Last Friday, I interviewed the amazing director, screenwriter, and acting coach Kimberly Jentzen. She has written and directed projects such as Reign (2012),#Girl Crush (2015), and Of Earth and Sky (1996). We discussed subjects from her philosophy as a director and acting coach to her being a poet. I hope you enjoy listening to Kimberly Jentzen’s interview. She is an engaging intelligent and creative being. In a week or two I will being posting a link to a crowdsourcing website where she is raising funds for her next awesome project so please look out for that:
The Senegalese film Xala directed by the father of African Cinema Ousumane Sembene centers around a government official named El Hadji who marries a third wife after the French Colonial government officials leave Senegal. Every one of El Hadji’s wives represent a woman in Post-Colonial Senegal. Xala critiques both colonialism and polygamy.
The first wife represents the traditional woman who does whatever her husband orders and wears conservative African garb. The second wife represents the westernized woman who buys into consumer culture. The third wife is the symbol for the objectified women who are literally silenced. She does not speak a word for the entire film. El Hadji’s third wife is treated like a sex object. She is sold to him by her mother in exchange for a car. The mother I believe has internalized sexism.
El Hadji’s daughter Rama represents the liberated educated African young woman. She even goes to college.Throughout Xala everybody speaks French expect for Rama who speaks the native Wolof language. Rama rejects her father’s patriarchal role of dominance over his daughters and wives. She refuses to go to the third wife’s marriage because she believes polygamy is wrong. Rama stands up for her mother who’s the first wife by telling El Hadji that her mother should divorce him. El Hadji slaps his daughter, but that does not stop her from being a symbol for a liberated mix of the West and Africa.
I recommended Xala to my followers who are interested in dramas that critique colonialism, sexism, polygamy and consumer culture. The great thing about this African drama is that the film reveals how polygamy creates problems for both men and women. Please check out African Cinema.
” You know who there are tall women who don’t mind dating shorter guys? I don’t mind you’re dumb and Don, I mean that.” – Sloan Sabbith
Note: I think that Sloan Sabbith is one of my favorite feminist characters on The Newsroom here are the reasons why:
Sloan Sabbith is one of the smartest people at ACN with a extremely high IQ and two PhDs in economics from Duke University.
Sloan still teaches at Columbia University and goes to Economic conferences.
Sloan Sabbith never uses her looks to get ahead. Mac McHale assigns Sloan as economic advisor on New Night because she is both beautiful and intelligent.
Sloan always stands up for what’s right morally. She tells her viewers if a stock is immoral even if its doing extremely well in the market.
Even Mac Mackenzie whose extremely intelligent has a hard time understanding stocks. Sloan Sabbith must explain economic issues to her.
Sloan Sabbith has gone through the most change in the series. She has gone from just anchoring a small afternoon Economic show to subbing for Elliot who runs the 10 o’clock news and being part of panels at News Night that are not just about Economics.
Sloan Sabbith is both socially awakard and funny.
Will McAvoy and Sloan Sabbith are like siblings. She always supports Will and tells him when he does something stupid.
Sloan Sabbith is loyal to everybody on the News Night team.
When Sloan Sabbith and Don Keefer finally start dating she doesn’t let him take her stock tips so they won’t be white collar criminals. Also, like the quote above she is the smartest person in the relationship.
Sloan Sabbith wears the pants in her relationship with Don Keefer in many ways.
Sloan Sabbith helped save ACN from a hostile takeover from Reese Lancing’s half siblings.
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Shonda Rhimes one of the”biggest” female Showrunner in the United States. Rhimes has created Grey’s Anatomy(2005-), Private Practice (2007-2013), Scandal (2012-), and How To Get Away With Murder (2014-). As you can see there are quite a lot of crossovers in her different television programs. All of Shonda Rhimes shows feature women in the main cast. Olivia Pope, an African American woman, plays the main character in Scandal.
I have watched most of Rhimes’ shows. Though in full disclosure, I have only watched two episodes of How To Get Away With Murder. I have noticed certain similarities between the way Rhimes’ shows tell their stories. I think we can all agree Shonda Rhimes creates feminist television programs. Here below is a list of characteristics shared by all of Rhimes’ work:
All the shows featured one woman who rocks at her job. She is usually naturally good at what she does. Her genius is rooted in experience as well as education. In Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy, that one woman (Meredith and Addison) just started her job as a surgeon in a new hospital or private practice. Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating are established and in fact the boss in the respective firms. Both African American woman are lawyers known to be tough. The television shows are for the most part told from the genius woman’s point of view.
All of Rhimes’ television shows feature a team of doctors, lawyers, or fixers. The team works well together and team members are extremely loyal to one another. They play outside the lines of their profession to help their patients or clients. At one point or another the team gets into trouble because they operate in the grey like how in Private Practice the doctors almost lose Oceanside Wellness. Or in Grey’s Anatomy the surgeons were one hair away from being sold to a company that operates hospital like a factory. The surgeons in Seattle Grace Mercy West do innovative surgeries and once in a while break laws to save their patients.
Warning: This is a Critical Note: All the television programs pretend that homophobia, sexism and racism only exists in the past or are limited to super bigoted people. In Scandal the only time racism is ever really discussed is when a cop shoots an African American boy. Olivia Pope finds out that one bigoted white cop put a gun in the boy’s hand after shooting him because he hated all the people in his district. In Grey’s Anatomy, the one time sexism gets expressed by any of the surgeons is in a flashback with Dr.Ellis Grey during the 1960’s.