Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Hello Beautiful
One of Eddie Murphy’s baby mamas has filed a big fat lawsuit against the producers of “Hollywood Exes.”
According to TMZ, Tamara Johnshon insists Lynch-Dyson Entertainment stole her idea for the popular VH1 realty series. She claims she pitched a similar concept in 2008 for a show called “The Hollywood ExClub,” inspired by her own relationship with Eddie Murphy and their now 23-year-old son, Christian.
Fast forward to 2011, Tamara says she saw “Hollywood Exes” with the actor’s other ex Nicole Murphy, and she knew that they completely jacked her original idea.
“Tamara claims she contacted Lynch-Dyson many times about getting credit — and money — for her role in creating the show … but she’s been nothing but rebuffed,” TMZ reports. “She’s now suing for at least $1 million.”
Last Updated on Friday, 06 December 2013 06:50
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
One of the most monumental achievements in the history of show business — and indeed the world — was the creation of Motown Record Corporation.
Detroit was already on the map for its manufacturing of automobiles, but thanks to the company Berry Gordy founded in 1959, with encouragement from Smokey Robinson and perhaps others, there was something else Detroit was celebrated for. In fact, not long after that, it became commonplace to refer to Detroit as “Motown.” It still is.
Now, before going any further, it should be noted that the historic “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” television special, presented as a celebration of Motown’s 25th anniversary, took place in 1983, which was actually the 24th anniversary.
Perhaps Motown and NBC were so hyped that they decided to make the big move right then, assuming that not many viewers would “do the math.”
In any event, the widely viewed special made it clear that most of the things that made Motown the institution it was — and still is, even though today Motown is not a “company,” just a “label” owned by a conglomerate (currently Universal).
“Forever” was the right word to use in naming the Emmy Award-winning special because the music created during that golden era — roughly 1960 to 1970 — is timeless. When you hear a Motown classic, it is not “an old record.” Rather, it is “a Motown song.” There is a big difference.
The hits — and the songs that were great, but didn’t for whatever reason become big hits — are mindblowing. And what an amazing roster. The Supremes. The Temptations. Marvin Gaye. Smokey Robinson. Martha & the Vandellas. Diana Ross. The Jackson 5. The Miracles. Mary Wells. Stevie Wonder. The Marvelettes. The Four Tops. Michael Jackson. Gladys Knight & the Pips.
The long list also includes Jr. Walker & the All Stars, the Contours, Edwin Starr, the Velvelettes, Rare Earth, the Spinners, the Elgins, Tammi Terrell, the Isley Brothers, Syreeta, the Originals, Brenda Holloway, Kim Weston, Carolyn Crawford, Jimmy Ruffin, Shorty Long, the Monitors and too many others to list here.
DETROIT WAS in Motown’s blood. It was the company’s heart and soul. Where the spirit emanated. Where the singers came from. Where the musicians came from. Where the songwriters came from. Where the producers came from. Where the arrangers came from. Where the choreographers and other creative types came from. All of whom were essential to the operation.
Smokey Robinson once said, “Motown is spiritual, and it came from the people who made it happen.”
In some ways it is understandable why Motown packed up and moved to Los Angeles in 1972. For one thing, Berry Gordy wanted to get into moviemaking, and he is to be admired for expanding his and the company’s horizons.
But Detroit was stunned and disappointed by the unexpected new development.
The transition had been a couple of years in the making even though most of the general public and the media were not aware of it.
With change oftentimes comes a certain amount of pain.
So many were left behind with no advance warning, including the Andantes, who sang background on hundreds of Motown recordings. The ladies reported for work as usual and received the relocation information via a note on the door.
Martha Reeves phoned the company on a business matter (by this time the company had moved from West Grand Boulevard to Woodward Avenue) and was told by the operator that Motown had moved to California.
Plus there were many rank-and-file employees who suddenly found themselves out of work, as well as higher ranking business figures.
And there was the Funk Brothers, some of whom made the move to Los Angeles.
Gordy said that even though Motown had moved, “the same feelings went into the music — the love, the honesty, the soul and the family way of doing things.”
IT MUST BE noted that Motown initially enjoyed a lot of success after the move to Los Angeles — megastar Lionel Richie, Rick James (the king of what he called “punk funk”), the family group DeBarge, the Commodores, Switch, Teena Marie, Thelma Houston, El DeBarge, Boyz II Men, the Mary Jane Girls, the Boys and Vanity among them.
That was in addition to artists who opted to stay with Motown, such as Stevie Wonder, who is the only artist who has been with Motown for the entirety of his career, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, the new Supremes with Jean Terrell as lead singer, the restructured Miracles with Billy Griffin up front (“Love Machine” was huge) and former Temptation Eddie Kendricks.
But after a while, it was clear that the uprooted Motown was no longer the force it had been.
After Motown was sold in 1988 — Berry Gordy said he had no choice because the industry had changed and Motown couldn’t compete with the mega-corporations — there was a series of new presidents, including Jheryl Busby and Andre Harrell, but none had the acumen and understanding of the Motown legacy that Berry Gordy had.
And he was savvy enough to retain ownership of the publishing rights of Motown’s vast and lucrative catalogue.
The Los Angeles move notwithstanding, Motown will always be associated with Detroit. Indeed, the day after “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” aired, Motown’s Detroit office, which was still in operation and evolving fully into the Motown Museum, was deluged with calls.
Some wanted to say congratulations. Others wanted to share memories. Many wanted to do both. The Los Angeles headquarters received only a few calls.
Detroit is undergoing a transformation. It’s painful as we deal with declining neighborhoods and population, bankruptcy, an emergency manager, crime, etc.
However, there are also signs of renewal in many places, and what a joy it would have been if Motown could have been a part of the renaissance.
But nothing can change the fact that Motown will always be a source of great pride for Detroit, and a major part of the city’s identity.
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 10:28
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
What’s in a name? According to untold numbers of singers, actors, actresses and others, plenty.
Very often they use a name other than what’s on their birth certificate because they believe it will increase their chances of making it in the entertainment industry.
In some cases, they may very well be right.
Would Whoopi Goldberg be a celebrated stand-up comedienne, Academy Award winning actress and popular television personality if she had used her birth name, Caryn Johnson?
Maybe. Maybe not.
It is difficult to imagine the iconic Tina Turner — David Bowie once said being on stage with her is “the hottest place in the universe” — becoming famous as Annie Mae Bullock.
HARDCORE rap star Snoop Dogg, now known as Snoop Lion, and originally called Snoop Doggy Dogg, may not have had as much “street cred” as Cordoza Broadus, Jr.
Speaking of street cred, another hardcore rapper, and also an actor with proven abilities, Ice-T, has a birth name that does not fit the “tough, from the streets” image — Tracy Marrow.
Kool Moe Dee was a popular attraction in rap in the late ’80s and early ’90s, but only a handful of people knew that his name is actually Mohandas Dewese.
Let’s not forget rapper/actor Bow Wow, whose name is really Shad Moss.
Kim Weston had a classic hit during Motown’s golden era written by the prolific Holland-Dozier-Holland, “Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While).” But would “Agatha Weston” have looked as good on the record label and on marquees? No.
SIMILARLY, the legendary and eclectic Nina Simone might have been “challenged” had she decided to pursue her career as Eunice Waymon.
In the sports world (sports is entertainment too), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar likely would have been teased in the locker room and beyond had he used his given name, Ferdinand (Alcindor).
And then there’s George Michael. Not only would his success chances be reduced, but many people would have had trouble pronouncing his name, which is Georgios Panaylotou. (As you may have surmised, his heritage is Greek.)
And we can’t overlook hip-hop and R&B artist Akon. If you check his birth certificate, you will find the complex name Aliaune Damala Akon Thiam. (If you guessed African heritage, you guessed right.)
BUT MORE often than not, the person just likes the sound of the chosen name better. And in so many cases, the general public is not aware of what the celebrity’s name actually is.
A lot of people know that Jay-Z’s birth name is Shawn Carter, that Chaka Khan is really Yvette Stevens, that LL Cool J is James Todd Smith, and that P. Diddy, also Diddy and formerly Puff Daddy, is actually Sean Combs.
Less known is the fact that Drake’s full name is Aubrey Drake Graham.
Macy Gray, the eccentric singer and actress whose voice is reminiscent of Donald Duck, grew up as Natalie McIntyre.
Sisqo, of Dru Hill and a platinum-haired solo success in the late ’90s and early 2000s, was born Mark Althavean Andrews.
The legendary singer/actress Diahann Carroll played around with “Carol Diahann Johnson” and came up with her stage name.
Just as Detroit’s own Della Reese developed that name from Delloreese Early.
MOS DEF, the rap star with a surprising amount of acting skill, got that nickname because he was in the habit of saying “mos def,” as in “most definitely.”
However, not long ago he announced changing his show business name to Yaaiin (it’s Islamic), but he was born Dante Terrell Smith.
It’s hard to imagine Jamie Foxx is anything other than that, yet his real name is Eric Bishop.
John Legend had big dreams, so the name John Stephens wouldn’t do.
Queen Latifah had similar plans, hence the name transformation from Dana Owens.
Nicki Minaj, known for outrageousness, pink hair, a huge posterior and feuding with Mariah Carey on “American Idol,” has a birth name just as unusual: Onika Maraj.
Rapper/actor Common is really Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.
THE NAME Chubby Checker is synonymous with the twist, and he got the name, a play on “Fats Domino,” from Dick Clark’s wife at the time, Barbara. It was more commercial than Ernest Evans.
Ricky Martin, the Latin sensation who had the world “livin’ la Vida Loca” in 1999, is in actuality Enrique Morales.
Check Nelly’s birth certificate and you will find the name Cornel Haynes, Jr.
D’Angelo is Michael Archer. Sinbad is David Atkins. Elton John is Reginald Dwight. Ne-Yo is Shaffer Smith. Ice Cube is O’Shea Jackson. Joan Rivers is Joan Molinsky. Cee Lo Green is Thomas Calloway. Ginuwine is Elgin Lumpkin.
And on it goes.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 09:34
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
Amber Riley is still floating on Cloud 9 — and probably Cloud 10 as well — as a result of winning the Mirror Ball Trophy on “Dancing With The Stars.”
The “Glee” star’s winning is significant for a number of reasons.
For one, she is plus-sized but was able to not let that hinder her in any way. She can really move! Secondly, she is the first Black woman to win on “Dancing With The Stars.” Several African-American males — Emmitt Smith, Hines Ward and Donald Driver, all football players! — have won.
Riley’s partner was the amazing, Emmy-winning dancer/choreographer Derek Hough. He has taken home the Mirror Ball Trophy a record-breaking five times. No other professional on the show even comes close to that. Hough always knows exactly how to get the best out of his partners, building their natural abilities. As one journalist put it, Riley received “ginormous help” from Hough.
Amber Riley is proof that size and ethnicity need not hold anyone back. The person might have to work a little harder, but victory can be theirs.
SPEAKING OF outstanding performances, Joe Morton is exceptionally good on “Scandal,” in which he has been portraying the evil and downright scary Rowan Pope, father of Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), head of a crisis management company who goes with the married president of the United States!
Morton has appeared in a long and impressive string of hit television shows and movies. He is one of those actors who can be counted on to give a great performance, every time.
The actor, who started out in theater and is in his mid-sixties, is also very smart.
“If you have the skills, you can move as you age,” said Morton. “If there’s no craft, once the looks go, there goes your career.”
LISA BONET has not been seen or heard from much in recent years, but Bonet, who was Denise Huxtable on the long-running, history-making “The Cosby Show,” has taped four episodes of a drama program titled “The Red Road” that airs on the Sundance channel.
It is interesting how the former “Cosby kids” have gotten older. Bonet is 46, Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Theo) is 43, Tempestt Bledsoe (Vanessa) is 40, Keisha Knight Pulliam (Rudy) is 34, and Sabrina Le Beaf (Sondra) is 55.
Beyoncé Knowles just seems to be a money magnet. At the time of this writing, her “Mrs. Carter” worldwide tour had taken in $100 million in ticket sales. Knowles’ personal worth is estimated to be a whopping $350 million. The wise businesswoman said, “I’ve invested my money and I don’t have to make any more.” (But, of course, she will!)
Fortunately, the lovely singer-songwriter-actress finds ways to give back. For example, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Houston area, Knowles contributed $250,000 to help those who found themselves in dire straits.
Kelly Rowland recently got engaged to her manager, Tim Witherspoon. She was previously engaged to former professional football player Roy Williams, but that went sour for a number of reasons. They broke up two months before the wedding. Perhaps Rowland had Williams in mind when she decided to title her latest album “Talk a Good Game.”
This a repeat quote from the late, legendary R&B star Solomon Burke, but it is a great one that many people relate to: “I don’t believe in organized religion. I believe in free religion. Just believe in what’s real and makes you feel good. Whatever moves you, go there. The only commandment Jesus Christ ever gave was ‘Love each other.’”
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille, have been married for 49 years — and that Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds were married for two weeks!
MEMORIES: “Don’t Let Go” (Isaac Hayes), “Please Return Your Love to Me” (the Temptations), “Early in the Morning” (the Gap Band), “I Gotta Dance to Keep From Crying” (the Miracles), “Only the Strong Survive” (Jerry Butler), “Stayin’ Alive” (the Bee Gees), “Stop Your Weeping” (the Dramatics), “Exodus” (Bob Marley & the Wailers), “Every Little Bit Hurts” (Brenda Holloway), “I’m Still in Love With You” (Al Green).
BLESSINGS to Ivan Cotman, Kathleen Smith, Eddie Allen, Tyrone Mills, Fannie Tyler, Delores Wyatt, Eric K. Hunter, Celia Stevenson, Mattie Richardson, Diane Perkins and Thomas A. Wilson.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “You just need to discover what about your life is not who you are and let those things go.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 December 2013 13:03
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
It is generally commendable for a recording artist to have a niche, something that sets them apart from everyone else. But the very talented R. Kelly, who has described himself as a “sexasaurus,” goes way over the top.
Kelly says the idea is to be “sexual and comical at the same time.”
Okay, but calling your new (best-selling) album “Black Panties” is inappropriate, and worse than that, a song title like “Marry the P---y” and lyrics such as “lick the middle like an Oreo” are wrong on several levels.
Everybody is different, and what brings people pleasure privately is one thing — and just about everything is fine with me — but putting it out there in the public marketplace is quite another.
Even when it’s sometimes funny.
DONNY HATHAWAY was, and in a sense still is, one the greatest R&B singers to ever walk the earth. The singer-musician-composer, who exemplified pure soul, receives recognition but not as much as he should.
That said, Hathaway fans will want to pick up the just-released four-disc box set titled “Never My Love: The Anthology.” (They should have just called it “Donny Hathaway: The Anthology.”)
All of his best known songs are here, including the great duets with Roberta Flack, along with quite a bit of previously unreleased studio and live material — 58 songs in all — plus a souvenir booklet.
KELLY ROWLAND (did you know that her name is Kelendria?) has developed into a star in own right, and she fits the role perfectly.
Her successes have been many — hit albums, praised concerts, serving as a judge on “The X Factor,” appearing in ads and also proving that she can act.
In addition to that, she has never looked better — she’s in full bloom — and is so poised.
Rowland once said, “I’m steadily building myself up as ‘Kelly Rowland,’ not just Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child.”
Well, it’s a job well done and the best is yet to come.
KANYE WEST just never knows when to stop. Now he says President Obama was “using” him when he referred to West with a term that was not flattering, and should not have been said by a president, yet was based on truth.
“If you want to distract people from everything that’s going on, just say you hate Kanye,” the publicity-seeking star said.
Obama didn’t say anything about hating.
Chris Brown is out of rehab, but is being treated for anger management as an outpatient in Los Angeles.
Morris Chestnut, active in the movie industry since 1991 and currently featured in “The Best Man Holiday” with Terrence Howard, Nia Long, Taye Diggs and others, says that when he was starting out, actors with darker skin tended to be cast as gang members, or just “the bad guys.”
The situation got better when Wesley Snipes came along. Chestnut says Snipes “busted the mold open” and “ushered it in for us.”
Two of the original Mary Jane Girls, the group created by Rick James, have been doing shows as the Mary Jane Girls, but those responsible for managing the Rick James estate want it to stop immediately — plus have all profits turned over.
The ladies are Maxi Wuletich and Cheri Bailey. They sang with JoJo McDuffie (lead singer) and Detroit’s own Candi Ghant in the ’80s. (Bailey was later replaced by Corvette Marine).
The Mary Jane Girls had four big hits: “In My House,” “All Night Long,” “Candy Man” and “Wild and Crazy Love.”
Looks like that movie about Florence Ballard of the Supremes is likely to never be made. Faith Evans, who was to play the lead role, dropped out and it is reported that the executive producer is in jail! Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody was going to be in the movie.
MEMORIES: “Superwoman” (Karyn White), “Optimistic” (Sounds of Blackness), “My Love” (Margie Joseph), “I Can Make It Better” (Luther Vandross), “U Got the Look” (Prince featuring Sheena Easton), “I Feel For You” (Chaka Khan), “Fever” (Little Willie John), “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)” (the Temptations), “Rhythm of the Night” (DeBarge), “Open My Heart” (Yolanda Adams).
BLESSINGS to Janice Marcum, Roderick Hairston, Duane Parham, Montez Miller, Kem Owens, Ken Donaldson, Sylvia Quarles, Eddie Holland,
Alexis Williams, Henry Tyler, Micha Helvey and Sandra Woodall.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Will Smith: “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you badly. Let God deal with that because hate will consume you.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 December 2013 09:30
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