Ladies Go See Fifty Shades Of Grey TODAY!!

Roger Maloney

 Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;

Y’all KNOW, I NEVER miss opening night of a film!! But I’m a little “Johnny Come Lately” with my blog post of the movie Fifty Shades Of Grey, because I was at #PAFF (the Pan African Film Festival) handling my business as the Broadcast Manager for the #NationalBlackProgrammingConsortium. As they say, “better late than never!!” LOL. So, this Friday, my standing movie date, my #bestie, Ywanakee Allison and I, went to see the move and it didn’t disappoint!! It started out at a snails pace because it took a while to get to the sex scenes, which is the main reason why I couldn’t wait to see the film. But when it heated up, flames were popping off the screen!! In my #ParisHilton voice: “that’s hot!!”

For those of you who haven’t read #FiftyShadesOfGrey, the movie was a hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book by #ELJames, that has become a global phenomenon. In the movie, directed by #SamTaylorJohnson, Anastasia Steele, (played by Dakota Johnson), is a literature student, who goes to interview the wealthy Christian Grey, (played by the hottie, Jamie Dornan), as a favor to her roommate, Kate Kavanagh, she encounters a beautiful, brilliant and intimidating man. The innocent and naïve virgin, Ana, starts to realize she wants him. Despite his puzzling intensity and unclear advice, she finds herself desperate to get close to him. Not able to resist Ana’s beauty and independent spirit, #ChristianGrey admits he wants her too; but on his own terms!! Ana hesitates as she discovers the singular tastes of Christian – despite the embellishments of success, his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, and his loving family, Grey is consumed by the need to control everything, therein lies his thirst for sexual control as a Sadomasochist, which involves getting sexual pleasure from causing or feeling pain. Although Fifty Shades Of Grey is a trilogy, one doesn’t have to have read any of the books to enjoy the movie. Those visual nuances that you don’t get the benefit of when reading the book, comes alive in the film. Actually, I’m kind of glad that I hadn’t read all of the books because I would have been caught up in comparing them with the film and that’s no fun!!! When I go to the movies, I wanna chill and enjoy myself. I’m not there to make my #BrainBleed!! LOL.

Check out the trailer:

I was surprised at some of the random comments I read on YouTube about Fifty Shades Of Grey. I mean, some people were saying things that weren’t even factual!! S. Natasha said, “the content of FSoG is anti-feminist and outright rape/sexual assault.” NOT TRUE!! So to that I responded, “S. Natasha, there was never any sexual assault, rape or inferred rape in Fifty Shades Of Grey!! The definition of rape is: ‘unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.’ The operative phrase here is, ‘without the consent of the victim!!’ There was NEVER a time when Christian Grey, forced #AnastasiaSteele to have sex without her consent. She was always ready, willing and able to participate. As a matter of fact, as I recall, he always asked her before hand if she wanted to go forward and her answer was always YES!!” This chick was just making up stuff that never went down. Then some crazy dude named Kronic Shade said, “thank God for this movie, all my life I thought that you were supposed to treat women as adult human beings, if she says she’s not interested in sex, then that usually means she isn’t. Now I know better, when a women says no, it’s just a symbolic gesture as she’s really testing you because in truth, all women really want is a man that forces themselves upon her. I am terribly confused to what the rape charges after the fact symbolically represent though?” What is this guy talking about?? He’s a #DISASTER!! So my response to him was, “Kronic, did you watch the film!!!?? Or had you been smokin?? LOL. Because in Fifty Shades Of Grey, it was made VERY CLEAR that if Ana didn’t want to participate in certain sexual acts, all she had to do was use the word Yellow for caution and Red for stop and Christian Grey would have stopped!! Yes, No means NO!! And NO meant NO in the film!! So what is your confusion??” #SMH!!

I don’t know what people expected, but reading these kinds of comments about the movie Fifty Shades Of Grey made it very clear, just how closed minded we are in this country around sex and sexuality. Don’t get me wrong, the world of whips and chains ain’t for everybody. I totally get that. But we should be open enough and secure enough in our own sexuality, to be able to understand that two grown, consenting adults, may want to try a little freaky sneaky to spice up their sex life, even if it’s something that we wouldn’t have a desire to do ourselves. This film pushed sexual boundaries that made a lot of people uncomfortable, because it was “in your face” and public!! Most folks prefer to watch their sexual fantasies on the small screen, behind closed, locked, doors, because they don’t wanna be judged!! So they really don’t wanna be sitting in a crowded movie theater, filled with strangers, watching a movie like Fifty Shades Of Grey, because if they react favorably, it might confirm that secretly, THEY ARE CURIOUS!! I know I was!! LOL. #IJS!! In my #ArsenioHall voice; “things that make ya go Hmmmmm!!” LOL.

I won’t give the movie away but one of my favorite lines from Fifty Shades Of Grey was when Christian Grey said, “I’m Fifty Shades of fucked up!!” THAT WAS DEEP!! At that moment, I realized what the title Fifty Shades Of Grey really means; People are flawed! People are messy!! People’s lives are filled with backstory and drama!! Which was in essence, what he was trying worn Ana about. That profound statement humanized him. I began to see Christian Grey beyond the sex. Now my interest is really peaked!!

OMG, the casting was #TheBomb!! #FrancineMaisler, the casting director of Fifty Shades Of Grey, did her thing!! Deciding NOT to use celebrities in those roles was GENIUS!! It gave the audience a chance to watch with fresh eyes, rather than being preoccupied with the actor’s star status upstaging the role. #DakotaJohnson nailed the role of Anastasia Steele!! She was the perfect mix of innocence, sweet and aggressive. I believed her!! #JamieDornan killed the role of Christian Grey!! I didn’t think I was gonna love him because he doesn’t have the huge #LLCoolJ presence that I like in a man. But I gotta tell ya, in my #TamarBraxton voice, “he did that!!” In addition to his gorgeous face and killer body, those clothes!! WHEW!! Those clothes stepped up his #SWAG in a masculine, #DenzelWashington kind of way!! Oscar-winning costume designer Mark Bridges knew exactly what he was doing when he selected every piece of clothing down to Christian Grey’s draws!! In my #Beyonce voice, his ties, flawless!! His suits, flawless!! His shoes, flawless!! His work out gear, flawless!! His sneakers, flawless!! His jeans, flawless!! #Yaaaaasssss!!! Speaking of jeans, I have no interest in a man who sags, but in one scene, where Christian Grey was meeting Ana in his sex room, he was wearing some hot, holy, jeans, that were sagging; giving us a nice back shot of the top of his cute little butt and front shot, giving us a peek a boo of his manhood; if ya know what I mean. LOL. Clearly he was going commando!! NOW THAT WAS SEXY!! AND APPROPRIATE!! Ladies, he’s the TRUTH!! The clothes were actually a character in the film. The last time I saw that kind of perfection was in the movie #RomeoMustDie.

OMG, the sound track to Fifty Shades Of Grey is #FIYAAAH!! TRUST ME!! According to #ThisWeekInPop, the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack enters at number 2 with 258,000 units. That’s the best first-week sales for a soundtrack since Michael Jackson’s This Is ItFifty Shades is also the biggest multi-artist soundtrack debut since the 50 Cent vehicle Get Rich Or Die Tryin.’ It features two songs by #Beyonce. Her song, Got Me Looking So Crazy Right Now, was slowed down and sexed up, which made the scene super steamy!! Songs by other artists like #AnnieLennox, #TheRollingStones, #FrankSinatra, #JessieWare, #The Weekend, #LauraWelsh, #EllieGoulding, #Sia, #Awolnation, #Vaults, #SkylarGrey and DannyElfman, were also a part of the sound track. VERY NICE!!

Since it’s African American History month, just for kicks, I wondered what black actors could have been cast in the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and my picks would be Newark’s own, #MichaelBJordan, who starred in the hit HBO series, The Wire and the critically acclaimed movie, Fruitvale Station and my home girl, #NaturiNaughton, star of the hit Showtime series, Power. They are both young, hot, talented, up and coming and would have killed it!! Just a thought!! Anywhoo, despite the mixed reviews, Fifty Shades Of Grey, made $85 million opening weekend, making it the top opening movie ever, for a February release. WOW!! “Now that’s entertainment!!” By the way, the ending, is just the beginning, so Ladies, Go See Fifty Shades Of Grey TODAY!! Cause you WILL wanna be in the building for part 2.

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Our Inner Genius: Hip-Hop As A Model To Disrupt Education by Jamaal Bowman

Jamaal Bowman, Founding Principal of CASA Middle School

Jamaal Bowman,Founding Principal of CASA Middle School

Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing our latest featured contributor Mr. Jamaal Bowman who is the founding principal at Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School in The Bronx.  He will be our contributor to a new segment called Ufront Ed.  
Ufront Ed is a segment that highlights how new media,technology and music can be used as a disruptive tool to positively impact in the world of education.  So enjoy the article Our Inner Genius: Hip-Hop As A Model To Disrupt Education by Jamaal Bowman. 

Rap is one element of Hip-Hop.

Hip-Hop is a cultural phenomenon and movement.

Rap is verbal pugilism.

From an academic perspective, Hip-Hop is a Montessori education whereas rap is one size fits all standardized testing; especially now that rap has been co-opted by big business. The contemporary mainstream rap you hear is misogynistic, homophobic, violent, and abusive, whereas Hip-Hop was born on the principals of peace, love, unity, and having fun.

In the beginning Hip-Hop didn’t even have a name. 40 years later, it has created its own economy with a yearly GDP in the neighborhood of 650 billion dollars. The movement, that later became known as Hip-Hop, was born from the ashes of drug invested, poor, and violent communities.

Kool Herc’s park jams and Bambaataa’s trip to Africa began to shift the consciousness of the community: Stop the violence and have a good time. Satisfy your competitive spirit through dance. Rebel through visual art. Grab a microphone get the crowd hype, and keep the party going. This was Hip-Hop, pure and authentic, before it was called Hip-Hop.

At its roots, Hip-Hop is innovation. Combine Thomas Edison’s creation of the phonograph in 1877, with the reduction of the cost of turntables in the 1970’s, add in the disco club scene, and you have innovation at its finest. The mixer, which allowed the DJ to continuously loop the “breakbeat” of any record, helped to create the Bboy; which took park jams to another level.

Grandmaster Flash and others brought in the cutting and scratching of records, which began a new sound of music production. Mix in the emcee, and the rest is history.

Rock & Roll, Jazz, The Blues, & Hip-Hop

Like Rock and Roll, Jazz, and The Blues before it, Hip-Hop, created by historically oppressed and disenfranchised people was born. This new genre was different than the others however because it was also a cultural and economic phenomenon. Hip-Hop spoke to the marginalized majority all over the world, is the voice of a generation, and continues to create jobs and careers for many.

Although Hip-Hop is now etched in the global consciousness and carries tremendous inspiration and economic vitality, that power has not yet been taken to scale in one of the pillars of our society–the education system.

Education in America has a pretty straightforward history. Early on, if you could afford it you could receive a formal education. Public schools bloomed in the late 19th century and were designed to help staff factories and increase labor for the benefit of corporations.

Public schools weren’t designed to create entrepreneurs – that was the job of private schools. “Private citizens” have always run the country. From the continental congress to big business, property owners and the concept of free enterprise has driven the laws and behaviors of our nation.

In 2000, George W. Bush helped to facilitate the No Child Left Behind Act. This “act,” was supposedly instituted to decrease drop out rates, and close the so-called achievement gap. The problem was, and continues to be, America uses old paradigms to fix new problems. Racism and discrimination continue to plague our every thing we aspire to be.

And due to Stockholm syndrome, we unconsciously continue to come up with solutions that satisfy our historical status quo. As we can see, this status quo has repeatedly failed us –war and poverty continue throughout the world–so, not coincidentally, does an apathy for academic work in classrooms.

The Impact Of Top-Down Change

No Child Left Behind was created with this paradigm. How do we know? We tried to increase graduation rates and close the achievement gap by instituting more testing, not better teaching thinking one would cause the other. In grades 3-12, throughout the country, students are tested yearly by their respective states to track progress, share data with private companies, and participate in economic eugenics.

We know that innovators drive our economy, yet we created policy that teaches and tests the innovation out of people.

Adding insult to injury has been the creation of test prep curriculum, pedagogy, and discipline codes that continue to keep the historically disenfranchised both physically and psychologically in bondage. Moreover, No Child Left Behind was only being implemented in public schools. Private schools remained places for thinking creatively and critically, which maintains our historical status quo. No Child Left Behind, ironically, continues to leave public school children behind!

The paradigm of the no child left behind policy continues with Race to the Top, the Charlotte Danielson teaching framework, and new teacher evaluation systems. In many non-union charter schools across the country for example, where the demographics consist of mostly white staff and black students, children are not allowed to talk during breakfast or lunch, or during hallway transitions.

The Problem With Data

This would never happen in private or middle class public schools. Why do poverty stricken children of color need to be treated this way? Furthermore, in both district and charter schools, the obsession with testing has lead to the “Driven by Data” initiative, which proposes at least 4 additional one size fits all interim practice tests throughout the school year. If teachers do not get their kids to pass these tests while fitting into the Charlotte Danielson box, they might be in danger of being fired–union or not.

One of the best examples of how a policy rooted in testing doesn’t produce students ready to tackle real world challenges, involves the first graduating class of the first KIPP charter school. In 8th grade they had the 5th highest math scores in New York City. But 6 years after enrolling in college, only 21% had graduated.

That’s a problem.

Different Priorities K-12

The genesis of Hip-Hop brought solutions to the community. It decreased the crime rate, and established an economy. We now need a Hip-Hop mindset in public education, especially in our most needy communities.

We need nursery schools to help close the language and executive function gap, early childhood and elementary education rooted in a Montessori approach, as well as a systematic literacy program rooted in phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.

A math program that is also systematic and sequential, and an upper elementary and secondary curriculum rooted in student interests and passions, writing, expeditionary learning, seminar and cooperative learning.

Finally, students should learn entrepreneurship and digital literacy and be made aware of careers both locally and abroad. Through the curriculum, narratives replace grades, portfolios are the standard and students are assessed on what they can do, in the context of the multiple intelligences, as opposed to just what they know.

To Permanently Disrupt Education, We Must Tap Into Our Collective Genius

This approach, a Hip-Hop approach, will create the innovators we need to solve the problems of our society. Regardless of its connotations, Hip-Hop is the American way–a way of life, thinking and being. An instinct of survival, individualism, communication, and pride.

Already used in private schools.

Already aligned to Tony Wagner, Dan Pink, Sir Ken Robinson, and Maria Montessori’s philosophy of education.

Aligned to brain research, Howard Gardner, Maslow, Jung, and Glasser’s theories of psychology.

To permanently disrupt education, we must tap into the individual genius of our teachers and students and local community members, creating a system of education designed to cultivate bottom-up innovation.

Our new paradigm must be about peace, love, unity, and fun. Let us reinvest in teacher training focused in these areas. Instead of investing in testing, let’s invest in nursery schools, mental health, and global citizenship driven by the innate and dormant genius of the people.

Hip-Hop was forced to rise from the ashes, showing us the way.

Jamaal is principle at Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School in The Bronx. You can find him on twitter here

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One on One with Being Mary Jane Reflections Producer/Director Thembisa Mshaka by Roger Maloney

 Thembisa Mshaka

Thembisa Mshaka

Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;
Today, I have the pleasure of introducing our latest featured influencer, Ms. Thembisa Mshaka (@putyrdreams1st), Founder/Producer of SEEIT Films.  She is a 5-time Telly Award winner and 2-time Promax/BDA Gold Award-winning writer who has served in the entertainment industry for over 23 years, spanning the areas of touring, management, magazine publishing, recorded music and technology, advertising, music supervision for film, voice over, and television.  As Senior Copywriter at Sony Music, and 2-time NARM Award winner, her campaigns contributed to the sale of more than 170 million albums for artists including Lauryn Hill, Will Smith, Beyonce, Wyclef Jean, NAS, Maxwell, George Michael, Wu-Tang Clan, Bow Wow, Jill Scott and Babyface. The former GAVIN rap editor has also written for Honey,,, and served as contributing editor for The and BLAZE Magazine.  She contributed to anthology Sometimes Rhythm: Sometimes Blues edited by Taigi Smith and 25 Hip-Hop Icons, an academic reference volume published by Greenwood Press. The New York Film Academy graduate wrote and directed two short films: The Divorce Counselor and First Kiss, both of which debuted in 2013 to great acclaim. Our conversation will take you behind the scenes of the digital series of MARY JANE REFLECTIONS.

Roger-  How did you come with the idea to create the #BMJReflections?

Thembisa–  BET is among the most social networks on TV, so they are always looking for ways to super serve their online audience. The idea came from Creative Director Sundi Lofty, out of a  need for bonus content to keep the viewers engaged while the new season went on hiatus in the Spring. Fortunately, the season is not taking a mid-season break now, so five of the Reflections were used for the new season launch, and a new one rolls out weekly.

Roger- Why is this type of social interaction an added benefit to the promotion of Being Mary Jane?

Thembisa– It deepens the viewers’ relationships to the cast. I also co-wrote them with Adam Giaurdone, one of the show’s staff writers.  We wrote the Reflections to illuminate their thoughts and feelings beyond what each episode gives the ensemble a chance to fully convey. I think they are much more powerful than the usual behind-the-scenes packages because the actors are in character. They ignite insane amounts of chatter, because they touch on real-life issues, from identity to mental illness to fitness and career choices. The Reflection where Stephen Bishop sheds tears for the baby he and Mary Jane never had got up to nearly 100k views on Facebook in less than a week. They also give the network, Akil Productions and the cast fresh content that’s juicy, but bite-sized to share via social. Stephen actually retweeted his spot; he really loves it.

mary jane

Roger- Where can we find the Reflections digital series online?

Thembisa– These minute-long spots live on and The newest interstitial features Thomas Q. Jones, former NFL player—and he’s breaking the Internet with his character this season!

Roger-Tell us about some of your upcoming projects.

Thembisa-Just completed my first feature length screenplay, a rom com called Islamic Speed Dating. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the docu series I am executive producing about the LGBT ballroom scene: Throwin’ Shade: House of NY. I co-produced a family drama called “Biscuit” with writer-director Tank Burt. That short will be out this Spring. I am also working closely with Jabari Baraka Davis, a brilliant comic who is a true rising star on his film and TV endeavors. His signature event is 3 The Hard Way Comedy—co produced with Danielle Beckmann, happening February 24th and March 6th in New York City:

Check out some exclusive pictures with Thembisa and the actors from the BET hit drama, BEING MARY JANE.

20140723_195500-1 (1)

Thembisa and David Paulk



Thembisa and Richard Roundtree



Gary Dourdan live on set



Thembisa and actress Lisa Vida


Thank you

Thembisa S. Mshaka
Founder/Producer, SEEIT Films

One on One with Robin Downes CEO/Founder of YOGA FLAVA TV with Roger Maloney


 This Ufront Media Insights blog is sponsored by TINYSTIC. Go to


Robin Downes

Robin Downes

Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;   

Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing  Ms Robin Downes Founder and CEO of  Yoga Flava TV.  Ms. Downes is a 30 year veteran of the entertainment / multimedia business. She has an Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Individual Achievement in News and Documentary” with ABC NEWS “20/20” since 1981. She is a certified Hatha Yoga Instructor and Wellness Coach since 1996. Created Yoga Flava in 1998. Syndicated Original Content Provider and Media Personality  to sites such as and to name a few. So enjoy my interview with Ms Robin Downes.

Roger – Who are some of the role models you look up to in the media business?

Robin-  My role models that I look up to are Oprah Winfrey and Susanne DePasse because they are strong women of  color within the entertainment industry and they are positive templates for all women looking to be successful in the entertainment industry.

Roger – Name some of the past media projects you worked on or created?

Robin –Some of the projects and companies I worked on was  ABC News “20/20”, Cosby Show, Do The Right Thing, MTV, New Jack Ciity, Paramount Pictures, Interactive One (On line division of TV One) YogaFlava, Robin Downes Network, Feel Rich (Quincy Jones III’s Company)

Roger- How did you get your start in yoga?

Robin -I personally needed tools to help me cope with the stress of losing my mother to cancer, going through a divorce and the stress in the entertainment business.

Roger- What types of yoga are you trained in and name some of the instructors you trained under?

RobinI am a certified “Hatha Yoga” instructor and also intensive training in “Kundalini Yoga” and “Restorative Yoga” – my brand is “Yoga Flava” and I trained at the Center For Yoga in Los Angeles,  Krishna Kaur and Judith Lasiter,

Roger- What inspired you to create Yoga Flava the TV show?

Robin – Most of the yoga classes I attended were all white and when I went to India the sages told me to take the practice and interpret it for your people. Being a member of the Black Yoga Teacher’s Association, I learned that Yoga came from Ancient Egypt / Ancient Africa.  My roots are the boogie down Bronx and one day I just started talking about how we need more “Yoga Flava”.  My hollywood publicist love that as a name and we have branded and trademarked my style since 2000.

Roger- Explain the process of how you partnered with Quincy Jones III and other disturbing platforms?

Robin – Quincy Jones III follows me on social media and reached out to me when he formed “Feel Rich” and the rest was history. Second Interactive One reached out to me after having been introduced by a co-worker that I had know for years

Roger – How do you use social media to promote your brand?

Robin- As a entrepreneur I do my best to post at least one thing daily and engage my community and promote my brand on various platforms. 

Roger  What social media platforms do you use to promote your brand?

Robin – My website is the main space to gain entry into the world of Robin Downes & Yoga Flava.  My agents (Sharon & Francesca) of Plaza 7 Talent Agency encouraged me to have one site to send people to explore my multiple brands, there you will see links to such sites as: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, BlackPlanet to name a few.

Roger – What advice can you give anyone looking to began using yoga to get back in shape?

Robin-Pace yourself, educate yourself to the various teachers and styles, find a teacher and style that you can vibe with (makes you feel great about what and how they are teaching) and most of all enjoy the journey of a lifetime.  It is an every evolving process that has documented Yogis well into their 100 years of age.

Roger- What does the future hold for the Yoga Flava show and where do you see it going in the future?

Robin- Looking forward to the care and guidance provided by Plaza 7 Talent Agency to shop the show to the networks.  Excited about the unending and ever evolving Yoga community’s continued support and growth.

Roger- Thank you Robin and if you want to see more videos about Yoga Flavor TV with Robin Downes  just click on the video below:

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My Interview with Actor and Comedian Giovanni Watson by Mariah Darsha

Mariah Darshá

Mariah Darshá

Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;

My name is Mariah Darsha of host of Mariah Darsha TV where you can stay updated with all of the latest entertainment news, red carpet events and more.

Last week I was able to sit down with comedian, actor and writer Giovanni W, alter ego ‘Bobby Love’, he is a man with many trades. As he sits down with me he shares his journey through all of the no’s he received and how he evolved into an overall entertainer as soon as he received his first yes.

Giovanni is known for his vine videos and his hilarious parodies! His most popular one is O.G Bobby Love as he spoofs ‘O.G Bobby Johnson’. He also just dropped another parody for CoCo by O.T. Genasis called “I’m In Love With Tabasco”.

Make sure you check out my exclusive one on one video interview below and so click on the Link and Enjoy.

Peep this episode of Shadows Of Success and leave us your comments below!



TWITTER: @GioVanniWatson_
VINE: @GiovanniWatson

Thank you and stay tuned for more on Ufront Media Insights.




It’s Time To Be Seen by Lateef A. Sarnor CEO/Founder of Kollidescope Networks

Lateef A. Sarnor

Welcome to Ufront Media Insights;

Today we would like to welcome our latest contributor  Mr. Lateef A. Sarnor the CEO/Founder of Kollidescope Networks. So enjoy his insights about the Super Bowl commercials.

Wow! What a game! This year the Super Bowl was actually better than the commercials. Speaking of…is it me or are the commercials getting more and more predictable? Budweiser tugging at your heart with clydesdales and puppies (what does that have to do with beer?), Doritos being it’s usual edgy self (I hope he used Purel after clipping those toenails!), and a million indecipherable car commercials (shouldn’t the Fiat blue pill have been in the Pierce Brosnan Kia commercial?). But I digress.

super bowl ad

One commercial did stand out, not because it was all that good (it wasn’t bad) but because its message resonated with me. It was an ad by Nationwide Insurance. No, not the depressing one about protecting our kids from accidents, it was the other one which featured Mindy Kaling walking around seemingly invisible. Living her life blissfully until she attempts to smell Matt Damon–and she realizes she isn’t invisible, she was just being ignored.

This ad to me is representative of how people of color have been treated by Hollywood. Largely ignored and underrepresented. Nationwide didn’t intend for their ad to be a commentary on the social landscape and lack of diversity, they wanted to sell insurance (actually they wanted to start a conversation.What? Fire the entire marketing dept and the agency, stat!). Not sure if they achieved the latter (how many even remember the ad let alone who the advertiser was?)

But for me it was a reminder of what we at KollideTV have been championing all along. People of color, in our truly flawed, beautiful, complicated and fascinating selves, seem mostly invisible to Hollywood. Our stories, our lives are largely underrepresented on screen. Sure we can play drug dealers turned hip-hop moguls, or mistresses to the most powerful man in the world, and occasionally even the most powerful man (or woman) in the world (we see you Alfre!). But when it comes to telling the non stereotypical, the unconventional, the normal, the diverse, there’s seemingly no appetite for that. Is it that no one wants to see it? Or is that just what Hollywood needs us to believe?

That’s not what we are seeing and hearing. People of color want to see their lives reflected in all the ways that it exists, good, bad and indifferent. We did a survey a few months back, albeit a small sample size, still, 90% of the respondents agreed with the statement that “people of diverse backgrounds are underrepresented” on TV.

So, we are starting a conversation (wait, don’t fire the Nationwide Marketing department just yet, conversations ARE good) about the things you want to see on “TV”. It’s simple, using #WeSeeYou, tell us the things that you want to see in a new TV Network. Email us, Tweet us or post on Facebook and Instagram the types of shows, characters and storylines that you have been longing to see. Hollywood may not think diversity is important, but KollideTV does and we want to reflect that in our programming and everything we do.

This is the first part of a necessary dialogue and call to action. Over the next several weeks we will engage the broader community in ways we can do more. But for now, join the conversation, make your voice heard and be seen. With your support we can stop being like Invisible Mindy and be seen for who we really are.

Learn more about #WeSeeYou by visiting us at KollideTV. Also, connect with us onFacebookTwitter and Instagram and stay up to date with the latest #WeSeeYou updates on our Tumblr page.


Lateef Sarnor is CEO/Founder of KollideTV ( an emerging online tv network offering a collection of the best culturally diverse video content available online. He speaks regularly on diversity (or the lack of) in the media.