Movie Review: “Dear White People” + Justin Simien Q&A

“Dear White People” shakes things up so that its core humor and sarcasm does not cover up the controversial race issues that need to be addressed. Instead, it highlights and provokes thoughts and emotions about certain issues that society is afraid to discuss, or dare to even mention, in regards to the black community. It tackles sexuality, hair, economic status and so much more.

This provocative tale showcases a college student named Samantha White, a typical rebel Lisa Bonet-esque type. She runs to become the head of her predominantly black residence hall in order to “bring black back” to her university. Throughout her journey to bring black back to Winchester University, the storylines and controversial issues of other characters intertwine with Sam’s story.

There’s Troy Fairbanks, the upper echelon, wannabe white boy, who happens to be the son of the dean. Lionel Higgins, the not-black-enough black boy, goes undercover to get to the scoop on the “Black Power” movement. Colandrea “Coco” Connors, the rags-to-riches girl, knows how to play both sides of the fence, especially in terms of getting her name out there. Although their outward appearance and reputation might say one thing, no character in this movie is what they seem to portray.

Read more at The Eagle



Q&A: Justin Simien, writer-director of “Dear White People”


Writer, director and producer Justin Simien burst onto the scene with the new satirical film “Dear White People,” which explores race in America through the lens of satire. The Eagle’s Brianna Williams sat down with Simien to discuss the film. After you read the interview, check out Williams’ review of the film.

Brianna Moné: Where did the idea of “Dear White People” come from?

Justin Simien: It really started in my college experiences, sort of having conversations among other black people that were not only amusing and interesting and poignant but about being a black person at a mostly white college, that I found strangely absent from movies. And other versions of the black experience that we were all watching and tuning into. That combined with a sort of love for the Black Smart House; “Do the Right Thing” and the success that movie began. These interesting and spirited portrayals of black people and conversations about black life that were just totally absent from the movies by the mid-2000s when I started writing the film. So it was really a combination of those two motivations that sparked the idea.

Brianna Moné: You decided to tackle race relations and issues dealing with the black community in a satirical way as opposed to a more “serious” approach, why did you take that approach?

JS: I think part of it was subconscious. I never saw the movie as anything but a comedy. Now I wouldn’t even call it a comedy, I would call it a satire. But the first draft of it was completely comedic; it was broadly comedic. And then as I got older and saw more of the world, I got a taste of what it was like being a black face in a white place. This was the real world, not just college. That’s when the movie really took the form of satire. I thought, ‘Okay, if I’m going to make people laugh, I more so want to say something.’ I never really considered a version of the movie that took itself all the way seriously that was some sort of earnest dramatic version of events because we kind of have that already. We already had the sort of tragic portrayal of black people. We already had the racism biopics. That was something that I was kind of over. It’s never occurred to me to do it in any other way.

Brianna Moné: You tackled a lot of the stereotypical black characters in a way that is not typical of the way we see in Tyler Perry movies or similar films. What was your inspiration behind the black characters?

JS: All of them are, in my head, meant to sort of be a skew of what you typically see. So you have, Sam, who in a different movie would be labeled as the angry black chick and she even talks about that herself. But I wanted to peel that away and show a complicated, interesting person. You have the queer character of color, who is often painted in extreme colors in most movies and I wanted to show a real human being under that. I wanted to tackle this idea of identity from different points of view and to really show the more common type of way I, as a black person, saw and my self-pride sort of get along in society, to use my identity to my advantage in order to reach my potential. That’s really where they all came from.


Read more at The Eagle


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Q&A with Demetria L. Lucas, #BloggingwithBelleAU


I got the chance to sit down with journalist and author, Demetria L. Lucas at “Blogging with Belle,” and event hosted by American University Association of Black Journalists at American University on September 24. We discussed the journalism field, blogging and how she came up with A Belle in Brooklyn.


Brianna MoWhy did you decide on lifestyle and culture writing?

Demetria Lucas: I don’t think I decided on lifestyle and culture writing. I think I decided on things that were interesting to me. Dating and relationships is a core. Women empowerment, women’s issues or people issues. It was just what was interesting to me, so I just wrote about the things that I’m interested in.

Brianna MoSince you started out in the magazine industry, how do you feel about magazines going from print to digital?

DL:  I like magazines. I like the feel. I like the layout. I like all of those things. I think it’s fine. The only thing that I take issue with is because this 24/7 news cycle, and everything’s always now, now, now, and it’s next, next, next, the writing is not the same. You need time, and editing to get good writing, and you just can’t produce it, you can’t produce top quality in these quick 24 hours. Something happens, and then an hour later, you have to have a piece up on a site. I think writing has suffered, but that’s what you have books for.

Brianna MoHow do you feel about diversity in the journalism field?

DL:  People have to create their own lanes. The magazine industry there’s not a lot of Black people when you start looking. You can still talk about Black firsts in the past ten years in certain fields, but in magazines or in journalism in general. You can create your own. You can create your own site. You can get your friends to edit. Pay them a little something. If you’re just starting out, you can pay them with exposure. But the gatekeepers are gone. You don’t have to wait for someone else to put you on, or validate you. You have a chance. You can create your own. So in that sense, it’s great.

Brianna MoWhat is one piece of advice you would give someone wanting to go into the magazine industry?

DL:  Magazine? Don’t. It’s not a dead medium; it’s a dying medium, a much smaller medium. The budgets aren’t the same. So even when I came in, in 2000, the budgets weren’t the same as they were in the 90s. And magazines have suffered for it. You don’t get the same amount of articles. You don’t quality with a lot of places. So much has changed. I would think if you’re going to start out, digital magazine is the best place to go. If for no other reason then, magazines have a finite space. There’s only but so many pages, so much information that can be packed in. They have to be very overly selective about what they feature. Digital is the wild wild west, there’s plenty of space. If it’s good, there’s a space for it. They’ll find a place for it. In a magazine, maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

Do you think journalists should move towards blogging and freelance as opposed to working for a company?

DL:  I think you should do both. I don’t think it’s an either or. Until you establish your career, you should do both. You need the credentials at the end of the day. As much as I’m know for being a blogger, sort of freelance, do whatever, I came up through the ranks. I did the Source and Vibe, XXL, where everyone gets their start. And then I went to Essence. I did New York Times and People, and all that stuff, but I started out the traditional route, and then figured out a way to make it work for me. Independent. It’s easy to get doors open faster if you have the credentials and the branding behind you.

Brianna MoHow did you come up with the name of the moniker, A Belle in Brooklyn?

DL:  Two episodes of Sex in the City. I combined two episodes of Sex in the City. There’s one called, ‘The Belle of the Ball,’ and there was another one like ‘Sex and Another City,’ or something like that, and I was playing around with those two, and I came up with A Belle in Brooklyn, but I don’t remember the alternative names for the blog. I sent like maybe three or four out to my friends, and A Belle in Brooklyn was not the one they picked. I think like one person picked A Belle in Brooklyn, and was like ‘go with the alliteration.’ It had alliteration, and I’m a writer, and I thought it sounded hot. And I was like ‘if not, then I’ll just change it.’ I wasn’t thinking about building a brand. Honey said, ‘come right for our site, and you need a picture, and you need a name,’ and I didn’t have one and I wanted my piece to run two days later. So, it was just scramble, pick a name, go! I just figured I’d change it. I didn’t think about branding or seven years later or books or anything like that.


Demetria’s new book, Don’t Waste Your Pretty is available now. Go get your copy!

TV Review: “Black-ish” brings race issues to primetime


“Black-ish” was introduced as a new fall show that would promote diversity within television. True to its purpose, the show lightly touches on big diversity issues in its first season episode, while maintaining a sitcom flair.

“Black-ish” is a comedy about a black family who deals with trying to assimilate into the white world without losing their blackness and becoming…black-ish.

Head of the family Andre ‘Dre” Johnson (Anthony Anderson, “Transformers”) starts off the show with his thoughts on how black people have dropped their culture and renamed it “urban.” For example, Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke are R&B artists, and Kim Kardashian is the sign for a black butt.

“I may have to be urban at work, but I’m going to need my family to be Black, not Black-ish,” Dre said.


Read more at The Eagle

Naturally Redefined: Delaware’s 3rd Annual Natural Hair & Holistic Health Expo

Blogger Panel

Picture this.

An explosion of natural hair, natural hair products, and beautiful people who are naturally natural. It’s a naturalista’s heaven, and that is exactly what Naturally Redefined: Delaware’s 3rd Annual Natural Hair & Holistic Health Expo was.

This was my first time ever going to a natural hair show or expo, and I got to be a vlogger for Naturally Redefined, as well as represent Curly in College as a blogger on a panel discussing natural hair care and flair. The experience, priceless.

“I like coming,” said one Naturally Redefined attendee. “I like coming to get products, seeing the new things, being educated on other things about natural hair. And I come with my hairdresser.”

Naturally Redefined really put a perspective on the natural hair community with the workshops, panels, and various vendors that were in attendance. New to the expo this year was the element of holistic health, as the owners of Naturally Redefined, Tywanda Howie and Akira Grenardo made apparent in the planning of the expo.


Read more at CurlyinCollege

Product Review: Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls






Wash N Go – A Fluffy Soft Curl – For People Who Don’t Want Ramen Noodle Definition And Instead Want A Larger Expanded Curl

Description: Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls is a styling lotion that has medium thickness in consistency. It has a fresh, clean, heavenly scent for those who are into how their products smell.

Process: I did a wash-n-go with this product, but I’m not a fan of this styling method on my hair. Once it dried I put it up in “puff” or pineapple. But what I did notice when I finger combed the product through my wet hair was that it was easy to glide through and it helped to elongate my hair while wet. I can’t say the same for when my hair started to dry (the main reason, I’m not a fan of wash-n-gos on my hair).

Packaging: It comes in a 8.5 fluid ounce tube that is squeezable for easy access to the product. The packaging has blue detailing with pink letters.



Read more at CurlyInCollege

Naturalista Spotlight with Aliya Jones



Name and Age?

Aliya Jones, 20

Why did you decide to go natural?

I decided to go natural because I got sick of relaxers breaking my hair off.

How has your natural hair journey been? (childhood til now)

My natural hair journey has been interesting to say the least. The first six years of my life I was natural but my hair became too thick for my mom to handle so she relaxed it. My hair then broke off and when it grew back it stayed the same length all the way through high school. When I graduated high school, I cut my hair to a cute bob and began transitioning for six months. Because my natural roots and permed ends became hard to manage, I braved the big chop. Now I am about a year and a half in and loving it.

When was the moment you fell in love with or accepted your natural hair? Explain.

I began falling in love with my natural hair around March of 2013. After the big chop, I had family members and so-called friends who hated my hair and it took a toll on me big time. I began to watch natural hair videos on youtube where women who don’t necessarily have “fine” hair loved their hair and weren’t afraid to show it. I realized being natural was liberating and fun!

What have you learned about your hair since you’ve been in college?
Since being in college, I’ve learned that my hair is very versatile. I can do so much with it than I thought. I love it!


Read more at CurlyInCollege

Hollywood Makeups & Breakups

Summer is the season of hookups, flings, breakups, and sometimes the beginning of new starts. In Hollywood, this is no different. Will they make it through? Is this just a fly-by-night romance, or what? These are a few questions that pop culture junkies, or anyone interested ask themselves. Here are a few makeups and breakups that have been under the radar.

Ariana Grande & Big Sean

Ariana broke up with Jai Brooks, and Big Sean didn’t marry Naya Rivera, so why not right? These two just have an undeniable chemistry that you can’t help but love. They collaborated on multiple songs together, and always have nothing but nice words about each other. She sings, he raps; they’ll make nothing but beautiful music together. Plus, there’s already been rumors about them going on dates and kissing.

Why they’ll work: Big Sean is older, and marriage minded. Ariana has had her share of little boys (Jai Brooks, Nathan Sykes), she needs an older man. She’s a mature 21-year-old who also likes to have fun. And if the lyrics to their new song, Best Mistake, doesn’t give away their adoration for each other, I don’t know what will.

Break up, make up. Total waste of time. Can we please make up our minds? And stop acting like we’re blind

Ciara & Future

When Ciara and Future got together, most were excited about the pairing. They seemed to be able to hold each other down and be a good fit. But a few weeks ago Ciara posted a picture of her and baby Future on vacay, without big Future. This started the speculation about the couple being on the rocks. Now, apparently Future cheated on Ciara while he was on tour, and their engagement is over. What a shocker *sarcasm*.

Why they didn’t work: If a man has [insert number here] kids with multiple women, what makes you think having one with him is gonna lock him down into being your husband. Also, everything with them happened so fast: got together, became engaged, had baby. Slow down.

Danity Kane

So the smash summer hit, Lemonade, and the No Filter tour wasn’t enough to keep Danity Kane together. They went from 5 members, to 4 members, to DK3. Long story short, Dawn and Aubrey had an altercation, which left two against one, Shannon and Aubrey against Dawn. Apparently, Dawn hit Aubrey. But Aubrey is always talking smack, so she probably deserved it (not that I condone physical abuse). But Danity Kane, you had a good run.

Why they didn’t work: It was set up to fail from the jump. Name one Making the Band group that is still together or making music or successful? Also, no one ever had the same vision in the group. It’s sad because Danity Kane could have made it so far.