Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo visited Jada Pinkett Smith’s groundbreaking Facebook series, Red Table Talk, for an honest conversation about raising bi-racial children. Toward the end of that extremely important talk, Pompeo was asked fishbowl questions, one of which was about her current relationship with former series star Patrick Dempsey. True to form, that one soundbite was picked up by the media, including The Today show, and Pompeo rightfully objected.
Jada Pinkett Smith launched the hugely popular Red Table Talk on Facebook as a vehicle for honest conversation. While many other talk shows present the same premise, this might be the most authentic of its kind. I knew it would take off while watching Jada reminisce with Will Smith’s first wife about the tumultuous start to their journey, followed by unconditional love for one another now. In fact, the power couple have long been pioneers of co-parenting, publicly insisting that it’s possible to get everyone in a room together for the holidays — on behalf of their children. So what could be negative about such a talk? Just ask the New York Post.
Sit down, white boys. The Flossy Posse has arrived, and your members-only club is tired. Girls Trip is the answer to high-concept comedies that can’t survive the script (see Bad Moms). The film stars self-help author Ryan (Regina Hall), gossip blogger Sasha (Queen Latifah), single mother Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) and hilariously loose-lipped Dina (standout star Tiffany Haddish). Time has forced them apart, but when Ryan gets invited to New Orleans on business, she brings the group together for a much-needed reunion.
It goes without saying that a female-led cast is already a coup. It also goes without saying that an all black cast is an even-more-welcome addition to the Cinemasphere. In a previous, scathing review of Bad Moms, I made it clear that the content was obviously written by white men, and the escapades therefore represented the antics of some Brentwood b*tches that had far too much time on their hands. THIS is not THAT. In a scene that can nearly sum up this message, Sasha visits the French Quarter, where she sees some drunk men on a makeshift zip-line and says, “That’s some white-boy sh*t right there.” Elizabeth Davelli (Kate Walsh) delightfully adds to this idea as Ryan’s white agent whose uncomfortable use of slang made me rethink writing #Slay on Instagram.
Girls Trip was written by Kenya Barris (black-ish) and Tracy Oliver (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl) and directed by Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man films). This is important. First, it’s important to diversify the brains behind this business, because without that diversity, we won’t get to see fresh, original art. Sure we’ve seen drunken antics a million times, but have we seen Tiffany Haddish deliver delicious profanity about the hidden usages of a grapefruit (you’ll have to see the film)? These women know how to execute an exceptional script. And most importantly, they know how to adequately represent the heart of the film minus the pretty little bow. It didn’t just hit the mark, it kicked the door open.