The Curious Case of Jussie Smollett

(Source: Facebook.)

For those of you unaware of the case or who Jussie Smollett is; let me break it down for you as it was previously reported:

Jussie is a star on the hit show ‘Empire’ starring Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard. About three weeks ago, he was the victim of a hate crime. Two unknown men (described as white and dressed in MAGA hats) jumped Jussie in the middle of the night, on a Chicago street (same city where ‘Empire’ is filmed) wrapping a noose around his neck and pouring bleach on him. They called him the N-word and said “this is MAGA country.” He then reported the crime to Chicago police.

When the report was first released, there was a huge outpouring of sympathy and support as it was not uncommon for someone like Jussie who is Black and LGBTQ to be violently attacked. He was the most prolific, so of course it sparked a conversation for the non-marginalized to understand why this happens. Good. It should have done that. However, as time and reporting went on, more people are discrediting the story. The common denominator being that this was a staged publicity stunt.

Now here is something I can sink my teeth into.

For a little background about myself: I’m an actor, who is working an internship with an industry insider who’s job is dedicated to publicity. I benefit from this gig not only for college credit but also for a better understanding of how to promote and manage myself in this industry. I have previously wrote about the publicity stunt orchestrated by Conor MacGregor (which I still hold firm due to my time in Dublin and all of the rumblings I have heard about him); and another possible chance of two celebrities “dating” to make their exes jealous (though I did delete that post because no one could possibly be that stupid.)

Now you know where my head is at, let’s talk about how this could either make a good publicity stunt or a bad one.

As far as a good publicity stunt goes…like I said, sparking the conversation people need to have about violence towards Black LGBTQ communities benefited from this. It also sheds a much needed light on the fact that there are people emboldened by hate due to our current “leadership.”

Bad publicity would mean that he staged this for sympathy and attention devoted solely to him and not the community as a whole. Ultimately wasting time and resources by law enforcement and labeled a liar for the rest of his life.

Regardless of whether the publicity is good or bad, it does make people talk which would be a win for Jussie; but there’s no real gain beyond that. He doesn’t stand to make more money from this. There are no additional acting jobs being thrown at him. He’s not getting written off ‘Empire’. There’s absolutely nothing.

Some suspect that maybe the details of the case were fudged to cover up a sexual encounter gone wrong with, possibly, the two suspected male assailants in the case. But why? Smollett is openly gay, so making up this story to cover up a sexual relationship with another man in the year 2019 would be pointless.

There’s also the theory that he was purchasing drugs and was assaulted. In order to hide from the shame he made up a story about a hate crime. Once again pointless. Celebrities are notorious for dipping into illegal substances. He could be charged with a crime, yes, but he’s not going to completely have the book thrown at him as opposed to someone like me who is common and poor. If anything he would just issue a bullshit public statement about his drug use and then spend a couple of weeks in rehab.

The big theory amongst the social media rabble is that the creator of ‘Empire’, Lee Daniels, set Jussie up in an attack for reasons unknown to them…

This took the cake for me.

I have heard that Lee Daniels is not the most pleasant person to work with, but he is running a business, so harming someone who keeps his business running would not make sense either.

With all of this said: I believe he was attacked.

Now could Jussie have embellished the details of his attack in order to point fingers at a group he doesn’t like? It’s possible. Maybe it was a simple mugging and he used the opportunity to say racists did it, I don’t know. What I do know is that the reporting of this case from start to finish is a hot mess. I hope for a resolution and the truth to come out soon.

Fundraiser and Other News

(Source: Facebook.)

Somehow my Event Management class got roped into putting on a fundraiser for the school and I have to be present for it now in order to pass. 😒

The Musical Theatre students will put on a show while the rest of us, including myself, will be serving drinks and food to the guests. I’m already a little put off by the whole thing for good reason: they want all of the servers to dress in costume which we have to provide ourselves, with no reimbursement. The event is already Black Tie. No biggie since I do keep gowns for special occasions. However, dressing up as a character from a musical theatre production that I will never wear again, chaps my ass. I think everyone working would have been better served to adhere to the dress code of the guests present.

Another thing that bothers me is that the person who’s property we are using is famous. He has been featured in the tabloids on numerous occasions for all of his philanthropy and this event is no exception. So now in addition to being dressed as a goofy character, I’m now going to have to avoid the paparazzi like the plague while trying to work so they can get good pictures of our host and his guests.

It was easy to not get in the way at Tribeca since I was not authorized to stand on the red carpets or in the way of the celebrities being photographed. This time…not so much. Pray that my rear end doesn’t block anyone’s shot.

(Source: Chappelle Show, Comedy Central)

As it turns out, work with the industry insider hasn’t been slowing down at all. For some reason the other members of my team aren’t sharing the workload with me. I think it’s mainly due to me being “out of sight, out of mind.” Since I have to make a quick trip back to the States this weekend for Production Assistant training anyway, I may see if there is time in my schedule to pop in and open the lines of communication between me and the other team members. But I still have the gig which is good. I’m hoping to learn more as I go along and plug in the hours I need for internship credits.

(Source: L.A. Magazine and Pinterest.)

So onto the happier stuff. My training is this weekend and I couldn’t be more stoked! The place that is training me doesn’t offer too many of these workshops since it’s mostly genuine production crew members that train us. They are far too busy. My sincerest hope is to make more connections on the West Coast. The opportunity for me to travel out there has opened up this year, now making me Bi-Coastal like I dreamed; and with that I want to take on as much work as possible whether it’s in front of the camera or behind. I know full well that PA work is grueling and thankless, but it is work. It is relevant to my industry, and it puts next to the people I will hope to be working with regularly. Wish me luck!

Blog Clean Up

(Source: Chappelle Show, Comedy Central.)

A lot has happened over the weekend and unfortunately it left me with a lot of anger and grief. I got into a Twitter argument with someone that I liked and respected and ended up being labeled a horrible human being en masse.

I still stand by my statement because there were no ill intentions on my end. But it reminds me that I have a pattern of dealing with the same type of people when I get into disagreements online. So I figure maybe I’m not great at communicating whether it’s in spoken form or written form.

Because of this, I cleaned up my blog of anything I think could be taken the wrong way. Deleting posts. Cleaning up the language of some. I just noticed not every photo was sourced, so that’s a silver lining. I may change some of the photos too.

It’s not going to completely stop arguments from happening, or people loathing me. However, it is what I need to do to make the moment right.

But I may just go off the grid period. Not only because this was an unwinnable situation, but also due to one of the responses directed at me was super racist. Being misunderstood and not being able to fight back because I’m already written off and would be perceived as “grasping at straws” is aggravating.

Elitism at its Finest

(Source: Facebook.)

Fox News posted a disgusting tabloid tweet about actor Geoffrey Owens (known for working on the Cosby Show) who is currently working at a well known supermarket. They were basically shaming him because he is no longer in the spotlight and works at a service job. The woman who took the picture and posted it for tabloid consumption, deserves THESE HANDS….however, that will be for another day.

Why does this make me so angry? For starters, Fox News, the station who always calls the acting community elitists for speaking out against our current leadership; is acting like elites over a person working in the service industry. Second, working in the service industry is nothing to be ashamed of. Is it a pain in the ass? Yes. Do you have to interact with all types of people, including the less than savory ones? Yes. Is it a job that pays your bills and keeps you alive? Yes. Can it be satisfying? Yes. Where is the shame in that?!

People also need to understand that working in the entertainment industry is roughly the equivalent of working a temp job. It’s fleeting. Projects can range from a few seasons, months, weeks, days, or hours. You only work as long as needed and oftentimes there are long bouts of unemployment. If you’re lucky, you can work on a hit tv show like Grey’s Anatomy and hit a huge pay day like Ellen Pompeo, but that is very rare. There has to be income producing activities in the meantime to stay in the black.

No matter where life takes me in this career, even if I were to be suddenly famous, I’m always going to have some sort of gig. Whether it’s my own enterprise or working for a company. I’ve been in poverty. I’ve been homeless. I’ve had to turn down social events because I couldn’t afford it. I’ve had to put off my education due to money. So I’ll be damned if I let myself get back there again.

Fox News needs to disappear forever.

Jokes pt. 2

(Source: Facebook.)

I know I have previously talked about people who destroy jokes by having no sense of humor, but what about the people telling them?

Today after work, I caught wind of the director James Gunn being fired from the MCU franchise and I’m disappointed. Not in Disney, but in him.

What people need to understand that there is always some truth in the jokes. Even if they’re being said or written for shock value, it still shows who you are as a person. Suddenly working for Disney doesn’t help you grow as a person or make you a better one.

The MCU is now up to two directors who have exhibited gross behavior, either by being an emotionally abusive husband or an author of pedophilic jokes. I swear to God if one more actor or director from this franchise is revealed to be gross, I’m going to have to petition for Disney to conduct background checks on all of their production staff.

Poor Casting Choice

(Source: Mean Girls, Paramount Pictures.)

Everyone is up in arms about Scarlett Johansson playing a trans man in her newest film. This, coming after the backlash of whitewashing the role of Motoko Kusanagi from ‘Ghost in the Shell.’ I don’t dislike her, though there are some things about her association with Woody Allen to be problematic. I don’t think this role is right for her.

Before I go any further, let me admit that I have played roles that did not fit my cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, or age group. If an actor does their job well, then you should know them by the role they embody more than the person themselves. However, Scarlett Johansson has reached the point in several of her roles where she is “Scarlett” in a film, and not the character she is playing. Therefore, the character of Dante Gill will not be portrayed correctly.

Now if it were up to me to find an actual trans man, who looks like Gill, and can act, that would be my preference. It’s a challenge, however, since I would have an extremely small pool to work from. The closest I would be able cast is Lea DeLaria from ‘Orange is the New Black.’

The biggest issue I have with casting films in Hollywood is the cronyism associated with it. In this case Ms. Johansson is working with the same director from ‘GITS’, which is pissing people off further (myself included.) I get it: if you want to work consistently, it’s best to build a strong network and work with many of the same people. Roles like Gill need a little more thought and use of common sense before calling up your homie to take the part….

But I digress.

Big Things In The Works!!!

(Taken Monday after my epiphany.)

While I was rambling on one of my Instagram stories (saved in the highlights) about one of the films we showed at work: I thought about vlogging film and television reviews. A friend of mine suggested I use a separate platform as to not disrupt my current social media brand. Well that sparked something.

Currently I have an active YouTube channel that I use specifically for self-tape auditions. Since those links are usually private, I don’t have other content posted for the public to view. Until now.

Posting reviews is hardly anything new and there is plenty of competition out there for me. However, I just want a platform to air my grievances at other people over what I should actually be doing myself…work in the film industry. That is the premise. You are going to watch an actress who is also trained in the technical side of film, bitch and complain about why the production was bad, while also praising what’s good about it.

Don’t expect it to be comedic. Comedy is a precious skill afforded to few and its not my forte. My biggest hope is that it’s relatable and informative. Just like my blog.

I’m excited aren’t you?

Second Chance

(Source: Sailor Moon, Toei Animation. Creator Naoko Takeuchi.)

Remember two weeks ago when I submitted my information to a high level mover and shaker in the industry? That gig they advertised has come and gone with me not working on it, but they advertised another casting call scheduled for this week.

As always, I strike while the iron is hot with this strike leading to some success! I got a call back for a live audition.

This gig may also not be for me, however, I will definitely be on their radar for any future project.

The other rumor about this individual…they may be able to represent talent. Ultimately that is my goal: to get representation, bigger parts, and more work. Wish me luck!

Men, Again 🙄

(Source: Twitter.)

The founder of a website that I follow, has just been exposed as an abuser. Creating insanely strict rules for his girlfriend to follow, fat shaming her, and sexually assaulting her. He even went so far to ruin her acting career by blacklisting her when she walked away from him.

(Source: Pinterest.)

One thing I took away from the article that was written, is that dating someone high powered isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. I mean, dating in general isn’t all that great, but adding fame to the mix makes it especially difficult. Look how easy it was for this poor woman’s career to be tanked simply because he didn’t want her story to be believed? He was worried about bad publicity and his actions have led him down the path of…bad publicity.

If he had not been an asshole, he wouldn’t need to worry as his conscience would be clear. But that’s far too easy.

Anyway, I’m happy that this woman is safe and recovering financially, spiritually, emotionally, to be able to tell the tale. He is a scumbag.

I Didn’t Get It

(Source: Facebook. I think that is the artist’s watermark on the bottom of the card but reverse searches yielded no results. Instead I’m just sharing where I found it.)

I didn’t land the gig that was shooting today. Which means I work at my day job today… yay.

I’m bummed, but not hurt. In this industry you have to be prepared for a lot of rejection and very limited success. Still, I’m grateful for getting an initial response.

I’m on this person’s radar now.

THIS wasn’t the project for me, but maybe a future one will be. We shall see.