On the promo trail for the Season 3 premiere of Insecure, which hits HBO this Sunday evening, Issa Rae appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
During the interview she talked about how it took her mom a while to watch the show and she even referred to it as porn!
“It’s taking her some getting used to,” said Rae.
“I want to tell her that’s how I got here (laughs). The fourth episode of our second season was a bit racy, and she texted me and said ‘You’re basically making porn. I don’t know if this is HBO doing this or if this is you, but I can’t watch this anymore. I was like ‘Mom, if you don’t like this episode, you definitely shouldn’t watch episode six.
Her mom didn’t but they watched a future episode as family later.
“We watched the second to last episode at their house as a family and she went upstairs. I was genuinely hurt…but just last month she caved and decided to watch the episodes and said it wasn’t too much and she loves it…now she likes the show!”
What is “Atlanta,” exactly? It’s a fair but limiting question.
Fair, because, look, if one week you were watching a show about a couple who might have broken up at a German-culture festival, and then the next week they’re gone and you’re watching a road comedy about an exasperated rapper and his pathologically distractible barber, and the episode after that is a mini horror film built around a different character trapped in the mansion of a kooky human mannequin, the changeups might feel destabilizing. But the question is limiting since so much TV in general right now resembles no TV that’s come before it.
“Atlanta,” whose second season wrapped up on FX on Thursday night, proudly embodies that development. No episode looked or felt the same as the one before it.
[Read our recap of the Season 2 finale of “Atlanta”]
The show has four central characters — Earn; Alfred; Darius; and Earn’s sometimes ex-girlfriend, Van — who veer in and out of friendship, selfhood, personal clarity and, often, the show itself. In a classic television sense, “Atlanta” is about them. But it’s also increasingly about itself: what its makers can do with the medium, yes, and also what’s possible for the twinned comedies of race and status. It knows the assorted bars a half-hour “sitcom” faces and sets out to raise, vault over and demolish them, to prioritize “sit” over “com.” “Atlanta” is like a rapper obsessed with his own brilliance. You want to see if the show can top itself because that self-regard is part of the hook. But loving this show means worrying that it might be devoured by its own genius, that it’s too great to last, that, eventually, conceit will cannibalize concept. This second batch of episodes was more obviously, aggressively ambitious. The show became cinema (one ominous aerial shot of a vegetal forest canopy made me want vinaigrette) and appeared to have on its mind the ideas in “Get Out,” the moods of “Moonlight,” the hypnotic ambiguities of David Lynch. Some of that reach toward movie-ness nudged the show into self-conscious precocity, the equivalent of skipping a grade.
Where would golden-age TV be without drugs? Illicit substances have served shows almost like characters, each with its own circumstances and even personality: heroin in “The Wire,” meth in “Breaking Bad,” marijuana in “Weeds,” bootleg hooch in “Boardwalk Empire.” “Snowfall,” which begins Wednesday on FX, aims to write an origin story for crack cocaine, which spread virally in the 1980s, and to invest viewers in the lives that it changed or ended. Over the first six episodes, though, it doesn’t yet get around to the first goal, and it manages the second only now and then.
Created by John Singleton, along with Eric Amadio and Dave Andron, “Snowfall” sets up a sprawling story. (That’s what drug dramas do; they sprawl.) The first and most compelling part kicks off in June 1983, the camera swooping down on a palm-tree-lined street in South Central Los Angeles, the turf of Mr. Singleton’s 1991 movie, “Boyz N the Hood.” We meet Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a level-headed kid fresh out of a fancy suburban school he attended on scholarship. At school, there was no place for him — he felt like “a mascot” — so he’s working at a convenience store and doing small-time dealing. When chance connects him with Avi Drexler (Alon Moni Aboutboul), an Israeli coke kingpin with gleaming gold-rimmed shades and a necklace, gun and phone to match, Franklin gets a dangerous opportunity to apply his ambition.
Prison looks very rough on Ghost (Omari Hardwick). Injured from his violent encounter with the prison guards at the end of the season premiere, Ghost is now dealing with blood in his urine and a possible broken rib. Gone is the polished and well put together James St. Patrick that we’ve grown accustomed to over the past three seasons of this series. At home, Tasha (Naturi Naughton) is trying to reassure Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.) and Raina (Donshea Hopkins) of their father’s innocence, even though he won’t be home anytime soon. She also warns them to keep their family business to themselves and to NEVER refer to their father as Ghost. Tariq is insolent and rude, and he’s not trying to hear anything that his mother is saying.
Meanwhile, the sexual tension between Keisha (La La Anthony) and Tommy (Joseph Sikora) is building. Disturbed by the fact that Ghost hasn’t been granted bail, Keisha barges into Tommy’s loft to tell him she wants his and Tasha’s hands out of her business. Tommy tells her that he can’t have that, not with all eyes on Ghost and his associates. He assures Keisha that he has her back and that everything will work out in the end. Back in prison, Proctor (Jerry Ferrara) visits Ghost in jail, he tells Ghost that his hands are tied until the prosecution shows their hand, but he also warns his client to suppress his baser self. Meanwhile, at work, Angela (Lela Loren) should be humiliated since her colleagues are discussing her sex life. In a back and forth split screen Proctor convinces Ghost and AUSA John Mak (Sung Kang) convinces Angela that neither of them can take the stand. The timeline and knowledge of their relationship hurts the Feds’ case and the love triangle between Ghost, Angela, and Greg (Andy Bean) would give Ghost a motive. Instead, John decides that he wants to go for Ghost, Tommy, and their entire drug empire.
At Truth, Dre (Rotimi) thinks he has things on lock. He’s also begun running drugs through the club. After receiving a call from Ghost to confirm everything with the business are going smoothly, Dre smugly thinks everything is going to go according to his plan. He might actually be simple. Meanwhile, at the warehouse, Tommy discovers that he’s had some issues with some of his guys. One of them hasn’t picked up his product and word on the street is that he’s looking to get from a different connect. Tommy isn’t having it, and he tells Julio (J.R. Ramirez) to handle it. While they’re chatting, Julio expresses his concern over Ghost’s imprisonment but Tommy brushes it off. However, Julio owes Ghost (though we don’t know why yet) so his loyalty runs deep. Tommy and Julio are going to have problems this season. Back in jail, Ghost is having some trouble keeping himself in check when a fellow prisoner sets his eyes on him. Calmly, Ghost breaks ole boys fingers (or hand) as the prisoner Tony Teresi (William Sadler) looks on. If you recall, the feds are tying tog et Tony to flip in return for a life changing surgery his wife needs. On the outside, Proctor is talking to the press and using the race card to reconstruct Ghost’s narrative. The Feds are pissed and they try to get a gag order, but the judge isn’t having it.
The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced its 2017 lineup short films that will compete in their annual HBO Short Film Competition which awards a grand prize of $10,000 to one filmmaker, and $5,000 to the runners-up, after a panel of HBO executives judge the final entries during the festival. In addition, all finalists will have the opportunity to have their films licensed by HBO for exhibition on HBO, HBO Go, and HBO Now, as the premium cabler continues with their support, celebrating 20 years as an ABFF founding sponsor. The complete list of films selected for the HBO Short Film Competition is as follows:
— “Amelia’s Closet”
Writer and Director: Halima Lucas
Writer and Director: Kenrick Prince
Writer and Director: Nailah Jefferson
— “See You Yesterday”
Writers: Frederica Bailey and Stefon Bristol Director: Stefon Bristol
Presented by Spike Lee, two Brooklyn teenage science prodigies build a time machine to stop one’s brother from being wrongfully killed by the police.
— “We Love Moses”
Writer and Director: Dionne Edwards
All Def Digital and Russell Simmons have partnered with award-winning editor Jason Zeldes to executive produce Zeldes’ documentary feature directorial debut “Romeo Is Bleeding,” which explores the power of spoken word poetry to save and elevate youth, in one of the most violent suburbs of the country. With Donté Clark’s evocative and stirring street poetry serving as a backdrop, “Romeo is Bleeding” captures the community tensions, violence and heartbreak that haunt neighborhoods like Richmond, California across the country (and around the world). As Donté leads a cast of high school students in an effort to mount a fresh adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” the film uses the Bard’s classic to delve deeper into the contemporary socio-economic issues that drive the violence in their city. As the play comes together on the stage, real life begins to parallel the Shakespearean tragedy. Pushed to his limits, Donté must decide if he is capable of being the leader that Richmond’s youth wants and needs him to be.
The Film Collaborative will release the award-winning documentary in select theatres beginning July 28. The announcement was jointly made today by Sanjay Sharma, President and CEO of All Def Digital, and Romeo is Bleeding producer Michael Klein of Circadian Pictures.
“This is a powerful and provocative film that could not be more timely, or timeless. It carries a critical message about the power of the written – and spoken – word to save and transform individuals and communities,” said Simmons. “As funding for the arts, the youth, and community services continues to get slashed, Romeo Is Bleeding and its star show us the importance of the arts in our lives and how one person can make a huge difference in even the most hardened of communities.” Simmons, known widely as the founder of iconic hip hop brands such as Def Jam Records and Phat Farm, also brought spoken word to the forefront of artistic culture through nearly a decade of Def Poetry Jam on HBO. He also received a Tony Award for Brave New Voices, a spoken word inspired play on Broadway.