Hardcore rapper Snoop Dogg, who started out as Snoop Doggy Dogg, has converted to the Rastafarian religion and subsequently decided to change his stage name to Snoop Lion.
In that religion, the “lion” referred to is “the Lion of Judah,” from the Old Testament of the Bible, which creators of the religion believed to be a future reference to Haile Selassie, who was emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. (How they came to that conclusion is another story.)
Snoop is not the first celebrity to change their name for reasons related to newfound religious beliefs.
For example, Terrence Trent D’Arby had a revelation of some sort and changed his name to Sananda Maitrya. Sports legends Cassius Clay and Lew Alcindor became Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar respectively. Pop/rock singer Cat Stevens is now known as Yusuf Islam. 1960s-70s R&B hitmaker Joe Tex changed his name to Yusuf Hazziez at which time he became a spiritual lecturer, although he did not abandon his music career.
And then there are those who change their names for reasons that have nothing to do with religion.
Prince became an unpronounceable symbol, although just about everyone’s preference was “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” (Later he again became “Prince.”) Diddy (real name: Sean Combs) was Puff Daddy, then P. Diddy, and then shortened it to Diddy. Then there was the late gangsta rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard (born Russell Jones) who later adopted the name “Dirt McGirt.”
SOMEONE very wise once said, “Change beyond your control is often Spirit’s way of forcing you in another direction, where you will do something that it was time to do.”
Today one of the most successful soul food restaurants in the nation is Sweetie Pie’s in St. Louis, created by Robbie Montgomery. She manages it with her son, Tim Norman. The eatery was so popular that it caught the attention of none other than Oprah Winfrey, ultimately resulting in Montgomery getting a TV show on Oprah’s OWN network.
Interestingly, Montgomery started out as a singer, hired as one of Ike and Tina Turner’s singing, dancing Ikettes. One of the featured songs in the Ike and Tina Turner act was “Shake a Tail Feather.” Today Montgomery jokes, “I used to shake a tail feather, but now the tail feather is broken!”
After that job, she moved to the West Coast and did a lot of recording sessions with everyone from Stevie Wonder to Barbra Streisand. When a lung condition ended her singing career, she decided to pursue a long-held dream to own a restaurant.
Prayer, a positive attitude and a resolve to go with the flow of the universe can make all kinds of great things happen.
YOU HAVE give it to Morris Day. The singer-showman has gotten so much mileage out of his “cool” routine, complete with Jerome Benton holding up a mirror so that he can check out his looks. Audiences never get tired of it. In that sense, it’s like James Brown and his famous “Please Please Please” cape routine. Morris Day & the Time recently performed at Arts, Beats and Eats in Royal Oak.
Most people assume that Will Smith’s name is William. Not so. It’s actually Willard.
People got all bent out of shape — with the help of the increasingly zealous media — when, on a recording by hardcore rapper Lil Wayne, the “colorful” Nicki Minage said, “I’m a Republican, voting for Mitt Romney.”
There was so much of a furor that even President Obama called a major radio station, but he instinctively knew not to take it seriously.
Minaj responded by saying, “Thank you for understanding my creative humor and sarcasm, Mr. President. The smart ones always do. Now I can tell my grandchildren that the first Black president of the United States took the time to address a Nicki Minage question.”
Speaking of President Obama, praise and applause to Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé for having a fundraiser for Obama’s reelection campaign at Jay-Z and his business partners’ 40/40 Club in New York City. It was expected to bring in $4 million!
Superstar actor George Clooney also had a $40,000 a plate dinner. Kudos to him too and all others who are doing the right thing. A win by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would be a setback in so many ways, certainly for all minority groups and women.
Boris Kodjoe, the talented, handsome and in shape actor, says one key to a successful marriage is remaining physically appealing to your spouse. That’s why he works so hard to keep it together for his wife, actress Nicole Ari Parker. Kodjoe, by the way, has what is likely the longest birth name in show business history: Boris Frederic Cecil Tay-Natey Ofuatey-Kodjoe!
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW... that even though “Shop Around” by the Miracles was Motown’s first million seller in early 1961 (it was released in late 1960), the first Motown song to go all the way to No. 1 on the national Pop charts was “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes in late 1961.
MEMORIES: “Any Love” (Luther Vandross), “Going in Circles” (the Friends of Distinction), “Muscles” (Diana Ross), “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” (Ann Peebles), “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (Elton John), “On Broadway” (the Drifters), “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” (Nina Simone), “I Will Survive” (Gloria Gaynor), “Gangster of Love” (Johnny “Guitar” Watson), “The Other Woman” (Ray Parker Jr.)
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from season six “American Idol” finalist Melinda Doolittle: “It’s not always easy to do the right thing, but it is always worth it.”
Let the music play!
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