Tag Archives: halle-berry

Memorial Day 2013: A Quick Look At For Love of Liberty

By Arturo R. García

With today being the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S., I wanted to direct your attention to For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, a 2010 documentary that traced the journey of this country’s black veterans from the Revolutionary War up until President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.

In the nearly 8-minute clip above, co-writer and director Frank Martin offers some of the insight he gleaned during the making of the documentary:

One of the most shocking things I learned in this film was how the soldiers were treated when they came home,” Martin says. “We talk about Vietnam and how terrible it was when those of us who served in that war — not that I was in Vietnam, but was in the Navy at that time — when we were out of the service, we were told, “Don’t wear your uniform,” when you left the base. “Don’t put your uniform on. You’re not supposed to talk about your service.” You were not greeted as a hero. And we, to this day, continue to talk about how terrible it was, and it was terrible. But that’s how — that’s what happened to every single black soldier that returned from every single war that this country ever fought up and through Korea.

Hosted by Halle Berry and narrated by Avery Brooks, the film has been screened for the National World War II Museum, the Smithsonian and the NAACP, among others. Though originally aired as two 2-hour episodes, a special 9-hour edition is available that includes 3.5 hours of un-aired footage, along with a guide for using it for educational purposes. Below the cut, though, are two segments from the film, each featuring special guests reading service members’ accounts of the situation on the ground.

Continue reading

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Tamura Lomax

By Andrea Plaid

Tamura Lomax. Photo: courtesy of the interviewee.

You may have seen the R’s cross-postings from The Feminist Wire (TFW), that brilliant collective of mostly writers of color doing their intersectional thang on topics like Black women’s self-care in academia, forums on World AIDS Day 2012 and voting, and–in full disclosure–an interview with one of the R’s staffers. (I’m telling you–it’s a treat of a lifetime to be interviewed by one of your heroes.)

So, mutual admiration is fair play.

I got to interview the great brain behind TFW, Tamura Lomax. Her bona fides: she’s the Assistant Chair and an assistant professor of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work has been featured at, among other spaces, Religion Dispatches. She’s working on a co-authored book about the Black feminist/womanist reponses to Tyler Perry’s work and a book on Black feminism and Black cultural production. And she’s just hella fun to clown around with online, which, of course, has led to some hush-hush plans for a future academic conference.

I’ve said too much already about the event. Here’s Tamura…

The Feminist Wire is a heck of a collective of some of the best minds thinking about the intersections of race, gender. sexuality, bodies, politics, etc. How did you gather such a great group of people and, more interestingly, why and how did you start the blog?  

The Feminist Wire began as a concept in 2010.  Hortense Spillers and I were working on my dissertation and we thought it would be neat to write something together—two black feminists working across generations.  At this time, she even referred to me as a younger version of herself.  We were definitely similar in terms complexion and hairstyles and–as we learned later–personalities.  Her work and writing style definitely informs my own.  Our initial idea was to write some sort of peer-review essay for academia.  However, when the Shirley Sherrod incident occurred, we knew it was our time to put pen to paper–or, in my case, fingers to keyboard.

We wrote the essay, “Shirley Sherrod: Open Letters Between Two Frustrated Feminists, Hortense Spillers and Tamura Lomax,” which was a critical call-and-response about Sherrod, of course, but also black women and media.  We shopped the essay, hoping to get it published at theroot.com.  However, no one responded.  Frustrated, we decided to “create our own damn site” so that we could publish what we wanted when we wanted.  Due to timing, we published the essay on my now defunct webpage, tamuralomax.com, and began charting our path toward The Feminist Wire.

Continue reading

In Or Out: On Keanu, Akira, and expectations for multiracial actors

By Guest Contributor Monique Jones, cross-posted from moniqueblog

If you’ve been following the news surrounding Akira, you might have heard that Keanu Reeves was circling the film and probably would have been cast in the role of Kaneda. But Reeves has dropped out of the film. Also, according to CinemaBlend, a big chunk of the staff on the movie have been let go and the previsualization department has been shut down. However, WB says the movie is still in development in the following statement:

Production on Akira has not halted or been shut down, as the film has not yet been greenlit and is still very much in the development stage. The exploratory process is crucial to a project of this magnitude, and we will continue to sculpt our approach to making the best possible film.

Reeves, whose background includes Hawaiian and Chinese heritages, may have been considered by the studio execs and/or the casting agent over “Akira” to be a good pick for the film because of this. Racebending.com seems to think so. However, Racebending explains their hesitance to see Reeves cast as Kaneda:

We can sort of see why Warner Bros. would want to go with one of their previously established stars–Reeves is arguably Warner Bros. biggest actor of Asian descent (granted, only 2% of WB films from 2000 to 2009 had an Asian lead, and they were mostly Asian nationals like Jet Li and Rain.)

At the same time, it’s unsatisfactory to see Reeves (who has played white characters, multiethnic characters, and even Siddhartha) default to Hollywood’s only go-to actor when they need to find someone to portray an Asian lead character. Hollywood isn’t exactly hard at work to discover this generation’s next hot “Keanu.”

For Asian American actors who aren’t Keanu Reeves, opportunities to play lead characters continue to be few and far between. Will Warner Bros. exceed expectations and cast an Asian American actor alongside Reeves to play Tetsuo? Can a $230 million Akira project that barely resembles the source material make enough to make a profit?

Now, I understand what Racebending is saying here. They would like to see Asian/Asian-American actors who aren’t the typical Hollywood type cast in the film adaptation of one of the biggest Asian art exports ever. They are also slightly annoyed at Reeves being constantly picked for these types of roles instead of Hollywood execs trying to find someone new. To be clear, I’m not knocking what Racebending’s opinion on the matter is; they are, after all, an Asian-American group and I’m African-American, a person on the fringes. And their opinion is partly the impetus behind my epic Akira Asian shortlist posts, because it does get tiring to see the same people get cast over and over again. But something that I noticed in the comments section of various movie websites paints a different picture about Keanu-gate. Yes, the commenters are just as annoyed as Racebending, but there’s a large number of people who think Reeves is white and white only, thereby not suitable for the role.

This wave of dissention from commenters raises the issue about the murky state of biracial or multi-racial actors and actresses in Hollywood. Some are thought of as a representation of one race while others are viewed almost like an “all-purpose” type person; both ideologies have a bit of error in them. The statement also raises an even bigger question–what is Hollywood’s role in our race perceptions?

Continue reading

“Canadians don’t say such things”: Halle Berry, Gabriel Aubry, and Common Fallacies in Interracial Relationships

by Latoya Peterson

The acrimonious custody battle between Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry took a racial turn last week, when allegations surfaced that Aubry used racial slurs toward Berry, and acted with anger whenever a news story would describe their mixed-race child Nahla as black. One of Aubry’s exes added fuel to the fire, referring to him as “borderline racist.”

Nadra Kareem Nittle, writing for Bitch, takes the opportunity to examine the racial divide in the reactions to the gossip:

On the gossip website Celebitchy, one of the more civil celeb sites, the readership not only overwhelmingly sided with Aubry but also expressed disbelief that he may have used the N-word while arguing with Berry.

“Sounds to me like she’s trying to pull the race card, which is pretty low when you consider that the guy obviously has no problems being with a black woman, nor having a mixed race child with her,” one commenter wrote.

Another remarked, “I have to side with Gabriel here. He doesn’t seem to be the type who would throw out racial slurs.”

One more commented, “Disgusting that Halle is playing the race card. Gabriel is Canadian, and the N-word isn’t used here.” Continue reading

Chromatic Casting: Remixing The Dark Knight Rises

By Arturo R. García

At the suggestion of a friend, I decided to revisit Friday’s post about Bane, Chromatic Comics-style. Keep in mind that there’s several different permutations of the casting choices I came up with.

Let me say up-front that this, ultimately, is an exercise in casting for fun. It is not intended to suggest that casts comprised entirely of people of color are “THE ANSWER.” To suggest that one must choose between calling for more POCs to be cast in race-neutral roles, or calling for the creation and development of more standout characters of color – be they heroic, villainous or otherwise – is to enable a false dichotomy. There’s good reasons why Luke Cage is best played by a Black actor and why Bruce Wayne could be played by, say, an Asian-American actor. (He’s not in this particular version, but I’m not saying an Asian-American actor or actress couldn’t pull it off, and if you’ve got any choices of your own, please feel free to chime in in the comments.)

If anything, the Chromatic meme puts the lie to the premise that “there’s not enough [x] actors to make it work” or “people wouldn’t go see an [x] actor in a general-market lead role.” Showing that there are actors of color out there, each of them with established fan bases, who could step into these “iconic” roles only supports the call for a greater variety of roles for them, and for the next wave of POC actors, because it shows that there are “enough” of them out there for both consumers and business interests to take a chance on.

With that established, here we go. A ton of pics, and some spoilers for Nolan’s Batman series are under the cut.

Continue reading

Where is the Black Julia Roberts? Part 1: Top Actresses 2000-2010

By Guest Contributor Aymar Jean Christian, cross-posted from Televisual

The “black actress” stepped into the spotlight last year, as Nia Long called out Beyoncé Knowles and other singers for taking roles; Tyler Perry released yet another film starring newcomer Taraji P. Henson; and Precious gave its stars, especially Mo’Nique, a chance to shine.

The November 5 release of Perry’s For Colored Girls puts the issue of black women in cinema back into the national conversation — even if it fails to redeem Tyler Perry. So I decided to posit an answer to the question: where are all the black leading ladies? Below: 1) why this question?, 2) a list, 3) the state of the black leading lady, and 4) how I came up with the current crop.

I. Where is the Black Julia Roberts? One Route to an Answer

Easier asked than answered! The question is really more provocation than anything. At a certain point, comparison between races is irrelevant: is Will Smith the “white” anyone? He’s Will Smith! The question, however, does open up an interesting discussion. Julia Roberts, like Meryl Streep, can do a lot: from Duplicity and Eat Pray Love to, now, August: Osage County. Roberts can choose her roles and she almost always plays the lead. What black actress could do the same, now or in the near future? The real issue leads us to ask: of the potential black leading ladies today, who is on top, who isn’t panning out, and why?

Continue reading

Halle Berry to star in movie based on white woman’s life

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

colorblind? not so much“Color-blind” casting somehow always seems to benefit white actors. Think of the new CBS sitcom The Class, for example. Although it’s set in the rather diverse city of Philadelphia, the show features an all-white cast. Just like Friends did. The producer David Crane responded to critics by saying this: “When we wrote the script, we wrote it color-blind…and then we auditioned. For six months we saw just a huge range and diversity of actors and at the end of the day these were absolutely the eight actors who were absolutely right for the parts.” Uh-huh.

That’s why it was so refreshing to read this news story about Halle Berry’s upcoming project. It’s based on the true story of a teacher who accepted a challenge from her sixth grade class to run for Congress. But get this: the original woman was white. For once, “color-blind” casting done right! From EURweb.com:

Halle Berry’s next movie role will center on the true story of Tierney Cahill, a teacher from Reno, Nev. who accepted a challenge from her sixth grade class to run for Congress in 2000.

The actress will portray Cahill in the DreamWorks drama, titled “Class Act.” The filmmakers have taken a rare turn in casting an African American actress to portray a woman who is white in real life. Sources close to the production tell Variety that it was more important to find the right actress for the role rather than the right white actress.

In 2000, Cahill decided to grant the wishes of her students and run for Congress on the condition that they would help with her campaign. The single mother ultimately lost her bid to an incumbent, but she ended up winning 35% of the popular vote.