by TRN Staff Writer
There’s a new superhero in town and he’s Black… Beyonce’s “Lemonde” inspires a college course on Black feminism and Damon Gupton is on the case as the newest cast member of “Criminal Minds”. Here’s this week’s Black Hollywood Wrap Up.
Harlem Hero Netflix’s latest superhero’s power is strength and Mike Cotley as “Luke Cage” apparently is strong enough to break the internet. So many fans tried to binge watch the 13-episode show over the premier weekend that Netflix went down for a few hours on Sunday. Frustrated fans turned to Twitter to vent, but before their tweets could go viral, Netflix got the stream and up and running again. Cotley stars as the reluctant hero whose bullet-proof skin makes him the right man to get rid of some of the crime in Harlem. Unlike many of Marvel’s heroes, Cage doesn’t don a mask or cape and walks around in broad daylight to take down his foes. The show pays homage to Blaxploitation films from back in the day and captures the feel of the Black experience without relying on stereotypes—except for the tropes we’re used to seeing in superhero stories like the death of a mentor, the tough as nails cop out for justice and the crooked cop. If Cotley is the star of Netflix’s newest Marvel series, then Harlem is easily the co-star bringing uptown life around 119th Street and Lenox Avenue to cinematic realism with the shops, vendors and music. Alfre Woodard co-stars as “Moriah Dillard”–a councilwoman who is so obsessed with keeping the culture and history of Harlem alive, she’s willing to cross any line(even murder) to do it. The series is eerily relevant with themes of social justice and Blacks vs. police. And the music is as much a hero as Cage and Harlem with a soundtrack that spans from old R&B to Wu Tang Clan, Faith Evans and Siddiq. The official series soundtrack “Bulletproof Love” is available on iTunes and other streaming services.
Lessons from “Lemonade” A Texas university is serving up a healthy dose of feminism “Lemonade” style. An English class at the University of Texas at San Antonio is looking at Beyonce’s impact on Black feminism by studying her “Lemonade” album. The class is called “Black Women,Beyonce & Popular Culture” and according to the university’s syllabus will ““examine the sociocultural issues that are most prominent in Black womanhood through Black feminist theory, literature, music and film. Course creator Dr. Kinitra Brooks says the students who enrolled in the class are from all different types of backgrounds and include Black, Caribbean, White, Hispanic and South Asian women as well as men. Brooks says “the course will be new, fun and exciting…but I expect my students to come in hungry for knowledge and open to new theories about race and gender in popular culture.”
Actor Damon Gupton Joins “Criminal Minds” Since firing show lead actor Thomas Gibson earlier this year, the CBS highly rated “Criminal Minds” fate has been on the minds of fans left to wonder how their favorite show would handle the shake up. Well wonder no more. 43-year old Damon Gupton is the newest addition to the 12-year old show. Gupton will play special agent Stephen Walker who will bring his spy-hunting skills to the BAU team. Gupton has had starring roles in “The Deadline”, “Empire” and “ThePlayer” and in feature films “The Last Airbender” and “Whiplash”. Season 12 of “Criminal Minds” airs on CBS, but don’t look for Gupton’s premiere in the series until around episode 8.
For this week’s look at Black Celebrity news, that’s a wrap!