One of the more interesting show business realities is the surprisingly large number of rap stars who are also highly credible actors and actresses. Two have even received Academy Award nominations.
No one knows why the percentage is so high. Some believe one factor is that a good rap performance is a form of acting, complete with delivering lines effectively and — let’s face it — “posturing.”
Among the rap stars who have proven themselves on the big or small screen — in some cases repeatedly — are Mos Def, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Ice Cube, Eminem, Heavy D and Ludacris. Also, Will Smith, Eve, Common, Ice-T, Mark Wahlberg and MC Lyte.
The down side is that there is a substantial amount of resentment from trained actors and actresses when rappers and singers are cast in major films or land TV parts.
Acclaimed actress Nia Long has been among the most outspoken.
“If you’re a rapper you should rap, if you’re a singer, you should sing,” she said. “It’s just not about how talented you are anymore. It’s about how much box office revenue this person will generate. Certain people don’t have the skills, and no one on their team has said they need acting classes.”
Well, differing points of view are what help make the world go ’round. There is validity in much of what Long says, but the rappers have a right to diversify, and if they prove to be good actresses and actors, what can you say? It is what it is.
NANCY WILSON and Stevie Wonder, two icons of popular music, were recently honored at the annual Living Legends Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. No one could be more deserving.
Interestingly, although she has received an abundance of awards in her amazingly long career and has sold a lot of records, Nancy Wilson has never had a certified Gold album, something she has always wanted.
For Gold certification, an album has to sell 500,000 copies, and the closest Wilson came was 400,000 for “All in Love Is Fair.”
Jordin Sparks, season six “American Idol” winner, makes her Broadway debut on Aug. 19 in the production titled “In the Heights.”
Speaking of “American Idol” (which I am not watching this season), Melinda Doolittle, my favorite season six finalist, has written a book entitled “Beyond Me: Finding Your Way to Life’s Next Level.” It is a warm, charming autobiography and a book guaranteed to give the reader a spiritual boost.
Jordin Sparks wrote in the foreward, “I believe you will walk away from reading ‘Beyond Me’ with a new and refreshed look at life, love and your own pursuit of success and happiness.”
Singer-producer-musician-songwriter Kashif is returning to performing after a long period off the scene. He has been going to the gym and als preparing himself mentally. “My body is clean and my spirit is sanitized,” said Kashif, adding, “I don’t have any fears.”
Kashif had quite a few hits in the ’80s, including “Baby Don’t Break Your Baby’s Heart” and “I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On)” and the duet with Meli’sa Morgan, “Love Changes.”
COUNT ME in among those surprised to hear that Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry had come to the end of their road together after four years and one child. I thought this relationship was going to endure.
Berry has had a string of failed relationships and marriages, including Eric Benét, David Justice and Wesley Snipes. She seems like a sweet person, but maybe it’s not always the man’s fault.
Patti Austin, one of the most enduring and versatile songstresses of our time, has an album coming out on Aug. 31 titled “Sound Advice.” Each song has personal meaning and she wants to share the messages.
Wow, talk about accolades! The legendary Little Richard said Michael Jackson was “the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”
Another megastar and incredible performer, Prince, said he “doesn’t believe in age” because “each day is a new beginning.” He even went so far as to say he “has no expiration date.”
It is always comforting when you learn that someone else shares something with you — like not having a good sense of direction. Eminem said, “I don’t know north, south, east, west. I’m pretty clueless about directions.”
Same here! I basically only know those directions if the starting point is Woodward Avenue. I know that south is toward the Detroit River, north is the opposite direction, east is the side of Woodward where the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is, and west is the other side.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that despite predictions of its complete demise, vinyl record sales have tripled since 2006. Last year, 2.5 million vinyl albums were sold.
MEMORIES: “Shake Me, Wake Me (When It’s Over)” (the Four Tops), “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me” (Barry White), “All Around the World” (Lisa Stansfield), “Leaving Me” (the Independents), “Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things)” (Martha & the Vandellas), “Always” (Atlantic Starr), “Kissing You” (Keith Washington), “Closer Than Close” (Jean Carne), “It’s All Right” (the Impressions), “Fake” (Alexander O’Neal).
BLESSINGS to Anita Baker, Alex Alexander, Cliff Russell, Wayne Dixon, Mildred Scott, Kevin McCord, Scherrie Payne, Joe Madison, Heaster Wheeler, Bud McQueen and Bobby Rogers.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Tony Brown: “It requires great courage to accept that not everyone is going to love the true you. The reward, however, is real freedom.”
Let the music play!
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