Month: May 2017

Fans create #RenewUnderground and #PickupUnderground in wake of WGN’s shocking cancellation

Aisha Hinds as Harriet Tubma (WGN America)

With a move that was a shock to many fans, WGN America cancelled its flagship scripted program Underground.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network cancelled the hit program because of a new direction.

In the wake of parent commpany Tribune Media’s $3.9 billion planned acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the cable network’s future as a destination for high-end scripted originals is over. And that includes the pricey and critically lauded slave drama produced by Sony Pictures Television[.]

‘Despite Underground being a terrific and important series, it no longer fits with our new direction and we have reached the difficult decision not to renew it for a third season. We are tremendously proud of this landmark series that captured the zeitgeist and made an impact on television in a way never before seen on the medium,’ Tribune Media president and CEO Peter Kern said Tuesday in a statement.

He continued: ‘We thank the incomparable creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and the great John Legend, along with the talented creative team and cast who brought the unsung American heroes of the Underground Railroad to life. We are grateful to the loyal fans of Underground and our partners at Sony Pictures Television. It is our hope that this remarkable show finds another home and continues its stories of courage, determination and freedom.’

It should be noted that BET and OWN, two networks that seem like they’d be chomping at the bit to get Underground, have passed on the show, citing cost concerns.

EP John Legend said this on Twitter in regards to the show’s cancellation:

“WGN America has been bought and is going in a different direction strategically. We will find a new home for Underground! Content wins. We’re not reliant on a particular network to make great content. We’re so proud of our show and the audience that supported!”

Legend also added a word of caution about the Sinclair Broadcast group, which All Hip Hop describes as a “conservative mediaa company that is purchasing local televisions tations across the country.”

“Be wary of Sinclair though,” wrote Legend. “They’re trying to make local stations mini Fox Newses, but more to the right.”

Co-creator Misha Green has also written on Twitter her commitment to finding a new network for the show.

“We appreciate the outpouring of fan support,” she wrote. “…[W]e’re determined to find a new network for #Underground.”

As Misha alluded in her tweet, the fans have expressed their outrage at Underground’s cancellation, developing the hashtags #RenewUnderground and #PickupUnderground.

https://twitter.com/BrandonMatsalia/status/869698762788052992

Personally, I was expecting something like this to shake out in regards to Underground‘s cancellation. I’d read some stuff earlier this year about WGN’s potential acquisition, and after the network’s other highest rated show Outsiders this year for much of the same reason as Underground, I could see that the writing was on the wall.

However, I say this with heaviness. I have a personal connection to this show, seeing how it was one of the shows I recapped in its first season while I was a member of the now-defunct Entertainment Weekly Community Blog. Through that, I was able to speak to Alano Miller, who plays Cato, as well as make inroads with the PR team for the show. It was a lot of fun to be able to recap a show that spoke to me and my people’s struggles in this country and add my perspective to the conversation. (Being a black southerner, you’d better believe I have a lot of perspective to give.)

While I know it’s not my fault that the show has been cancelled, I wish I could have been able to give it more shine in its second season. Without getting into the nitty gritty, I’ve had quite a rough 10-12 months personally, and to be honest, my mind is just now getting back to some sense of normalcy. A lot of the turmoil prevented me from getting into the series this season, as well as the seasons of other shows I’ve wanted to cover. Also, I’d read that there was a storyline about spousal abuse, and even though Underground is a show that can trigger a multitude of hard-to-deal-with emotions, seeing on-screen abuse is one of the things I try to avoid, despite it being a topic that needs to be discussed on Underground in regards to how, in the historical context of slavery and segregation, several black men unleashed their anger and frustration at being emasculated by white men on their wives. Critics have their personal limits as well, and abuse–physical or emotional/psychological–is one of mine.

But, with that said, it would have been great to give this show the support it needed in its second season. Would they have still cancelled it? Yeah. If they cancelled Outsiders, which was about white folks in the forest, they would have cancelled a show like this without hesitation, which is what they did. I hope that Underground can find a home with a network or streaming service that will do the show and its characters justice. Since BET and OWN both passed on the show due to cost (as to why OWN did that move in particular strikes me as odd, seeing how Oprah has Ava DuVernay onboard Queen Sugar), lets hope a network like AMC, which is used to higher-budget shows like Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Into the Badlands, or a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix can sweep it up. (I know folks aren’t feeling Netflix right now because The Get Down was cancelled, but a show can get where it can get.) It should be noted that Hulu has been reported by Deadline as being a possible new home for the show.

Or, if those options don’t work, then the last resort could be to go to premium networks like HBO, STARZ or Showtime, both of which have shows with huge budgets. For instance, American Gods is currently doing well with STARZ, and its storyline is both esoteric and slightly non-linear for conventional audiences. I would think Underground could do well there.

In any event, let’s hope we see Underground again, because in these times, it’s necessary to be reminded of how the original sins of this country are still going unrecognized.

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Tessa Thompson just cosigned this AM/BW short film!

There’s a new short film on the horizon, and it’s got the Tessa Thompson seal of approval.

There aren’t many details on this film, except that it’s spearheaded by Rebecca Theodore, national media critic and co-host of film podcast Cinema In Noir, fellow filmmaker Cynthia (@cynfinite) and is starring actor Jake Choi (Front CoverHawaii 5-0, Younger) and actor/model Melanie Ennis.

Clearly, there’s tons of chemistry from these pictures, but there are some other reasons to look forward to this film as well, starting with the big news of the day:

 

• The Tessa Thompson bump. This short film is already gathering its cult following, but now the film’s fanbase will get even bigger now that Thompson has cosigned it and wants the first available seat at the screening.

The entire exchange started when, in response to a conversation about the new season of The Bachelorette in which Blake, an Asian American contestant, gets shafted by Rachel, the series’ first black Bachelorette.

When she found out about Theodore’s film, she was all over it.

• It’s one of the few pieces of media about Asian men and black women in relationships. Rarely are these relationships showcased in the media (as well as other POC interracial relationships) in favor of the heavily prevalent black/white interracial relationship dynamic. However, these couples are out there and they deserve to be represented.

On a related note, this is one of the many reasons folks were excited about Into the Badlands (including me, as you can read here). This is also why so many people were upset about the Season 2 finale (you can read my thoughts at Black Girl Nerds).

• The leading lady is the size of the average woman. You’d think the “average woman” would be represented in the media more, seeing how most women nowadays are between sizes 14 to 16. But instead, actresses that are in these size ranges and upwards are usually billed as comic relief (case in point: the trailer for Girls Night). However, that’s not the case in this short film; Ennis, who is a size 14, is clearly the leading lady in control of her relationship destiny. I mean, Choi practically wants to eat her face off. It doesn’t get much more primal than that (and keep these pictures barely safe for work).

In short, I, like Thompson, will be on the lookout for this film. What do you think? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

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3 reasons why that “Star Wars” Vanity Fair cover featuring Finn, Poe, and Rose is awesome!

Vanity Fair has released some special covers showcasing Star Wars: The Last Jedi and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Star Wars as a whole.

Apart from the lovely pictures featuring Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and the especially commemorative one featuring the late Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, this particular cover caught my eye. I’m sure you can guess why.

If you can’t here are three reasons:

1.  Multicultural outer space! It’s great to see what was once thought impossible–a full-on POC sci-fi moment. It is a special moment in time to have a magazine cover about a blockbuster franchise that features three people of color. As someone said online, it’s ironic that the “minorities” are also part of the Resistance, which seems to mirror what’s going on in American politics (and world politics) today.

2. The cover propels even more #Stormpilot theories. Now, this is both a plus and a minus since, as I’ve written on Tor.com, there’s something to be said about the amount of queerbaiting that’s going on (hopefully in one of these Star Wars films we’ll get some resolution on this, since they keep dangling it over fans’ heads). But as io9 has written, it’s fascinating that Finn is not just wearing Poe’s jacket; he’s also wearing Poe’s entire wardrobe. Meanwhile, it’s been pointed out that Poe is wearing Han Solo’s exact outfit, so maybe everyone’s just pulling a round robin on clothes. But in any event, a detail such as Finn’s clothes is bound to have fans salivating at the thought of FinnPoe being real. (Another thing that should have fans yelling at their screens: Poe’s arm placement on Finn’s shoulder.)

3. Kelly Marie Tran makes Vanity Fair history! As stated by NerdyAsians:

Vanity Fair, come on now. You know better than this. But at any rate, congratulations to Tran for making history! Let’s hope she’s not the only Asian woman to grace the cover of Vanity Fair. It’s also good to get a good look at Tran as her character Rose Tico. She looks like she’s going to be tons of fun. (She could have been more front and center though…#justsaying)

What do you love about this cover? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

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It’s official: The Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o film is now real!

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Who knew Twitter would turn into the next Hollywood casting office! It’s amazing that this tweet about the two stars at a 2014 Miu Miu fashion show:

launched this result:

According to Entertainment Weekly:

After a dramatic negotiation session at the Cannes Film Festival, Netflix has nabbed a film project pairing Grammy winner Rihanna with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, in a concept that began as a Twitter sensation. Ava DuVernay (Selma) will direct, and Issa Rae (Insecure) is writing the screenplay.

According to sources, Netflix landed the project in a very aggressive bid, beating out multiple other suitors.

The film will go into production in 2018 after DuVernay finishes her latest project. I, for one, is excited for this film and I can’t wait to see it when it comes to Netflix. Twitter–particularly #BlackTwitter, which started the whole movie talk–is excited, too:

Twitter users have also continued the casting train by providing Ava DuVernay tons of suggestions:

As Shadow and Act brought up, the big question is whether the person whose tweet originated this idea will get paid. “This could be one of those precedent-setting situations,” wrote Shadow and Act’s Tambay Obenson. If there is payment on the way, that means that the floodgates have opened for tons of films coming from Twitter, with tons of creators getting some steep royalty checks.

What do you think about this film? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

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“RuPaul’s Drag Race”: How do we make sense of Valentina’s ouster?

VH1/Screencap

RuPaul’s Drag Race fans are both reeling and divided right now. Valentina, seemingly a shoo-in for Top 3, if not the winning spot on the show, was eliminated in the most stunning fashion, and people either don’t know how to cope with it or are blaming others for Valentina’s own mistakes.

In full disclosure, I’m a Valentina stan. (I’ve said so in this article!) Because I am a Valentina stan, I didn’t want to believe the Reddit rumors were true and was shocked when I saw Valentina leave. I was even more shocked by just how quickly it seemed like 1) the show turned on her and 2) how she’d set herself up for her own ouster. Thankfully, I can say that I’m not a Valentina stan that’s not going to view reality as it is–Valentina’s own actions led to her leaving the show. But what I’ve been parsing through is just how Valentina let herself slip up like this.

One thing people have always scratched their heads about is Valentina’s claim that she’s only been doing drag for 10 months. If my research is correct, she’s only been doing drag as a serious career for 10 months–she’s actually been doing it off-and-on for much longer. Either way, Valentina proved to those calling BS on the “10 months” claim that yes, she has been doing this for a very short time. Otherwise, I don’t think her Achilles heel–the fear of failure–would be so apparent.

I identify with Valentina when it comes to the fear of failure. Just like how I identify with Nina Bonina Brown on feeling so beat down by your career that you sometimes start seeing conspiracy theories as to why you aren’t where you feel you should be, I understand how Valentina might get so freaked out by failing (especially failing in front of an international audience, as she said in Untucked) that she would completely forget all of the words to the song and, in a peak out-of-body moment, delude herself into thinking she could get away with lip syncing with her Club Kid Realness mask on. In fact, it was that fight-or-flight response that made her keep the mask on–if she could preserve any shred of dignity she had left, she was going to do it any way she could.

I feel like Valentina must have put herself through a crash course of preparation before auditioning for Drag Race. If she’s the perfectionist she’s portrayed herself to be, she’s probably practiced her acting for months and scoured for the most detailed costumes and wigs and, probably, even rehearsed how she would answer RuPaul’s questions. Her goal, aside from winning the whole thing, was to go through the entire competition showing the most perfect version of Valentina possible. As she said, what she failed to prepare for was the possibility of actually losing.

I think that her perfectionism is why some folks were turned off by Valentina’s run on the show, because she came off as a completely stylized, rehearsed human being. I’d say that for me, that’s what made me like her even more after initially loving her performances from her videos; for me, her attention to detail and refinement is comforting in an OCD way. But regardless of how you feel about her, it was ultimately her journey towards unattainable perfection that led her down a dark ending.

(You could also say that her demand for self-perfection had already shown itself to be a debilitating factor–she had revealed that she battles an eating disorder and, like OCD and anxiety, most eating disorders seem to be driven by deep insecurity and a fruitless strive for perfection. Her dark side might be why she gets along with Nina so well, seeing how they both struggle with acceptance on some level.)

Her reliance on her charm also showed just how young in the game she is. While queens like Alaska and Alyssa have tons of charm to spare, and oftentimes can skate by in certain challenges on their charm, they also have a lot of experience and know how to recover when things go wrong. Valentina doesn’t have that experience in drag (as far as I know), and I think her lack of experience is also what led to her meltdown. It would seem she’s used to everything going right for her, and with a small amount of performances under her belt, maybe everything’s gone well because she’s been able to control the environment. But RuPaul’s Drag Race is sometimes less about finding the most talented, refined drag queen and more about finding the drag queen who can survive and adapt under pressure. Adapting under pressure is also what Alaska and Alyssa know how to do in spades. With reality hitting Valentina in the face as hard as it did, she’s now learning how to build her skills the hard way.

At the end of the day, though, it’s sad to see her go. You can tell how sad she was at her own performance on the mainstage afterwards. What I appreciated the most was how angry she was at herself. As you can see in Untucked, Valentina states that in any other situation, she would have fought to the end. Even with listening to the song before the lip synch, she just froze because she didn’t ever think that she would be eliminated. It’s heartbreaking to see how disappointed she was in herself because you can tell she really wanted this.

However, All Stars 3 could certainly be within Valentina’s sights. Like many have said, All Stars 3 could be Valentina’s to win, much like how All Stars 2 was Alaska’s to win. Until then, we Valentina stans can comfort ourselves with the fact that Valentina is still a star, whether or not she’s got the crown.

(Also, if you’re a stan who think bullying Nina Bonina Brown for winning the lip synch or talking smack to RuPaul for getting snippy with Valentina, knock it off.)

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Women of color are finally in charge in “Star Trek: Discovery”

CBS/Twitter

The first trailer for Star Trek:Discovery is out, and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be and more!

Long-time sci-fi fans who also happen to be women of color know just how rare it is to see a woman of color in the Captain’s Chair. With Star Trek, the closest we’ve gotten is Lt. Nyota Uhura, who manned the communications for the Enterprise. She wasn’t a captain (until much, much later in the Star Trek canon), but she was on the bridge, showing young girls that they too could shoot for the stars (even if you’d only end up hitting the clouds).

This go round, we have female captain and a female first officer in Star Trek: Discovery. Michelle Yeoh plays Captain Georgiou and Sonequa Martin-Green plays Commander Michael Burnham. Here’s more about the show from ExtremeTech:

Star Trek: Discovery is set ten years before the events of the original series and takes place in the original timeline, not the alternate future the Romulan Nero created when he traveled back in time, killed George Kirk, and later destroyed Vulcan. Its lead character is Commander Michael Burnham, played by Sonequa Martin-Green of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Unlike previous Star Trek shows, Discovery won’t deliberately focus on the captain (or space station commander) as its protagonist. Her nickname, “Number One,” is a delibarate homage to the character of the same name from the Star Trek pilott “The Cage,” as played by Majel Barrettt. Burnham is human, but was raised on Vulcan by Vulcans, which explains some of the setting of this trailer.”

John Cullen/Twitter

What I love about this first look and synopsis, aside from it just being Star Trek, is that it seems like there will be (or there is the potential for there is to be) a nuanced look at race, culture, and the push and pull of the two. All of this seems to be embodied in Martin-Green’s character. Of course, in the future, everyone’s post-racial to a degree. But Since we’re in 2017, I like how Burnham is a black woman who is 1) not defined by an American stereotype of “blackness,” and 2) has a struggle between her humanness and her cultural upbringing on Vulcan. I think this type of character could appeal to many audience members who have grown up wrestling with parts of their identity that society wants to put at odds with each other; maybe the most analogous situation is a trans-racial adoptee who recognizes that they are not the same race as their parents, but have grown up in their parents’ culture instead of the culture everyone expects from them.

John Cullen/Twitter

On the whole, though, it’s just fun to see two women running the show. Both actors have proven themselves time and again (Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon among her other films, Martin-Green’s character Sasha on The Walking Dead), and it’s so rewarding to see two women of color hold down the fort in a genre that is still dominated by white men.  I can’t wait to see them in action.

What do you think about Star Trek: Discovery? Give your opinions in the comments section below! Star Trek: Discovery debuts with a two-part season premiere this fall on CBS, with the full season airing on CBS All Access.

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Why Salim and The Jinn’s story is the heart of “American Gods”

Starz

I’ll say up front that I am an American Gods virgin. I’ve never read the book, so I went into this entire season blind. Heck, I still don’t know exactly what I witnessed in my three-episode binge-watch, but I do know these three things:

1. Shadow Moon might be foine, but he’s annoying. He’s a character whose characterization is both inconsistent and nonexistent. How much magic has to happen around you before you believe in these gods, Shadow? You’ve got the freaking moon as a coin your pocket for goodness’ sake!

2. I’m liking all of the “Somewhere in America” scenes better than the actual storyline. If the show was just a meditation on the old gods and how they are trying to both fit in the new world order and keep their dignity (plus gain some worshippers in the process), that’d be fine by me. The less I have to see Shadow Moon dismiss the clear reality of gods, the better.

3. Salim and the Jinn’s “Somewhere in America” vignette might be the best one so far. 

I was heavily spoiled by Twitter before watching these episodes (not complaining about it), so I already knew about Bliquis swallowing people with her vagina and Mr. Nancy/Anansi telling his worshippers–now captive slaves on a surprisingly clean-looking slave ship–how the African people will be royally screwed in America. With all of the hype, I’m not exactly sure what I expected, but I probably would have been more “OMG!” about it all if I hadn’t known anything about those scenes. At the same time, there’s a lot of fodder to discuss, from the arguments that could be made for and against using a black woman’s body (Bliquis, the fertility and love goddess) to discuss sex and/or sexual objectification, to the haunting nature of Anansi telling his people the horrors they were in store for. No doubt I will write some articles on these very topics. But for right now, I’m voicing my opinion that for me, the Jinn and Salim are the heartbeat of American Gods. Here’s why.

• The Jinn, like all the gods, is seeking his former glory. But unlike other gods, he isn’t stealing worship. What I loved about the Jinn is that, compared to gods like Bliquis, Odin/Mr. Wednesday, Czernobog and even Mad Sweeney, the Jinn doesn’t demand tribute in the form of war, sexual conquests, fighting, or killing. Instead, it seems like the Jinn just demands respect. Sure, all the gods want respect, but the way the Jinn complains about his lot in life is more earnest and relatable than any of the gods so far. He seems to yearn for human connections in a much more intimate way than his fellow gods. Furthermore, his humiliation at having to taxi people around in New York City, hearing Americans believe the Jinn are just wish-fulfillment dieties, and cleaning up “wet shit” from the back seat rings much closer to real life issues people of color have had to historically deal with in America, such as cleaning white people’s homes to being thought of as stereotypes, to just feeling anonymous, with not many understanding your real power and worth. On several levels, the Jinn is just more relatable than some of the other gods as a whole.

The Jinn’s happiness comes from finding someone who finally understands what he’s going through. To be even more specific, the Jinn and Salim’s taxi ride was a scene all about code-switching. To be with someone from Oman seemed to take him back to a time when he was at home and was powerful, but most importantly, at peace. Again, that resonates with the very real feeling of being the only person of color in a white space and finally catching the eye of another person of color who gets exactly what you’re feeling through your shared history. You feel like you don’t have to navigate the space by yourself; you can voice your real self to that other person, and more than likely, they’ll understand.  Talking with Salim and having that human connection made the Jinn feel home, and he was able to be himself, which was more valuable to The Jinn than stealing someone’s worship.

• The Jinn and Salim are linked together as equals. Out of all of the gods, the Jinn and Salim’s story had the most calming and most normal resolution. With the rest of the gods, something has to be given to the gods, but the gods don’t give back anything in return. Instead, the Jinn and Salim’s story showcases a give-and-take that makes their relationship a lot more realistic and makes the entire scene a standout in the midst of the “Somewhere in America” scenes we’ve had so far. Salim worships the Jinn by showing him respect, compassion, and care; the Jinn worships Salim by empowering him through making love and leaving Salim with his identity as a taxi driver. The Jinn continues to thank Salim for his kindness by taking on his job as a tchotchke salesman.

Let me expound some more on the term “making love.” Usually, that’s a term I hate. I’ve never even uttered it in real life before, I hate it that much. Perhaps it’s because we as a human race sometimes interchange the phrase with “having sex,” even though the two are completely different acts. Anyone can have sex; it takes a special moment and a special person to actually say you’ve “made love” to someone, I think. I’m also a person who believes there is a such thing as a cosmic sexual experience (i.e. expanding your consciousness via tantra and tantric sex, etc.), and that’s what Salim experienced with the Jinn. The Jinn truly did worship Salim through this act, which is huge, since it’s not like Salim’s a god. But Salim’s interaction with The Jinn meant so much to him that, in the Jinn’s mind, Salim is on a high enough pedestal to be worshipped like a god.

At the same time, the Jinn gave Salim permission to be himself. As has been said in various articles, Salim is used to having intercourse quickly, cleanly, and in secretive places. I’m sure that for Salim, there’s a certain amount of shame associated with sex as well. To quote showrunner Bryan Fuller from The Hollywood Reporter:

“To portray Salim and the Jinn in a way that’s sex positive for a gay man who comes from a country where homosexuality is punishable by death and you can be thrown off of a rooftop. It was very important to us to look at Salim’s story as a gay man from the Middle East whose sexual experience was probably relegated to back alley blowjobs and didn’t have an intimate personal sexual experience. In the book, Salim blows the Jinn in the hotel, and then he’s gone. It was important for us in this depiction to have Salim drop to his knees and prepare to achieve sex the way he’d been accustomed to, and the Jinn lifts him off of his knees and kisses him and treats him much more soulfully and spiritually to change this perception of who is is and what his sexual identity has become. That felt like it was empowering in a different way, showing a protagonist as the one who is being penetrated. That comes with all sorts of preconceptions of gender roles and what it is to be a gay man at the same time.”

I’d go so far as to say that Salim is the only one so far who has encountered a god and came away with a positive experience. If anyone has faith in any of these gods, it’d seem like Salim has the most reason to have faith in his Jinn.

• The Jinn is one of the few gods that actually feel like characters you can identify with. Perhaps I should speak for myself–the Jinn is one of the few god characters feel like I can identify with. Maybe it’s how Mousa Kraish speaks while in character–the accent he gives the Jinn and the timbre of his voice sounds rich and musical–but I get where the Jinn is coming from. I don’t get that with Wednesday, Czernobog, or, heck, most of the gods we’ve met so far. Too many of these gods are opportunistic, and that’s not a criticism; I think that’s part of what the show is exploring. But Kraish’s Jinn looks and sounds like an earthy, warm protector. He wants what all us human want, which is to be understood, respected, and seen for who he is–he also requires no frills, unlike the other gods. I get that.

I’ll say again that I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know if any of my current feelings towards the Jinn with change (I hope they don’t). But as for right now, I’m all about the Jinn and Salim and I can’t wait to spend more time with them.

For more on Salim, the Jinn, and American Gods, check out this Ars Technica podcast featuring award-winning fantasy author and critic Amal El-Mohtar, who gives her insights on the treatment of Arabic and Middle Eastern identity in American Gods so far. 

 

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Racially insensitive casting: Zach McGowan as Ben Kanahele in “Ni’ihau”

Nerdy Asians/Twitter

Another day, another whitewashing controversy. This one has been brewing for some days now, and it involves a historical film called Ni’ihau.

The film is based on a true story of a Japanese WWII pilot crash landing on Hawaii, where he was taken in by local leader Ben Kanahele. Here’s the full scoop from Deadline:

…Shigenori Nishikaichi, an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service pilott, crash-landed his Zero on the eponymous Hawaiian island after participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor. [Zach] McGowan will play Ben Kanahele, an island leader who saves Nishikaichi before learning his part in the attack. When the circumstances became apparent, Nishikaichi was apprehended but received assistance from locals, taking hostages and attempting to overcome his captors. Kanahele ultimately killed Nishikaichi and was decorated for his part in stopping the takeover.
The Ni’ihau Incident led to President Franklin D. Roosevelt issuing Executive Order 9066, which led directly to the mass internment of 119,803 Japanese-American men, women and children until the end of the war.

27 Ten Productions’ Ken Petrie said that with this film being a true story, “there is a weight to be shouldered, and the material requires the utmost care and authenticity.” But apparently, we’re expected to accept Black Sails‘ Zach McGowan as Ben Kanahele. Hasn’t anyone learned anything from the outrage seen around the whitewashing in Ghost in the Shell, The Great Wall, Doctor Strange, Alohaand plenty of other films?

Also, it looks like the film is shaping up to be told in a classic “John Wayne film” way. With McGowan playing the heroic leader (similar to how Wayne played POC historical heroes), it seems like the casting will go towards having a Japanese actor to play Nishikaichi, the villain. That way, they can have the white hero killing the Asian antagonist, saving the day and the native Hawaiian population (who will, of course, be played by actual native Hawaiians).

Do I need to talk at length about what’s wrong? It should be clear by now, especially if you read the articles linked above. This kind of ish has got to stop because now it’s getting ridiculous.

I’ll let Twitter speak for me because I’m tired.

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Man Crush Monday: Daniel Wu

Daniel Wu as Sunny – Into the Badlands _ Season 2, Gallery – Photo Credit: Carlos Serrao/AMC

I understand I haven’t written about Into the Badlands in a while. Life happens, everyone–more than I’m letting on in this sentence. I’m planning on writing notes on the series as a whole after the Season Finale. But until then, let’s all ogle at Daniel Wu in amazing Into the Badlands costuming.

Maybe it’s just that Wu-as-Sunny just looks great when he’s dressed by the baronesses (Chau, whose color is white, and The Widow, whose color is blue). Baronesses seem to have a lot more style than the barons, and I wonder if that was a specific gendered choice by the Into the Badlands team.

Wu has redeeming qualities aside from his good looks an looking fabulous in tailored clothes. He’s the executive producer of Into the Badlands, for one, and he’s had a storied career in Hong Kong, starting out as a model and falling into acting after being discovered by film director Yonfan. After starring in 60 films, he’s become known as the “young Donnie Yen” (and indeed, it’d be amazing if an English-language film for the American market starring both Yen and Wu was made–I’d have a front row seat).

Voice your love for Daniel Wu below in the comments section!

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