Oprah Winfrey Show will end in 2011

According to the New York Times, media mogul, producer, actress and talkshow host queen Oprah Winfrey will end her talkshow on September 9, 2011… which is a blip in the media world timeline.

Other contenders have been rumored to want her crown, including recent guest, Ellen DeGeneres.

Who should inherit the queen’s crown? IBWFF has some ideas…

Tyra Banks

Pros: Miss Tyra is becoming a media mogul in her own right. Transforming her career from cheesecake modeling in Victoria’s Secret catalogs, Ms. Banks has expanded her empire with such shows as the hit CW series “America’s Next Top Model,” and her own talkshow, “The Tyra Banks Show.” She’s got the connections, the younger generation’s attention, and the humor and congeniality to attract top rate guests. Cons: She has to prove she’s got serious mettle to attract world leaders and other movers and shakers beyond entertainment.

Whoopi Goldberg

Pros: Miss Whoopi has done an excellent job of replacing Rosie O’Donnell from “The View.” Ms. Goldberg came on as a co-host at a time when “The View” was faltering after Meredith Vieira’s and Star Jones’ abrupt departures from the show, and the remaining and new co-hosts were balkanizing into camps. “The View” made a few stumbles, and balanced out Whoopi with the frothy commentary of Sheri Shephard, but Whoopi’s thoughtful viewpoints and humor catapulted “The View” back into the daytime television  big leagues. Cons: Miss Whoopi is very opinionated, and if she wants to grow into Oprah’s shoes, she’ll have be willing to bend for the sake of the viewers.

Ricki Lake

Ricki has proved her mettle with insightful, and sometimes, bawdy daytime talk show hosting skills. She’s appealing to younger viewers, and is approachable to older ones. Cons: She’s not big with older women, who make up the bulk of Miss Oprah’s audience and viewership.

Gayle King

Ms. King is a stalwart Oprah supporter and has learned much at the queen’s feet. Both she and queen Winfrey are bestfriends, and they know each other like a book. Gayle –an impeccable journalist in her own right– has taken on O Magazine, and pushed its readership past Martha Stewart. From her brief appearances on Oprah’s show, Gayle is likable, approachable, sophisticated, and knows how to probe for answers. She also knows what older, younger, and middle-aged women want from their news and entertainment. Cons: She’s Ms. Winfrey’s bestfriend. Viewers may unfairly expect her to carry the Winfrey mantle and refuse to accept new directions in a talkshow.

Maybe you’re the next talkshow queen…!

For Colored Girls; Rumored for the big screen

Post-“Precious” there’s another rumor circulating about the dynamic duo producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry: They will be producing a screen version of radical poet Ntozake Shange’s Obie Award-winning choreopoem, “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf.”

Rumors are also circulating that superstars Halle Berry, Lynn Whitfield, Angela Bassett, and Jill Scott will star. There are even murmurings that the queen herself –no, not First Lady Michelle Obama– will star in the production. Oprah Winfrey is not new to the big screen, and her repertoire and film roles have only grown increasingly intense with each new film.

Who will deliver this ginormous project? Lionsgate. It would only make sense considering that the Wonder Twins jumped on the “Precious” train, and catapulted the indie-film to new heights.

Halle Berry attends Keep A Child Alive’s 6th Annual Black Ball hosted by Alicia Keys and Padma Lakshmi at Hammerstein Ballroom on October 15, 2009 in New York Cityjillscott

Can they do it for such a raw, real piece of work like “For Colored Girls”? Again, the casting seems a little off, but apparently that’s what it takes for a film to have any chance for survival. Big names, and bigger supporters.

The poem doesn’t give any wiggle room for glamor, perfect hair or guarded emotions. If you remember the poem, it deals with serious issues surrounding Black women, including infanticide, and other hot-button issues.

Hopefully, this project will come to fruition and whomever is selected to star will bring the same unpretty grittiness that the original poem demanded.

NY Times features Precious

By now, many of us have heard about director Lee Daniels’ directorial masterpiece “Precious,” and how Oprah Winfrey produced, and how it won the Audience Award at Sundance, etc., but finally the New York Times thought enough of it’s many accomplishments to feature it in their October 21st Magazine.

“Precious” is controversial and demanding, and the subject matter makes many –especially in the African American community– quite uncomfortable. Like “The Color Purple” before it, the subject matter of dejected, ridiculed, emotional and physically abused Black women, somehow pushes all of the right buttons. Add to this drama the fact that it’s focused on an obese, dark-skinned, illiterate, young Black woman, and now all of America has an opinion. Rarely is are African American women commented upon outside of the glossy, capped tooth world of entertainment, but this film wasn’t presented at your local movie theater, but at the art-crowd world of film festivals.

If you’ve ever questioned the validity and strength of film festivals, this film may prove you wrong.

Actress Gabourey Sidibe speaks onstage at the Precious-Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire press conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel on September 13, 2009 in Toronto, Canada

Buzz started at the Sundance Film Festival, when the film was known as “Push.” Unfortunately, there was another film that came out at the same time and had the same name, but that film had major studio backing, big names, over the top CGI, ear-bleeding sound effects and lousy acting. Guess who won.

“Precious” is based on a book called “Push,” written by the author Sapphire, and the book is based on her life of abuse and low-self-esteem.

The Times’ article is interesting in some of the quotes it chose to add, though it is worth reading, especially for Lee Daniels’ insight on the world of film festivals… which is why we have the International Black Women’s Film Festival (www.ibwff.com). One of the quotes I found odd, though insightful, is from Mr. Daniels. The average American may have no clue regarding the context, and I wish they’d use the opportunity to “educate” the reader. Mr. Daniels is quoted as saying:

Director Lee Daniels attends Precious

‘Precious’ is so not Obama,” Daniels said. “ ‘Precious’ is so not P.C. What I learned from doing the film is that even though I am black, I’m prejudiced. I’m prejudiced against people who are darker than me. When I was young, I went to a church where the lighter-skinned you were, the closer you sat to the altar. Anybody that’s heavy like Precious — I thought they were dirty and not very smart. Making this movie changed my heart. I’ll never look at a fat girl walking down the street the same way again.

As someone who is not into fetish-izing pain, adversity or dysfunction, I do believe this is a fresh opportunity to open up dialogs that are too quickly shut down in society.

The 10 Best Horror Movies Starring a Black Actress


When the economy is down in movie-land, movie makers turn to horror. Horror films are America’s obsession with the great unknowns that can hurt you. So it’s no wonder that horror films gain ground during difficult economic times. (Granted, who wants to be scared of the great unknown, and then drive home in a Hummer. )

For many African Americans, horror movies were a little too close to home.

Why battle a zombie when you can see a junkie on your neighbor’s steps? Why worry about ghosts when you’ve heard older people talk about the ghosts of relatives in your own house. A double-whammy is that Hollywood often featured Black people as a part of the “great, harmful unknown,” or a spook.

Movies like “I Walked with a Zombie” (1943) portrayed Black actors as slobbering zombies, or “voodoo” practitioners who could kill you with a doll.

Or Black characters were seen as bumbling, superstitious buffoons who ran over each other while trying to run from a ghost, like Stepin Fetchit in “The Ghost Talks” (1929).

It wasn’t until the Black Power movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s that a new genre emerged: Black horror movies. This time, the Black actors were the central characters. They had a different relationship with voodoo, ghosts, and vampires. Now, they were the heroes and heroines to save the day.

Also, horror wasn’t found in the manicured lawns of exclusive neighborhoods, but they were in urban areas, especially in Black neighborhoods, like in “Blacula,” “Tales from the Hood,” and “J.D.’s Revenge.”

But what about Black women in these movies?

Unlike their white counterparts during the 60’s and 70’s, Black women found themselves as central characters in horror movies who weren’t always the cloy yet clueless victims. Some even perservered and turned the tables on their aggressors.

So how can we celebrate these women who were light years ahead of Hollywood?

With Halloween around the corner, now is the time to revel in these films! Plan a party to showcase one or more of these films. (You can pick them up at your local DVD rental store, or from Netflix, but remember, if you plan to show them in a theater or public venue, you’ll have to purchase a screening license.)

Throw a Movie Party

Pick your film, or films, based on a theme. Make sure you have enough time for your party *and* for screening your film.

If it’s a zombie flick, there’s nothing better than a room full of zombies, dancing and eating non-humans. Think of it as a party and a tribute to “Thriller.” If it’s a vampire movie, offer free vampire teeth party favors. It’s like a costume that guests don’t have to splurge on.

The late-Michael Jackson had many “scary” songs that can also rock a house full of zombies: “Thriller,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Smooth Criminal,” etc. For “voodoo” themed parties, plan New Orleans music by The Meters, Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, and more. Serve gumbo with your movie…and pray no one throws it up.

Include trivia games to liven up your party and make the trivia about the stars of the film, or the theme. For example, “You can kill a vampire with a silver bullet. TRUE? FALSE? –False. You kill a werewolf with a silver bullet.” Offer prizes that you can buy from any 99-cent store. People don’t care about the prize. They care about winning.

Be sure to pick up these films for your next get together!


10. Beloved (1998)

9. Abby (1974)

8. Sugar Hill (1974)

7. The Omega Man (1971)

6. Angel Heart (1987)

5. Def by Temptation (1990)

4. Tales from the Hood (1995)

3. Blacula (1972)

2. Queen of the Damned (2002)

1. 28 Days Later (2002)

“Precious” screened at the Toronto International Film Festival

Sundance 2009 grand Jury Prize and Audience Award Winner “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” screened to an enthusiastic audience at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival!

Media moguls Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Films) and Tyler Perry backed Lionsgate Films’ acquisition of North American distribution rights to the film. Lionsgate acquired the film February 2, 2009.

This is the first film distributed under Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Banner. According to Suite 101, the film stars Mo’Nique, Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd, Nealla Gordon, Stephanie Andujar, and Grammy-winning artists Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz.

Jennifer Hudson to kick-off Oprah’s 24th season

New mommy Jennifer Hudson (DREAMGIRLS, SEX & THE CITY) helps Oprah Winfrey to kick off her 24th season of the Oprah Winfrey Show on ABC. Both ladies are Chicago’s favorite divas, and to celebrate their achievements, the show is being broadcast on Michigan “Magnificent Mile” Avenue, the “Rodeo Drive” of Chicago.