Category: Entertainment Written by Shamika Sanders, Elev8
That smile. I could hear it glowing as she called out to her son. He had just woken up from a nap and was searching for her in the house. “Hi snooks,” she said. He followed her voice and wound up in her embrace. Jill Scott’s voice does that for a lot of people–she sings and we come flocking. But lately, Jill has offered us much more than her music. The single mother joined the cast of the Lifetime remake of “Steel Magnolias” as Truvy–a dedicated hair dresser who is enduring the trials and tribulations associated with her out-of-work husband. And recently, the radiant brown bombshell took to the cover of Essence with her natural hair, a sight we don’t see often in mainstream media–but then again–Jill Sott is a walking exception. With the measurements of 12/14, she is considered plus-sized, but that has in no way hindered her career. If fact, to let her tell it…it’s helped.
Jilly from Philly rang our offices yesterday and chatted about Steel Magnolias, her dream role as Phyllis Hyman and the controversy surrounding Zoe Saldana in the Nina Simone biopic.
HelloBeautiful: Tell me about your role in Steel Magnolias as Truvy…
Jill Scott: Well Truvy is a genuine friend to her friends, she is a loving wife who is going through something many women have experienced–when their husband isn’t working, and how it affects him. Not just the financial aspect of it, but the emotional aspect. She truly and genuinely loves her husband and has to weather the storm.
HelloBeautiful: Queen Latifah was nervous about reenacting the famous Sally Fields scene– how did she do?
Jill Scott: I thought she did great. The tears in that scene were genuine; every last one of us fell in love with Candola. We just had to be in that moment–Shelby was gone and there was a physical pain attached to it for all of us–I know definitely for me.
HelloBeautiful: Were you nervous to be involved in the remake of such a classic?
Jill Scott: Yes. They’re big shoes to fill. The story is so good. Friendship is a quality–hell or high water–friendship is not really what we’re seeing on television anymore. For me, it was just an honor to remind people of a friendship that doesn’t have fighting and scratching each other’s eyes out–particularly with African-American Woman, though it goes down on the other shows as well. There’s beefs, wars, threats and jealousy, but this is a good reminder of what friendship actually is. It is a support system; it is a place to go with your whole self and be honest; and be hurt; and not have to do it by yourself–and to heal.
HelloBeautiful: You said you wanted to appear on the cover of Essence with your natural hair so that your son could see the “real” you. Do you feel that Black women don’t show the real “them” enough?
Jill Scott: I do. I would love to see a cast of African-American women with their natural hair. Some are going to be coiled, some are going to be curly, some will be tight, some will be wild-braided-twisted but this is the crux of it, this is who we are, and our hair even has a character in itself. I don’t mind wearing a weave or a wig–I don’t have a problem with it, but when I come home to myself–I’m natural. Hair is fun but I’d like to see who we are. I always think about it like this: if 30 black women were to be lost on a deserted island, those weaves would come out–they would all come out. We’d have to start taking care of our hair, and when the ship shows up two months later, there’s going to be a bunch of African-American woman or African women getting on that boat in all their glory.
HelloBeautiful: You recently came under controversy for a promo photo because it appeared that your were heavily Photoshopped…
Jill Scott: You are actually telling me this for the first time–I didn’t know that. But I assume you’re talking about the Steel Magnolias photo. When we shot “Steel Magnolias,” I was a lot smaller than I am today. I call it foundation, some good foundation (and the proper posture is a part of it as well), but of course there is some Photoshopping. There’s Photoshopping with every photo that comes out on any magazine, or pretty much anywhere.
HelloBeautiful: If you had a chance to play an iconic figure, who would you play?
Jill Scott: I would play Phyllis Hyman. There’s a lot of depth there. Phyllis was tormented and beautiful, and violent at times. She was fighting her way through the industry and it wasn’t necessarily working out. You have this character who loves something so tremendously but hates it at the same time. I find her to be really interesting.
HelloBeautiful: How do you feel about the controversy surrounding Zoe Saldana being casted in the Nina Simone biopic?
Jill Scott: Well Zoe is an incredible actress–I think that she’s a fine actress. I think that there should be some work done, like a prosthetic nose would be helpful and definitely some darker makeup. If Forest Whittaker can become darker in “The Last King Of Scotland” than I believe Nina should be treated with that respect. She was very adamant about her color about her nose about her shape and her self and there needs to be some homage paid to that.
HelloBeautiful: What are some things you would like to see change in Black Hollywood?
Jill Scott: I’m hoping to see more diverse story lines and I’m hoping to see more intelligent films–more variety of stories. People we love pass away; people we love get married and divorced; they have children; we get jobs, we get lost, confused, heartbroken, broke, rich, gardeners–there’s millions of stories to be told about us. I’d just really like to see more stories. And Black actors, it seems like there always one for a period of time then there’s another one…there’s so many Caucasian actresses that get great work. I’m a fan of many of them, like, for instance, Tilda Swinton. She’s an amazing actress to me but I’ve seen her in films where she’s spoken Italian and German; I’ve seen her in a films where she plays a mother of very demoted boy. I’d like to see Black woman in different shapes, sizes and colors, hair grains, and noses, being human beings in front of the camera.
HelloBeautiful: What are some of the downsides of being plus side in Hollywood?
Jill Scott: I’m not sure yet, because most of the roles I’ve acquired thus far–I’ve been either required to gain weight or wear a fat suit. One of my favorite movies is “The Shadow Boxer” starring Monique, who played a crackhead girlfriend. I love that because when you think of crackhead you think of someone who is emaciated, and her boyfriend was Caucasian and young–a doctor and high–more layers.
The challenge that I see outside of Hollywood is just finding clothes. I typically have to buy something two sizes bigger than I am, then I must have it fitted for me. I’m a 12/14 depending on the weight. Also [I need a] director that can know not every angle is for me, they have to be mindful. You know how some actresses have a good side–it kinda works for me like that too.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 October 2012 14:37
Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey
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!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 September 2012 12:48
Category: Entertainment Written by Cornelius Fortune
Detroit native Abel Ramirez has been creating professional images in various mediums for more than a decade. He’s done comic books, storyboards (for films), and most recently, a series of storybooks for children called “The Diny Tots” (www.dinytots.com). The next book in the series, “Diny Tots and the Hot Air Balloon,” will soon be available. An artist who displays versatility, a keen sense of shadow and light, and a style all his own, Ramirez is truly an artist to watch.
When did you discover art?
When I was about five years old, my dad gave me old books with animals in them and told me to draw them. That’s when I learned to copy from pictures. I remember him showing how to draw a cat, too. I had Spider-Man and Batman toys around that age and tried to draw them as well.
When I was a little older, my dad bought me my first Spider-Man comic book. And there I was copying Spidey again. It was really a goal for me to get human anatomy right. I started reading and collecting comics of various titles and have been hooked since; comics have been a great influence on me.
Book Bin was the only comic book store in southwest Detroit. Before I could drive, I would walk about three miles to get to it and buy my books. On the way, I would see the Latin American murals on the walls of some of the buildings in the neighborhood, and I greatly admired it. To this day, I am inspired by this type of artwork.
You’ve worked within a variety of mediums. Which do you prefer?
I love doing charcoal, but I really enjoy simply drawing a piece by hand in pencil. I then ink the piece by hand, and after that, scan it and color the piece via computer software, such as Photoshop; this is a cool way to add colors and other effects.
What can you tell us about The Pink Crusader?
The Pink Crusader was created to promote breast cancer awareness and to encourage women to get yearly mammograms. She is meant to be an empowering icon for breast cancer victims, survivors, their families and for the cause itself. The Pink Crusader is also an endeavor to perhaps merge the comic book industry/community with the breast cancer awareness community.
Last year, I did a Pink Crusader piece for the Bras For A Cause breast cancer charity event in Royal Oak, which was sold in a silent auction. Another 18x24 piece will auctioned off this September as well.
Has art gotten easier now that you’ve done so much of it?
I wouldn’t say it has gotten easier because I am always trying to improve. Trying to get better is always a constant effort. But I do have to say that it has gotten to be more fun, the more I do it.
Any new projects our readers should be aware of?
Yes. My next children’s book, “Diny Tots and the Hot Air Balloon,” should be out on Amazon in a month or so. This is the second book in a series I hope to continue. It’s about the adventures of four children dinosaurs and their puppy ankylosaurus, who come across a teddy bear flying a hot air balloon.
I will also be doing art for a book called “Inspired Visions” coming out next year. It will feature the art and biographies of 20 Christian comic book artists. The art will be based on the Bible or other Christian-related inspiration, or life events.
A Pink Crusader origins comic book is also in the works.
For more information on future projects, visit www.abelramirez.com.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 17:52
Category: Entertainment Written by Cornelius Fortune
Last Updated on Monday, 17 September 2012 10:46
Category: Entertainment Written by Steve Holsey
The talented and lovely Alicia Keys has been a consistent top attraction since 2001 when she made her recording debut. But she feels that there is more that the public might want to know about her. And evidently, she is also enjoying a new sense of “liberation.”
Keys’ next album will be provocatively titled “Girl on Fire.”
She explains, “I felt like a a girl misunderstood that no one really knows. I felt like it was time to stop making excuses for any part of my life that I wanted to change. Once I made that choice, I became a girl on fire!”
Speaking of being on fire, of all the songs I have heard by Detroit’s own KEM, the one that has the most impact is “Share My Life,” featured on his top-selling 2010 album “Intimacy.” KEM sings with such conviction and passion that it might make you stop what you are doing to listen.
Brandy is working on her new album, interestingly titled “Two Eleven.” Fans will be interested to know that an October release date has been set.
THE DEBUT of the remake of the 1976 film “Sparkle” has created renewed interest in the original, and inparticular one of its main stars, Detroit’s own Lonette McKee as the talented and beautiful but ultimately doomed Sister Williams. She recently expressed some of her feelings to USA Today.
“I feel it’s an honor that a movie in which I was prominently featured is regarded highly enough that filmmakers thought it was worthy of being remade,” said McKee, someone I have known since she was 14 years old (she was the second person I ever interviewed; Little Carl Carlton was the first). “I’m a longtime Whitney Houston fan (who co-produced the movie) and love Jordin Sparks’ work as well. I’m thrilled about them doing a remake.”
WHICH BRINGS to mind the fact that a new Whitney Houston greatest hits album is slated for fall release. Of course, there was a greatest hits album in 2000, but that one featured the original versions of her ballad hits and remixes of the uptempo ones. The new collection will feature only originals.
That’s fine and dandy, but the bottom line is that this second collection was put together for one reason: to benefit from all the excitement surrounding the release of the “Sparkle” movie. That’s the way it goes in the music business, and elsewhere.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: Former mayor Dennis Archer is a big fan of John Legend. You are likely to see him in the audience whenever Legend comes to town.
LIKE WHAT he says or not, you have to give Mike Tyson credit for being brutally honest in his one-man Broadway show, “The Undisputed Truth,” directed by Spike Lee.
Regarding his cocaine addiction, the often-troubled former heavyweight boxing champion has been clean for quite some time but says, “Any moment I could backslide. It’s always a struggle.” Then he added the shocker: “I love me some cocaine!”
Beyoncé Knowles received a very nice compliment from the outrageous and talented Lady Gaga. She said “B” is a friend she greatly respects becase “nothing about her is fake.”
You probably remember Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force’s creative, techo-savvy and highly danceable 1980s hits “Planet Rock” and “Looking for the Perfect Beat.” Well, Bambaataa (real name: Kevin Donovan) has been named visiting scholar at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. Strange but true.
What is on the cover of a magazine affects sales, and one of the most unattractive I have seen in a long time is rapper Rick Ross on the cover of Rolling Stone. This is a prime example of a man who needs to keep his shirt on!
Perhaps inspired by entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson,” basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal will be opening a 12-screen movie theater in Newark, Jersey (his hometown) at the end of next month.
What ever happened to Apollonia? She was in the Prince movie “Purple Rain” and replaced Vanity when Vanity 6 became Apollonia 6 and had one album, featuriing the hit “Sex Shooter.”
Clarification: Last we told you that Berry Gordy’s second wife, Raynoma Gordy Singleton, said he has “the prettiest feet” she has ever seen on a man. She meant, of course, that he has nice looking feet, not that they look like a woman’s, just in case anyone got the wrong idea.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW...that former pro-footall superstar and actor Jim Brown discovered the Friends of Dinstinction, whose major success included the hits “Grazing in the Grass,” “Going in Circles” and “Love or Let Me Be Lonely.”
MEMORIES: “Baby I’m For Real” (the Originals), “Let’s Do It Again” (the Staple Singers), “Keep on Truckin’” (Eddie Kendricks), “See Saw” (Aretha Franklin), “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” (the Hollies), “Mighty Love” (the Spinners), “Memory Lane” (Minnie Riperton), “I Gotcha” (Joe Tex), “You’re All I Need to Get By” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell).
BLESSINGS to Carol Smith Dixon, Millie Scott, H. Kim Heron, Mary Grace Wilbert, Cynthia French, Joseph French, Thomas A. Wilson, Karen Dumas, H. Samuel Kemp, Ken Donaldson and Tyrone Mills.
WORDS OF THE WEEK, from CNN anchor Don Lemon: “Natural means what’s in your nature.”
Let the music play!
Last Updated on Monday, 27 August 2012 02:58
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