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From GritsnCheese to Oprah!

By Monica Medinakeisha-at-marshalls.jpg

Keisha Whitaker, wife of Oscar Winner
Forest Whitaker, will be on the OprahWinfrey Show today.

Her business partner and make-up artist, AJ Crimson, is featured exclusively right here on GritsnCheese.com. AJ was nice enough to check in with Monica Medina before running off to touch up one his celebrity clients. AJ was also recently featured in People Magazine. Listen to AJ’s exclusive interview here.

October 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Original American Gangster Speaks: Mr. Untouchable DVD

By Monica Medina nicky-and-thelma.jpg

Barnes has some harsh words in this documentary about his former partners in crime who are now doing life with no parole.

The documentary, Mr. Untouchable, is amazing, daunting, graphic and painfully honest in its depiction. I usually do not like to push anything that glorifies drugs or violence but this is a film that young people who are in “the game” should watch. Nicky Barnes made $72 million dollars annually from the drug trade in Harlem during the 70’s. One can only imagine how many lives and generations of African Americans he killed making revenue of that magnitude. He was such a “public figure” that he actually posed for the cover New York Magazine with a blue denim suit and red and white tie after being acquitted. He was donned “Mr. Untouchable.” However that was where his troubles began. Then President Jimmy Carter wanted his head on a platter after reading the article.

Somewhat of a prequel to American Gangster, Mr. Untouchable is narrated by Nicky Barnes himself who is now under the Federal Witness Protection program. Barnes narrates the documentary with only his hands in view. After doing a 21 year bid in prison, it is obvious that he his still living well. This is evident by the very expensive watch and ring he has on his finger. Barnes goes into depth in this documentary even down to his ex-wife (who is in the documentary and served 10 years in prison) and his then mistress who was murdered while Nicky was in prison to send him a message to think twice about “snitching.” His views about snitching will make the new school of drug dealers of today upset. An avid reader of Machiavelli, Barnes has some harsh words in this documentary about his former partners in crime who are now doing life with no parole. Let’s just say he could care less about them to put it politely. Think there is loyalty in the game? Think again.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things We Lost in the Fire: This Is Not Monster’s Ball 2! Halle Was Awesome. Del Toro May Take the Oscar.

By Monica Medina

Wait, don’t let the photo deceive you! Halle’s new filmthingswelostinthefirepubm.jpg
is not Monster’s Ball 2. “Things We Lost in the Fire” is a great film. Although, I realize many may disagree. It is not a typical shoot em up, fast action movie. This is strictly a human interest story with a great storyline. Benicio Del Toro did a great job playing a heroin attic and best friend of Halle Berry’s deceased husband in the film. Del Toro’s performance merits nothing less than an Oscar. Halle Berry has no faith in Benicio Del Toro and writes him off a junkie who is just taking advantage of her wealthy husband’s kindness. His kindness and faith in his junkie best friend, a former attorney before hitting rock bottom, was the source of many fights between the couple. After the husband’s tragic death from saving a distraught women on the street, Halle has a change of heart and allows Del Toro to stay with her and the kids. The beautiful story begins there.

Del Toro must have studied hard to “live” this character. His performance of portraying the ups and downs of a heroin attic–including the withdrawal symptoms is superb.  Del Toro already has one Oscar.  Maybe next year he will have two on his mantlepiece.

October 24, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tyler Perry & Oscar Talk

tyler-perry-black-white.jpeg by Monica Medina

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the pre-screening of Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” with Tyler Perry in attendance–One of the cool benefits of running this beautiful thing they call GritsnCheese.com. It was an honor to be in the same room. I knew the film would be good, but I was not expecting that the film would be of an Oscar caliber: Tyler Perry’s new film “Why Did I Get Married?” is worthy of an Oscar nomination for Best Film of The Year. There should be some Oscar buzz floating around Jill Scott’s performance as well.

First, the script and writing is exceptional. There was nothing predictable about Perry’s way of unraveling the story line. The story centers around four couples that go to a couple’s retreat at the urging of Janet Jackson’s character, Patricia to focus on their marriage—for better or for worse. What started as one couple having a dark secret evolved into the dark secrets of the other three couples being revealed at the dinner table. The dinner table scene is a CLASSIC scene. The movie took some serious unexpected twists and turns. Moviegoers were at the edge of their seats. This is one of the very few movies that show Black couples fighting to holding on to their relationships. Be clear, this is not only a good African-American film. “Why Did I Get Married” is a good American film.

October 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is White Media Hating on Tyler Perry?

By Monica Medina

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Tyler Perry’s new film is a classic American film. But it seems that some White media outlets are on a mission to classify Perry’s film as strictly a “Black film” and to belittle its impact on the country by writing as many negative reviews about the film as possible. I actually just read a NY Times movie review that made some pretty racist remarks in the article. Sometimes the bold racist remarks of publications makes me wonder if it is a requirement to be a racist to work as a journalist at some of these publications. Despite the fact that Oprah Winfrey is an American icon, I also believe that on many levels society has resentment towards African-American women-especially successful African-American women. Case and point the CW31 interview with Tyler Perry and Janet Jackson. The interviewer on the surface was grilling Janet Jackson with “Superbowl, wardrobe malfunction” questions. However, you could sense the interviewer was extremely upset that Janet Jackson was able to make a comeback on a major level. Perhaps the interviewer is upset because he thought or took pride in the fact that the “ powers to be” had blacklisted Janet’s career indefinitely due to “nipplegate.” But I’m pretty sure if this reviewer were interviewing Madonna he would have been in awe. He probably would have overlooked all the racy controversial sexually public over the top things that Madonna has done in her career. Perhaps the interviewer is upset and uncomfortable because Black female sexuality, even on a positive healthy level is something that America fears tremendously. When White Americans embrace Black females as beauty icons and sex symbols, there are many people who are extremely fearful, uncomfortable and resentful. After all, it has been indoctrinated in us since the African Holocaust that Black women are not beautiful and our beauty is not to be appreciated. Our sexual awareness is dismissed as nothing more than “whore-like behavior.” Meanwhile Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian make sex tapes and they become all the rave in White media. I’m sure you see the double standard here.

*Note: Before anyone dismisses me as a radical angry Black female. I will have you know that I have many Caucasian friends and I’m not angry. However, when things like this happen we have to “call it for what it is” as they say. I believe in the American dream but I’m not blind to the obvious double standard and some segments of society’s hatred towards Black women.

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Message from Monica Medina

Access Hollywood’s Shawn Robinson (l) and Monica Medina(r)

chatting after a Samuel L. Jackson interview.

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Hello Everyone,

Monica Medina here. Peeking my head into cyberspace to say hello. First thank God from whom all blessings flow. It is always important to thank the creator whenever possible…….. First, thank you so much for reading GritsnCheese.com, which is really “All Things Monica Medina, All The Time.” I have fulfilling and interesting experiences in life everyday and always enjoy sharing them with you. I thought a few weeks ago marked an end, but the outpouring of support even from high places, has truly made a difference. I will do my best to post everyday.

Stay positive, stay humble, always help others, always keep God first.

Thank you for reading.

-Monica Medina

October 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Passing on the Good News: Filmmaker Rel Dowdell and Jill Scott

We were informed about this a while ago but have just now begun to update the site. Filmmaker Rel Dowdell (Train Ride) was recently signed to the prestigious APB Agency! We are truly happy for Rel. Rel is a filmmaker on the rise that is going to shake Hollywood up with his no nonsense style. If you would like Rel Dowdell to speak at your school, organization or event. Feel free to contact the APB or click here.

*Check out Rel’s popular controversial interview on GritsnCheese.com in the interview archives. He has some harsh words for some of Black Hollywood’s famous filmmakers.

Also please support Jill Scott by going to see Tyler Perry’s new film “Why Did I Get Married.” (No Jill didn’t put me up to post this). But it is important to support good talent. I truly believe Jill Scott will win an Oscar one day. I recently spoke with actor Malik Yoba who has a supporting role in the film. There seems to be a certain excitement in the air about this movie. Box office numbers will tell the story. We want this film to be a hit for Jill Scott. We can see her now holding the Oscar one day. This film will only be the start of a major movie career for Jill. We can feel it.

October 7, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment