Friday, April 27, 2007

Apprentice Winner Randall Pinkett Authors Campus CEO

Apprentice 4 Winner, Randall Pinkett, Is Big Man on Campus With New Book

Calling all entrepreneurs real, imaginary, and undecided! NBC's Season 4 Apprentice winner, Randall Pinkett, has a word for you. In fact, he's got a lot of words that he's assembled in a new book called Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching a MultiMillion-Dollar Business. However, the message between the pages is not restricted to college students. Campus CEO is a handbook, not a textbook written for anyone trying to reach the top of his or her game in business.

Before appearing on Donald Trump's hit reality show, Pinkett was the Co-Founder and CEO of BCT, a minority-owned multi-million dollar technology firm based in Newark, NJ. His success story began as a student at Rutgers University selling CDs and cassette tapes to fund high school outreach activities. In Campus CEO he shares this story and other experiences to show readers how to start and run a profitable business while still in school. By doing so, he also hopes to inspire everyone, especially young people, to start thinking about how to wealth. In Campus CEO readers will find how to:

• Develop a successful business plan and secure funding.
• Take Risks and accept uncertainty
• Be persistent and learn from mistakes
• Discover the many advantages for entrepreneurs on college campuses

Importantly, student readers will also learn how to strive for success in business without sacrificing achievement in academics. To get more information about the book visit Campus CEO's and Randall Pinkett's websites. And to hear Randall speak about his inspiration for the book hit the play button below:

And what's he been up to since his win on The Apprentice ?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ellenoir1.blogspot Talks With Black Family Channel Co-Founder

This blog is arguable one of the first entertainment sites to report the very imminent closing of the Black Family Channel. At the time it was a "developing" story. Last night, I spoke with co-founder, Alvin James, about the news. He confirmed the network was indeed shutting its doors and stated "legally we've [the founders] got some things to work out amongst us." And when asked what will happen next to the relatively new production facility in Decatur, he had no specifics just again expressed having to work out some legal issues amongst his partners. And that was it. He was not ready to make a public statement yet, nor was I prepared to record a soundbite for playback. Still, the fact that I had the opportunity to get a statement from the one of company's co-founder, possibly before my source, is somewhat amazing to me.

So how did I happen to run into Alvin James, literally 3 hours after writing about his company? Literally, I was at the right place at the right time. James and myself were at a private event last night in the heart of Hollywood, which I'll write about later. The moment I saw him I recognized his face, but could not figure out why. After asking at least 4 people that appeared to be "in the know", I realized most of the guests there did not recognize him either. But then again why would they? Many people are familiar with the network, not it's founders. So, at the risk of appearing like a flirt, I nervously approached him, touched his shoulder, and said "You look very familiar to me, what is your name?" He turned slightly towards me and said, "I'm Alvin James". Of course, while internally placing a feather in my cap, I proceeded to tell him who he was, as if he already didn't know. "You're one-fifth of the founders of the Black Family Channel." He smiled. Then as if reciting the alphabet I went down the names of the other co-founders and their distinctions, but in my nervousness got hemmed up on the fifth co-owner. He politely corrected me. Then I also informed him a dear friend of mine used to work for the company. He said he knew her, so I went straight for the jugular. "So, the Black Family Channel is closing." He paused briefly, then as stated before, confirmed the news but had nothing definite to say.

Now as I write this entry I realize maybe I should have told him about my own experience with the network. Several years ago, when it was still the Major Broadcasting Company (MBC), I worked briefly for the network as an Assistant Director for a telethon it broadcasted. The telethon raised money for Princeville, NC, a small historic Black town that was totally destroyed by Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Truly, it was a "Katrina" before Katrina and made international news. I also helped produce a segment that aired during the telethon. But for some reason, none of that came to mind when I met Alvin James last night; I was too busy trying to be a pseudo reporter thinking about how to ask about the network closing. Boy, was that a missed opportunity! But I digress. Really, it's a shame the Black Family Channel will be no more. It was one of the few television networks that seemed to really care about its audience, not just the bottom line.

Photo obtained from

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Black Family Channel Fades to Black


Atlanta's Black Family Channel, formerly known as the Major Broadcasting Cable >Network (MBC), is officially shutting down April 30th. Founded by famed attorney Willie Gary, one fifth of Jackson 5, Marlon Jackson, heavy-weight boxing champ Evander Holyfied, former baseball slugger, Cecil Fielder, and broadcast veteran, Alvin James, the network aimed at African-American families. After 8 years of existence it reached an audience of 18 million subscribers but was not able to obtain the satellite and cable distribution needed to keep it operating in the black.

In 2004, talented actor and director, Robert Townsend, was named the CEO and President of Production of the network. With the help of Townsend's expertise in television and filmmaking, the Black Family Channel developed many original programs including a nationwide talent search, The Urban Kids Block, and a one-hour drama series named Thug Angels. In a 2004 Press Release he stated

"African-Americans represent one of the largest television audiences, however, our plea to incorporate positive images and messaging continues to go unheard. Our mission is to reverse the current state of television."

Later that year, Black Family Channel named Managing Director of Vanguard Media Corp., Rick Newberger, as President and CEO.

For several years the network held the distinction of being the country's only minority-owned network committed to television programming geared toward the entire family. But when Cathy Hughes launched TV One in 2004, The Black Family lost that distinction. So how does BFC's closing affect the landscape of Black owned television networks and programming produced specifically for mature African-American audiences? Is it sign that our tv viewing habits have become so mainstream that networks like the Black Family Channel and TV-One are no longer in need? I hope not! But only time will tell.

Monday, April 23, 2007

That's Wassup!

Click the source to get more details

If you heard that Kansas City Star sports columnist, Jason Whitlock, will be replacing Imus at New York's CBS radio station, WFAN-AM, then you heard wrong. According to news sources, it is only a rumor. But if you heard Imus in the Morning producer, Robert McGuirk got the boot, then you heard right. CBS permanently lowered the fader on him last Thursday. Source: Euroweb

The unofficial King of R&B;, Bobby Brown, and his queen, Whitney Houston, will officially be divorced Tuesday, April 24th. Sole custody of their princess, Bobby Kristina, 14, goes to Houston with Brown receiving visitation rights. And their castle in the south will be listed as "no community property". Source: Euroweb

From a "Dreamgirl" to a "Frog Princess", Tony Award winning Anika Noni Rose, will be the voice of Disney's first African-American princess. Scheduled for release in 2008, The Frog Princess centers around a 19-year-old character set in 1920's New Orleans. Out with the Mac and in with Crayola, the film is the first to feature hand-drawn animation since 2004. I pray they use lots of browns. Source: BTN

Stay tuned there's more to see of Alicia Keyes on the big screen. The singer turned actress will star in the upcoming film, The Nanny Diaries. She plays the role of Lynette, the best friend of lead character, Annie Braddock, played by Scarlett Johansson. The film is scheduled to hit theaters September 2007. Source: Various

Since he's got the Magic Stick, rapper 50 Cent will now have complimentary protection to go with it. According to the New York Post he plans to launch a condom line and give a percentage of the proceeds to HIV awareness campaigns. From tank tops to energy drinks and from films to book publishing, what will this P-I-M-P think to sell next? Can't knock his hustle. Source: Upscale 4/07

We know that Laila Ali is a champion boxer, but she's proving herself to be champion dancer too. Must be in the genes! But once she hangs up the dance shoes, what's next? Fitness and health. She's got a DVD in stores now featuring Sugar Ray Leonard called Lightweight & Heavyweight Workout. Check out my archived blog featuring her and Maksim at Tavis Smiley's Road to Health event in LA. And read how she and fiance, ex-NFL player, Curtis Conway, plan to dance at their wedding at AOL.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Women Who Raised Me: Victoria Rowell Book Signing

Drucilla Is Dead, But Victoria Rowell Lives On...

And she's doing so fabulously! As stated in a previous blog, Victoria Rowell, is allowing fans to see her in a different light--as a writer, more specifically as an author. And that's only the beginning. While attending her book signing for The Women Who Raised Me, it was announced the talented ballet dancer, award-winning actress, and now author had made it to the New York Times Best Sellers List. Go 'head Ms. Rowell! The book chronicles her life and inspirations by introducing us to the interesting women that molded her into successful woman we've come to know today. As most know, Rowell spent all of her childhood in foster care.

To a full house at Eso-Won Books located in the historic Black art district, Leimert Park, Rowell read excerpts from her memoir. The crowd listened attentively, laughing occasionally at humorous anecdotes from her life. Reading slowly, she painted a picture of her different mothers and their individual personalities and strengths. Then with the help of her soothing voice, we traveled back in time with Rowell to experience her introduction to big city living in Boston, Motown music, rent parties, and a "laid-out brother from the hood...blown out 'fro...complete with black power fist attached.." who "smelled as good as he looked". And at that phrase, seemingly every woman in the room, myself included, knowingly nodded and smiled as we remembered that one unforgettably fine brotha from our past.

After taking questions from the audience she signed books, took countless photos, and talked to fans. Everyone was greeted with a smile and ready Sharpie. One of the things that impressed me most was how she called the elders up first--not senior citizens, grandparents, or the 60 and up, but elders. Use of the word said immediately to me that she held a sincere respect for those that came before her. And the second things that impressed me was her business sense. Not dollars and sense but the business of show, as we call it, and how to make it work for you, not vice versa. In addition, she proved to be a human library on all things concerning foster care, from various foundations to schools that had the best social work programs. Again, I say go'head Ms. Rowell. She even has a foundation of her own called the Rowell Foster Children's Positive Plan and is the national spokesperson for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Go to Victoria's website to learn more. Look forward also to seeing her in 2 upcoming films, Home of the Brave with Samuel L. Jackson in May and Of Boys and Men next year starring Robert Townsend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cornel West Featured On New Hip Hop Album

BMWMB: The Power of Three

Timing is everything. Many great ideas have been launched into the world and forgotten because the timing of their debut was wrong. Yet, lately it seems all the planets have aligned to create the perfect environment for the introduction of a greater consciousness of ourselves and our purpose in the world. After viewing Oprah's Hip Hop town hall to discuss the problems that exist within the music genre and American society in general, I am even more convinced that the time is right for BMWMB.

But what is a BMWMB? No, it's not a new model of BMW nor a new television network or sports association. And no, you won't see it "walking it out" on BET. However, that is not to say you won't see it "working it out" on the popular network and others. From the corporate office to the barbershop, from the corner store to Ivy League halls of academia, BMWMB can be found collectively or individually making things happen. Still, don't get it? Here's the answer. BMWMB is the acronym for Black Men Who Men Business.

Black Men Who Mean Business, the phrase alone commands a certain respect and sense of anticipation because Black men who mean business are not only the visionaries but also the reality-makers. With that intent, Sacramento, California based writer and producer, Michael Dailey, gave birth to BMWMB. He partnered with legendary scholar, author, orator, and professor Dr. Cornel West, and his brother, Clifton West, to create the original chapter of BMWMB. I say chapter because I'm praying their model will be duplicated around the country and eventually the world.

In June, Black Music Month, these three visionaries will release, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations. Debuting on Hidden Beach Recordings' new label, Hidden Beach Forum, this powerful musical experience places Dr. West in the eye of a lyrical and visual Hip Hop storm. Just as music execs, artists, business leaders, and community activist meet to clean up the misbehavior in Hip-Hop, BMWMB and Hidden Beach will have already constructed a musical template for them to follow. This collaboration of conscious thought and musical righteousness takes Dr. West out of the confines of Princeton classrooms and releases him creatively to share the mic with Hip Hop and R&B; heavy hitters like Common, Kanye West, KRS-1, Talib Kweli, Prince, Dave Hollister, and the late Gerald LeVert. Addressing issues of racial profiling, politics, 9/11, war, and a litany of other concerns of not just Black people but America at large, Never Forget is a wonderful example of just what men can do when they mean business. No bitches, no hoes, no misogyny, no homophobia just straight lyrical genius laid over perfect beats. The music and the message transcend generational and racial differences to speak to concerns we all have as everyday people.

And now that Hip Hop appears to be ready to address its problems, this unique project is definitely part of the solution. Again, timing is everything. Hidden Beach founder, Steve McKeever, could not have planned it any better. And the title of the project is so appropriate to what we are facing right now. Never forget that Black music set the musical foundation for this country. Never forget it soothed our souls in the fields and secretly led us to freedom in the north, expressed our woes in shades of blue as we carved out a new existence in a racist society, helped us swing our way into a new cultural and economic existence as we passed trees bearing Strange Fruit. And while the country faced a great depression, we sang a happy song because it was well with our souls, marched to the rhythm of a new freedom song; pumped our fist to the beat of black pride, scratched classic tunes to create a new sound; gave pop music a new king that was a thriller, and ushered in a phenomenal musical combination of all these experiences and history just for it to be reduced to one drunken night in a strip club. People, never forget! To receive more information about this revolutionary CD visit Never Forget's website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Never Liked Breaking News

"We got breaking news!" Lord, how I hated that phrase. As a news editor it meant the already hectic day would soon become crazy and stressful. Adrenaline pumping, the news director shouted orders at everybody as he watched the competition get their news crews their before we did. Assignment desk editors pulled their hair out trying to get the latest updates, coordinate crews, and listen to police scanners at the same time. Producers breathed heavily as they typed furiously writing copy for anchors and readjusting the newscast they spent the last 5 hours creating. And while they typed, reporters and videographers literally ran out the building to get the exclusive interview with some victim's parent or sibling that would air a few hours later. And as an editor, I waited for instruction on how the video would come in, by person or by live feed. Then once obtained it was my unenviable job of editing the raw video from the field in the matter of a few short minutes. Breaking news went--and still does--at the top of the newscast. Time was of the essence. No room for error, no time for creativity, no moment to be shocked at the blood or the bodies, just get it done as quickly as possible without missing any pertinent elements--sound, video, and graphics. No pressure!

All of that came rushing back to me yesterday as I watched CNN inform the world 32 students had been murdered on the campus of Virginia Tech University. I was eating lunch with a friend when I just happened to look at the nearby flat screen. There was no sound, but none was needed to convey the fear and devastation. Obviously to me, a quick thinking assignment editor got a crew to the scene not long after hearing a call on the police scanners. Quite often, that's truly how the news becomes the news. The video showed policemen running toward the scene with guns ready while others carried what appeared to be an injured student to safety. Without any other video to show, CNN ran the same clip over and over again changing only the graphics running underneath. Momentarily we were stunned, but hunger won out over our dismay.

On the ride home, I thought more about the incident. 32 people got out of bed, just as I had, to prepare for the rest of their day. That same 32 made it to their destination, just as I had too. But 32 people did not return home or in some cases to their dorms or offices. Thirty-two people would never been seen again alive. I could only imagine the panic and the pain their parents and friends must have been facing. So as I arrived home safe and sound, a short prayer of thanks for myself and the victims' families and friends was said. Truly, to leave home and arrive safely is indeed a blessing we too often taken for granted.

Now, Imus can rest a minute because there is a real hard news story for the networks to chase. Many a seasoned reporter, producer, and news director will use this sad time as material for their resume reels. Careers could possibly be made or lost based on the coverage of national travesties like this one at Virginia Tech. It's the nature of the news industry. For the hungry newsman or newswoman there's no story unless some suffering or death is involved. That's one of main reasons why I couldn't wait to get out. For 2 years I worked as an editor for network news.

My deepest respect and sympathy goes out to all those affected by this horrible incident. That includes those that have to report the tragedy as well. Images of death and destruction stay with you long after the newscast is over. But for many news-people today will be a "business as usual day". There will be no moments of silence, only moments of glory before live cameras. Life will go on, but I hope events like this demonstrate just how precious each day really is.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I See Nappy People!

Tis' true. I do see nappy people…going to work, walking their dog, jogging, raising families, and going about their usual day. But their usual sunny day almost turned into a dark night because what they found beautiful about themselves was seen as something ugly and worthy of ridicule. So just how did these nappy people earn their distinction? Let's check the history books, but do so wisely. American history books are not often the most accurate resource of information about nappy people, but they are a start. So students, turn your books to page 14. It's where you'll find the letter "n".

To begin our exploration of the origins of the new "n" word we must first travel back in time to the late 1500s. According to our hsitorical research the word, nappy, was part of the British language and used to describe a cloth that was worn for incontinence=--basically a diaper. Think Huggies or Pampers sans the cute baby inside, the sweet smell of baby powder, and the super absorbent center. To get a better understanding of it let's use it in a sentence: I need to change the baby's nappy. To hear it used in modern times, check the film "Notting Hill". Hugh Grant's character, Garret, asks Spike, his untidy housemate, about the nappy on his head. In the film, Spike was actually wearing his underwear on his head.

So how does this definition apply to Black people? One word: slavery. Isn't interesting that many of the issues concerning African-Americans in this country stem from it. I'm sorry I digress. Slaves often wrapped soiled cloths, not necessarily diapers, around their heads to protect themselves from the glaring sun while they worked. And as some primitive form of hair care, they also applied different types of grease and oils to their hair that probably soiled the cloth as well. So it is not a far stretch to assume that in describing an enslaved African's appearance a European slave owner may have used the term nappy.

As the word evolved in American language, you can find in some English and online dictionaries the term nap, which derived from the Old English term noppe. This definition states that a nap is a "wooly or villous surface of felt, cloth, or plant, etc." The correlation between this definition and a general description of African and African-American hair is not lost. The texture of natural Black hair, without straightening chemicals, has been compared to wool for generations, in fact centuries. Even the Bible describes the hair of Jesus as wool. Don't clutch your cross! I'm not saying Christ wore an afro or locks, I'm saying, according to King James, he couldn't have worn a pony tail. Da Vinci has most of the world fooled.

Now let's fast-forward several more generations in the evolution of the term nappy. This is where modern culture comes into play. According to urban legend a nap is the little puff of cotton found at the base of the cotton plant. Because that little puff reminded someone of the tightly curled hairs at the base of the neck and around the hairline of African-Americans the word stuck. On the surface it seems to be a harmless and accurate description Black hair. So why get mad at Imus? Because, since the existence of enslaved Africans in America, the texture of Black hair has been viewed as something ugly, dirty, unkempt, and a threat to the European comb. Nappy hair was a reminder of the true origins of Black people and thus deemed inferior by Whites. Nappy hair was then something to be ashamed of and when possible treated with chemicals to make it tame and easier to comb. Psychological the damage was done. As Indie Arie states in her song, I Am Not My Hair to have nappy hair meant you looked like a slave. And once mixed race children began playing in the slave quarters, the distinction of their hair texture and skin tone determined whether they would work in the field or in the big house. And thus the origins of "good" verses "bad" hair and "jigaboo" versus "wannabe" began.

My Nappy ROOTs addresses these issues and their history and attempts to redefine nappy as a positive not a negative. But with all the strides that have been made in race relations in this country, seemingly a film like ours would not be needed, right? WRONG! Obviously, there is a great need for films like ours not only to educate some and remind others of American history but to demonstrate to everyone how far we still have yet to go in truly understanding each other.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

I-mus have put my foot in my mouth!

Okay, I've worked in tv production and entertainment a long time and have never heard of an Imus in the Morning, noon, nor night until last Saturday. Imus, what kind of name is that anyway? What's its origin? I must what? Think before I speak, maybe? So when the executive producer of the documentary,My Nappy ROOTs , called me, the Associate Producer, highly upset at the comments made by this veteran broadcaster, Don Imus, and his producer, Bernard McGurk, I was mildly surprised; only mildly because as an African-American in this country you expect hidden racisms to eventually reveal themselves. Truly, what shocks you most of the time is not what is said, but who said it and the circumstances surrounding the occurrence. For instance, Seinfeld's Michael Richards. Now, that was definitely a surprise! And upon doing some research, I find that Imus is known for his shock-jock style of commentating. Still, ain't nothing funny or cute about this last comment.

As it goes, during his morning radio show, Imus and producer, McGurk, were shooting the breeze about the girls championship basketball game between Rutgers and Tennessee. Sadly, as seasoned media professionals neither had anything intelligent to say about the game nor the teams' sportsmanship in handling the loss. And nor was there any mention of either of Rutger's agility, defense, or ball handling skills. No, these men talked instead about the women's physical attributes, or lack there of, in their opinion.

And to further add insult to injury, McGurk incorrectly made a comparison between the Rutgers team and a scene from Spike Lee's movie, Do The Right Thing. The scene is actually in Spike's film, School Daze, when "Jigaboos" and "Wannabe's" are satirized in a musical skit.

Now, for any non-Black person reading this, let me school you quickly. The "Jigaboos" were dark-skinned women with natural, "nappy", or kinky hair and the "wannabe's" were very fair-skinned women with long, straight, most often wavy hair. They earned their name because they desired to appear White. Both terms are a throwback to African-American history and considered "fighting words." Frankly, to call a Black woman a "jigaboo" is just as insulting as calling her a "nigger". Yes, I said the "N" word, and no I'm not going to censor it. And while I'm on the topic of words, "nappy" hair is not anything to be ashamed of. It merely means tightly curled or coiled hair. Since the arrival of the first chattel slaves in America, the term has been hurled at Africans now Americans to make us feel ashamed of our hair and it's natural texture. But take a look around. "Nappy" hair is "in" and even marketable these days. Presently, many of the Black men and women in entertainment are sporting "nappy" hairstyles; everything from cornrows, afros, to Bob Marly's lustrous locks is helping to sell more than just Afro Sheen these days. Yet, comments made by Imus and McGurk attempt to take us back to questioning our true beauty and identity. Which makes our documentary, My Nappy Roots, even more relevant today.

So Blogger watchdogs, I'm going to try to keep this civilized, however, if I slip up please forgive. Tell the Google Ad wizards I was unmercilessly attacked by a show of ignorance and racism that only Helen Keller wouldn't respond to. And though my vision isn't perfect, I hear just fine. That said, I promise not to wallow in anger too long. Here goes:

First of all, how dare these two White men talk amongst themselves on national tv and radio as if they were sitting in the big house overlooking female slaves on the front lawn. They speak about the Black woman's unattractiveness: her swollen lips, broad nose, full hips, tribal markings, and hair that rejects their small-toothed combs, while secretly craving to sexually experience all that they publicly criticized. Then at the stroke of midnight, are quite surprised to find the other creeping into the slave quarters to steal another Black child's virginity. That's not what was said on Imus' show, but considering he spoke nothing about the women as athletes you have to wonder what led him to make the comments he did.

It appears these so called respected broadcasters have conveniently forgotten America's great past or shame. But then again, I don't think they forgot; they just didn't care. Listen to how easily they conversed about women they knew nothing about. Roll the videotape again! They talked as if their words had no meaning, no painful history attached. In my opinion, Imus & McGurk were not only speaking their minds, but was also what was in their hearts. Funny, how the degrading comments of 1 well-known and so-called respected White broadcaster about a group of Black women participating in a championship sporting event doesn't merit the same national outcry of a millisecond of one Black woman's breast on national tv during a different championship sporting event. So, will MSNBC lose any advertising dollars for having no 10-second delay? Or will the FCC fine all the stations that broadcasted the morning show with costly fees? This is a CBS owned show, right? According to current reports, Imus got a mere 2-week suspension, or vacation, to think about his actions. Surprising? Not really. Insulting people of color, especially Black people, in this country is punishable by nothing. It's in the fiber of America's DNA. All Imus has to do is stick to the script: make a public apology, talk to so-called Black leaders—which unless he's holding a séance should be difficult to do since real Black leaders were murdered decades ago—appear remorseful, and if he has to, go to a Black church or hire a Black temp as his receptionist; just show everybody that all the white and red sheets in his house are strictly used for bedding and nothing else as he cries, "I'm not a racist." Then in a couple of months, the whole thing will be old news and life will go on as planned. Well I'm no prophet, but things are playing out exactly how I've written them.

Still I'm curious, just where the hell did Imus get a phrase like "nappy headed hoes" from anyway? BET? It's probably not a phrase that's a part of his every day vernacular. In fact, he stated in his defense before Rev. Al Sharpton it's a phrase Black men use to degrade Black women all the time. If he truly believed that then why did he feel so comfortable in repeating it? Again, too much BET and straight to DVD 'hood' movies are not a good thing. Obviously, Imus needs to broaden his scope of African-American culture.

And which one of McGurk's Black friends took him to see 2 Spike Lee movies without telling him the significance of the most pivotal scenes? Maybe he went alone or possibly he was too distracted by "Jungle Fever" to really appreciate the messages in either film. Or maybe, both these men have grown a little too comfortable in their sense of White privilege. That sense of "no matter what I do or say it’s okay cause I can afford the best White lawyers to defend me in front of a White judge and mostly White jury." It's that feeling of being untouchable by those who live beneath them, have less money than them, and thus less power than them. Of course, they'll never confess to such a thought because it comes natural to them, like breathing. They don't have to think about it, they just do it.

And lastly, why is Imus the only one making grand apologies for the comments made. Nowhere have I read that the faceless producer, Bernard McGurk is making amends for his stupidity. Two men made the comments, but only one is taking the brunt of the punishment, so it appears. This IS a CBS owned show, right? Guess it's best to sacrifice the one whose name is on the marquee for sake of the others involved, right? Where have I seen that done before? Truly, it's interesting how the FCC and CBS can be so forgiving. Evidently, Imus' and McGurksbrain malfunction hasn't cost them any large sums of money or potentially multi-million dollar contracts yet. Again, my vision may not be perfect, but I'm no Hellen Keller either.

But to attempt some fairness in this blog. Here's Imus' apologetic response.

So do I accept the apology? Yes. Will I be rallying to his defense. Hell to the naw! Would I like to see him fired? Hell to the Yes!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Halle Gets Her Hollywood Star


One of the many of perks of not working is having free time. And Tuesday, April 3rd, was a great day not to have a clock to punch. I rose early to prepare to see, Halle Berry, one of my favorite celebrities receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A few years ago, I was blessed to actually meet her while working as a lowly PA on the Academy Awards. She was quite friendly and listened to me nervously thank her for being an inspiration. Meeting her was a special moment for me, so to witness her receive a star was important to me. It was also important to get there early because standing only 5 ft. 2' has its limitations. One ill-placed tall person in the crowd could potentially ruin my celebrity viewing experience.

I arrived at the site 9:30 am thinking I was a head of the crowd. NOT! Some tourists and fans were already there occupying the best spots near the VIP section. However, I was still early enough to get a decent spot next to the metal barricades around the section for press. Her star is located right in front of the Kodak theater—literally right below the theater's name. Truly, it's a prime spot some celeb might sacrifice their personal assistant to the film gods to have. For two hours, I stood in one spot with my digital camera and the book, "We Speak Your Name". It features Pearl Cleage's poem from Oprah's Legends Ball. The chances of Halle actually signing it were slim, I knew, but I've witnessed greater miracles in my lifetime.

By 10:30 am, the morning chill was gone and the heat of the day began. Some press and organizers of the event had arrived. I recognized the Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, Johnny Grant, sitting in the shade of a huge umbrella. As security officers took their positions around the venue, hats and t-shirts promoting Halle's new movie, "The Perfect Stranger" were given to members of the crowd. Suddenly, people near the stage began yelling. Actor, Samuel L. Jackson, arrived dressed in an light grey suit and his signature Kangol hat. For a while, he greeted fans, signed autographs, and posed for the press before joining his wife, LaTanya, and actor Gary Dourdan in VIP.

At long last, the woman of the hour finally graced us with her presence. " Halle! Halle!," the enthusiastic crowd cheered as she approached the stage. To get a better view, I stood on the barricade, bumping heads and elbows with the little girls and photographer on either side of me. For a minute, it felt like I was in 3 Stooges skit. Then once some heads and arms cleared I finally saw her. Just as gorgeous as you would expect, Halle stood before the adoring crowd crying softly while old flirt, Johnny Grant, praised her talent and beauty. Then the accolades continued with speeches from industry associates and friends. Sam Jackson talked about their working together in "Jungle Fever" and how he admired her courage and tenacity in taking a variety of roles that showcased her acting ability not just her good looks. Later in her speech, she genuinely thanked him for being her first acting coach and dear friend. Without him, Berry admitted, she could not have convincingly pulled off her role as a drug addict in "Jungle Fever."

Unfortunately, from my position I could not see everything. Camera crews and heads often blocked my shot, but I could still hear her speech clearly. She sincerely thanked the crowd for showing up and for expressing their support because as she put it "sometimes it can get a little heavy" when haters become overly critical.
Hurray for Halle-wood! She reflected on seeing Dorothy Dandridge's star when she first arrived in Hollywood and feeling a connection. She then expressed how important it was as a Black female to be an inspiration to other actresses of color and actresses in general. Lastly, Halle also gave props to her mother, whom she invited on stage with her.

Once it was over, press vying for profitable soundbites trampled on what was sacred ground minutes before. Just as Halle predicted, her name was going to be walked on for an eternity. But now her being walked all over would have some significance. When a dream-seeking young woman is told for the 100th time she didn't get the part or the job, she can stand on Halle's star, adjacent to the home of the Academy Awards, feel a connection and hopefully be motivated to keep striving toward her goals. This photo is from the Hollywood Walk of Fame site.

Before leaving the venue, a really nice individual, know as Robirob by Halle's fan club members, took a picture of the star for me. She runs Halle's fan website, If you want to know anything about Halle it is definitely the site to visit. Thank you, Robi:-)

Of course, I captured the event with my little digital camera. It ain't perfect, but not much in life really is. So just enjoy!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tavis Smiley's Road to Health Hits L.A.

Road to Health Paved With Good Intentions

Before we get on the road, let's first get a map of the American landscape. In case you haven't heard, the richest country in the world is living large and in charge of everything put its diet. In other words America is fat. No, not P.H.A.T but fat. Think the Fat Boys, The Weathergirls, Norbit, The Nutty Professor, or better yet Santa Clause and you'll get the right idea. To address the issue amongst African-American and Latin-American communities, author, speaker, and tv and radio talk show host, Tavis Smiley created the Road to Health Expo. The Expo lasts for 2 days and has traveled from Atlanta, Baltimore, and Los Angeles enlightening communities about health and nutrition concerns and how to tackle them. The last stop will be in Oakland in May 11-12. The most recent event was held at Los Angeles' Convention Center March 30th and 31st. It consisted of live performances, celebrity appearances, workshops, and a health and wellness pavilion.

To help pave the Road to Health in LA, 93.5 KDAY, radio personality, YOYO came by to share some love and wisdom with the kids. I promise she hasn't aged since "You Can't Play With My YoYo" days. In a trendy hat, t-shirt and jeans, she looked fabulous, NATURALLY! And to this day, I swear, her 1992 hit,Black Pearl, is still one of my favorite female anthems. I wore that cassette out listening to Black Pearl and Cleopatraon my way to class. But you don't hear me though! Ooooh, how I miss those golden moments in Hip Hop. Anyway, I digress. Although the kids in the pictures are probably to young to know anything about those songs or her recurring role on Martin, they bum-rushed her with adoration. With arms outstretched she welcomed their hugs and happily met each request for autographs with a smile and words of encouragement. Currently, she and MC Lyte have created Let Your Light Shine Youth Foundation to empower kids in the community. To wee what else YoYo is up to visit her page at 93.5 KDAY

Actress turned author, Victoria Rowell, shared the stage with Tavis to do audience give-aways. Wearing the cutest outfit I've seen in a minute, she worked the crowd like a pro with charm and enthusiasm. Then after the last home appliance and Nike tote bag were given away, she informed us about her new book, The Women Who Raised Me. The autobiography honors the mentors in her life that helped her reach success. As most know, Rowell grew up in foster care. To learn more about her and her new book visit Victoria's website. And for you individuals between jobs, like myself, that have all day to write and possibly watch a soap opera or two, you may still be able to see her as Victoria out on CBS' The Young and The Restless. And if Y&R; was the family babysitter for 3 generations, then you'll remember when her character, Drucilla, first appeared on the scene. Which reminds me--did they ever find out Dru's first baby daddy was actually Malcolm, her fine brother-in-law, portrayed by Shemar Moore?

The last big surprise of the day was the appearance of the lovely Triple Crown Middleweight Champion and my Dancing With The Stars favorite, Laila Ali. She stopped by with her dance instructor, cutie-pie, Maksim, and a ABC camera crew to promote exercise and healthy living, and of course the show. And yes, she is just as pretty in person. She's so pretty you want to hit her, but the fact that she could knock your pants flat quicker than you can blink, keeps you from doing anything or saying anything stupid. Truly, all hateration aside, she is blessed with beauty, brain, talent, and brawn making her a threat in the ring and in the round. Her father was known for his fancy footwork, and now his daughter is using the same to win the Dancing With The Stars competition. Yes, I said WIN. I'm a big believer in speaking things into happening. And while I'm speaking the word let's also be doers of the word. KEEP VOTING FOR HER PEOPLE! If you've missed an episode of the show just go to Dancing With The Stars. And while your surfing check out Laila's official site.

Other celebs arrived throughout the 2 day event, but I couldn't get pictures of everybody and work as well. For this event my job was to help coordinate limo pick-up and arrivals. Sounds easy, but let one limo arrive late or not all and Satan's homies can break lose. So I spent most of my time outside greeting drivers and making sure people were picked up on time and headed in our direction. Thank God the weather was gorgeous. Now I don't have to wait until summer to get my tater-tot tan.

To learn more about Tavis and his upcoming events visit these sites:
Tavis Talks
Road to Health website

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