David Foster: Off The Record (2019) Netflix Review

Grammy Award-winning composer and producer, David Foster, has had his share of struggle and success as one of today’s most successful musician. Foster first attempted his music career in his home state New York, where he found no real luck, success, or place to call home. Foster eventually left New York and found great potential for his music career in Los Angeles. A place he felt was more home to him than New York. In Los Angeles, he worked with music idols such as Whitney Houston in Bodyguard, Toni Braxton in “Unbreak My Hear” and “All By Myself” with Celine Dion to name a few. In his film, while music is clearly a driving force in Foster’s life, Foster shares that being a good human being was important in being a musician. Off the Record offers insight into Foster’s journey as today’s most popular and grammy awarding composer/ producer that is not often shared in the lime light. David has 16 Grammys from 47 nominations. Definitely one of my music idols I’d love to meet in this lifetime. Film is available on Netflix.

The Help (2011): Movie Review

First off, I would like to start off by saying that I’m particularly picky about the kinds of movies I watch.
I normally watch movies that contain relevance to the culture, social issues, offer insight into theories/ phenomenons, crime, or simple entertainment such as dark humor comedies– as you can probably tell from my previous posts. And so when I saw this movie on Netflix, I was eager to share with you my thoughts & review on it.
I had been meaning to watch the movie The Help (can’t believe this movie is almost a decade old and is more relevant now than ever), and it was interesting to watch the modern take of 1960’s racism. The main cast of the movie includes Emma Stone as Eugenia Skeeter, Bryce Howard as Hilly Holdbrook, and Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson– all of whom did a brilliant job as actors to convey and deliver the message of the movie across to their viewers. While racism has improved, we do have to take note of the overt and blanket racism that existed in the 60’s produced by the Jim Crow laws that were enacted in the late 1800’s & onward. In the movie, white households hired black servants to not only watch over their children but also act as a doormat for their personal rage and frustration. You will also see how they were used as pons to boss around and show off to their fellow acquaintance. And as a person of color, this broke my heart to see. These servants not only served their ‘white masters’ but were ultimately owned by them. And this act was entirely legal & condoned. While we can say this phenomenon no longer happens in modern day to this extent, we may see this behavior present in smaller ways through daily human interaction via micro aggression, the job hiring process, etc. While I personally don’t think there is an exact blame towards anyone since it has become a practice engrained into our minds and government system.. it is our willful ignorance & lack of knowledge (and admittedly mine as well long ago) that perpetuates cycles of racial discrimination and injustice in our world. I can commend the improvement we have witnessed throughout the decades, I know there is much more we can do as human beings with integrity and a basic fundamental understanding of human rights, to make this world a much better and safe place for future generations to live in.

If ya’ll have a chance or may have piqued any of your interest (due to the current racial & political climate), I’d recommend to give The Help a go on Netflix.
While it is a much light hearted version of systemic racism & oppression, it does contain a powerful message about humanity and where we stand collectively as citizens of the law. And at that I’ll leave you with this.

“See, courage isn’t just about being brave. 
Courage is daring to do what is right in spite of the weakness of our flesh.”
— The Help

Netflix Film: Cadillac Records (2008)

The film Cadillac Records was an insightful & interesting film to watch to say the least.
Odd to think that the film was released almost a whole decade ago, but in some ways still feels very new.

The film stars Adrien Brody as Leonard Chess, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, and Beyoncé as Etta James. While Cadillac Records is based on a true story, I thought it was an interest how the film instead tells the story of Chess Records, one of the preeminent blues record labels in the late 40s and 50s during the rise of blues in Chicago. For the director’s purpose, Darnell Martin, of showing issues about race that later influenced the Civil Rights.

While there are many interpretations & opinions on the film out there on the internet, I’d recommend ya’ll to give a try! There are definitely some interesting facts in the storyline that I personally found fascinating. Revisit the 40-50’s of Chicago blues & let me know your thoughts below!

(click here to purchase Cadillac Records on Amazon)

Netflix Documentary: Homecoming (2019) Review

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so ya’ll might not be surprised about this one.. I mean, how can I run a music blog but not talk about Beyonce right?

As you can tell from the title, along with my other Netflix binges, I watched Homecoming not too long ago. For those of you not familiar, and I quote, “the film finds the artist getting candid about her journey to her historic Coachella set. Beyoncé’s headlining set at Coachella in 2018 was a master class in pop performance: an instantly iconic celebration of blackness, HBCUs and her own historic 22-year career” (Rollingstone.com). Now, I don’t think anyone can truly get tired of Beyonce. I mean she might not be a-so-called-“legend”, but she has paved a way for many artists in this generation and has done so in an iconic fashion. She is talented & very hard working.. and how can you give criticism to someone like that?

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But that is not to say (and im sorry to say & beehives don’t come for me– or do) that I exactly identify as a Beyonce Stan. Because quite frankly, at one point, I considered her quite overrated. I just didn’t exactly understand the hype of Beyonce throughout my high school years when her career was in her prime circa 2012-2014. While she is a great vocalist, I think the over-sexualization of her image kinda offsets me, which is sad to say because I do admire her as a vocalist. And to me, for the amount of fame and glory she got.. something was lacking and wasn’t hitting right in her music for me. I guess she didn’t exactly possess quite the same charisma & poise (& perhaps technicality?) that the late great Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey had/ have, which might be why they had to up sell her image? might sound odd, not entirely sure. Or maybe it was because I simply didn’t want to identify with the homogenous opinion & wanted to go against the grain? Is that what truly great artists force people to do? Idk what to think honestly. All I feel I can say is, coming from a musical stand point, Beyonce does not compare or even come close to these legends (regardless of how much fame & public praise she attains). This might upset a lot of Bees out there, but it’s only my personal opinion, though an unpopular one, that I’ve only had the courage to share.

But all tangents aside, the documentary was entertaining while informative, as it dips into the empowerment of the black culture– which I am entirely in for (I graduated with a b.a in sociology. so go figure.) while using Beyonce as the “face” or representation of black culture. But I do have to point out my observation, and call me a critic, in that while she does identify as African American, I don’t think she is entirely accurate representation or exactly the most epitomic figure of the movement only because (and wait for it) she is considered the lighter of African Americans. As we may all infer and I think it is fair & safe to say, much the same way colored people do than white, African American women of darker color do experience much more discrimination and injustice. While she may speak for African American, she cannot necessarily represent the very true population/ culture/ story of the black community; she would be, in a lack of better words, the privileged of the minority. I mean do we have to talk Destiny’s Child? Can we even relate her strive to stardom with the historical struggle of an entire oppressed generation of people? But I guess this is a discussion we might have to save that for another topic as I don’t want to delve into that here.

All in all, the film was not entirely a disappointment. I noticed how the film did refer to the Great Miss Nina Simone and her profound message of BLACK power– which you can read here. If you have been following my blog for quite some time now, you’d know that the very first post I made was dedicated to the High Priestess of Soul. I admire her for her intellect, genius, grit, & her musical gift. They also quoted W.E.B DuBois, a sociologist who coined the notion of “double consciousness” (I can go more into this on another post as well if interested). The film showcases what hard work (and a little bit of luck) can bring you all the while celebrating the beauty of black culture in all its glory. And who wouldn’t want to experience that?

Be sure to add Homecoming on watchlist, and let me know your thoughts below!

Netflix Show: Glow Up (2019) Review

Soo, as you know I always love to share my suggestions with you whether it be in the arts, music, or, in this case, films. Only now, however, I just realized that in sharing these suggestions with you, that they somehow evolve into reviews. So I guess this is a start of new series on my blog that I will be calling such pieces “reviews”. Sit back, grab ya popcorn, & read on ya’ll.

I would like to start off by saying that I hope everyone is well & safe, and that you have spent this time either finding some peace or maybe even channeling your energy into productivity during this time.

I have spent the last couple weeks since my return from Georgia watching documentary films/ series as I have discussed in my last post “Netflix Documentary: Quincy (2018)”, which you can read here.

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This time I would like share with you a new series that I just finished called Glow Up.  I only watched the first season (aired March 2019) since it’s still fairly new. The second season was expected sometime last month, but unfortunately due to current circumstances it has been postponed till further notice (which is the case for all entertainment).

Anyhow, though it may not be a documentary, I find the series just as inspiring. In short, this series is based on a reality competition among aspiring make up artists fighting to earn the “Next Make-Up Star” title. The show is filmed in London, where all the people seem so well-mannered and polite totally different from LA but that’s beside the point, haha. (focus Lorraine) Though I do not identify as being a make-up artist, I do identify as an artist, and witnessing the amount of passion, love, and sheer resilience these contestants had throughout the competition was so inspiring that a lit a fire in me that needed to be lit. Easily, there were contestants that I wanted to be befriend only because I felt the desperation that they had (and excuse my language) to win the damn thing; they poured their heart & soul into every brush stroke, creating a work of art that brought them immense joy. Every art piece, most importantly, told a story. They fought every fight they could, and when faced with rejection they left with humility & even a stronger passion to be pursue their dreams. And there is nothing, at least for me, more noble than that.

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As an aspiring singer, myself, I can only imagine similar feelings & emotions I will experience if (and when) I do join a vocal competition. It’s as if their work of art was their oxygen and they could not go on & live if it did not appease their very souls. Oh yeah & I can totally relate to the perfectionist syndrome. Lol. Not to mention, the works some of these artists created was absolutely mind-blowing (as seen above). Just absolutely iconic. Ding Dong! (if you will). It only made me wish that I could create something so touching & beautiful.

All in all, I totally recommend the series to those reading who are aspiring MUA or simply aspiring artists. Art is art, and one artist’s experience does not differ from another– only because the passion is passion, and it’s either there or it’s not. And it was very much evident that the passion burned in the souls of these contestants..

Anyhow, don’t want to spoil the film for ya’ll, watch the series for your dose of inspiration (and also to get my references in this post hehe). That’s enough of me rambling! Go on now dahling, & get ya Netflix on!