America's Next Top Model 4, Episode 11: It's Because She's Blackby Phil Kural -- 05/12/2005
Last week, as I’m sure you remember, the girls got down and dirty in the African bush. Keenyah continued to ignore the judge’s advice, but it was Christina that was sent home after coming across as “icy” to the judges. Only four girls remain, so who is going home tonight?
We begin with the girls talking about how they needed to judge one another’s photos. Naima says it was hard, but it’s important. Keenyah says that Naima doesn’t have a personality, and she only said what the judges would since it’s true. Kahlen feels that Keenyah is very selfish, and always thinks of herself before other people. Brittany and Keenyah manage to get in a little tiff, and you can tell tension is brewing. I can already tell this episode is all about Keenyah.
The girls get Tyra mail, which tells them that “Every step counts, and to be ready in the morning.” Keenyah thinks it’s obvious what the clue means, and when Kahlen asks her if it’s so obvious, what are they doing, Keenyah just asks her for a bit of her chocolate! Kahlen tries to get an answer, but it’s no use, Keenyah just wants that chocolate. They get ready in the morning, and Keenyah wants Brittany to tell her how special it is. Okay, you know I like Keenyah, but I’m starting to wear thin. The girls arrive, and they meet Bebe and Mandela, the creators of G’Mho urban clothing. They tell the girls that they make clothes that reflect who they are, where they come from and where they are going. Next, they take the girls to show them where they get their inspiration, and show them shacks that people live in. Brittany says its one thing to see these things on TV, but another when you see that it really exists.
The girls arrive at the community center, and will be learning rhythm and dance from a local troop. Kahlen hates dancing, as we see each girl get paired up with an instructor. Of course, Naima, since she is a dancer, does well right away. Keenyah feels empowered, but can’t move too much since her jeans are too tight. Brittany doesn’t like to dance at all, I guess it’s since there’s no pole around, so she’s confused. Kahlen is just wiggling, and pretty much giving up. Keenyah goes on about how she’s black and that means a lot to her, since she’s in her home country. My stomach is churning. Naima hates when Keenyah goes on her “I’m black” rants since she’s half black too and Keenyah refuses to recognize that. Several of the men say “Welcome home, sister” to Keenyah when she talks about returning to the homeland. This is ridiculous.
The girls are then told that they will have to perform in front of an audience. Kahlen isn’t up for humiliating herself, and can do that on her own. Ugh, I know the feeling. That’s like when you’re in a college class and you have to stand up and introduce yourself. I used to get so nervous. We’re not in kindergarten! I went to college to blend in! Anyway, The girls will be judged, since this will be a challenge. Alfred Hinkle, a jazz artist and guess who else? Ms. J. Alexander is there too! The girls get ready and Kahlen is nervous. She hates this challenge. The band starts and the girls come out. They each get a chance to have a solo session, and Brittany, of course, shows off her boobs. She knows the audience didn’t like her dance though. Kahlen says that she was nervous, but acted the whole time. Keenyah says she appreciates everything more since she’s black, while Naima is silent, and sees dance as a way for her to express herself without speaking. Wow, she does great!
Ms. J. asks the audience which girl did the best, and of course, the applause is the loudest when he gets to Naima. As the winner, she will get 30 extra frames during the photo shoot. She can pick someone that gets 20 extra frames, and she goes with Keenyah, saying that she didn’t give them to Kahlen since she’s her greatest competition at this point, even though they are friends. Keenyah is allowed to pick someone to have 10 extra frames, and she chooses Brittany. Brittany then has to tell Kahlen she gets no extra shots, but Brittany lightens the blow by saying Kahlen doesn’t need them – she always takes great photos. She does, it’s true. Kahlen isn’t feeling the love though, and thinks it’s a small attack on her. She wonders what the girls motives are, and knows she is wearing down.
Tyra mail comes with a message in numbers that reads 46664. In the morning, the girls meet their island guide, who tells them they are on a political prison island, where Nelson Mandela called home for 18 years. The number on their Tyra mail was actually Mandela’s prison number. Keenyah asked Brittany if Mandela is still alive or not, which makes Brittany think that Keenyah knows nothing about what is going on, and is acting fake. One girl is told to open the cell, and Naima take the honor. The girls step in the cell and Keenyah sheds a tear. Brittany is confused and doesn’t understand why Keenyah is so emotional, since she didn’t even know if Mandela was alive or not. In the van, Keenyah boasts that it means so much to her for to be in Mandela’s cell. Brittany isn’t sure if Keenyah is being real or fake.
At home, Tyra mail asks the girls if their feet are as heavy as their luggage. In the morning, we see the girls head to the shoot and meet Jay Manuel. He tells them they are doing the shoot as a girl in the 1940’s, on an ostrich farm for body wash. Not only that, but they have to look aristocratic, while dancing with three guys. Wow, this is a lot to work with, not o mention that the girls have to be dancing, and posing in the middle. They meet Lee-roy, Bertini and Mark, the guys in the shot. While they are in hair and makeup, the guys ask the girls if they want to go out that night, and the girls are game. Keenyah acts all flirty with Bertini, but thinks it’s a bit odd. However, she makes some room for French fries though, saying that if it’s all that’s around, she’s going to eat them in moderation. At least she’s listening to the judges now. Brittany still feels like Keenyah isn’t paying attention to her consumption though.
Naima is the first to do her shoot. She’s working it hard, and Jay says that she is doing wonderful with her expression, however, when it got to her extra frames, she gets a little carried away. Keenyah is up next, and Jay isn’t fond right from the start. She tries to get into it, but one of the male models, Bertini, is grinding and moaning on her, making her feel uncomfortable. Jay tells her to go with the flow and she manages to start again, but Bertini still does the same thing. Jay finally says something and he gets the hint. Keenyah goes and says something to Naima when her shot is finished. Naima thinks it’s wrong that Keenyah is trying to blame the other models. Brittany is going next and she loves the closeness. She knows she has to step it up, but she’s all over the place. Jay tells her to calm it down a little, and think she’s giving him a whole lot of nothing. Kahlen is last, and is told not to be nervous. She does her thing, and she’s not posing as well as she usually does. Kahlen tells the camera that she’s not usually the sexy girl, and Jay says she has to trust herself. She just feels that she is a poser, not a dancer, and Jay reinforces this by saying she looked awkward. On that note though, the shoot is over!
The girls go to dinner that night to meet the guys. Keenyah decides to tell Bertini about what he did at the shoot, and he doesn’t seem to care, especially when Brittany tells him that he did great. When the check comes, Keenyah doesn’t want to pay since her drink isn’t listed on the bill. Brittany says it’s polite to put in money anyway, and I agree. How cheap can you be? Keenyah and Brittany start to bicker, and Naima says the guys are watching them bash one another. Even Kahlen says she feels awkward. All this continues in the van. Brittany says that Keenyah is selfish, and if she had no money, why did she order a drink? Good question! Brittany then brings up the whole Nelson Mandela thing again, and the deal with Naima getting the key. Damn, Brittany has no problem laying it all out there. Naima is now thinking she’s glad she got to hold the key, since it actually meant something to her. The girls are now back at their suite, and still arguing. Keenyah is rambling, and when Naima tries to say something, Keenyah cuts her off, sending Naima into a frenzy of not wanting to talk to anyone. Where’s Kahlen, you ask? Oh, she’s on the patio crying! Brittany leaves the room and Keenyah says she’s never seen this side of Brittany, and as all the girls go to bed, Keenyah reads Tyra mail that says one of them is going home tomorrow. G’night.
The girls walk in and greet the judges. Time for the 11th cut this season. The girls are reminded of the prizes and introduced to the judges, including Mandela and Bebe, the creators of G’Mbo clothing. This week, they were taught movement, and will have to dance for the judges, then pose when Tyra yells. The music starts and Tyra makes the girls pose. Then, the judges get involved and start dancing too. Even Nole’ breaks it down. How can you not love this panel? Anyway, it ‘s time for individual evaluations. Brittany is first, and they tell her she was holding back on her dancing and had no energy. Nigel likes her shot this week, and Tyra says that too many of her shots had her hands in the air. They also show a poor shot, and it’s not good!
Keenyah is next and the judges liked that she stepped to the front when the girls were dancing. Her movement was sexy, but in her shot, they think she needed more neck. Keenyah tries to explain that Bertini was feeling her up, but they don’t want to hear it. They look at one of her other shots, and the belly is too far out. I don’t think it looks so bad. Kahlen is next and Nole’ says that her dancing was like a saltine cracker – square and dry. They look at her shot and think she looks scared. Janice tells her to figure out how to work her body, and in her bad shot, her eyes are closed.
Naima is told she danced well, but was hidden. They tell her she is still holding back. When they look at her shot, she’s told it looks amazing, but Nigel says from what he saw from her in person, he would have never booked her. They all agree that her bad shot isn’t even bad, and Tyra tells her she didn’t need her extra 30 frames. Time for the judges to deliberate!
The judges say that Kahlen wasn’t that great this week, but is very versatile. Brittany had a great picture, but her personality is shrinking. Janice disagrees. Naima takes great photos, but they still don’t know who she is yet. Nole’ compares her to a Faberge egg. She’s beautiful on the outside, but hollow on the inside. Keenyah looks like a top model in person, and Mandela says in Africa, she’d be considered very skinny. Tyra says as an African American woman, she’d be considered skinny too. Janice thinks Tyra is just flirting with Mandela. I might agree with that, but I think Janice is drunk.
The girls come in and Tyra says she has four girls in front of her, but only three photos. The first name she calls, is Keenyah. She tells her that her performance this week in front of the judges turned some heads, and made them look away concerning her midsection. Kahlen is called next, and is told that she is almost complete, but needs to embrace herself and be sexier. Naima and Brittany step up. Only one photo is in Tyra’s hands, so the girl not called will have to pack up and go. She tells them that she has no comments about their photos, but about their hearts. Brittany came into the competition with fire in her eyes, but now something is just slipping away. She lacks the passion and desire she once had. With Naima, it’s a very weakly burning fire. They still don’t know her that well, and aren’t sure how America is supposed to relate to her. Tyra knows she has a desire to win, now Naima has to show the other judges. The girl called… is Naima. Tyra tells her to step it up, as Brittany hugs the other girls and thanks the judges.
Brittany packs her bags and sheds a tear. She can’t believe it’s all over. She’ll miss it all and will miss Keenyah the most. Brittany tells the camera she’s proud she made it as far as she did, it’s just hard to leave when you know you are so close, but you are so far. I feel bad for her. This girl had spunk.
Next week, it’s the finale! The three remaining girls duke it out in a Cover Girl commercial, and a fashion show in Cape Town. This is going to be good. Who do you think is going to win? I’m going to stick with my original pick and say Naima? Did I just doom her to second? I guess we’ll see. I say Naima wins, Kahlen second and Keenyah third. Thoughts, anyone?
Oh, and for the first time, I’m opening up the floor. My interview with Brittany is tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. If you want me to ask her something, let me know? If you get your question to me before 2:00 p.m. Eastern, I’ll try to add it in. See everyone next week!
Phil Kural is a recent graduate from Temple University, with a degree in journalism. You can reach him at email@example.com with any feedback that you may have.
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