Missing, kissing, & dissing: The Lavender Tube on love in Paris, missing Black girls and more

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday February 21, 2023
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Garcelle Beauvais in Lifetime's  'Black Girl Missing'
Garcelle Beauvais in Lifetime's 'Black Girl Missing'

It's Lent, again. So if you are giving up candy or other sweets for this period of self-abnegation, we recommend some televised confections that won't break your flagellant commitments, but will still be fulfilling.

Composite of some of the many missing Black women (The Black and Missing Foundation )  

Missing Black women
We're a bit of a Lifetime devotee for reasons we can't quite articulate, but their true crime-ish movies are usually pretty good. Garcelle Beauvais ("Spider-Man: Homecoming," "White House Down") stars in the Lifetime original "Black Girl Missing" as part of the network's Stop Violence Against Women campaign.

A new PSA for The Black and Missing Foundation will be part of the movie's premiere, spotlighting The Black And Missing Foundation's commitment to locating missing persons of color. Black Americans remain missing four times longer than white Americans. We have written about 'missing white woman syndrome' in our news role, and our investigation really blew our mind in uncovering how many women go missing in America and how being a woman of color or a queer woman made it less likely law enforcement would look for them.

We think this is an important crossover film bridging Black History Month and Women's History Month. (Dame Magazine)

Beauvais is also executive-producing the movie inspired by actual stories of missing women of color. The film details what happens when Cheryl (Garcelle Beauvais) gets into an argument with her daughter Lauren (Iyana Halley) over her desire to drop out of college. Cheryl initially thinks Lauren is simply ignoring her calls and texts, but Cheryl soon realizes Lauren is missing. While she attempts to get help from authorities and the media, they quickly dismiss the case, labeling Lauren as a runaway while they are all too consumed with another case — that of a missing white girl.

Lifetime will also debut the special, "Beyond the Headlines: Black Girl Missing," following true stories of missing Black women featuring interviews with their families and Black and Missing Foundation's involvement in the cases. Natalie and Derrica Wilson of the Black and Missing Foundation are also consultants. "Black Girl Missing" debuts on Lifetime March 4.

Paris when it sizzles
We were sort-of boycotting — or at least not watching — Freeform for a while because every time we got hooked on a show, it got canceled. But we got pulled back into the vortex with "The Watchful Eye" from the same folks who brought us the fantastic "Cruel Summer."

You can stream both on Hulu. As we noted a few weeks ago, "The Watchful Eye" is a fabulous thriller.

Freeform's new reality show "Love Trip: Paris" is a fresh take on the dating show genre. It follows four Americans in a Parisian penthouse as they search for love, and it's queer-inclusive.

The women of 'Love Trip: Paris'  

Narrated by out gay actor Matt Rogers ("Fire Island," "I Love That for You"), the series features four principles; Josielyn Aguiler, Lacy Hartselle, Caroline Renner and Rose Zilla-Ba. They all live in a hotel where all the people they might date also live. So it's wild and has that "no rose for you" aspect like "The Bachelor" where folks get kicked out of the game.

Per all these shows, everyone is beautiful and buff and trés magnifique. There's a lot of fun, drama, some sadness and tears (but nothing like the hysterics on "The Bachelor"), and Paris! There's a multiplicity of talents here, a little soupcon for everyone.

"It's so open to LGBT and the queer community, which is just so exciting to be able to see that in a dating show," Josielyn told TV Guide. "Myself, being a part of the LGBT community, it just made me feel safe and happy to just date like everyone else and in a comfortable, safe spot."

Rose added, "There has not been a show that is this inclusive in a dating format. It's really about love and finding that. [Watch] for representation, for the beautiful views of Paris, and there is a lot of drama as well."

Lacy said, "The fact that all of us are just being ourselves, completely, always, it's very shame-free and that is a very attractive energy."

Do you need more reasons to watch? We don't think so; on Freeform Tuesdays, streaming next day on Hulu.

Rural down under
"Rurangi" is a groundbreaking transgender drama series set in rural New Zealand in a fictional small-town dairy community. It tells the story of Caz Davis (Elz Carrad, who is amazing), who comes home as himself for the first time since transitioning.

Elz Carrad in 'Rurangi'  

It's absolutely fabulous. Full of incredibly powerful scenes of really deep emotional heft, carried beautifully by the extraordinary cast, "Rurangi" is captivating from the first scene and compelling throughout.

As part of its 15-year anniversary in March, Hulu is making a lot of material available for streaming including the complete seasons 1 and new season 2 of "Rurangi."

In season two, Rurangi's culture war intensifies between the transgender activists, farmers, and local Maori, all while ancestors from the past reach out to the living with unfinished business. There are a myriad of conflicts that include Caz's coming out to his family, a love story he's part of, the environmental crisis, Maori conflcts: "Rurangi" has got so much in it. It's mesmerizing.

The cast stars Carrad, Awhina Rose Henare Ashby, Ramon Te Wake, Aroha Rawson, Renee Lyons, Renée Sheridan, Cohen Holloway and Liam Coleman. "Rurangi" began as a web series before being edited into a feature film. The film premiered at the New Zealand International Film Festival in 2020, and won the award for Best Feature at the 2020 Frameline Film Festival.

"Rurangi" showrunners are out gay filmmaker and screenwriter Max Currie and Briar Grace-Smith ("Waru," "Cousins"), a Maori screenwriter and director; streaming Wednesday, March 22.

In the "you hate to see it" category, one of our fave news anchors, out gay CNN host Don Lemon, said some wildly inappropriate and flagrantly misogynist stuff about former UN Ambassador and governor Nikki Haley after she announced her presidential bid on February 16.

CNN's Don Lemon and GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley  

Now the national women's rights group UltraViolet is demanding that CNN suspend Lemon from talking politics after the insults to Haley.

"While Don Lemon's egregiously sexist comments about women being 'in their prime' have no place on CNN or anywhere in the news media, this isn't the first time Lemon's bias has influenced his on-air reporting," said Bridget Todd, director of communications at UltraViolet, a leading national gender advocacy group. "From athletes to politicians and even his co-anchors, Lemon has used his power and platform to consistently undermine and demean powerful women."

Lemon, 56, while sitting between his two female co-hosts, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlan Collins, said, "Nikki Haley isn't in her prime, sorry. A woman is considered to be in their prime in 20s and 30s and maybe 40s," he added. Haley is 51 and the first woman of color to run for president as a Republican.

Many hours later, Lemon tweeted that his comments were "inartful and irrelevant, as colleagues and loved ones have pointed out, and I regret it."

Regretting the blowback is what this sorry-not-sorry apology means. Lemon has already been accused of diva behavior against Collins and Harlow. Lemon was not on air on Friday, replaced with Audie Cornish, the Black woman anchor on CNN+.

The New York Times reported that CNN's chairman, Chris Licht, opened his daily 9am editorial call on February 17, the day after the Thursday debacle, by saying the remarks by Lemon had left him "disappointed."

"His remarks were upsetting, unacceptable and unfair to his co-hosts, and ultimately a huge distraction to the great work of this organization," Licht told his staff, according to a recording of the call obtained by The New York Times.

Ultra Violet's Todd said, "The anchor's cavalier public apology for such flagrantly patronizing, chauvinistic remarks signifies nothing of accountability or consequence."

She added, "The network should also continue to monitor Lemon's on-air appearances for gender bias, and be prepared to take additional action if needed."

'Last' words
Finally, our quotes of the week are from one of our current faves, Bella Ramsay from HBO's "The Last of Us." The nonbinary breakout star of the series has been pushing back in U.K. and U.S. media at the culture wars whiners who hate the show they've never watched.

Ramsay said, "If you don't want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that's on you, and you're missing out."

Of the show's queer characters and storylines, Ramsay said, "I know people will think what they want to think. But they're gonna have to get used to it."

So much this. Yet another reason why you really must stay tuned.

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