Bourgeois Brief: The Obamas Sign Exclusive Deal with Netflix, Lena Waithe Set to Receive MTV Trailblazer Honor, and A Step Forward for Diversity in the Fall TV Lineup
Your daily dose of art, news, and pop culture headlines, and a signal boost for creators of color.
Barack and Michelle Obama Sign Production Deal with Netflix
It’s official—former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama have signed a multi-year deal with Netflix. Details are scant on what their programming could look like, but the deal covers feature films, scripted and unscripted series, and documentaries. Barack is no stranger to the streaming network—he was the first guest on David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. Of course, the deal has sparked some backlash, as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is a major donor to the Democratic party. Read more at EW.
Characters of Color Account for 42% of Fall TV’s Roles
Last week, the major networks confirmed their fall TV lineups, and there’s good news for diversity—42% of the season’s roles are comprised of characters of color. Also, 34% of these shows’ executive producers are women. But only 10.7% of show execs are women, and of that, less than 3% are women of color. Read more diversity stats at Shadow and Act.
Lena Waithe To Receive MTV Honor, Joins GLAAD Inclusion Panel
Lena Waithe made waves last year after becoming the first openly queer black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing. Since, she’s gone on to helm The Chi and line up numerous guest appearances. In the coming weeks, she’ll be rewarded for her hard work. She’ll receive the Trailblazer Award at this year’s MTV Movie & TV Awards, and she’ll serve on GLAAD and WME’s panel about LGBTQ inclusion in Hollywood. Read more about the panel at Variety.
A$AP Rocky Reveals Album Cover in 90-Minute Art Film
A$AP Rocky has released a slew of new singles over the last few weeks, including the Moby-sampling “A$AP Forever”. He finally revealed the cover for his forthcoming album, Testing, last night. He premiered a 90-minute art film at New York City’s Sotheby’s and revealed the cover afterward. See the film, Lab Rat, below and read additional details at Pitchfork.
Dwayne Johnson Invests in Atom Tickets
Dwayne Johnson joins a list of high-profile donors in supporting Atom Tickets, a studio-backed online ticketing startup. He’ll serve as both an investor and advisor for the fledgling company. Other donors include Tyler Perry, J.J. Abrams, and Steven Spielberg. Find out more at Variety.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
Jay Rock announces new album [Pitchfork]
Vernon Sanders confirmed as co-head of Amazon TV [Variety]
Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” logs a second week at #1 [Billboard]
Ava Duvernay set to executive produce mythical Amazon drama [Shadow and Act]
Video: Cardi B “Be Careful” [SPIN]
Will Smith and Nicky Jam team up for 2018 World Cup official song [VIBE]
Food for thought
The weekend saw examinations of female blackness in two different realms. In one, Atlanta actress Zazie Beetz battled evil as Domino in the hit sequel Deadpool 2. The Ringer’s Micah Peters presents the case for her to get a full spinoff. In the piece, he quotes Beetz saying the following:
“I think black women are often depicted specifically in terms of the struggle, and never having the privilege of feeling light at heart and feeling that release. And that’s a pretty cool thing to see on a screen.”
Of course, the weekend also saw Meghan Markle wed Prince Harry, becoming England’s first biracial royal in history and marking a new era for the famed British family. The ceremony eschewed many royal traditions in favor of their African-American counterparts. The New York Times’ Salamishah Tillet explains why this was so impactful:
Among the group of black women with whom I watched the ceremony early Saturday morning in New Jersey, she [Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland] was a source of pride. Yet out of a sense of sisterly protection, we were also worried about her as she sat there alone, without siblings or friends. The wedding itself helped alleviate our fears, for even if none were physically present at St. George’s Chapel, the ceremony was filled with gestures, big and small, that explicitly celebrated her “people” and the various black worlds in which she raised Ms. Markle.