Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey, Michigsn Chronicle
Among the newest couples to make their presence known in and outside of show business circles is singer/actress Brandy and Ryan Press. He works for Warner/Chappell Music as senior director of Urban R&B. They are engaged but have not set a wedding date.
What sets this couple apart from many others is how attractive they are together. This is not to suggest that looking good has anything to do with solid marriages or relationship longevity, but it sure makes for great pictures!
We wish them well.
SPEAKING of new developments in relationships, by now the whole world, whether interested or not, knows that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, who have been dating for about six months, are expecting.
Hopefully the child will be healthy — and not “inherit” Kardashian’s constant need for publicity, ditto for West’s borderline obsession with saying and doing outrageous, and sometimes completely foolish, things to keep the media and the public talking.
Wonder if Kanye has seen Kim’s graphic sex video with her previous boyfriend, Ray J. Probably. If so, maybe it heightened his desire to be with her.
The Kardashian women generally have a preference for Black men, Chloe Kardashian and basketball star Lamar Odom, for example.
I LOVE that new Chrysler video, featuring a beaming Berry Gory. It has a slick, sharp feel, makes Detroit look good (Los Angeles is also featured) and is thoroughly entertaining. You want it to last longer. And the clips of classic Motown artists interwoven into the commercial make it that much more special.
I went right out and bought a Chrysler. (Just kidding!)
There is talk of a movie being made on Lena Horne. The long talked about biopic would star Alicia Keys, a big fan of the legendary and groundbreaking star.
She said, “Lena the woman, the human being, that is the most fascinating to me — her vulnerabilities, her life, her flow through the many difficult times, and good ones, and her ability to remain graceful, elegant and beautiful always.”
PATTI LABELLE is surely still feeling the sting of being ordered to pay $100,000 to Roseanna Monk. She had alleged that two years ago LaBelle, obviously in a foul mood, attempted to strike Monk in a New York City hotel lobby, as well as screaming obscenities and throwing water. (All parties wre living in the building.)
According to the lawsuit, LaBelle was furious because she thought the child was wandering around the lobby unattended, which certainly does not sound like a reason to go ballistic. (Doesn’t really sound like something Patti would do either, but you and I weren’t there.)
Our guess is that if anything like that happens again, LaBelle will make an effort to “get a grip.” You could even call it a “new attitude.”
Sorry to hear about the recent passing of two great ladies of song, R&B star Fontella Bass and legendary gospel songstress Inez Andrews.
Bass is, of course, best known for her still-heard-often classic 1960s hit “Rescue Me,” although she also charted well with “Recovery” and a duet with Bobby McClure, “Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing.”
Andrews was once a member of the legendary Caravans, with whom she sang lead on their big hit “Mary Don’t You Weep.” As a solo artist, she crossed over onto the R&B charts in 1973 with the fantastic “Lord Don’t Move the Mountain.”
NeNe Leakes is one of those people I see and hear about a lot, but so help me can’t see any justification for such a massive amount of fame and media attention. I know she is known for appearing on the reality shows “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Celebrity Apprentice.” Have to wonder, though, if that merits major star status. But, hey, good for her!
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that the personal relationship between famed R&B duo Sam & Dave (Sam Moore and Dave Prater) had deteriorated so badly that in latter days they worked together on stage and after that said nothing to each other.
MEMORIES: “A Woman Needs Love” (Just Like You Do)” (Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio), “Computer Love” (Zapp), “Shoop” (Salt-N-Pepa), “Rub You the Right Way” (Johnny Gill), “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” (Boyz II Men), “Trouble Man” (Marvin Gaye), “Boogie Down” (Eddie Kendricks), “Nasty Girl” (Vanity 6), “Fall Down (Spirit of Love)” (Tramaine), “Automatic” (the Pointer Sisters).
BLESSINGS to Shirleen Fort, Mary Grace Wilbert, Van Cephus, Georgette Jones, Ed Phillips, Deborah A. Coleman, Larry Davis, Betty DeRamus, Michael Wimberley and Donafay Collins.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “The more confident you are in your own truth, the less it matters whether or not anyone agrees with you.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 10:20
Category: Entertainment Written by Leslie J. Griffin
Legendary actor Billy Dee Williams’ record needs no introduction, but is certainly beyond worthy of one. The iconic thespian has carved prolific and irrefutable footprints in the entertainment world for more than 60 years. He’s amazed universal audiences through television, radio, broad way and film. With credits in each genre too numerous to name, he is back in Detroit supporting the Detroit Pistons and Palace & Sports Entertainment’s Star Wars Night. He celebrates his role as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and will sign autographs on Friday, January 4, 2012 during the Piston’s Power Hour in Auburn Hills. He talked exclusively with The Michigan Chronicle about his career, surviving the industry and upcoming projects.
Mr. Williams it is such a pleasure to meet you. You career is iconic. What has everything been like for you?
Well I’ve had a lot of fun and I have been very fortunate. So it’s been pretty good.
Can you take us back to when you first started and share some of your experiences with having to prove who you were to the industry?
Well I have been doing this since I was six and half years old. I did a broad way musical and you know as an actor as an athlete or whatever the endeavor is, I think you’re always running around trying to prove that you’re as good as everyone else. And so it’s always a lot of good hard work. But if it works, and you can make a living of it, then it is a real plus. So yes I have been very fortunate in that way.
You were actually classmates with Diahann Carroll and of course, you all have been on the set together. Any special memories you have about legendary actors and actresses you’ve worked with?
Well Diahann Carroll and I went to Music and Art High School together in New York City. I think I was a year behind her. I had just come in the school. And she was soon to leave and I remember her being a burst of sunlight. She had that kind of presence that was magical. I often talk about it when I am asked about her and I even tell her that. Everyone seemed to be following behind her when she went through the corridors in school because she had this very strong and incredible presence. So we had a lot of fun working together. I see her sometimes at lunch in LA. The last thing we did together was White Collar.
You’ve worked in television, film, radio and music. Some of your greatest works have been with Star Wars as Lando Calrissian. Talk about that a little and what that’s meant to be part of film history.
Well Lando Calrissain is a staple in people’s lives these days. It’s been 33 years. Oh my gosh, you were just a little tiny baby. It was a wonderful experience you know. They asked me to do the character and at that time and I just come off from doing a lot of movies and I had a lot of popularity at the time. I was asked to do The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. So the director came to my house at the time and that is a little unusual when the director comes to your home. You usually go to the office to meet people. But at that time, he just came by and we sat and talked about the eastern philosophy and Buddhism. I was pretty much involved with that and it served to sort of direct my life in a lot of ways. As a result of the meeting we had, we developed a really good friendship and there I was doing Lando and I loved doing Lando. He was like a swash-buckling kind of character and I always liked playing those bigger-than-life roles.
So you’ll finally be reunited with some of the characters of Star Wars soon thanks to the Palace Sports & Entertainment.
Yes. It will be interesting to see them and I sometimes see them when I go out on these autographing tours.
Speaking of Detroit, you’ve also done work with Ms. Diana Ross so how does it feel to be back in the city?
Oh Detroit is great. Diana and I had a great time. I just ran into her about two or three weeks ago at the supermarket. We had a great time.
Your recent work includes guest appearances with NCIS, Mad and Key and Peele. Will you ever retire or is acting something that you just become?
Well when interesting things come along, I am always willing to do those things. As a matter of fact, I am going to be on Modern Family next week on Wednesday, January 8, 2012. That was a lot of fun and I am playing myself. I’m always doing parodies of myself it seems.
When you’ve been in the industry as long as you have and as successful as you’ve been, what’s been your mainstay?
Well I think family has a lot to do with it, my kids and now I have these great and wonderful grandkids. I don’t know. It’s all a journey and the journey never stops until your heart stops I guess or the blood stops flowing. You meet every situation as if it were a challenge. Right now as a painter, I am in a very peculiar place and I have sort of run out of ideas and I’m trying to find something interesting and a new way of approaching and expressing myself.
So in times like these, where do you find your inspiration comes from?
Are there any new projects in the works?
With the book writing, I co-authored three books. One was with Elizabeth Atkins. She is here in Detroit. Yes we did Twilight. She did most of the book and she is an excellent writer.
Your voice is legendary. Is that natural or were you classically-trained with the Billy Dee Williams voice the world has come to know?
I think I sound like a little kid. Yeah (in the deep voice).
Well the world loves your voice.
Really? I don’t really think too much about it, but I am glad the people enjoy listening to my voice. About a year and a half ago, I was on one of Aretha Franklin’s albums and I did a little recitation using my voice.
What do you do in your spare time if there is such a thing?
I spend a lot of time at the gym. You know I am trying to hang in there. And I spend a lot of time in restaurants. (laughing) . But I am always busy doing something or one thing or another, or flirting with the girls. I do manage to stay busy.
Last Updated on Monday, 07 January 2013 14:16
Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey, michiganchronicle
Back in 1972, when “Soul Train” was gaining mass popularity, gas was 55 cents per gallon, the biggest R&B record of the year was Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and Richard Nixon was president, Atlantic Records released a highly anticipated two-disc gospel album by Aretha Franklin titled “Amazing Grace.”
Interestingly, it is the best selling gospel album of all time as well as Franklin’s most successful album. It also won her a Grammy Award in the Best Soul Gospel Performance category.
Recorded live in a church with studio enhancements added, “Amazing Grace” had a lot of powerful songs on it, including “God Will Take Care of You,” “Precious Memories” (a duet with James Cleveland), “Mary Don’t You Weep” and the rollicking “Old Landmark.”
Many viewed this as Franklin’s “return” to the church, but as her father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, put it, “If you want to know the truth, Aretha has never left the church.”
KUDOS TO Barbados-born Rihanna for donating $1.75 million to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Brigetown, Barbabos. She commented, “This was done in an effort to save lives or at least extend them.”
Alicia Keys, whose recently released album, “Girl on Fire,” is doing exceptionally well, appeared on the David Letterman show and made a major impression on the witty but sometimes acerbic host with her blue and yellow dress.
“This is what everybody should be wearing,” quipped Letterman, adding seriously, “Look at how great that is.”
One party record that never loses its potency is “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye. This song just has to get you revved up, and the heavy, relentless beat is irresistible.
SPEAKING of things people never tire of, another one is the “Cosby Show” episode when the Huxtables lip-synced Ray Charles’ classic raw soul hit “(Night Time Is) The Right Time.” It is charming, funny and more.
The performance was so well received by the public that the song became popular again and was reissued by Atlantic Records.
Ne-Yo has a promise for his fans and the general public: “The music is who I am, and I am never going to give anything to you that is crap. I am always going to give you quality.”
An actor most of us have seen either in a movie or on television, and should be a bigger star, is Mel Jackson. The talented Chicago-born actor has appeared in such movies as “Soul Food” and “Deliver Us From Eva,” and on the TV miniseries “The Temptations” (as producer/writer Norman Whitfield) as well as the final seasons of “Living Single” and “The Parkers.”
For an interesting treat, go to YouTube.com and enter “Muhammad Ali and Sam Cooke.” They actually do a vocal duet on “The Gang’s All Here.”
Some Black actors and actresses are opposed to accepting certain kinds of roles (maids, butlers, etc.), believing them to be degrading. Super actress Kerry Washington disagrees.
“If I were to say it’s okay to play a lawyer, but not a maid, or it’s okay to play a professor, but not a slave, that would be sort of stepping on the legacy of my grandmother who was a maid or my ancestors in South Carolina who came from slavery,” Washington told Uptown magazine.
“What’s interesting about story-selling is we get to step into someone else’s experience, and in the process of living through that journey we learn about ourselves.”
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that Deniece Williams’ 1982 No. 1 hit “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” was originally recorded by the Royalettes in 1965.
MEMORIES: “Solid” (Ashford & Simpson), “The Glamorous Life” (Sheila E.), “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (Roberta Flack), “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” (Daryl Hall & John Oates), “She’s on the Left” (Jeffrey Osborne), “Make You Sweat” (Keith Sweat), “Wishing Well” (Terrence Trent D’Arby), “Turn Off the Lights” (Teddy Pendergrass), “Someday We’ll Be Together” (Diana Ross & the Supremes), “Nite and Day” (Al B. Sure!).
BLESSINGS to Robin Larkins, Milton Larkins, Gerald W. Smith, Cliff Russell, Leland Stein III, Gordon Camp, Brenda Perryman, Vickie Winans, Michael “Tiger” Price and Rosetta Hines.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from Alan Cohen: “Give people the respect they deserve, but live the life you choose.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Monday, 07 January 2013 09:23
Category: Entertainment Written by Michigan Chronicle
ERYKAH BADU, Abi Wright, Masonic Temple, Feb. 16. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations. To charge by phone, call 1.800.745.3000.
BOBBY BROWN, Sound Board at Motor City Casino, Jan. 31. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations and MotorCityCasino.com.
“CLUCKED UP Saturday Night Access Grant’d,” City Theatre, Saturday, Jan. 5. Tickets available at Ticketmaster locations.
RACHELLE FERRELL, Sound Board at Motor City Casino, April 4. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations and MotorCityCasino.com.
EDDIE GRIFFIN, Sound Board at Motor City Casino, Jan. 24. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations and MotorCityCasino.com.
BUDDY GUY, Jonny Long, Fox Theatre, Feb. 14. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations and the Fox Theatre box office. To charge by phone, call 1.800.745.3000.
“HAIR,” Fox Theatre, March 2. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations and the Fox Theatre box office. To charge by phone, call 1.800.745.3000.
DIANA KRALL, the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor, March 2. For ticket information, visit www.caesarswindsor.com or call 800.991.8888.
RIHANNA, Joe Louis Arena, March 21. Tickets sold via Ticketmaster locations and the Joe Louis box office. To charge by phone, call 1.800.745.3000.
ROYAL COMEDY, featuring Mark Curry, Gary Owen, Sommore, Bruce Bruce, Masonic Temple, March 9. Tickets sold via Ticketmaster locations. To charge by phone, call 1.800.745.3000.
MIKE TYSON, “Undisputed Truth,” Fox Theatre, April 6. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations and the Fox Theatre box office. To charge by phone, call 1.800.745.3000.
URBAN WHEEL Awards, Sound Board at Motor City Casino, Jan. 13. For more information, visit UrbanWheelAwards.com. For tickets, visit SoundBoardDetroit.com.
WHISPERS, Sound Board at Motor City Casino, Feb. 14. Tickets sold at Ticketmaster locations and MotorCityCasino.com.
Last Updated on Monday, 07 January 2013 09:38
Category: Entertainment Written by TheGrio
Denzel Washington’s latest film Flight strengthened his place atop Hollywood’s list of dependable stars. It could also mean a fourth Oscar nomination for best actor — his first since 2001′s Training Day, for which he won.
Washington was featured on the Hollywood Reporter’s annual actor’s roundtable along with fellow actors Jamie Foxx, Matt Damon, Richard Gere, Alan Arkin and John Hawkes. In the wide-ranging interview, Washington discusses advice he gave his daughter Olivia:
“I tell my daughter — she’s at NYU — I say: ’You’re black, you’re a woman, and you’re dark-skinned at that. So you have to be a triple/quadruple threat.’ I said: ‘You gotta learn how to act. You gotta learn how to dance, sing, move onstage.’ That’s the only place, in my humble opinion, you really learn how to act. I said: ‘Look at Viola Davis.’ I said That’s who you want to be. Forget about them little pretty girls [...]‘”
Washington revealed in the interview that all of his children (he has four) are in the film ‘business,’ or at least will be. His oldest son, John David, who had a brief stint in the NFL as an un-drafted running back, co-produced 2010′s Book of Eli. Denzel’s other son, Malcolm, is a senior at the University of Penn with plans to enter USC’s film school upon graduation. His oldest daughter, Katia, 24, is involved in Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming slavery-themed revenge western Django Unchained.
Denzel co-starred on Broadway with Viola Davis in 2010′s Fences. Both actors were honored with Tony Awards for their performances.
During the hour-long interview, Washington and his fellow actors were asked a number of different questions covering a variety of issues. Washington was asked if Nelson Mandela was the most interesting person he had ever met.
“He’s up there, for sure,” Washington said:
“He used to call me on [...] New Years Day. It’d be one of the first calls I got [...] [Denzel then imitates Mandela's voice during their conversation.] He actually came to America and came to my house. He wanted my wife to fry him some chicken. (Slight laughter.) It was like helicopters around (Laughter.) and it was…you know…it was Nelson Mandela…came to America. And he was sitting in the house.”
Washington then gives more details on how Mandela captivated everyone he had invited to his house for the occasion:
”We had about 50 people from [Sylvester] Stallone to Oprah to Quincy Jones [...] and I have a picture of everybody just… listening to [Mandela]. I said ‘Wow, look at all these super famous and powerful people…and they were just [hanging] on [Mandela's] every word.‘”
Washington’s Flight has grossed more than $47 million, according to Box Office Mojo. He’s set to star alongside Mark Wahlberg as a DEA agent in Universal Pictures’ 2 Guns in 2013.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:29
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