Posts Tagged ‘michele weaver’

Review: Season One ‘Love Is___’

Love Is ___ premiered June 19th, 2018 on the Oprah Winfrey Network. According to OWN and Nielsen, the show ranks as the NO. 1 show on cable. I am elated that Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim shared their love story with the world.

If you were to ask the question: “What is love?” you would get a thousand different answers.  The truth of the matter is, everyone deserves love no matter who they are. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to live a life filled with love.   Many factors come into play when it comes to finding true love.  Society places many norms that dictate who should find and keep love.  Many believe your financial status and physical beauty are the two most important criteria that make one the perfect candidate for finding love. We have seen too many times that is not true at all, otherwise the rate of divorce among the rich and famous would be a lot less.

I have always been a fan of the Akils. When Sex In The City premiered and the show did not include black women, Mara Brock Akil took matters into her own hands and brought us the hugely successful show Girlfriends, and later the TV series The Game and Being Mary Jane. The Akils are committed to showing the world that black people matter and they too deserve to have their stories told.

Love Is___ resonates well with African American women as they can relate to the struggles the Akils encountered during their courtship. The Akils became a power couple in black Hollywood.   Love Is___ is set primarily in 1990’s Los Angeles. It follows Nuri (Michele Weaver) and Yasir (Will Catlett), a couple from two different worlds. The story is told from the perspective of the couple’s present-day selves.

Yasir meets Nuri in a local coffee shop. Nuri breathes hope into Yasir’s life by encouraging him to not give up on his dreams of becoming a director/ producer for television.  The two fall in love.   Trouble and hardship ensue when Nuri and Yasir navigate around the highs and lows of falling and staying in love.

Society has not always been kind to the struggles and plight of the black male. We are conditioned to think they are less than their white counterpart, but with Yasir, we get to see a man who is struggling with being jobless and yet still manage to remain resolute in who he is as a man. I know more often than not society frowns on a man who depends on a woman to help him financially.

Nuri’s willingness to support Yasir financially while he is unemployed brings to light a conversation that black women have been forced to have for many years now.  Are black women obligated to save the black male because society has made it very difficult for them to be successful?  This is not an easy question to answer.   Black women have it hard too.  Slavery has done unspeakable damage to the psyche of black people.  It is never easy to erase one’s past traumas.

It warms my heart that Love Is___ has opened many doors to talk about important issues in the black community.  These conversations are vital and we must have them. In episode 8, Yasir takes Nuri to meet his mom and his son Deonte.  Yasir’s ex-wife showed up to confront him.    That episode exposed the daily reality of what single parenting is all about. Is Yasir less of a man because he is not a part of his son’s life?  My answer to that question is a resounding NO.   I think Yasir is a product of his environment. Yes, he is arrogant and full of pride; but he is a man who is searching for fulfillment in life.

Will Catlett, Salim Akil, Oprah, Mara Brock Akil, and Michele Weaver at the LA premiere of Love Is ____.

We all come to a relationship with specific needs. Nuri feels safe with Yasir so she is willing to overlook many of his shortcomings.  During episode nine, we learned that her stepfather molested her at the age of 9 until she was 12 years old.  Having suffered such abuse is bound to have devastating repercussions on one’s psyche.  I believe this is why Nuri appears to be very gullible.  She has a very kind heart and is an overachiever, and this is how in my opinion she deals with her past sexual abuse.

At the end of the day, I think we all need someone to believe in who we are, our humanity demand that we find that someone who will be by our side to help us win in life.

I believe we are all masterpieces in progress and the people we allow in our lives will help us transition into who we are destined to become.

Lastly, the Akils have once again given us another masterfully well-written TV series that allow the viewer to see events in the life of black people. Hopefully,  by watching shows like Love Is ___we can all get inspired to have quality conversations that can help heal our past traumas.

If you would like to find out more about the lead actress Michele Weaver and male lead Will Catlett, check out their Instagram here and here.

 

 

 

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Movie Review: ‘Illicit’ – American Black Film Festival 2016 Official Selection

I love movies especially those that are not only entertaining, but teach you valuable lessons about life. Illicit, an Official Selection of the 2016 American Black Film Festival, has many hidden lessons about the complexity of living life.

Ilicit

No one is immune from the curve balls that life can sometimes throw at us, but the choices we make in life can certainly reap dire results.
I love the way the writers Corey Grant and Lanett Tachel Proctor reminded the audience marriage is sacred and that any relationships outside of marriage is considered morally not acceptable. I thought it was an ingenious way to bring across that message by juxtaposing pictures of happily married couples in the opening credits of the movie.
The movie chronicles the life of Guy and Sasha Curtis (David Ramsey from CW show Arrow as John Diggle, Showtime TV series Dexter as Anton Briggs, and Mother and Child as Joseph, Shireen Crutchfield an actress known for Love and a Bullet, Hot Boyz, and Judgment Day.)
Like every married couple there are bound to be challenges. Guy and Sasha’s struggles began when Sasha wants to return to modeling, but much to her dismay her husband sees her role as a stay at home mom as more important than her seeking to rekindle her modeling career. Many arguments ensue, and Sasha eventually out of frustration goes behind her husband back by doing a photo shoot with a photographer. McKinley Freeman who played Derek Roman from HBO show Hit the Floor plays Lance the charming, full of sex appeal, photographer. But behind the sex appeal lurks a creepy man who turns out to be a controlling, and manipulative sexual deviant. Sasha ends up having sex with Lance which was a big mistake .

Guy falls prey to female parolee Faren Wilson (Michele Weaver actress from Sister Code, 2Lava 2Lantula, and Switched at Birth) Faren lured Guy down the path of infidelity. The character of Faren makes one think of how one’s life can turn drastically in the wrong direction by making the wrong choice. A Howard University graduate, Faren made the wrong decision by getting into a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. Even though she tried to defend herself from being bludgeoned to death by the abusive boyfriend, she ends up paying the ultimate price by going to prison. Faren is a complex character and one is compelled to feel compassion for her. But, in the end her full intentions are revealed and it will leave you in a state of shock.
I like the way the writers had both the wife and husband seeking sexual relationship outside their marriage. It portrays that both men and women can get tempted down the road of infidelity.
Sasha’s best friend Tai, played by Lanett Tachel Proctor brings some much-needed comedic relief. Tai is a great example of a close friend that fulfills what researchers have concluded: Researchers say friends may exert a healthy influence on mood, self-esteem, and coping in times of difficulty. The study also stipulates having a strong network of friends can help you live longer too. Tai’s character, in my opinion exemplify when you have challenges in life, it is much better to seek sound ways to deal with these challenges. Tai uses her blog therapeutically to manage her frustrations and insecurities. It warmed my heart because in my own life, writing is my number one way to help navigate some of life’s curve balls.
In conclusion, Illicit is masterfully written. This well-paced movie will take the viewer on a thrill ride. More importantly, Illicit will get you talking about how it is never worth it to cheat on your spouse. The consequences of such actions have too many possible devastating outcomes. The ending will surprise the viewer, and I think this is what makes the movie so endearing. Additionally, it is refreshing to view a black movie that is not about slavery. It is certainly a much-needed reprieve to watch a movie of blacks navigating through everyday challenges that does not entail a slave and his or her master.
Illicit can help generate philosophical conversations about not letting bad choices we make in life define who you are and who you can become. We all make decisions that can render us in a state of denial, which can in turn cripple us from moving forward. We can’t change the past, but we can certainly control what the future will look like. It starts by the individual finding the courage to forgive himself/herself, and then making a concerted effort to move forward .

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For more information about Illicit visit the website here
You can also read Blogcritics interviews with the writers here and here
Out of 5 stars I rate Illicit a 5!
Illicit is currently available for viewing ON DEMAND on your local cable provider. (Ex: Time Warner, Comcast, Spectrum, AT&T, Dish, & Direct TV to name a few.) Also Amazon, ITunes, Xbox, PlayStation