Black Girls' Night Out: Cookie Lyon (#Empire)

Not nearly enough hashtags in the world....

This was what I needed.  I know I owe you two episodes, and that's sort of deliberate.  There are two types of cliffhangers.  There are the ones that make you shout, "Aw, shit!" and practically run for your laptop.  Then there are the cliffhangers which make you pause, like you've just seen an incomplete episode and you need to know what happens next before you can comment.

Since this is a BGNO post, I need to remember not to recap the whole episode because that's not what this series is about.

So...focusing only on Cookie now....  Week before last showed Lucious heavily favoring Cookie in ways which had some commenters/critics raising a skeptical eyebrow.  With the IPO looming over Empire, Lucious needs investors, needs to put on a show for them, needs to give them a great speech...but can't do the last item because of his illness (as for the show itself, I think this is the first Jamal/Hakeem number which had fans asking WTF happened).  Lucious asks Cookie - at the last moment, over Anika, over Andre - to give a speech to the investors (see image above) and she nails it.  She dismisses the teleprompter and speaks from the heart, which Lucious was counting on.  When she nails it, he cheers under his breath, "I love you, Cookie" - in front of Anika.

'Leaning In' Too Far: Why Critics Should Lean Out of Jessica Williams' Business

In case you haven’t been following along, The Daily Show host and political satirist Jon Stewart recently announced that he’s leaving his chair later this year, after 16 years of acerbically skewering the donkeyish behavior of the conservative media, politicians and pop-culture, much to the dismay of viewers. Comedy Central said the network plans to continue on without Stewart, prompting many fans to speculate on who’d replace him.
Many names have been jockeyed about (Samantha Bee, John Oliver—who already has a pretty cushy gig on HBO—and even Aisha Tyler), but the one that landed at the top of the heap was that of 25-year-old actress and comedienne Jessica Williams, who has been knocking it out of the ballpark for the past year or so as a correspondent; unabashedly tackling hot-button issues like street harassmentsexual assaultraceracial profilingthe politics of Black hair and inter-political relationships.


Black Girls' Night Out: Keating & Pratt (#HTGAWM)

Last week's episode was powerful on multiple levels; to quote Madame Moire, it was a very "Black" episode.

Cicely Tyson joined the cast as Annalise's Keating mother (literally credited as Mama Keating, even though "Keating" is Annalise's married name).  Looking like she just got out the country, Mama Keating is no-nonsense, trash-talking, unapologetic, and in short, everything we would expect the mother of Annalise Keating to be.  Nothing she said surprised me, except when she called Annalise by her birth name: Anna Mae.

Mama Keating brought Annalise back to her roots, from reminding her of where she came through, the struggles of their family (like their house burning down), and even making Annalise sit between her knees like a little girl while she combed through her hair.

This show....

This show really touched me, especially when Annalise revealed she was molested as a child, and that she went to Dr. Sam Keating for therapy, where he instead decided to take advantage of her vulnerability (apparently, that's what he meant when he talked about the first day she walked into his office, and how he knew she'd put out.  Annalise was Sam's patient before she became his mistress...that sick fuck).


Black Girls' Night Out: Olivia Pope (#ABCScandal #BringBackStephenFinch)

I'm doing this one separately mainly because we've reached that point with this show.  You wanna know what happened last week? Olivia Pope talked her way out of being sold to the Iranians, thus starting the bidding all over.  The Russians tied with the Gladiators while bidding for Liv.  They reached $2 billion (cue eye roll), and Liv was handed to the Russians...who were actually doing a favor for Stephen Finch.

You remember Stephen, right? Good-looking, British, charming philanderer from Season 1, left before Season 2 with No Explanation Whatso-Fucking-Ever?  Yeah, that Stephen comes to Liv's rescue (technically because Abby called him).

The episode ended with a PTSD-ridden Liv ('cause Lord knows that's just what an already damaged Liv really needs right now) tearing into the Prez because he went to war for her and can't seem to figure out what's wrong with sacrificing dozens of innocent soldiers for his mistress.  There's also a great scene where Cyrus (who looks like he's on the verge of yet another heart attack) fantasizes about screaming his resignation at Fitz for this bullshit.  Cyrus, mind you, was ready have to Olivia "neutralized" for the sake of national security.

The Pope parents make an appearance which, by the way, does nothing to save Liv.  (We do, however, get to see a little more Anthony Ma.)


The Gift & the Curse

In light of our soror blog Black Girl Nerds' most recent podcast, I thought I'd share a post I wrote a few years back.

“We of the craft are all crazy.”  --Lord Byron

In 2009, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I’ve always considered myself a bit…different…than others, especially growing up.  My mother always called me hyper or high-strung.  My temper was explosive, as were my crying spurts.  Neither made any sense; sometimes I raged, sometimes I cried, but during each phase, I wrote like a madwoman.  I have a cabinet of unpublished material that will probably never see the light of day due to the content.

After I lost my mother in 2008, my depression was deep and long.  I slept when I wasn’t working, and when I was at work, I’m not sure exactly what I did to get through the workday.  I was exhausted all the time and in this instance, I was too tired to write.  In spite of my consuming grief, I knew something more was wrong and knew I couldn’t handle it on my own. After a really scary episode, I picked up the phone, called my insurance carrier and asked about the medical rider for mental health care. The lady who answered was very compassionate and gave me a list of psychologists in the network after asking, “Do you have a preference?”

“Yes,” I said. “I want a black woman.”


Black Girls' Night Out: Mary Jane Paul (#BeingMaryJane)

After a hiatus that seemed to last forever (nine months, but who's counting?), Being Mary Jane finally returned, and Ms. Paul showed up and showed out the entire episode.  It's a good thing that Gabrielle Union does such a good job of making Mary Jane so relatable and likeable, because that woman can really work a nerveAfter the events of the finale, she's still unraveling in a big way, and it doesn't look like she's going to be done anytime soon.

The episode begins with Mary Jane returning home from giving David back his stolen sperm sample.  She strips down to her underwear and then sweetly feeds her before throwing the entire fishbowl through one of her floor-to-ceiling windows, fish and all (RIP Starsky).  If the writers were trying to shock us, they succeeded and then some.  Despite outward appearances, MJ is a huge, messy mess.  And that becomes even more apparent during the next scene.

A friendly dinner party turns not-so-friendly when her brother shows up and they get into an argument about his mooching and her nagging.  And by nagging, I'm assuming he means "black woman nagging" because he cruelly insinuates that he can understand why David felt the need to replace her with a white woman.  Ouch.  It was definitely a low blow meant to hurt her, and boy did it.  She then goes on to verbally attack her friend Val (played by the lovely Salli Richardson-Whitfield) who'd decided to tell an ill-advised anecdote meant to ease the tension in the room.


Black Girls' Night Out: Cookie Lyon (#Empire)

"Was I givin' you body?"

As entertaining as this show increasingly becomes, I'll admit it becomes harder to write about it simply because when it comes to Cookie Lyon...there are no words.  I mean, No Words.  I don't know if it's the writers or if Taraji Henson is simply ad-libbing this ish, but I can't count how many times my jaw hits the floor when Cookie steps on the scene.

Remember the rose she got for her anniversary?  The one that sent her into a panic and drove her to put a hit out on the wrong man because the rose turned out to be from Lucious?

Aaaaaaaand remember how Lucious proposed to Anika practically just before leaving the rose for Cookie?  Well, as it turns out, Lucious is the exactly the type of douche to invite his ex-wife to his engagement party to Boo Boo Kitty Anika...after leaving a rose in remembrance to the anniversary he shared with said ex-wife.