Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Real Women Have Curves, Pimpin' Still Ain't Easy

Dove's Real Women Have Curves ad blitz is all over the billboards and subway stations here in New York, but it doesn't make me want to use Dove any more than Destiny's Childs' campaign makes me want to go out and grab a Fruit & Walnut Salad from McDonald's. I think I'll just stick to my unique curvy beauty blend of cheeseburgers, Body Lift and Chardonnay! I'm Lovin' It!

Stanley Crouch is not feeling "Hustle & Flow". Middle class black women making sam'miches for pimps and they hos? Hell to the Naw! I mean, hell no.

I wonder if I can get Lenny Kravitz to design my house? Once I actually get a house of course.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Break out the Kool-Aid!

Good Times is back on TV Land!

I was not much of an Anovelista this weekend because I was completely waylaid by the Good Times marathon. I got some work done, but not much, because I could not tear myself away from JJ tripping over his girlfriends (Henrietta! "Boom Boom" Belinda!) or watching proud, dignified First-Strong-Black-Father-On-Television James Evans; the infamous "Damn, Damn, Damn!" episode; Thelma and Keith's wedding,(!); Michael with his infamous picket signs, "Buffalo Butt" Bookman or Willona and Penny!

And what a treat to see Ernie Barnes's gorgeous artwork and some of the hilarious regular guests like Weepin' Wanda, played by the wonderful late theater veteran Helen Martin, ; "Lootin'" Lenny the Hustler ("Say blood, my name is Len-nay, and if I ain't got it, then there ain't any!), played by the pimptastically named Dap Sugar Willie or the smooth loanshark Sweet Daddy Williams ("The price of diamonds have gone up so much, my little pinkie's 'bout to go nekkid!"). There was even an extra treat watching Robert Guillaume take a break from the proper and educated Benson to play Fishbone the Wino! I'm sorry I missed the episode with Thelma and her first fiance Larry, played by the now brilliant director Carl Franklin (I know I am just one of many black girls at the time that loooved me some Larry!) I did see Thelma and her charming, polygamous Nigerian fiance, played by Johnny Sekka, easily Africa's ambassador to Black Hollywood in the 1970's. He was also in Roots and Uptown Saturday Night. TV Land is going to show Good Times every night at ten, but I think the marathon did the trick for me (unless I catch that Larry episode!)

I have to say though, the more I watched, and the more plentiful the "Dy-no-mite's" became, I was reminded of why John Amos and Esther Rolle left the show in a huff (although Esther Rolle returned of course for the last season.)

Night Court is also coming to TV Land. Where is Marsha "I'd Like To Climb Magic Johnson" Warfield?

Do You Know Where You're Going To? Did You Check In With Your Man?

For many Black girls of my generation, Mahogany was our fantasy film. Of course it featured Diana Ross as a beautiful and talented Black seamstress who leaves Chicago for Rome and becomes a sensation as a model and fashion designer. Pre-pre-Naomi Campbell. Even pre-Iman. In fact, she was probably on the plane from Somalia on her way to New York when Mahogany premiered. Only one year prior to the film's 1975 release, Beverly Johnson became the first Black woman to make the cover of Vogue. In a world with no Oprahs, Halles, or Black Miss Americas, a Mahogany, even though she was fictional, resonated. Today as adults, we realize Mahogany lacks certain cinematic qualities, but who cares! I'm still waiting on the DVD.

Of course, Mahogany is The Black Love Story of the 1970s, the tale of Tracey a seamstress in Chicago's inner city whose inner diva is just dying to come out. She dreams of becoming a fashion designer and gets the chance of a lifetime to realize her dream when she is offered a job as a model by a world-renowned photographer who barely conceals that fact that he is a raging lunatic. But when she leaves for Rome and finds fame as a model, she learns that it's lonely at the top and she starts to miss home and her man Brian (played by the eternally fine Billy Dee Williams). Brian, unlike Tracey and her "frivolous" fashion designing ambitions has a real job. Well, sort of. He is an aspiring politician that wants to clean up the ghetto. The moral to the story was summed up by his now infamous line, still ominously invoked to this day: Success is NOTH-ING, without someone you love to share it with." Loosely translated: "Don't get all high and mighty and all mixed up with crazy white folk and get "too good" to come back home. "Home" of course being The Ghetto, home of all "real" Black people and genuine Blackness in general.

Nowadays, with stars of color being so commonplace in every form of media (despite a few glitches), some people may forget (or perhaps they never realized) that just a generation ago (okay, two generations ago), it was considered groundbreaking when Michael Jackson got airplay on MTV. Vanessa Williams made news around the world (and received death threats) when she became the first Black Miss America. There was no such thing as Britney vs. Christina or Beyonce vs. Ashanti. There was Madonna and Madonna. For black movies, one generally relied on the late, late show or a sleepy Sunday afternoon to catch Black movies. Therefore, if a Mahogany was being shown, you did not miss it. You popped some Jiffy Pop popcorn and stayed up late, way past Friday Night Videos and watched. I was the type of girl that poured over magazines and loved anything glamorous so I could relate to a character like Tracey, an ambitious black woman attracted to glamour, fame, power and creativity! Tracey's tiny apartment was filled with her sketches and she was always making new clothes and coming up with all kinds of new ideas, just like me! Today, a young black girl can admire Beyonce blinging or Halle Berry's Oscar, but Mahogany will always be my favorite Black Cinderella story. Can't wait for that DVD!

Labels: , , ,

What's an Anovelista?

A·nov·el·ista Pronunciation: a'näv-a-lista, Function: noun:

A writer of novels, non-fiction and screenplays; entrepreneur; beauty junkie; history buff; foodie; fashionista; un-fashionista; bookworm; Christian; Lt. Uhura namesake; Hopemonger; Oprah-holic; Coffee Fiend; Tea Lover; Newark-born, South Jersey-raised New Yorker; Nichelle Gainer.