.“
Will Smith Celebrates Jaden’s 100,000,000 Spotify Streams with “Icon” Spoof
Will Smith broke the Internet when he joined Instagram in December and he’s been fully committed to embracing use of the network. Since, fans have been raving about the Hollywood legend’s necessary presence on the social platform for everything from inspiration to good laughs. Having always been a proud father, he carved out a special moment for his IG followers in celebration of news that Jaden Smith reached one hundred million streams on Spotify. Will’s heartwarming caption described the feeling of admiration he has for his son as “delicious,” and proceeded to spread a little joy by starring in a spoofed pastiche of the visual for SYRE single “Icon.” The amiable teasing was taken in the same lighthearted spirit of its intention when the promising rapper/actor responded by praising his dad’s awesomeness. Jaden said, “Dad this is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. You’re the best father anyone could ask for. Thank you for allowing me to express myself even when I take it to far sometimes. I love you more than you will ever know because you taught me how to love. Also thank you for having the best Instagram on planet earth.”
If you’re not already following Will Smith’s IG, you’ll want to. Watch the official “Icon” visual above and the hilariously playful homage from delighted father to equally proud and loving son below.
Marsai Martin to Executive Produce and Star in Universal’s ‘Little’
At just 13 years old, Marsai Martin already deserve a Hollywood Walk of Fame star and she’s just getting started. After stealing everyone’s hearts as Diane Johnson on ABC’s black-ish, fans have been keeping up with the budding starlet’s interviews and red carpet appearances where her purest star quality as a young, hopeful, promising Black actress radiates the most endearing light. Now with Martin spreading her acting wings to make her feature film debut as the star of Universal’s comedy Little, she’s also tasked with behind-the-scenes responsibilities as the film’s Executive Producer.
The original script for Little was written by Girl’s Trip writer Tracy Oliver (based on Marsai’s idea) and follows an woman who escapes the overwhelming load of adulting by reliving her best girlhood. Will Packer and James Lopez (think Girl’s Trip) and black-ish and grown-ish creator Kenya Barris will serve as producers, and Tina Gordon Chism (think Drumline) will direct the film in line with her self-revised script. Regina Hall and Josh Martin will executive produce along with Marsai.
This is such exciting news and we can’t wait to support this and all of Marsai Martin’s future endeavors.
Miss Whack: Rap’s Newest and Truest Weirdo
Rapper Tierra Whack’s music and aesthetic present a very clear picture of who she is and where she wants to seat herself in this industry. Her ebullient and effervescent style of rapping–energetic and snarky–mirrors her very personality. On the phone her voice bubbles over with mirth and her thoughts, though a mile a minute, stick to one precise directive: whatever she is feeling at the moment. Her video for the track “Mumbo Jumbo” features bright, beautifully colored backgrounds and slightly triggering, maniacal dentists. In the end, Tierra is left with a perfect but all be disproportionate clown of smile. While many claimed it was a nod to the #perfect expensive smiles almost required in today’s society of vanity livestreamed, after talking to the artist herself, it is clear that is Tierra who is the smile too bright and too humorous to fit in and look just quite right. Saint Heron hopped on the phone with Miss Whack to discuss her kaleidoscope of a brain and what’s she bringing to the new year.
Judnick Mayard: When did you start making music?
Tierra Whack: I was [doing] poetry and rap since I was nine [or] ten and then [at] fourteen was when I really really rapped though and then like I got my first little kinda opportunities when I was 16.
You used to go by a different name?
Yeah, T-Dizzle, Dizzle Dizz. I was just poppin’ in the hood, niggas love me and they called me Dizzle so I was hyped to get a name from the hood.
Why the change to Tierra Whack?
That’s my real name; on my birth certificate and social security card too. Most people think it’s some type of name I made up. In school my teachers called me Miss Whack. You would’ve thought I was the teacher. It’s just like I’m 22 now, so [it’s] time for a change. I just wanted to be able to say it’s time for me to get on my grind seriously.
You felt renewed.
I read that you are a huge fan of horror. What kind of movies are you into or at least into right now?
Yes I love to see people get killed, not people I know though. My favorite movie that I’ve just seen is called The Eyes of My Mother. It’s actually on Netflix. First of all, it’s in black and white and I hate black and white. I love color so it was crazy for me to actually just sit through it. And then most of it wasn’t in English, so [there were] subtitles [but] I just like to read. And you know when you put the subtitles on and everything and you’re getting into it and it’s like you’re not even reading any more, it’s like you actually know what they’re saying, it’s crazy.
What kind of art are you into right now?
Just like everything. It’s never one thing. I’m happy then I’m kinda like I hate everything then I’m like, “let’s just keep going and see what we get.” I have this motto: I opened the book let’s see what we get and it’s just like I’m in chapter one. It’s a new year. I just dropped a video a few months ago, the project is basically where I want it to be. You know, I’m all over the place but still like let’s move. That’s where we’re going. Let’s push!
How does that play into your music and presentation? Your videos are not gory but in a way kind of terrifying.
See everybody’s saying that but I don’t really see that. I wanted it to be crazier than that but [it’s] the littlest things. Like I guess there was some blood in there [and] there was a roach. I don’t know, I watch a lot of films and that’s just the shit that really gets me going; the nasty shit. The shit thats like “ugh!”. [With] “Mumbo Jumbo” I wanted to take it to the next level [and] I did a good job but at the same time there’s so much more I could have done. I’m like my worst critic.
Do you do your own production? Because a lot of your songs, the beat always has a sound that is made by your voice whether it be a little melody or boop or hum.
I just sit there and tell them what buttons to press. [laughs] But wow I never thought of that. That’s so crazy that’s like the first time I’m hearing it. Thank you. I promise everything is just random. It’s just whatever I feel and then you feel it.
How do you feel about being a rapper now? Going into 2018 and as a creator, how do you feel about the space and your ability to operate in it?
I know there’s a trend going on, and I’m not following it at all. So like of course everybody’s looking at me like, “What the hell is she doing? Why is she not doing what we’re doing?”, and it’s like ‘uhhh i dont wanna do it!’ Something new [is] what I try to bring to the table. I have the shortest attention span in the fucking world. I get so bored so easily, so why would I jump in and do whatever everyone else is doing? I’m just having fun; that’s the biggest thing: having fun.
Has it been hard exposing yourself and your art to critique?
Yeah it’s like, “What the fuck I wasn’t even thinking that!” I just like to see people debate and argue and I’m like “what?!” Just to hear other people’s thoughts is so crazy. I had this one idea and I didnt think of it any other way. Then everyone else is like, “Well she meant this,” and they’re telling me what I meant and I’m just like okay, thats how you feel. But you know that’s what music and art is for: to create some kind of dialogue.
Do you internalize it at all or ignore it all together?
No I love it! It’s funny because then I’m learning. I can see something one way and then you have somebody come in and say well, it could be taken as this and I’ve never even thought of that. It kind of just expands my mind [for the] next thing I do.
Some people took “Mumbo Jumbo” as a song targeted at mumble rap. How do you respond to people who politicize your work? I feel like black women are not allowed to make art without it being political.
Exactly and yo, it’s crazy I’m not a deep person at all. Im laughing most of the time; at the pain, at the actual jokes. I’m laughing at everything. So it’s whatever with me. I did what I did and whoever says what they wanna say is fine with me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
What does the new project sound like and when do you plan on releasing it?
It’s so many sounds, I can’t even tell you. Like I said I’m just so experimental and I’m always trying new shit. There’s gonna be some shit that you really really really don’t expect and some other shit that’s just cool, but I’m touching on everything and I don’t have a date yet. I never ever have a date for anything. I hate dates. Like literally I hate dates. It’s just a feeling. I’m just following what I feel, you feel?
Do you like collaborating or do you prefer working alone? Are there any artists that you want to work with or sit down with, even just to exchange ideas?
[coughs] Solange. Right now I’m really a loner. I’ve been alone for like a while though. How can I say this? I’ve created my own world and I’m staying in it. [There’s] nothing that’s really inspiring me as far as like things and people around me. I’m looking far out and [those] people are hard to get– the people that are inspiring me. So that’s why I’m tryina get on their level and then hopefully we could be able to work one day.
I often like to describe you by saying “she’s a real weirdo” and people often get offended by the word weirdo. I don’t know why…
That’s so great. Yeah I don’t know why either. When I was younger and in school kids would always be like “you’re weird” in a bad way, and it was kinda like uh?? It was actually weird to me that they were calling me weird cuz everything that I was on was normal to me so it was like what the fuck do you mean nigga, you’re weird. But then eventually it was like, ok they’re only saying that to [say] “only you could do that I could never do that,” so you just accept it.
Yea weird is like category people generally put you in when you make them uncomfortable. If your music doesn’t make sense to them or if you look like you’re having too much fun, people are like you’re a weirdo. So when people are like what do you mean she’s a weirdo. I’m like a weirdo: a person who genuinely seeks out oddities that are of interest to them and holds their interests only to that. I think in your music that’s what comes across. You feel like someone who takes energy from things around you so it makes sense that you would be like “oh everybody’s on Tuesday but I’m on Thursday right now.”
Yeah, wow that’s exactly me. That’s totally me.
An ‘Atlanta’ “Robbin Season” Promo Clip Has Surfaced
Atlanta is back in six weeks after a temporary delay in recording due to Donald Glover‘s busy schedule and we’ve been happy about it since we first heard. A promo clip for the show’s “Robbin Season” has surfaced and it’s looking like we’re in for more of the drama and #TrapLife that we loved from season 1. Check out the Sonder-soundtracked promo video below.
Hide Your Sh#t. pic.twitter.com/iku30ppTaF
— AtlantaFX (@AtlantaFX) January 16, 2018
Harlem Designer Dapper Dan Discusses Fashion, Style and Society at the MoMA
The iconic Harlem couturier, Daniel Day, better known as Dapper Dan, shared his thoughts and knowledge on topics that transcend fashion and hit on themes concerning cultural appropriation, technology and society at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on Tuesday, January 9th. This discussion with the designer, known for remixing luxury logos with original designs that brought runway fashion to the streets, took place a week before the closing of the “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” exhibition. Currently on display at the MoMa is 110 years of history through the vantage point of clothing and accessories that defined pivotal moments in culture. Some of its most notable installations include Dan’s standout alterations that became the pinnacle of hip-hop culture in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
A decade of Hip-Hop heavy hitters such as Eric B. & Rakim on the cover of Paid in Full, LL Cool J, Salt-n-Peppa, and others rocking Dan’s creations resulted in him being crowned the New York knock-off king and godfather of Hip-Hop style. Re-emergence of the Harlem native’s popularity came on the heels of observers who called out Gucci’s Resort 2018 collection that toted plagiarized versions Dapper’s signature designs. During the discussion led by the exhibition’s senior curator, Paola Antonelli, the New York designer who now works in partnership with Gucci shared the peaks and pitfalls of his career, talked about his faux-Gucci and Louis Vuitton jackets on display in the exhibition and shared some key takeaways for young fashion designers and entrepreneurs of color. “Use technology as your pallet if you’re into fashion,” is what he emphasized as he urged young designers to stay knowledgeable about technological advancements, especially as it pertains to 3D printing, to use to their advantage. With the history of his signature logo-heavy designs rooted in his usage of screen printing, Dan believes that technology has been and will always be a major driver in cutting-edge fashion.
There is no denying that the line between inspiration and appropriation is often deemed unclear in today’s society. When asked what young up-and-coming black fashion designers’ response to today’s racially charged climate should be, he stated “you have to look at it for what is it and figure out, ‘how can I [make this work]?’” He highlighted the magnitude of success that can come through unpacking ways to use both the positive and negative as stepping stones, using the re-opening of his store in collaboration with Gucci after having his designs replicated as a testament to this.
Dan also referenced one of his favorite books, The End of Fashion by Teri Agins, noted the substance he gained from studying designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, and overall history of the industry. His advice for entrepreneurs and emerging designers heavily encouraged research. “Be aware of everything that has been done, is being done and how it’s being done.” He further explained how studying the greats from within the industry can be used as a catalyst in figuring out how to create and provide products that fill the voids of their target consumers.
Throughout the discussion, Dapper Dan hinted at an upcoming book that’s already in the works and it’s obviously sure to drop more of his gem-like wisdom. In the meantime, Dapper Dan’s boutique, located on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, is open for business.
Photography By: The New York Times
Living Single Is Coming To Hulu
For years, many have wondered where Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is on streaming services, why we could not find Martin on Netflix or Hulu, and why on earth no streaming service has picked up Girlfriends. But, in these uncertain days, nostalgia is back. If you want to know what the Tanner family from Full House would be doing now, you can find out on their Netflix spinoff. Roseanne and Will & Grace are back on our tv screens. And now it seems like Black tv shows are finally getting paid their due with a Hulu announcement that took everyone by surprise.
It's a '90s kind of world. Again. Living Single, the entire series, streams January 11, only on Hulu. pic.twitter.com/yCaVxRzR31
— hulu (@hulu) January 10, 2018
That’s right! On January 11th Khadijah, Maxine, Synclaire and Regine, and all their witty, sisterly banter, will be available on demand via Hulu. Living Single will be streaming in its entirety and I will be missing in action until I’ve made my way through it all.
Donald Glover’s ‘Atlanta’ Returns March 1st
Winter 2018 is doing amazing with our television lineup so far. And after just barely making it without Atlanta for a whole year, Donald Glover‘s FX comedy series will return March 1st. Last month, rumors were swirling about the exact date after a post from Lakeith Stanfield‘s Instagram (which was later deleted) but we can finally celebrate confidently with confirmation from the cable network itself that the newly-dubbed Atlanta Robbin’ Season will premiere at 10 PM that Thursday.
Production had been delayed last year due to Donald’s hectic schedule (moonlighting as Childish Gambino and also starring in the upcoming Hans Solo film) but we know it’s more than worth the wait. We’ll keep you updated on new info and promo trailers as we hear more.
ICYMI: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Cast Covers TIME Magazine
Honestly, what a time?! As fellow book lovers we understand how hard it is waiting for Ava DuVernay and Disney‘s live action A Wrinkle in Time film to make its theater debut, but we’ve got something really amazing to celebrate in the meantime. There are four phenomenal women gracing the cover of Time Magazine’s latest issue and they’re the actresses who star in the Jennifer Lee-written film adaption of Madeleine L’Engle’s now 54-year-old novel of the same name.
This classic sci-fi tale follows its main character Meg (played by 14-year-old starlet Storm Reid) and her three guiding angels (“the Mrs.” played by Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling) across dimensions on a quest to rescue her father. Though the story is one that invites warm, childhood nostalgia, the overall message is an empowering one perfect for everyone’s life journey, no matter the age.
A Wrinkle in Time hits theaters nationwide on March 9, 2018. Until then, watch the film’s trailer and check out Disney’s collector-must-have posters below. Read Time’s full making-the-film backstory here.
Issa Rae & HBO to Develop New Shows with Young, Black and Queer Characters
The Issa Rae empire continues to grow as she does everything but back down from her trailblazing HBO takeover. The premium cable network has picked up not one, but two new series where the TV producer and actress will make way for multidimensional African-American characters; Sweet Life – a Windsor Hills-set drama looking at the lives of affluent black teens, and Him or Her – a single-camera comedy series about a bisexual Black man navigating through complex dating circles and everyday life.
Travon Free (ex-Daily Show writer and Emmy winner) and Deniese Davis (Rae’s ColorCreative.TV partner) will both join Issa in executive producing Him or Her. As for Sweet Life, Scandal producer Raamla Mohamed is co-creator and will accompany the Insecure maker in producing. Travon Free will also join the pair in writing the drama. It’s a family affair.
This news, in addition to her work with Angela Flournoy and the forthcoming third-season return of Insecure, comes right before the filmmaker’s 33rd birthday. We’re thoroughly enjoying Issa’s flourish and can’t wait to support these new projects.
ICYMI: Oprah Winfrey is the First Black Woman to Receive Cecil B. DeMille Award
As Golden Globe season approaches, we’re reminded of just how much catching up the entertainment industry has to do. But on the bright side, Oprah Winfrey breaks another ceiling as she will be the first Black woman to receive the Golden Globe’s prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award. Joining the ranks of Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Sidney Poitier, Lucille Ball, Robin Williams and more, the talk show guru/actress/network owner is being recognized as “a talented individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.”
In a statement, Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Meher Tatna said, “As a global media leader, philanthropist, producer and actress, she has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world, making her one of the most respected and admired figures today. For generations, Oprah has celebrated strong female characters on and off screen, and has been a role model for women and young girls for decades.”
Ms. Winfrey will be feted at the 75th Annual Golden Globes ceremony airing January 7, 2018 on NBC. Congratulations on this beyond-deserved honor, Oprah!