Tag: YouTube

FEATURE: ‘Girls Trip’ Star Tiffany Haddish’s Remarkable Rise

Comedian and actor Tiffany Haddish (photo via theatlantic.com)

by Michael P. Jeffries via theatlantic.com

When comedian Tiffany Haddish was 9, her stepfather tampered with the brakes on her mother’s car, hoping to kill his partner and her four children. Rather than going out with her mom that day, Haddish asked to stay home and look after her younger siblings—sparing her from the horrific accident that left her mother mentally impaired. As the oldest child, Haddish did what she could to help for three years, from tying her mother’s shoes to paying bills, but eventually Haddish and her siblings were placed in foster care.

Haddish used the trauma and tragedy of her upbringing to ignite what is now a blazing comedy career. As a child, the Girls Trip star was teased for being a foster kid, but Haddish has also talked about maintaining a strong sense of self worth in her recent Showtime standup special, She Ready!: From the Hood to Hollywood. “The state of California paid so much money to make sure I don’t die ‘cause they knew I was gonna be special,” Haddish tells her audience. “They knew it. They was like, ‘This one right here, she gonna be a unicorn.’ And they was right. I’m the last black unicorn, bitch!”

Haddish’s ascent in recent years—debuting on NBC’s The Carmichael Show in 2015 and appearing in the 2016 action comedy Keanu and the summer hit Girls Trip—is a testament to her talent and resilience. But her story also offers insight into what it takes for a black woman in comedy to become successful today. Haddish’s rise points to where systemic roadblocks still lie for performers of color, particularly women, when they first enter the business—and how some barriers to entry may be falling as comedy enters a new golden age, with fewer gatekeepers and more platforms for artists to reach their fans.

Even though Girls Trip has a black director and writers, Haddish faced questions about her low profile. Her agent initially told her that studio executives were looking for someone with a bigger name to play her character, Dina. Haddish told her agent to tell them, “I’ve had a name since 1979. Okay? I was born with a name.” In the end, her rare comedic gifts won out, and reviews of Girls Trip regularly singled Haddish out for praise. Continue reading “FEATURE: ‘Girls Trip’ Star Tiffany Haddish’s Remarkable Rise”

Tyra Banks to Lecture at Stanford University Business School Next May

Tyra Banks (Photo courtesy of E! Online)

article via thegrio.com

Next May, entrepreneur, television producer and former supermodel Tyra Banks will be teaching students at Stanford University how to grow their brand and manage their own businesses.  Banks will be a guest lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and she will co-teach 25 MBA students in the course about the ups and downs of the business world, which will require students to present their brands across platforms including YouTube, Facebook Live, and local television.

Banks told the Wall Street Journal that she expects her students to work hard, saying, “If I see somebody not paying attention, I’m gonna call on them.”

Source: Tyra Banks becomes a professor at Stanford University | theGrio

Issa Rae’s ‘Insecure’ Series to Debut on HBO October 9

Issa Rae, star of the HBO series “Insecure,” during the 2016 Television Critics Assn. Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton. (Chris Pizzello / Invision)

article by Greg Braxton via latimes.com

For years HBO has been criticized for its pattern of featuring shows spotlighting the stories of white women while ignoring the creative voices of women of color. While “Sex and the City,” “Girls” and “Veep” have been solid hits, they have also been blasted for sidelining ethnic characters. “Girls,” created by and starring Lena Dunham, has particularly come under fire for its focus on young white characters even though it is set in New York City.

Starting Oct. 9, the premium network will enter more diverse territory, courtesy of Issa Rae, a former YouTube sensation who is starring in and executive-producing “Insecure.”

The half-hour series explores the friendship between two African American women who deal with their sometimes stormy relationship while also grappling with conflicts inside and outside black culture. Much of the humor has a raw flavor, and does not hold back on sexually frank situations and dialogue.

For full article, go to: Issa Rae takes HBO from white ‘Girls’ to black women with ‘Insecure’ – LA Times

10 Web Series That Showcase the Brilliance and Ingenuity Of Black Women

Comic-Con International 2012 - Day 4
(Source: Chelsea Lauren / Getty)

article by Veronica Hilbring via hellobeautiful.com

Since its inception, YouTube has been a place for content creators to launch new projects. Black women have taken advantage of that platform by launching ambitious music, short films and sitcom projects. From tackling the corporate America to a new age Sex & The City, Black women are creating the best content on the web. Check out our favorite women of YouTube and their amazing shows.

Reagan Gomez-Preston – “Surviving” 

Reagan Gomez-Preston isn’t an actress waiting on her next role, she’s been creating her own lane by crowd funding her own web series.

Written and directed by Gomez, “Surviving” follows Shayla, a doctor as her hospital is overrun with a mysterious virus. Shayla doesn’t believe the virus is more than the flu but she it isn’t until after she comes face to face with the virus’ effects that she realizes that the world may be on the brink of a catastrophe. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead,” you’re going to love “Surviving.”

Kim Williams – “Unwritten Rules”

If you’ve ever been the only Black woman at your job, then you’ll definitely relate to Racey.

Based on the book, “Unwritten Rules: The Diary of a Nigger, Negro, Colored, Black, African American Woman” by creator Kim Williams, this show gives you a hilarious look at life in corporate America. From dealing with her racist boss to meddling coworkers, “Unwritten Rules” is the perfect anecdote after a long day at work. Continue reading “10 Web Series That Showcase the Brilliance and Ingenuity Of Black Women”

HBO Orders Comedy Pilot From “The Nightly Show” Host Larry Wilmore & Issa Rae

Larry Wilmore and Issa Rae
Larry Wilmore and Issa Rae

HBO has greenlight a pilot from “The Nightly Show” host Larry Wilmore and YouTube star Issa RaeVariety has confirmed.

“Insecure,” starring Rae, is a half-hour comedy about the awkward experiences and racy tribulations of a modern-day African-American.

The project was previously in development at HBO back in 2013, before Wilmore landed “The Nightly Show” gig with Comedy Central.

Wilmore and Rae wrote the pilot. Wilmore is set to serve as executive producer, with Rae co-executive producing.

Rae has garnered over 180,000 subscribers and 20 million views on YouTube with the success of her award-winning hit Web series “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.”

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

20 Year-Old YouTube Sensation Marques Brownlee Known as “Best Technology Reviewer On The Planet”

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YouTube Tech Reviewer Marques Brownlee (YouTube / MKBHD)

Marques Brownlee is just 20 years old, but there’s arguably no one better on the internet when it comes to explaining new technologies to the average consumer. Even former Google VP Vic Gundotra called him “the best technology reviewer on the planet right now.”

YouTubers have taken notice of the young man: Brownlee’s YouTube channel “MKBHD” has more than 1.5 million subscribers and nearly 130 million total views on his 640-plus videos.

Still, he’s no overnight success: Brownlee has been working tirelessly for more than five years, honing his craft by constantly producing and self-critiquing his videos to make the next ones easier to both make and watch.

But despite all of the work involved, “MKBHD” is, was, and will always be a solo effort.

“When I first started making the videos, I didn’t tell anyone about it,” he said in an interview with Business Insider. “Not [my family], not anyone. But after a while it was something that was pretty obvious, since I was making a whole bunch of videos … I just didn’t necessarily feel like telling people about what I was researching.”

Brownlee, a senior at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, said he always had a love for technology. His dad works in technology — information systems and programming, specifically — but Brownlee’s interests were more centered on consumer electronics, starting with computers and some of the old camcorders his parents had around. He said his first computer was a Dell desktop with a “big old 15-inch CRT monitor.”

“It was kind of a background hobby; I didn’t have a reason to tell anyone when I first started making the videos,” he said.

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From one of Brownlee’s first YouTube videos. (YouTube / MKBHD)

When he entered high school, Brownlee said, he wanted to buy a laptop for school, so he researched various computers and watched tutorials on “how to do cool tricks and customizations.” And simply by watching others’ tutorials, Brownlee felt encouraged to make some tutorials of his own with some simple screencasting software.

Still, it would take a while to build an audience.

“It was super slow. The first few videos, there were no comments and no views,” he told BI. “But eventually, once someone would comment on the video, they asked about other things I could share.”

Brownlee started to gain a small following by answering users’ questions with his own handmade videos. By the time he reached his 100th video, he had only 78 subscribers. But Brownlee’s operation was not what it is today, and still very much a work in progress.

“Back then, it was all one take,” he said. “So when I’d make a video, I’d open the software, press record, talk two or three minutes to explain whatever I needed to explain, and I’d just stop and upload it to YouTube. That was it.

“I could make multiple videos in a day, but now, the videos are much more elaborate.”

Brownlee currently produces several different types of videos. He’s got his reviews, explainers, and impressions, but he’ll also throw in some special features and “advanced projects.” But with every video, a great deal of research is involved before Brownlee ever starts filming.

Continue reading “20 Year-Old YouTube Sensation Marques Brownlee Known as “Best Technology Reviewer On The Planet””

Issa Rae’s Color Creative Initiative Supports Minority Writers

IssaRaeIt might seem like she has the Midas touch, but Issa Rae knows it’s not always that easy to make magic happen and become a success, so she’s making sure to help others who are following in her path.

“I get irritated when others are in a position where they can help others and they don’t pay it forward,” Issa told Sister 2 Sister. “I think that’s the most important part.”

The The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl creator is putting actions behind those words with Color Creative, an initiative that gives “great writers of color a platform and an audience.”

First, the brainchild of Jahmela Biggs, is one of the projects Issa is supporting. It’s a Webseries about falling in love.

“I really, really liked it. It has ‘90s sensibilities in the way that I enjoyed Love Jones so much and it reminded me a lot of it,” the Exhale co-host said.  The third episode of the Web series premieres Wednesday on Issa’s YouTube channel.

In addition to creating and supporting Webseries and co-hosting Exhale on Aspire, Issa said she’s also working on a book, a collection of essays. As if that’s not enough, she’s still in the process of producing a series for HBO.

It may seem like Issa mapped an uncharted road to success intentionally, by launching the Awkward Black Girl series years ago, but she said her rise to the top was sort of unexpected.

“I wish it was part of my master plan. I wish I was that smart,” she said. “I’m just taking it in stride. I was very surprised at how fast it did take off. You just don’t expect that magnitude. I never expected to have all these opportunities continue and that’s what I’m most appreciative for,” she said, thanking her fans.

“I have a ridiculously supportive viewership and fan base. They’re so dedicated to our success and I love that,” she said.

article by Tracy Scott via s2smagazine.com

‘Ask A Slave’ Web Series Creator Azie Mira Dungey Uses Satire To Educate the Ignorant About Slavery

ask a slave

Playing the role of a slave woman at one of the country’s top-tourist destinations, actress and comedian Azie Mira Dungey learned first hand how ignorant many Americans are about the institution of slavery.  For two years, Dungey worked part-time at George Washington‘s Mount Vernon mansion in Mount Vernon, Va., often portraying one of the slave women who worked inside of Washington’s home. The role required her to read countless books on the plantation’s history over a two month period before she started the job.

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Once she stepped into character, Dungey realized that she was more than just a recent New York University graduate milling around in a short-term gig until Hollywood called; instead, Dungey believed that she was something of a griot of Black history and took her role very seriously.

And her job wasn’t easy. Often, Dungey has had to answer challenging questions from mostly White tourists — all while staying in character.

During an exclusive interview with NewsOne, Dungey recalled the time someone asked, “What’s your favorite part of the plantation?” (Her answer: “My bed”) Then there was the guy who asked, “How did you get to be the house maid for such a distinguished Founding Father? Did you see the advertisement in the newspaper?”

(Her answer: “Did I read the advertisement in the newspaper? Why yes. It said, ‘Wanted: One housemaid. No pay, preferably mulatto, saucy with breeding hips. Must work 18 hours a day. No holidays. But, you get to wear a pretty dress. And, if you’re lucky, you might to get carry some famous White man’s bastard child.’ So, you better believe I read that, ran over and said, ‘sign me up.’” ).

But not all of the obtuse questions came from White people.

After speaking to an older Black man about a runaway slave who attempted to flee Washington’s plantation, the man seemed shocked at the slave’s attempt at freedom. “He was like, ‘Wait a minute, why did he want to run away?’” Dungey recalls the man asking. “‘I thought that George Washington was a good slave owner.’”

“I just looked at him, like, Are you serious?… You can be the nicest in the world but people don’t want to be your slave. And the man was like, ‘Yeah, that’s true.’”

As aforementioned, though, as comical as some of the questions were, Dungey never broke character. Dungey was committed to ensuring that she conveyed the reality in which her character lived. In her role, Dungey realized that she may be one of the few people from whom they can get some sense of how Blacks lived during a very repressive period in American history.

“History is our narrative,” she said. “It shapes what we think of ourselves and our society. How it is controlled, and whose stories get told (or not told) has a strong effect on culture, and even on public policy. Black history is not a separate history or a less important one. Misconceptions about Black history and the modern Black experience is really dividing us politically and socially. If we don’t understand racism and where it comes from, how can we end it? How can we weed it out? We have to be critical of these things to make true progress.”

She left that job late last year and has since moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, but the two-year experience motivated her to turn the hilarity of the tourists’ ignorance into the YouTube web series “Ask A Slave.” As “Lizzie Mae,” Dungey sits in front of a TV and answers viewers’ questions about slavery and George Washington.

All of the questions are ones tourists actually asked while she was working at Mount Vernon.

Watch Episode 1 of “Ask A Slave” here:

Since going live with two videos Sept. 1, the first episode has garnered more than 301,100 views, while the second episode has more than 119,000 views. It’s not a bad start at all, especially considering that Dungey raised the funds for production herself.

Watch Episode 2 of “Ask A Slave” here:

Back in April, she raised $3,000 through the crowdsourcing site GoFundMe to shoot six episodes, which will be published on YouTube each Sunday. The series was directed by Jordan Black, creator of the improvised comedy web series “The Black Version.”  The first two episodes have gotten positive reviews from JezebelMadameNoire, as well as other sites, with Gawker’s Neetzan Zimmerman calling it “the best web series since “Drunk History.”

Continue reading “‘Ask A Slave’ Web Series Creator Azie Mira Dungey Uses Satire To Educate the Ignorant About Slavery”

Rihanna Passes Justin Bieber As YouTube’s Most Viewed Artist

rihanna justin bieber youtube
Rihanna & Justin Bieber

Justin Beiber used to be the king of YouTube, but a new queen has taken over. Rihanna recently passed Bieber in total video views, with 3.784 billion views across her 77 videos, outclassing Biebers 79 clips.

Those numbers are from the singers’ respective official VEVO pages on YouTube, Billboard notes. Rihanna also edges out Bieber in YouTube subscribers (8.73 million to 3.7 million) and Facebook likes (72.3 million to 54.3 million).

Where Bieber continues to reign supreme, however, is Twitter. The teen idol has over 40 million followers, putting him ahead of even Lady Gaga, who was in the lead on the social networking platform for some time.

What can account for Rihanna’s global dominance? For one, the singer appeals to a wider demographic of listeners, including urban audiences and an older fan base than Bieber has been able to tap into. Bieber’s latest efforts, particularly 2012’s “Believe,” see the 19-year-old doing his best to acquire older fans without alienating his teen and young adult base, but the jury’s still out on just how successful these efforts have been.

Continue reading “Rihanna Passes Justin Bieber As YouTube’s Most Viewed Artist”

Y.N. Rich Kids New Single ‘Khaki Pants,’ Is This Summer’s ‘Hot Cheetos & Takis’ (VIDEO)

From the group that brought you last summer’s hit “Hot Cheetos & Takis” comes another song on a subject hip-hop has heretofore seldom considered: school uniform swag.  The song, “Khaki Pants,” which dropped earlier this month, is an ode to school uniform bottom wear, and it comes complete with its own accompanying dance. According to the video, the song, presented by Y.N.Rich Kids, is performed by the NSJ crew (although, as Grantland points out, it’s unclear what the relationship between the two groups is).

Screen Shot 2013-06-01 at 4.47.45 PM“Walking through the school in my khaki pants, when they see how I be fresh, they do the khaki dance,” raps one member the group. “Yeah, we got ‘Hot Cheetos & Taki’ fans, but after this, you gon’ wanna do the khaki dance,” raps another member.

The video, which has more than 134,240 views on YouTube as of this writing follows last summer’s release of Y.N. Rich Kids’ video “Hot Cheetos & Takis,” which has over 6 million views on YouTube. The young group is a product of the North Community YMCA’s Beats and Rhymes program in Minneapolis.  The program is “designed to provide challenging, positive youth and career development opportunities for low income, culturally-diverse youth,” according to its website.

original article by Rebecca Klein via huffingtonpost.com; additions and updates by Lori Lakin Hutcherson