The Ten Best Moments in Leonardo DiCaprio’s Great Gatsby Performance
Two Brown Girls - Episode 35
On this episode of the 2BG podcast, we return from our brief hiatus to catch up on some of the pop culture things we’ve missed, including Kanye on Kimmel, the melodrama of Scandal, and Miley (WHO WE WILL NEVER TALK ABOUT AGAIN).
We’re also joined by blogger/artist/curator/youtuber/poet/African conservationist and all around Renaissance woman Yagazie Emezi for a frank conversation on identity and body issues amongst WOC (trigger warning for discussion on ED starting around 35). As always send us a tweet or a message with your comments and questions!
A mere thirty-seconds into last week’s premiere episode of ‘American Horror Story: Coven’, I found myself rushing to my Twitter account to announce that I was already in love. Now, two weeks into the show, I’m wondering if I might have spoke too soon. Currently in its third season, the FX anthology series has been both reviled and revered for its distinct mix of horror and high camp since debuting in 2011. It’s definitely an acquired taste, with latex-wearing ghosts, alien babies, mad Nazi doctors, and demon-possessed nuns.
But the charm of ‘American Horror Story’, at least for me, is all that craziness coupled with what on the surface comes off as a sense of self-awareness, of melodrama, what with its references to the B-horror movies of yesteryear, and an acute tendency to go over over-the-top whilst never taking itself all the way seriously. And that’s the spiel many fans of the show tell themselves and others whenever the narrative gets decidedly ridiculous or messed up. Of course, the danger in that reading is in giving the series (and by extension showrunner Ryan Murphy) more credit than it deserves.
This is a show that is often as problematic as it is delightfully bizarre, and navigating the thin line between being critical of its faults and being entertained by its eccentricities is perhaps the most difficult part about being a fan. Despite its pride in producing complex female characters, the series has the simultaneous tendency to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about women (especially those who own their sexuality) and to punish women (all three seasons have used rape as a plot point). Obviously there’s also the casual racism, ableism, and homophobia that’s become a staple in all Ryan Murphy shows - used as a device to develop or at the very least place emphasis on the quirky, outrageous, sometimes vile characters that make up the series multiverse.
On the first episode of ‘American Horror Story: Coven’, we got our first taste of this sort of vile character (or caricature) when we met Kathy Bates as historical figure Delphine LaLaurie, a New Orleans socialite who in the 1830s was revealed to be socialite by day, sadistic serial torturer and killer of slaves by night. We’re taken to her underground lair, where her slaves are caged and beaten, some literally covered in blood, with one particularly gory shot showing a person with all the skin on their face peeled off.
The crowning moment, as it were, is when she strings a young black man up for apparently making love to her daughter, suffocating him by covering his face with a bull’s head in an attempt to, bizarrely, create her very own minotaur. Later, we see another slave’s pancreas removed from his abdomen with a hook. Gore is nothing new on this show, which often pays homage to the slasher films of the mid-70s and 80s. But in this case, it isn’t the images themselves that are disturbing. It’s the context in which they’re being presented…"
"It really wasn’t my intent to make a film that reminisced about this grand old time back in the 1970’s," he said. "I just wanted to tell the story of this young girl who was coming of age during that time. And also to show an African-American family that was not dysfunctional; that was headed by two parents. The mother and the father were there and none of the children were on drugs or rapists or murderers, whatever. And despite the fact there’s a lot of conflict amongst the siblings, there’s a great amount of love in this family for each other."-Spike Lee
Two Brown Girls - Episode 34
On this episode of 2BG, we gush over Solange’s amazing ‘Lovers in the Parking Lot’ video and just her general aura, discuss the racist reactions to the Miss America crowning of Nina Davuluri (starts at 10:00), embark on another tangent revolving around the n-word and whether or not it’s people of color’s job to “educate” white people (25:00), and finally FANGIRL THE FUCK OUT over the new Fox series Sleepy Hollow, as well as discuss issues of racism in the ‘sleepy head’ fandom and fandom in general(35:00 - and spoilers abound for episode 1). If we do say so ourselves this is probs the best episode of Two Brown Girls yet.
Two Brown Girls - Episode 33
We’re baaaaaaaaaaack! On this week’s episode of 25G what started out as a Toronto International Film Festival recap turned into a heated debate about Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave - there are some spoilers in the discussion but nothing that will majorly ruin the film for those who haven’t seen it (a specific timestamp who those who want to avoid any spoilers whatsoever will be up soon). We’ll also talk Spike Jonze’s Her and our distaste for ScarJo, as well as ditch on some celebrity sightings during the fest.
In Una Noche, Lucy Mulloy’s debut feature film, a brother and sister living in Havana embark on a dangerous journey with their friend, floating on a raft bound for Miami. Even ahead of its release this month, the film has garnered Mulloy numerous accolades, and even a stamp of approval from director Spike Lee. In April, the movie also made waves when lead actors Javier Núñez Florián and Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre (who became a couple during production) disappeared en route to the Tribeca Film Festival, only to resurface days later with the revelation that they were seeking asylum in the United States.
At its core, though, Una Noche is a compelling portrait of a teenage girl, a coming-of-age story set in a context rarely seen. I talked with Mulloy about the Una Noche, her working relationship with Spike Lee, her experiences as a female filmmaker, the importance of representation, and what made her, a British director, so keen on telling a Cuban story…
Read the interview here.
Two Brown Girls - Episode 31
On this week’s episode of 25G we discuss shoddy and ignorant reporting in Lee Thompson Young’s death*, Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman (CACKLING), the problematic politics of The Butler and director Lee Daniels, and our outrage over the media’s handling of Chelsea Manning.
Also, Zeba will be hot-mess-live-blogging tonight’s VMAs here and on the official Two Brown Girls Twitter - you have been warned!!
*tw: suicide at 2:50 - around 6
COMING SOON [speakers blow out] TO OWN ON DVD [children scramble for the remote] AND VIDEO CASSETTE [atomic bomb explodes in living room]