Cynthia Erivo was hardly anyone’s first choice to assume the role of Black American icon Harriet Tubman. Yet, she was cast as the legend herself despite her reputation for disparaging remarks toward the Black American community. For the creation of “a piece of art”, Kasi Lemmons ignored the overwhelming criticisms facing Erivo. Now, the two are on a press tour struggling to save the film’s image.
Citing uncertainty of why Erivo’s backlash is so severe, Lemmons is naively claiming it’s because “she’s a woman.” Referencing other films like 12 Years A Slave and Selma, where British actors have held esteemed roles, Lemmons is overlooking the fact that the actors’ cast did not disrespect the Black American community while aspiring to portray one. Believing Cynthia Erivo was perfect for the part, Lemmons said despite understanding the criticism, she was more concerned with casting someone who would “inhabit the role.” Going so far as to say arguments against Erivo’s portrayal are “very unpleasant and ugly nationalistic” sentiments, Lemmons asserted the role belonged to her. Erivo has spoken out in her own defense several times. However, her attempts to clear the air have been called disingenuous.
Erivo recently stated in an interview with Variety that she knows she “hasn’t said anything that is derogatory toward any race.” She insists the screenshots against her are out of context to make her statements look demeaning. While acknowledging her comments were insensitive, Erivo understands people are still unsatisfied despite having “apologized, explained” and “displayed my intent.” The continued backlash led Lemmons to say despite her understanding of the importance of who gets to “bear the culture” Black Americans are “not seeing the forest for the damn trees.”
Lemmons felt Erivo’s casting was more appropriate because she is a brown-skinned Black woman with “recent ancestors that are West African”. Citing Tubman’s own lineage of being two generations removed from West Africa, Lemmons called the casting “beautiful.” However, she inadvertently used the very same ugly nationalistic sentiments she accuses Erivo’s detractors of wielding. Had a Black American been cast for the role, their ability to encapsulate the strength and resilience of Harriet Tubman would not be lost because of their diasporic experience.
With Harriet set to release November 1st, will you be watching in light of Erivo’s and Lemmons’ comments?
Rolling Ray Undergoes Surgery After Wig Catches On Fire
Social media star Rolling Ray underwent surgery Tuesday morning to treat serious burns on his body after his terrible wig accident last week.
In a series of IG stories, he let his audience follow along as he prepped for surgery.
Last week Rolling Ray announced he was hospitalized after his wig caught on fire! During a January 13 Instagram Live session hosted straight from his hospital bedside, he showed his severely burnt and damaged face telling viewers his “whole skin, legs, arms, feet, and everything” were burned.
In a more recent Live, Ray explained the incident that led to his whole wig catching on fire: an unfortunate smoking accident. “It just, like, lit on fire when I tried to light the cigarette,” he recounted. “So I get to trying to snatch the wig off. B***h, the fire goes to my f*****g shirt, to my feet, to my legs, to my back. It’s a fire everywhere, it’s a fire in the whole room.”
Of course the internet trolled him in a disgusting display of ableism and heartlessness. Comments like “Rolling Ray should have stopped, dropped, and rolled” and “karma’s a b***h” had social media conflicted in its feelings about his accident. His sensation comes from his harsh and, often, below-the-belt reads (just last month he told Yung Miami to “dig (sic) up” her dead baby father. However, the criticism didn’t stop him from responding on Twitter.
Rolling Ray might be problematic as all get-out, but we do not tolerate ableism here. We wish him well as he heals.
Fantasia Reveals Gender of Baby On the Way!
On Tuesday singer-songwriter and “American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino took to social media to reveal that she is having a baby girl, her first child with husband Kendall Taylor.
In a series of Instagram stories, Fantasia showed pink fireworks being shot off during a gender reveal party, to her and her hubby’s excitement! She continued by sharing what her daughter-to-be’s name will be: Keziah London Taylor.
The news comes after the couple revealed they had struggled to conceive since their 2015 marriage. During a November episode of her IG Live show “Taylor Talks,” she described continuously praying for a child with her husband. Fantasia, a deeply devout Christian, was obviously elated when she shared the news.
“God I Want To Thank You!” she said in an Instagram caption. “You Gave Us A Seed even when the Doctor said that one of my Tubes [was] Closed you said Different. @salute1st I Love You King and I can’t wait to see who He or She acts Like.”
We can see Fantasia and family are all super excited to be welcoming a baby girl into their lives. All congratulations to her.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Are Getting Divorced, Report Says
In a story published Tuesday evening, Page Six is reporting that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are getting divorced, with the two already in settlement talks. The news comes after the couple spent the holiday season separately – Kanye at his ranch outside Cody, Wyoming, Kim and the kids with her famous family in southern California.
A source close to Kardashian was quoted saying, “Kim got Kanye to go up there so they could live separate lives and quietly get things sorted out to separate and divorce. She’s done.” Kardashian, 40, and West, 43, are said to be splitting because of marital problems directly related to Kanye’s very public mental health struggles.
For several years the rapper’s various antics have caused fans to worry. After coming out as a Trump supporter, West then announced his own 2020 presidential bid under a new political party: the Birthday Party. At a campaign rally in South Carolina, he was seen rambling, debating individual audience members, and at times, crying. In various interviews, he has rambled on almost incoherently, and his tweetstorms are now infamous.
For her part, Kim has always supported her husband and has openly discussed the difficulties of their marriage. Back in June, she shared on social media, “Anyone who has [bipolar disorder] or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand… People who are unaware or far removed from this experience can be judgmental and not understand that the individual (has) to engage in the process of getting help no matter how hard family and friends try.”
It appears she has finally reached her limit in the union with the unnamed source saying, “She is serious about taking the bar exam and becoming a lawyer, she is serious about her prison reform campaign. Meanwhile Kanye is talking about running for president and saying other crazy s**t, and she’s just had enough of it.”
Separately, a source close to Kanye alleges the rapper is sick of his wife and her family, which might have some truth to it since he has tweeted some pretty nasty things about them in the past. “I been trying to get divorced since Kim met with Meek at the Warldolf [sic] for ‘prison reform,’” he said in a now-deleted July tweet. Recently, he hasn’t been featured on his wife’s Instagram and has largely remained out of the public eye.
With the news yet to be confirmed, the “divorce is imminent” reports are just rumors for now. We’ll be following the news as more information comes out.