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Have fun with this one, y'all.

by Nellie Andreeva • tip
March 24, 2015 6:30pm

There was a noticeable shift toward minority castings last season, with more parts opening up to ethnic actors, a casting term used for non-Caucasian thesps. It was a concerted effort, with more than one instances where a family member role was rewritten as adopted to make them ethnic. Then, following the success of freshman series How To Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Fresh Off The Boat, Jane the Virgin and especially Empire, which launched to huge ratings at the kickoff of pilot casting season, ethnic castings exploded this season.

The change is welcomed by talent agents who no longer have to call casting directors and ask them if they would possibly consider an ethnic actor for a part, knowing they would most likely be rejected. “I feel that the tide has turned,” one agent said. “I can pitch any actor for any role, and I think that’s good.”

But, as is the case with any sea change, the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction. Instead of opening the field for actors of any race to compete for any role in a color-blind manner, there has been a significant number of parts designated as ethnic this year, making them off-limits for Caucasian actors, some agents signal. Many pilot characters this year were listed as open to all ethnicities, but when reps would call to inquire about an actor submission, they frequently have been told that only non-Caucasian actors would be considered. “Basically 50% of the roles in a pilot have to be ethnic, and the mandate goes all the way down to guest parts,” one talent representative said.

In one instance, after a number of actors of different ethnicities tested for two roles in a pilot this year, two Caucasian actors ended up being the top choices for the two remaining regular parts. However, because of a mandate from the studio and network, one of the roles had to diverse, so the pilot could only cast one of the top choices and pass on the other to fulfill the ethnic quota. “They need to say the best man or woman wins,” one rep suggested.

Because of the sudden flood of roles for ethnic actors after years of suppressed opportunities for them, the talent pool of experienced minority performers — especially in the younger range — is pretty limited. That has led to a feeding frenzy, with a number of straight offers locking in ethnic talent before they could be snatched by another pilot.

This is not to say that there weren’t other hot commodities this pilot season; star names were in demand as usual, as were hot young guys and girls and occasional foreigners with that “sparkle.” But the big trend this pilot casting season was the huge spike in the number and prominence of roles that went to minority actors.

paulapattenSome of it has been organic. Last year, the leads in Extant and How To Get Away With Murder, originally not written as black, became ethnic once stars of the caliber of Halle Berry and Viola Davis became interested. Such was the case with Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria, who both commanded on-air episodic orders from NBC when they committed to star in drama Shades Of Blue and comedy Telenovela, respectively, as well as Paula Patton, who lifted the cast-contingency off the ABC drama pilot Runner. (ABC and 20th TV cast Patten, who is black, knowing already that the male lead had been conceived as Hispanic. The role went to Adam Rodriguez.) That also was the case with meaty supporting roles on Fox’s Gotham last year, which went for Jada Pinkett Smith, and NBC drama pilot Endgame this time, landing Wesley Snipes.

Also not earmarked as ethnic was the lead in NBC pilot Strange Call, a remake of an Australian series, which went to Community‘s Danny Pudi. CBS tried for a year to cast its comedy pilot Taxi-22, a remake of a French-Canadian series, until John Leguizamo signed on. And testing alongside actresses of different ethnicities, Natalie Martinez landed the lead in the NBC martial arts drama pilot Warrior.

But there were more broadcast drama pilots than ever whose leads had been Morris Chestnut Headshot (Final)designated as black this year. That includes Fox medical drama Rosewood, toplined by Morris Chestnut, and CBS civil rights crime drama For Justice, starring Anika Noni Rose. Uncle Buck was rebooted by ABC specifically as a black family sitcom, with Mike Epps in the title role originated by John Candy. NBC opted to make the lead couple in its drama about diverse couples Love Is A Four Letter Word black in picking up the pilot. (It had been originally conceived as Caucasian.) After a post-table read recasting of the female role, the two leads went to Cynthia McWilliams and Rockmond Dunbar.

There also have been a number of drama co-leads on which the networks chose to go ethnic this year, including Supergirl’s male lead, cast with Mehcad Brooks; one of the four female leads in ABC drama Broad Squad (Rutina Wesley); and the female lead in Minority Report (Meagan Good).

mikeeppsABC, which has been in the forefront of the current wave of ethnic programming with freshmen How To Get Away With Murder, Black-ish, Cristela and Fresh Off The Boat, is leading the pack again with two black family comedies: Uncle Buck and Delores & Jermaine, starring comedian Jermaine Fowler and Whoopi Goldberg. The latter was based on the real-life experiences of comedian Fowler, as is ABC’s medical comedy Dr. Ken starring Ken Jeong. Additionally, NBC has Latino family magical drama The Curse Of The Fuentes Women with Hispanic lead cast, and CBS has the Rush Hour remake with black (Justin Hires) and Asian (Jon Foo) leads.

Uncle Buck and Love Is A Four Letter Word are among several projects where the original white protagonists have been changed to black this season. ABC’s medical drama pilot The Advocate was based on the story of former CAA agent Byrdie Lifson-Pompan and Dr. Valerie Ulene, who launched a healthcare consulting company. While the real-life inspiration for the two central character are both Caucasian, the show cast them Policewomengraduates_1972with one white actress, Kim Raver, and one black, Joy Bryant.

As the photo of the 1972 graduation of the first 12-women class of the Boston Police Academy indicates, they appear to be all white, as were the members of the original Broad Squad, Rachel Keefe and Patricia Murphy, Boston’s first all-female patrol team. That is no surprise as non-Hispanic Whites constituted 80% of Boston’s population in 1970 versus 16% blacks. While set in the 1970s, ABC’s drama pilot Broad Squad, inspired by the real-life events, has a lead cast more consistent with Boston’s current racial makeup of 45% white non-Hispanic and 27% black as one of its four female leads was written and cast as African-American, Wesley.

A lot of what is happening right now is long overdue. The TV and film superhero ranks have been overly white for too long, workplace shows should be diverse to reflect workplace in real America, and ethnic actors should get a chance to play more than the proverbial best friend or boss.

But replacing one set of rigid rules with another by imposing a quota of ethnic talent on each show might not be the answer. Empire, Black-ish, Jane the Virgin and Fresh Off The Boat have been breakouts because they represent worlds and points of view that were not on TV — a soapy hip-hop dynasty, an upper-class black family struggling with racial identity, a young Latina juggling her dreams and her heritage and an immigrant Asian family trying to fit in.

HTGAWM-Viola-Davis.png.CROP.rtstoryvar-largeTelevision has been successful with shows that had both all-white (Friends, Seinfeld) and all-black (The Cosby Show) casts on the strength of their premise, execution and talent performances and chemistry. It is for the same reason that Scandal, HTGAWM and Empire have done so well with Kerry Washington, Davis and Taraji P. Henson as the respective leads.

Trying to duplicate those series’ success by mirroring the ethnicity of their leads is a dubious proposition — if that was the key, 2010’s Undercovers, a slick drama with two appealing black leads, Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, should’ve been a hit.

While they are among the most voracious and loyal TV viewers, African-Americans still represent only 13% of the U.S. population. They were grossly underserved, but now, with shows as Empire, Black-ish, Scandal and HTGAWM on broadcast, Tyler Perry’s fare on OWN and Mara Brock Akil’s series on BET, they have scripted choices, so the growth in that fraction of the TV audience might have reached its peak.

As the broadcast networks are looking to add a number of new series targeting black viewers in the fall, we will see if that viewership can further expand (Empire and Black-ish have managed to successfully to co-exist in the same time slot this midseason). Since broadcast TV is a historically reactive business, that will determine whether the trend of ethnic casting will come back with a vengeance next season.

Hudlin's Huddle / Hillbilly Views: 50 Years Later (Selma)
« on: March 24, 2015, 11:57:08 am »

Monday, March 23, 2015

50 Years Later

 The week was not a typical winter week but it was not atypical either.  In southwestern Ohio a dusting of snow fell to renew the remains of the unmelted late February snowfalls. The weather forecasters talked about a storm front  but the end result was not remarkable….barely demanding the use of four wheel drive on our hill.

The largest snowfall fell in central Kentucky around I-65 and the I-71 interchange with I-64.  That hundred miles to the South sounded like a different world, Facebook and Instagram lit up with snowfall pictures and the news channels talked about an accumulation of between ten to 20 inches depending on one’s location. The Kentucky governor declared a snow emergency…people had been stranded in major traffic jams on interstate highways.  College and school campuses either closed or were on time delays.  Prospects for a trip south to Alabama did not look good as of late Thursday evening.

My sons were looking at me with  an unspoken question. They knew I was supposed to be in Berea Friday afternoon. Not being prepared for a discussion, I said nothing. Truthfully, the argument was in my head….would I go or would I stay home? I tried calling my cousin in Lexington to get his take on the roads and the weather.  Unfortunately, there was no answer so I continued to say nothing while delaying my final decision until Friday morning. I decided to email Diana as soon as Berea College opened for the day…at least my information would be first hand.  The internet provided no more information than I already had so Diana’s response would be critical...

****There's more including pictures here:

Hudlin's Huddle / Hillbilly Views: Open Letter to My Beloved Grandson
« on: January 25, 2015, 07:28:43 pm »

Sunday, January 25, 2015
You occupy a unique place and experience in our family.  My grandfather – your double great grandfather – was born in 1868, seven years after the beginning of the U.S. Civil War. He was the seventh son and the last of his siblings born in the state of Virginia.  While a toddler, his family (minus one brother) followed what was probably the Overland Trail  (paralleling what would later be known as U.S. 60) across the Appalachian Mountains. The journey took nearly two and a half years, ending once the family reached (and purchased) their new home at a settlement in West Virginia, near where the Levisa and the Tug Forks merge to become the Big Sandy River. This community would be chartered as Cassville in 1875 and in 1932 officially change its name to Fort Gay.
It was there – in that tiny West Virginia town – that my grandfather grew to adulthood, married, built a house, raised five children of his own, and helped raise nine grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews. In the tradition of the African griot (or the Appalachian story teller – whichever you choose to call it), he learned the vital historical details and values of his family and passed those on to the next generations of the family.  (Remember that the oral tradition is the way almost ALL of our history was passed on.)
West Virginia was and is now a unique state.  When Virginia seceded from the United States, West Virginia begged to differ and seceded from Virginia.  Why? I suspect that most folks in West Virginia (not being either wealthy or highly educated) had little in common with Old Virginia, economically or socially.  The motto finally adopted by people of the new state was “Montani semper liberi” or “Mountaineers are always free.” It reflects both a strong independent spirit and a determination NOT to be owned or bullied by anyone. (In world history, you will discover that the forces that drove the original Scotch/Irish immigrant population into the mountains had framed much of their future mindset.)

A unique aspect to West Virginia was that my grandfather – a Black man – could register to vote upon reaching adulthood. Actually, 1869 was the magic year when African American men were granted the right to vote in West Virginia. It was 1920 before women got the right to vote. My great grandfather (your triple great grandfather) insisted that his children would vote. They never missed a vote nor did they miss a chance to drill that requirement into the rising generations after them.  They voted and when women's suffrage became legal, their wives and daughters also voted. Around the supper table as I grew up, the news and issues of the day were discussed and never were family members even permitted to think that voting was optional. My grandfather's eyes were watching all of us and it was understood that WE WOULD VOTE!

(Note from your uncle: Contrast this with the experience of your grandfather – my husband – who was forbidden by Jim Crow laws from voting in his native Virginia until the passage of the Civil Rights Act.)

The year that I would turn 21 (legal voting age at that time), I was allowed to register early and vote in the primary because I would be 21 before the general election in November. Since I was in my 3rd year at Berea College, my registration and voting demanded two Greyhound bus trips the 120 miles home. I made BOTH trips. Don't get it wrong. Grampa knew when I should be registered and since he never missed a vote, he also knew when the election came. In that weekly phone call home, he would ask questions that demanded answers.

That spring on Berea's campus, political activity was hectic. The students held a mock political convention in Phelps-Stokes Chapel.  (It was a mock Republican convention sponsored by the Young Republicans club.) Barry Goldwater was nominated, just as he would be nominated at the official convention. I held subscriptions to all the major news magazines, so there was no question as to whether I knew what Barry Goldwater was about politically. In no way did I approve of him or his segregationist views. This was a lighbulb moment for me (an epiphany) – this moment when I realized some striking differences in the thinking between some of my college school mates and me, a young black Appalachian woman. Until that year, I had never considered the differences in thinking that our backgrounds and life experiences had shaped. (Rural, small town, deep South, hill country, urban North, etc.)

For a moment, I will digress (change direction) in my thoughts.  I was well aware of the struggles going on throughout our country. I had seen the confrontations about black folks sitting at lunch counters with white folks, the conflicts about black children and white children going to school together, and – yes – I would see many more racial conflicts. Although I had not seen a conflict when I set foot as a 6th grader in Fort Gay Elementary School in 1954, I had friends who were students at Berea Foundation School (the high school section of Berea College) who had seen the public schools of Prince Edward County Virginia totally CLOSED to prevent integration. The white students went to private schools; the black children went HOME to no schools. Berea offered admission to the Foundation School to some of the school-less black students. This is not an intellectual exercise; these were people I KNEW and although they didn't  talk much about situations at home in Virginia, I knew what they had endured. 
The life experiences of black folk shape our opinions and feelings and our reactions are RELEVANT, but to many who have not shared these experiences, our reactions are incomprehensible.  The inability to empathize or understand is a huge stumbling block to interracial understanding. My grandmother and her eldest child – Uncle Charlie – could catch the train in Fort Gay and ride unmolested to Ohio, but later with her second son – Uncle Carter – the family was relegated to the "blacks only" car because Uncle Carter was of darker brown skin. Your puzzled look tells me that this story seems strange to you, but that was the reality my grandmother had to live with.  The reality I had to live with is that the only hotel in Berea where my father and stepmother could stay when they came to visit was Boone Tavern Hotel, then (and now) owned by Berea College!

1964 was a year of social and political change and racial turmoil was brewing all over the country.  Then, as now, voting rights were a massive issue in many states. The news focused on poll taxes, voting eligibility tests,  and the night riders (also known as the KKK) that would do  ANYTHING to keep black folk from registering to vote.  We faced Mississippi Freedom Summer, the murders of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner, and many other incidents, along with the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Despair, hope, and yet even more despair and we moved on toward an uncertain future.  In spite of a federal law supporting many of our civil rights, the path into 1965 was perilous because this was the big push for voting rights across the nation. The strategy in January would be an attempt to awaken the nation to the barriers facing African Americans wishing to vote. Representatives of major civil rights groups met to plan strategy and no, I was not involved in the planning or the early execution. As a friend who was heavily involved told me: "Woman, you have too much temper; you would end up dead!  Stay in Kentucky. We'll tell you when it’s safe for you to come!"

I graduated from Berea toward the end of January 1965 and I continued my student job as a regular Berea College employee at the Berea College Press and the Berea Citizen newspaper.   By the end of February, the situation in Alabama was becoming very tense. Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot by a policeman and died several days later. His crime? Trying to protect his mother from being beaten. By the first week in March, the news was traveling and the big confrontation was in motion. A white minister died because he dared to join and side with the demonstrators in Selma.  People in Berea were aware of events in Alabama. Everyone was trying to keep up with the news. People talked about what was going on down there. Finally, a decision was made to join with the demonstration in the final push toward the Alabama capitol steps in Montgomery.  I would be a participant; I would be on that bus.

Was I afraid? No. Should I have been afraid? Probably. I will never forget walking shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of people as we marched through the streets of Montgomery. There are those who say that the final push of the Selma to Montgomery March included 25,000 people. I really don't know. All I know is that I was there among all those people – black, white, whoever. I remember the looks of the spectators who watched the marchers. The faces were NOT friendly early on, but I remember black folks slipping into the crowd of marchers as we drew nearer the capitol building. In the days after the march, Civil Rights worker Viola Liuzzo was chased and gunned down by the KKK. Our bus was on the highway headed home to Kentucky when and near where she lost her life.  We would not find out about her death until after we were safely home.

Fifty years ago, I was one of many.... an insignificant one of many who protested.  Even today I would NOT trade that experience because I know what we did was necessary. My grandfather voted for nearly 75 years of his life. I have voted for 51 years. Your vote is yet to come. Too many politicians today are trying to devise ways of disenfranchising everyday people. Your generation will have to be vigilant and take on the fight.  I wish it were not so, but in many ways the threat to restrict voting rights is just as dangerous in the 21st Century as it was in the 20th. Take notice of the fact that black people were murdered, lynched, beaten, firehosed, and chased by dogs to keep them from exercising their right to vote. Take notice of the fact that in certain places today, people have to stand in line for HOURS in order to vote. Take notice of the fact that voting hours in many places have and are being shortened.  Voting is a powerful weapon and it is probably the most powerful weapon that everyday people have.  If this wasn't so, why would so many people have been hurt or killed to keep them from voting? Why would politicians be working so hard to restrict rather than to expand voting opportunities? Why?

Hudlin's Huddle / Hillbilly Views: Long Journey Forward
« on: January 23, 2015, 09:14:39 pm »
There's also an entry on Selma - her experience, NOT the movie - that she worked on tonight, but I'm going to give her some time to edit it first.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Tempest Fugit! Time flies and does it ever.  Fifty years ago I was preparing to walk across the stage at Presser Hall, Berea College, Berea, Kentucky in recognition of completing requirements for my B.A. degree.  Was I prepared for the next 50 years?  Absolutely NOT. In my youthful naïve mindset, I failed to recognize exactly what the word "commencement" meant.   Receiving my degree was a huge milestone in many ways. My father with his seventh grade education and backed by a keen motherwit  had acquired the skills and knowledge that today would be called a journeyman electrician. He was largely self educated and  in his time and in his way he was successful.  My  mother had taught winters and gone to school during the summers...supported by her husband's  focused efforts and her parent's support to get that coveted "County Education" degree from Ohio University. Along the way...she had raised two children to adulthood and sent BOTH off to earn their college brother from Tuskegee Institute and my sister from Storer College in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia.  She had  also given birth to a third late in life child...ME ...before losing the battle to cancer when I was a toddler.  When I walked across that stage...I did not truly realize how remarkable my journey had been.
My maternal grandfather had been born in 1868 just after the end of the Civil War. My paternal grandfather had been born in 1861...before the end of slavery. Because of the traditions of Appalachian men...especially black Appalachian men....I was "sheltered" from that knowledge....a knowledge I had to fight to acquire after the death of both grandfathers and my father.....knowledge I had to ferret out as the nearly middle age adult parent of half grown children! The journey I began that January Sunday afternoon fifty years ago would be challenging....frustrating...and filled with twists and turns I could not and would not see  or understand for many, many years. Perhaps I thought that graduation was a terminal point along the journey to be educated.....little did I know....that Sunday was only the beginning....of a long journey to the future.
Early in mindset for learning was shaped by the adult family members around me. If I had to paraphrase  the learning style I grew up would be "keep your eyes and ears open..mostly keep your mouth shut and analyze what you see and hear."  That advice shaped the beginning of my news writing fifteen.  The local newspaper decided to print a page in the Sunday paper especially for teenagers.  They announced the page, they asked for volunteer writers, and I applied...and was accepted.  Did I have a clue what I was going to write about? No...but I liked to write so I began.  The first article  was totally rewritten by my editor...and I was devastated.   After my hurt feelings had toned down..I sat down with my original article....looked at the published piece and started picking apart my errors. Never again would I be edited beyond recognition...ever.  I wrote for that paper for three years...reports on school news, opinion pieces, miscellaneous news and hardly a month went by that something I had written did NOT appear in print. By the time I graduated from high school...I knew I wanted to be a writer.
My stepmother blew her stack...telling my father that he shouldn't encourage my useless daydreams.  I had learned early on to keep my writing well hidden from her. She would sneak in my bedroom at my mail, read my journal...and talk about me (negatively) to anyone who would listen. My mother's brother brought home (to my grandparent's house) the solution to THAT problem. He bought a desk and a used typewriter and told me to get busy....and keep my writing in the desk. Loudly he proclaimed that the desk and the typewriter were HIS and no one was to bother it! My stepmother did NOT nose around his desk. Needless to mother's family has ALWAYS encouraged my writing.

It was senior year in high school and time for college applications and the dreaded college essay. Conflict time (Armageddon style) erupted in my father's house.  My stepmother was going to oversee my college application. She swore to my father that my writing was terrible and  nothing...and I do mean nothing I wrote was acceptable (to her).  I was a nervous wreck until the day I finally spilled my frustrations to my grandfather.  His solution....get another application...fill it out and send it in...and the acceptance letter came two weeks later.

Wish I could stepmother's incessant meddling ended. It did not..if anything she was more focused and determined to interfere....even to the point of declaring a major for me that was diametrically opposed to my personal interests. By this point...all I wanted to do was get out of the house and away from her.   By the beginning of my sophomore college year,,,my father had figured out that something was seriously wrong and at that point...he emancipated my decision making and my declared major was changed to English...I secured a job at the local newspaper and my nerves settled down.

Studying the craft of writing at the university level was challenging in many respects.  There are many formats to learn (and unlearn).  Because I had learned (informally) newspaper writing (the five  W's (who, what, where, when. why or how) my writing instructors who were focused on academic writing were determined to break what they considered to be "bad writing habits."    What were those so called "bad habits?"  Primarily I had to learn the difference between formal and informal language, i.e. no trite phrasing  (find another way to convey the idea).   Those words and phrases were considered unacceptable probably because of overuse in daily speech.

A)   A blushing bride, A fool and his money, Absence makes the heart grow fonder, Acid test, Add insult to injury, Age before beauty, All in all, All is not gold that glitters, All things being equal, All work and no play, Apple pie order, As luck would have it, At one fell swoop
B)   Barking up the wrong tree, Best laid plans, Better late than never, Better mind your ps and qs, Beyond the pale, Blood is thicker than water, Blow off steam, Born with a silver spoon, Breathe a sigh of relief, Bright and early, Bring home the bacon, Budding genius, Busy as a bee, Butterflies in (my) stomach
C)   Caught red-handed, Checkered career, Cherchez la femme, Chip off the old block, Clear as mud, Cold feet, Cold sweat, Cool as a cucumber
D)   Dead as a doornail, Dead give away, Deaf as a post, Depths, Die is cast, Dog days, Draw the line, Drink and be merry, Drunk as a skunk, Dull thud
E)   Ear to the ground, Eat, Eat (my) hat
F)   Face the music, Far cry, Feather in (his/her) cap, Few and far between, Fill the bill, Fine and dandy, First and foremost, Fish out of water, Flesh and blood, Fly off the handle, Fond farewell, Fresh as a daisy
G)   Gentle as a lamb, Get the upper hand, Get up on the wrong side of the bed, Gild the lily, God's country, Grain of salt, Green as grass, Green with envy
H)   Hale and hardy, Hand to mouth, Happy as a lark, Hard row to hoe, Head over heels, Heart of gold, High on the hog, Hungry as a bear
I)   If truth be told, In the final analysis, In the long run, It goes without saying, It is the last straw, It stands to reason
K)   Kettle of fish
L)   Last but not least, Lean over backward, Leave in the lurch, Left-handed compliment, Let thew cat out of the bag, Like a bolt out of the blue, Limp as a rag, Little did I think, Lock
M)   Mad as a wet hen, Mad dash, Make ends meet, Make hay when the sun shines, Make no bones, Meets the eye, Method in his/her madness, Moot question, More easily said than done
N)   Naked truth, Necessary evil, Never a dull moment, Nipped in the bud, Not to be sneezed at
O)   Of despair, On the ball, Open and shut, Opportunity knocks, Out of sight out of mind, Over a barrel
P)   Pay the piper, Pretty as a picture, Pull his/her leg, Pull the wool over my eyes, Pure as the driven snow, Put a bug in your ear, Put on the dog, Put the best foot forward

R)   Rack my brains, Raining cats and dogs, Read someone the riot act, Red as a beet, Right down (my) alley, Ring true, Rub someone the wrong way
S)   Sad but true, Save it for a rainy day, Self made man, Sell like hot cakes, Seventh heaven, Sick and tired, Sight to behold, Sing like a bird, Snare and a delusion, Sow wild oats, Start the ball rolling, Steal thunder from someone, Stir up a hornet nest, Stock and barrel, Strong as an ox, Stubborn as a mule, Stuffed shirt
T)   Terra firma, The bitter end, The jog is up, Throw the book at, Tit for tat, Too funny for words, Turn over a new leaf
W)   Waiting with bated breath, Wee small hours, Without further ado, Wolf in sheep clothing
Y)   You can say that again, Your guess is as good as mine  "

This internet based list (from an unknown source)  provides a less than definitive selection of language that my generation of writers were carefully admonished  from using. Since I often hear similar language from today's television newscasters...I suspect the rules for acceptable usage have changed (in the last half century)?  Even if change has occurred in acceptable emotional acceptance  has not altered and I cringe at the abundance of "trite" language usage in the media.  In that respect my original formal writing instructors were highly successful   but they were even more successful in grooming my reluctance to share my creative efforts.

 Was that destruction intentional?  In retrospect, I must say no that I doubt they  thought that far was simply that their vision for my future direction in life and mine were NOT the same. The majority of my instructors were single unmarried women who for their generation had chosen the difficult path of career over the personal traditional path of marriage and family!  After all, I came of age about the birth time of the so-called "women's liberation" movement. The role of women in American culture and society influences all of my gender but that is a topic for another day. I am a woman largely raised by the men of my family and my attitudes and opinions did NOT fit the social norms of the early mid 20th Century! Still don't ! The storm of many conflicts lay ahead and truly....I had no clue.

General Discussion / I got my first DWB tonight!
« on: October 11, 2014, 07:15:01 pm »
I've never been pulled over before, so this was brand new to me.

Took my nephew to Arby's for dinner and on the way back to my sister's, I notice a policeman is driving in the lane in front of us. I made a joke to my nephew about seeing a pig and he joked about bacon being a compliment because it was delicious. I told him never to say it in front of a policeman. Anyway, we got into the left turn lane and waited at the red light. The policeman was in the "straight ahead" lane over.

As soon as the light turned green, I turned. We weren't even out of the intersection before the flashing lights went on. I pulled over at the side of the road, rolled down the windows, and told my nephew to be still and not to move at ALL. Of course, I'm sitting in the seat thinking "Please Lord, let me get myself and my nephew back to my sis's."

Well, the guy was probably more on the "friendly" side of the spectrum. (As friendly as you can be after pulling my black ass over for no reason after its dark and 300+ miles from home.) As I'm typing this, I'm realizing that he asked for my license and proof of insurance, but not my registration! In any case, I told him where everything was before I reached for it. I probably should have specified my 11-year-old nephew was in the back seat. So... Why did he pull me over?

He claimed that the frame around my license plate - that has been there for 7 years - was illegal in the state of Tennessee. He said it blocked the expiration year on my license plate. I at first asked him to show me, but thought better of it. He let me go, which is what I wanted... and first thing in the morning, I'm taking the frame off.

Of course they did. And we all knew they were going to do it.

The Wal-Mart where he was murdered is 20 miles from my house. My brother works across the street from it and the Half Price Books I go to is next door. Like all the other Black male victims, Crawford's life and livelihood mean nothing.

If you're a Black man (or woman) and you still think the "Right to Bear Arms" (or even fake arms) applies to you, then you are a damn fool.

Once again, America and the justice system has shown that there are two sets of laws: One for white people and one for everyone else.

In The News / Dayton, Ohio. Only you...
« on: June 18, 2014, 01:32:16 pm »
Poor right wing. It appears their wet dream got debunked.

Case into shooting of RTA bus driver closed as ‘unfounded’

 By Steve Bennish and Jessica Heffner

Staff Writer

Dayton police said in a press conference today that the case into a RTA bus driver who said he was shot and stabbed by three assailants is being closed as unfounded, meaning the case was not found to be factual as reported by the victim.

In the Feb. 24 incident, RTA bus driver Rickey Wagoner told police he was shot and stabbed in the 1900 block of Lakeview Avenue, while standing outside of his electric-powered trolley bus investigating why it lost power.

Police said Wagoner’s injuries were not consistent with defensive wounds, but were consistent with hesitation wounds. Wagoner told police he heard one of the suspects tell another to kill him “if you want to be all the way in the club” and that they were there to “shoot a polar bear” — street lingo for a white person. Wagoner told investigators he believed the shooting might have been a gang initiation. Wagoner told police three shots were fired — one struck him in the right leg and two were fired into his chest. He told police he wrestled the gun away from the shooter, but he was stabbed by another in the left arm.

Wagoner was off the bus for a total of seven minutes and 20 seconds, and surveillance cameras did not capture any audio or video for the first five minutes. The sound of several shots fired were caught on surveillance. Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl said the gunshots were in reverse order of what one would expect in the situation that Wagoner described.

Two bullets were found lodged in a book titled, ““The Message,” which is a modern translation of the Bible that was inside Wagoner’s front pocket. Biehl said it’s “not credible” that bullets were fired into the book without penetrating the torso. Several ballistic tests were conducted using the same weapon and ammunition that were used in the incident. Biehl said bullets penetrated “The Message” during ballistic testing, but when the book was placed on asphalt, bullets did not penetrate the book.

The only DNA identified at the scene was of Wagoner’s, Biehl said.

In a surveillance video from inside the bus, Wagoner can be seen getting back onto the bus and driving it down the street after gunshots were heard. In the video, Wagoner tells an RTA dispatcher he’s been shot. Biehl noted how Wagoner was not winded in the video, which is unexpected given that he had just “fought for his life” by his own admission and ran 200 to 300 feet.

Biehl said police have worked with the RTA to determine what could have caused the bus to lose power, and the reason cannot be explained or recreated.

The FBI also launched an investigation into the incident as a potential hate crime.

Wagoner is a ten-year veteran bus driver described by RTA as having an excellent work record. RTA released a statement today saying Wagoner has been charged with violations of RTA’s Employee Standards of Performance. He will receive an opportunity to present evidence in support of his position, as would any RTA employee, according to the release.

Charges have not been filed.

Acting / So... I'm apparently auditioning for a movie tomorrow.
« on: May 08, 2014, 04:48:34 am »
Yep... Lion got called yesterday out of the blue asking if I'd be interested in auditioning for a movie.

I was running errands with Mom at the time, so I didn't get the message until I checked my voicemail at lunch. My reaction was "Whafuh?" because the only movie-related thing I've ever entertained was getting into film scoring. The movie the guy called me about is - well - a REAL movie with REAL actors of the caliber Reggie employs. ("Real" as in proven/successful professionals who have studied their craft, as opposed to nobody musicians like me who don't know the first thing about acting.) Even stranger is that it was a project I was familiar with, because it had been talked about for years, including on this board. So... My next reaction was completely reasonable.

It had to be 1.) a practical joke or 2.) a lure into a deadly ninja ambush.

Of the two, the second was the most likely. When I got home, I spent some time repeating the voicemail trying to figure out how to pronounce/spell the casting director's - call him BR - name. That was hard to make out. I couldn't figure it out, but fortunately googling the phone number directed me to his resume. I didn't see anything tying him to the movie on Google or IMDB, but I DID see that he was in theatre in several capacities and had been a casting director assistant for a couple companies on his resume. So, it was probably not a deadly ninja ambush and there probably aren't too many people going through all THAT to pull a practical joke on me. It also helped that another friend of mine posted about HIS call from the same guy on Facebook. At that point, I thought "Okay... WB was called, too. That was probably how this guy got my phone number and email address." (I chose not to mention it in Facebook.)

So, after a couple hours, I figured "Why not?" and called the casting director back. He explained the project to me on the phone and told me they were looking for background musicians and confirmed I was a pianist. (A pianist? How will I ever pretend to be one of those?! Wait....) He asked if I was interested in auditioning. I thought about it a split second and said "Sure." The audition time is set for tomorrow and he sent my an email with I'm assuming everything I need to know for it. (A headshot? Ugh...) Before we got off the phone, I asked him how to pronounce his last name. (It's an Israeli name.)

I'm a little nervous in that I really don't know what to expect, but at the same time, I'm not personally invested in it. I figure my chances of being cast in any capacity are about 10% at best. Even if I do get cast, I don't know how much that would help on the music front beyond bragging rights. "Oh look... There's the back of my head for five seconds. Nevermind that I'm probably playing along to a recording."

We'll see!

Feel The Funk / Free Music Theory Lessons
« on: April 14, 2014, 11:52:22 am »
I posted this on Facebook and Google+ as part of an ad. I thought someone might find it interesting, so I'm posting it here as well, minus the pitch. As I do more of these, I'll post links to the pictures here.

Music Theory Lesson #1 from Yours Truly.

Music theory consists of patterns. The sooner you recognize and memorize them, the better. Take the picture of the keyboard. Seven things you can remember.

1.) All of the white keys have their own letter names from A to G.

2.) All of the black keys are placed in between two white keys. Sharps (#) are to the right. Flats (b) are to the left.

3.) All of the black keys are identified solely in relation to the nearby white keys. #cough #cough

4.) There are no black keys between E-F or B-C. Draw whatever conclusions you will... (JUST KIDDING!) If you need an E#, that means you play an F.

5.) Every problem you have remembering scales, chords, and key signatures have been caused by F and B. They also happen to begin two of my favorite curse words.

6.) I was talking about "Furry Behemoth."

7.) Okay... #6 was a lie, but you know you'll never forget #5, now.

The video's at the link.

A white supremacist behind an initiative to turn a North Dakota town into a "white enclave" received some shocking news -- he's not 100 percent white.

Craig Cobb, a 62-year-old man who has aimed to start a community for white supremacists and neo-Nazis, received some news that he wasn't too happy about, although we must admit, it gave us quite a chuckle.

During an appearance on The Trisha Goddard Show, Cobb was given the results of a DNA Diagnostics test and found out he is 14 percent Sub-Saharan African, and it was all caught on camera.

Feel The Funk / Kanye West: Confederate flag is my flag now
« on: November 01, 2013, 04:33:03 pm »

Kanye West: Confederate flag is 'my flag now'
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper TODAY

Oct. 29, 2013 at 7:35 PM ET

Some of the shirts and tote bags Kanye West is selling bear the Confederate flag, long a controversial racially charged symbol. When asked about the flag merchandise on Los Angeles' 97.1 AMP Radio on Monday, West had a novel answer.

"You know the Confederate flag represented slavery in a way," he said. "So I made the song 'New Slaves' (on his new album, 'Yeezus'). I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It's my flag now. Now what you going to do?"

Kanye West On Co-opting The Confederate Flag, Miley Twerking & His Soccer Dad Aspirations Pt. 3

West's merchandise is available at concerts as well as at a temporary West Hollywood shop located next door to Dash, the boutique owned by his fiancee, Kim Kardashian, and her sisters. "(The merchandise) is super, like, 'hood and super white-boy approved at the same time," West said on the air.

West also spoke about his infamous 2009 MTV Video Music Awards incident, where he grabbed Taylor Swift's trophy for best female video and proclaimed it should've gone to Beyonce instead.

"The moment that people hate me the most for, you know, at the awards show," he said. "That (hatred) was inaccurate. ... We still haven't seen a video as good as (Beyonce's 'Single Ladies') video, like five years later!"

When asked about his elaborate proposal to Kardashian at San Francisco baseball stadium AT&T Park, West had a simple explanation.

"It seemed like, so all-American," he said. "I love being American."

In The News / Healthcare Exchange
« on: October 03, 2013, 10:22:16 am »
Has anyone else tried to get on the

Whatever you do, DON'T call the hotline number. It's a waste of time. They have their heads up their asses even more than the GOP. You'll spend ten minutes on the phone giving a representative your name and address repeatedly to hear her read off a condescending prepared script directing you to the same website that had been the reason you called to begin with. Honestly, I don't see why they even bother having a phone number on the website when there is absolutely NOTHING the people answering the phones can even do!

Good thing there's a six month window.

In The News / Ex-NFL player reacts to 300 kids trashing his house
« on: September 18, 2013, 03:03:29 pm »

And the first thing that comes to mind is that if these were black children, this would be all over Fox News as examples of roving monsters.

Local music publisher Armen Boladian wins court battle with king of funk George Clinton

Read more:

(WXYZ) - Funk music legend George Clinton lost his most recent court battle with local music publisher Armen Boladian.

We first told you about their legal feud and another court case involving Boladian over music royalties, but those cases are over – and Boladian came out on top.

For decades, music publisher Armen Boladian of Southfield, signed artists to contracts for his many companies, including Bridgeport Music and Westbound Records. One of those artists was George Clinton.

Another artist was Abrim Tilmon of the Detroit Emeralds, who is now deceased. When Tilmon died, his wife Janice Tilmon Jones collected royalties from the music he wrote, produced, and performed. Clinton and Tilmon separately sued Boladian claiming he owed them money.

For almost a decade, Tilmon-Jones was in federal court trying to prove her case. Her lawyers claimed copyright law gave ownership of her late husband’s work and royalties to her, despite the fact that Boladian had purchased them before his death.

She first settled with Boladian in 2007 for an undisclosed amount of money. Then she went back to court in 2011 claiming new evidence should allow her to reopen the case.

But late last month, the judge not only denied her claim. He also sanctioned the two attorneys for a “frivolous” lawsuit.  Those lawyers and Tilmon Jones must now pay Bridgeport its attorneys fees and cost.

As for George Clinton, a federal judge in California dismissed his latest attempt to restore his claim to music he and his band members wrote and performed.

This comes years after another legal battle that also did not end well for Clinton. In 2001, a federal judge in Florida declared that Boladian’s Bridgeport Music not only owned all of Clinton’s compositions, but that Clinton had no rights to any royalties from his music.

In our previous report, we reported that 200 others are pursuing similar claims against Boladian. He told 7 Action News earlier this year and again for this report that those claims are absolutely not true.

Boladian and his attorney chose not to be interviewed on camera for this story, but in December we asked Boladian about his business, and how he treats his clients in the music business.

“As far as your time in the record business, you think you’ve been honest with everybody you’ve dealt with?” asked 7 Action News. “Well I’ve tried to be,” said Boladian. “I mean, we’re not perfect, nobody's perfect, but I try to be.” 

Through his lawyer, Boladian objected to our original coverage, calling it unfair.  We apologize and hope this sets the record straight.

In The News / Christopher Dorner
« on: February 09, 2013, 12:01:39 pm »
I'm surprised no one has said anything about him and his one-man war on the LAPD and their families.

Any thoughts?

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