Sunday, September 29, 2013

Looking Back at K-Ville 6 Years Later

When "Sleepy Hollow" premiered three weeks ago, it was the highest rated debut on Fox in six years. The last show to debut that well on Fox? "K-Ville."

"K-Ville" was one of my favorite TV shows of the last decade. It premiered in September 2007 and revolved around the duties of NOPD officers Marlon Boulet (Anthony Anderson) and his partner Trevor Cobb (Cole Hauser). The two men are an unlikely pairing in post Katrina New Orleans, as they and the city are fighting to regain their footing.

At first glance, "K-Ville" could be mistaken for the classic buddy-cop cliche. A black guy and white guy team up to fight crime, kick ass and take names. I never viewed K-Ville in that light however. Anthony Anderson's character, Boulet, is a native New Orleanian who's still dealing with ghosts of Katrina some two years later. In the pilot episode we watch as he tries to assist people in the immediate aftermath of Katrina only to watch his partner go AWOL and drive off in a police cruiser. Later, Boulet's partner returns to the unit and Boulet is forced to reconcile with the man who once deserted him.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2 Years Running

Time sure does fly. In the two years since starting this blog, I've definitely enjoyed writing about a number of topics connected to film and media. Whether it's been profiling specific films or TV shows, or controversies within the media, or even just showcasing a music video, I believe at the very least these things can add something to the broader discussion. Acknowledgement, analysis and discussion on topics not heavily covered in mainstream media, I believe, is part of the journey of greater enlightenment about things that may not be familiar to oneself.

In the coming months I plan to debut a new series of articles highlighting local artists/poets/musicians/change agents, under the title of FilmSwag Features. FilmSwag Features will most likely include a small article and a short video on somebody in the art world (doesn't necessarily have to be film) who is either just starting out or has a message they want to tell. It's part of a process of highlighting real people doing exemplary things that for whatever reason go unnoticed by many. So definitely look out for that. Also, if anyone has any ideas or topics they would like to see covered, feel free to hit me up at While I can't promise that I'll be able to cover every topic somebody leaves in my inbox, I will certainly look into each one.

Finally, I just once again want to say THANK YOU to anyone and everyone who has read my articles, shared my work or commented on this site. It is definitely appreciated. Hell, even if you hate the articles but just come here for the music videos, I appreciate that too. As always, lets continue to keep getting educated together.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

After A 20 Year Hiatus Arsenio Hall is Back

Arsenio Hall made his triumphant return back to late night television this month and the initial results have been promising.

In its first full week on the air, "The Arsenio Hall Show" won the coveted 18-49 TV demographic, which is certainly a good sign. Arsenio has had on a number of well known entertainers and musical guests ranging the gamut from Chris Tucker, to Magic Johnson, to Angela Basset and Kendrick Lamar. I only got see the first show, but I enjoyed it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Russell Simmons, Harriet Tubman, and the Continued Degradation of Black Women

Harriet Tubman is considered an American hero freeing hundreds of black folks from the horrors of slavery during her time. Last month a video was released that desecrated her legacy and made her appear anything but heroic.

The video was the creation of Russell Simmons' All Def Digital company which released the parody and subsequently has had some serious questions to answer. First, a little back story on Russell Simmons. This is a man who is considered one of the original hip-hop moguls (he co-founded the record label Def Jam), a man who launched the clothing line Phat Farm and a man who used his own name to promote the 'Rush Card.'

So Russell has been in the music/media/entertainment industry for awhile now. Online video has exploded in recent years and Russell has decided to put his hat in the ring. This was not the way to make a first impression however.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Program 20 Years Later

This is probably one of the most underrated sports films of the last 20-25 years. I loved it when I first saw it 10 years ago and it continues to be one of my favorites.

"The Program" is a film about a fictional college football team and the challenges and obstacles they must overcome during the course of a season. That's really just the icing on the cake however. Over the course of the film we get a view to varying degrees of the men who makeup the squad. There's the alcoholic quarterback. The freshman running-back trying to supplant the senior in the starting lineup. The fierce linebacker who trash talks the opponent to psych himself up during the game before it eventually costs him. And finally, there's the coach played by James Caan who is fighting to keep it all together.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff Making History at PBS

Though it may come as a surprise to some, nightly news broadcasts across the major networks in the United States are still largely a man's world. That's why it's refreshing and good to see Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff becoming the first women co-anchors for a nightly news show when they make their debut tonight on PBS.

Ifill and Woodruff will become the regular co-hosts of the PBS program "NewsHour." They are both veteran journalists who have definitely paid their dues over the years. For more, you can check out this Associated Press article.

Photo by The Associated Press

Friday, September 6, 2013

Barry Jenkins on Being A Black Filmmaker

"I’m a black filmmaker. I must be. When I think of characters, or rather, when characters come to me — as the best ones do, outside of conscious thought — overwhelmingly they are black. And when I introduce these characters and films into the production framework of this industry, the funding and distribution “restrictions” I’m met with as a result of those characters’ blackness would remind me, if it weren't clear already, that I am indeed black."

The above quote comes from the NY Times piece 20 Directors to Watch in which the Times profiled 20 filmmakers who are making their voices heard. Barry Jenkins directed the 2008 film "Medicine for Melancholy," which centers around a young couple who spend a day with each other in San Francisco. It's a film that I highly recommend. The piece also features Dee Rees, who directed the 2011 highly regarded film "Pariah."

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ryan Coogler Speaks On His Sundance Institute Journey

Writer and director Ryan Coogler, who directed the critically acclaimed "Fruitvale Station," speaks on the impact that attending the Sundance Film Insititute Labs had not only on his career, but his life.