Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang Show Up For Black Women in “Master of None” Season 2 | Black Girl Nerds

When Master of None premiered two years ago, it instantly became a new favorite among viewers for its clever storytelling and diverse cast that centered around an Asian-American man, Dev (Aziz Ansari).

But while Ansari and his co-creator, Alan Yang were pushing the diversity needle forward for Asian-Americans, viewers often noted that there was a lack of women of color in Dev’s dating pool. For all of season one’s ten episodes, Dev dates nearly all white women.

Ansari responded to this critique in a Reddit AMA shortly afterward by stating that there were no “ethnicity requirements” in the casting calls and that they only asked that there be chemistry between himself and the actress. And while that may be true, as a showrunner of color, there’s, unfortunately, an added responsibility to provide an opportunity to bring on other actors of color who often have more difficulty getting casted than their white counterparts. (To be fair, he does give a lot of space to Lena Waithe’s character, Denise, but season two pushes it even further.)

Luckily, in his latest offering of the Emmy Award-winning series, Ansari and Yang not only rectify this but they also highlighted a group who are especially marginalized — black women.

Read the full piece on Black Girl Nerds here.

Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves and Esperanza Spalding Remember Abbey Lincoln With Black Girl Magic | HuffPost

Black girl magic is a concept coined by black millennial women to express a mutual recognition, understanding and love between black women that simultaneously combats the constant pushback, rejection and disregard from society. Instead of being vilified for our very being, black girl magic encourages us to celebrate our simplest actions and regard them as extraordinary.

If anyone is a testament to this idea, it’s Abbey Lincoln, an unapologetic black woman, activist and jazz singer who wrote of a similar idea in “Who Will Revere the Black Woman?” in 1966. But black girl magic isn’t the only ‘magic’ that Abbey Lincoln subscribed to. After touring across the motherland with South African singer Miriam Makeba, Abbey became drawn to the kind of magic that’s filled with spells, mysticism and the spirit realm of our ancestors.

And on the third night of the Women of the World, or WOW, festival, the nearly sold out crowd had the privilege to witness both forms of enchantment as three black women — Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves and Esperanza Spalding — took the stage together to pay tribute to the late singer at the Apollo Theatre on Saturday night (May 6).

Read the full piece on HuffPost here.

10 Comic Books For ‘Bad & Boujee’ Women | Complex

Migos’ “Bad & Boujee” is proving to be one of the most influential songs of 2017 (and it’s still early!). It’s been all but inescapable in the past few months since its release in October. But it really catapulted into pop culture once Donald Glover praised the track during his acceptance speech for winning Best TV Series for his critical darling, Atlanta, at the Golden Globes where he thanked Migos for creating “the best song ever.” After that the track continued to dominate—becoming certified platinum, gaining the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and spawned tons of “rain drop, drop top” memes that created a cultural phenomenon.

But more than a song, the Atlanta trio captures the definition for hustlin’ divas who have the perfect blend between intelligence, badassery and self-reliance. With Metro Boomin on the production, Migos raps about the classy women (and men) who live lavish but are also not afraid to get down and dirty to fight for what they want. But “bad and boujee” women aren’t only found in Migos’ hit song, but across comic book pages and behind the scenes as well. Similar to the track, comic books star dynamic women like the savage-minded yet stylish Vixen who headlines her own comic and Ayo and Aneka, who are ready to lead a revolution in Marvel’s World of Wakanda. The latter is also written by two black women, Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey, a first for Marvel. For the Whitleys, Hillarys, Fancys and Lisas, here’s a list of comic books for the”bad and boujee” to talk about during the next scheduled brunch.

Read the full list on COMPLEX here.

7 Asian-Led Shows to Binge If You’re Boycotting ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’ | Medium

For the past few years, Marvel fans developed a ritual: watch the clock strike midnight, sign into Netflix and start a binge-a-thon for the latest Netflix/Marvel series. In 2013, it was Daredevil, followed by Jessica Jones (2015), Daredevil’s season 2 (2015) and Luke Cage (2016). But not everyone will be tuning when Marvel’s Iron Fist is made available to the public tonight.

When Marvel announced that it would be crafting an Iron Fist series, many advocated for them to hire an Asian-American actor to fulfill the role of Danny Rand, who is originally white in the comics. This argument came about from die-hard fans and newbies alike for four reasons. 1). When Iron Fist premiered in 1974, martial arts fetishism was at its peak which often led to white creators appropriating the art form and placing themselves at the center. Recasting Danny Rand as an Asian-American actor would be a step in the right direction to rectify that. 2). Marvel has yet to introduce an Asian superhero in its cinematic universe. 3). It wouldn’t change the character since an Asian-American hero would still have an “outsider” feel to the world Rand is introduced to. Nothing else about Danny Rand would require him to be white. 4). Asian actors are rarely found on film/TV and this would have been another chance for Hollywood executives to work to change that. The New York Times reported that “more than half of film, television and streaming properties feature zero named or speaking Asian characters” despite Asians making up 5.4 percent of the United States population. In 2014, “only 1.4 percent of lead characters in a sample of studio films” were Asian, the article further stated.

This case was made on Twitter (#AAIronFist) and on several news outlets including The Nerds of Color and ComicsAlliance. But nonetheless, Marvel hired Finn Jones, a white actor, to play the suave, funny and rich martial arts master. Thus, boycott. It probably doesn’t help that the series has been lauded with bad reviews by several news outlets as well.

But luckily for disappointed comic book fans, there are plenty of Asian heroes found within South Korean dramas that often feature complex kickass heroes who can handle bad guys with their fists, guns, or whatever else happens to be nearby. Similar to Marvel’s series, these shows are filled with guts, heart and a story to keep you hooked throughout the entire show. So, if you’re looking for a show with an entire Asian cast to watch this weekend, look no further. Here are 7 Asian-Led Shows to Binge if You’re Boycotting ‘Marvel’s Iron Fist’. (And most of them can be watched for free!)

Read the full post on Medium here.

Melonie Diaz of ‘The Cobbler’ reveals how Adam Sandler Surprised Her |

Melonie Diaz landed one of her first high-profile roles in the 2008 oddball comedy Be Kind Rewind. In that film, Diaz starred alongside Mos Def and Jack Black as they tried to save one of the last remaining independent video rental stores.

And Diaz is back to saving a community of small businesses with her new role in Adam Sandler’s The Cobbler.

This time, Diaz plays Carmen, a Lower East Side activist who is also the love interest of Sandler’s character, Max. Diaz also won raves in 2012 for her performance as Sophina, the girlfriend of the slain Oscar Grant (portrayed by Michael B. Jordan) in Fruitvale Station. For the role of Carmen, Diaz found herself drawn to the character for her passion and drive in helping others.

“So few people love their job and she was one of them,” says Diaz.


New York Daily News: The red phone is ringing: U.S.-Russia hotline turns 51 as relations grow cold between superpowers

It was Aug. 30, 1963.

Relations between the U.S. and Russia were tense, interchanges were slow and the slightest miscommunication between the two superpowers could have led to World War III.

President John F. Kennedy sat in the Oval Office when a “hotline” was established to between him and Soviet Union leader Nikita Khrushchev.

Often depicted in movies as a fiery red telephone, the hotline was actually a teletypewriter, which sent written messages between the White House and the Kremlin. It was only later upgraded as a telephone, email and video-enabled.

But even though that line of communication is more advanced than ever, as tensions between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin thicken foreign policy experts question whether we’re entering a second Cold War.

Read the full piece on

The Build-Up To A Laugh: Following Haitian Comedian Wil Sylvince

Wil Sylvince may just be the most interesting comedian in the world.

While sporting a beard for a movie he’s co-writing (with Bryan Kennedy) and starring in called Maurice, Wil Sylvince tours the United States doing comedy shows with Shawn Wayans (The Wayans Brothers, White Chicks) and Keenan Ivory Wayans (In Living Color). Next Wednesday, Sylvince continues to host his founding-project, the annual NBC Shortcuts Film Festival which is approaching its 8th year. The festival is geared towards bringing more cultural diversity in the film industry.

Moreover, Sylvince, a longtime roommate of the late Patrice O’neal and friend of rockstar comedians like Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock, still finds time to make it for multiple sets throughout the week at iconic Greenwich Village comedy club, The Comedy Cellar. Almost a second home, Sylvince has meetings and works on his movie there.

In the morning , Sylvince trains with Steven Frank. He’s been boxing since 2007 with Frank, the man who Sylvince said changed his life and made him drop 68 pounds through training and changing his lifestyle. In Maurice, Sylvince plays a Haitian man who comes to America with dreams of becoming a great boxer (and will do anything to achieve it) but soon finds it’s not as easy as it seems. Frank can be seen playing Sylvince’s trainer in the movie as well. So far, the trailer has reached over two million views on YouTube. The movie however is still in pre-production and will be releasing a Kickstarter soon.

**Photos were not taken all in the same day but are organized to depict a week of Wil Sylvince from September 25th to October 2nd. Specific dates the photos were taken appear next to the caption.**

Wil Sylvince leaving from watching a boxing match and heading to do his set at The Comedy Cellar

9/25: Wil Sylvince leaves from watching a boxing match to his set at The Comedy Cellar.

The Comedy Cellar located at 117 Macdougal Street

10/2: The Comedy Cellar located at 117 Macdougal Street. The club is known to have impromptu performances by famous comedians like Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K., and Aziz Ansari.

Wil Sylvince edits a new ending for his trailer of Maurice

10/1: Wil Sylvince edits a new ending for his trailer of Maurice.

Wil Sylvince meets with a possible financial investor and co-writer of Maurice, Bryan Kennedy (far right)

10/2: Wil Sylvince meets with a possible financial investor (middle) and co-writer of Maurice, Bryan Kennedy (far right).

Jamie Foxx walked in and Sylvince was able play the trailer for him

10/2: Jamie Foxx (Ray, Django Unchained) walked into The Comedy Cellar and Sylvince was able play the trailer for him. This is the third time Foxx and Sylvince have met but their inside jokes still remained intact.

Wil Sylvince meets with old friends and comedic legends Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock at The Comedy Cellar

10/2: Wil Sylvince is joined by old friends and comedic legends, Chris Rock and Jamie Foxx at The Comedy Cellar. This was Chris Rock’s third impromptu performance that week.

Wil Sylvince performing his set at The Comedy Cellar

9/25: Wil Sylvince smiles on stage while performing his set at The Comedy Cellar

Wil Sylvince leaves The Comedy Cellar after a long day

10/1: Wil Sylvince leaves The Comedy Cellar, ready to go home after a long day