PRAISE for HOLLYHOOD

Hollyhood Book Cover

"A daring, realistic and unapologetic depiction of how it is to be black in "La-La" land.
ROSIE PEREZ, ACTOR/PRODUCER/ACTIVIST

“In Hollyhood, Valerie Joyner delivers all the juice that's fit to print. She craftily untangles the lives of Hollywood's rich and so-so famous with enough sass, smarts and savvy to make you care for these sometimes twisted souls from beginning to end.”
CORI MURRAY, ESSENCE

"Hollyhood is a masterfully told story about Hollywood from a unique African America perspective. Valerie Joyner takes you into the world of being a sitcom writer with an unforgiving honesty and truth filled memorable characters. I dig it!"

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

The title of this film tells you the characters are going to lose, that whoever Mister and Pete are they would not win the lottery or ride off into the sunset. Yet, none of this prevented me from rooting for Mister (Skylan Brooks) and Pete (Ethan Dizon) throughout the film. It didn’t stop me from hoping against hope, crack, poverty, neglect and abuse that these kids would somehow, some way win.

Oprah is Back to Black

Few people would have predicted Oprah’s newly established OWN Network would not be an instant success. After all, her show, production company, magazine and school were extremely successful. Who could doubt her Midas touch?

For decades Oprah dominated talk show television and enjoyed exceedingly high ratings. Her core audience, white females, welcomed Oprah into their homes every afternoon like an old friend. Her crossover success transcended race, morpihing Oprah from Black to money green as she aggressively courted and pandered her white audience.

How to Raise a Holly-Hood Baby

Dear Kim Kardashian,

Congratulations! You will soon be the mother of a biracial baby. Raising a Holly-Hood child is a great responsibility , so here are a few suggestions that might help.

1. Buy some grease. Your hair doesn’t require this secret ingredient but your child’s will. Grease and a little bit of water goes a long way on curly hair. May I suggest Carol’s Daughter products or Kinky Curl’s. Buy wide tooth combs and maybe a pick. If the hair grows too big and puffy, try not to panic and Lord, don’t take her to a Beverly Hills salon. This will make matters worse. Call Bey or Solange. They’ll know exactly what to do. Again, call Bey or Solange. Not Venus and Serena.

Beauty and the Beast

Whenever I see photos of Rihanna with Chris Brown together, I am eerily reminded of my cousin, Crystal. As a young lady in her teens, Crystal was in love with a young man who beat her, leaving her body bruised and battered many times in the same manner Chris brutally handled Rihanna. Crystal was very good looking, confident and smart and though her boyfriend had a history of violence (he beat his other girlfriends), no one could convince her to give him up, let him go.

Hollywood Ex-travaganza

Don't ask me why but for some reason I had high expectations of Hollywood Exes . I thought, finally a group of so-called friends who like each other, who have some etiquette, if not class. This new pack of exes appeared to be above the mentalities of project Basketball Wives and the Nee Nee’s of Atlanta, and those heathens on Love and Hip Hop. Here were five women who, at some point, have lived the type of luxury lifestyle most Americans know nothing about.

Sadly, it only took about four episodes of this reality show to snap ME back to reality. Yeah, I was dreaming. I was also hoping for some positive images of black women to contradict all the bad ones.

Here’s a breakdown of the Desperate Hollywood Ex-travaganza:

Welcome Back to Sweetie Pie's

The new OWN Network has struggled to find its audience in the cable market. But the one diamond that has surfaced from the rough start is “Welcome to Sweetie Pies,” a reality show which actually feels natural and authentic. Sweetie Pie’s is a family run restaurant in St. Louis, MO. Unlike the Braxton’s, T.I. and Tiny, The Kardashian’s and many other family reality shows, there are no wannabe stars or wannabe clothing designers. The Montgomery Family are hard working folks with strong community roots. They have dreams but none seem willing to sell their souls to the devil for them.

Won't Back Down opens Sept. 28

Here''s a recipe for a good movie. First, add four Oscar nominated actresses: Viola Davis (winner), Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rosie Perez and Holly Hunter. Sprinkle with a few strong men. (Ving Rhames, Oscar Isaac, Lance Reddick). Put a good script in their hands. Toss a camera in front of them and wait for them sizzle. The result is "Won’t Back Down."

Chuck Brown Winds It Up

I was silenced with sadness today when my sister called to say, Chuck Brown had passed away at the age of 75. Chuck and his go-go music runs deep within the veins of Washingtonians. We grew up on his sound. And while the rest of the world never fully embraced it, we claimed it as our own and crowned him the Godfather.

There are a few things that distinctly define the DMV (DC, MD, VA), like blue crabs, cherry blossoms, the Redskins, and go-go. Chuck was DC’s own, long standing celebrity for over 40 years. Cameras didn’t follow him, but his fans did. Performing three times a week, Chuck enjoyed an immensely loyal following. His popularity among African-Americans rivaled that of any local politician. If Chuck had decided to run for mayor, he’d have won by a landslide.

Viola Davis - Best Actress

Yesterday, I watched an enlightening interview with Viola Davis on Charlie Rose. Viola was speaking on her career and in particular The Help.

I read the book exactly two years ago. There was much rumbling among black writers about this book. Understandably, so. As a black writer publishers will only market my book to African-Americans. Not just because I’m black but they don’t think white people would be interested in reading about the lives of my black characters. But then a white woman writes a book about black women and the publisher markets her book to the masses. I guess the lives of black folks are far more interesting when a white person writes about it. But what’s new, right?

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