SHADE - Pilot

So...a lot has been going on and I'm happy to report that Team Sizzle has completed shooting a pilot titled, "Shade."  If you'd like to follow along with the process, follow us on Facebook and Instagram for details.  Such an exciting project with an extremely talented cast!  Looking forward to sharing it with you guys as soon as possible!

Facebook:  Shade.TS

Instagram:  Shade.TS

How to Not Snap 101!

Raise  your hand if you have multiple projects going on right now.  LOL!  I know I do.  It's how I don't SNAP.

Yesterday, instead of focusing on what I already have going on INSIDE, I decided it was the perfect day for OUTSIDE projects so I got up and headed to Lowe's not once, but twice and did a lot of Spring time sprucing up outside.  I started seedlings, did container planting and laid out a design for color throughout the year.  By nightfall I was covered in dirt from head-to-toe and smiling like crazy happy with what I'd done.  

And then...I settled in for the Oscars.  I never said I was boycotting them even as I understood why so many felt it was the only way to get their voices heard.  I always felt like the Oscars wasn't the problem.  The Oscars was simply the end of a very long Monopoly game complete with folks stealing from the bank and straight up angry board flipping when the cheating is figured out.  I watched because I'm a fan of film.  I watched because I've made 4 short films and one feature film and I'm hoping to get the chance to learn from my mistakes and make another feature film soon.  I watched because noting what filmmakers do with $150 million makes me laugh in comparison to the $350 thousand folks offer up filmmakers who look like me and then have the nerve to say, "Maybe if Black filmmakers made better movies...yada, yada..."

I thought Chris Rock's opening monologue was spot on but, as the production progressed, I became more and more offended.  I posted my feelings on Facebook:

There were the typical comments, of course and...I just started deleting fools because if you are going to seriously sit here and tell me that you don't understand why people of color feel some kinda way about're already telling me all I need to know about you and I'm good on you.

Folks ain't trying to get nothing for free.  Folks ain't trying to take away from Leonardo and Cate and the filmmakers behind their performances.  Folks just want an opportunity to showcase their talents as well.  Folks want an opportunity to grow and learn from their mistakes too same as Steven Spielberg got to do with his evolution from "The Sugarland Express." can't get better if you're not give the opportunity to continue on.

Ah well...whatever.  Let me get back to the project I want to finish today.  I need to run out and get some Brasso after I put on the final coat of paint.  And I need to finish choosing from my storage box of plant pots what I'd like to put some new plants in. And then I need to start stripping all the stain off the unique table I plan on using as an end table in the room this piece is going in and I gotta get outta here and hit up the sale at this upholstery fabric store that is going out of business so I can get some good deals on some fabrics for some window treatments my mommy-in-law is going to help me with. is something that I saved to my 'FAH' (Funny As Hell) folder on my phone.  It's a folder that I keep with all the things I run across which me laugh like crazy no matter what else is going on.  I hope it does the same for you.  I don't know this guy in real life, but if you do, thank him for me for this laugh cuz baaaaaaaaaby...those hashtags tho!  LOL!

I'm Not a Racist. I'm Salty.

I wasn't very surprised at the Academy Award nominations.  Did I think Kevin Hart was going to get a nod for his role in "Get Hard?"  No.  I didn't.

Who in the world is going to argue that Cate Blanchett and Leonardo DiCaprio don't deserve awards for their performances?  Crazy people ONLY cuz yeah...they brought it as they always do.  Matt Damon in "The Martian?"  Dude did that.  I loved that movie and loved his performance.  Very seldom do I enjoy a movie as much as I enjoyed the book and I did here.

No surprise.

I haven't seen "Room" yet but from what I understand, Brie Larson showed out.  She prepped for 8 months for that role and I'm kinda scared at what that means based on what I know the movie to be about.  I'm sure she was paid enough to not miss a mortgage payment in those 8 months of prep work too. You'd expect that right?  Hell...I hope so.

I'll be honest when I say I didn't really think Jennifer Lawrence was going to get a nod for her performance in "Joy."  Not that I don't like Jennifer Lawrence because I've truly loved all of her previous performances but I just didn't care for the "slowed down" version of her that was in this movie.  I mean I know an actress has to show range in all of their just didn't do it for me and hell...what do I know and yeah...she's the current golden girl so I wasn't surprised.

I'm also not stupid.  

I know there weren't a lot of movies with Black people in them again so I wasn't expecting more representation during the nominations.  There was "Creed," and "Straight Outta Compton."  Those were pretty much the only two widely released films with significant roles for Black people in them directed by Black people.  Both good me.  Did I expect "Straight Outta Compton" to get more nods?  But "Creed?"  Yeah...I did.

I'm constantly trolling The New York Times' Opinion Facebook page and read comments I expected to read about the "blacklash" regarding the nominations.  And a lot of people didn't seem to get it.  I'm talking White AND Black people.

It's not about the nominations.  I honestly hope they really try and be inclusive.   It's about the filmmakers and casting directors and the people with the clout to greenlight films.  It's about OPPORTUNITY.  

One commenter got a lot of likes for saying something's about talent.  If you're not talented, you don't get nominated, simple.  People were like...YEAH!  SAY THAT!  NO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN MOVIES!  

And I rolled my eyes is about talent and, more importantly...the opportunity to showcase that talent.  You can be as talented as Denzel, Cate and Leonardo but if you're not getting the opportunity to show  you're talented...THEN WHO IN THE HELL KNOWS YOU'RE TALENTED EXCEPT FOR YOUR MAMA???????????

So yeah...I was/am salty.  All of that talk that went on last year based on the success of the first season of "Empire" which blew the viewing numbers out of the water was just that...TALK.  While folks were talking and celebrating yet another magazine cover with a Black actor on it, movies were in full post-production about to be rolled out for awards season.  The same names had the same opportunities to show how great they are.  The same names DIDN'T have opportunities.  

Same old, same old.

I was only surprised that so many people were surprised.

Still doesn't mean I wasn't salty though.

What say you?  Were you surprised?  Were you salty?  Do you care?

Dear Academy Awards: Tell Us the Reason

I try my best to keep my anger at bay at things which I don't have any control over or which don't affect me directly.  It became a point of mine as I realized I'm getting older and that stress shows up on your face in wrinkles and whatnot.  Regardless of how well you know do know one thing for sure and that is that I'm vain as hell.  If getting mad at ish ages me then I'm going to flit around this mofo like a Disney bird twittering and ish.  So I tend to STOP AND BREATHE more and more.  I do have family, framily and friends I vent to...but for the most part we discuss and let it go.  I also just put it out there on Facebook by posting an article and commenting on it and then just read the comments to see if anyone else feels the same or...whether it's just me.

When the Academy Awards nominations were announced, I wasn't surprised at the lack of diversity.  I doubt anyone was.  I know some expressed shock and awe but honestly...they weren't shocked either.  Everyone knows it's a game of politics and political players tend to look the same in most of the top arenas where politics are active players.

Question: How Do You Become a Member of the Academy?

Answer: Membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is by invitation only. The Academy sends out invitations to a very limited number of qualified members of the film community once a year. Membership in the Academy normally fluctuates between 6,000 and 6,500 voting members.

Candidates for membership are proposed by current Academy members and then voted on by committees consisting of prominent representatives of the Academy’s 14 branches - directors, screenwriters, documentary filmmakers, etc. A candidate normally has the backing of at least two members of the branch for which he/she may qualify. Candidates must receive an endorsement by the appropriate branch executive committee before their name is given to the Board of Governors for its approval.

The Academy has tightened their entrance standards, with only the most impressive candidates invited to join the distinguished group. Academy Award nominees, if not already members, are automatically considered for membership (but not guaranteed an invitation to join).

The majority of the members are from the United States of America, however membership is not limited to U.S. citizens. Members remain eligible to vote until they have passed on or opted for retired (non-voting) status.



I thought about the studio films which had a solid cast of Black actors in them this past year:

1.  Selma - Loved it.

2.  Addicted - Just watched it the other day and couldn't finish.  The menZ were pretty though.

3.  No Good Deed - Never finished it.  Probably won't even though I LURVES Taraji.

4.  Repentance  - Will watch this week.

5.  A Haunted House 2 - *BLINK*

6.  The Single Moms Club - No plans to watch.

7.  Get On Up - Really enjoyed it.

8.  The Equalizer - (On the fence about including this one since Denzel was the only Black person.)  Enjoyed it...wasn't Mr. Washington's best but not his fault.

9.  About Last Night - TRULY enjoyed it!

10.  Think Like a Man Too - TRULY enjoyed it!

11.  Belle - LOVED it...knew it wouldn't attract many though.

12.  Ride Along - I love Kevin Hart so yeah...TRULY enjoyed it!

13.  Annie - Didn't watch it and kinda feel really bad that I didn't so I'll rent it soon.


15.  Beyond the Lights - TRULY enjoyed it.  

16.  Dear White People - #StillMad

I got annoyed last night and a friend asked me if I truly felt that "Selma" should have won best picture.  

Me:  Have you ever seen "Malcolm X" or "The Color Purple?"

Friend:  No.

Me:  Did you see "Selma?"

Friend:  No.

Me:  Why?  

Friend:  Well, I don't support Spike Lee because I think he's a racist and I'd never even heard of "The Color Purple" before I met you because I know that's one of your favorite movies.

Me:  And "Selma?"

Friend:  I meant to go over the holidays but the time just got away from me and with kids it seems I only get to go see kid movies anyway.

Me:  Fair enough....have you ever seen a Woody Allen film?

Friend:  Of course.

My response was pretty much the following:

Well you'll understand that I understand that "Selma" meant something completely different to me than it did for you.  Emotionally there was a connect that many don't have and not just with White people.  I know a LOT of 20 and 30something Black people who didn't see it and well...I can't say it was something a teenager would choose to go see if their parents or school didn't take I get that nothing is required viewing.  But "Malcolm X" is one of the most amazing films of our time.  You should get over your thoughts on Spike Lee and watch it one day same as I got over my distaste of the man Woody Allen is because I understand watching his movies is like an alternative film class with a perspective I'd never have.  Living in his world would be a fantasy for me and the closest I'll ever get to it is by watching his movies and watching how it is to exist without many of the worries most of us have.  Being able to do and say exactly as you wish at all times is something afforded to the few.

The conversation continued and, this morning, I've had similar conversations with friends, Black and White.  And one Asian woman.  

My thoughts on the Oscars get me angry far before nominations.  It's way back up in the deep...when producers think about what's next on their agenda.  What kind of movie do they want to make next.  Who is going to be the next star?  Who will they touch and change their life.  It goes back to how I felt here:

Black Filmmaking:  The Elephants in the Room...

The recent success of television shows with Black people in them have finally given me hope that the money rolling in will make Hollywood HAVE to factor in diversity in such a way that there will be room for more than one at a time.  You know how it Black Hollywood there can't be more than one it someone in a certain position at a time.  We get one it television show runner, one it director, one it actor, one it comedian.  LOL!  One at a time please!  No pushing!  No shoving!  Form ONE line!  WE'RE GOING TO USE THIS ACTOR IS 14 MOVIES this year because we only allow one at a time!  Yall know the drill!  Slow your roll!

So yeah...I'm hoping it gets better but you'll understand if I'm cynical as fuck about it cuz yeah...

Anyway...I'm happy "Birdman" won so big and I'm over-the-moon about Common and John Legend's win.  They are young Harry Belafonte's to me and I love them so.  They are not afraid to speak what needs to be spoken to the masses things which benefit ALL and not just them.  They made/make me proud.  

I got so annoyed at how many Black actors were onstage handing OUT the awards.  LOL!  I mean...that ish got to be comical.  One of my FB friends said it was the Oscar's version of "The Help."  

I didn't care for some of the nonchalant lack of Black people jokes either.  Like when Jerry Seinfeld said that they really never did much with Black women during his bit on the SNL anniversary show and then kept it moving.  LOL!  I mean damn!  

Just wow.

Anywho.  Again...proud of and glad for Common and John Legend and their entire teams behind them.  Keep raising those bars and keep 'em talking and crying.  Every little bit helps if it gets into the minds of those with the power to make diversity in films really happen.  

Me, myself and I personally?  (I hate that expression and am just using it to make someone laugh.)  I'm going to re-watch "What's Love Got to Do With It" again.  Anna Mae and Ike were ROBBED!