Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey
Recently I was doing some reading on the great Bob Marley, the undisputed king of reggae — yesterday, today and forever — and it is amazing to realize that the icon had 11 children by nearly as many women, only one with his wife, Rita (real name: Alpharita).
Marley adopted Rita’s two children from previous relationships and he had eight with other women. (Maybe it’s a Jamaican thing.)
Can’t help but wonder how a woman with a lot of self-respect could tolerate that much infidelity.
But in terms of sheer numbers, Marley’s 11 is no match for the 15 of blues royalty B.B. King (all of whom he says he has always taken care of) and — are you ready for this? — the 21 of the late R&B giant Solomon Burke! (One of his biggest hits was “Tonight’s the Night.”)
A FAVORITE person of mine in the business is Nick Cannon, host of “America’s Got Talent.” He is so smooth, polished and likable, just like Queen Latifah. Everything he does, he does well — TV host, actor (I first noticed him in the movie “Drumline”), record producer, rapper, etc. It’s easy to see why his wife, Mariah Carey, was attracted to him.
Had to chuckle when I heard about something Eddie Levert said. As you know, the legendary O’Jays have been a popular attraction for an amazing five decades. (How many groups can even come close to matching that?) He said in their earlier days, over-excited women would throw panties on the stage. Now, all these years later, Levert says they throw “big ol’ draws.”
Don’t expect Terrence Howard to venture into the recording studio again anytime soon. The acclaimed actor, who has many movie and TV credits on his résumé, made an album in 2008 titled “Shine Through It.” No doubt he had good intentions and his singing could be described as “so-so,” but Howard’s CD was largely reviewed “dismissively” by critics, and mostly ignored by radio and the public.
In fact, if you log on to Amazon.com, you can buy a new copy of the album for 73 cents plus postage and handling or a used copy for as low as 1 cent plus postage and handling! Hey, that’s got to hurt!
THE OTHER day I talked to the super-talented and super soulful L.J. Reynolds on the phone. He confirmed that Willie Ford, an original member of the Dramatics, is no longer with the famous group from Detroit. Reynolds says he doesn’t know where he is or what he’s doing but “he quit and he’s not with us.”
But on the plus side, L.J. says he has finally found a replacement for the late Ron Banks, after a long nationwide search, including auditions by current and former members of other groups. His name is Leon Franklin and he’s a Detroiter. When asked if Franklin has a sound similar to that of Banks, so that the transition would be smoother on audiences’ ears, Reynolds said with a chuckle, “I’ve got him sounding just like Ron!”
Fans of Angie Stone will be interested to know that her new album will be released in late September. And it’s kind of hard to believe that Stone is now 50 years old. But not so much so when you remember that her first chart entry, “Funk You Up,” the only hit of the groundbreaking female rap group the Sequence, came out in 1979.
Fortunately, by the time you read this, the matter involving Academy Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. having a warrant for his arrest, after getting rowdy and shoving a female bartender twice at a New Orleans bar, will have been completely resolved. And while on the subject of Gooding, one thing we have in common is that we both have a strong dislike for the movie “Beloved.” I found it to be confusing and depressing.
Gladys Knight always has something new going on, everything from a Las Vegas engagement with Smokey Robinson and opening a restaurant to competing on “Dancing With the Stars.” (It was not possible for her to win, but she was fun to watch, looked nice in her outfits, and never did anything to embarrass herself, unlike Wendy Williams.)
Knight will be one of the judges, along with Michael Bivins of New Edition and veteran rapper Doug E. Fresh, on the revival of the talent competition show “Apollo Live” which will air via BET.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that the favorite singer of blues legend B.B. King is pop crooner icon Frank Sinatra. (Wow, talk about two completely different genres!)
MEMORIES: “There’ll Be Sad Songs” (To Make You Cry)” (Billy Ocean), “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” (Nina Simone), “(I’m Going By) The Stars in Your Eyes” (the Dramatics), “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” (Al Green), “Smiling Faces Sometimes” (Undisputed Truth), “Careless Whisper” (Wham! featuring George Michael), “Let’s Do It Again” (the Staple Singers), “When Will I See You Again?” (the Three Degrees), “Reunited” (Peaches & Herb), “Love Overboard” (Gladys Knight & the Pips).
BLESSINGS to everyone reading this right now.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Bishop Carlton Pearson: “You can’t preach what you don’t know, and you can’t lead where you don’t go.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 22:06
Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey
Male models are plentiful, and one need look no further than the cavalcade of magazines, fashion focused or otherwise. Many of them are African-American, but there is only one Black male supermodel and his name is Tyson Beckford.
In fact, he is one of very few male models — period! — that many people know by name, unlike their female counterparts.
The face and sculpted body of Beckford are familiar to untold millions. He is perhaps best known for the modeling he has done for Ralph Lauren, the American fashion designer who is among the industry’s giants, soaring to superstardom with his Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand.
Lauren knew right away that Tyson Beckford was exactly right for his clothes and ads.
A side benefit of Beckford’s success is that he helped pave the road for darker skinned Black men, and not just in the fashion industry.
“When I saw Tyson Beckford hailed as this beautiful Black man by all people, that caused a shift in my being,” recalled famed dark-hued actor Taye Diggs. “And I remember looking up and walking the streets feeling more proud.”
Tyson Collin Henderson was born Dec. 19, 1970 in the Bronx, New York. Interestingly, his mother is of Afro-Jamaican and Chinese Jamaican descent, and his father’s heritage is Panamanian and Afro-Jamaican. Although born in the Bronx, he grew up in Rochester, New York.
In high school, Tyson ran track and played football. Modeling came later, in 1992 to be exact when he was spotted by a talent scout which resulted in Beckford being used The Source, a magazine geared toward the hip-hop community.
That was a good and fortuitous start, but the modeling newcomer got his career-changing big break when he was chosen by Ralph Lauren to be the front model for his company’s Polo sportswear line. Suddenly, Beckford’s face was seemingly everywhere.
People magazine, in 1995, named Beckford one of “The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.”
Beckford has been seen in a number of films, appeared on an arrray of televison programs including “My Wife and Kids” (starring Damon Wayans and Tisha Campbell), and also made appearances in many music videos by artists such as Toni Braxton, SWV, Ludacris, Britney Spears and 50 Cent.
Recent activities include co-hosting “Make Me a Supermodel” which airs on the Bravo channel. On the show Beckford mentors the modeling contestants. He had the same function in the Australian version of the show.
Although he is now 41 years old, and a model’s time is limited, Tyson Beckford shows no signs of slowing down. One way or another, he will continue to be a part of the industry that has been so good to him. — SVH
Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 14:45
Category: Entertainment Written by AJ Williams, Chronicle Web Editor
By now you have almost surely heard that comedian/actor Arsenio Hall will be returning to late-night television in the fall of 2013.
Is it a good move? Maybe so, maybe no. In the world of show business, and beyond, not many things are more embarrassing than a failed comeback.
From 1989 to 1994, Arsenio Hall revolutionized the late-night talk show format. He restructured, or “reinvented,” it for a younger audience with a distinct urban edge.
In the early years it was “cool” to watch the Arsenio Hall show, which was a contrast to, among others, “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, an institution. It made a person “hip” to be on Hall’s show. Even then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton was happy to appear on the show, and he even played the saxophone! (Quite well, too.)
But as time marched on, the show got a little too “hip-hop flavored,” and people not in that demographic or of that mindset who still enjoyed Hall’s show started to lose interest. Plus there was additional head-on competition when David Letterman was moved to the 11:30 p.m. time slot after having been on later for many years.
Can Arsenio Hall carve out a new audience, or rekindle an old one? Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and to a somewhat lesser extent, Craig Ferguson and Carson Daly, are firmly established. Making inroads under such conditions is a monumental task, and having a solid Black audience (only) will not bring in the kind of ratings needed to thrive, or even survive.
Still, Arsenio Hall may prove the doubters and naysayers wrong. After all, it is a new day, and there are times when the public loves a comeback (Vanessa Williams, Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Turner immediately come to mind).
ALTHOUGH Tyler’s Perry’s movies are almost always huge successes, and untold numbers of people love his “Madea” character, not everyone feels that way, and Perry can tell you all about the flak he regularly receives from African-Americans (and others) in certain quarters.
But what makes him feel particularly bad is that one of his all-time favorites, legendary, iconic singer/actress Diana Ross, respects him as a person, but not all aspects of his movies. Tyler would love to have Ross star in one of his films, but she wants no part of it and feels it would be a career setback. Tyler says Ross told him flat-out no on one occasion and has been “ignoring me ever since and will not return my phone calls.”
I say leave Ross alone. If someone has expressed disinterest, coming back again and again will only, most likely, result in Tyler being viewed as a nuisance, and thus strengthening the superstar’s resolve to never appear in a Tyler Perry movie. (Can you imagine “Madea Goes to Vegas,” featuring Diana Ross?)
Speaking of Diana Ross, here’s a great quote from her: “Go for your dreams. But don’t just sit and think it’s going to come to you. You’ve got to make it happen.”
But Ross’ dreams do not include appearing in a Tyler Perry movie!
Two of today’s hottest stars, Mary J. Blige and the recently returned D’Angelo, are co-headlining a concert tour titled “The Liberation Tour.” It is scheduled to start on Aug. 18 in Virginia Beach, Va., and include 19 stops after that. No word yet as to whether or not Detroit will be on the itinerary. The Fox Theatre would be perfect.
Another thing that happens in August is that Steve Harvey, currently hosting “Family Feud” and doing his radio thing plus other TV ventures, will soon do his final stand-up comedy show. There is a lot to be said for quitting while you’re at (or near) the top of your game.
A LOT OF people (yours truly included) believe that Destiny’s Child, the female group that ranks second only to the Supremes in terms of general success, came to an end too soon in 2004 with their album “Destiny Fulfilled.”
Surely Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams could have gone on longer, for at least three more albums, especially since that last album included exciting songs like “Lose My Breath,” “Soldier” and “Girl.” (Several other cuts, though, were surprisingly lackluster.) But the title of the album strongly suggested the group disbanding was imminent.
According to Mathew Knowles, who was Destiny’s Child’s manager for a long time, there is a substantial amount of unreleased material available, and much of it will be released this year. That’s fine, but apparently the unheard material will be blended with some of the trio’s big hits. I hate when it is done that way. Better to release an album or two of the “new” material exclusively. Why should people have to buy the hits again?
Sometimes people get so out of control when it comes to entertainers. They think that because they buy an artist’s records, go to see an actor and actress’s movies, or whatever the case may be, that entitles them to expect the stars to be at their beck and call.
They are deluded into believing they are “supporting” the artist when, in fact, they are buying the album, movie theater ticket, watching the TV show, etc. because they want to. The artist owes them nothing more than good music, a quality concert, etc.
Well, Luther Vandross — who was a real nice guy, I know this for a fact — wasn’t having it. One lady really pushed his buttons. According to his friend B.B. Winans, on one occasion he was going up an escalator and a fan was going down. At one point she spotted Vandross, got excited, said she had bought many of his albums and wanted him to sign something.
Vandross was in a rush and graciously explained that and expressed appreciation for her support. She got mad, called him names, and said she would not buy any more of his albums. When he got to his floor, he went back down, caught up with her, and said, “How many of my albums did you buy?” She told him and he gave her — in cash — the amount she had spent. “That should cover it,” the offended superstar said. “Don’t buy any more of my albums. You don’t own me.”
That was right on time!
Kudos to Usher. His album, “Confessions,” has reached the 10 million mark in sales, which means it has been certified Diamond by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA). Very few albums are that successful.
Praise also to Charlie Wilson for admitting having been addicted to cocaine and alcohol. He says he was been clean now for 18 years.
I talked on the phone recently to Katherine Schaffner, an original member of one of Motown’s three most famous female vocal groups, the Marvelettes. Their hits included “Please Mr. Postman,” “Playboy,” “Don’t Mess With Bill” and “My Baby Must Be a Magician” among many others. I asked if she still had any of their stage attire.
She said no because at one point all of the dresses and gowns were in the cleaners, in anticipation of future shows although by this time the group wasn’t working much. Then they were informed that Motown was pulling the plug on the Marvelettes. No one ever got the clothes out of the cleaners, and Katherine has no idea what ever happened to them.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that Aretha Franklin had several great and usually successful songs, on the Columbia label, before she became the Queen of Soul in 1967, including “Runnin’ Out of Fools,” “Won’t Be Long,” “Cry Like a Baby,” “Today I Sing the Blues,” “One Step Ahead,” “Operation Heartbreak,” “Trouble in Mind” and “Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody.”
MEMORIES: “You’re Not My Kind of Girl” (New Edition), “Little Red Corvette” (Prince), “Grandma’s Hands” (Bill Withers), “Be My Baby” (the Ronettes), “Lovin’ You” (Minnie Riperton), “Give Me the Night” (George Benson), “Practice What You Preach” (Barry White), “Just the Way You Are” (Billy Joel), “Baby I’m Yours” (Barbara Lewis), “Feels Like Another One” (Patti LaBelle).
BLESSINGS to Leroy Hyter, Marcus Amick, William Staiger, Janice Wilson, Danton Wilson, Victor Holsey, Fred Holsey Jr., Mary Grace Wilbert, Ken Donaldson and Mattie Richardson.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Rickey Minor: “My acronym for ‘ego’ is “edging God out.’”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 12:32
Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey
Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid.
Now there’s a name for you. And it belongs to one of the most famous and most strikingly beautiful models in the history of the profession. She is Iman. A legend. An icon. One of the first women to be
labeled a supermodel.
There is a abundance of successful models out there, but the bona fide supermodels can be counted on two hands. One difference is that the models are hired by agencies. Supermodels, who have become household names, are requested by designers — and paid huge sums of money for their services.
In addition to having reached the pinnacle of success in the modeling field, Iman, who is married to rock legend David Bowie — himself a fashion figure and chameleon — is a highly successful entrepreneur and an accomplished actress as well.
The name “Iman,” by the way, is Arabic for “faith.”
IMAN WAS born in Mogadishu, Somalia, located in the Horn of Africa, a peninsula in East Africa that juts into the Arabian Sea. The Horn consists of Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Interestingly, Iman attended high school in Egypt and later studied political science at the University of Nairobi (in Kenya).
It was at the university that her look captivated Peter Beard, an American photographer. He helped convince her of the vast possibilities in modeling, and she subsequently relocated to the United States. At a whirlwind pace she ascended the modeling ladder, landing on the cover of Vogue magazine in 1976, only a year after moving to the states. After that she was on the cover of an array of other high prestige fashion magazines.
The foremost designers were intrigued by Iman, and hired her regularly, including Yves Saint-Laurent (him especially), Gianni Versace, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Halston. Saint-Laurent once described Iman as “my dream woman.”
In 1994, after nearly 20 years of modeling success on the highest level, Iman decided to start a cosmetics company, aimed specifically at ethnic women who routinely had difficulty finding make-up to match their skin tones. Because of her extensive modeling career, she was very knowledgeable about make-up, thus being qualified to be involved directly with the development of the product in addition to being the company’s commercial face.
IMAN COSMETICS became a huge success and still is, doing approximately $25 million every year.
After being immensely successful modeling in the 1970s and 1980s, Iman had become a top-flight business executive.
Noticing her success and realizing how marketable she was, the CEO of the Home Shopping Network urged her to start her own global clothing line.
No surprise that Iman also became a familiar face on television and in films, appearing on such shows as “Miami Vice” and “The Cosby Show,” in addition to hosting “Project Runway” for two years. She appeared in the movies “Out of Africa” with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, “No Way Out” with Kevin Costner and the British film “The Human Factor.”
Iman is also noted for the humanitarian work she puts heart and soul into, for the benefit of the underprivileged around the world, especially children, including, of course, those in East Africa.
Iman married David Bowie in 1992. She had previously been married to NBA star (and Detroiter) Spencer Haywood. She and Haywood have a daughter, Zulekha. Although she is no longer an active model — but still looks sensational at age 57 — Iman still makes personal appearances and occasionally does photo shoots. — SVH
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 23:25
Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey
The other day I heard a hit song from 1995 by rap star Coolio — “Gangsta’s Paradise” was a positive message song despite the ominous title — and it dawned on me again the speed at which artists can drop below the radar, or to put it another way, “go from hot to not.”
With Coolio’s biggest year as an impetus and the ’90s as a starting point, where are Shabba Ranks, Deborah Cox, Shaggy, Xscape, God’s Property, Busta Rhymes, Carl Thomas, Donell Jones, Ginuwine, Tweet, BLACKStreet, Hi-Five, Shanice, Color Me Badd, Next, Soul For Real, Adina Howard and Zhané, among many others? (Montell Jordan gave up R&B for gospel music, and Sisqó ended up returning to Dru Hill when his solo career stalled.)
Most of these artists are still active, and some are seen by the general public now and then, but as the old saying goes, “things ain’t what they used to be.”
STEPHANIE MILLS recently made some comments about Brian McKnight that are sure to have angered the now controversial star. She is disappointed that he and some other artists (like Erykah Badu) have resorted to what she calls “shock value” to stay in the public eye more and have people talking.
The reference was to Knight’s crude sex song and Badu walking down street naked in a video.
“I just don’t think you have to go that far to get attention,” said Mills. “Sometimes older artists are so starved for attention that they’ll just about do anything.”
You can be sure that Mills — who, let’s face it, was on target — will not be invited to any of Brian McKnight’s get-togethers. Not that she would want to anyway, for general reasons and for fear of what kind of party it could turn out to be.
“Smash” is the name of the TV series that returns as a midseason replacement. It is musical drama, as is the top-rated “Glee.” Jennifer Hudson, who always has something new going on, has signed on to do several episodes. Her character is Veronica Moore, a Tony Award-winning Broadway star.
Interestingly, “Smash” also features another “American Idol” alumnae, Katharine McPhee from season five.
IN CASE you were wondering why the Jackson chose Detroit as one of the first three cities in their Unity Tour, it is because they consider Detroit their “second home.” It is where the Jackson 5 was launched.
(At one point they were living at Gordy Manor, located on Boston Blvd. at Hamilton. It was supposed to be sort of a hideout, but many girls in the area discovered they were there.)
Of the Jacksons show at the Fox Theatre, one reviewer wrote, “The Jacksons in concert without Michael is a dubious proposition, regardless of the configuration. And it’s to the surviving brothers’ credit that their Unity Tour doesn’t attempt to sidestep that.” (Jermaine does most of the leads, and Michael is seen on a screen and spoken of often. Plus his spirit is there.)
But it would be hard to ignore the fact that a number of shows on the schedule were cancelled. The assumption would be slow ticket sales, but Tito said, “Those shows that were cancelled just didn’t fit our plans.”
The Jacksons plan to make a new album, their first without Michael since 1989. (But Michael did harmonize on one cut on “2300 Jackson Street.”) Will.i.am of the Black Eyes Peas might be producing it.
SPEAKING OF tours, Maxwell had to cancel his surprisingly short concert tour (only six dates) due to doctor’s orders. He had vocal swelling and hemorrhaging. He too has an album on the way and will reschedule the shows when it is released.
A sign of time times: Since that nightclub braw, the popularity of Drake and Chris Brown on the Internet has increased.
Tony Parker was at that New York club and got hit with a flying bottle and now has a damaged eye, which he said he almost lost. The furious basketball superstar was justified suing the club owner for not having adequate security.
Entertainers are “coming out” with ever-increasing regularity. Jess Eagle, managing editor of Entertainment Weekly magazine, wrote, “Coming out can still expose you to bigotry, but these stars are wise enough to know that while honesty carries a price, it still costs less than keeping secrets.”
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that Jean Terrell, who replaced Diana Ross in the Supremes, still sings but her preference is now jazz and standards in clubs and other more intimate venues.
MEMORIES: “Hot Fun in the Summertime” (Sly & the Family Stone), “Tired of Being Alone” (Al Green), “Looking for a New Love” (Jody Watley), “I Wanna Get Next to You” (Rose Royce), “Square Biz” (Teena Marie), “The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage” (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles), “Save the Best For Last” (Vanessa Williams).
BLESSINGS to Joe Spencer, Kimberly Horne, Cecilia Stevenson, Bud McQueen, Bruce Knight, Carlton Pearson, Karen Dumas, Cliff Russell, Millie Scott and Henry Tyler.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Bill Cosby: “Decide that you want something more than you are afraid of it.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 July 2012 13:58
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