Thursday, April 28, 2016

I See the Old Me in the New Lil Kim

Rapper Lil' Kim shocked people with these unrecognizable photos of her on Instagram. The photos made me sad that she didn't see her God-given beauty. She has totally erased herself. In those photos I saw what used to be me. I saw what I wanted to be in middle school. I understand Lil' Kim's fight with self-hatred. What concerned me more about Lil' Kim was an old Newsweek interview she did where she said neither her father or the men she loved told her she was pretty. "Being a regular Black girl wasn't good enough." And she openly admitted to having low self-esteem. I give her props for being so open. Above is my video response to these photos and the senseless death of Delaware teen Amy Joyner-Francis. She was killed in the girls bathroom at her school during a fight over a boy. We must uplift our Black girls.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How Could I Forget to Post This Special KTVU Interview?

I posted this interview all over social media but forgot to post it on my blog. Why was this interview with KTVU's Keba Arnold and Mike Mibach so special? It was my FIRST live television interview. I'm a radio girl so I always get nervous for TV interviews. With radio, I can be in my doo-rag and house slippers, but still sound good. With TV, you have to step it all the way up on image AND sound good. You only get one shot when it's live. Keba and Mike made me feel very comfortable. By the way Keba Arnold is even more gorgeous in person. Thanks to KTVU for having me. I'm very proud of this interview. Check it out.

One more thing. People have been asking me if I do public speaking. Yes! Here is a list of the things I speak about if you're interested in booking me.

Monday, April 25, 2016

My Interview on the BBC Radio Manchester Show 'The People'

I did this interview within an hour of finding out Prince died, which is why my voice sounds more mellow.  The music on this show is great and I will be listening. I talk about my life during the O.J. Trial, but my heart was on Prince that morning. And the same goes for co-host Karen Gabay. We were shocked. Thanks to Karen for having me on.  You can listen to it here. I'm on at around 34:00. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

What I'm Going to Do Instead Of See Nina

No I'm going to see that pathetic excuse of a Nina Simone biopic. Like others, I was offended and disgusted with the casting and make up job of Zoe Saldana. Her skin looks like it was caked with cheap press powder. And her afro wig sits on her head like a black ball of styrofoam. My disappointment with Saldana being cast has nothing to do with her being Afro-Latina. There are Afro Latinas who look like Nina Simone. And there are talented black actresses who resemble Nina (Viola Davis, India Arie, Adepero Oduye, Uzo Aduba) that could've been cast.

One of the reasons why The People v. O.J. Simpson was so believable is the the casting. The show's creators not only sought good actors, but they cast people who resembled the key players from the trial. As a family member of someone portrayed in the film, I liked that Sterling K. Brown's costume and makeup made him look very close to my dad. I totally understand why some of Nina Simone's relatives are upset with the casting and her appearance.

We know this is an issue of colorism, or discrimination against a person because their skin complexion or hue. For those who don't get colorism, watch the Dark Girls documentary and listen to my story. Also watch Light Girls because colorism affects them too. It's sad that the filmmakers found Nina to be so extraordinary, yet her dark skin wasn't good enough. Basically it's like they said to her, "You're great, but you would even be better if you were lighter." "We want to celebrate you, but a lighter version of you." They're lack of understanding why people are upset, including Zoe Saldana, tells me they didn't understand Nina and her racial politics. It also tells me they don't even get Black beauty and couldn't honor her dark skin, full lips, wide nose and kinky hair. All features that aren't considered beautiful in mainstream, white culture.

Nina Simone was an amazing, complex woman. Her issues with racism, sexism, mental health, abuse, love, etc. are not something that anyone who wants to make a movie for the hell of it should tackle. If the filmmakers are going to misrepresent her appearance, then I don't trust them to tell her story. Plus I take issue with them portraying her nurse as her lover, when the family says he was an openly gay man. So they invisibilized a dark-skinned black woman and a gay black man.

Instead of spending a movie ticket on this disgrace, I'm supporting black women artists. I bought a book of poetry by a Bay Area poet named Mk Chavez. Her work is beautiful and I've admired her since the first time I heard her read a year or two ago. Her collection Mothermorphosis is about growing up with a mother who has schizophrenia and mothering. Also if you're in the Bay Area check out Echo Brown's Black Virgins are Not for Hipsters, which is playing at the Marsh in Berkeley. Buy a sista's book, album or artwork. Go see a play at your community theatre that portrays black life with dignity. Go to a poetry reading or a book signing. Buy a Nina Simone album.

The good thing about this backlash is that I hope it inspires a filmmaker who truly cares about Nina Simone to do her story justice on the big screen.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince is Gone

My Ultimate Prince CD collection 
I'm kicking myself for not seeing Prince when he was in Oakland last month. I've never been to a Prince concert and wanted to go. I heard he was singing slow music. I didn't buy a ticket because I wanted to see him really rock out for my first concert. Big mistake!

I saw photos of friends on social media who went to his last concert and they looked like they just came from having good sex. LOL What do you expect? It's Prince.

I'm still in shock over his death and will have more to say later. My first blog post was about Prince. We lost a genius. We lost a man who didn't give a damn if people thought he was weird. We lost a man who lived by his own rules. We lost a courageous man who fought the music industry for ownership of his art. We lost a philanthropist who spoke out against injustices. We lost a brotha like no other. We lost a beautiful, sensual soul. We lost a king in music who reigned in purple. An icon who showered our souls with Purple Rain. We lost an icon. We lost a prince at 57. We lost Prince.

Here's an interview on Prince's philanthropy, that many of us didn't know about.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I'm On BBC Radio 5 Live TONIGHT With Phil Williams

UPDATE: Listen to my interview here

The final episode of "The People v. O.J. Simspon" aired in the U.K. last night. During the show I live tweeted during PST and EST. I received so many supportive messages from across the pond that I decided to do some tweeting during episode 10 in the U.K. I received so many Tweets, including from Europeans in other countries. Somehow word got to BBC Radio 5 Live Host Phil Williams.

I'll be on his show tonight, around 11pm or 11:30pm U.K. time. This is my first, international broadcast interview. I'm excited! I spent time in London and Belfast 11 years ago, and had an amazing time.
 I'm happy my first international interview is in the U.K. Tune in and spread the word to your friends and family overseas!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Darden Dad and Daughter On Race Relations Since The O.J. Trial on

I'm so excited that is running this piece I wrote about a conversation my dad and I had about race. We tend to talk about race and politics when we chat. I wanted to write a piece for the black press about my father because during the trial, his superior wouldn't allow him to reach out the black press. This means a lot to me to have a byline with Ebony, of all places.

My dad and I discuss why the justice system needs more diversity, including black prosecutors; grand juries in police brutality cases, police erasing video footage from their cameras, etc. It's really good.

There's a great discussion going on Ebony's Facebook page about this article. Feel free to weigh in.

And fitting this article would be up and running since it's my dad's birthday today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Thank You Sterling K. Brown!
Final Thoughts About
'The People v. O.J. Simpson

Source: FX Network
So many of you have told me how you appreciate reading my take on “The People v. O.J. Simpson” miniseries. There might not have been any blog posts if it weren’t for actor Sterling K. Brown. I read some interviews where he gave his take on my father and I thought to myself, “This dude gets it.” Brown celebrated the acquittal of Simpson back in the day, but researched my father and recognized that he was treated unfairly. I’m grateful that he was able to put his views aside, open his mind, delve into my father’s past and bring his performance artistry to this role.

Sterling K. Brown played my father with dignity and heart. He nailed his voice and got his movements down. His performance triggered bad and good memories, but also influenced me to reevaluate some of the past. I appreciate that during the promotion of the show, he spoke about my father’s challenges during the trial and encouraged people to take a different look at Chris Darden. And I’m also thankful that he mentioned my website and work in his interviews. Brown’s mentioning of me led to other media outlets contacting me for me interviews. I was able to tell my story to more people.

Brown and I tweeted during the miniseries’ run. I referred to him as my “TV Dad.” He is the best TV Dad a girl could ever had.  I’m so happy he was cast for this role and has gotten even more exposure. I hope this role opens even more doors for him in his career.  And I hope we get to meet one day. If he and Sarah Paulson both win awards for their roles, there will be no words to describe how hyped I would be. No words. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  

How I Really Feel About the Show

Simply put, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” is downright, a prime example of good television drama.
Actor Sterling K. Brown
Source FX Network
When I say good drama, I mean on the level of a “Dynasty” or “Dallas.” The casting was excellent. It’s the best casting I’ve seen in a long time and I hope other casting directors take note when doing films or shows on real life events.  The makeup work was phenomenal. The actors looked so close to the real key players, which made the series even more believable. And the writing was strong. It was an incredible production.

The show’s creators were right in shining light on the sexism Marcia Clark experienced. Race was a major issue, yet the public ignored sexism. I’m glad people are waking up to this. As for Sarah Paulson, she did the damn thing as Marcia Clark. She and Sterling K. Brown had amazing chemistry. Again, that goes back to good casting.

The actors did not come to the set to play. They brought their A-game. I want to hug the person who had the sense to bring Nathan Lane on board. Courtney B. Vance was amazing. The public got to see more of his acting range because he’s often cast as a regular attorney.  I hope this role opens the door for him to play a variety of characters.

I'm Back on KGO with Brian Copeland

Brian Copeland invited me back to be a guest on his new daily afternoon for KGO. The show just started this week so I'm honored to be one of his guests. We talked about the finale of The People v. O.J. Simpson.

Click here to listen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Free the Juice!
Episode 10 of The People v. O.J. Simpson

Source: FX
It’s the episode that fans of this miniseries have been dreading because they want the show to go on. We know how the case turns out, but we don’t exactly know how the story ends. Honestly, this story will never end. It’s been 20 years and people are still upset about the verdict. Some of those with ties to the case continue to process it all. And people will always see these names: Darden, Clark, Cochran, Shapiro, Kardashian, Fuhrman, Goldman, etc. and think O.J. Simpson Trial.  But enough of why this case still lives on. Let’s get to the final episode.  

--I thought O.J. Simpson was silent during the entire trial. But Judge Ito did allow him to make a statement toward the end. According to my dad, the jury was not present and Simpson did it in front of cameras for the public. The statement Cuba Gooding performed on the show was similar if not exact, to what O.J. said.

--I’m still shocked that, according to TV Marcia Clark’s closing statement, O.J. never asked how Nicole Brown died. If that’s true, that says a LOT.

--TV dad Sterling K. Brown did his thing again, portraying real Dad tonight! He performed my father’s closing statement so well. He had his movements and voice down. The scene where my dad cried during the press conference was on point too. That was the first and only time I ever saw my father breakdown. And it made me tear up when I watched it as a teen. People really got to see that he did his job from the heart.

--Johnnie Cochran didn't come up with "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." According to Dream Team attorney Carl Douglas, the legendary line came from the dean of the Santa Clara University Law School during a brainstorm meeting.  

--I’m going to miss John Travolta playing Shapiro. It cracks me up how the other lawyers make Shapiro seem like the oddball in the group.

--I remember that Oprah show where the audience watched the reading of the verdict.

Source: FX Network

 --Yes the jury deliberated for only four hours. Eight months of testimony all boiled down to a four-hour discussion. Those people were isolated, not treated the best and were probably ready to go home. I’m not surprised they reached a decision so quickly.


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