*Right before award-winning actress Ayisha Issa joined the cast of the new NBC show, Transplant, which centers on a charismatic Syrian doctor who came to Canada as a refugee during the Syrian Civil War, and is now rebuilding his career as a medical resident in the emergency department at York Memorial Hospital in Toronto, she made a major decision in her life: to go natural, publicly.
“I had had my hair permed forever and even though I was perming it, I was perming it because I didn’t know how to take care of it,” she explained.
If you’re a black woman working in corporate America, you know the weight of that decision. It’s one that can be met with a decent amount of contention, questions and curiosity, from a society conditioned to marginalize brown women’s kinky, curly, coiling hair as being ‘distracting’ or ‘too scary.’
“It’s exciting, because the timing I think is working out really well right now, where people are very curious about each other. They’re more open to new experiences and [how] other people are living…people from different backgrounds and cultures, there’s a push for that now,” she said. “I think that the importance of our hair comes from the fact that for a very long time, unfortunately, we have not learned how to incorporate that aspect of self-care into our everyday life [as black women].”
It was a bold move indeed-one which she is fully embracing and encouraging other young girls to be empowered to do in Montreal, Canada, her hometown.
“I always felt like I had a platform. Right now, I’m doing some work here in Canada and trying to figure out how we can have black hair care be apart of our school systems.”
Her non-profit seeks to train young cosmetologists of all backgrounds to know, understand and care for black hair. It’s a passion project of hers, seeing how in Montreal, there was only one celebrity hairstylist who knew how to do black hair when the NBC series first started production, and she was booked, leaving Issa with few options of someone who understand her hair in the way she’d want them to.
“These people leave [cosmetology] school not knowing anything about black hair care, and that needs to change,” she said. “I’m hoping that because I have this platform, people will be more willing to hear what I have to say.”
Playing Dr. June Curtis, one of the main characters Transplant, Issa understands impact she has and can potentially have even more of with the platform she’s been given. Not taking it for granted, she’s using it to elevate her voice-for herself and for the future of girls who look just like her.
“It’s a beautiful transformational period that we’re in right now and I think that women of a certain age are all learning about their natural hair, and then the generations that are coming up, fortunately are learning their natural hair care, from young, and so that change is being made and I’m just so excited to be apart of that,” Issa said.
So whether it’s embracing her hair, living a healthy lifestyle, or perfecting her craft as a practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Issa’s passion is to use this new platform she’s been given to promote empowerment, letting people know black women don’t have to fit in any particular box.
“What I want the generations coming up to know, is that you have every right to do you, and whatever that means to you and you’re not limited by any way, shape or form by the color of your skin. That is something that’s being projected onto you from the outside world and you don’t need to take that on.”
Transplant airs every Tuesday at 10pm EST on NBC.
ARRAY DRIVE-IN: ‘GET OUT the Vote with SELMA’
*Ava DuVernay’s non-profit ARRAY ALLIANCE is launching its second ARRAY Drive-in screening event on Friday, Oct. 30 and Sat. Oct. 31.
This latest cinema experience is a community empowerment activation featuring two Oscar-winning films: SELMA amplifies the importance of voting to activate change as we approach the upcoming presidential election. GET OUT is the perfect psychological horror thriller to screen on Halloween.
In addition to the films, the open to the public screenings in ARRAY’s Historic Filipinotown/Westlake neighborhood will include on-site voting booths provided by LA Vote mobile voting center, on Friday, Oct. 30. Attendees can vote in person or drop-off their ballots.
Friday, Oct. 30 – SELMA, directed by Ava DuVernay and on-site voting via LAVote.net’s mobile voting center
Saturday, Oct. 31 – GET OUT, directed by Jordan Peele
Ticket Information: First come, first serve entry with advance ticket registration at http://www.arraynow.com/drivein#elevent
Follow Us on Twitter and IG: @ARRAYNow
Founded in 2011 by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, ARRAY is a multi-platform arts and social impact collective dedicated to narrative change. The organization catalyzes its work through a quartet of mission-driven entities: the film distribution arm ARRAY Releasing, the content company ARRAY Filmworks, the programming and production hub ARRAY Creative Campus and the non-profit group ARRAY Alliance. www.arraynow.com
The Pulse of Entertainment: Brian Courtney Wilson Says Be ‘Still’ on New Album
*“Move past fear,” said Grammy nominated Brian Courtney Wilson about the meaning of the title to his new album “Still” (EMI/Motown Gospel). “You got to stay focused on your assignment. It’s in the Bible. Be still and keep moving without doubting and move mountains.”
“Still” is the Chicago native’s fifth album and in that time since 2009 he has garnered multi-Grammy nominations, a Billboard Music Award nomination, and has won multiple Stellar Awards, a Dove Award and an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award. Featured artists on “Still” include Maranda Curtis and Jeff Pardo. Grammy nominated Eric Roberson (United Tenors) co-wrote the track “Waiting” which encourages one to recognize when God has answered your prayers.
“The best feeling I had was when Eric Roberson sent it to me,” Brian said about the single “Waiting.” “I was almost in tears. It’s why I was feeling this peace.”
Other tracks on the album include “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler);” “Ain’t No Need to Worry,” featuring Maranda; “Forever;” “Sure As;” the title track “Still;” “Merciful and Mighty,” and “Fear is Not Welcome,” featuring Jeff.
Wilson launched his first solo tour, “Just (B) Tour,” just before the pandemic hit and grounded everyone home.
“It went well,” he said when I asked about the tour. “I’m looking forward to doing it again. We’re figuring out a way to do it virtually.” www.BrianCourtneyWilson.com
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming to Los Angeles Saturday, November 7, 2020 via Zoom Video Conferencing and to Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall. The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or to RSVP for Zoom Access email [email protected]
‘Selena: The Series’ – Official Trailer Debut from Netflix! / WATCH
*Today, Netflix debuted the trailer for “Selena: The Series” – A coming-of-age story following Selena as she chases her dreams, and the heart-wrenching and life-changing sacrifices she and her family make as they navigate the highs and lows of success, loss, love, and music. Part one of the two-part series premieres on Netflix on December 4, 2020.
MORE ABOUT SELENA: THE SERIES
Before she became the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla was a young girl from Texas with big dreams and an even bigger voice. Selena: The Series explores her journey from singing small gigs to becoming the most successful female Latin artist of all time — and the years of hard work and sacrifice the Quintanilla family navigated together.
From executive producers Jaime Dávila, Rico Martinez, Hiromi Kamata, Suzette Quintanilla, Simran A. Singh and Moises Zamora, Selena: The Series was created by Zamora, with Don Todd (“This is Us”) consulting, and stars Christian Serratos, Gabriel Chavarria, Ricardo Chavira, Noemí Gonzalez, and Seidy López.
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