As usual another magazine comes out with their “Hottest,” “Sexiest” and “Best Of” Issue featuring the flavors of the month in popular culture. And of course, the panorama of pale faces is yet another reminder that people of color are a second, if not third, thought in mainstream media’s eyes. So when I saw the Vanity Fair TV Issue, and did not see one brown face on the cover I wasn’t outraged or even surprised. This is what they do and instead of writing a post ranting about the marginalization and non-recognition of women of color, I’ve created my own post featuring the hottest women on TV cuz this is what we do at theHotness. We embrace ourselves and celebrate our own.
1. Kerry Washington: Even though, like Regina King, she appeared inside Vanity Fair’s annual TV Issue, anyone who has seen ABC’s new hit show “Scandal” knows Kerry was robbed. Playing the fiercely tough Olivia Pope, the Bronx native somersaults on a tight rope of political intrigue, frenzy and sensuality. Without a doubt Kerry is BAWSE and for Graydon Carter to put her anywhere, but on the cover is the biggest scandal of them all.
2. Amber Riley: She’s a powerhouse performer who not only imbues Glee’s Mercedes Jones with real-woman curves, but, her character’s refusal to sing back-up is a fitting metaphor for Amber, who moves Mercedes beyond stereotype. With typical big Black girl solos like “And I’m Not Telling You” and “Respect,” Amber could have easily given us “Effie White 2.0,” but often she injects a wonderful sense of vulnerability and wit into her portrayal giving Gleeks a Black girl who wants to be more than her voice and dress size. Now if Mercedes can have a love interest that last for more than three episodes we would finally see Amber flex her full muscle. Until then I anxiously await her solo CD dropping sometime this fall.
3. Melissa Harris-Perry: So what if it’s not a drama or comedy, The Melissa Harris-Perry Show aka Nerdland bubbles over with the sort of humor, passion, wit and defiance seen on Law & Order every week. The show’s namesake and anchor, MHP, holds it down every Saturday and Sunday on MSNBC with intellectually tiz-zight convos about Obama, the GOP, Trayvon Martin, nutrition and hiphop. Anyone who can break down Biggie’s “Crack Commandments” as testimonial in the tradition of the Blues and then wax savvy about women’s reproductive rights the following week has my vote for Best Lead in a weekly series.
4. Regina King: I’m sorry, but folks are sleeping on Regina King as Detective Lydia Adams in Southland. Det. Adams has a no nonsense attitude yet Regina is able to make her so likable; she’s flawed yet immensely empowering. No stranger to the rigors and disposability of television, Regina has consistently given TNT viewers something they can feel for four seasons. Now that her character is pregnant I can’t wait to see how Regina will turn it up a notch and add even more drama to the mix.
5. Issa Rae: Well she may not be on the boob tube, but she’s killin’ it on YouTube with her insanely popular web series “Awkward Black Girl” so Issa Rae definitely gets a pass for this list. Issa, the 26-year old creative mastermind not only stars as the hilariously quirky “J” who awkwardly goes through some of the craziest situations at work and on dates, she is the editor and producer of the series as well. With fingers crossed fans are hoping her series will get picked up by HBO who, rumor has it, is talking to Issa about scripts and shooting a possible pilot.