Death At a Funeral: But Love Lives

April 22, 2010
chris rock regina hall
Like death, life can often be unpredictable.

My boyfriend and I had planned a Caribbean getaway to celebrate our first anniversary in April, and I could already taste the pina coladas. But circumstances changed and he had to be in town for a work project, so we had to postpone. On the verge of a "woe is me" party, I checked myself (with his help) and had an awesome celebration right in Harlem doing what we love best: laughing.

We were front and center opening weekend for "Death at a Funeral." After seeing the slapstick trailer and feeling let down with the Why Did I get Married sequel, we weren't expecting much.

But the movie turned out to be well-made, REALLY funny . . . and include functional couples (you know I was looking:).

My heart went out to Chris Rock's onscreen wife Michelle, played by Regina Hall. At 37, her clock is ticking loudly after trying for a baby, and when her calendar says she's ovulating she tries to coax Chris Rock to try for their baby, before heading to his dad's funeral downstairs.

Before we can judge her for being so persistent, we see why when her mother-in-law played by Loretta Devine won't let her forget she hasn't reproduced. Trying to fix the grieving wife a plate, mom-in-law tells Michelle, "You can't comprehend death until you have give life." Ouch. I would have been meditating for my neck not to swivel at that comment.

Through the many snubs from her mother-in-law, Michelle stays strong for her husband on what is obviously a rough day, including being outshined by his little brother, played by Martin Lawrence. And I felt their stress of possibly not being able to get the house they've been saving for with a possible unforeseen expense.

This is a real couple with real problems, while trying to make it work. I could relate.

I respect Tyler Perry for his hustle and have laughed at the movies, but this family was a lot more like mine and my friends than any TP sitcom, family reunion or mad black woman diary. . . . Folks going for their dreams and making each other laugh along the way. I dig it.

After Brandy & Ray J: Bringing Back the Love

April 12, 2010

After two seasons of Ray J's Flavor Flav style "search for love," I didnt plan on liking his new show with Brandy.

But I do.

When his dominating mom Sonja Norwood gets on the camera and says how she is ready to get her own life again and work on her marriage my ears perked up.

In the year of the Tiger-like scandals, and Beyonce's dad Mathew admitting he has a new son younger than his grandson, it's refreshing to see a couple working on making it work.

These are two people who realize where they went a little wrong (Brandy and Ray J are old enough to be handling their own lives and mess ups!), and are working on their relationship after raising a family.

Where she's loud, he's quiet. Where she needs a plan, he's a let it flow type of guy. I know I'm not the only one who can relate to opposites working out quite nicely:)

Then the show mixes in some inevitable fighting between Ray and Brandy, as their relationship evolves.

We met Ray-J over a decade ago as Brandy's brother. And now she's working to not become known as Ray-J's sister. He took a low blow saying to her "Check my bank account" during a disagreement in a office meeting, alluding to the fact he may be funding more of the family business now. But I cant say a word as my last argument with my brother ended with me ready to physically fight . . .

So for someone starved to see the Black middle class on TV, this real family with real ish, and working to keep the family strong is definitely filling a void.

Ray J and Brandy: A Family Business airs Sunday evenings on VH1. Plan on watching?