Oh ...Ms. Diahann ...Ms. Diahann...what a life..one groundbreaking moment after another, refusing stereotypical roles, she was the first black person to win a Tony in a leading role for Richard Rogers only solo effort No Strings Attached. Julia was a defining moment for television featuring a black female lead not in a role of servitude. Julia was a widowed registered nurse, with a young son but her television created world featured few other black characters except for the occasional guest star. In an interview, in reference to images at that time in the 60’s she was quoted as saying “ at this moment, we’re presenting the white Negro.. and he has very little Negro-ness.” Her role on Dynasty made her the first black “b*tch on network TV with the legendary line " this champagne is burnt".
Born in the boogie down BX in a supportive home, her career began in the 50’s with Carmen Jones and thrived through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s with Sisters, Different World, Five Heartbeats, Eve’s Bayou, Grey’s Anatomy, & White Collar among many others .
As the first, she carried quite the burden of always being perfect. She was an searing example of grace and elegance; she symbolized our transition from mammy to Madame. In the midst of her beauty she was a committed and dedicated actress as seen in her phenomenal performance in Claudine. As so many other ambitious black women, she wasn't always supported by the men in her life, (which included 4 marriages & a volatile affair with Sidney Poitier). Fortunately, unlike many other talented powerhouses ( Holiday, Washington, Houston, Dandridge, etc) she did not fall victim to that betrayal and continued to beam her light with conviction.
Growing up she was one of my "sheroes “, the epitome of femininity , she let me know as a black girl I can be any kinda woman I wanted to be. No matter the struggles, inequalities or sexism, Ms. Carroll shone. She was and is our Black Diamond❤️ Thank You Ms. Carroll #diva #dynasty #whitecollar #legacy #legend #blackgirlmagic
The one and only...Toni Morrison. It's well established that few understood or was in her artistic realm of the power of prose. I remember when I first read Beloved it actually took 4 attempts before I was in, but once I was in...I was alllll the way in. Her stories transported you in time and there was a starkness yet at the same poetry to the pain that vibrated off those pages. The Bluest Eye was a beautiful way to share the ugliest of realities that continue to be a part of the black American experience. She spoke of the frailties of love, religion, friendships, anger and the ego. Beloved opened my eyes to slavery in a way that was so simple yet horrifying. The choice that mother makes is not without love and strips the fantasies that permeate some of the stories of slavery. A kinder slave owner was still a slave owner. It brought humanity to the people by just declaring, of course that kind of insidious terror would drive anyone insane. There is a gift and a curse to having a G*d given talent, to be able to touch people with your words and at the same time humble them with the intricacies of your construct. Toni Morrison was a goddess of the most everyday black girl. She loved pretty things, parties, gifts and being a mother. Yet at the same time she had a talent that allowed her to travel the world where her ideas encouraged a generation of minds that cut across language and race. She was all of these things and when you are given such complexity in one being it can be intimidating and at times probably a little isolating. One of my favorite images of her was when a friend shared she came out of her limo, with a baked ham in foil to Toni Cade Bambara's wake. She was AKA, she was groomed in blk excellence and as an editor at DoubleDay she supported the words of black excellence. She used her power and talent to nurture the voices of other black women and used her word to tell the stories of black people with honor, grace and empathy. She grounded herself in the lives of negrodian people and made it a masterpiece of storytelling. As Ntozoke Shange wrote in colored girls "..she loved us fiercely.." and we loved you right back my Sista. Before she was finally awarded her Nobel Prize, 48 black writers…again writers... wrote a petition, asking why Toni Morrison had not received a Pulitzer. Ms. Morrison is part of the canon of American literature, she is among some of the greats Faulkner, Hemingway, Poe, Salinger and Morrison but even more importantly, she is our fabulous, sensual, talented Black Sista! Enjoy the next leg of your journey Ms. Morrison!
#tarbaby #tonimorrison #beloved #blackgirlmagic #blackgirlsrock #jazz #blackexcellence #talent #blackjoy #blackwriters #blackwomenvoices #womenvoices
When I watched the premiere episode of "Being Mary Jane", I was already excited because it was about a black woman who I could relate to. Well, not financially, not physically but gosh darnit..we both had ambition and a love for the emotionally unavailable Brotha! It premiered in 2013 during the time of so much black girl magic on television, "Scandal" and "How to Get Away With Murder" I felt I had a bevy of television that spoke to me. While I had seen several films with Gabrielle Union, I wasn't particularly a fan, even though I would argue she is an underrated comedian. In Deliver Us from Eva, a typical rom-com but her monologue in the kitchen of the restaurant during a health code visit I thought was real comedic brilliance. For me "Being Mary Jane" was a game changer and Gabrielle became my show heroine. This post is basically my love letter to Mari Brock Akil and the wonderfulness that was "Being Mary Jane" from 2013-2016. Once the show changed producers, it lost some of that magic for me. There are few shows where I find I almost living vicariously through the characters, with Mary Jane I related to the contradictions in her life. The challenge of having a family that has dysfunction and love which is the reality for most . It is the human complexity of Pauletta ( the character's name) that I appreciate the most. A mixture of confidence, sexual prowess, insecurity and substance dependency. What I valued about Mari Brock Akil is that she didn't offer us a "perfect person" but an actual woman. It was her frailties along with her ambition, that as a grown black woman I could identify and truly appreciate. In a just world, Being Mary Jane would have received more critical attention , politically and culturally I thought it was one of the best in that period. The issues that were woven in between, the suicide of successful blk men, the Psychology Today article re: the Ugly Blk Women, the discovery of love letters between slaves, the proliferation of fatherless blk children, addiction, the challenge of motherhood and career, mass incarceration,cultural identity and on and on. You had a show with 2 women of color as leads who were defined and not defined by their identity. SNC producer Kyra was a fascinating character, a fiercely ambitious woman, loyal to the work with SNC, a dedicated mother, a conflicted Latina and a sexually positive person. The scene where she had a breakdown about brownies for her children's class was real and vulnerable. The character of Marc, his coming out scene with his parents was so black but universal in it's unfolding. The complication of Niecy her rudderless niece, her agonizing lack of personal responsibility and the truth of who she is, would frustrate because of just the realness of it. I was blown away by Loretta Devine, who knew! That was the most interesting role I ever seen Devine play, the contradictions and specificity was exciting to watch. For me personally, when the Akil's left, that mixture of drama and political astuteness left with them. I was much less interested in the romance and rivalry that seem to seep in. The focus on male characters that came to forefront. This is my THANK YOU to the Akil's and specifically Mari Brock Akil for creating the #theblackgirlmagic that was "Being Mary Jane" #gabrielleunion #maribrockakil #saleemakil #bet #blackgirlmagic #television #womenwriters #stories #cable #grownandsexy #love #richardroundtree #blacktelevision
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.