So I went to Memphis for an event and had the pleasure of meeting Elise Neal! After that I decided to start watching the show she was on, Hollywood Divas, since there aren’t any shows about actresses so I thought it would be a look into the hard work it takes to be in this business. Unless you’ve read my about me section (im sure you haven’t) you wouldn’t know that I am actually an aspiring actress so seeing a show about what I want to do made me really excited! Then I was let down.
I like to try a few episodes before I form an opinion about a show and I got to episode 5 and after I watched it I decided this was something I needed to write about and be honest so here it is. I typed up some notes as I was watching each episode so you can see how my opinion changed from episode to episode.
The show consists of Elise Neal, Lisa Wu, Countess Vaughn, Golden Brooks and Paula Jai Parker as they begin creating a short film that Paula wanted to create to unite black actresses and ultimately “create their own work” since in Hollywood it is tough for black actresses because there aren’t as many roles specifically for them besides the maid or ghetto bff. (true story people)
Again, everything was fine until I got to Episode 5.
Elise Neal had an event for a female dance group she has called, Assorted Flavors, and had Golden Brooks be apart of it after she impressed her with a dance routine she choreographed. After the show Elise thanked everyone who helped her out with the event including Countess Vaughn who helped by introducing a group, but she didn’t thank Golden. Golden didn’t notice and honestly I didn’t either while watching the show but leave it to Lisa Wu to bring it up. WHY? The only person who should have brought it up was Golden and she didn’t even notice or care! Elise then got back on stage to fix her mistake which I thought was very nice. Moving on from that….QUESTION! Why is it that these women in their 30’s and 40’s have instagram drama! According to Lisa, Elise posted a picture of her and Golden with a caption saying “from my event last night with my fave” well O M to the G! Lisa was apparently the definition of offended because they are supposed to be a “unit” and be” working together.” GOODBYE! It’s instagram! There shouldn’t have even been a discussion about it.
In episode 6 the 4th grade conversation about insta continues and is still irrelevant! Considering people already think reality stars like to create drama the last thing Lisa should have brought up is an issue with an instagram picture! Then to continue the nonsense Lisa and Elise had lunch to “clear the air” really? IT WAS A PICTURE ON INSTAGRAM! The best part is Lisa says they need to put the childish stuff behind them…uhhhhhhhh YOU brought it up! THEN to just add fuel to the fire Elise mentions that Golden made a comment about Lisa’s butt saying if she had but injections they went to her head. What was the point of telling her this? and then telling her where Golden usually is during the day so Lisa can go confront her. BTW when Lisa goes to Golden’s dance studio she literally comes walking out of an alley like a creep! You couldn’t just call her and have another “clear the air” lunch like you just had with Elise? No? Borderline stalking was better? Oh okay!
Now that the insta and booty beef if over now onto Paula drama! You can’t decide your husband is the first AD and tell your cast that if you aren’t available to call him if you don’t want women calling your husband! They aren’t after your husband they just want some clear direction on the short film they are participating in! The craziest part of all this is she says that she knows she told them to call him but she takes it back she doesn’t want anyone to call her husband….WHAT! Also, you can’t be the director and actress and then not show up for a meeting.
QUESTION: Why is it a thing for some black women to clap between each word when they’re in an argument? and I won’t say ALL because I happen to be a black woman (fun fact for ya) and I don’t do that! and NO ONE in my family does! But why do some do this? Do you really think it helps get your point across because in my opinion it just irritates the person you’re talking to faster. If that’s your goal then congrats…you’re irritating.
Now for Golden! She is a phenomenal actress! I really got into it when they were showing her do her scene. BUT when she got upset about having to do a self-taped audition I was in complete shock! I don’t care if you’re Halle Berry if they need to see you read something and they aren’t in your city and request a self-taped audition DO IT! There is no way I would ever complain about that considering depending on what the project is getting an audition is HARD! I understand that she feels like she’s worked hard and shouldn’t have to audition for someone who has seen her work but you can’t throw a fit because of that it’s a diva move.
The last episode, episode 8, was after Countess Vaughn had full body liposuction 3 days before she was scheduled to shoot for the short film. I actually understand why the ladies would be upset with Countess. When you agree to shoot dates you agree that you are free not you might be able to because you’re getting a procedure done a few days before. On the other hand if it’s something that makes her feel good about herself you can’t judge that but I do think it should have been done a few weeks before and if that wasn’t possible then it should have waited until after. I give props where props are due so I think it’s amazing that she pulled through to do her scene and prove to the girls that she is committed. After that happened Paula, the director, leaves the set before Elise does her scene. As a director you do not just leave a set and not say where you are going or IF you are coming back and when! It is so disrespectful and unprofessional! If you need to go somewhere then fine, but tell the cast and crew that they can take a break and have a call time for them to be back.
Finally we come to the end of the episode. Countess and Golden had a very real moment as the women had a bonfire on the beach to celebrate finishing the film. Countess let them know that YES your past can make you feel a type of way about certain things or people but when you get older you can’t always go back to that. “I want to own my shit and stop playing the victim” was the best thing I heard from all 8 episodes! Golden’s real moment was very important for African American women to hear and that message is you aren’t your skin color. Golden expressed that her mom may be light skinned and beautiful but she had to learn that she is a beautiful, talented, brown skin woman and in my opinion that was a moment that every African American woman should have seen!
SHOW THOSE MOMENTS! Show the moments when these women realize why they are the way that they are because most of the time it is the reason they are so talented because they can tap into these emotions and use it to create amazing work! Show how dedicated you have to be to be in this business that is literally people judging you nonstop. The show should have shown the talent of these incredible women not drama and basically proving that women can’t get anything done without drama and an argument and basically ruining a friendship! Show them going to auditions and running lines and creating characters and perfecting their craft! Show the hard work that goes into this profession! Show what we newbies are having to go through to even GET an audition! If the show was supposed to be about the project they were doing together then show THAT show the planning process and show a breakdown of what it takes to literally CREATE your own work!
I think all of these women are phenomenal and I understand that in the editing room they can make things seem bigger than they already are so I think part of the issue is the show was focused on the wrong things. Now did they finish the project, yes! But I don’t feel like the show was about the project I think it was about the drama and at the end they realizes not to judge each other which is great but overall I think the show could have been taken in a different direction. I looked up the project , The White Sistas, and it is supposed to be in theaters in 2015 so I am very curious to see it.
I’m honestly not passionate about many things but acting is my life and if there is going to be a show about actresses show what we do!