american soul bet recap episode 6 season 1
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American Soul Recap Season 1, Ep 6: What Are You Looking At?

Finally! The SOUL.

After a few heavy episodes, there’s lighter energy in this episode of American Soul - and honestly, the show needed it. Finally, some of the elements we loved most about Soul Train are showcased. The moment we’ve been waiting for happens at last: seeing one of Soul Train’s legendary Afro Sheen commercials. George Johnson (founder and owner of Afro Sheen’s parent company) is back for the first time since the series started to counsel Don on ad creative instead of Brooks. Raven Goodwin brought brightness to the increasingly contentious vibe in the Soul Train Gang as newcomer and aspiring dancer Violet. The Soul Train Scramble Board is in effect. A reporter from Right On! magazine, the preeminent black teen entertainment periodical and early supporter of the show, is on the scene. And Wayne Brady delivered a hilarious – and spot-on – turn as Little Richard; the best use of the celebrity cameos on the show since Bobby Brown’s appearance as Rufus Johnson.

The American Soul characters are feeling more unencumbered, too. The combination of finally hitting a stride with talent for the show, and hitting something else regularly with Ilsa Dejarnette has Don at ease and smiling. Even his normal complaints and criticisms of Tessa’s choices come with a smirk. Dick Clarke requests a sit down with Don and George and offers to buy Soul Train, confirming the show’s potential and value to Don. But we were wrong about Ilsa – we thought she’d be upset once Don had to turn some attention back to his family, but Ms. Dejarnette is very busy and Don learned the hard way when he showed up at her house unannounced. How are you the married one, and you get played, Don?

Simone Clarke is ready to turn up for her 18th birthday and makes plans for JT to come see her gig at the jazz club. He doesn’t show, but her acting teacher, Professor Haygood (Brad James), does. Let’s go back for a minute to American Soul’s premiere, when Tessa dropped in on a Grease rehearsal to scout dancers. Professor Haygood told Tessa that Simone was almost as good as she used to be, and Tessa replied, “Be careful, she might actually believe the dreams that you sell.” We know there’s a Svengali-figure in Tessa’s past who derailed her career ambitions. Haygood might be the one.

Now, he’s telling Simone how talented she is, that he has “a producer friend,” that she should give NY a shot…and Simone is completely seduced by the praise. Somebody send baby girl a Lauryn Hill album so she can get her mind right, please.

Kendall Clarke has way too much dip on his chip and gets it smacked clean off by his mama. Kendall is convinced Private Barker is trying to take his father’s place and charges at him in the kitchen (why would this boy think he could take on a whole soldier?). After Nate almost swings on everybody in a PTSD-triggered response, Kendall asks Brianne “what the hell” she was thinking to bring him into the house. Brianne later admits that having the young (and fine) soldier around makes her feel like Joseph Clarke is still present. Kendall gives her an ultimatum: have him out of the house by the time he and Simone return from the Soul Train bus tour, or he’s moving out. Kendall ain’t got no money to make financially-related threats, but whatever. Nate packs his things to leave and confesses his personal sins to Brianna. She wants him to stay and admits she has sins of her own. Is a Brianna backstory on the way?

Tessa is feeling herself, too. She’s regained her confidence and is no longer shaken by Don’s tantrums. She catches Flo and the Soul Train Gang running scam auditions in the parking lot for $5 a pop. After observing them insulting the confident, full-bodied Violet, Tessa offers the young woman a gig as her assistant. When torment from the gang continues on the set, Tessa sends Violet to wardrobe and makeup and puts her on the Soul Train line. Violet reminds Tessa of her childhood self being teased about her weight before finding confidence through dance. When Don complains about the waste of time and money since Violet’s trip down the line won’t be used in the final show edit, Tessa tells him “remembering who I am, remembering that I have a dream, and doing everything possible to make that dream come true” is worth it, and quits. Then she goes to eat fried chicken, greens, potato salad and apple pie with Violet.

Gerald is Gerald-ing on 100 this episode. Things are lit at the club for the Muhammad Ali/ Buster Mathis fight party – even Farrah Fawcett is in the house – and he stands to hit a massive payday if Ali wins. He outsmarts his big boss’ attempt to teach him a lesson (the lesson = killing him), delivers a Gerald-style beat down (which comes with car trunk accommodations), and proves himself valuable as the crime organization’s top earner, ensuring safety from another power struggle with his boss - for now. He’s got to keep generating revenue in new ways and asks Don for an office at Soul Train. Don is no stranger to shady dealings but has no idea what his silent partner is really about. Anybody who says they brought Memphis with them to L.A. is not to be played with.

What this episode got right: When Soul Train started beating American Bandstand’s ratings in major urban markets, Dick Clarke did attempt to buy the show. When Don refused, Clarke launched his own, short-lived, low sodium, fat-free, gluten-free imitation of Soul Train, called Soul Unlimited.

What it could have done without: The PTSD moments with Private Barker -  the disturbing music, the flashbacks – are starting to feel overused.

What we absolutely don’t believe: That the host and owner of a live entertainment show intentionally brought a reporter with him into some celebrity mess. Or that Right On!, which focused on The Jackson Five and teen-centered acts in its early years, cared about what Little Richard was doing.

What we don’t understand: How Don went from struggling to poppin’ in two episodes, with no clear explanation. Are we to assume it’s a combination of his partnership with Gerald plus his relationship with Ilsa?

There are four episodes left in this season, and we’re curious to see where American Soul takes the various storylines. This isn’t a fast-moving show, but it’s ambitious in the story-telling. That combination makes for a challenging season back-end. Based on previews, episode 7 may be the first without a celebrity cameo, so it will also be interesting to see how American Soul adds an extra oomph without that element.

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Jennifer Lopez Was Pleasantly Surprised By Keke Palmer's Performance In 'Hustlers'

The all-star cast of the upcoming film Hustlers features plenty of heavy hitters, but it seems Keke Palmer shines the brightest.

Speaking with Billboard last week, Jennifer Lopez dished about what fans can expect in her upcoming film. The all-female led feature was inspired in by "The Hustlers at Scores", a New York magazine article about a real-life group of former exotic dancers who teamed up to overthrow their Wall Street clientele.

While Lopez got tips from visits to the strip club and chats with Cardi B, she enjoyed Palmer's gift of improvisation. "She was great at improv, and not everybody has that knack, you know what I mean?," she said. "But they were all great. I expected Cardi to be good, I expected Lizzo to be good, but I didn't know enough about Keke. I had seen her audition tape. I did a little bit of research on her when they were thinking [about her role]. We went through so many people for that part, so many people."

Palmer kicked off her acting career at the tender age of 9, with leads in films like Akeela & The Bee, Jump In! and starred in her own series True Jackson, VP on Nickelodeon from 2008 to 2011. She's also stolen scenes in Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens and the live rendition of Grease. But it was her bubbly personality that caught Lopez's (who executively produced the film) eye.

"When I saw her -- I had watched a couple of interviews of her and stuff like that -- I was like, 'This girl has something. She has personality,'" she said. "And she was awesome. We had fun from the first scene. I was like, 'OK. We're gon' have fun!'"

Lopez recently shared with Entertainment Tonight some of her biggest challenges in the film like pole dancing.

"Learning pole dancing was probably one of the most challenging things I've ever done for a film," Lopez said. "But it was worth it. I love this character. I love this story. It's a really gritty New York story with women at the forefront -- the thing actresses dream of -- and to be able to produce it and star in it was very special."

Hustlers opens in theaters Sept. 13. Check out the trailer below.

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Marvel Announces Mahershala Ali Will Take The Screen As The Next 'Blade'

Over the weekend, as the East Coast was beating the heat, comic enthusiasts gathered in San Diego for Comic-Con 2019. On Saturday (July 20), Marvel Studios got movie-goers amped in standard form by announcing their slate of movie releases for the next few years, but threw an added surprise in the mix. Not only is the studio delivering a new version of Blade, but it will be fronted by none other than Mahershala Ali. The accomplished actor, who took home Oscars for both Moonlight and Greenbook, was on-hand to celebrate the moment.

There’s just one more thing... #SDCC pic.twitter.com/0Q3F4AZJLg

— Dustin Sandoval @ #SDCC (@DustinMSandoval) July 21, 2019

 

 

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Just announced in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios’ BLADE with Mahershala Ali. #SDCC

A post shared by Marvel Studios (@marvelstudios) on Jul 20, 2019 at 6:43pm PDT

After the triumph of Black Panther and a host of other inclusive super hero movies in the last couple years, Ali carrying the torch after Wesley Snipes immortalized the role is a win.

The Comic Con celebrations didn't stop there. Other major Marvel titles announced starring some of our faves included Eternals in 2020 (Brian Tyree Henry), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2021 (Awkwafina), THOR: Love and Thunder in 2021 (Tessa Thompson), Black Widow in 2020, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2021 in theaters, and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in 2020 (Anthony Mackie), WANDAVISION in 2021 (Teyonah Parris), WHAT IF...? in 2021 (Jeffrey Wright), Hawkeye in 2021, and LOKI in 2021 for their Disney+ streaming service.

No release date for Blade has been announced.

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Netflix Releases 'Dear White People' Season 3 Trailer

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Shadow And Act report a few scenes that season three will deliver includes Sam (Logan Browning) parting ways with her radio show, Troy (Brandon Bell) experiencing a parody or pastiche, and Lionel (DeRon Horton) continuing to live in his identity.

The campus' secret society, The Order of X, also reappears after being discovered in season 2 by Sam and Lionel. Depicting a lighter and easing going tone is a shift from the gloom and murk from previous seasons while still giving a satirical sense of style. As the series moves through its characters dealing with microaggressions and evident racism at Winchester University, the script addresses a range of controversial issues.

Yvette Nicole Brown (Avengers: Endgame), Blair Underwood (When They See Us), Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black), and the show's creator Simien are set to make guest appearances throughout the season, according to IndieWire. 

Season 3 will premiere on Aug. 2.

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