Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Is It That Hard Out There for Black Actors?

Today while I was watching my usual Sunday night Fox line-up, I saw a new commercial for Verizon Wireless. Nothing too exciting about the commerical really. It starts with three Verizon store employees shutting down and exiting the store and . . . hold up, wait, is that Flex Alexander playing one of the Verizon employees?

You can see the commerical below . . .

I was seriously thrown for a loop. That was Flex Alexander. Flex was the star of One on One which ran for five years on UPN. He was a marvelous stand up commediane. He even starred as Michael Jackson in a VHI movie.  He was one of the actors that many within the Black community looked up to because, well, he had "made it."  In this commercial he doesn't even have a speaking part.

After seeing this commercial, I immediately had a flash back of last Christmas when I saw T. C. Carson (Living Single's Kyle Barker) singing in a T. J. Maxx commercial.

Yes - that was Kyle Barker singing in that commercial. He wasn't even the main actor in the commercial.

I had mixed emotions while watching both of these. Should I be excited because atleast these men that I looked up to are still working and booking gigs? Or should I see these as an example of the struggles of black folks trying to survive in an industry that has not been kind to them?

To both of these men I say, "make your paper boo!"  I ain't made at cha.  Although it is discouraging to see them have to take parts that are so minimal (I would even go so far as to say far beneath them), I do understand that we're living in a tough economy and bills still have to be made.  So instead sitting on their pride and turning down roles, these men are still getting out there and making money.

I'm looking forward to seeing both these men in their glory again.  I still have much respect for them. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Adore Carlease Burke

Carlease Burke just got her big break.  According to The Advocate, Burke just landed a role on the upcoming season of the popular Showtime series Shameless.  You may recognize Carlease from her picture.  She is no newby to Hollywood.  She has appeared in countless roles both on the big screen and small screen including Get Shorty, In Her Shoes, Grey's Anatomy and Heroes. 

Burke will be joining an amazing cast as she becomes part of the Shameless family.  The Showtime series includes veteran actor William H. Macy, Joan Cusack, and Emmy Rossum.  Burke who is an out lesbian will be playing Roberta who is described as a foulmouthed and eccentric lesbian.  She will be the love interest of Monica Gallagher (the ex-wife of William H. Macy's character on the show).  

I love the fact that she is in reality an out African-American lesbian.  And I love the fact that she will be portraying a lesbian on a popular TV show.  Lord knows we need more representation of positive black same-gender loving people on the screen.  But above all this, I love the fact that Burke is an advocate for the LGBT community.  According to the Advocate, "Burke is involved with a variety of LGBT organizations, including the Los Angeles–based Women on a Roll and Cornerstone Outreach." 

According to Burke, “One would think that of all people, the black community as a whole would be more understanding and supportive of civil rights and the equality of all people. The only way we are going to make huge strides is when we have the support of straight black people and our churches. Our heterosexual friends and family members need to stick up for us and be proud of their LGBT relatives, who include doctors, teachers, coworkers, police officers.”  She goes on and says, "Black churches have some obligation to advocate for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, especially since it preaches that God is love and created us all in his image."