Showtime turning the siege into a show tells us everything we already knew about this country

Photo:Olivier Douliery/GettyImages

Within just two months, the attempted fascist coup by White nationalists caught its first Hollywood green light. Last Thursday, Showtime announced that the network has ordered three scripts about the Trump-incited riot on Capitol Hill for a series to be helmed by Billy Ray, director of political drama The Comey Rule. The three-part act has been made plain: the waning days of the pumpkin presidency, the insurrection, and its aftermath.

The speed with which this happened was as predictable as tax season. Twitter saw it coming from a mile away: A conspiratorial assault called forth by fascist animus and a…

Music stars and activists alike have exploited Black death and protest imagery for profit

Lil Baby performs at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on March 14, 2021. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

A James Baldwin quote plays. Two White male police officers confront and question a Black man sleeping in his car, quickly pinning him to the ground. The man (played by actor Kendrick Sampson) breaks free, flees, and is shot down. This recreation of the June 2020 killing of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta police was all a setup for Lil Baby’s performance of his song “The Bigger Picture” at Sunday night’s Grammys — but it wasn’t the end of the theatrics. …

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The Official NBA Hair Power Ranking 2021

Forget the playoff race; this is the only power ranking that matters

Last July, the NBA set up shop in Orlando to close out the 2019–2020 season in an isolated zone at Walt Disney World. Within that bubble, the 22 teams competing for a championship had a wealth of amenities at their disposal, from fishing and films to bowling and boating. But while the coronavirus forced the rest of us to self-groom our quarantine hair situations, the bubble ballers enjoyed one of the most clutch perks of all: not one, not two, but three on-campus barbershops, all open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Even still, watching the tournament-style bubble games…

Japanese composer Hiroshi Yoshimura’s GREEN revealed I was losing sight while dreaming.

I first encountered Hiroshi Yoshimura’s ambient yet purposeful record, GREEN, in January as a potential sleep aid for my infant daughter, Leone. Born into a pandemic, her short life knows only sequestration. The natural world has been closed off to her almost entirely. She does not know the cleansing sheen of morning dew, nor the creeping soft power of the moon. She only knows wonder. The deathly absurdity of our moment places my daughter and I in adjacent modes of unknowing and ill-remembrance. I’ve misremembered the feeling of…

Life changes hit the rapper hard — and shows like ‘Tokyo Ghoul’ helped him process it all

Photo: Jeff Hahne/Getty Images

Since the ’90s, with Toonami curating anime for TV audiences and classics like Fist of the North Star circulating on VHS, Black America has been enamored with the Japanese medium. Just as martial arts films had in the decades before, anime turned its back on the redemptive narratives American media usually peddled, captivating viewers with stories of courage and willpower in the face of existential threat and internal conflict. It was hard not to find parallels; RZA once famously declared that, “Dragon Ball Z represents the journey of the Black man in America.”

By now, two generations have been raised…

Photo: Micaiah Carter/August

The LEVEL Man at 30

As he heads towards his thirties, the electrifying actor is laying himself bare — and finding a new sense of balance

For nearly a decade, LaKeith Stanfield has used his screen time reveling in the bizarreness of America’s racial consciousness. Whether Atlanta’s quippy street mystic Darius, or the code-switching sardonics of Cassius in Sorry to Bother You, his characters have always seemed to be in on the joke — and in his latest, Judas and the Black Messiah, Stanfield is closer to the secret than ever before.

Shaka King’s film, which chronicles the final days of Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) through the sullen eyes of FBI informant William O’Neal (Stanfield), finds the actor in his darkest, most…

Thought you’d watched everything out there? Time to broaden your horizons.

Photo illustration. Photos: Yu Yu Hakusho, Cowboy Bebop, Hunter x Hunter/Hulu, Aggretsuko/Netflix, timnewman, SB, Robin Gentry/Getty Images

Bet you didn’t know streaming platforms had a bottom. Not a quality bottom, like the social media muck where White supremacists and Tory Lanez apologists congregate, but an actual bottom. Like, you’ve officially seen it all. At least that’s how it feels almost 11 months after the first shutdowns began; we’re all still inside watching the same hodgepodge of warmed-over crime dramas or the umpteenth episode of 90 Day Fiance. Don’t worry, there’s an entire universe of shows out there waiting for you: anime.

While so many other genres seemed to fall flat this year, 2020 was glorious for stylish…

A year later, it’s time to contend with the man’s whole self — his growth and wrongs in equal measure

Photo: VCG/Getty Images

A year after Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s sudden death, it still feels like an open wound. Some people are able to remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. That’s not the case for me. What I remember is the feeling: first apprehension, then a visceral pang as my heart sank into the soles of my feet. I do remember, quite clearly, a gap in both time and information when news filtered out about the helicopter crash. …

The newest Netflix obsession, Bridgerton, comes from TV’s peak pound-for-pound provocateur, Shonda Rhimes. And just like Shondaland productions Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, Bridgerton’s propulsive dalliance with the messy underpinnings of society have all but endeared fans across the globe.

But just because it addresses and seemingly brushes past issues of class, status, and rape culture doesn’t mean we as an audience cannot take them on seriously.

In Daphne Bridgerton raped her husband and why it’s important to not romanticize it,” writer Yia Vue focuses on Daphne, who so desperately wants a child that she…

Netflix’s newest bingeable heist series plays with race, but insists on doing so in a lily-white version of Paris.

Photos: Emmanuel Guimier/Netflix

In Lupin, Netflix’s new French heist series, the first score takes place below the Louvre. Having joined the building’s janitorial crew weeks before, Assane Diop (Omar Sy) ascends into the opulent showrooms of the historic museum, transforming with the scenery from musty custodian to self-made tuxedoed playboy. The seamlessness of his metamorphosis nods at Assane’s Blackness — singular among the snowflake elite in the Louvre, nondescript among members of the working class in its bowels.

We’ve seen this fish-out-of-water juxtaposition before: Think Sammy Davis Jr. in Ocean’s 11. But in Lupin, as viewers get to know Assane Diop, it becomes…

Tirhakah Love

African from Texas• Staff Writer at LEVEL • Black politics, Celebrity interviews, TV & Film Criticism • Previously: MTV News, San Francisco Chronicle

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