Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Good things, apparently, come to fans who wait.
TLC, the trio that shot to fame in the early '90s with the best-selling album "CrazySexyCool" and a string of hit singles including "Baby Baby Baby," "Creep" and "No Scrubs," decided to return to the recording studio.
The as yet untitled album is expected to be released in October. Two songs have already been recorded — "Meant To Be," a Ne-Yo composition, and "Posh Life," written by Lady Gaga and Dallas Austin.
Following the passing of original member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes in 2002, it seemed evident that fellow members Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas would make no further recordings as TLC.
However, the ladies were so impressed with "Lil Mama" that they decided to have her fill in, temporarily, for Lopes. Lil Mama, like Lopes, is a rapper. Watkins and Thomas have made it clear that there will "never" be a full-time replacement for Left Eye.
The new album will not consist entirely of new material. There will also be a reprise of the trio's biggest hits.
Also in October: the premiere of "CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story," a biopic that will air on VH1.
Among TLC's other hits were "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "Waterfalls," "Unpretty," "Red Light Special" and "What About Your Friends?"
Last Updated on Friday, 02 August 2013 13:16
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
…. And why wouldn’t he? The 52-year- old head of one of the world’s most iconic black hair care businesses has wisely parlayed his time at the company’s helm into not only expanding the Bronner Bros. Inc. empire, but now he is an award-winning publisher, movie producer and true business mogul. Bernard Bronner is, as they say in the movies, “Laughing his way to the bank.”
The enigmatic entrepreneur explained to Atlanta Daily World staff in a recent interview, why he doesn’t stop to rest on his laurels in light of all that he has accomplished and all that is left for him to accomplish.
Bronner’s business sense …
I think it was my father and the previous generation of Bronners who trained me on how to be an entrepreneur. My father and the publisher of the Atlanta Daily World were like family. My father threw the Atlanta Daily World newspaper, and as soon as I was able to walk good, I had the Atlanta Daily World in my hand. When I was six and seven I was delivering the paper and by the time I was 12, I had a couple of my brothers working for me throwing the Atlanta Daily World.
I use the same principles I learned from my father regarding how to start and cultivate a business and grow it into a major enterprise. … And not only have I built the hair show and the product line, I have added new things like Upscale magazine, a silverware line and now the movie, Laughing to the Bank.
The second generation has been running the businesses for about 30 years and the first generation ran things for about 35 years. We are in year 66 now. The first generation sold products in the six southern states. The second generation, my generation, took the show nationwide and now global. We just did a hair show in Dubai …, We’ve done London shows now, and we have done all of the Caribbean. We do Baltimore, Dallas, Oakland and Chicago along with Atlanta here in the states.
Bronner on the basics …
One of the basic business principles that I have learned is to start small and make that small thing a success. That has been the hardest thing for me to get into my head. When I got into the record business, industry experts told me that I needed to make it popular in small cities like Macon and Augusta, before bringing it to Atlanta. I wanted Dallas and Chicago and L.A. but those markets are so expensive and if it doesn’t sell in a small town…. So now I test everything through the small towns; that is something I learned from Walmart. They started in small towns and then when there was nowhere else to go, they moved into the big cities.
His newest venture …
I started a new movie company, Make It Rain Films, and we are releasing our first major movie. We showed it to the public for the first time in Miami at the American Black Film Festival. We screened it there to an audience of about 300 movie industry people and they loved it and it was the talk of the ABFF.
What makes Laughing to the Bank so significant is the fact that it is 100 percent black owned, black produced and black distributed. So the movie and our philosophy are about economic empowerment. The movie is a comedy about someone who has to raise the money to shoot a movie. It’ a comedy about the process of making a movie and the rejection of going to the studios it deals with all of the trials and tribulations of going to major studios and telling them that you have a film for black audiences and you want them to finance it. That’s why the movie is so funny … because the process is near impossible.
The movie industry …
It was a terrible year for black actors and black actresses. I have seen us go form 15 black oriented films last year to just a few this year and Rainforest Films’ Think Like a Man, and Tyler Perry’s and another that didn’t do so well.
The studios have not been willing to green light African-American themed projects. They know we spend a lot of money and they know we are good consumers. They still don’t respect our people. They have done all of these studies that say this, yet they refuse to do anything black. They refuse to advertise or attend black events. They refuse even though they have the statistics that say these are the people who are buying your product. In Hollywood only a few studios address our audience.
The great thing is that I have great friends like Steve Harvey, and Michael Baisden and Tom Joyner who have committed to promoting the movie.
What he is proudest of …
My claim to fame will not be that I inherited my father’s company and bled it. My claim to fame will be that I inherited my father’s entrepreneurship abilities and I built many companies. Not only did I build them, but I trained and continue to train others to do the same thing. I work with partners to ensure that they experience the kind of success that I am having. I don’t know how a human being can enjoy himself any more than I am.
The hilarious comedy Laughing to the Bank will be in theaters on Aug. 23!
Last Updated on Thursday, 01 August 2013 15:26
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
During her recent sold-out concert at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Beyoncé, the hardest working woman in show business, set aside a part of the show to pay tribute to Detroit, in light of its bankruptcy filing.
There was a large screen featuring a video montage of Detroit as well as famous people from the Motor City, including Berry Gordy, Kid Rock, Joe Louis and Eminem. She also added a special song to her act for the occasion, a heartfelt rendition of Sam Cooke’s classic, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
At the conclusion of the tribute, the words “Nothing Stops Detroit” appeared on the screen in giant letters.
Thanks, Beyoncé! A special tribute from a special lady.
And by the way, it must be a gratifying thrill to be able to fill a venue that holds 24,276 people!
EARTH, WIND & FIRE is one of those legendary acts that are so firmly established that they do not need to have music currently on the charts to keep working and make good money doing it.
Their fans turn out in droves, and the group is to be commended for carrying on so effectively despite the absence of group founder and co-lead singer Maurice White, who had to stop performing for health reasons.
But in September, new music by Earth, Wind & Fire is scheduled to be released — the first in eight years. The album is titled “Now, Then & Forever” and it is very good.
It features a lot of the kind of music you would expect from Earth, Wind & Fire (“Love Is Law,” “Belo Horizonte,” “The Rush,” etc.), but also some surprises, such as a made-for-clubs song titled “Dance Floor.”
Earth, Wind & Fire doesn’t get old, they just mellow with age, like fine wine. And kudos to Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson who have been there “since forever.”
FANTASIA will soon be returning to Broadway. She will star in a show titled “After Midnight” which celebrates the music of the legendary Duke Ellington, focusing on his years at the famed Cotton Club, in Harlem, New York.
The show will be premiered on Oct. 18 and the official opening will be on Nov. 3.
It is very easy in imagine “Tasia” singing songs like “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me” and “Satin Doll.”
The late, great Bobby “Blue” Bland was famous for a lot of things, one of them being a distinctive “growl” (for lack of a better word) heard on so many of his recordings and in concert. He said he got it from the famous Rev. C.L. Franklin or, as he put it, “Aretha’s daddy.”
We told you this before but it is worth repeating because it is funny. The O’Jays have been recording since 1961, and co-lead singer Eddie Levert said girls used to throw panties onto the stage, but now it’s middle-aged women throwing “big ol’ draws.”
Michelle Williams, formerly of Destiny’s Child, said that at one point recently, she actually thought she needed Botox despite just being in her early thirties. But Kelly Rowland convinced her that what she really needed was a facial. She got one and it worked.
This is what you call laying it on the line, as well as being liberated. Famed TV pesonality/journalist Anderson Cooper said, “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, any more comfortable with myself, or any more proud.”
Congrats to Tina Turner and her longtime boyfriend, German music producer Erwin Bach, who recently got married in Switzerland, where they live.
There is a tendency to think of celebrities as preferring fancy, expensive foods, but that is not always the case.
The legendary Elizabeth Taylor’s favorite was fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy, and Cissy Houston, Whitney Houston’s mother, recently revealed that her daughter’s favorite food was chicken wings and pork ’n’ beans, and her favorite sweet treat was Creamsicles.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Spike Lee’s real name is Sheldon Lee, that Donna Summer’s was LaDonna Gaines, and that Kareem Abdul Jabar was born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr.
MEMORIES: “I Hear a Symphony” (the Supremes), “Whodunit” (Tavares), “Starting All Over Again” (Mel and Tim), “I Am Love” (Jennifer Holliday), “Too Tough” (Angela Bofill), “Party Train” (the Gap Band), “Let’s Do It Again” (the Staple Singers), “All Around the World” (Lisa Stansfield), “I’ll Be Good” (René and Angela).
BLESSINGS to Linda Burgess, Doug Ware, Heaster Wheeler, Eric Hunter, Monica Holiefield, Andrew Humphrey, Danton Wilson, Janice Wilson and LaWanda Gray.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from singer and former "Soul Train" dancer Eddie Cole: "Don't let anyone make you into a bad person because you do this or don't do that. Do you."
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 12:42
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
Having been crowned the first African-American Miss America, in 1983, would assure Vanessa Williams a place in entertainment history. But she is so much more than that — singer, actress, dancer, former fashion model and she is also an accomplished pianist.
So much time has elapsed, and so many things have been achieved, that it is sometimes hard to believe that there was a time when Williams’ life appeared to be derailed because of pictures published in Penthouse magazine that cut her Miss America reign short near the end. (They were old pictures taken when she was a teenager.)
She was down, but hardly out, and had no intensions of crawling into a corner and going down in what some judgmental people would call infamy. It was just a matter of assessing the situation, regrouping, and then launching a carefully strategized comeback.
“What people forget is that Vanessa has talent,” said Ramon Hervey, her husband, in the spring of 1988 when Williams was enjoying the success of her first hit record, “The Right Stuff.”
Three years before that, producers of the TV special “Motown Returns to the Apollo” bravely chose Vanessa Williams to perform during a segment on legendary ladies. Williams appeared as Josephine Baker.
In 1989, Williams received an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding New Artist category. In her tearful acceptance speech, among those she thanked were Ed Eckstine from Mercury Records “for giving me a chance,” her family, husband — and the Black community because “when I needed you, you were there for me.”
It was a powerful, heart-touching, race-affirming moment.
VANESSA WILLIAMS was born in Millwood, New York, and since both of her parents were music teachers, it comes as no surprise that she was musically inclined. After high school she attended Syracuse University from 1981 to 1983. She was a musical theater arts major, but left the university before graduating due to winning the Miss America pageant, and entering was not something she had planned on doing.
“The Right Stuff” was just the start of Williams’ success as a recording artist. It reached No. 4 on the national R&B charts and after that it was one Top 10 hit after the other, including “(He’s Got) The Look,” “Dreamin’,” “Darlin’ I,” “Running Back to You,” “The Comfort Zone” and “Work To Do.”
But her biggest hit was the lovely “Save The Best For Last” which was No. 1 on the R&B chart for three weeks and No. 1 on the Pop chart for an impressive five weeks. It was also a smash in Australia, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands and Canada.
The album “Save The Best For Last” appeared on, “The Comfort Zone,” was certified Double Platinum by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling two million copies and has since been certified Triple Platinum. There were also five Grammy nominations.
“Success,” said Williams, “is the sweetest revenge.”
HOWEVER, she also had a strong desire to do stage and film work.
Williams didn’t have to start at the bottom. She landed a lead role on Broadway that hundreds of other actresses wanted, replacing the great Chita Rivera in “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”
Following that critically acclaimed role was the theatrical gems “Carmen Jones,” “Into the Woods” and “Sondheim on Sondheim.” She is currently featured on Broadway in “The Trip to Bountiful,” also starring Cicely Tyson (who recently won a Tony Award for her performance) and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Williams’ film history is long and diverse, and once again critics have written favorably. Among the movies are “Eraser” (with Arnold Schwarzenegger), “Soul Food,” “Johnson Family Vacation,” “Dance With Me” and “Shaft.”
Television viewers have seen Vanessa Williams in, among many others, “Ally McBeal,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Jacksons – An American Dream” (a made-for-television movie), “Bye Bye Birdie,” “South Beach” and “Desperate Housewives.”
AND THEN there was her role in the long-running series “Ugly Betty” in which she played the villainous modeling company owner (and former model) Wilhelmina Slater.
Looking over all she has accomplished in various fields (Broadway is her favorite), and how challenging her start was, Williams said, “You’re always going to have people that are naysayers, that don’t believe in your talent, that don’t believe that you will have any kind of longevity.”
Well, as Will Smith once advised, use criticism and defeat for fuel.
Vanessa Williams has four children, three with her first husband, Ramon Hervey, and one with her second, NBA star Rick Fox. She is currently single and gets along great with both ex-husbands.
Anyone wishing to know more about Vanessa Williams’ personal life should read “You Have No Idea,” the autobiographical and revealing book she wrote with her mother, Helen Williams, that was published in 2012.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 10:11
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Amber Bogins
Former MLB All-Star Bo Jackson and legendary 18-time Grammy Award-Winning recording artist Aretha Franklin will receive MLB Beacon Awards at the 2013 MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon on Saturday, August 24th at the Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile, and will be recognized on the field prior to the Civil Rights Game at U.S. Cellular Field. The MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon is one of the Civil Rights Game weekend events, which were developed to pay tribute to all of those who fought on and off the field for equal rights for all Americans. The 2013 Civil Rights Game will be played between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers at U.S. Cellular Field on Saturday, August 24th, airing nationally on MLB Network and locally on Comcast SportsNet in Chicago and FOX Sports Southwest in Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas. Information for the Civil Rights Game and the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon, which recognizes individuals whose lives have been emblematic of the spirit of the civil rights movement, can be found at MLB.com/civilrightsgame or WhiteSox.com/civilrightsgame.
Platinum-selling, international recording sensation Charice, who appeared in a recurring role on FOX's "Glee" and who Oprah Winfrey once dubbed "the most talented girl in the world," will perform at the Luncheon.
"The MLB Beacon Awards offer a positive reminder that there are individuals who use their celebrity and fame to make a positive difference in our society," said Frank Robinson, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Development. "Major League Baseball is honored to bestow this special recognition on Bo Jackson and Aretha Franklin and to have them be a part of our weekend activities surrounding the Civil Rights Game."
Aretha Franklin, whose chart-topping version of the hit song "Respect" became a mantra for not only the civil rights movement but also gender equality in the 1960s, will receive the MLB Beacon of Change for inspiring multiple generations of people through her music. Franklin, who performed during the civil rights movement in support of family friend and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and who would become the first woman to ever be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is known around the world as the "Queen of Soul" and one of the most influential and important voices in the history of American music. With a repertoire that spans pop, soul, jazz, rock, blues and gospel, she was named the #1 Vocalist of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. With her ever-distinctive, soulful, vocal style, she has graced music charts for nearly five decades and her 'live' performances have been seen by millions of fans since she began her musical career in Detroit as a singing child prodigy. Franklin has earned countless international and national awards as well as accolades and global recognition on an unprecedented scale. She is a 2005 recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor, presented by President George W. Bush, and in 1999, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts, presented by President Bill Clinton. She has performed at two Presidential inaugurations, including the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009 and at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993. She also performed at the inaugural gala for President Jimmy Carter in 1977. In 1968, she sang at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor; 18 Grammy Awards, including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for eight consecutive years, a Grammy Legend Award, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award; five American Music Awards; and four NAACP Image Awards. In 1979, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2007, Franklin was honored at the Annual United Negro College Fund Evening of Stars and was presented with UNCF's Award of Excellence. She was named 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year by the Recording Academy, and she was presented with the prestigious NAACP Vanguard Award. In 2010, she was inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame at the Apollo Theater. In April 2012, Franklin received the TV Land Music Icon Award. In August 2012, Franklin was inducted into the Gospel Music Associations' Hall of Fame. To date, she has received 12 Honorary Doctorate Degrees.
Former MLB All-Star Bo Jackson, whose legendary on-field displays made him one of the most popular athletes in the 1980s and a cultural icon who transcended the sports world, will receive the MLB Beacon of Life. Jackson played eight seasons in the Major Leagues as an outfielder with the Kansas City Royals (1986-90), Chicago White Sox (1991, 93) and California Angels (1994). The Alabama native was selected by the Royals in the fourth round of the 1986 Draft out of Auburn University. The 1989 All-Star collected at least 20 home runs in each of his first four full Major League seasons from 1987-90, including a career-best 32 homers and 105 RBI in 1989, when he finished 10th in MVP voting. The two-sport star, who was the 1985 Heisman Trophy Award winner and played four seasons as a running back in the NFL, was elected a starter during the 1989 Midsummer Classic and was named MVP after robbing a home run in the top of the first inning to save two runs and going 2-for-4 with a home run, stolen base and two RBI. Jackson, who is the only player in history to be named an All-Star in two professional sports, tied a Major League record in 1990, becoming the 19th player in history to hit home runs in four consecutive at-bats, accomplishing the feat on July 17th and August 26th (on DL in between games). Jackson, who missed the 1992 season due to hip replacement surgery, was named the 1993 A.L. Comeback Player of the Year with the White Sox after hitting 16 home runs with 45 RBI in 85 games played. An exciting blend of power and speed, Jackson retired with 141 home runs, 415 RBI and 82 stolen bases in 694 Major League games. In 2011, Jackson created the "Bo Bikes Bama" annual charity bike ride to address unmet recovery needs faced by Alabamians following the deadly tornadoes that year. The inaugural event, which consisted of Jackson, former All-Star Ken Griffey, Jr. and hundreds of cyclists from around the country and Canada biking 300 miles in five days ending in Tuscaloosa, raised more than $600,000. Every "Bo Bikes Bama" event going forward will be scheduled on the anniversary of the tornadoes and will take place in a different small town in Alabama that was affected. The money Jackson raises has not only gone toward rebuilding efforts, but also toward building community storm shelters to protect against future storms.
Past recipients of MLB Beacon Awards include: Baseball Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks; and also Don Newcombe, Buck O'Neil, Muhammad Ali, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Ruby Dee, Morgan Freeman, John H. Johnson, Billie Jean King, Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Carlos Santana, three of the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire, and Vera Clemente, MLB Goodwill Ambassador and wife of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Keynote speakers at previous MLB Beacon Award events have included Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig, President Bill Clinton, Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend Joseph Lowery and Julian Bond.
Proceeds from the MLB Beacon Awards Luncheon will go toward benefiting the Chicago Urban League and La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago. Founded in 1916, Chicago Urban League is committed to empowering African-Americans with the skills and resources needed to enter the economic and social mainstream, including helping Chicagoans find jobs, affordable housing, educational opportunities, and grow businesses. La Rabida is a private, non-profit hospital that serves approximately 7,500 children annually who require primary and specialty care to address complex and challenging medical conditions. Services and programs include treatment for chronic illnesses such asthma, diabetes, and sickle cell disease, and developmental disabilities. In addition, La Rabida specializes in the treatment of children who have been abused, neglected or experienced trauma. As a specialty hospital for extended acute care, it serves patients who need hospitalization for weeks, months, and in some cases even longer. La Rabida is a grant recipient of the White Sox Community Fund.
The 2013 Civil Rights Game is the seventh installation of an annual event that began in Memphis in 2007, centering on an exhibition game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. After another exhibition game in Memphis in 2008, the Civil Rights Game moved to Cincinnati (2009-2010) and then Atlanta (2011-2012) as Regular Season contests. As the site of the Chicago Freedom Movement, which some consider to be the most ambitious civil rights activity in the North, the city of Chicago played a crucial role in the civil rights movement. Additional ancillary activities surrounding the Civil Rights Game will include the Baseball & the Civil Rights Movement Roundtable Discussion on Friday, August 23rd and a youth baseball and softball clinic on Saturday, August 24th.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 July 2013 09:33
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