Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of Her Final Public Television Interview on BET’s 106 & Park

This was Aaliyah’s final public interview.

On August 21, 2001, Aaliyah appeared on this show to give away the grand prize of her “Get Paid in the Escalade Contest.”  Every day for the past month, an audience member received a one thousand dollar cash prize, and was entered to win the grand prize of twenty thousand dollars in cash, and a black 2002 Cadillac Escalade SUV.

Aaliyah also announced that her next single would be “Rock the Boat” and that she would begin filming the video the next day.  A video for “More than a Woman,” which was originally intended to be her the second single from her self-titled album, had already been filmed, but she confirmed that it would be released after “Rock the Boat.”

We learn some personal information about Aaliyah.  She says that she has never owned a vehicle because living in New York means there is no point, since New York is not a car-friendly city, but she would like to have a truck if she did have her own automobile.  Her video for “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number” was shown as the episode’s “old school joint,” an older music video, and Aaliyah explained that this was the only video she did in Detroit, which was where she grew up (Aaliyah was born in New York City).  Several of her friends appeared in the video.  Other of her favorite videos that she did included “One in a Million” and “Are You That Somebody?” because the latter consisted entirely of one of her favorite things: dancing.

Aaliyah also got the chance to interview some of the finalists.  She asked one young woman what she would do if she won the car.  She said she would drive to beach.  When Aaliyah asked what she would do with the money, she said that she would help her family and then  go on a shopping spree.

Eventually, the winner was chosen: a young man named Julian Hawkins.

This was really nice.  Aaliyah showed how relatable she was, and how much she loved to give back.  Of course, in hindsight, it seems bittersweet, but we saw how in her final days, she was still doing what she loved and reaching out to others.

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Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Her Final Music Video “Rock the Boat” on BET’s Access Granted

This was the last footage of Aaliyah, other than the music video for “Rock the Boat.”

On August 22, 2001, Aaliyah began filming the music video in Miami.  The video was directed by Hype Williams, who has directed other videos for many hip-hop and R&B artists.

Aaliyah is in a studio filming a dance routine in front of a green screen.  The green screen would later be replaced by tidal waves in post-production.  We meet her “sister,” her very close friend, Fatimah Robinson, who created the routine.  Robinson stated that the dance moves were based on African and Caribbean (specifically Jamaican reggae and dancehall) influences.  The two also joke about how they try to please Aaliyah’s mother in making sure that the routine is not too sexy.  We also meet Aaliyah’s hair stylist and makeup artist, who wold also perish in the plane crash that happened three days later.

That night, Aaliyah films scenes underwater in a swimming pool.  The illusion is created to make it look as though she is wimming in the ocean.  She struggles to use the breathing machine, and so she holds her breath, and later, she states that it was hard, but worth the beautiful footage, they captured.

On August 24, 2001, production had since moved to Marsh Harbour, Abaco Islands, The Bahamsa.  Aaliyah is up early in the morning to film scenes on the shore of the beach.  She says that it is painful to wake up so early to get ready for filming, but she will do anything to make a great video.

Later she films scenes under what appears to be a hut, and the next day, she films scenes on a boat.  We also see footage of some free time, where she lunges by a pool with her makeup artist.  She asks her clothing stylist to explain how he is inspired to dress her as he does.

This episode is nice, but sad, as Aaliyah and her entourage are having so much fun (despite working very hard) on this video, and yet, they have no idea that this would be the last major thing they ever do.  Filming in a tropical paradise location, and having not a care in the world, except for the work they are doing, and not knowing they would die soon, makes the tragedy all the more heartbreaking.

 

Commemoration of the Fifteenth Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death: Recap and Review of Her Episode of MTV’s Stripped

MTV’s  Stripped was a series where celebrities were interviewed in a unique way.  Instead of a person asking them questions, they would pick their own questions to answer.  The questions would be split into various categories.  And the guest would pick up a piece of paper and talk about what is written.

The episode featuring Aaliyah is seemingly the most well-known episode, and has apparently gone viral in the years following her tragic death.  When you google  “MTV Stripped,” many of the search results are related to her episode.  On Tumblr, all of the search results are related to her episode.

The episode is nice because it shows who Aaliyah the person is.  She talks about lots of things, and she shows that she is just like any non-celebrity person.

For example, Aaliyah talks about what she does to chill.  She likes to take bubble baths, or alternately, she will read a book; she said that she was currently obsessed with Harry Potter and that she is on the second book.

Aaliyah talks about musicians she admires.  She praises a not so popular, but talented singer named Lewis Taylor.  She got starstruck when she attended a public MTV for Janet Jackson, and Stevie Wonder, a singer she is a huge fan of, asked to meet her.  And her “soul sister” Sade, who shares the same birthday, and whom she praises for never compromising who she is as an artist, even if she were to take a long hiatus.  She also expresses admiration for Britney Spears and NSYNC, especially Justin Timberlake.

Aaliyah talks about being a celebrity.  She says that she doesn’t talk about her relationships because although being a celebrity means you give up lots of privacy, she feels the need to keep at least one thing out of the public eye, and that thing is her love life.  Another thing she mentions is rumors.  Aaliyah found it funny that people claim that she has a glass eye, and that that is why she constantly wears sunglasses and covers her left eye with her hair.  But she seems annoyed when she recalled how one person asked her to her face if she has a glass eye.  The person could clearly see that she does not.

Aaliyah is not afraid be a little negative.  She expresses a fear of motorbikes.  And she refuses to talk about an embarrassing date.  She also confesses to having changed a grade on her report card from a C to an A.

Celebrity interviews can be very intersting, and it is especially nice to seem them lead the way, and to give them a chance tell us about them.  Aaliyah, because she was very relatbale made this very enjoyable.

 

TV Tropes Thursday: TV Tropes: Role Ending Misdemeanor

Happy Thursday.  I know that I missed talking about TV Tropes on Tuesday. I’m considering talking about a specific trope on both Tuesday and Thursday, since I have more free time during the summer.

Role Ending Misdemeanor is when a person loses  a job as an entertainer or other type of public figure due to making bad choices, or sometimes, choices that would hurt the reputation of the given production/project.

There are several noteworthy examples.  Two of them come from the world of Beauty Pageants.  Vanessa Williams made history as the first black Miss America in 1983.  But when Penthouse published nude photos of her that were taken one year earlier (she was led to believe that they would be destroyed), she was pressured to give up her crown (Sidenote: Playboy was offered the photos, but turned them down despite their interest because she didn’t give permission for them to see the light of day.).  However, Williams bounced back with successful music and acting careers, and fully recovered from the scandal.

A more recent example is the case of Carrie Prejean, the former Miss California USA 2009, caused a controversy when she revealed during the Miss USA pageant, that she is against marriage equality.  Later there was more scandal when sexually-charged photos of her were publicized, but she was still able to keep her crown and until being stripped of it due to breaching her contract; the breach has nothing to do with the earlier incidents.

Sometimes, however, offending “mores of sexuality” is not the reason for this trope to play out in real life.  Instead, it’s due to actual crimes like assault and drug use.  For example, Aaron Sorkin ended his involvement with The West Wing, due to a drug scandal.

Other times, it is due to cast conflicts,  Shannon Doherty was fired from Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed for that reason.  Isaiah Washington was not offered a new contract Grey’s Anatomy following homophobic remarks made againt T.R. Knight.  Nicollette Sheridan was written out of Desperate Housewives, according to the producers, due to unprofessional behavior such as feuding with co-stars, showing up late to the set, and failing to learn her lines; Sheridan, however, alleged in a lawsuit that she was fired because she complained after allegedly being slapped by the show’s creator, Marc Cherry.

 

Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Sailor Moon

A favorite show of mine when I was a child was Sailor Moon.  I think most of you would be familiar with it.  It is a Japanese manga and anime series about a group of teen girls who fight evil under alter egos that are named after the Moon and the planets in the sky.

In Japan, the series was huge.  It was revolutionary for being the first manga/anime to center around magical girls  in a team fighting evil.  It was also one of the first anime series to become popular in America during the 1990s when anime started taking off in the Western World.

The series premiered in Japan in 1992 and ended after 200 episodes across 5 seasons in 1997.  It first premiered in America in 1995, but it was not until 1998, when it began airing as a part of Cartoon Network’s anime/action-block Toonami, that it became hugely popular in the west.

It aired until 2000.  The  fifth and final season never aired in any English-speaking country.  A couple of years later, the American rights expired, and the show was unavailable legally in America.

However, now in anticipation of a Sailor Moon reboot, the original is available on Hulu uncut, uncensored, and undubbed.  Not only that the entire series, including the fifth season, will be re-dubbed (The original dub is often considered subpar due to censorship and other changes to make the series more suitable for a Western audience.).

Thinking back, I enjoyed the show because of its well-drawn characters and action.  In the past 4-5 years, I began researching the show and watching some episodes on YouTube.  It was fun to relive those episodes.  Now, that the show is available on Hulu, in its original form, that gives even more inventive to enjoy this show all over again.

 

 

Gender and Sexuality as portrayed in the Glee Episode “Feud”

This written as part of my Gender and Sexuality class.  We viewed the Glee episode “Feud.” After that, we had to write about the show’s depiction of gender and sexuality.

 

Ellis Sutton

Critical Gender and Sexualities

04/21/2014

 

The show Glee has always had lots of focus on gender and sexuality issues, and the episode “Feud” was no exception.  Just about every storyline in the episode involved gender or sexuality.

The main conflict is between Will Schuester, the coach of the glee club, and former student Finn Hudson.  Will was engaged to marry school guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury, but things ended after Finn kissed Emma.

This conflict is about two men and a sort of “competition” over the sexuality of a woman.  However, while that may be the basic conflict, the issue becomes far more complex.  Will does not view Emma as his property, let alone Finn as violating or “stealing” her.  He is betrayed.  Finn joined the military after graduating high school.  However, after some problems, he was discharged, and didn’t know what to do with his life.  Will invited Finn to help him coach the glee club, and Finn even coached the club without Will when Will left to go to Washington, D.C. to prevent the U.S. government from cutting funding of arts programs (such as the glee club).  Throughout the series, Will was a father figure towards Finn, and was always looking out for him and encouraging him to be successful.  Then Finn repays Will by disrespecting his relationship with Emma.  Clearly, a seemingly primal male-male fight over a woman’s sexuality has for more nuance than one might assume.

Another issue is between Rachel Berry and her boyfriend Brody.  Rachel’s roommate Santana believes that Brody is cheating on Rachel.  Brody is working as a male escort.  This interesting because prostitution, whether it is on the street or in hotels, is often something that is done by women.  Santana finds about Brody’s work, and tries to get him to leave Rachel.  Rachel, however, refuses to believe Santana, and she along with, Kurt, demand that she leave the apartment they share.  After this, Santana calls Finn (Rachel’s ex-boyfriend), who by then has been banished, and tells him about Brody.  Finn responds by confronting Brody, and ordering him to leave Rachel, this leads to fight where Finn brutally beats Brody, all while Finn calls Rachel his fiancée even though they have not yet even reconciled.  This depicts how protective people can be of their former romantic partners.  It’s also another example in the episode of men competing over the sexuality of women.

Another conflict is that between Ryder Lynn and Unique Adams previously known as Wade Adams.  Unique is male-to-female transgender, and Ryder refuses to acknowledge that Unique identifies as female.  Ryder refers to Unique as a boy, and rejects Unique’s identity.  Later while, chatting with his online girlfriend, Katie, about the situation, she tells him that is Unique says she’s a girl, then that’s her truth, and he needs to respect that even if he doesn’t understand that.  Katie uses the analogy that he wouldn’t like it if people told him that their relationship isn’t real because they’ve never met in real life.  Ryder comes around, and he fully acknowledges Unique as a girl.  Gender and identity is something that is hard to understand, but Glee showed how people need to be open-minded and sometimes accept things because one person’s reality may not be the same as another person’s reality.  Everyone is different, but each difference is equally valid.

 

Favorite Childhood Shows Friday: Favorite Childhood Shows: Dexter’s Laboratory

One of my favorite shows from childhood, Dexter’s Laboratory is just great.  Focusing on a young super genius with a secret laboratory hidden in his bedroom, the show featured all sorts of mishaps and misadventures.

Thinking back on the show, there was so much to enjoy from it, from the humor, to the characters, to all of the things that went wrong with Dexter’s experiments.  Dexter could be maniacal, mean, and unappreciative of its but he still had a heart, and was usually well-intentioned.  He was frequently annoyed by his older Dee Dee who often entered the lab to play, often destroying his inventions in the process, but they still loved each other very much and occassionally helped each other out..

Over all, Dexter’s Laboratory was just wonderful, and one best shows on Cartoon Network.