black monday regina hall don cheadle episode 2
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'Black Monday' Gets Back To Black And Dawn Shines Brighter: Episode 2 Recap

In episode "364," Mo’s disrespect pushes her to quit, moments before his investment firm takes on a problem only she can solve.

We’ll gladly say it: Black Monday’s series premiere episode wasn’t nearly Black enough.

The 34-minute episode was conspicuously devoid of almost any acknowledgment that two of the show leads are black in a historically non-inclusive industry, but that all changes in episode two. In episode "364," Maurice "Mo" Monroe (Don Cheadle)’s disrespect pushes Dawn (Regina Hall) to quit, moments before his investment firm takes on a problem only she can solve, all while he’s being shadowed by a white filmmaker aiming to do a biopic on “a black man trying to break into the white boy’s club” known as Wall Street.

Within the first minute, Mo educates the filmmaker on Black people’s colloquial use of the word “bad,” asks that the star of his biopic not be whitewashed, and lets the filmmaker know a Black man breaking into anything, even metaphorically, is nothing he wants to be associated with. Blackness is still more or less a punchline for jokes rather than a talking point for deeper discussion, but it yields some of the funniest moments. Though the scene lasts for about 45 seconds, Dawn is followed (and addressed with stereotypical Black slang) by white employees in a high-end clothing store and becomes one of the funniest sequences of the entire episode. She derisively asking a white woman who mistakes her for an employee of the store if “you see a name tag on my titty” before death glaring her into submission is so scintillating, it should be the opening sequence of every episode.

Black Monday’s somewhat nonchalant approach to race could be due to it being set in the 1980s. The mere acknowledgment of the characters’ blackness through racial prejudice while not letting it derail their everyday lives adds authenticity to the 1980s aesthetic of Black Monday as the decade was a time that saw Black executives rise in the ranks on Wall Street. In the mid-1980s, Wardell R. Lazard founded WR Lazard Securities Corporation, one of the earliest minority-owned firms, and expressly stated the firm’s “aim is to be a highly professional firm that just happens to be minority-owned.''

Black Monday may never dive deep into blackness in order to free its characters to grow in ways not confined by race. The results have been excellent, so far.

The Dynamic Duo

The premiere episode only gave us glimpses of what the second episode revealed to be the fulcrum of Black Monday’s narrative momentum: Dawn and Mo. The second episode lets the star players shine with most of their scenes being together or referencing the other. The intraoffice chess match Dawn and Mo engage in wavered between romantic comedy and the meticulousness of a procedural drama. Cheadle and Hall turned two characters walking in and out of an office into a masterclass of emotional command, comedic timing, and solid script writing.

Interestingly, episode two shows how Dawn and Mo’s chemistry is more than an incubator for a reignited romance as the premiere episode intimated. It’s through Dawn that we get to peek through the cracks of Mo’s vulgar and volatile protective shell housing the narcissist that refers to “needing” someone as the “N-word.” She inspires Mo to admit to the filmmaker he’s a “tortured hero” since he can’t say he needs Dawn, yet acts as if he does.

In the end, it’s Dawn who shines the brightest in the episode, after being given extra screen time compared to the premiere episode. The second episode did a better job of pacing than the premiere, but still faced issues that, if they persist, could prevent the show from reaching its full potential.

Growing Pains

Black Monday has a bit of a time issue. Both of the first two episodes clock in at under 35 minutes, with episode two clocking in at just over 29 minutes. The first two episodes often feel as if the show doesn’t have enough time to give important aspects of the narrative enough time. Mo’s self-reflection only appears near the tail end of the first two episodes, instead of meticulously woven into the episode’s primary story. That’s fine for now, but this manner of rolling out a character’s emotional depth after an episode of being the opposite could quickly look like a cheap way to add a redemptive quality to the objectively obscene things Black Monday gets away with.

Then again, Mo jokingly saying, “So, while Nancy Reagan was telling everyone AIDS was no big whoop, I bet long on condoms because I knew that sh*t had legs” may be the type of humor to keep us watching faithfully every week.

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‘Chappelle’s Show’ Removed From Netflix At Dave Chappelle’s Request

Chappelle’s Show is no longer streaming on Netflix, at the request of Dave Chappelle. The comedian reached out to the company to ask them to remove the series, for which he received no residuals, and they quickly complied.

On Tuesday (Nov. 24), Chappelle’s posted an Instagram video from a recent stand-up show, called Unforgiven, where he further explained his reasoning for not wanting the Viacom/CBS-owned show to stream on Netflix. “[ViacomCBS] didn’t have to pay me because I signed the contract,” he explained of the sketch comedy show. “But is that right? I found out that these people were streaming my work and they never had to ask me or they never have to tell me. Perfectly legal ‘cause I signed the contract. But is that right? I didn’t think so either.

“That’s why I like working for Netflix,” he continued. “I like working for Netflix because when all those bad things happened to me, that company didn’t even exist. And when I found out they were streaming Chappelle’s Show, I was furious. How could they not– how could they not know? So you know what I did? I called them and I told them that this makes me feel bad. And you want to know what they did? They agreed that they would take it off their platform just so I could feel better.”

Episodes of Chapelle's Show had been streaming on Netflix for about a month. While the showw has been wiped from the streaming outlet, episodes remain on Comedy Central, CBS All Access, and HBO Max.

Watch Chappelle’s full clip below.

 

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50 Cent, Joy Bryant, Nicholas Pinnock Talk New Season Of ABC's 'For Life'

Months after its debut, ABC's For Life has returned for a new season. Based on the true story of Isaac Wright Jr., a former-inmate-turned-lawyer, the drama series' protagonist, Aaron Wallace (Nicholas Pinnock), fights for his freedom and safety in and out of the courtroom while fighting for that of his fellow inmates. As Wallace inches closer to finding substantial evidence to exonerate himself, he reconnects with his ex-wife Marie (Joy Bryant) and pregnant teenage daughter Jasmine (Tyla Harris).

"When I met with Issac, I almost couldn't believe what he was saying to me. He went to jail, became a prison rep, came back created a case law through other people's cases, and worked his way out of jail?" said Curtis "50" Cent" Jackson in a recent interview with VIBE correspondent Jazzie Belle. "You know more people that saw things not going well [in prison] and said I'll take a bad situation before I take the worst situation and cop-out because they know the system will just wash them up and that will be the end of it."

The first season of For Life essentially covers the first 9 years of Wright's experience while in jail. This season, topics like Black Lives Matter and social justice are addressed and Wallace finally reenters society. "There are 5 different Aarons I'm playing," shared British actor Nicholas Pinnock. "One is Aaron who is the prison rep. One is Aaron who is the father and husband to Marie and Jas(mine). One is Aaron with the prison warden and his relationship with her. Another one is Aaron just as an ordinary prisoner. And then you have Aaron the lawyer...and then in Season 2, we have a sixth layer. There's Aaron on the outside."

An unspoken source of strength lies in Marie who has supported and served as a "ride or die" figure in the first season. When asked about addressing those who don't agree with her prior decision to move on to Wallace's friend, Bryant pointed out her character's humanness. "Marie had to make some hard choices when Aaron was sent away. They may not be things that people agree with. 'Oh, she's with his best friend' or whatever, but she was left holding the bag, literally," she pointed out. "Things aren't always so black and white. People have to make decisions based on where they are and what they feel they need to do at the time and everyone can have whatever opinion they want."

Watch VIBE's full interview with Bryant, Pinnock, and Jackson, who also co-executive produces the show. New episodes of For Life premieres Wednesdays at 10 pm ET on ABC.

Interview's music bed provided by Gus.

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‘Black Panther’ Sequel Will Reportedly Begin Filming In Atlanta Next Year

Filming on the highly anticipated sequel to Black Panther is set to begin next summer. Marvel Studios will start shooting the Ryan Coogler-directed sequel in July 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“The series are the priority, “ a source told THR of Marvel’s film strategy going into next year. “Ramping them up takes a lot of focus. The movie machinery is well established.”

The shoot will last at least six months. Princess Shuri, the character played by Letitia Wright, who plays King T’Challa's sister Princess Shuri, could take on an expanded role given the death of Chadwick Boseman.

Narcos: Mexico actor Tenoch Huerta will reportedly join the cast, while Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett and Windsor Duke are also expected to return for the second installment of the Marvel film.

In September, Black Panther’s executive producer Victoria Alonso denied rumors that Boseman would appear in the film via CGI technology. “There's only one Chadwick, and he's not with us,” Alonso said. “Our king, unfortunately, has died in real life, not just in fiction, and we are taking a little time to see how we return to the story and what we do to honor this chapter of what has happened to us that was so unexpected, so painful, so terrible, in reality.”

Boseman, 43, passed away from colon cancer in August.

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