Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
There is an exciting exuberance about the multitalented Corbin Bleu — actor, singer, songwriter, dancer, model, producer, musician — and quadruple-threat Amber Riley — actress, singer, dancer, songwriter.
Although they have accomplished a great deal in a relatively short time and are well known in certain circles, each has received a giant boost by competing, and doing exceptionally well, on season 17 of “Dancing With The Stars.”
Riley’s professional partner is four-time winner Derek Hough while Bleu is partnered with Karina Smirnoff, season 13 winner.
“Dancing With The Stars” has introduced them to a whole new audience and in the process expanded their career possibilities.
RILEY IS familiar to television viewers, in the younger demographic, for being Mercedes Jones in the popular musical-drama series “Glee” and has been since the show’s introduction in 2009.
She had hoped that her road to show business success would begin with “American Idol,” for which she auditioned in season 2, the winner that year being Ruben Studdard.
Riley says bluntly, “I auditioned and they told me no.”
Disappointed but still determined, Riley forged on, being honest about the obstacles she would continually have to face, as an African-American woman and, perhaps more significantly, as a plus-size woman in a profession that puts a premium on being slim. In fact, more often than not it is a (non-official) requirement.
“Going to auditions and having casting directors say you need to lose weight, I didn’t understand why people couldn’t accept me for who I was,” she said, “And the rejection started wearing on my self-esteem.”
RILEY HAS derived inspiration from Queen Latifah, another plus-size actress-singer, who was told the same kinds of things early on, but her focus was on becoming successful despite the naysayers. Today she is a multidimensional superstar.
Currently planning her introductory album, one of the highlights of Riley’s career up this point was singing the National Anthem on the opening day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
There was a lot of pride derived from receiving an NAACP Image Award nomination in 2011 for “Glee,” and as part of that show’s ensemble cast, she took home a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Riley could not have possibly had a better “Dancing With The Stars” partner than Derek Hough, who in addition to being a four-time Mirror Ball trophy winner, this year won a Primetime Emmy Award in the Outstanding Choreography category for “Dancing With The Stars.”
The Riley-Hough partnership was an unlikely one and many people had doubts —and it had much to do with her weight — but it has worked out beautifully. Moreover, no one knew just how good a dancer Riley is and how light on her feet. She has brilliantly mastered every routine Hough has created.
CORBIN BLEU began his career as a child and teen star and is probably most familiar for being featured in the well-received “High School Musical” films.
Brooklyn-born Bleu’s heritage is interesting. His father is Jamaican and his mother is Italian.
Amazingly, he started his career at the age of two, appearing in TV commercials for products such as Hasbro toys and Bounty paper towels.
One reason for his outstanding moves on “Dancing With The Stars” is the fact that Bleu trained at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. As for acting, he was a theater major at the famed High School of Performing Arts in New York and graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
After moving to LA, Bleu landed roles in such TV series as “Malcolm & Eddie” and “ER” as well as small roles in several films. And it seemed like only a matter of time before he caught the attention of the Disney organization.
In 2006, Bleu secured the role of Chad Danforth in “High School Musical,” which still stands as the most successful Disney Channel Original Movie. The third installment of “High School Musical” became the first Disney Channel Original Movie to be made into a feature film.
Bleu’s other television work includes “Hannah Montana” and the daytime drama “One Life to Live.”
He also recorded two albums, “Another Side” in 2007 and “Speed of Light” in 2009. In addition, he appeared in two Broadway shows, “Godspell” (2012) and “In the Heights” (2010).
Known for his good looks, megawatt smile and friendly nature, Bleu said, “I’m a very outgoing person. I’m always happy. I’m one of those people who are always smiling. I get along with everybody.”
And he is unusually philosophical about competing for roles in an industry where the jobs are miniscule compared to the number of people who want them.
“I love competition and really going for it and doing my best,” he said. “But I feel that if I do lose, the other person really deserved it.”
Corbin Bleu was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2007 in the Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program” category for “High School Musical.”
Bleu and Riley are expected to have long show business careers.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 November 2013 11:01
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
Vivica A. Fox (the “A” stands for Anjanetta) is an acclaimed and widely recognized actress and has been since the mid-1990s, both in movies and on television.
The lady from South Bend, Indiana can be depended on to deliver an outstanding performance, as was the case in such films as “Soul Food,” “Independence Day,” “Set It Off” and “Why Do Fools Fall In Love?” to name a few.
However, based on skills and consistency she should be more than a star. A deserved label would be “superstar,” right up there alongside Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington and Vanessa Williams.
REHAB is certainly a good place for the talented but volatile Chris Brown. This guy just can’t seem to stay out of trouble, let alone control his temper.
Bobby Brown has long been identified as the ultimate “bad boy” — one person who knows him well sarcastically joked that Brown “was in trouble with the law every other minute or so” — but Chris Brown might be a challenger for the “title.”
The official statement said, “Chris Brown’s goal is to gain focus and insight into his past and recent behavior, enabling him to continue the pursuit of his life and his career from a healthier vantage point.”
That’s admirable — and “scholastically worded.”
Maybe you know about Mary J. Blige’s first holiday album, cleverly (and rather obviously) titled “A Mary Christmas.” The surprise is that one of the selections (“When You Wish Upon a Star”) features none other than Barbra Streisand.
A lot of women would love to have the long, flowing locks of Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire.
THIS NEXT item comes under the heading of “Time Flies.”
On Oct. 15, Tito Jackson turned 60! Jackie is already 62 and Rebbie Jackson is 63. Which brings to mind something Howard Hewett, 58, noted based on personal experience. He said, “You can call me old school all you want. It just means that I am a survivor and that I have sense.”
Darius McCrary became well known to the American public as Eddie Winslow on the long-running sitcom “Family Matters.” Well, he is also a singer and his first album will be released soon.
“Family Matters,” which aired from 1989 to 1998, is the second longest running African-American sitcom in TV history, just a little behind “The Jeffersons.”
It is hard to believe that the day would have ever come when Quincy Jones, who produced Michael Jackson’s biggest and most celebrated albums (“Thriller,” “Bad” and “Off the Wall”) would end up suing the Jackson estate.
Jones charges that he is owed millions of dollars generated from those albums — and the “This Is It” movie — since Jackson’s passing in 2009, and that he took formal action after being frustrated in his attempts to right some wrongs.
Mo’Nique might be getting a new talk show.
Sometimes Kanye West says things that make sense, at other times he utters words that are idiotic. So often in his case, silence would be golden, such as saying that he and girlfriend Kim Kardashian have more “national influence” than President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Of course, in one sense he is right, but it still came across as crass.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that the word “Gap” in the Gap Band is an acronym for three streets in the group’s native Tulsa, Oklahoma: Greenwood, Archer and Pine.
MEMORIES: “But It’s Alright” (J.J. Jackson), “Through the Fire” (Chaka Khan), “Fake” (Alexander O’Neal), “Remember What I Told You to Forget” (Tavares), “Baby I’m For Real” (the Originals), “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” (Ray Parker Jr.), “Walkin’ in the Rain With the One I Love” (Love Unlimited), “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (Thelma Houston), “Hello” (Lionel Richie), “Standing on the Top” (the Temptations, featuring Rick James).
BLESSINGS to Deborah McIntosh, Marva Stafford, Dave McMurray, Andre Spivey, Nat Morris, Karen Dumas, Diane Steinberg Lewis, Liza Walton, Carl Walton, Don Davis, Jesse Walker, Shirleen Fort and Carlton Peoples.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Henry Louis Gates: “The most radical thing about Barack Obama is that he was the first Black man to imagine that he could become president who was able to make other Americans believe it as well.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 18:01
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Steve Holsey
According to Quincy Jones, who produced Michael Jackson’s most successful and most celebrated albums — “Thriller,” “Bad” and “Off the Wall” — a huge amount of money has been made on those albums since Jackson’s passing in June 2009, as well as from the “This Is It” documentary film.
The movie alone took in more than $260 million at the box office worldwide. But Jones says he has not been receiving royalty payments, and after exhausting all other avenues, decided to sue the Michael Jackson estate, his close friendship with the late superstar notwithstanding.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks at least $20 million in damages. That breaks down to $10 million for each of the two master contracts Jones says were breached in several ways under an agreement between MJJ Productions and Sony. According to Jones’ attorney, Henry Gradstein, “Quincy has been frustrated with these matters for a number of years, and felt he was not making any progress and needed to take more formal action.” Jones’ charges have been challenged by an attorney for the Jackson estate. The three aforementioned albums feature the No. 1 hits
“Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough,” “Rock With You,” “The Girl Is Mine,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Dirty Diana” and “Another Part of Me.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 09:59
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
MotorCity Casino Hotel is proud to announce A SongVersation with India.Arie, presented by Soulbird live in Detroit, at Sound Board on Sunday, November 17th, at 8:00 p.m.
India.Arie is a Grammy Award-winning R&B singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. She has sold over 3.3 million records in the US and 10 million worldwide. India.Arie has won four Grammy Awards, three NAACP Image Awards as well as awards from BET, Billboard, MTV, VH1, Vogue Fashion, Essence Magazine and others. She has performed on such prestigious television specials as The Kennedy Center Honors, The NAACP Awards and The Grammy Awards. She has also performed for President Obama, Nelson Mandela, Dalai Lama and at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
Tickets ($50.00, $43.00, and $40.00) is on sale at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available through the Sound Board Box Office Wednesday, Friday-Sunday.
SOUND BOARD, an intimate live performance venue is located at MotorCity Casino Hotel. The venue features four bars and several private suites that are available to create an unforgettable live entertainment event. Free and convenient valet and self-parking are available.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 17:16
Category: Entertainment - Original Written by by Christa E. Jackson
The original Love & Hip Hop series which takes place in NYC now has several new characters this season including Love & Hip Hop Atlanta's own K. Michelle who made the move to the New York cast to find love, happiness, and continue on the successful musical journey that she started in the ATL. Even though the show just premiered last week there is already drama galore with the cast. This season Yandy is still dealing with the uncertainty of knowing what will happen with her fiancée Mendecees and his court case, being a single mom and running a label with fellow cast member Rich Dollaz.
Tahiry and Joe Budden are trying to make their relationship work one more time, and Erica Mena is back and showing out as usual. This season will prove to be juicy and ratchet as ever with new cast members, rapper/manager Peter Gunz and Tara, the mother of his children, are in a sordid love triangle with his artist Amina Butterfly who he is secretly married to.
Rapper Saigon and Erica Jean, the mother of his son are trying to rebuild their relationship for the sake of their son, but past deeds continue to hinder them and keep them from moving forward.
K. Michelle has not yet started with any of her wild antics yet ... because she is just getting to New York, but it's sure to come as the season progresses. Yandy and K have a previous relationship, and she decides to throw K. Michelle a welcome to New York party. For the most part K. Michelle seems to be on her best behavior for now, but the drama comes when Yandy invites Tara and Amina to the party, and Peter runs to catch Amina before she goes to the party so that all of his Bs doesn't blow up in his face.
As always Love & Hip Hop New York is going to take us through the ups and downs of this funny, crazy, talented cast of characters under the bright lights of NYC.
The craziness and drama is just beginning ... and we can't wait to see how this season unfolds.
- Christa E. Jackson
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 07:43
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