Allison Samuels

Whitney's Private Hell

A drug-using family. Heartbreaking dysfunction. Why no one could save Whitney Houston from herself.

I Survived

When Magic Johnson famously announced he has HIV, it wasn't clear how long he'd live. Twenty years later, he tells of his struggles, fears, and triumphs.

Reality TV Trashes Black Women

From Oxygen's Bad Girls to Bravo's Real Housewives franchise, the small screen is awash with black females who roll their eyes, bob their heads, snap their fingers, talk trash, and otherwise reinforce the ugly stereotype of the "angry black woman."

Is Oprah's Network Too White?

Farah J. Griffin's 82-year-old mother, Wilhelmenia, hasn't missed an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" since it debuted nearly 20 years ago. So when Winfrey's 24-hour Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) debuted on Jan. 1, Griffin upgraded her mother's cable package so she could watch from her Philadelphia home. Only now, Griffin wants more for her money.

Where Are the Realistic Black TV Characters?

After just one month on the air, NBC canceled the new spy drama "Undercovers." Some people blame the show's writing, but it might have to do with something else: race. Though we have a black president in the White House, Hollywood is still neglecting black characters on the small screen.

Janet Jackson: In Control

Why do men always try to protect Michael's little sister? With a new movie, look, and perspective on life after a painful year, Miss Jackson is serving notice: she can handle her own bruise control.

Gabby Sidibe: Cover Girl?

Let me make this point from the very top: Gabourey Sidibe is a wonderful actress. She was pitch-perfect as the abused and ultimately triumphant teenager in "Precious" and rightly deserved her Oscar nomination for best actress. Watching a smart and talented African-American woman get her due in these racially tense times is something that always makes me cheer.

The Case Against Celebrity Gossip

As I sat under the hair dryer at my favorite salon perusing my regular supply of weekly entertainment glossies, I remarked out loud how breathtaking I thought singer Alicia Keys looked in her one-shoulder Vera Wang–designed wedding gown. On one particular tabloid cover, Keys seemed to glow as she kissed her new husband, Swizz Beatz, in front of a fabulous island. Usually a comment about a popular celebrity elicits an immediate response in my chatty salon. Not this day.

Women Are Gaining Power Behind the Camera

Jada Pinkett Smith laughs knowingly when she discusses learning the "language of man" in her role as a producer, director, and actress in Tinseltown over the years. The petite star says one of the mistakes she has made and feels many other women commit in an effort to progress in the male-dominated world is trying too hard to be just one of the guys. "Early on I really think I attempted to be the loudest one in the room," Pinkett Smith says.

How Henrietta Lacks Changed Medical History

In 1951, doctors removed Henrietta Lacks's cells without her consent. More than half a century later, companies have made millions from her cell culture, while few of Lacks's descendants can even afford insurance.

Magic Johnson: Obama's 'Minority Czar'?

Could African-Americans be the next constituency to turn away from Barack Obama? Polls show that the president still enjoys high approval ratings from black voters.