'Girls Trip' Will Forever Change The Way You See A Grapefruit

No doubt about it: Girls Trip is an instant classic.  

I basically watch movies for a living and never have I laughed as much as I did this weekend. (Full disclaimer: I've already seen Girls Trip twice.)

Following a reunion of sorts for a quartet of college friends known as the "Flossy Posse," Girls Trip is a whopping good time that can only be described as Sex and the City meets Bridesmaids, but with black women and quite honestly, 1000x better!

Taking place in the Crescent City (i.e. New Orleans), the film follows Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), a perfect wife and mother turned single mom; Sasha (Queen Latifah), a journalist turned broke gossip blogger; Dina (Tiffany Haddish), a raucous party girl; and Ryan (Regina Hall), a lifestyle guru married to an athlete named Stewart (Mike Colter) and the author of a best-selling book entitled You Can Have It All and their time at the annual #BlackGirlMagic meet-up known as ESSENCE Festival. 

The women’s wild weekend gets complicated, however, when Sasha receives a paparazzi photo of Ryan’s husband Stewart with a predatory Instagram model, sparking drama, secrets, and jealousy. 

As a former ESSENCE employee, this movie did the festival an insane amount of justice. It was a surreal experience watching the festival played out on screen especially being that I was there last year working! (If you go see it and spot me, let me know!) The New Edition concerts, seeing Mariah Carey, hanging out in the VIP lounge, sampling the food from the ESSENCE Eats area-all of it is just as magical as it looks on screen. 

The celebration of sisterhood involved plenty of quotable and stomach-clenching moments (purely from laughter) thanks to breakout star Tiffany Haddish. She complimented the more serious storylines perfectly and forever changed the way I will look at a grapefruit. Her raunchy persona was a nice change from the usual stuffy, buttoned-up way black women are portrayed on-screen. And for this we have co-writer Tracy Oliver to thank. 

“I think we need to show all aspects of black lives,” Oliver told The Hollywood Reporter. “I love Moonlight. I love Hidden Figures, but I also want to see some people who are having fun and just showing female friends hanging out. It doesn’t have to always be so serious. We can just relax and like hang out and have a good time, too.”

Although I'm a journalist I found myself identifying most with Ryan, the strong friend. A wildly successful young entrepreneur who "has it all" I sometimes struggle to keep up with the charade of my life.. As a 23-year-old thriving magazine editor, blogger living in NYC, I’m often the one my friends call on in their times of need, but don't always feel the support in return. 

While it may be too late for me and some of those friends, Girls Trip gave me hope that one day I'll find my own "Flossy Posse," and reminded me that it's okay to not always be the "strong one." Definitely the perfect reminder at a time like this for me. 

Hey, the movie even gave me hope that I'll find my own Julian (i.e. Larenz Tate). Lord, let me tell you. The other amazing thing about this film is the showing of black love. I didn't see anything but fine chocolate men onscreen with my favorite being Ryan's almost-love interest. That bass player is something else I tell you! I might go see the movie again just for him. 

Few movies over the years have adequately touched on black female friendships (Waiting to Exhale, Set It Off) and I'm happy to see this one added to the collection of greats.

Point blank: Girls Trip was fantastic and even had a perfect ending. In one of the final scenes Regina Hall’s character mentioned that there is something powerful about being in the presence of people who know the real you–and frankly I couldn’t agree more.

Here's to celebrating one of the greatest movies of our time! 

Photos from Universal Pictures

Sorry, Not Sorry: 14 Things Women Should Never Apologize For

These days, the phrase “I’m sorry” is used more often than ever before. (Guilty as charged!) In an effort to combat society’s stereotypes of us and appear as non-threatening as possible we constantly apologize for things like our looks, our ambitions and our love lives. But ladies, enough is enough! Just like anyone else we have a right to own these things and live unapologetically. Therefore here are 14 things we should never apologize for.

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Having an Opinion

The “overly-emotional woman” stereotype doesn’t seem like it’s going away so just do you boo. Speak your mind respectfully and say what you’re feeling even if others don’t like it.

Not Wanting Children

Somewhere, somehow we got the rep of being baby-crazed, nurturers. Not always true. When it comes to kids, one size does not fit all and that’s perfectly fine. Never feel the need to justify your reasons for wanting to just be the “cool aunt” forever.

Being Ambitious

People will try to tell you that you can only achieve so much as a woman of color—don't listen to them. Barrel right through that and never say sorry about working your behind off.

Having Feelings

The world might think we’re cold and abrasive, but we get emotional too. And hey, it’s natural! Cry. Laugh. Smile. Yell. Whatever you’re feeling, let it show.

Your Quirky Hobbies

I like to sticker up my planner on the weekends. And?

Your Obsession with Male Celebs

So what if you spend your evenings fantasizing about Michael B. Jordan and Chris Pine. Doesn’t everyone?

Watching Reality TV Shows

Enjoy Real Housewives, Love and Hip Hop or The Bachelorette? Own it.

Saying 'No' To Going Out

It's understandable and essential to maintaining sanity—not selfish. You only have one life and the only person that is always going to be there is yourself. Always make sure that you are happy and okay.

Your Success

Chances are you've gotten at least one comment implying that you've only gotten what you have because of some sort of handout or “system.” But remember you've gotten to where you are because you worked hard and don't let people tell you otherwise.

Not Wearing Makeup

Unlike Beyoncé I have no desire to look Flawless all of the time.

Your Curves (or lack of curves!)

Every size is beautiful! And let’s be completely real, black women slay regardless of pants size.

Your Sub-Par Cooking Skills

Excuse me, but we don’t exist just to be Susie homemaker. If you can throw down in the kitchen snaps to you. If not don’t apologize for ordering takeout or only volunteering to bake the cornbread at Thanksgiving.

Splurging on Shoes

Or bags. Or jewelry. You see it. You want it. Work hard and grind 'til you own it.

Being You

Need I say more?

Ava DuVernay's Career Journey Is All The Inspiration You Need To Never Give Up

In 2015, I was a editorial assistant at Health magazine doing a happy dance in front of my computer when my purchase for Ava DuVernay's special (limited) edition Barbie doll went on sale. In less than fifteen minutes they had sold out and I was one of the lucky few who snagged one. 

That Ava Barbie now sits on the shelf above my bed and everyday I smile at it, inspired. I guess I should clarify that I'm not really inspired by the Barbie doll itself, but by who it represents: a phenomenal woman, filmmaker, artist, activist, writer and my very own sorority sister. Sorry. Had to throw that last part in there!

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Her breakthrough 2014 film, Selma, earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director, the first for a female African-American auteur and ever since then Ava's been turning heads with her work, humble personality and inspiring story. 

As a child she wanted to be a lawyer, and then a journalist. In college she didn’t even study film; she studied African-American history at UCLA. It wasn’t until she became a publicist, where she was on movie sets with filmmakers that she realized she could be a filmmaker too. After 12 years she quit her day job and at the age of 32 directed her first short film. Yes, you read that correctly. She didn't really get going in film until she was 32 and yet, she has become one of the most influential directors of the 21st century. Like everybody loves Ava. Don't believe me? Just check Twitter. 

“Secretly. I started writing a script at night and on weekends, and eventually I shot my own short on a Christmas vacation. It was imperfect and crazy and nerve-racking and not good, but I did it and then just kept going,” she said in an interview. Thank God, she kept going because what would we do without her?!

Now, most of us are beating ourselves up day-in and day-out because our twenties aren't going anywhere according to plan. We feel behind. Unfulfilled. Lost in a sea of uncertainty and wondering if we'll ever find that spark. The myth is: once you’re 25, you’re way past your prime. That Oscar? Forget it and find a desk job. But, if there's anything we can take from Ava's journey it's the power of patience, and realizing that it's never too late to dream a new dream. 

“For me, it’s a question of the way we pursue our creative dreams. There is something in our culture that says your dream or the thing you’re pursuing has to happen immediately and all at once, and that is destructive to the creative spirit. I just embraced the idea that this was going to be a gradual exploration of the thing I was interested in—making films—and gave myself permission to go slowly. I didn’t beat myself up for the fact that I had a day job. I considered how I could strengthen myself through my day job so that one was feeding the other.” (Jezebel)

This is something I'm *admittedly* trying to get through my head right now. Starting over isn't always is, but sometimes it's what's right. Not for others, but for you. 

Creatives: quit dreaming and start doing by just taking that first step. How? Well, Ava says it best. It's to not wait for permission. 

"What do you want? If you want to be famous and have a big car and a fancy house, that’s a different thing. You have to ask permission for that. But if you want to make a film, say, and your reasons are truly for the experience of doing it and for the storytelling and the art of it, you don’t have to ask anyone," she said. 

Now can you see why every time I look at that Barbie I smile? She is literally EVERYTHING. And her films are worthy of nothing, but praise (which is usually what they all garner). Her Netflix documentary 13th just received 8 Emmy nominations — ranging from Outstanding Directing to Outstanding Writing.

Next up, is her adaption of A Wrinkle in Time hitting theaters in March 2018. As the first Black woman to direct a film with a budget of $100 million, which features an ethnically diverse cast (Oprah, Mindy Kaling, AND Reese Witherspoon!), she cements her status as a legend, creating art that affirms and inspires us all. 

On my bucket list: to actually meet her!