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Review of The First Purge - Kathia Woods

This is the 4th installment of the First Purge. I have to be honest I wasn’t really invested in the first three and agreed to view this because a colleague said its quite good. Low and behold it is. Gone is Ethan Hawke but we are introduced to new characters such as drug king/hero William portrayed by Y’lan Noel and activist Nya played by Lex Scott Davis. Rounding out the cast Joivan Wade who plays Nya brother Isaiah, Mugga as Dolores and Lauren Velez as Luisa.

This movie introduces us to the architect of the Purge Dr. Updale depicted by Marisa Tomei. It's 2014, and the new admiration thinks America is overpopulated. So, they decided to focus on the poor, the disenfranchised, criminals and motivate them to turn on each other. Staten Island is the test group for the experiment. Money, the root of all evil, is the enticement. You stay you get paid, you roam you get paid, and you kill you get paid.

This movie is very in step with the current political climate which is accosting the same people targeted in this movie. The concept is not far fetched, and history has shown how the government has interfered in keeping the poor more impoverished. The first purge demonstrates that all though folks are poor and feeling disconnect doesn’t mean that they lack morals and hence the experiment is manipulated. The idea that poor people have morals was never considered so, in turn, the agitators were pulled in to produce the result they wanted. In the end, money is not everything. Friends matter, the community matter, and poverty don’t turn everyone into criminals.

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Review of Whitney

by Kathia Woods

Whitney is the biopic documentary about Whitney Houston. It covers her beginnings in Newark up to her untimely death in February of 2012. The movie dives into many of the unanswered questions about her private life and confirms so many of the rumors previously denied. She had a mother she wanted to emulate, a father that manipulated her love, brothers that took advantage and Clive Davis that erased as much of her blackness re branding her into his singing mannequin. All these elements contributed to her out of this world success. Even now twenty years later there is much discomfort when the movie discusses her relationship with a lost friend/girlfriend Robyn Crawford. Crawford who has remained silent on her relationship with Whitney declined to participate in the documentary. Bobby Brown makes an appearance, however, is very reluctant to discuss the addiction portion of their relationship. The person that stands out the most is her assistant Mary Jones. Ms. Jones is incredibly honest when she speaks about Whitney’s challenges but also endearing. She seems to be one of the few people that genuinely loved her. A family is supposed to protect you from your demons not enable them. Michael and Gary, her brothers, are forced upon her professional circle via her father, John Houston. Neither seems to take responsibility for their part of her undoing. What is evident throughout this entire movie there weren't many moments of sheer happiness for Whitney. The more famous she became, the more alone she felt. This movie gives you a better understanding of the beast that's fame. She gave us so many extraordinary moments, yet we failed her when she needed us the most.

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Review of “Love Is”

"Love is" the new show brought to us by the creative team of Mara Akil Brock and Salim Akil. It’s the semi-biographical story of how they met. "Love Is" is set in the ’90s. Two reasons for this., it’s the time when they met and was also the time-period Mara was a writer on the sitcom Moesha. The pilot episode introduces us to Nuri and Yasir. Nuri is an aspiring writer, and Yasir is an aspiring writer/director. They first set eyes on each other at a coffee shop that Yasir's friends Sean drag him too. The idea was to show Will his infatuation with Nuri. In the end, its Yasir who ends up engaging Nuri. We fast-forward to a year later. Nuri obtains that writing job. Yasir is not doing as well living with a semi/girlfriend and very unemployed. The beauty of this show is in writing. It’s gives something that is often missing in African-American love stories intimacy. The attraction between the two characters is not just physical but spiritual. It’s the connection of a dream. In each other’s presence, they don’t have to explain what the other wants. It’s just understood. Nuri played by Michele Weaver, and Yasir played by Will Catlett previously appearing on Brock’s other show “Black Lightning” are unknowns but if this show grows will soon become household names. Rounding out the cast are veteran actors Kadeem Hardison, Clarke Peters, and Wendy Davis. Do yourself a favor and add this show to your TV watching schedule. I guarantee you that you will be pleasantly surprised. So, take a ride back to the '90s and that particular type of love. “Love Is" premieres on Own June 19th at 10 pm