Benjamin Booker is a raw new talent out of New Orleans! He recently made his network television debut on “The Late Show w/ David Letterman,” and his self-titled debut album is in stores now – performance on Letterman here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8VyRO2iqeg
One of entertainment’s true black cultural icons has passed away. Ever since childhood, my life was touched by the presence, of Geoffrey Holder. From commercials to film to actually meeting him, Holder has unquestionably influenced, encouraged and inspired dynamics of my life, that led me to choose pursuing the world of entertainment and writing as a career. A true giant in stature and in life, I am honored to have been in his presence and humbled, by the advice he rendered.
At it’s inception, Netflix was a cool idea, despite it’s analog entry into the mainstream. Digital was at the onset of the brand, however a solid cyber foundation was required to couple strategic timing and marketing. The evolutionary medium recently acquired the rights to air the NBC hit, “The Black List” that stars James Spader, for two-million dollars per episode recently. Now they’ll enable subscribers to see brand new films simultaneously as they’re released in theaters! It begins with the sequel to the Ang Lee hit “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand and Smokey Robinson all have new music out. Streisand and Robinson’s CDs are duet projects, and Franklin’s release is an album of covers, including classics from Etta James to Adele.
Last year I wrote an item titled “Missing the Funkiest Moment.” It was about how so many people nowadays that go to live performances, and truly miss the essence of the show they’re attending. You Are At The Show, you should enjoy it, not spend time trying to record it to watch later. I feel confident in my knowledge of this, as I have been so fortunate to see so many shows, since I was a teen.
Prince is releasing not one, but 2 new albums this fall. Expected for release on September 30th, “Art Official Age,” is a solo project and “Plectrumelectrum,” is the long anticipated project that features 3rdEyeGirl. Friends and fans may already have seen the video for the previously released single, “Breakfast Can Wait,” which features Dave Chapelle on the cover art – if not, go here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHbyNrGXpAA…
In the midst of turmoil, even when the worst of matters are smacking folks of all cultures in the face, a spade gon’ be a spade. “Call a Spade a Spade”: To tell the truth about something, even if it is not polite or pleasant. Pertaining to ethnicity, the phrase predates the use of the word “spade” as an ethnic slur against black people, which was not recorded until 1928. This item encompasses a bit of both regarding recent public and personal occurrences.
Liken to three men who believed in equality, peace and respect for human life, three men brought joy, comic relief and hope to millions of people. Three men assassinated for being committed to their beliefs will forever have their place in history, for living up to a standard that they believed everybody deserved.
#IfTheyGunnedMeDown is the latest phenomenon in social media. In lieu of too many tragic unjustified killings by police, people – particularly ethnic ones – are posting photos of themselves side-by-side in two different respects. One side is them in a respected capacity, while the other pictures them in what might be a questionable one.
Martin Lawrence and Kelsey Grammar are co-stars and co-executive producers for their new show “Partners” on FX. Co-concieved by the two of them, it premiered last Monday, August 4th. A half-hour sitcom, they’ve already aired four episodes, showing two new scenarios back-to-back. Playing the roles of lawyers, Martin is the straight man to Grammer’s delivery of one-liners.
I’m always impressed when intellect and wealth meet humanity. The initiatives and efforts of Bill and Melinda Gates in the realms of education, health, hunger and global economics are astounding. Oprah Winfrey’s school in Africa for girls; how she’s put young men through college here in the United States; and her “Legends Ball” where she honored Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou and Ruby Dee, among others, before they left this earth will forever amaze me.
So I’m surfing the web this morning before doing anything of substance while my brain is still waking up, click on something, don’t even remember what – oh, “a dad in Detroit doing good,” and I see this ad… (click on it for full view)
In five days Oxygen’s new series “Sisterhood of Hip-Hop” hits the tube. A new show from the mind of T.I., the tagline is “Chasing the Dream, Changing the Game.” While chasing the dream is all too real, it remains to be seen if any of these “up and comers” will “change the game.” The 5 cast members are: Brianna Perry, Nyemiah Supreme, Diamond, Bia and Siya. The show will have special appearances of established talents, Pharrell, Rick Ross, Eve, Lil Jon, Irv Gotti, Tank and Travie McCoy.
I can’t say they stole the soul, but they sure do emulate it in their latest spot for their “Simply Naked” pita chips. Stacy’s chips are actually a favorite of mine among healthy snacks. As far as I’m concerned, the commercial pays homage to the FUNK legend, but I wonder what he would think if he was alive to see the T.V. ad.
Charlie Wilson is without a doubt one of the best return to music stories in R&B. I won’t call it a comeback, cause he’s been here for years, with one of the FUNKIEST bands in the ‘80s – The GAP Band. Lionel Richie was down with the Commodores before his solo success, and today they both have songs, backing major brands.
James Brown’s biopic “Get On Up” hits theaters today. In the spirit of FUNK, I wanted to share an interview I did with him for those who might want to hear the actual voice, of “The Godfather of Soul.” Then I figured, why not include three other masters, of the FUNK genre. Having the honor to speak with these men were not only a highlight of my career in music, but in life, as they provided the soundtrack to it (click on photo above for full view).
Lenny is dropping his new album “Strut” on September 23rd! Rockin’ since 1989, his debut album, was “Let Love Rule.” I remember his then wife, Lisa Bonet, coming to visit us at WBLS to promote her man’s new music. We played it while she sat with us in the studio, and chatted about his musical vision, when NOBODY else did. Although his sound wasn’t traditionally that, of what one would hear on an R&B station, we supported him. We were ‘BLS, we played Queen and INXS – why? Because it was Dope!
As music fans, lovers and aficionados are perched and waiting for “Get On Up” and “Jimi: All Is by My Side,” one can’t help but think of musical biopics that have been previously released. This blog was prompted and inspired by a chat with, and query from my wife, as to how many films of this nature have been done — there are numerous. While many are excited for the lives of James Brown and Jimi Hendrix to grace the silver screen, the lives of other music icons have been brilliantly depicted. (click on photo above for full view)
At the age of 22, Luc Besson released his first short film “L’avant dernier,” (translation: Next to Last) in which he also appeared. It starred Jean Reno, an actor that he would work with repeatedly in future films. Besson’s new film “Lucy” starring Scarlet Johansen hits theaters across the country this week, and it’s nowhere near ‘next to last’, on Luc’s list of movies.
As I was prepping the blog that will follow this one, it occurred to me that I had yet to create this list. Although I’ve done items on a few of them, as this outlet and website continues to grow, I wanted to pay homage to those that have shaped, inspired and influenced my view and love for film.