black monday showtime recap episode 7 season 1
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'Black Monday' Plays With Its Conventions And Tackles Race

The heiress to Georgina Jeans has a bachelorette party that could change the course of the show and Keith makes a tough decision that could do the same.

There’s a beautiful sort of symmetry that makes this episode a hallmark of the Black Monday universe. The same way Blair was a mirror for Mo’s life flaws in episode “295,” Tiffany is that for Dawn. Both Mo and Dawn sit adjacent of their respective mirrors at a dinner table in their respective episodes, offering advice that leads them to see the ugly truth of their own lives. Keeping that sort of continuity between two episodes with your two main actors, down to the setting of the dinner table, by leveraging a narrative convention you’ve sewn into the fabric of the show, is impressive storytelling.

Similar to how Mo began seeing the inequities in his life when he derided Blair’s newfound party life, Dawn begins to notice her own relationship’s flaws while dispensing love advice to Tiffany. She even mistakenly refers to Tiffany as “me” before humorously backtracking until she lands on “Tiffa-Me,” a funny and poignant reinforcement of the Dawn mirror.

In the same scene, Dawn also wears this catatonic gaze after Tiffany breaks down how the person you love can change so much one begins to fall out of love. Behind that stare, all of the firewalls and barriers Dawn places around the empathetic part of her brain, in order to work in her emotionally debased profession, broke down and she was deprogramming herself like a machine.

Similarly, Tiffany has an almost identical gaze painted on her face when her socialite friends admit thoughts of her calling off the wedding before she awkwardly repeats “call off the wedding” like a robot malfunctioning. She’s not only a reflection of every main character’s emotional instability but also a reflection of Dawn herself, in this episode.

Tiffany Comes Out

It may have taken seven episodes and 300 days in the Black Monday universe, but it was bound to happen. Tiffany Georgina had a vice-grip on viewers’ attention tighter than the one she gave Blair’s testicles in the series premiere, and for the first time, she is the main focus of an episode.

In this episode, Tiffany’s bachelorette party turns into a therapy session and is the perfect moment for Casey Wilson to showcase a bit of her acting range. She goes from pleading with Dawn to stay at the empty party with her face quivering in desperation to fully oblivious joy in a matter of a few facial contortions. Her cartoonish laughter turns into uncontrollable crying without changing the tone of her voice. Tiffany Georgina is a walking example of how easily the characters in this show can waver between emotional extremes.

Tiffany’s bachelorette party story arc is the finest use of Black Monday narrative conventions in the series, so far, in an episode that uses the 1980s the best.

1980s Tackle Race

‘80s pop culture stories like New York Giants legend Lawrence Taylor’s crack addiction and Nicole Brown’s fatal marriage to O.J. Simpson are fair game for ridicule on Black Monday. This week’s episode also utilizes the ethos of the decade to discuss race in the way only Black Monday can: by eviscerating the pop culture of the time.

The victim this time is 1984 romantic comedy Sixteen Candles. In Sixteen Candles, Jake Ryan offers high school freshman Ted the opportunity to have sex with his drunk girlfriend so Ted can lose his virginity. To Tiffany, Jake has a “heart of gold.” Rightfully so, Dawn responds, “That was in movie theaters and white people were just like…’cool‘?”

The writers drive home the racial divide that Sixteen Candles represents when Mo asks who Ted and Jake are, and Tiffany and Blair reflexively respond Sixteen Candles. Mo’s also the only person who mentions how the film was a “minstrel show” due to the stereotypical Asian character Long Duk Dong.

Black Monday doesn’t appear to make sweeping generalizations about the character of white and Black people. But instead, through the lens of pop culture criticism, it highlights certain questionable behavior, such as staged date rape, which certain cultures accepted as entertainment that others would not. That’s the sort of engrossing breaking of the fourth wall that will add to Black Monday’s first season’s replay value.

The Truth Might Set You Free

Episode “243” had the Black Monday cast racing towards its inevitable collapse. This episode shows the truths that could be their undoing.

So many bombs of truth are dropped at the end of this episode that it’s impossible for anyone involved to leave unscathed by the end of the first season. The plot-shifting truth Mo shares with Blair could crumble the entire Georgina Play. It also seems to have cost Tiffany her freedom. Dawn’s truth could liberate her, but crush her husband. In this episode, the truth doesn’t set anyone free as much as it makes them feel free, if even for a moment. But, it’s Keith’s truth that could potentially destroy the entire operation.

In a perversely touching sequence of events, we discover Keith is more comfortable with having his son implicated in his crimes than he is his boyfriend Miike. So, when Keith meets up with Mike at the end of the episode -- after seemingly being compromised by the SEC -- he tells him “no matter what goes down, I’ll always love you.”

On the surface, that is a sweet gesture but, Black Monday’s penchant for misdirection imbues that scene with an extra layer of mystery. Did Keith say that because he decided to become an informant? Did he say it because he chose money over love and actually implicated Mike?

Add in the fact Keith gives Mike the infamous tie pin worn by the person who will fall to their death at some point in the series, and the Black Monday writers have put the dominoes in place for something dramatic to go down in the last two episodes of the first season.

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Jamie Foxx Recalls Convincing Idris Elba To Decline 'Django Unchained' Role

Jamie Foxx is a determined man. During a recent talk at the Toronto International Film Festival alongside Michael B. Jordan, Foxx revealed he did everything in his power to land the role of Django in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 Django Unchained. When he received word that Idris Elba was one of the actors considered for the role, he made it a point to tell him he should look the other way.

According to Foxx, his management informed him that he wasn’t on the short list of actors that were considered for the film. At the time, Elba had all eyes on him. When Foxx randomly bumped into Elba, he brought up the topic of Django Unchained and told him he was too good looking for the character

"Your beautiful black a** riding up on a horse, there’s going to be some problems for everyone," he said.

Ultimately, the decision was made to nix Elba from the role because Tarantino thought it wouldn’t make sense to cast a British actor for an American story.

"Yeah, Idris is British and this is an American story," Tarantino told The Sun. "I think a problem with a lot of movies that deal with this issue is they cast British actors to play the Southerners and it goes a long way to distancing the movie. They put on their gargoyle masks and they do their accents and you are not telling an American story anymore."

In a 2012 interview with VIBE, Kerry Washington discussed the turbulent history Foxx helped bring to life about slavery in the film. “This is not a doc. This is a Quentin Tarantino film," Washington said. "But I remember there was this one moment in the script where Jamie's character was put in an awful crazy medieval metal mask. I said, ‘'That's some sick thing Quentin thought up.'"

“And when I went to the production office to meet about my wardrobe, I saw into the research office,” she continued. “Twenty photos of real masks like that. It made me sad. I realized as much as my degrees and everything I've read on slave narratives [should have informed me], I didn't even know that they wore masks like that, that people did that to us. It took a Tarantino movie for me to know that that's not some crazy thing out of his imagination. That's how it went down.”

Foxx and Jordan star in Just Mercy, a film about civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) who's on a quest to release an inmate on death row. The movie debuts on Dec. 25.

This is about all of us. Based on a true story, #JustMercy arrives in theaters this December. pic.twitter.com/sx9OpmIMJU

— Just Mercy (@JustMercyFilm) September 4, 2019

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Ashton Sanders (L) plays Rza and Siddiq Saunderson (R) plays Ghostface Killah in Hulu's 'Wu-Tang: An American Saga.'
Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

'Wu-Tang: An American Saga' Episode 4 Recap: Dwellin’ In The Past And Flashbacks

As evidenced by the title, this week’s episode of Wu-Tang: An American Saga is centered around Dennis/Ghostface (Siddiq Saunderson). Episode 4 builds on the narrative from one of Ghost’s signature songs, “All That I Got Is You,” the tale of his home life, his relationship with his mom, and how it made him the man he is; and then adds the love story of a young Dennis and Shurrie (Zolee Griggs).

Whether you’re a die-hard Wu fan and know the rappers’ backstories, or you’re just a casual fan who sang along to Mary J. Blige as the clan’s designated storyteller painted the picture of growing up in a crowded Stapleton Houses apartment on “All That I Got…,” you probably know that Ghostface had two brothers with muscular dystrophy (his only siblings for the sake of the series), and a mother with issues - including alcohol addiction. If you saw the Wu-Tang docuseries Of Mics and Men, you also know that as the eldest, he was the man of the house before he was even a teenager. In this week’s episode, we get a closer look at how the pressures of caring for two brothers with disabilities - one who’s nonverbal, plus a mom fighting with the bottle, drove Dennis to be such a go-hard. He’s always dead serious about the business because he has no choice. Bobby/Rza lives in a house - with a basement - has a working, engaged mom, routine, order and stability. Meanwhile, at one point, Dennis is down to the last box of oatmeal in the crib.

The episode follows Dennis and Shurrie back and forth between an undetermined “THEN” that could be one or two years in the past, and “NOW.” The “THEN” is peppered with heavy foreshadowing, starting with a studious and focused Shurrie telling another girl on the bus she’s destined to end up with a locked-up baby daddy before getting distracted by Dennis while trying to study at the house. When Divine gets home, he tells Dennis that he and drug dealer Power (Marcus Callender) are no longer working together and appoints Dennis as his No. 2 man.

In the “NOW,” Dennis wonders out loud if Shurrie should be with someone more suited to a college-bound student...and if they should tell Bobby and Divine about their relationship. Her response? No, and “You crazy?”

Mama Linda (Erika Alexander) visits Divine (with her cream Dooney & Burke bag. Big shout out to costume designer Marci Rodgers; she is killing it.) and convinces him to take a plea deal for the sake of the entire family. Now, Dennis and Bobby have to get serious about coming back from losing all their inventory and cash in the stash house fire. This is no longer a case of holding things down for a minute until Divine comes back; this is a long-term situation. It’s on them. And Christmas is coming.

While cutting through Manhattan’s Battery Park on his way to a job interview, Bobby has the realization that he and Dennis could move weight to all the financial cats there. There’s no heavy police presence and no competing factions. Shotgun’s coworker Erika hooks them up with some rolls of film to sell on the streets for cash (we’re guessing in exchange for a weed connect once they get the product). They get their dough, get a skimpy bag of product, cut it with some tea leaves (figuring the target consumer won’t know the difference), and they’re in business.

At home, Dennis is trying to keep things together as his mom is falling apart. He takes his brothers to the neighborhood babysitter Ms. Gloria (there was always a neighborhood babysitter yelling at kids to “get out of the street” and stuffing money in her bra. Amen), cleans up the house, and even adds some holiday cheer. He gives his mom space for a little pampering, complete with a box of Calgon; something it’s obvious she doesn’t get often. His obvious pride in being able to help her out and give her some joy is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.

In another “THEN” flashback, Dennis is itching to get at Power, but Divine orders him to stand down, insisting there’s no beef between the two - just business. The series opened with Power ordering a hit on Dennis and he was later behind the fire at the stash house, so we know there’s more backstory coming to fill in the gap between time periods. Dennis promises he won’t touch Power and robs his parents’ business instead. In the process, he realizes that Power is a college graduate who grew up in a stable family - most importantly, with a father. This stays with him. Meanwhile, while he’s working with Divine, he and Shurrie are building a romance through furtive glances and little moments of tenderness, like Dennis scraping his plate instead of just dropping it in the sink for Shurrie to wash like her brothers. Acts of Service is apparently Dennis’ love language.

In another “NOW” scene, Ms. Linda’s street-savvy, hair-styling, fly girl sister Laurie (Diane Howard) surprises the family with a visit and blesses us with some outstanding lines. Can we form an actual Undependable Ni**a Association of America to officially keep a rating scale? Life would be easier.

Anyway, Aunt Laurie clocks the vibes between Shurrie and Dennis immediately. Later, when Shurrie answers a desperate emergency call from Dennis, Laurie cautions, “Go take care of your man, just make you take care of yourself, too. Alright?”

Working hand-to-hands in Battery Park, Rza takes a moment to sit with the chess elder (Anthony Chilsolm), and complain about the Five Percenters loud and incessant “teaching” messing with his focus (we feel you, Bobby, we feel you). Some of the future Wu members are already Five Percenters (Ason, Allah Justice, Sha), but the elder plants the seed for Bobby’s conversion when he translates the Islamic sect’s message to chess terms: “The world will tell the Black man he’s a pawn, a white man he’s king. But those gentlemen over there, they tell you that you’re the player and that you move the pieces. That you’re a God.” We can see the transformation of thought happening in Bobby’s mind. The convo immediately transitions to Bobby, Dennis, Ason and Gary/Allah Justice watching Shaolin vs Wu Tang for the umpteenth time. But now, Bobby is actually listening to the Shaolin monk’s dialogue (he’s woke!). He hops up, inspired, and starts working on what sounds like an early version of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” Ason jumps on, Bobby talks about arrangements to make it a crew cut, and Dennis decides to break out, “As long as my gun clap, I ain’t gotta rap.”

When Dennis gets home, he discovers that his mom had another Calgon night - and threw in a bottle of booze. He finds her passed out, half-submerged in the tub. He calls Shurrie, the one person he knows he can trust his brothers with while he goes to the hospital. When he finally gets home the next morning, he’s at his breaking point, “I got all of this (material stuff), and I still got nothing.” Shurrie insists that he has her, and Dennis scoffs. As much as he loves his brothers, the idea of having kids with disabilities, and possibly driving another woman to his mother’s fate, is terrifying. Shurrie is bright - folks have been talking about her books and reading the whole episode - and is about to graduate and head to college. Her aunt even called it “parole,” a way out of a life of cooking, washing dishes, and looking after her younger brother while her mom works double shifts. Dennis can’t see a typical domestic future is in his cards, “You think we gonna get married and have kids?!... I thought you was the smart one.” (Spoiler alert: They get married and have kids.). He storms out and finds himself back at Power’s parents’ store. He ends up in a discussion with Power’s dad - unaware that he’s talking to the person who robbed him - about fatherhood. The same way something clicked in Bobby’s mind in Battery Park, we see a change of heart and mind - and perhaps determination? - show up in Dennis.

--

What The Episode Got Right: Let’s just assume fashion is going to always be an answer here, so we’ll skip that. We still think the scenes between Bobby and the old chess playing sage are a bit too down the middle, but the elder’s breakdown of the Five Percenters’ message explains the appeal of the movement to young black men in the early ‘90s, and how the Five Percent Nation’s influence on Wu-Tang is vital to Wu’s story. Also, to answer a question we posed in the last recap: Yes, Ghostface and Rza’s sister (her real-life name is Sophia) were really in a relationship.

What The Episode Got Wrong: Nobody from the boroughs says “Manhattan” like Bobby did when talking to the chess player. It’s “the city.” (We understand that was for you non-New York viewers, but still.)

What We Could Do Without: About three of the references of Shurrie being smart and focused. We got it.

What We Absolutely Don’t Believe: That Shurrie just walked off the bus after that back and forth and that was the end of it. Ol’ girl would have ended up in a fight on the bus after that line. Shurrie actually might have gotten jumped.

What We’d Like To See More Of: Is Aunt Laurie hanging around? Because she’d be good for some good ol’ grown foolishness that we don’t get from Mama Linda.

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'Girlfriends' Cast To Reunite On 'Black-ish'

We have not seen the dynamic, powerful and ever-so black women of Girlfriends on the television screen in more than a decade. Thanks to the ABC comedy series black-ish, Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White, and Jill Marie Jones will reunite on an upcoming episode.

"Girlfriends ran for eight years and was important to so many people. Being able to merge the worlds of black-ish and Girlfriends was surreal for me—and so much fun," Ross told Entertainment Weekly. 

On Tuesday (Oct. 8), the episode titled "Feminisn't" will circle the conversations of modern-day feminism after Bow (played by Ross) learns that Diane (played by Marsai Martin) and Ruby (played by Jenifer Lewis) don't believe in feminism. Bow then decides to invite her girlfriends into the mix.

Ross posted on her Twitter Thursday (Sept. 12), with the surprise news.

Surprise!!! My giiiiifriends are guest starring on an episode of @blackishabc this season! #blackish @RealPersiaWhite @therealgolden47 @MsJillMJones https://t.co/Capmlsc9SC pic.twitter.com/4J4Y3iASlC

— Tracee Ellis Ross (@TraceeEllisRoss) September 12, 2019

"These are women I grew up with and love deeply and it was easy to tap back into the magic of our chemistry and how much we love each other. It was giggles on top of giggles on top of giggles," Ross said.

Girlfriends aired on UPN with a six-season run before concluding the series on The CW in 2008. Season 6 of black-ish premieres on Tuesday (Sept. 24) at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC. 

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