Posts Tagged ‘Television’

Oprah’s Interview with Bobbi Kristina and Family

July 27, 2015

Bobbi Kristina Brown has passed away at the tender age of 22. She died Sunday evening, July 26, 2015. Today I am re-posting a review of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Bobbi Kristina in 2012. It was Bobbi Kris’ first public interview after losing her mother, Whitney Houston. In the light of the devastating news about Bobbi Kris, I wanted to share again the interview that showed that Bobbie Kris, despite still grieving her mom, was hopeful and seemed to have a future. Oh how we were all pulling for her that night.

Oprah  Winfrey  interviews Bobbi Kristina for first time after Whitney Houston's Death. (Photo Credit: OWN/Ophrah Winfrey Network)

Oprah Winfrey interviews Bobbi Kristina for first time after Whitney Houston’s Death. (Photo Credit: OWN/Oprah Winfrey Network)

I just watched Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Bobbi Kristina Brown (Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown’s daughter), Gary Houston (Whitney’s brother), and Pat Houston (Whitney’s sister-in-law). It was a very emotional program. I went into it with a sense of apprehension mixed with “I can’t miss this”. I must say that I was very relieved with the outcome. Here’s why.

I remember seeing Diane Sawyer’s interview with Whitney a number of years ago, and although Diane asked the pertinent questions, it got a little combative. With Bobbi Kristina having just lost her mother, I wanted to hear from her, but I also felt a bit protective at the thought of this teenager being thrown to the wolves with pointed questions raining down upon her like jabs in a boxing ring. I needn’t have worried.Oprah to the rescue.

I can’t think of a better person than Oprah to have conducted this interview. Oprah welcomed Bobbi Kristina with arms outstretched, and simply held her for several moments. You could see that she put Bobbi Kristina at ease. Oprah led Bobbi through favorite memories of her mom. She asked touching questions such as “what will you miss most about your mom?”, and “what was your last day like with your mother?”.

I was so happy to hear Bobbi say that, though it was difficult, looking back she sees that her mother was preparing her for the day Bobbi would be thrust into the spotlight. And she felt that Whitney’s spirit was still with her saying “keep moving on. I’ve got you”. Bobbi said she has her up times and times when it hits her hard, but that she’s taking it one day at a time. Overall Bobbi came across as a very composed young lady, dealing admirably with the loss of a mother she so clearly loved and cherished. I believe Whitney would have been very proud of her.

Pat Houston struck me as someone who loved Whitney very much, enough to dare to stand up to her in a world of yes men. She spoke honestly of Whitney’s problems, but said that Whitney was dealing with her issues and, towards the end of her life, was turning things around for the better. She shared that Whitney was last at their home on New Year’s Day. She said she’d never seen Whitney so happy as she was when they played a rousing game of bingo down in the basement. She described Whitney as laughing the whole time and thoroughly enjoying her time with the family.

Pat went on to poignantly describe her last moments seeing Whitney when, despite the authorities trying to force her out of the hotel room, she was unable to leave her friend Whitney alone. She stayed until the EMTs had exhausted all rescue efforts and covered Whitney’s face before they carried her body out. Pat said that in the end she feels that Whitney’s downfall was looking for love in all the wrong places. Whitney was human just like the rest of us. I must add that very few of us have not been in that same predicament at one time or the other.

Gary Houston was clearly a big brother in tremendous grief. When Oprah asked him about Bobby and Whitney, it was very interesting to hear Gary say that he loved Bobby and thought he was a great guy. He said, in effect, that Bobby and Whitney were very much in love, and were both great people. It’s just that apparently they weren’t good together. He couldn’t place the blame on either party. I thought this was an incredibly fair and objective statement considering how Bobby is routinely maligned by much of the press.

Gary said that the only people who really know what goes on in a marriage are the two people in that marriage. He did touch on the fact that he felt very violated by the fact that someone among the close family and friends invited to the viewing at the funeral home would have taken a picture of Whitney in her casket and leaked it to the media. He called the act “wicked” and I totally agree.

Oprah said that she’d spoken to Whitney’s mother Cissy Houston the day before the interview and offered her the chance to speak if she wished. Cissy said that she just wasn’t ready to speak yet, and understandably so. Gary said that his mother had told him several times that Whitney’s voice was a vessel for her gift from God and that they wouldn’t have Whitney with them for long. He said that though Cissy had mentioned this several times, Whitney’s death still devastated her. Oprah said that when she asked Cissy how she was doing, Cissy said “some days I’m not doing”. My prayers go out to Cissy and the family.

Though many of us are still reeling from the unexpected loss of Whitney Houston, I have to commend Oprah for the compassionate manner in which she conducted this interview, even shedding tears when witnessing the family’s grief in telling their story. Oprah Winfrey handled this interview in a classy, dignified and respectful manner. And in this sometimes sordid, cut-throat tabloid world, it was, quite frankly, a refreshing and hopeful change. Well done Oprah. Rest in peace Whitney Houston. Thank you for sharing yourself and your incredible voice with the world. Yours was truly “The Voice”.

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“American Idol”: cancelled, but never forgotten

May 12, 2015

Audition of season one winner Kelly Clarkson

The hit television show “American Idol” is coming to a close after 15 seasons, according to an article in Variety magazine. Surprisingly many people via social media outlets are expressing thoughts that the show is past its prime, and should be put out to pasture. The producers want to see the show end on a “celebratory note” rather than be kicked out of the ring, holding onto the ropes with bloody fingers.

I will be a little sad to see it go. I think the show is a phenomenon! It has definitely fired up the dreams and hopes of many young hopefuls. Kids lined up for regional auditions and drove, or had their parents drive them, sometimes 12 hours or more for a chance to grab the elusive brass ring. I remember watching from the edge of my seat as a few contestants over the years admitted that they had called in sick, or even quit their jobs.

I would almost hold my breath rooting for them to make it. The courage and determination to risk it all on an audition lasting a few moments? The common sense (after all bills have to be paid) in me did many a battle with the part of me that admired the daring that they’d shown.  You only live once and it was exhilarating to see these teens and adults experiencing life to the fullest.

The article lists some of the “American Idol” alumni whose stardom shot into the stratosphere. Kelly Clarkson was the very first winner in 2002. She is still going strong, having won two Grammys in 2014:  Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance.  And she’s not the only one continuing to make great music. And it’s all the more endearing to see their success because we feel like we were on this ride with them from the beginning of the first nervous sweaty moments, to their evolutions to full out rock stars. Remember these gems?

  • Chris Daughtry
  • Ruben Studdard
  • Fantasia Barrino
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Jennifer Hudson

I’ve enjoyed all of the judges, but my favorite group was the first panel which consisted of Simon Cowell (the judge you loved to hate), Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. Their original chemistry was great. Even their little spats made you chuckle. But in the end they usually got it right, and picked the best talent to progress to the next round. There are whispers that the finale might feature visits from some of the past judges and performers from the show. That’s going to be a night to remember and, God willing, I plan to be right there watching. Make sure you’re logged into Facebook and Twitter if you watch it so we can chat amongst ourselves as we snack on popcorn and watch the end of a golden era.  🙂

You called me a what? Veronica goes to pieces.

March 19, 2015
Drama in the House!!!  (photo credit:  atlantablackstar.com)

Drama in the House!!! (photo credit: atlantablackstar.com)

How many of you watch Tyler Perry’s “The Have and the Have Nots”? I watch the show, and just about always enjoy it. There are two things I’d like to discuss right now and they are: Mommy/Son Issues and Don’t Call Me That.

Mommy/Son Issues

What in tarnation is wrong with Veronica? Every mother has wishes of how she’d like her child(ren) to turn out. There is nothing wrong with having those images in our minds, but what is dead wrong is trying to forcefully impose those views on them like they are our property. It seems the better thing to do is teach them values and morals to the best of our ability when they are very young and yielding. Once they are adults and can make their own decisions, we can choose to accept them or not, but we have no right to try to have our preferences beaten in or out of them. To turn a dangerous felon loose on your own child is crossing the line.

Don’t Call Me That

That last scene in the posh hotel bar can be taken so many ways. It was a very deep scene encompassing many story lines, i.e. David and Veronica’s relationship, David and Maggie’s relationship, and the dynamic between Veronica and Maggie. But one of the biggest takeaways to me was Veronica’s reaction to being called a “B” by David. She has done crazy things before behind closed doors, but has always had a public-ready facade in place when the doors opened and cameras started rolling.

 
This Veronica did not give two fig newtons that they were in an open hotel lobby. When David called her that name, she dove headfirst over the cliff of fed-up-ness. And I submit to you that her outward expression of rage is what any of us really feel, would feel, or have ever felt when called that name. If it’s a first date and a man calls you that, thank God you dodged a bullet, and run for the hills. But can you imagine having been married all that time, having invested your time and energy in promoting the joint success of you both, having squeezed out a child for this man, and then he calls you that? Explode would be the most like reaction for many.

 
Far too many women have become desensitized to being called that word because it is so prevalent in music, movies, and now even on television shows. We’ve gotten so used to hearing it that some of us call ourselves and our friends that to try to make it have a positive connotation, as in “I’m a bad B”. Well no matter how it is prettied-up and presented, it is still an ugly hurtful word. And Veronica played out the rage that we would feel inside; even should we decide to stay in the relationship. The word has got to go! Well done Veronica and more of us should insist “Don’t Call Me that”. I thank you.

Sodom, Gomorrah and American TV

January 9, 2015
What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit:  en.wikipedia.org)

What happened to the days when the whole family could watch TV together? (Photo Credit: en.wikipedia.org)

This is one of those posts that I didn’t necessarily want to write, but felt compelled, almost duty bound, to compose. Some would probably call me a TV fanatic, because I love the talking box. I enjoy watching almost any and every kind of program. Regardless of the critics’ reviews, I normally give it a chance and make up my own mind. However, it seems that a lot of programs, in their efforts to be politically correct, are going overboard and showing too much.

Soap Operas

These types of shows have always been a guilty pleasure. The fantastical situations and years-long story lines keep us enthralled on a daily basis. Kudos to the writers, because as hard as it likely is for writers of weekly shows to keep things interesting, it must be quite a daunting task for serial writers to dream up back-to-back plot twists every day.

That being said, I don’t know if some of them are running out of ideas, or just trying to be inclusive, but something is a little off. For instance, there is one soap that features an hourglass in the opening credits. For the last few months, they have had a big buildup to a wedding between two men. Yes a fanfare-filled, Prince Charming wedding on daytime TV. Now these types of relationships have often been implied, but they showed the whole ceremony, right up to the kiss. But it didn’t stop there. Where I think they crossed the line is in repeatedly showing the couple in bed caressing each other and kissing all over. Once upon a time, sponsors would have balked, pulled their ads, and the scenes would have been deleted, but apparently this is a new day.

Reality Shows

There is one show that featured a former Olympic champion, his wife and the escapades of their three daughters. Then the story branched out as the grown kids began to take over one city after the other. I confess that I used to watch this show, but one day a light bulb went off. The oldest daughter, and the one who should have been setting the example for her kid sisters, is nonchalantly spilling out baby after baby, without so much as a howdy do, despite the fact that their children’s father still has not made an honest woman out of her. Like this is the norm. It was so aggravating to see this type of behavior celebrated, when it is so hypocritical. Let that happen in certain neighborhoods and economic classes, and it immediately brings out stereotypical comments of how “those” poor kids never have a two-parent stable home. But when you’re rich, it’s glorified? No ma’am, it doesn’t work that way. So I stopped watching.

Primetime Drama

It seems as if all of my favorite nighttime melodramas are being shot, live on location, in the polished-up burnt ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah recently. There is one which features a female lead who has the president wrapped around her little finger. And she specializes in handling things that could turn the nation’s capital upside down, if they were to become public. But lately all of the president’s men have been getting an abundance of screen time.

Then my show about the gubernatorial candidate’s family’s love-hate relationship with the housekeeper’s family is spinning out of control. Now to be fair, so far the plots have centered on the patriarch’s son, who is not into men, allowing little peeks and touches, to basically just toy with the judge’s son, who is struggling with coming out. Got all of that? But the show has thus far avoided the gratuitous mat-wrestling tussles that pass for love scenes.

Alas, one of my new favs has also taken the plunge. This fast-moving suspense piece takes the usually boring law classes and has the teacher do what thousands of real life professors long to do. This educator, who is also an attorney, has found a way to keep her students totally engaged by having them apply what they learn in class to the cases they help her solve. The show has some killer, literally, plot turns that keep the viewers on the edge of their seats in anticipation. Be that as it may, this show might be one of the worst yet, as far as aggressive, thrust-it-in-your-face, male-on-male groping.

I guess part of the problem is that these images are not just alluded to, but they are lingered on in overly-long close-up camera shots and angles. I feel that this constant and increasing exposure will desensitize us to the point where we feel any and everything is acceptable, because we see it all the time. Of course, if something offends us, we can always turn our heads. But when it gets to the point where you have to avert your eyes during the majority of the show, then Houston, we have a problem.

There are no immediate fixes or solutions. We don’t want to go back to the days of strict artistic censorship, but we do want to maintain a standard of dignity and decency. While we work on this, I’m thankful that some of the channels are now running some of the past gems in syndication. Those old “Andy Griffith”, “Sanford and Son” and “Perry Mason” reruns are looking pretty good right about now.

 

 

Eddie Murphy Finally Comes Home To The Arsenio Hall Show

November 20, 2013

Arsenio Hall and Eddie MurphyPhoto Credit:  Arsenio Hall Facebook Page

Last night, 11/19/2013, was one of the better nights in the annals of late night talk show history.  Two of the funniest men alive, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall were reunited on the Arsenio Hall Show.  Arsenio Hall frequently had Eddie Murphy on as a guest during the first incarnation of the Arsenio Hall Show more than 20 years ago.  They were flying high at the time, riding the waves of success.  Murphy, clad in a fitted red leather creation, was steaming up big screens around the country in the stand-up comedy movie “Raw”.  Together the men had audiences rolling in the aisles with movies like “Coming to America” and “Harlem Nights”.

Flash forward and there they were last night, discussing the 25th anniversary of “Coming to America”, and teasing about a possible sequel.  I saw many comments on Facebook saying how remarkably well and fit both of them looked after all of these years.  The show opened up with a video of Eddie Murphy in a video performance of “Red Light”.  Murphy was singing lead and strumming guitar in the Reggae-styled tune, with Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) lending some smooth raps.

The whole interview was good, but two segments were downright hilarious.  In the first one Hall recounted the story of how years ago he got Murphy to drink some screwdrivers at a house party.  The problem was that Murphy did not (and still does not) drink alcoholic beverages.  Hall said that with a houseful of guests, Murphy was so drunk that he was on the kitchen floor talking to a dog named Val and saying, “Val you’re the only one I can trust”.

The second crazy story involved Murphy telling about how he had actually been sued by an African prince after the movie “Coming to America” came out.  Apparently the African prince said that he had come to America in search of meeting and pursuing the actress Ola Ray, star of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.  He accused Murphy of stealing his life.  Murphy had the audience in stitches imitating (with flailing arms and high-pitched African dialect) the guy screaming “You stole my life.  I want it back!”.  You can see the hilarious video clip here.

The only criticism I have been reading about was that the segments were too short and the commercials were too long.  Judging from the crowd’s reaction last night, 25 years has been long enough and we were ready to see these two do more movies, more television, more anything as long as it is together.  In an age where show business friendships are often discarded as quickly as yesterday’s shoes, there’s something that warms the heart when you see long-lasting friendships.  And in this harsh economic climate during which many people are looking for reasons to smiles, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall gave us just that last night.