Entertainment

J.Lo’s ‘Shades Of Blue’ Has Us All Shades Of Worked Up And We’re Here For It

Shades Of Blue / NBC / @kinga208 / Twitter

We all know that Jennifer Lopez is the queen of the entertainment industry. She dances, sings, acts and is the host of her own reality competition show. She is also a producer with her own production company. Her production company, Nuyorican Productions, is best known for producing the show, “The Fosters,” and now “Shades of Blue.”

“Shades of Blue” wrapped up in its third and final season just days ago and we were not ready to see how crooked cop, Harlee Santos, walked out of this mess. Watch out because there are some spoilers ahead.

“Shades of Blue” isn’t a unique police drama but it’s definitely binge-worthy.

CREDIT: @kinga208 / Twitter

There isn’t some spectacular plot twist, where Harlee Santos has a twin sister or anything. It’s not a telenovela, after all. However, it is about your typical shady NYC cop drama with sh*t going down. Basically, this group bends the laws to serve “the greater community,” which is obviously illegal.

Jennifer Lopez never planned to play the star on the show she produced.

CREDIT: NBC

The story goes that when Lopez went to pitch the concept to NBC executives, they asked her why she wouldn’t play the lead role of Harlee Santos. Lopez confessed that she didn’t really think of it, but when she agreed to do it, NBC agreed to air it.

The show ran from January 2016 to June 2018.

CREDIT: @dreadematteo / Twitter

She had a good run, and it plays like a watered down telenovela, with Harlee Santos as the bad cop turned FBI informant. Obviously she also had to deal with her own financial and family problems.

The show is even donating proceeds from their auction to Hurricane Maria victims who are still recovering.

CREDIT: @nbcshadesofblue / Twitter
Talk about a good use of show props and costumes. It’s nice to know that she is able to do some good when her projects come to an end.

Santos is a single mother to her daughter, Cristina.

CREDIT: @kinga208 / Twitter

Santos takes the payouts from neighborhood businesses who pay for extra police protection to help send Cristina to private Catholic school. Cristina is a brilliant cello player, who sees Santos’s police unit as family, though she never knew her father.

Sarah Jeffrey, who plays Cristina, was casted in a “Charmed” reboot.

CREDIT: @justjaredjr / Twitter

Born and raised in Canada, Jeffery is Mexican-Italian. We are so stoked that the charmed three is going to get the Latina spice of life.

When Cristina’s father, Miguel, is released from prison after Santos set him up for murder, things gets messy.

CREDIT: NBC

Oh, and Miguel used to abuse Santos. He was an abusive, calculating, sadistic man, and he immediately starts to spy on Cristina and Santos within hours of his release. He even manipulated Cristina into turning against her mother and going away with him for a night.

When Miguel breaks into Santos’s apartment to rape her at gunpoint, Santos casually snaps his neck.

CREDIT: NBC

It might give you some “Enough” flashbacks and that would be a fair critique. However, setting up your ex for murder and then murdering him and covering it up has to catch up with you at some point.

FBI agent Robert Stahl is the officer who’s assigned to handle Santos as an informant.

CREDIT: NBC

He threatened to haul her off to prison and ruin Cristina’s life if she didn’t help. Oh, and he ends up developing a very sick obsession with Santos. She knows because she set up a camera in his bedroom and watched him pay a sex worker to dress and act like her.

Agent Stahl ends up stalking Santos before she kills him.

CREDIT: @nbcshadesofblue / Twitter

I mean, to be fair, he showed up in her apartment with a gun, all bitter that Santos heisted millions of dollars from the DEA, killed her ex-boyfriend and got away with it. But Cristina brought her mom a gun in her back pocket and she was able to use it to shoot Stahl half a dozen times in the chest.

The real star relationship in the series is the one Santos has with her boss, Woz.

CREDIT: @EW / Twitter

Lieutenant “Woz” Wozniak was the detective who initially put Miguel away for life, knowing that Santos planted a murder weapon with Miguel. The two met as dirty cops and their loyalty grew from there. Both tried to protect the other when working as informants for the FBI, and their father-daughter relationship is fiery AF.

Initially, Santos was asked to take down Woz, and it screwed with her identity as a loyalist.

CREDIT: @kinga208 / Twitter
Now, she was a rat by coercion. She was forced to wear a wire to help take down the man who Cristina calls “Uncle Woz.” Rough.

The show is based on a novel by Michael Rudolph, “Shades of Blue: 30 Years of (Un)ethical Policing.”

CREDIT: @Variety / Twitter

From the very first episode, we could see everything wrong with Woz’s unit. They “protect their own” and that doesn’t mean the community. When a new detective shot an unarmed black man, Santos immediately covered it up, making it look like the man shot at the detective. That is one very light shade of blue.

Ray Liotta, who plays Woz, said that towards the end of the series, J.Lo started showing up late to the set.

CREDIT: @dreadematteo / Twitter

He said that working with her was fantastic and always knew all her lines (and his), but that towards the end, she showed up late a couple times, setting the whole production back.

If you Google “Shades of Blue Jennifer Lopez” the next word is “hair.”

CREDIT: @TVLine / Twitter

People have been obsessing over her hair in this show for the last three years. FBI Agent Stahl even paid a sex worker to wear a wig that looked like her own hair. That hair is everything.

In the series finale, Santos becomes hell bent to come clean.

CREDIT: @THR / Twitter

Santos arranges for Cristina to move in with Woz and his wife Linda while Santos serves time in prison. Santos comes clean about all the shady police work she’s seen in the NYPD, hoping to clean up the force as her one final act as a police officer.

The show received mixed reviews during its three-season run.

CREDIT: @likjlover / Twitter

Metacritic has it scored at 58/100 based on 28 critics and Rotten Tomatoes rates it as 56 percent. Slate reviewer Willa Paskin was a major critic with one compliment: that Lopez’s performance was “hugely appealing” and “the show’s one reliable pleasure.”

J.Lo put her heart into the show, and was by far the crown jewel of the whole production.

CREDIT: @Jlo / Twitter

The Unit’s catchphrase: “Home safe. Safe Tomorrow.” There are no more tomorrows for “Shades of Blue,” but thankfully there are many more for the most treasured content of all: Jennifer Lopez.


READ: 21 Hairstyles J.Lo Has Rocked Since The ’90s

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This Short Film Centers Around A Black Father Doing His Daughter’s Hair

Entertainment

This Short Film Centers Around A Black Father Doing His Daughter’s Hair

When it comes to grooming a daughter’s hair, Black fathers haven’t been shy about expressing the difficulties that come along with the morning ritual. And Afro-Latino fathers are no exception. In Latinx communities with large Afro-Latino populations, having “good hair” is a label we all have to contend with. Young girls have a lot of pressure put on them to look put-together so, by extension, our families look put together. 

We all have memories of our mothers making sure our baby-bangs were smoothed down and our outfits were washed and pressed to perfection. 

Being well-groomed is so important to Afro-Latinos who face societal pressure to look perfect in order to combat bias.

Kickstarter

So, when fathers occasionally have to groom their children when their mother is unavailable, the pressure, needless to say, is on. We’ve all seen the genre of viral videos where fathers struggle to part, brush, braid and secure their daughters’ hair–obviously not previously aware of all the labor that goes into daily hair upkeep. Even celebrities have gotten in on the trend with men like Alexis Ohanian, husband to Serena Williams, joining “Natural Hair” groups on Facebook to learn more about their children’s rizos

Writer/director Matthew Cherry wanted to explore the topic of Black fathers doing their daughters hair, so he decided to make an animated short about it.

Kickstarter

According to Cherry, the short, titled “Hair Love” is about a Black father (who has locs himself) who does his daughter’s hair for the first time. “You know how guys are, a lot of times we’re hard-headed and we think we can figure everything out by ourselves without asking for help,” said Cherry during an interview. “[The father in the short] thinks it’s going to be an easy task but he soon finds out her hair has a mind of its own”. 

The father isn’t the only one who learns a lesson in self-confidence in the course of the film, though. In the end, the young girl also “comes into a level of self-confidence in the process” of her father learning how to do her hair. So, in other words, the entire film is an ode to self-love, family, and the priceless experience of bonding.

To finance “Hair Love”, Cherry created a Kickstarter campaign with the initial goal of raising $75,000. The campaign quickly caught the internet’s attention and became a viral phenomenon thanks to celebrity champions like Issa Rae and Jordan Peele. The $75,000 goal was quickly surpassed. All in all, the campaign raked in a total of $280,000–smashing Kickstarter’s short-film financing records. 

Cherry recruited Black animators like “Proud Family”‘s Bruce W. Smith and “WALL-E”‘s Everett Downing Jr. to help him make his dreams a reality.

As for Cherry, he’s candid about the reason he decided to explore the topic of Black hair and Black fathers: because mainstream media’s representation has left much to be desired. According to Cherry, not only did he want to shine a light on the labor of love that doing Black hair requires, but he wanted to highlight the relationships between Black fathers and their daughters. 

“For me, I just think it was really important to shine a light on Black fathers doing domestic things with their kids because mainstream media would lead you to believe that Black fathers aren’t a part of their kids’ lives”, Cherry said. “And there have been a lot of recent surveys that actually show otherwise–that show that Black fathers are just as involved in their kids’ lives as any other racial group”.

Now, “Hair Love” will be played ahead of “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in theaters nationwide

Kickstarter

The nationwide release will provide a massive platform for an under-told story. Not to mention, it will provide Black children with their own images reflected back to them–something many of them haven’t seen before. Not to mention, the security of a theatrical release has made “Hair Love” officially eligible for an Academy Award nomination. 

As for Cherry, he’s over-the-moon about the opportunity for his project to be seen by millions of people. “To see this project go from a Kickstarter campaign to the big screen is truly a dream come true,” he said in a press statement. “I couldn’t be more excited for “Hair Love” to be playing with “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in front of a wide audience and for the world to see our touching story about a Black father trying to figure out how to do his daughter’s hair for the very first time.”

We’ll admit: we didn’t have plans to see “Angry Birds 2” in theaters before we knew about this. But now, you might just see us on opening night, standing in line for the movie right next to our fathers! Catch “Hair Love” before  “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in theaters on August 14th.

Video: This Is How People Reacted When They Heard A White Mom Tell Her Adopted Latina Daughter To Speak English

Culture

Video: This Is How People Reacted When They Heard A White Mom Tell Her Adopted Latina Daughter To Speak English

It seems like every other day there’s a new viral video of an old Trump supporter or a young white bro telling a Latinx person in the US to stop speaking Spanish. Recently, two elder women angrily ordered a Puerto Rican manager of a Central Florida Burger King to go back to Mexico when they overheard him speaking Spanish in a private conversation, while two Mexican-American women were detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection just for speaking Spanish at a Montana supermarket. The xenophobic and racist attacks, both verbal and physical, have made many feel like it’s dangerous to speak their own tongue or like an outcast for communicating to their parents or grandparents in the only language they know.

The English-only movement has further divided a country, with those ignited by the bigotry of the Trump administration unfoundedly threatened by just the sound of a person of color speaking another tongue and others who understand there is no official language in the US supporting the linguistic freedom and multiculturalism that allegedly makes the nation exceptional. 

On an episode of What Would You Do?, host John Quiñones confronts the schismatic topic. 

During the nearly 9-minute-long segment of the ABC series, a white mother tells her adopted Latina daughter to only speak Spanish and instructs her to order a hamburger instead of a traditional Latin American dish. Using hidden cameras to record the very common, but in this case staged, scenario, viewers get a peak of how ordinary people behave when they witness dilemmas that either compel them to intervene or mind their own business.

During the segment, Michele, the mother, and Isabella, the daughter, are grabbing a bite at a diner in Orangeburg, New York. The child asks the Latina waitress for arroz con leche, to which her mother responds, “Isabella, stop speaking Spanish. You’re American. That is not your language. What is wrong with you?” The first person to overhear, an elder white teacher, engages with the duo, telling Michele she doesn’t think she’s going about the situation “in the right way.” 

“She should be proud of her Spanish language, not to be made to feel like she’s doing something wrong,” she tells the mother. Later, she even advises the mom to learn Spanish and tells the young girl that Spanish is a beautiful language.

When Quiñones, himself a Texas-born Mexican-American, reveals his crew and asks why the woman intervened, she responded, “When it comes to children, I go from a mouse to a lion. I just don’t like anybody taking advantage of a child.”

In another scene, Isabela asks for arroz con pollo. Michele, visibly upset, scolds the girl. “Isabella, in English,” she demands. “I brought you here to give you a better life, and I want you to speak American.

This time, another teacher in a nearby table overhears and decides to offer Michele a quick lesson — in patience.

ABC

When Michele stresses that she just wants her daughter to speak English because they’re in the US, the teacher sympathizes with her. “I know. I’m a teacher, and I get it. But you’re not going to get anywhere demanding it, and you can’t get frustrated by it.”

She then turns to the girl and attempts to rationalize her mother’s actions. When Isabela asks the woman “do you think it’s wrong to speak Spanish,” she replies, “Not to mommy, because mommy doesn’t understand that. It’s good manners if you are with other people that don’t speak it, to speak English.”

When Quiñones pops out and confronts the patron, he asks her why she didn’t flat-out tell the mother she was wrong. The woman, who noted that Michele would have had better results honoring rather than attacking her daughter’s native tongue, said she was “getting very frustrated” and “was thinking maybe it was very bad,” but doesn’t know why she didn’t challenge Michele more on it.

In the next case, it’s a Puerto Rican diner who overhears the conversation. Not immediately making any comment, when Michele steps away, Isabela engages with the patron, who informs her she, too, speaks Spanish. “Yo hablo español,” she says, before asking if the young girl likes living in the US. “That’s good that somebody loving adopted you,” she says.

When Michele returned, she asks the woman if she agrees that her daughter should be speaking English instead of Spanish, to which she responds yes. At that moment, her partner, a white man, appears puzzled and chimes in: “You speak Spanish,” he tells his girlfriend. “I don’t make you speak English.” He then reacts to Michele, saying, “She [his girlfriend] speaks Spanish whenever she wants, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

When Quiñones comes out, he asks why the couple reacted the way they did. The boyfriend didn’t agree with the mother, explaining, “that’s who she is. That’s part of her identity.” As for the girlfriend, who was more sympathetic to the mom, she disclosed the discrimination she and her family experienced as Latinas in their predominately white neighborhood speaking Spanish and hoped the girl wouldn’t share her same fate. “I was a little annoyed in a way,” she said, “… but I’ve dealt with that.” She continued: “my mother spoke no English, and I had many fights when I was a teenager, people who would make fun a lot of times.”

Finally, in the last performance, it’s a white woman who is married to a Greek immigrant who is shaken by the confrontation. Angry by the conversation she overhears, she checks in on Isabela the moment her mom steps away, asking the girl if she wants her to call someone for her own safety and soon after informing a manager of the situation and urging them to phone officials who could help the girl.

When the mother returns, the woman confronts her. 

ABC

“We’re foreigners, so I don’t really understand what you’re talking about.” After Michele responds, “I just want her to be more American,” the woman questions, “and just forget about where she came from?” She continued: “We’re from Greece. We would never forget where we come from.”

Michele suggests that it’s different because her daughter is from Mexico, to which the woman, furious, says, “so you guys don’t accept Mexicans in your family?”

She added: “This is a melting pot of thousands of different people. My husband is Greek and my kids will speak Greek.”

Quiñones, who appears in the midst of the argument, informs the patron that she is on a TV show. The woman, who says she’s glad it’s fake because she was about to punch Michele, reaffirms that the US is a country where everyone is supposed to be welcomed and could proudly speak with their language. 

Meeting the actress who played Isabela, the woman tells her, “You would have been coming home with me tonight, and you would have been speaking English, Spanish, and Greek.”

Watch the entire segment below! 

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