ENTERTAINMENT/POLITICS

OBAMA BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN HOLLYWOOD

I am just loving CNN! I, like the other 38 million Americans, was glued to the station watching the Inauguration on January 20th and I haven’t stopped watching since. On that fateful day I watched (at times unable to hold back tears) history unfold right before my eyes. It all was so beautiful. From Sasha’s adorable thumbs up after her father’s speech (weren’t she and Malia just adorable with their little coats and pressed hair?) to Aretha Franklins rousing rendition of ‘My Country Tis of Thee’ to Barack and Michelle dancing their first dance to “At Last” sang by a visibly emotional Beyonce. There were so many great moments, but none more than Barack’s speech where he vowed to rebuild America and usher in a “new era of responsibility.”

Listening, I couldn’t help but think about those like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers who died to make all this possible, as well as those like my immigrant grandfather, my father and aunt, who were all activists for change in the 60s, and are not alive to see this day. I have to say I still can’t believe it and get chills every time I hear the words “President Obama.”

Already, he has ordered the closing of Guantanamo Bay and discontinued abusive methods, clamped a salary freeze on top staff earning more than $100,000 a year, granted his first interview with Arab television addressing U.S. relations with the Muslim world, and has been working diligently in a bipartisan effort to get his economic stimulus plan approved by February 16th. So far it looks like he’s moving forward with his campaign promises. I’m looking forward to more on his health care initiative and decisions regarding Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ll be watching CNN with baited breath.

Another station I can’t get enough of is Starz. Since January the 19th, the network has been airing a special I produced called “11.04.08: The Day of Change,” which features over 25 of black Hollywood’s most popular faces including Regina King, Vivica Fox, Michael Ealy, Dule Hill, CCH Pounder, Sinbad, Vanessa Williams, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Taye Diggs, LisaRaye, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Laila Ali, Terry Crews and more! They all tell their stories of how they felt when Obama was elected on November 4th.

The half-hour show runs through February, but just in case you don’t have Starz you can check it out at. I am sure you’ll love it. Honestly! This was truly one of the most memorable projects I’ve produced for the network and was all because of Barack Obama.

Long story short, the network called and asked me to help them produce their annual Black History Month special. A pretty simple task, they were looking for five to six young black stars to talk about special moments in black history that have stood out to them. I sent out requests but found the scheduling given the proximity to the holiday season to be a bit challenging. Thankfully, the creative director of Starz called me up and said they had changed the idea. He asked ‘how could we talk about Black History without keying in on the election of Barack Obama?’

A bit reluctant thinking most celebrities wouldn’t be interested, I sent out the revised request and boy was I wrong. From Star Jones to Hill Harper to Maya Angelou, everyone was saying yes trying to find out how they could take part. What started out as a one day shoot and brief interstitials (short promos between films) turned into two full days of shooting and a half hour special. On set there were plenty of tears and laughs as everyone told their heartfelt stories of what they were doing on that fateful day. The shoot was amazing, to say the least, and another testament to the power and magnetism that is Barack Obama.

Until next time, stay blessed, black and beautiful!
Jasmine

Jasmine Simpkins is a writer, producer and actress living in Los Angeles. She covers Hollywood from both in front of and behind the scenes. Her thoughts and experiences are chronicled exclusively for www.urbanthoughtcollective.com.


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Comments

January 30th, 2009 at 2:34 am Elsa Harkins says:

Yes girl I was glued to teh tube too but I was all up on MSNBC instaed of CNN. No matter what you watched you HAD to watch. What a great day that was and I’ll never forget it.

January 30th, 2009 at 8:50 am Raleena Millsap says:

He is definitely making some major moves there is a lot left to do but god bless him for trying to undo the mess quickly

January 30th, 2009 at 10:25 am Stephanie says:

Obama is a bad, bad man. I LOVE HIM!!! Hail to the President!

January 30th, 2009 at 10:29 am pmatters says:

Wasn’t their family just gorgeous. I teared up seeing them standing their while he took his oath. It was an amazing moment.

January 30th, 2009 at 10:49 am Tina says:

I include Obama in my prayers everyday. he has a lot on his plate.

January 30th, 2009 at 5:43 pm Elvira says:

I can’t wait to see your Black History piece it sounds really interesting.

January 30th, 2009 at 7:00 pm Monia says:

I was overwhelmed as I watched the inauguration. I get emotional every time I think of it.

January 30th, 2009 at 7:05 pm Ashley says:

What’s the name of your special? Wanna make sure I don’t miss it.

February 1st, 2009 at 12:50 pm Dominga Martin says:

Congrats Jasmine! Sounds like an amazing project. Look forward to checking out :) CNN has def. become more interesting since Barack stepped on the scene!

February 2nd, 2009 at 10:41 am Yollee says:

I for some reason can’t get with CNN or any of these news personalities, I just want the facts and its not about the folks reading the news its about the news itself. Congrats on your Starz show I will have to Tivo that for sure!

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