Brandy And Whitney Houston’s ‘Cinderella’ Is An Underrated Classic


It’s really the only one that matters

Where were you when Beyoncé’s Lemonade dropped? Or, for the older set, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was released? When you found out President Obama would become our 44th president? You can probably recall your exact location, right? Where you were, who you were with, all the excitement you felt. These moments—both big and small—become milestones in your life; although you might not realize it at the time, these moments are history unfolding right in front of you.

One of the most important moments in my history came when I was seven and watched Rodger & Hammerstein’s 1997 live-action Cinderella. My sister and I—and 60 million other people—tuned in to watch a then-18-year-old-year-old Brandy have her go at happily ever after. It’s obvious the movie isn’t your average fairy tale about five minutes in. As the camera moves through the bustle of the village and the faces come into view, no two people look the same. Black boys mingle with Asian ones. Black men mount horses while white women cross the street. It's a racial utopia from the very beginning, better than a typical fairy tale by far.

The cast was as impressive as it gets. Name a more iconic duo than Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother (honestly, I'll wait). Bernadette Peters played the evil stepmother, Natalie Desselle Reid and Veanne Cox were the horrible stepsisters. Served by Jason Alexander as the loyal butler, Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber reigned over the kingdom as queen and king, and Paolo Montalbán was the perfect prince. There were seasoned actors and newbies, but the gang’s diversity spread further than their skill set. “This may be a first,” Goldberg told Jet magazine. “It makes perfect sense because of who we are. Before, it was either all-Black or all-White. But, never a normal mix of people. This integrated cast is how the real world is. This is more normal than being part of a cast that doesn’t have any color in it. This is perfectly fine. This is how I live.”

One aspect of the film that a lot of people like to joke about is the idea that Goldberg and Garber would give birth to a Filipino-American son. Or that Brandy would have a black and a white stepsister. It doesn’t make sense! But, then again, it’s a fairy tale, and within fairy tales, things don’t have to make sense. As Elizabeth Ford wrote in her book The Makeover in Movies, “This concept seems intrusive at first, but you stop noticing as you watch, which is the point.”  

The film isn’t perfect. Critics at the time were quick to denounce some of the songs, Houston’s “stiff” performance (the nerve!), and the movie's stale attempt at feminism. The jokes weren't all that funny, and some might prefer the 1957 or 1965 version to this one. But what this remake did, that others before it didn't, was give a wide range of people the chance to see themselves depicted as royalty for perhaps the first time. And that will always remain important. 

Though this was Disney-produced, the company wouldn’t put a black character at the forefront of another princess film until The Princess and the Frog in 2009. I was 19 at the time, so Tiana was never my princess to fawn over—Brandy was. And she was that for many other black girls at the time, also. "Both Whitney and I grew up on the Lesley Ann Warren version and adored it," executive producer Debra Chase Martin told the New York Daily News back in '97, "but when we got older, we looked back and realized we never saw a person of color playing Cinderella. To have a black Cinderella with a pretty face and braids is just something. I know it was important for Whitney to leave this legacy for her daughter.” 

And, 20 years later, that legacy still lives on. 

Photo by Imani Givertz

Premiering today via NYLON

Small Talks, aka Cayley Spivey, has come a long way since starting a band, then becoming the entire band herself and forging her own fan base from the ground up. On her recent album A Conversation Between Us, she began to unpack any lingering baggage with one particular song: "Teeth." Today, she premieres the accompanying music video exclusively via NYLON.

"'Teeth' is about my personal battle with letting go of the past," Spivey tells NYLON, admitting that it's easily her favorite song off of A Conversation Between Us.

Watch the video for "Teeth" below.

Small Talks - Teeth (Official Music Video) - YouTube

Photos by Joe Maher/Getty Images, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for TIME

Must have been pretty awkward

Taylor Swift and Sophie Turner were guests on the U.K.'s The Graham Norton Show together, which must have been awkward for Turner's husband, Joe Jonas, seeing as he also happens to be Swift's ex. I wonder if his name came up?

The interview doesn't come out until Friday night, but promotional photos show the two sharing a couch. Swift is making an appearance to perform her new single, "ME!" while Turner is promoting her new film, X- Men: Dark Phoenix. But it seems necessary for the two to be asked about Jonas.

Swift was just on the Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this month, where she brought up the fact that she felt bad for putting Jonas "on blast" on DeGeneres' show back in 2008 by telling the audience that he broke up with her in a record-setting short phone call. But, according to Swift, she and Jonas are chill now, since it happened pretty long ago, which means she's probably already hung out with Turner and maybe even gossiped about him with her.

We can only hope that they get the chance to spill some tea on television.

Screenshot via YouTube, Photo Courtesy of HBO

"That's! His! Auntie!"

Leslie Jones has rewatched the Game of Thrones finale with a beer in hand, Seth Meyers at her side, and a full camera crew ready to take in all her glorious reactions. Spoilers ahead, but, if you haven't watched last week's episode already, that's kind of on you at this point.

When Jon Snow started to make out with Daenerys, also known as his aunt, only to stab her through the chest moments later, it was emotional whiplash for everyone watching. And, Jones' reactions—both from her first and second viewing—sum it all perfectly.

"That's! His! Auntie! [gagging noises]," Jones says before making an aside about calling the police if her uncle ever tried to do the same. But then the knife goes in, and Jones screams. "Did you see that?!" Jones asks, "Yeah bitch, that's a knife in you." Meyers points out the funniest part of all: "Why are you so upset about someone kissing their aunt but totally fine with someone killing their aunt?" Jones replies, "Because that bitch needed to go," and, well, same.

Other highlights from the comedians' rewatch include comparing Dany's victory speech to a bad improv gig, predicting that their dogs would have less of a reaction to their deaths than Drogon did to his mother's, and more.

Watch all of Jones' reactions from this Late Night clip below.

Game of Jones: Leslie Jones and Seth Watch Game of Thrones' Series Finale

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These lyrics are a lot

Robbie Tripp, aka Curvy Wife Guy, is back with a music video, titled "Chubby Sexy," starring his wife and a trio of models. In it, Tripp raps about his bold choice to find women with an average body size attractive.

The video begins with a series of statements laid over some pool water: "Curves are the new high fashion," "Chubby is the new sexy," "We Out Here." Tripp posits that these queens deserve an anthem, which they do. What they do not deserve is this Cursed Song. As he lists all the names he knows to call them by (thick, thicc, and BBW), one model (who I really, really hope was paid well) squirts some lotion down her cleavage, and Tripp begins dancing.

"My girl chubby sexy/ Call her bonita gordita," Tripp states in his chorus, before going on to compare "big booty meat" to the peach emoji. Another thing he mentions is that his wife can't find a belt that fits her waist, and that's why he calls her James and the Giant Peach. He then tries to dab. Here are some of the other Cursed highlights from his, uh, verses:

Got those Khaleesi curves/ Knows how to dragon slay
She like a dude that's woke/ We like a girl that's weighty
Some say a chubby girl that's risky/ But they ain't met a curvy girl that's frisky
Imma dunk that donk like I'm Andrew Wiggins.
Thick like an Amazon/ Built like Big Ben.

Tripp says one thing in the video that I couldn't agree more with: "She don't need a man." No, she does not. Please run. If you must, watch the entire video, below. Or send it to your nemesis!

Robbie Tripp - Chubby Sexy (Official Music Video)

Photo by Emma McIntyre / Getty Images.

See the promo here

It was bound to happen. The Kadashians and Jenners have committed themselves to letting the cameras roll on their lives, for better or for worse. So if you thought that the Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson cheating scandal was off limits, you thought wrong. The trailer for Sunday's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians was just released, and it involves the famous family working through the fallout of what happened when Woods went to a party at Thompson's house.

The teaser includes the infamous clip of Khloé Kardashian screaming "LIAAAARRRRRR." It's still not explicitly clear who prompted that strong response. She could be responding to Thompson, who clearly isn't always honest. Or she could be reacting to Woods account of the events on Red Table Talk. But the most revealing moment comes when we see Kylie Jenner—who was Woods' best friend before all of this happened—react for the first time.

In a heart-to-heart conversation, momager Kris Jenner says, "For you and Jordyn, it's like a divorce." Kylie only offers this in response: "She fucked up." Based on Woods' version of events—which I'm inclined to believeThompson is the one who fucked up. Still, I'm hoping for some kind of reconciliation between the two longtime friends. Perhaps we'll have to wait until next season for that.

Check out the promo video below.