Between ‘Zola’ and ‘Heaux Tales’ women are owning their sexuality right now


Seriously. High temps, more skin and plenty of cocktails with umbrellas.

Count me in. And after surviving a pandemic, you had better praise ANY body you’re living in and designate it summer-ready.

That’s why I am all types of thrilled by the hot-girl summer energy right now as women are owning their agency.

Which leads me into this week’s what to watch:

Three things to watch


Taylour Paige stars as the title character in "Zola."

What happens when you get two strippers, a needy boyfriend and a dangerous pimp together for a road trip?

All types of shenanigans — and we are SO here for it.

Based on a viral 2015 Twitter thread, the film, directed by Janicza Bravo and starring Taylour Paige, Riley Keough and Nicholas Braun, is like a buddy road trip on ecstasy — plenty of comedy and a guide to the hoe game as a bonus.

If Paige seems perfect as Zola, thank Bravo, who told me she found her and surreptitiously took photos of the young actress at a coffee shop after earlier spotting Paige in an ad for her VH1/BET drama, “Hit the Floor.”

Paige was not happy about the snaps.

“She fully squinted at me like I was a garbage person and the thing is that’s okay, because I was really taking a photo of you and not asking you to do that,” Bravo told Paige during our interview, to which Paige responded, “I was going through it, probably.”

“Zola” is in theaters now.

‘Summer of Soul’

"Summer of Soul" starts streaming on Hulu Friday.

Questlove can literally do it all.

The drummer for The Roots, superstar DJ and adjunct instructor at New York University has directed his first film, a documentary titled “Summer of Soul.”

The film is billed as “part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion.”

“Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just 100 miles south of Woodstock, the Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park),” according to a news release for the film. “The footage was never seen and largely forgotten — until now.”

Being educated while you jam? Sign me up!

The doc starts streaming on Hulu Friday.

‘September Mornings’

Liniker as Cassandra (left) and Gustavo Coelho as Gersinho (right) are shown in a scene from "September Mornings."
Soul singer and songwriter Liniker, a trailblazer for the trans community in her native Brazil, shines in “September Mornings.”

I’m a sucker for musical artists who can also act. Liniker’s performance as Cassandra, a woman whose life takes a turn when a son she never knew she had turns up at her door, is stellar. She also sings in the series, so bonus!

“September Mornings,” also known as “Manhãs de Setembro,” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Two things to listen to

Lana Del Rey performs at the Benicàssim International Music Festival in Benicàssim, Spain, July 20, 2019.
Lana Del Rey’s eighth studio album, “Blue Banisters,” is a follow-up to “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” which released in March.

It seems that the pandemic has artists out here creating enough tunes that they can release more than one album a year.

Color me not mad about it.

Back in April, Del Rey tweeted, “I’m writing my own story. And no one can tell it but me.”

Let the storytelling begin on Sunday.

The "Rebel Girls Go for the Gold" podcast streams on Audible.

The Summer Olympics start July 23. In honor of the games, Audible is offering up an exclusive six-episode podcast series.

“Rebel Girls Go for the Gold” is performed by Olympic bronze medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad and “takes listeners on a journey throughout Olympics history — from the first woman marathon runner in the late 1800s to a young BMX racer from Colombia planning to compete in the upcoming Tokyo games.”
With all the conversation about (the lack of) gender parity in sports, I dig shining a spotlight on these amazing athletes.

The podcast is currently streaming.

One thing to talk about

Michael Gandolfini (right) stars as the young Tony Soprano in "The Many Saints of Newark."

More prequels, please.

I know Hollywood loves a good sequel — and multiple ones at that — but I crave origin stories.

So, thank you, David Chase for the forthcoming film “The Many Saints of Newark,” where we learn the story of a young Tony Soprano from “The Sopranos.”

I was obsessed with the HBO show and am so looking forward to this film. (Obligatory corporate synergy disclosure: HBO and CNN are both part of WarnerMedia.)

Especially because Michael Gandolfini takes on the role of Soprano, originally played by his father, the late James Gandolfini.

Perfect casting. Plus, behind every great character is a history that helped him or her get there. Bada bing, bada boom.

Something to sip on

A portrait of Britney Spears looms over supporters and the media outside a court hearing concerning the pop singer's conservatorship at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in LA, June 23.

Support for Britney Spears is growing louder.

As wonderful as that is, I hope support continues when headlines are gone.


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