Why speak out about Bill Cosby now? The simple answer is that it's the right thing to do. The truth deserves to be known. As I write this, more than 20 women have come forward, many with stories that are remarkably similar to mine.
The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling -- after his conviction Monday afternoon as a CIA whistleblower. At age 47, he is facing a very long prison sentence. As a whistleblower, he has done a lot for us.
Certainly, the lack of variety in Hollywood is not the biggest problem in the world today, yet it is a serious issue and one that we can do something about. In the true U.S. tradition of protest we can boycott movies and shows that are discriminatory as a tactic to force change.
There is no place any longer, either in the NFL or the nation at large, for the injustices and hypocrisies of prohibitionist marijuana policies. It's time for the NFL to be a leader and create a rational and science-based marijuana policy.
There is a commonly held belief among some that there is one black experience and one black community. Not only is this completely untrue, it's harmful. I am proof of this.
D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a plan to invest $20 million to support programs for Washington, D.C.'s men of color. This includes opening an all-boys college preparatory high school in 2017 under the "Empowering Males of Color" initiative.
Ruth's designs have graced the silver screen for over 28 years. Recently, she had the pleasure of working on the 2014 Oscar-nominated film Selma that was directed by the incredible Ava DuVernay.
Stewart, who wrote the screen adaptation and directed the film, says the movie is about more than their friendships. It's about women waiting for the next big thing in their lives to happen in order to be happy.
Only a very perceptive filmmaker could tackle the topic of race relations and be remotely successful. It would require a writer/director to be smart, balanced, sensitive and able to see both sides of the issue.
Driven by the drug war, the marijuana issue is continually debated in local, state, and federal jurisdictions about its illegality and wide-spread impact on the wider society as a whole.
The songbirds whose drama reaches as high as the notes they hit are back for a third season of TV One's hit series, R&B Divas: LA.
We should be concerned about the impact of Hollywood's continual whitewashing on the collective psychology of people of color and it should be of concern for any educated person who wants to have an accurate understanding of history.
I was quite literally born into the Civil Rights Movement in 1959, as my mother and father were already deeply committed to changing the world for the better by simply getting married: a handsome Negro man to a strikingly beautiful, aristocratic, blue-eyed blonde.
A few weeks ago, former Governor Deval Patrick took his ceremonial "lone walk" out of the Massachusetts State House to cap-off what had been a historic eight years as the first African American governor of a state that is roughly 83 percent white.
It's crucial for everyone in our community to know that leaving opportunities for health coverage on the table and trying to get along without health care only exacerbates the various health issues that already disproportionately impact LGBT people
For two decades, the Screen Actors Guild has been highlighting its members' best performances. The annual gala isn't as white as the 2015 Oscar nominees, but it's pretty close. Some say the lack of meaningful roles or developed character arcs -- especially for Asians, Latinos and African Americans -- contributed to their perpetual absence in the winners' circle. Others point to audiences' intolerance for non-white central characters. At the 2015 SAG awards, Viola Davis became the third actor of colour to ever take home the award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a TV Drama.
I have been traveling away from Palo Alto to L.A., Florida, and New York City. During this time there have been certain events in the news and others from my personal experience that have challenged my customary comfort zone of perception and cognition.
I stayed away from my country for 11 years, raising my three daughters in the calm and safety of Canada. I decided I could not let everything my husband tried to achieve be forgotten or destroyed. When I landed back in Mogadishu, I was amazed by what I saw. And what shocked me most was what had happened to women.
Backing Bette Midler as a vocalist gave Jenifer Lewis the training for her thirty year-plus long entertainment career. The 53 year-old Missouri native has over sixty films on her resume and -- though her part is small -- will make what she considers a "career transformation" in the new Clint Eastwood movie 'Hereafter.'
BlackVoices.com sat down with this legendary actress, singer and thespian for her thoughts on where she's been and where she's going.
BlackVoices: You've been a background vocalist for Bette Midler and Whoopi Goldberg in 'Sister Act.' Who's the biggest diva you've worked with and what did they teach you?
Jenifer Lewis: Well, I guess it was Bette Midler. And, one of the things I learned from Bette is how to sing a ballad. She had great focus and great humor and chutzpa (and you'll have to look that up how to spell that). She was very charismatic on stage and I would always stand in the wings and watch her.
BV: With a television career that spans 'A Different World' and 'Strong Medicine' to 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' and 'Friends' what do you think was your most enjoyable television role?
JL: I think they all are. When I show up, I show up to have a good time. I am a professional and I really enjoy working with other artists and having done a variety of other roles really fed my artistic creativity.
BV: There have been several notable roles you almost got but didn't including Effie White in the original cast of 'Dreamgirls' and Tina Turner in the critically acclaimed film 'What's Love Got to Do With It,' which one of these roles were you most upset you didn't get and did you watch either film and say hell I could've don't that better.
JL: Here's the time for me to set the record straight. I never audtioned for Tina and did not get the role. I was offered the mother role and was happy to do it. Could I have played Tina? Yes, but I think Angela Bassett did a great job and Effie it was the workshop production of 'Dreamgirls' that I did and when they brought Jennifer Holliday back I was fine because who knew that it was going to be the hit that it became. So there was never any disappointment in those two.
BV: But, was there any role that you were upset that you did not get?
JL: I am a firm believer in 'what's mine is mine.' I work so much, hell I can't get every part. Of course, I'm human and have had great disappointments in my career, but you keep stepping and keep it moving.
BV: You've also played the role of the mother in several films and for big names like Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, and Taraji P Henson, to name a few.
JL: That's right, I'm the black mother of Hollywood and good black don't crack. I have tried to honor the middle-aged African-American woman by playing her honest, and the earth mother which is what they are...sassy, honest, they get to the point, very direct, and very charismatic. So I've tried to honor that.
BV: Is there one mother role that you get recognized for the most?
JL: I think Velma Bullock from 'What's Love Got To Do With It?' People just walk down the street quoting me constantly. "Anna Mae, I'm the only sinner in this house" [and] "What you gonna do with that money, Anna Mae?" And, I think it's just too cute. When people imitate me, I just laugh and laugh. I'm very flattered by it.
BV: Do you ever feel like you're being typecast?
JL: Yeah, but I didn't mind it. I tell people 'Yeah, I play everybody's mother, but for that kind of money, I'll play the daddy." Ok, let's get real.
BV: Who's your favorite person to work with?
JL: I had a great time with Tom Hanks, we laughed the entire time we did 'Castaway,' that was a lot of fun. I loved working with Taraji P. Henson, she's a hoot...fiery girl. I love her. I get along with everybody and if I'm not getting along with you I'm going to say, 'Baby, can we work this out?' and a lot of times we do because life is short. People don't mess with me. They really don't they're like, 'That's Jenifer Lewis, keep it stepping.'
BV: You're certainly one of the funniest actresses of our time, would you ever do another sketch comedy show, having appeared on several episodes of 'In Living Color.'
JL: If that comes along before something else and it's written well I will do that show. I know people are waiting for me to have my own show and my answer to that is 'Everything in Time.'
BV: Was there ever one person you wanted to model your career after when you decided to become an actress?
JL: No, I'm an original. Always have been.
JL: Now, I've looked up to many people who are not all entertainers that have helped me mold the person I have become. Mahalia Jackson, Aretha [Franklin]'s voice was the score to my childhood. I grew to love and admire Dr. [Martin Luther] King and I stand on the shoulders on Nelson Mandela and I know that they are fragile, so I watch my step. I am a reader of the great Toni Morrison. There are so many that I cannot name, but I honor them all. Lena Horne, Nina Simone, Barbara Streisand...I met [Barack] Obama and Michelle [Obama] at Oprah [Winfrey]'s house and I want you to print all of that because I pay tribute to these people.
BV: If you weren't an actress, what do you think you would be doing?
JL: I would be a gymnast. I'm very limber. I do yoga.
BV: Many people love your cult classic mockumentary 'Jackie's Back.' What's the status on the sequel? We're getting anxious waiting on it.
JL: I'm going to try real hard to do that. I think the next 'Jackie's Back,' she's going to be Mayor of Washington, D.C., terrorizing the entire town.
BV: Two years ago, you appeared in 'Hairspray' on Broadway. Do you think you'd go back to Broadway anytime in the near future?
JL: I am sure I will one day because I have got to snatch up that Tony Award.
BV: Will you be doing your one-woman show in the near future?
JL: I will be doing a concert on Nov.22 at the Nate Holden Theatre called 'Tis the Season with Jenifer Lewis' so I want everybody to be there. It is a fundraiser.
BV: Many people don't know you voiced the character of Mama Odie in the Disney animated film 'The Princess and the Frog,' was that easy work?
JL: Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. I took on Moms Mabley, the African-American comedienne and just ran with it. I had a ball doing that character.
BV: Tell us a little about your role in 'Hereafter.' How was having this bit role in this big budget film?
JL: I'll put it like this...everybody should see the movie because Clint Eastwood has the ability to poetically put stories onto the screen. The movie leaves you with your own imagination and he captures the current of human emotion and I have two words for Clint Eastwood: intellect and humanity. Very classy guy he trusts his actors. And, Matt Damon was also a professional so there I sat in front of my own reflection because I am a staunch professional.
Blackvoices: Did you learn anything from Matt Damon or Clint Eastwood? Or better yet, did you teach him anything?
JL: Just stay focused and do the work and do it well, but between me and you, I think they learned more from me. Hatch da da dum.
Blackvoices: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
JL: Happy. Very, very, happy. I have a wonderful daughter. I'm in love. I will probably be married. I have never been married and I have a little puppy and I'm sure that he will be right in my little arms.
Blackvoices: Do you still have a dream role that you haven't played yet or a passion project of sorts?
JL: I'm loving it all. Whatever comes and it's good. I will take it.
'Hereafter' hit theaters nationwide Oct. 22.