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‘Ramy’ Becomes First Muslim American Sitcom Nominated for an Emmy

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The 2020 Emmy nominations were announced Tuesday morning and Ramy scored three nominations, becoming the first Muslim American sitcom to be represented at the award show.

What We Know:

  • Co-creator and star Ramy Youssef received two nominations: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali also represents the show with a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Ramy was recognized at the 2020 Golden Globes in January when Youssef won the award for best actor in a comedy series.
  • The Hulu original follows Egyptian American Ramy Hassan, played by Youssef, as he navigates his life as an American millennial while trying to understand his faith and cultural identity. The show premiered in April 2019 and was praised for telling a narrative from a Muslim American perspective when much of Western media marginalizes or demonizes Muslims. Hulu released the second season in May, where Ali plays Ramy’s new sheikh.
  • The show has found a wide and diverse audience thanks to its seemingly ordinary and relatable storylines. The show dives into Ramy’s romantic failures, overbearing immigrant parents, and career struggles. There are even several episodes which don’t even feature Ramy, instead choosing to follow the experiences of his family members. The season one episode, “Refugees”, follows Ramy’s sister Dena, played by May Calamawy, exploring just how different her experience is from her brother’s, living in the world as a young woman of color.
  • Youssef spoke with The Hollywood Reporter following his Emmy nominations. “I think that you watch our show, you realize in a good way that we’re not even close to covering the entirety of the Muslim experience. For a show that only portrays a sliver of it to get recognized, I think that that should mean that we’re going to get many more Muslim stories greenlit,” he said. He added, “There’s so many more stories that could be told so it excites me for the bigger picture, one that doesn’t even include me.”

Good news for fans of the show: Hulu renewed Ramy for a third season earlier this month.

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Sagar is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and Economics. Sagar writes for Black News Alerts and the BNA Daily Podcast.

Entertainment

Viola Davis Buys House Where She Was Born in for 55th Birthday

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY DARIO CALMESE; STYLED BY ELIZABETH STEWART (Courtesy of Vanity Fair)

Viola Davis is going back to her home for her birthday.

What We Know:

  • On Tuesday, the Academy Award-winning actress celebrated her 55th birthday by revealing that she purchased the South Carolina house where she was born, based on a former slave plantation.
  • She shared a picture of the home and stated, “The above is the house where I was born August 11, 1965. It is the birthplace of my story. Today on my 55th year of life…I own it….all of it.” She’s previously described the property saying it’s about 160 acres all in all.

  • Davis also shared a Cherokee birth blessing in her post, “May you live long enough to know why you were born”. In light of all the triumph she’s found, it seems she did that too.
  • Davis talked about the history of the property and her poor surroundings in a 2016 interview with People and Entertainment Weekly. The house was established on the location of the Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina, where her grandfather was a sharecropper.
  • The history of sharecropping in America has a deep connection to slavery. Although sharecropping gave African Americans independence in their everyday work/social lives and emancipated them from the gang-labor system that had control during the slavery era, it often ended with sharecroppers owing more to the landowner.
  • Her grandparent’s generation lived on what they could, with Davis saying her grandmother’s house was a one-room shack and how she has a picture of it on her phone because she thinks it’s a beautiful picture. Although everything was not spectacular for her family, they had no bathroom or running water. Davis stated, “it’s just an outhouse”.
  • She also mentioned that her mom said that the day she was born, all of her aunts and uncles were in the house, drinking and laughing, having fun. She said her mom ate a sardine, mustard, onion, tomato sandwich after her birth.

“I love that story,” Davis went on. “It’s a great story to me. It’s a great story of celebration in the midst of what you would feel is a decimated environment, but you could see the joy and the life that can come out of that because it’s not always about things, you know.”

With the purchase of the plantation, Davis can create new memories and honor the slaves who once worked the land, including her ancestors.

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Media Mogul Sumner Redstone Dies at 97

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Sumner M. Redstone, the billionaire media pioneer who built what is now ViacomCBS died Tuesday at age 97, CBS News reports.

What We Know:

  • ViacomCBS confirmed in a statement released Wednesday that its Chairman Emeritus had passed. Though the cause of death is not yet known, Redstone’s health had been failing for years.
  • Many ViacomCBS executives have issued their own statements on his death. CEO Bob Bakish said Wednesday that “Sumner was a true industry titan, a brilliant and driven pioneer whose influence on the media and entertainment landscape cannot be overstated.” His daughter, Shari Redstone, who currently serves as Chair of ViacomCBS said that her father “led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy.”

  • In 1954, Sumner joined his family’s small drive-in movie theater business which he later transformed into National Amusements, one of the country’s largest movie theater chains. He continued building the business, purchasing Viacom in 1987 and later Paramount in 1994. Today, ViacomCBS has its hand in almost every aspect of the media industry, including cable, film, and publishing.
  • “Sumner astutely anticipated the ways in which the media industry would evolve, shaped by technological innovation and changing consumer tastes, and recognized the enormous potential of both Viacom and CBS,” Bakish added.
  • Sumner said himself that when he purchased Viacom it was a struggling cable television company and stressed the importance of following “your own instincts”.

Today, ViacomCBS is one of the world’s premiere media corporations. At the time of his death, Redstone’s net worth was $3 billion.

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‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Drama Reboot in the Works

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The popular 90’s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air currently has a dramatic reboot in the works based on a viral trailer.

What We Know:

  • The reboot will be based on the viral trailer created by Morgan Cooper, a Fresh Prince superfan,  that reimagined the hit comedy series as a drama titled “Bel-Air.” The trailer tells the story of a working-class Philadelphia teen adapting to life with his richer family in Los Angeles. The video racked up over 5 million views on YouTube and caught the attention of the show’s original star Will Smith, who is now developing the series with Cooper. What the full trailer below.

 

  • “Morgan did a ridiculous trailer for Bel-Air,” Smith originally commented. “Brilliant idea – the dramatic version of The Fresh Prince for the next generation.” The show is expected to dive deep into the “inherent conflicts, emotions, and biases” of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the “swagger and fun nods” to the original show.
  • The project has reportedly been in development for the past year with Smith and the producers of the original show, Benny Medina and Quincy Jones, onboard. Cooper will co-write and direct the project as well as also serve as a co-executive producer. Chris Collins, whose credits include The Wire and Sons of Anarchy, will act as Cooper’s co-writer as well as showrunner. Westbrook Studios, the studio founded by Smith, and Universal Television, the studio behind the original show, will produce.
  • The show is just one of the many 90’s reboots in the works. NBC’s new streaming platform, Peacock, just premiered a teaser for its new take on Saved by the Bell as well as updated versions of popular shows like Daria, Who’s the Boss, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Beavis and Butt-Head.

The project is currently being pitched to multiple outlets, including HBO Max, which is the streaming home of the original series. There is currently no anticipated premiere date for the series.

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