Morphing Into a Cultural Phenomenon, The Film Endures with a Multi-Generational Appeal
When Space Jam first dropped, I doubted that it would have a lasting legacy that would be celebrated for years to come. When my daughters were little in the early 2000's, I came to appreciate the film much more because whenever I popped it in, they'd sit transfixed from beginning to end, allowing me to get some much needed rest.
For those who have either never seen it, or for whom it has been some years since cheering on MJ and the Looney Tunes as they battled the Monstars, the plot revolves around an amusement park called Moron Mountain, where the boss concocts a plan to kidnap the beloved cartoon characters from earth in order to boost his bottom line.
A basketball game ensues where the Tunes are given a chance to win their freedom back. But as history has taught us, those in power never relinquish it without vicious attempts at duplicitousness and cheating. And let's not forget the standard page from the playbook of oppression: pillaging.
The aliens proceed to steal the talents of NBA stars such as Charles Barkley and Larry Johnson, though their scouting department must have gone on to work for the 2012 Bobcats and 2005 Atlanta Hawks, because they inexplicably purloined the skills (?) of Shawn Bradley as well.
The lilliputian aliens morph into the giant, menacing Monstars, forcing the Tunes to kidnap Michael Jordan, who's whiffing on more curveballs in the minor league's than Trump saying kind things about women and Mexicans.
I must say that Larry Bird and Bill Murray could never have my back in a bar fight, because they simply shrugged their shoulders and walked away when MJ disappeared down that golf hole. But that's a bigger discussion for another day about knowing who your friends are.
Long story short, Bugs, Daffy, Foghorn Leghorn, Porky Pig, Pepe LePew, Yosemite Sam and the rest of them have about as much talent as Miguel Nunez in Juwanna Man, but MJ is Air Jordan, so if you don't know how it ends, I'll spoil it for you: he leads the Tunes to victory, and everyone lives happily ever after. Well, except for Shawn Bradley, who just got dunked on again, right now as we speak, by somebody's grandma at an open run in Boca Raton.
Despite its shortcomings, Space Jam has morphed into a cultural phenomenon. There are rumors that LeBron James will soon star in a sequel and one of the most highly anticipated sneaker releases off 2016 is the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam, which will come in a Looney Tunes-themed box.
When the film was initially released, the critics panned it as if they were expecting the next coming of a cinematic masterpiece along the lines of The Shawshank Redemption. But they failed to recognize that, despite its shortcomings, the combination of Bugs and Air Jordan was more championship-worthy, long term, than him and Scottie Pippen.
Space Jam earned more than $90 million in the U.S. and $230 million globally. It did more than $1 Billion, with a capital B!, in retail sales. No basketball film ever grossed more. EVER!
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Yes, you read that right. Even if you can't tune in to live-tweet the episodes as they air or you don't have HBO to catch the repeats, you no longer have an excuse to miss out on Issa Rae's Insecure.
You should be watching the standout series already, but if you aren't, get ready to binge them back-to-back in time to catch up for the rest of the season. All of the episodes that have aired already are available for free via HBO Now. And the remaining four episodes, including the season one finale, will go up on the site for free after they air on Sundays at 10:30 p.m. EST.
Insecure is awesome. It's a game-changer and a beautiful example of representation, diverse, nuanced casts and hilarious writers and actors creating something great.
So click here, catch up on the instant classic, and let's all be grateful that Issa Rae is looking out for all of us when it comes to sharing her art.
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Hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur Shawn "Jay Z" Carter is adding the role of "producer" to his list of credits with the production of two new mini-series for NBC and Spike.
Each production is based on the true-life story of a black male in America— one of those males is Nicholas Irving, the U.S. Army's first black sniper; the other is Kalief Browder, a young man who was locked in solitary confinement on Rikers Island at 16 and who later took his own life once released. Both projects are backed by Weinstein Television (of the Weinstein Company), who just announced a first-look deal with Jay Z.
According to the New York Times, the first series that will debut will be "TIME: The Kalief Browder Story," which will premiere on Spike in January.
Kalief Browder was arrested at the age of 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack. He was sent to Rikers Island for three years, despite never standing trial or being convicted of a crime. Browder spent two of his years on the island in solitary confinement. He committed suicide two years after he was released from prison, in June of 2015.
The drama following Nicholas Irving will begin filming "early next year" according to a report from Page Six.
Sterling K. Brown, who recently won an Emmy for The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, will star as Irving in the six-part mini series. The show will be based on Irving’s 2015 memoir, The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers.
Irving was so deadly of a sniper he was nicknamed “the Reaper” and had an AR-15 rifle named after him.
An official title has yet to be released for this production.
Which Jay-Z produced mini-series are you excited to see? Let us know in the comments.
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The sprawling Imperial Arts Studios in Downtown Los Angeles is the setting for the new MTV live music series, Wonderland. The first live-music show on MTV in 20 years, Wonderland has a fun festival/block party vibe. As a live multi-platform event, fans can even check out exclusive extended sets and follow the artists in real time on Facebook Live and MTV.com during and following their performances. MTV's Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram will serve up behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage and on-the-ground coverage.
The show is hosted by a trio — fashionista Rachael “Steak” Finley, singer Melissa “Lizzo” Jefferson, and comedian Myke Wright. Each of them are artists/fans who bring their own unique background and flavor to the carnival-like atmosphere.
“There are three different stages which each have their own vibe,” Myke Wright describes, “There’s the courtyard which is the main stage, the bar is more laid back and the brothel stage is a really wild style. There’s also a festival area where you can just hang out and hit food trucks.”
Myke Wright is an up-and-coming stand-up comedian from Detroit who is making noise in the LA comedy scene, but his talents stretch far beyond comedy. Wright is also an artist, painter, musician and an avid consumer of all things music. He got the opportunity to be one of the hosts of Wonderland after being spotted doing stand-up in L.A.
Blavity talked to Myke about his career and what fans should expect from the 10-episode season of MTV’s Wonderland.
Blavity: How did the opportunity come about?
Myke Wright: I do a lot of stand-up comedy and I do a lot of clubs out here, and pretty much anywhere that there is a microphone. MTV saw me doing stand-up at showcases, etc. They were really vocal about working for me. They also knew that I know a lot about music, so I went through to some meetings, shook some hands, kissed some babies and voila.
B: I love the block party theme. When they told you what the theme was gonna be, what kind of ideas popped in your head?
MW: I’m from the block, so a block party is my natural habitat. Navigating a party, that’s what I do. I’m like a fish in water. They turn up out here too. You can’t totally predict what’s gonna happen. There are so many kids that come out, and that have that Cali vibe to them, and they all show up ready to party.
B: What’s it been like meeting some of the artists that have been coming through?
MW: You know what, it’s kinda surreal. You listen to their music and see them on TV, and now you’re chilling with them backstage cracking jokes and playing Jenga. It’s really wild how fast everything can really happen. But, you also get to see that they are just people too. You see people tying their shoes or just doing simple stuff, and you're just like, “Celebrities, they’re just like us!” (Laughs) It’s humbling to meet them and talk to them and hear about their creative process.
B: How does it feel to be part of MTV history?
MW: You know, we grew up watching TRL and MTV Spring Break. Those shows were pivotal to us as teenagers, just trying to figure out what was cool. And to kinda be a part of that again, for like, the new generation is very special. To be a tastemaker like that for American culture and to be broadcast all over the world is so cool. To know that there’s probably some kid in Bangladesh saying, “What up doe?” it’s an amazing thing, really.
Wonderland airs on Thursday nights at 11 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT on MTV.
Follow Myke Wright on Twitter @OhMykeGod and Instagram: @Mykewright
Biba Adams is a NYC-based writer who loves all things hip-hop, pizza, and puppies. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @BibatheDiva, and visit her blog at toloveher.com, because to know her is to love her.
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We can all agree that the Wayans family has had an ... influential? memorable? Well, at a minimum, a constant presence in Hollywood. They were first widely recognized and known for the groundbreaking show In Living Color and then steadily producing gems like Blankman (yes, I said Blankman) and White Chicks every few years (literally). If you grew up in the ‘90s and 2000s, you grew up with the Wayans family.
One of the most valuable Wayans family contributions (a scientific fact) was The Wayans Bros., which originally aired on the now-defunct WB and is currently shown in seeming perpetuity on MTV2. If you're not familiar with it, (meaning you have never stumbled home drunk and turned on cable or, well, nothing else was on) it's a fun-filled family show that follows Marlon and Shawn “Williams.” During the show, the dynamic duo navigates all the hi-jinx of New York in the mid-'90s, living in an impossibly large apartment while owning a newsstand and kickstarting an acting career.
And while the show in itself warrants a well-articulated review, this piece focuses on celebrating a true trailblazer, one of the most important, yet “unsung” hipster fashion icons that has ever graced the scene: Pops Williams.
So let's take a moment to pay tribute to one of the greatest hipster icons whose influence can currently be seen in the Brooklyns and San Franciscos of our nation. And if we're lucky, he'll continue to influence hipsters for generations to come.
Here, we see Pops Williams adorned with a fantastic summer/spring ensemble (pronounced un-psalm-blaye). Here we see him wearing a masterful ocean blue business-casual shirt adorn with flavored popcorn imagery. To complement this look, he's incorporated a polyester/silk blend Halloween-orange bow tie.
Where to wear this: Casual Friday at your job or meeting your significant other's parents for the first time.
Don’t become distracted by the '90s-style twerking (which is AMAZING). This outfit shows a wonderful electric-multicolor shirt that is loud enough, yet complex enough, to really make people think. Naturally, it's paired with a “grimace” also known as “purple drink” colored bow tie.
Where to wear this: On a job interview or your favorite trap club.
Now, this is truly a fashion gift. This delightful number screams professional. Here we have a plaid, “rain water” grey suit, complete with a dirty-gold ruffled shirt and a matching white belt made out of the best plastic. This is a particularly inspiring outfit, with the Captain Crunch-style shoulder décor. To complement this look, he has adorned this outfit with a movie-usher inspired bowtie.
Where to wear this: To court or a screening of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure… or both.
Here, Pops Williams is serving us everything! This unique number is another formal option for the multi-career professional. Here we have a salmon/Pepto Bismal suit, buttoned neatly with a white dress shirt and that always-popular red bow tie. This is the true outfit of confidence.
Where to wear this: Everywhere.
This outfit is a true gift of art. An impressionist-Pollock looking piece, this shirt is composed of all the colors. Also, please note the flexibility of this outfit, demonstrating how to mix comfortable and formal.
Where to wear this: To your niece’s middle school play or to an artisanal pastry shop opening.
And Raury… It’s cool. Rock your Pops Williams original and rock it proud… You have been influenced by one of the greatest.
Danielle Jean is a Detroit-born, Iowa-raised, Washingtonian. Yes, you read that correctly. When not explaining to the masses that yes, Black people live in Iowa, she works in the intersection of civil rights, judicial justice, and digital technology. She just started using twitter again, so follow her @djeanbrooks
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Luke Cage is the best Netflix series to date. Although this could be a biased, first-reaction-based statement. Nevertheless, it's what I currently believe. I'm not going to spoil anything in the post. There's time for that later.
Luke Cage, the character, has a special place in my heart.
He's the everyman black hero I didn't get from Black Panther – an African king. He's the uncle that broke up fights on the street corner back in the old hood. Or the role model who mentored you at the youth center, church Sunday school, etc. Except, like many of us believed our elders to be as youngsters, he really is invincible. He's super to the point that it makes him more powerful than the average man could hope to be. And that's what this series captures so well.
Not to even mention the incredible writing or the inventive, yet nostalgic cinematography. Even the score and soundtrack for the show bleed the culture. The experience will be immersive in that way, for those of us who lived it.
Never in my life would I believe that this story would translate onto the screen like this. It's unlike anything I've ever watched before. Am I biased? Yes, probably more than most. But that also means I'm well-educated in the nuance of this tale. So, I'm probably also more qualified than most to judge it, too. And it holds up.
This isn't my review. This is a kick in the pants for the non-believers. I started out at 3:01am when this show released, and I haven't stopped since. If you were looking for a reason to watch Luke Cage after work, do it. And if you're just posted up at the crib, you've been slipping for at least 5 or 6 hours now. If the praise on the timeline isn't enough, or the promos haven't sold you, I bet I can.
Well, what are you waiting for? Log in to your Netflix account or borrow one from the homie. Watch the show. We'll talk about it, soon. Right now, you need to catch up to me.
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Remember the woman who quit her job on the air all in the name of marijuana? None of us will ever forget Charlo Greene reporting on a story about a cannabis club, when at the end, she admitted that she supported marijuana legalization and was the owner of the club in her story. Charlo Greene made us all drop our jaws when she revealed the truth, and ended the story with, "F*** it, I quit." Then the internet got a hold of the footage, and the rest is history.
Now, Greene has managed to make the news again. This time it's not for being so bold, but instead for being on the other side of the law. Since her bold move on camera, the State of Alaska has taken their own set of bold moves. Since the story's airing, the state of Alaska has conducted six undercover purchases and two raids at Greene's cannabis club and is charging her with eight counts of “misconduct involving a controlled substance," which is a serious criminal offense. “It’s almost dizzying when you try to make sense of it,” Greene said in an exclusive interview with the Guardian about her upcoming trial. “It could literally cost me the rest of my adult life.”
Greene faces up to 24 years in jail if convicted which is pretty scary for a woman in her 20s. Since Alaska has historically disproportionately targeted people of color, it came as no surprise to Greene. She calls it a "modern day lynching." Even though Greene was not a part of any of the transactions in question, since the club is in her name, the charges are being brought against her.
Even though some say she may not have to serve 24 years in jail if any, it still is a hard possibility for Greene to deal with.
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In the wee hours of September 30th we become legendary – Luke Cage is almost here. Are you ready? The most important thing to do in a time like this is have a game plan. But first, there's a fundamental box you must check. And it will shape the way that you experience the series, for better or worse. To binge, or not to binge? That is the question.
This is a pivotal moment in your Luke Cage Netflix show life. You can play it safe and watch, episode by episode as a disjointed, but enjoyable timeline of events. Or you can see how far the rabbit hole really goes. If you decide to binge and enjoy the fluid rush of adrenaline that you will surely never forget, you must be prepared. Welcome to my foolproof Luke Cage binge-watch training program. Not everyone will make it to the end. But those that do will cherish the information I have to provide.
Clear your schedule, immediately.
My friends, this will require time. Not a little bit of time, either. There are 13 episodes of Marvel/Netflix magic to get through. At 12:01 AM pacific time (so 3:01 AM on the east coast), the show will be available to watch. And that's where our journey begins. So, naturally, the only thing to do is call out of work. I don't care how you have to do it, just get it done. People like me have an excuse because we need to review the content. If you don't have that excuse, the Ferris Bueller route may also be successful. Or hopefully, you have time off still. If you can't make this happen, you're dead in the water. There's nothing I can do for you. Sorry, not sorry.
Go to sleep mad early the night before.
12:01 AM (or 3:01 AM) is technically the morning, but it will feel like the night time. Your body is probably not used to being alert and ready for action at this hour, unless it's your routine. So as soon as you get home from work, school, etc, hop into the bed, fam. I don't care if you aren't tired. I don't care what else you have to do that night. Set an alarm on your phone and catch those z's. Do you know how many bingers I've seen fall asleep by episode 5 because they aren't properly rested? Too many. Plus, if you're sleepy, groggy, whatever-y, you won't truly be able to appreciate the visual masterpiece that is Luke Cage. Or worse, you'll start missing dialogue and all other kinds of plot points that are essential to the story. Don't be a noob.
Purchase all snacks and beverages in advance. (This is very important).
Listen, this should really be self-explanatory. But for some reason, there are still people not thinking ahead. Snacks play an essential role in the binge-watching experience. Without snacks you will surely run out of energy and become extra uncomfortable due to hunger. Before you come home and sleep the night before, buy the snacks, man. Get the snacks, put them in a place that is easy to access without leaving the binge-watching station. It's not that hard. But I guarantee, one of you will do it. It happens every time.
Also, staying hydrated might be the most important of them all. If you get dehydrated while binging, it can be a blow from which you can't recover. Don't make this mistake. Have the beverages on deck. The ratio of water to juice and soda needs to be right, too. If you drink too much sugar and no water, you will crash. And crashing is wack.
Use proper social media etiquette.
Not everybody else is an obsessed lunatic like us, ok? They are not up binge-watching every episode of Luke Cage. They have real life adulting to do that we have shrugged off in exchange for a day of child-like wonder. And that's great for us. But what's not great is if we're all on the timeline having a spoiler-fest for the regular adults to see when they wake up. That's not cool. So you have options. Forego social media completely and just enjoy the heat. If you trust yourself to be chill about it, spoiler-free tweets are acceptable. And finally, if you just can't let the tweets fly, put them in a thread announcing that you're going to be lame and tweet spoilers all day long so people can mute you.
Ok, you're ready.
Remember your training. Be strong. And most of all, have the time of your life. If you wonder where I am or what I'm doing at 3:01 AM on September 30th, don't. I've gone to be with Luke Cage.
Thanks for reading Strictly 4 My Blerds. Leave a comment, I read and reply to all of them. Hit the share button and tag a friend who needs to see this.
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