DANCING IN SEPTEMBER (2000)

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Written & Directed By: Reggie Rock Bythewood
Cinematography: Bill Dill
Editor: Kevin Krasny & Joel Plotch 


Cast: Nicole Ari Parker, Isiah Washinton, Vicellous Reon Shannon, Kadeem Hardison, Estelle Harris, Malinda Williams, Tichina Arnold, James Avery, Jenifer Lewis, Jay Underwood, Constance Marie, Wren T. Brown, Marcia Cross, Anna Maria Horsford, Mel Jackson, Brent Jennings, Juanita Jennings, Peter Onaroti, Chi McBride, KImberly Russell, Royale Watkins, Aisha Tyler 

 A black female TV producer struggles in Hollywood.

This film though having a fictional story does give insight into the television industry from an African American point of view at the time. Which is interesting and informal. It also seems maybe a little autobiographical but the writers and director. Though actors playing various roles in between the narrative story. Give focus into the story and it’s themes. While exposing the racial bias faced by people of color in that industry.

The story at first is of struggle and success. How it eventually can corrupt, in the middle of this success is a tragedy waiting to happen. That shines a light on the horror of instant fame.

The film also show how hard it is when you start out with artistic goals and how quickly you are forced to compromise for success and how the compromise eventually can take over as she finds herself saying the same things her old boss said to her and with the same attitude.

The film exposes rampant problems that already run through television and the film industry at the time and may very well be the same now. The film industry is more of a freelance problem. Television is a whole different subject all together.

Writing staffs of television shows. African American shows never universally popular so kind of treated like a stepchild. Even if it is more an influence of being hip and adding that to the culture. It also shows how black writers can be made to feel alone or outcast when writing for Caucasian shows. Or even being a black voice on an African American show mostly written by caucasians.

Always either stuck in poverty and finding humor in it or Rich in drama. It feels like the characters in these shows can never be privileged or middle class successful or when they are, the shows and characters seem like it’s attacked as not truthful or believable. Usually by critics who have never lived that kind of life. Believing what they see and hear on the news and can’t identify with the characters.

Most writing staffs have one minority or hire one for a season don’t let them stay and nurture before they are let go, not fitting in. We supposedly don’t know your culture but supposedly you know African American. Though we grew up with your culture in our face more in all of pop culture. Now at least there is a diversity clause and program that helps integrate a little more smoothly while also giving more writers of color a chance.

As THE COSBY SHOW was thought of as popular. Unrealistic and Shonda Rhimes who is a television powerhouse now her first medical show CITY OF ANGELS was mostly African American cast and was cancelled after one season but her racially diverse show Grey’s ANATOMY is still on the Air after many seasons.

I’m not trying to start an argument on race. Maybe more a discussion that needs to be had. As here I am just more exposing my feelings and some information you might have a counter argument for all I have brought up but I am just here to state my point of view ensue like with all reviews. I am not an authority just giving my informed opinion

Which is why the film is likeable this film it makes You think and brings up issues we can discuss. The film leaves it open needed. With no concrete answers. Just as in life you have to deal with the consequences. Though it needs to be addressed and might not present them in the best manor but at least brings it up.

So while this movie is entertaining. It is also trying to be informative and bring up subjects not being addressed or that the general public might not be aware of,

The dramatization of the story is trying and effective and the actors all excelled. Even if the show they present feels like a FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR type. It is a product of it’s time and it seems that things might be slightly better in the current climate.

GRADE: B-

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