Will the ‘Obama Effect’ Bring Change to TV?
Barack Obama brought change to Washington. Now, can he bring change to our television sets? The new president and his family have barely settled into their new Washington digs, but that question is already being pondered by members of the entertainment community. They cling to the hope that an “Obama effect” eventually will lead to richer and more varied depictions of black Americans on the small screen and more opportunities in front of, and behind, the camera. “The fact that we now have people who we traditionally haven’t seen in these kinds of roles should open Hollywood’s minds to all kinds of possibilities,” says comedian D.L. Hughley. “Hopefully we’ll see a case of art imitating life.” Hughley, who dabbles in political humor as the host of CNN’s “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News,” headlined a family sitcom (“The Hughleys”) on ABC and UPN from 1998-2002. It has the dubious distinction of being among the last wave of predominantly black TV shows before the current drought hit prime time. (Continue Reading…)

Taraji P. Henson Receives Oscar Nomination
Taraji P. Henson earned her first Oscar nomination as Best Actress in a Supporting Role in the film“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” The Washington D.C. native attended Oxon Hill High School and is a graduate of Howard University’s School of Theatre Arts. She made her film debut in “Baby Boy”, directed by John Singleton, in 2005. “I really paid attention to my mother in order to prepare for the role. My grandmother had a get together and invited women of every age that I had to portray,” Henson said. Henson made her singing debut in “Hustle & Flow”, providing the vocals for the Three 6 Mafia track “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”.The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006, giving Three 6 the distinction of becoming the first Black Hip-Hop act to win in the category. Henson performed the song at the Oscars on March 5, 2006 with the group. “I also people-watch sometimes, and I taped my grandmother voice in order to be true to the character,” Henson said. (Continue Reading…)

Young Jeezy Defends ‘My President’ Against Bill O’Reilly
Hip-hop took a beating on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Wednesday (January 21). Guest Dennis Miller mocked Young Jeezy and Jay-Z. Bill O’Reilly, host of the show and noted hip-hop hater, also called Jeezy and Jay-Z’s performance of “My President” at Club Love in Washington, D.C., “a rant that offended people.” We already know how both Jay-Z and Jeezy feel about O’Reilly — we’ve heard it in their music. On Monday (January 19), before performing “My President” at the Warner Theater, Jeezy talked to MTV News about the importance of the record and what he was trying to express. “Music is how you feel,” Jeezy said about being inspired to write “My President.” “But if I can say one word, I’ll say ‘necessary.’ I felt it was necessary. I never ever paid attention to any election. Not really [into] politics or anything like that. (Continue Reading…)

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