#ConversationStarter: First Glimpse At Alexandra Shipp As #Aaliyah.

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The first movie about Aaliyah Dana Haughton will be hitting the airwaves this November.

The folks at HipHollywood.com have the first sneak peak. Check out the teaser below.

This movie is based on the book by Christopher John Farley, “Aaliyah: More Than a Woman.” It stars Alexandra Shipp of House of Anubis and details the rise to stardom and heartbreaking end of the singer, dancer and actress.

From HipHollywood:

The Lifetime Original Film also stars Rachael Crawford and Sterling Jarvis as Aaliyah’s parents, Diane and Mike Haughton, Anthony Grant as Damon Dash, Izaak Smith as Timbaland, Elise Neal as Gladys Knight and Chattrisse Dolabaille as Missy Elliot.

Although buzz around the biopic is at an all time high, it has had a few rough patches. The family has voiced their disapproval of the project and the film’s initial star, Zendaya, backed out because of those concerns.

First impressions? Knowing that the family isn’t as involved will you watch?

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#ConversationStarter: Minority Players on #SNL.

Kerry Washinton on SNL.

Kerry Washinton on SNL.

Saturday Night Live took a jab at itself–with guest host, Kerry Washington in tow–after several SNL cast members and the media began asking why aren’t their any black women on the late night laugh fest which is now in its 39th season.

The opening skit had Washington playing First Lady Michelle Obama, then running out the room to change into Oprah.

According to Melissa Harris-Perry, Washington is the eighth  African-American woman to hold down guest hosting duties.

Series creator Lorne Michaels says finding a black woman for the show is a priority.

From The LA Times:

Michaels said he is focused on finding an African American female cast member for the NBC series, but he did not specify how soon it would happen.

“It’s not like it’s not a priority for us,” Michaels said in an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday. “It will happen. I’m sure it will happen.”

Kenan Thompson, a SNL veteran who tells the LA Times he’s tired of putting on drag, puts the lack on black female performers.

However, there are plenty of black women who have graced comedic television–Debra Wilson and Wanda Sykes to name a few.

So chime in who in the minority would like to see on SNL? And let’s not just limit it to black women as one person on twitter pointed out:

#ConversationStarter: Beyond Politics.

First Lady Michelle Obama & Beyonce Knowles grace the cover of Vogue.

This opinion piece, Mrs. O and Beyoncé: A Problematic Love Fest?, has shown up in my social media feeds for the last couple of days so let’s start a conversation here on ‘unscripted.’

Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama and Beyoncé have been exchanging pleasantries with each other.

‘The Pink Panther’ star wrote a public letter to the First Lady expressing how grateful she is that her daughter can grow up in a world where someone in the highest office in the land resembles her.

Mrs. Obama responded to Beyoncé in a tweet, “thank you for the beautiful letter and for being a role model who kids everywhere can look up to.”

Days later People Magazine asks First Lady Obama if she could trade places with anyone in the world who would it be?

“Gosh. If I had some gift, I’d be Beyoncé, I’d be some great singer,” the First Lady responded.

The First Lady’s comment caused commentators across the web to take issue from Loop21 to The Root.com.

Now they are facing backlash from readers—The Root.com’s Demetria L. Lucas in particular.

According to Lucas, Mrs. Obama’s admiration of the pop star “sends a damaging, demeaning and dangerous message to women and girls.”

Lucas characterized Beyoncé’s success to the following:

Vibe: Meet Your New Role Models: Kandi, Tamar, Evelyn & Chrissy (Reality Stars).

She is only slightly more role model-esque than three of the four reality stars ironically gracing the current cover of Vibe. Let’s keep it funky, folks: Beyoncé’s talent — the one that’s made her a multimillionaire and a household name — is the ability to habitually line-step on the Madonna-whore dichotomy. That is to say, she has mastered the art of moving her tush like a stripper and her hips like a porn star, and she still manages to be perceived as a lady and some sort of feminist. Women who have done the same or less have faced more criticism.

Her lyrics fluctuate between empowerment lite and sending women nearly back to the June Cleaver dark ages. For every “Me, Myself and I,” “Irreplaceable” or “Love on Top,” there are songs like “Cater 2 U,” where Bey (during her Destiny’s Child days) does everything for her man, from untying his shoestrings to offering a manicure.

►Read More.

The excerpt above is what stood out to me, several of my colleagues, and many in the social media sphere.

It was a hot topic is the WUMR (one of the stations where I work) studio yesterday and both of my female counterparts brought up how she attacked what Beyoncé wears and how she dresses on stage. Both highlighted that she wears more clothing than the average back up dancer in a hip-hop video and when Lucas compares the ‘Obsessed’ actress’ songs she is comparing song lyrics from two different eras in Knowles’ life.

Before I ask for you to chime in, see what those around the web have said:

While the tweeters are outraged the facebookers run the gambit saying, ‘that’s your opinion, they’re friends, cool, next topic.’ ►See Screenshot Click Here.

Josh’s Note: To characterize the singer, the actress, the entertainer, the designer and the businesswoman— someone who put in fifteen years of hard work to get where she is in life—in the same vein as a stripper, adult film star or a reality star is beyond farfetched.

No, I do not know what message a young woman would receive from the First Lady’s praise (and Miss Lucas is entitled to her opinion).

However, I still differ in sentiment with Lucas.

As a young man, what do I see is two women who admire each other. Two women who respect each other and two women who respect each other’s profession.

What I see is the opposite what is displayed “every time a reality show airs.” Their “‘love fest’ is combating the negative images of black women who pull wigs or throw wine bottles.

____

Chime in:

Is it justifiable to compare Beyoncé to a stripper, porn star and the four on Vibe?

Readers do you think Lucas made a correct assessment of First Lady Michelle Obama’s praise for Mrs. Carter?

#ConversationStarter: A Changing Black Middle Class.

Doing some usual AM reading and stumbled upon this piece asking “where is the black middle class?”

The following is a snippet of what I read from CNN.com & Dr. Kris Marsh Ph.D.  Marsh is part of the faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Where is the black middle class now, you ask? We are right here, but look demographically different than we did years ago.

My research clearly shows a compositional shift in the black middle class, away from married couples to single and living-alone households. Dovetailing with my research, we need to shift the way we talk and think about single, black professionals – both men and women, although women dominate the category.

The Love Jones Cohort nomenclature is based on the shift in the media portrayal of the black middle class, away from the Huxtables in “The Cosby Show” to the young, single, educated and black professionals in the film “Love Jones”, the show “Living Single” and more recently on VH1’s hit,Single Ladies.”

One question I often get when I talk about my research: How dramatic is the shift and presence of the Love Jones Cohort in the larger black middle class?

In 2000, 11% of black middle class households in the 25 to 54 range were Love Jones Cohort, up from 5% in 1980 – the group more than doubled its share of the black middle class, from 1980 to 2000. Additionally, the Love Jones Cohort made up the second-largest segment of the black middle class, behind married couples with children.

Meanwhile, married-couple households with children decreased their share of the black middle class. In fact, by 2000, they lost their status as the majority household type in the black middle class – 43% of black middle class households were married couples with children, down from 60% in 1980. If present trends persist, the Love Jones Cohort is on track to become the largest household type within the black middle class.

Read the full article here.

So let’s start a conversation:

Is this shift in the black middle class from a family unit to single unit a good thing?

Would you stay single and childless in hopes of attaining black middle class status or is family more important?

Comment below.