Women in the Director’s Chair: A Conversation with Queen Sugar’s DeMane Davis – IP 137

In this encore episode,  we speak with DeMane Davis, the director of the hit OWN series Queen Sugar. We chat with DeMane about the unique way she connected with Ava DuVernay to get the opportunity to work on the series and also discuss how she approached directing the premiere episode of the most recent season.

DeMane also discusses her new role as the series Producing Director and the responsibilities and creative challenges that come with the job. And she also dissects one of the most emotionally impactful moments of Season 3  – of course we’re talking about that infamous paternity test reveal scene!

Plus, Amita gives her rating and review of Sean’s Big Sell – Angelique Kidjo’s cover of the Talking Heads hit- “Once in a Lifetime” and sells a powerful TED Talk from Tracee Ellis Ross in the midst of the #MeToo movement.

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Queen Sugar Season 3 Premiere – IP 125

We’ve been waiting for months and it’s finally here! The Queen Sugar Season 3 Premiere aired on Tuesday night and we have an exclusive interview with the director of the hit OWN series- DeMane Davis.

We had the privilege of watching the Season Premiere in advance of our interview with DeMane so be warned, there will be spoilers in this podcast! We chatted with DeMane about the unique way she connected with Ava DuVernay to get the opportunity to work on the series, her approach to directing the premiere episode, being the newly appointed Producing Director and learned about the many hats she has to wear in that role. And of course, we talked about how she shot the paternity test reveal scene that everyone is talking about!

Plus, Amita gives her rating and review of Sean’s Big Sell from last week- Angelique Kidjo’s cover of the Talking Heads hit- “Once in a Lifetime” and sells a powerful TED Talk from Tracee Ellis Ross in the midst of the #MeToo movement.

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Deadpool 2, Janet Jackson at the Billboard Awards, Vulture Festival – IP 124

We have an embarrassment of pop culture riches this week!

First up, Amita provides a spoiler free review of the box office record breaking Deadpool 2. Sean hasn’t seen the film yet, but it doesn’t stop him from asking deep probing questions (you guessed it – Josh Brolin’s physique is a point of discussion!).

Then, Sean and Amita discuss Janet Jackson’s appearance at the Billboard Music Awards. They rate her red carpet look and give what may be considered a surprisingly objective review of her performance.

The Pop Insiders also discuss their time at the two-day pop culture celebration in New York City known as Vulture Festival. They share the inside info they heard at panels featuring the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Younger, Queer Eye and Queen Sugar.

And in The Big Sell, Sean rates Madison McFerrin’s song, “Insane,” and sells a new cover song by the one and only Angelique Kidjo.

Plus – a surprise announcement about an appearance the Pop Insiders are making this summer!

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Best of TV 2017 – IP 103

The time has come…we’ve watched countless hours of television and have narrowed them down to our top 10 favorite TV shows of the year! And to kick things up a notch- we’re sharing the scenes from the exceptional shows that inspired us, made us laugh out loud, brought us to tears and made our hearts flutter. From network to cable to streaming platforms, horror to comedy to sci-fi, this year has given us unique story lines, captivating visuals and incredible characters.

We also take time to mention the TV shows we wish we checked out and the ones we regret watching.

Check out our 10 Best TV of 2017 below along with links to some of the scenes we discuss in this episode.

SEAN’S TOP 10

10. Broad City

9. Godless

8. Twin Peaks

7. black-ish

6. Master of None

5. The Exorcist

Scene from ‘Help Me’

4. The Handmaid’s Tale

3. Queen Sugar

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s Ralph Angel” scene

2. Fargo

Winnie and Gloria Scene

1. Sense8

Prison Break scene:

AMITA’S TOP 10
10. Will & Grace

9. This is Us

8. Fargo

Tree Stump Bloodbath:

7. Game of Thrones

Cuthroat Stark Sisters:

6. Insecure

5. Better Caul Saul

Chuck’s Monologue:

4. Big Little Lies

3. Queen Sugar

2. Master of None

1. The Handmaid’s Tale

Let us know which shows made it to the top of your list!

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You can also find us on MaximumFun.org

Cover Songs, Fall TV Mid-Season Check, #BigSell30 – IP 96

Why not take a break from re-watching the Black Panther trailer and listen to this brand new episode of Inside Pop!

First up, we discuss some of our favorite cover songs. What makes a great cover song and what are some of the best? We discuss covers and originals performed by Prince, Adele, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, Annie Lennox and more!

Remember the sense of optimism you felt at the beginning of the TV season? That belief that you’d be bowled over by a ton of new amazing shows and that all of your favorite returning shows would continue to be your favorites? Well, we felt that way too and now it’s time to face the music (or the should we say ‘the flat screen’). We’re doing a mid-season check in to see which shows are must-see and which are about to be deleted from the DVR. We discuss This is Us, The Deuce, Queen Sugar, The Defenders, The Exorcist, Wisdom of the Crowd and more!

And we’ll also check in on the #BigSell30 Challenge and discuss how our lives have improved while experiencing one new piece of pop culture every day this month.

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Favorite Pop Culture Families, Queen Sugar Interview Part 2, Tom Petty, Big Sell 30 – IP 94

It’s a family Affair this week on Inside Pop!

We start off with a discussion of our favorite pop culture families – both real and fictional including The Jacksons, The Fischers, The Pearsons and The Knowles Sisters (Beyonce AND Solange).

Then we bring you the second part of our interview with Kat Candler, the producing director of Queen Sugar. We dive into the mid season premiere and illuminate the character development, storylines and memorable scenes from the episode which was directed by film legend Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust).

Then Amita shares her favorite Tom Petty songs in tribute to the recently deceased singer.

And finally we check in on the Big Sell 30 Day Challenge and discuss how our daily intake of new pop culture is changing our lives for the better. And Sean shares the Big Sell Day 4 of 30 – Middle of Nowhere by Ava DuVernay!

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Popinsiders

 

Star Trek: Discovery premiere, Battle of the Sexes, Queen Sugar Interview – IP 93

The Fall season is already delivering on its promise of bringing us prestige, platinum perfect pop culture and we’re all over it!

First up, Sean reviews the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery while teaching Amita some Trek etiquette in the process.

Then, Amita talks about the special screening of Battle of the Sexes she attended, which has made her a huge fan of one of the legends of tennis (Billie Jean IS her girl!).

Plus, we’re ecstatic to share our interview with Queen Sugar Producing Director, Kat Candler about her work on Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed series. Kat discusses the experience of working with an all female directing crew; the job of helping multiple creative visions coalesce into one consistent series; and the indie film vibe that  permeates the set. Sadly, Kat refused our pleas to reassure us that Aunt Vi is going to be okay. This is an illuminating discussion on what goes into creating one of the great shows on TV right now and the perfect thing to listen to for Queen Sugar fans (like ourselves) who are excited for the show’s mid season premiere on Tuesday, October 3rd. But have no fear  – – our discussion is spoiler free!

Sean also shares details about seeing Queen Sugar on the big screen and the Bordelon siblings in the flesh at the Tribeca TV Festival.

Also, the Big Sell 30 Day Challenge – #BigSell30 –  begins October 1st. Listen to hear how you can participate in the pop culture event guaranteed to fill your brain with the very best TV, music, film, comics and more!

And in this week’s Big Sell, Amita rates Haaz Sleiman’s coming out video. For weeks Sean has been unendingly intrigued by the unconventional way the actor (Nurse Jackie, The Visitor) announced his sexuality to the world. But how does Amita feel?

And finally, in the spirit of paying tribute –  Amita Big Sells Sean an album by the recently deceased musician Charles Bradley.

Game Of Thrones: The Spoils of War, Queen Sugar mid-season 2 finale, Detroit reactions, The Suffers – IP 86

This week, we have a spoiler FILLED discussion about the latest episode of Game of Thrones (You’ve been warned!) Reunions, Deaths (?) and Dragons- oh my!

Plus, we discuss the mid-season finale of one of our favorite shows- Queen Sugar and talk about how the series is taking it up a notch in its 2nd Season.

And we read some listener feedback to our discussion last week about the portrayal of South Asian relationships in Film and TV.

Then, we talk about the lackluster box office for the film Detroit and our thoughts on why audiences may not have embraced the film as expected.

And of course, we have another brand new Big Sell! Sean gives his thoughts on last week’s suggestion- the band, The Suffers, and sells Amita on a playlist that features artists from the upcoming AfroPunk music festival.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @PopInsiders

You can also find us at MaximumFun.org

Links:

Den of Geek Game of Thrones Death prediction article
Spotify AfroPunk Playlist

Favorite Television Shows of 2016 – IP 55

We’re excited to share the first installment of our annual BEST OF lists- our Top 10 Television Shows of 2016! If you need some new shows to binge watch over the winter, look no further! In this era of Peak TV we had a plethora of options to choose from and after much thought, we each put together our 10 favorite TV shows of the year.

A few of the series that made the cut- Queen Sugar, Luke Cage, Insecure, This Is Us and Atlanta- are some of the most critically acclaimed new shows of the year.

luke-cage queen-sugar atlanta_oabpgv

We also have a few established shows on our lists that continually deliver incredible drama week after week like How To Get Away With Murder, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

game-of-thrones htgawm the-walking-dead

Comedies and dramas, dragons and murderers, families and superheroes- there’s something for everyone!Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @PopInsiders and let us know what you think of our picks and share your top TV shows of the year.

If you like this episode you may want to check out:

  • Our interview with Marvel’s Luke Cage creator and EP, Cheo Hodari Coker, HERE: http://wp.me/p7Uq7E-8g

 

AMITA’S TOP 10 LIST

10. Speechless

9. How To Get Away With Murder

8. Insecure

7. This is Us

6. Luke Cage

5. Queen Sugar

4. Game of Thrones

3. The People V OJ Simpson: American Crime Story

2. Stranger Things

1. Atlanta

SEAN’S TOP 10 LIST

10. black-ish

9. O.J.: Made In America

8. The Walking Dead

7. Insecure

6. Luke Cage

5. Game of Thrones

4. Lemonade

3. Black Mirror

2. Stranger Things

1. Queen Sugar

 

Links

Sean thinks his number 4 pick, Lemonade, owes a debt to Janet Jackson’s Got Til It’s Gone and Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust.

Amita think Sarah Paulson should win an award for the Emmy Award acceptance speech she gave when she won Best Actress for The People V OJ Simpson.

If you’re trying to decide whether Sean’s Ralph Angel impression is a) great b) really great or c) fantastic – watch this dramatic scene from Queen Sugar featuring a remarkable performance from Kofi Siriboe.

Moonlight, Mary J. Blige, Queen Sugar, Alexa – IP49

Is Fall 2016 shaping up to be one of the greatest seasons for Pop Culture ever? Consider our latest episode that celebrates the ridiculous heights achieved in music, film and TV in just the past 7 days.

First up we discuss the independent feature, Moonlight which opens this week. This movie has filled Sean’s soul and rocked his world so hard that it gets the full House of Hyperbole treatment. Find out why he thinks this film cannot be missed!

 

Then, we discuss the new single from the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige. Mary has sat on the throne for 2 decades but we think her new song, “Thick of It,” is one of the most soul baring and emotionally gut wrenching songs she’s ever recorded. We also reveal the role Mary has played in our personal friendship and podcast partnership.

Plus, we talk about the new television drama on OWN, Queen Sugar. The show is halfway through its first season and continues to bring an impressive blend of  melodrama, social realism and the most gorgeous cinematography on TV. All hail Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay! Whether you’re a huge fan or haven’t had a chance to catch it, Amita shares a tip on the ‘best’ way to view past and upcoming episodes.

And #BigSell30 moves into the home stretch with a Big Sell from friends of the show Caroline and Tom Romita (and their new best friend, Alexa).