31 March 2015

Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer: On Family & Cancer

That last summer with her wasn’t anything like that.

There were no lazy days spent playing outside or curled up with Daddy reading the latest Harry Potter book. Instead, there were hospital rooms, heartache and the stifling stench of the cancer that filled the 13th floor of Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  In the middle of July, about a week after my 18th birthday, my Mama told my sister and me that she had cancer. As I sobbed uncontrollably, she soothed me and held me like she always did. She calmed my fears and promised me that everything would be ok. Two years later, nine days before I returned to college for my junior year, my Mama died. Five years have passed since that dreaded summer, so many of those memories have become hazy in my mind.

Continue Reading at Blavity.com 

26 March 2015

Apparently Some People Think TV Is “Too Black”

I’m an avid reader of Deadline. As a cinephile and TV lover it’s a fantastic resource to the goings-on in Hollywood. It’s how I learned that Bradley Cooper wants to direct and star in a remake of A Star is Born alongside BeyoncĂ©. Unfortunately, information wasn’t the only thing to hit my inbox yesterday. Deadline’s TV editor Nellie Andreeva penned a piece entitled, “Pilots 2015: The Year of Ethnic Castings- About Time or Too Much of Good Thing?I immediately found the title troubling. Right now there approximately six shows on networks with Black leads. ScandalEmpire, How to Get Away with Murder, Blackish, Being Mary Jane and Tyler Perry’s lineup on OWN. Seriously, that is all. We have watched nearly all-white television for well-over a decade and when we finally get television that looks more like America in general, Ms. Andreeva is offended? I won’t even get into her use of “ethnic” here because… ugh.

Continue reading at Blavity.com 

16 March 2015

Brad Saville Talks ‘Regretting Fish,’ Independent Filmmaking and 21st Century Moviegoing

Filmmaker Brad Saville on the set of “Regretting Fish.” Photo Credit: Brad Saville.
 Once a major Hollywood genre, the gangster film has become somewhat of a dying breed in Hollywood. Goodfellas (1990) was perhaps the last of its kind in this classic category, though films like The Departed (2006) and Public Enemies (2009) have drawn major numbers at the box office, providing some nostalgia for the 21st century filmgoer. In the past few years, action films, comedies and biopics have dominated the box office. It seems that we have traded in our bad boys and femme fatales for action heroes and romantic comedies. Luckily, independent films haven’t yet given up on film noir and criminals. John Hillcoat’s Lawless (2012) and Jim Mickle’s Cold In July (2014) are just a couple of examples of independent films that have not yet forgotten the thrill of the gritty underworld and the characters that inhabit it.

Continue Reading at GALO Magazine.

13 March 2015

Actor Richard Brooks Talks ‘Being Mary Jane’ and Diversity on the Big and Small Screens

Richard Brooks stars in “Being Mary Jane.” Photo Credit: BET Networks/ Daniel McFadden.

What does it mean to hit rock bottom? Is there any way to recover; to gradually rebuild all that you have destroyed on your downward spiral? Typically the freefall is what draws television audiences in, keeping them attached to the screen hour after hour or week after week. And yet on Being Mary Jane, a powerful drama on BET created by husband and wife duo Salim Akil and Mara Brock-Akil, the recovery is just as riveting.

Continue Reading at GALO Magazine

26 February 2015

Please Go Away: On Kanye, "Nice Guys" and Other Nauseating Fuck Boyz

I had no intention on writing about Kanye and his disastrous interview with The Breakfast Club, mostly because I've been done fucking with Kanye.  Since 2010 he's continued to show his ass. Also, there have been so many others who have called him out on his continuous coonery. Here’s one particular article that articulates how he continues to be strong and wrong.

I really don’t know why he continuous to slut shame a woman he was once in love with; a woman who inspired My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (my personal favorite Kanye album before I lost all hope) while he puts his wife on a pedestal especially since they basically have the exact same job. Kim (because of her whiteness, privilege and plastic surgery) just gets paid more for it. I'm not going to even get into how foul and disgusting I find Kanye and his horrendous "30 showers" comment (or the fact that he condones statutory rape) because quite frankly I'd like him to go away. Perhaps we can lock him in a vault until he's capable of acting right...or perhaps until he's on a healthy dose of antipsychotics. (My friends and I also think that he may have Asperger’s which quite frankly makes all the sense.)

So as I said, I really had no intention of talking about the fool until I scrolled on IG while ignoring the Oscars and I came across this.

I was simultaneously enraged and amused. After sending my best friend a screen shot, I realized this is the black ass problem with self-proclaimed "nice guys" and fuckboyz all around. They really believe deep down that because they are average ass human beings who do the bare minimum to be productive members of society, not only are they supposed to win some prize but women are supposed to open their legs and hearts to them. HUH?!!!

Sir!! You have to be fucking kidding me!!! Having a job and degree are pretty basic. Hell I have two of each. And any grown person should be washing their ass on a regular bases and using deodorant! So I ask, what is so special about anything that has been listed here? I was horrified further by some of the comments that were left underneath this post. Foolish people (both men and women) cosigning on this nonsense. What baffled me was the fact that no one ever said, you look like a whiney bitch with very little self-esteem perhaps that’s why you don’t have a woman. Perhaps you haven't learned anything about tact, self-preservation and the proper use of social media.  Perhaps that’s why no girl will look at you. Maybe if you were really a prize your so-called "female friends" would have been tried to scoop you up. Perhaps (and I'm just speculating here), you're as dull as doorknob with little to no personality or hobbies. Maybe your body doesn’t "stink" but your breath does. Perhaps it’s the fact that your idea of taking a woman out is a basic ass dinner/movie date (SNORE). Or moreover, maybe it’s your disgusting entitlement that makes you think you should be rewarded for being an average ass human being.

I know one thing, as a woman if I had posted some bullshit like that about how I fill out a sweater and I have a degree and can cook a meal or two then I would have been called a basic, desperate bottom bitch, and I would have been laid to rest across social media. So why is this acceptable for men?!!

My best friend said it eloquently, "How did we get to the point where a Black man thinks that he’s doing something [extraordinary] because he's not in jail, or having children, etc.?"  I for one don’t know where we went wrong but I do know I'm not going to sit here and throw men a parade for doing the absolute bare minimum. And another thing, how dare y’all continue to act like women who don’t want ya'll asses are superficial moneywhores or whatever else chauvinistic term y’all want to throw at us today.

Listen, the common denominator here is you. If women aren't responding to whatever it is that you’re selling, its time to fix, tweak or upgrade your product.

This whining though has got to stop! Be different, have something to talk about, take her somewhere other than the nearest AMC and TGI Fridays. Here's a novel ass idea...Pick up the damn phone instead of texting.

Maybe these suggestions will help some of ya'll or maybe they won’t. Perhaps some of you will come for me and say that I'm a bitch and I'm bougie or whatever the fuck. Either way, it’s not me that has the issues with finding a woman(or man). All I ask is that if you're going to continue to be a bitch baby and go on and on about how women a’int shit and you're some diamond in the rough that no one has yet to discover at least go away and leave that off social media.

We already gotta be subjected to the Kanye's, Stevie J’s and Floyd Mayweather’s of the world.


Are You A Fuckboy?

Chocolate Girl in the City.

PS. If you've never listened the The Read then you’ve been sleep. This episode “Say No to F**k Boys” was named one of the top 25 podcasts of all time. (Start at 54 mins in)

13 February 2015

Film Review|| Fifty Shades of Grey: A Lesson in Communication and Consent

I'll be the first to admit that I read the Fifty Shade of Grey trilogy in a 48-hour time span. (I will also admit that I've read all three at least three times. I'd just finished undergrad and I had nothing to do.)

Anyway when I found out that Focus Features had acquired the rights to the books for film, I was presently surprised. In my opinion Focus consistently turns quality films, and when Charlie Hunnam was initially cast I was ready to purchase my ticket immediately!

To what could have been le sigh

Sadly, as you all know the beautious man dropped out and was swiftly replaced by Jamie Dornan. I was less than impressed. No tea, no shade but the last thing that butters my roll is a smedium sized white man.

Nonetheless like millions of red blooded women globally I was still intrigued and I found myself at a late showing yesterday evening to see what the film was talkin bout.

First and foremost, the writing was surprisingly witty. Instead of making Anastasia Steele the annoying whinny lip-biting twit that she was in the books, screenwriter Kelly Marcel made her a bit naive but still enjoyable. Anna is a woman with characteristics that I recognize in myself and I'm sure many others can relate to.

Sam Taylor-Johnson as director was also a fantastic choice from the studio. We see mostly all of Dakota Johnson’s (Anna Steele) nude body. (Women's bodies are normally overexposed in films). However, from a woman’s gaze it wasn't callous or garish. Taylor-Johnson made it sensual; giving a squeamish American audience the opportunity to get comfortable with the nudity right along with Anastasia. (We also got to see a bit more man parts then normal. Not the whole peen thankfully because GROSS,  just a peek.)

Dakota Johnson is actually a pretty good actress. I think it was important for the film that Johnson wasn't well known. She's able to embody Anastasia without any of the misconceptions that the audience may have placed on her has she been more famous. Likewise Jamie Dorman, though not my first choice does a damn good Christian Grey. He's stoic, emotionally withholding, detached and damn sexy. Its odd that the duo works so well onscreen together, because its clear that they are painfully awkward around one another in real life

Still, the film like the books has its "chile please" moments. Anna does get a tad melodramatic at times, but it's forgiven because we've all been there. Love and youth don't always bring out the best in you. Also I don't care what type of situationship you're in, D/s or otherwise, if someone shows up out the blue on in a new state, run to the nearest police precinct and file a restraining order. Some stuff only makes sense in films. (Also: The casting of Christian’s siblings, um no ma'am Rita)

Despite all of this, the film got a lot right. Along with the newly improved witty Anna, the kinky sex scenes get two thumbs up from me!! Unlike Addicted (which I finally watched last weekend) these were not watered down snooze worthy encounters. No ma'am Christian Grey doesn't play  ;)

I also applaud those involved in the film for making communication and consent focal points throughout the narrative. Though uncomfortable at times, the characters are not afraid to speak their minds and to share their thoughts and feelings. A lesson many of us could use. Likewise consent is HUGE in the film. In one particular scene Anna and Christian go over a contract concerning their sexual relationship.. As formal as that sounds, I thought it was important to voice. As my friend who attended the film with me so eloquently pointed out, “This is the fantasy of one particular woman, not of ALL women.” Everyone is different the point of communication and consent is to discover what your partners likes and dislikes are.

Overall despite my initially reservations Fifty Shades of Grey really floated my boat. It's lady porn at it's best. (Listen I even got into Jamie Doman as Christian and he ain't nowhere near my type.) I say go see it. Take your girls or your boo, or hell take yourself if is Valentine's Weekend after all. #treatyoself  Who knows, you may even discover some things about yourself, or your partner that you didn't know. Either way bring a moist toilette to cool yourself off.

Listen Linda! Why is the man not bearded in the film?!! Literally the beard changes the GAME

50 Shades of Grey is out in theaters this Valentine's Day *hide ya kids* 

xoxoxo Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxo

PS: I really never got the uproar surrounding the books and the film. Are they the best things that happened to literature and cinema? Of course not!   But some of y'all need to calm down and let grown people do and enjoy what they want. As a Black feminist my pet peeve is when other women (let's not even get into men) try to tell me what I should and should not be into to. Boo, get yo life.

11 February 2015

Food Is Everything! It's Earth, Wind & Fire (Nonsensical Things I've Learned to Be True in My 24 Years of Life)

Much like nineteen or twenty-three, twenty-four years of life seems lack luster as fu*k. I suppose I am officially kind of an adult because I make my own dental appointments and I had to take care of myself a couple of weeks ago when I come down with strep throat and a crippling sinus infection.  I also had to call 311 that time I thought I smelled gas in my apartment.  Other than that, I’m just taking it day by day, one humiliating fall on the subway and tragic use of the bench press at a time.

But suppose I have learned a thing or two in this life of mine, especially since graduating from college. I'll be twenty-five in five months so obviously I barely know anything but here are some things I know for sure. You can agree or disagree or whatever, it’s your black ass life. Here are some of the highlights:

25: Never let a man walk off with all your stuff. Please refer to this blog entry.

24. Always keep a bottle of solid deodorant in your purse during the summer. Since we can’t all prevent our thighs from rubbing together, the sacred deodorant will save your thundery lusciousness from chaffing.
Also your things will smell delightful

23: Reading is fundamental. Now I realize I read a lot more than the “average” person. Most of the novels I read are about sexy times but I do read a “real” book every couple of weeks or so. Anyway this is all to say if you meet someone who doesn’t read, be suspicious.

22. Don’t try a nail place that you hated the first time a second time because you’re still going to hate it, and its still going to be overpriced.

21. I've accepted that I can no longer tolerate weave sewn into my head. Either it shall be braids or a wig or it will be nothing.

20. Student loan payments are the devil and will kill your joy.

19. Delete your credit card information off of Seamless/GrubHub. If you really want take out you will have to manually type in the info each time and quite frankly I’ve never been that hungry.

18.  Sometimes Janet Jackson’s Velvet Rope Tour, Love Jones, The Notebook and Love and Basketball are all you need to get by .

I've watched this concert 1,000 times since I was a kid and it will NEVER be enough

17. Alcohol isn’t as much fun as food and I’m ok with that. Food is everything. It is earth, wind and fire.

16. There always must be brunch!! If you ain’t brunchin u ain’t living. (IHOP is life)

15. Water is the elixir of life. Like for real, it will keep the skin sickening and the tummy flat(ish).

14. NYC Grocery stores are terrible places and FreshDirect is the cure.

13. I take a sick sadistic pleasure in getting the hair waxed off my neither regions once  monthly and I don’t have to explain myself to you.

12. Pedicures and baths are Gods gifts to woman.

11. I’m not ok with childbirth. NO GOD.

10.  I’m not a fan of overnight guests or people in my apartment in general and that’s fine. I pay the rent I don’t gotta explain.

9. I've given up on online dating. Its definitely a massive pool of the craziest people you will ever meet (Getting kind of stood up twice in one weekend is all it takes.)

8.When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. 

7.  The actor who plays Harvey Specter on Suits should have played Christian Grey in 50 Shades of Grey.
I mean LOOK!! Meanwhile I must look at tiny ass Jamie whathisname

6. Exercise can be enjoyable, as long as you like what you’re doing. (Crossfit and other boot camps are a smooth NO MA’AM) Running and Zumba are a delight.

5. “Interested men act interested”- Demetria Lucas D’Oyley

4. Some white people will never get it and you don’t need to waste another breath attempting to explain. Let them watch Friends and continue to be oblivious. 

3. I both hate and am obsessed with kids. 

2. TRAVEL NOW!!! RIGHT NOW!!! Not later but NOW. (I have some AMAZING TRIPS for 2015 planned omg so excited)

1. I’m running out of fucks to give. (Sister has always lived gloriously with such an outlook.) Meanwhile I’ve always struggled with managing my feeling with other people’s feeling and expectations. Something must have happened because these days I care not! Perhaps its something that has come with age or wisdom or perhaps I‘m simply depleted.

Anyway, like I said I barely know anything at all but those are twenty-five things I know with absolute certainty…at least for the time being.

xoxoox Chocolate Girl in the City xoxoxoxo