It appears Lifetime is on a campaign to cash- in off of some highly regarded R&B artists and reel in audience from Bounce, BET, Aspire and perhaps even Revolt to boost ratings and grab minority viewers. The truth is the Lifetime chiefs haven’t gotten off of the good foot after the Aaliyah biopic caused a major kerfuffle.
Lifetime quietly dusted off their 2013 minority movie collection in a pseudo marathon this past weekend starring Jordan Sparks, Tatiana M. Ali, Mel B. and Ashanti.
In 2014, we can now speculate where a large portion the funds for the Aaliyah movie were allocated. Taraji P. Henson stacked those coins as Executive Producer and one of the stars of “Seasons of Love” with Letoya Luckett, Cliff Smith (aka Method Man) and Gladys Knight, who may’ve been disinterested in even a cameo with Peanut and ‘em in the Aaliyah movie.
If that didn’t provide enough holiday warm and fuzzy, there’s also “An EnVogue Christmas” where EnVogue classics like “Free Your Mind” and “Hold On” along with some new music are a temporary respite from some pretty bad acting. Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron, two original EnVogue members along with Rhona Bennett are the glue that barely holds the film together. Actor David Allen Grier plays their former manager and co-owner of a club called the Opera House. The club is in danger of closing and the ladies perform a benefit concert to save the place that made them stars. The film includes the usual Lifetime holiday sappiness and provides the reasons to make a snack run.
The real gag in this movie would’ve been Maxine Jones and Dawn Robinson showing up with their own brand of cray-cray. No shade, Dawn Robinson can sing, but has been fired from reality TV and kicked out of every group and off of every label she been associated with (allegedly). Dawn did you at least get enough coins from R&B Divas to get your whip fixed boo? Naturally, she’s slammed the movie and actually threatened to sue Lifetime if they were to air the film without her character (and they did) which may prove challenging since she waived all rights connected with EnVogue when she left the group the first time. Recent published comments made by Ms. Jones appear that she’s been hanging with Dawn and sipping the same tea. Unlike Beyoncé’s song, those two are replaceable. Ladies, you can have a seat.
While the group did enjoy a good ride and a solid string of R&B hits, will their core audience find this film entertaining? The bigger question is, did this holiday feature make you want to “hold on” for an EnVogue reunion or simply enjoy the new music from (two of) the original funky divas.
Lifetime’s third effort at “urban “ TV movies is” The Santa Con” starring everyone’s favorite nerd, Jaleel White(aka Urkel) and talk host Wendy Williams in the role of a pastor(pulpit and all). The Santa Con centers on an ex-con-turned-Santa carelessly promising to bring a boy’s estranged parents back together. After a soul searching encounter with Pastor Wendy, he decides to make good on his word. You can decide if you’ll add this film to your holiday collection when it airs on December 13th. Lifetime gets an “E” for effort but I’ll watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Jaleel White may say in his best Urkel voice ” Angela Bassett, get off the train at the next stop!” Did I say that!”