TSD Memphis



2014’s Golden Globes spotlight the spectrum of black films

goldenglobe 600The critically lauded "12 Years a Slave" has been nominated in several prestigious categories in this Sunday's Golden Globe Awards – and the conspicuous presence of black directors, actors and films this awards season offers a chance to reflect on Hollywood's tortured racial past and hopeful future.

The Golden Globes, which are dominated by the more liberal foreign press, unofficially begin an awards season that will formally conclude at the Academy Awards ceremony on March 2.

While in past years African Americans have rightfully complained about the lack of recognition in major awards categories, 2014 promises to be different. In addition to "12 Years a Slave," other major black films in the running for awards include the independently made "Fruitvale Station," "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." Black men directed all except "Mandela," and black screenwriter John Ridley penned the screenplay for "12 Years a Slave."


Kam’s Kapsules


"Her" (R for profanity, sexuality and brief nudity) Oscar-nominee Spike Jonze (for Being John Malkovich) directed this romance drama revolving around a lonely letter writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with the voice (Scarlett Johansson) on his computer's operating system. With Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Bill Hader and Olivia Wilde.

"The Legend of Hercules" (PG-13 for sensuality and intense violence) Mythological saga, set in ancient Greece, revolving around a demigod (Kellan Lutz) torn between pursuing true love and fulfilling his destiny by toppling a tyrannical king (Scott Adkins). With Gaia Weiss, Roxanne McKee, Liam Garrigan and Luke Newberry.


Sasheer Zamata: ‘Saturday Night Live’ adds first black female cast member in 6 years

snl 600After receiving considerable backlash for not having a black female cast member for several years, NBC's "Saturday Night Live" has hired Sasheer Zamata as a featured player.

Zamata will make her SNL debut January 18 alongside Drake who will be pulling double duty as the show's host and musical guest.

The actress, who has been featured in The New York Times, Time Out New York, Jezebel, and Vulture represents the first African-American female to be a part of SNL's regular cast since Maya Rudolph left the show in November 2007.


Gabrielle Union would have been Olivia Pope. Instead she’s ‘Being Mary Jane’

gabriellunion 600Gabrielle Union might as well be a unicorn or a leprechaun or some other mythical creature. She is stunning and petite and warm and kind—all things that actresses of her stature and beauty aren't supposed to be. And get this: She likes bacon.

Not all things bacon, but a quiche-looking thing that sits in rows on a square plate in front of her. She didn't order it so much as it just appeared, all neat and prepared, like magic.

She looks at the food and wonders aloud whether it has bacon in it. She picks it up, inspects it a bit and then, throwing caution to the wind, dives in. Two bites in, she closes her eyes, and it is confirmed: bacon.


Yo Gotti, Juicy J, and Drake named in list of ‘The 25 Best Albums Of 2013’

memphisrap 600Yo Gotti, Juicy J and Drake all have one thing in common, or ties to it, and it's Memphis. Now, they also have something else in common, they all were named in XXL's list of "The Best Albums of 2013." These three rappers have had a good year and not just with music but also mental growth. However, this is about the impression they have made upon others with their latest music projects.

Rapper Yo Gotti, self-proclaimed King of Memphis, managed to make his way on XXL's "The Best Albums of 2013" list for his album "I AM" on Epic Records.

Outside of XXL's editorial list, "I AM" managed to rank in at No. 2 on the Billboard R&B and Hip-Hop album chart.



Uncle Phil was a fresh take on black fatherhood

unclephil 600When James Avery died on New Year's Day, he had not only amassed an enviable career of television and stage appearances, including a performance as the legendary Howard University Law Professor Charles Hamilton Houston in a 1993 PBS dramatization of the Brown vs. the Board of Education case. His lasting legacy though is as one on the most endearing black father figures in American television history. Twenty-three years after Avery introduced audiences to Judge Phillip Banks, the character still resonates as a counter to the myths of the absentee and irresponsible black father.

Debuting in January of 1990, the "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" revolved around a working class cousin Will (Will Smith), who was being taken in by his wealthy kin. The series, which ran six seasons, was based on the real life experience of producer Benny Medina. Avery quickly established himself as the typical television patriarch, but as the character developed many folk began to think of "Uncle Phil," as Avery will forever be remembered, along the lines of classic father figures such as James Evans Sr. (John Amos), Heathcliffe Huxtable (Bill Cosby). And indeed, as the traditional black family has largely disappeared from network television, Uncle Phil's characters resonates even more.

Though Uncle Phil was often uptight and overly formal – echoing Avery's own desire to see more well-spoken, middle-class black men on television – Uncle Phil's backstory was that of a 1960s-era black activist, who entered the legal profession to continue the good fight.


Let’s hope hip-hop steps up in 2014

hiphopjb 600Around the family dinner table over Christmas, the conversation turned to the recently announced Outkast performance at Coachella 2014 – the event that pretty much all hip-hop heads are looking forward to – and the overall state of hip-hop going into 2014, which has decidedly more mixed reviews.

Was 2013 a good year for the music we love, or does it need a new blueprint? Will 2014 bring an as-yet-undiscovered breakthrough artist or album, or will hip-hop continue to be a marginalized art form consumed by many and controlled by a few?

Expect the same group of regulars to put out more of the same material: Rick Ross will still rap about cars, clothes and hos. Weezy will figure out new metaphors for oral sex. Future will kill us with Auto-Tuned hood raps and Drake will keep "srapping" (singing-rapping). He did say on "All Me" that he's "the light-skinned Keith Sweat" and he "gon' make it last forever." I believe him.


‘Top 10 Black Christian Bestsellers List’

mckinnyhammond 600Bestselling authors, Michelle McKinney Hammond ("Joseph: Waiting on God's Timing, Living in God's Plan" – Nonfiction) and Victoria Christopher Murray ("Never Say Never" – Fiction) lead the bestsellers list of Black Christian authors on the December 2013 edition of the Black Christian News/Black Christian Book Company National Bestsellers List.



Forget ‘Duck Dynasty’

duckdynasty 600When the PR director of a digital-media company tweeted a racist remark about AIDS in Africa before boarding a flight from the United States to South Africa, thousands of Twitter followers tracked her flight.

Thousands pressured cable channel A&E to suspend reality star Phil Robertson from his popular show, "Duck Dynasty," after the publication of an interview in GQ magazine in which he made homophobic remarks and insisted that black people were happy under Jim Crow.

The previous week, Fox News host Megyn Kelly drew outrage when she insisted that both Santa and Jesus are white, and comedian Steve Martin pulled an off-color joke from his Twitter account and offered an apology.


Robin Roberts thanks longtime girlfriend on Facebook

robin 600Robin Roberts spent the last Sunday of the year reflecting on how far she has come and revealing to the rest of us something her friends and family have known for sometime: that Roberts is gay.

"I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together. I am grateful for the many prayers and well wishes for my recovery.we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together," the co-host of "Good Morning America," who has publicly faced several health scares, wrote on her Facebook page.

Roberts posted a photo of her and her dog KJ sharing a loving moment when she reached a milestone in her recovery after receiving a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), CNN reports.


Which gifting consumer were you this year?

cherylp mcneil-160We know that African-Americans are powerful consumers; and, that consumers across-the-board fall into very specific categories. Even though we may not have consciously thought about it while making our lists and checking them twice in the stores or online, chances are we automatically classified our gift recipients into consumer groups, as was encouraged by consumer insights from research for Nielsen.

Now, this might seem a little "after the fact," but, these insights are not only fun, but studying our trends as consumers helps businesses craft the messages and outreach strategies to engage us and better meet our needs (and their bottom line) down the road. This year's gift guide survey, focused on five consumer categories: working moms, sports fans, arts enthusiasts, connected consumers and status seekers.

According to the survey, the working moms in your life typically buy and appreciate anything that helps to keep their lives organized and moving forward. For instance, working moms are more likely to thrive on all varieties of coffee, and enjoy specialty coffee packages. Working moms are 23 percent more likely than other consumer groups to visit the local pizza place, so it makes sense that a pizza stone and ingredients would have been a good gift. Other great presents would have been a tablet PC or any kind of home décor or decorative storage pieces.