Thursday, June 26, 2008

My 2008 BET Awards Press Experience

Finally the dust has settled at the Shrine Auditorium, home again to this year's anticipated BET Awards. It's day two after the show. All my editing is done and I finally have a chance to reflect on the experience and share it with you. I'll try to keep it brief.

Usually I work the show as part of the talent department. But this year I desired to come at it from a totally different angle as a member of the press. Overall, it was a good experience in that it confirmed my belief there is a need for more legitimate online press outlets. In fact, I predict in the next 5 years or so, more emphasis will be placed on internet coverage and possibly even live streaming of the event.

In my opinion, the hottest star on the red carpet for any length of time was the sun. Based on conversations with peers on the other end of the vein and my own observances, there was seemingly no desire by most of the A-listers to "do the carpet" as we say. And many that may have wanted to couldn't because it would have spoiled the show surprises. So who did the carpet? Mostly, the up-and-coming and not-yet mainstream artists, who need it most, and of course many of BET's new Hip Hop royalty.

Admittedly, I'm not up on every new rap star and dance gimmick, thus I stuck to what I knew so my questions would be genuine. Here are the highlights from my BET red carpet experience.




I had much better interview success in the cool, air conditioned, press room. Check out the highlights of the interviews from those that stopped by to chat. And I apologize in advance for the shot blocking. Even when people know you're videotaping they still walk right in your shot! Some things can't be edited out, darn it!




And no, I didn't attend any parties. My nights were spent shooting, editing, posting, and sleeping. Maybe I'll get a chance to really let my locks down at the next major event.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

21st Annual ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award Red Carpet

ASCAP couldn't not have timed this event any better--one day before the anticipated BET Awards and during the only other month dedicated to black culture and history. If you didn't know, June is Black Music Month according to.... Why even bother wondering who deemed it such? Everyday is a good day to celebrate black history and music. So spend a moment or two with some of the most talented musicians and songwriters in the world as Hollywood: As I Live & Work covers ASCAP's 21st Annual Rhythm & Soul Awards red carpet.

Meet those that make the hits!




Hear from those that sing the hits!




And receiving ASCAP's Golden Note Award, the most prestigious honor of the night, was Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike, and Johnny...New Edition! Ralph was always my favorite! Johnny a close second!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Ludacris Receives Top Honor at EYM Scholarship Gala

From radio DJ to platinum selling artist, from award winning actor to successful philanthropist and entrepreneur, Chris Bridges aka "Ludacris" or "Luda" is definitely setting a positive example. And last night, at Educating Young Minds Scholarship Gala, he received the organization's highest honor for supporting the evolution of young minds through his organization, The Ludacris Foundation.





Established 2001, The Ludacris Foundation was created to help kids chart their own course to success through several basic principles Bridges learned as a child. Currently programs teach kids about healthy eating habits, leadership, financial goals and budgeting, and how to maintain high self esteem despite disabilities. Please visit The Ludacris Foundation website here to find out how you can get involved.

EYM 2008 Scholarship Gala: Brandon Fobbs & UGK's Bun B

While most of my press peers were covering Pre BET Awards events in Hollywood, I turned my camera to the Educating Young Mind's 10th Annual Scholarship Awards Gala at the Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles. Each year the organization honors those in entertainment that support the enrichment of youth by "giving kids the competitive edge" through their artistic efforts.

Before the event I spoke with celebrity presenter, Brandon Fobbs (Pride, The Wire), and award recipient, Bernard Freeman, aka "Bun B" of Texas rap group, UGK, about their individual efforts to empower and educate young minds.




Visit UGK's website here. To learn more about Bun B hit him up on myspace at www.myspace.com/bunbofugk. And while there visit Brandon's page by clicking his name or go to brandonfobbs.net, his personal website here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wanted: Assasins With Killer Threads

Though Angelina Jolie is pictured prominently in the foreground of every poster, billboard, and widget (see below) promoting this new movie, Wanted is not her story, it's his...the man you see in the background by her elbow. Meet Wesley (James McAvoy, Atonement), an unhappy 25-year-old account manager who lives by the L-word. That's L for loser not lesbian, people! Whether at work or at home, he gets no respect. Even his girlfriend disses him for his best friend. Then combine those woes with chronic panic attacks and low self-esteem and you understand why Wesley is a poster child for underachievement.

Then one day Wesley's life takes a dramatic turn thanks to a chance meeting with a sexy, mysterious woman named Fox (Jolie). She informs Wesley that his estranged father was a member of an elite group of assassins called, the Fraternity, and has been killed. She too is a member and wants to recruit Wesley to avenge his father's death.

Hold up! Rewind! I know a little something about fraternities thanks to a wonderful HBCU college experience. Shout out to Gamma Rho, Spring '92! Fraternities don't typically include women which is why they are referred to as brotherhoods. But this is a MOVIE not a documentary so let that detail go.

One thing that IS true in this film of most fraternities, membership ain't free. In Wesley's case, membership dues are paid through his ass which gets mercilessly beaten during several days of grueling assassin training. But by the end of his "pledge" process, neophyte Wesley can kick ass with the best of his frat. All you "Big Brotha Almighties" out there please don't get any new ideas!

Also true of elite groups like The Fraternity is the unwavering faith in the vision of the founding members. In this story the visionary is the charismatic yet deadly, Sloan (Morgan Freeman). By deciphering a code issued by a large loom, Sloan decides the fate of the "one that must be killed to save thousands," a paraphrase of The Fraternity motto. Now, where the loom gets its information? Who knows? Well, I know but I'm not telling.

So what happens when despite all you've learned from your new frat brothers and one tattooed sister, you realize taking another person's life just because a textile machine told you so doesn't quite make sense? Simple. You become "wanted", dead never alive. And now everything you've been taught to kill others must now be used by you to destroy your teachers.

So should you rush to the theater June 27th or wait for DVD? Definitely theater! Rushing is optional. But if you really like Matrix style special effects and some graphic violence then by all means, be present June 27 at your favorite theater. And "What about Jolie's performance?" You ask. She's basically an expressionless robot throughout the entire film, but there are unexpected glimpses of her humanity. Oh, and I almost forgot. Gorgeous rapper Common is in this film too. But unfortunately, his role is synonymous with his name. Common is basically the same character in this film that he was in his last 3 movies. It's definitely time for a role that moves him beyond likeable thugs, guns and violence.



Janet Jackson Takes Control In Reality Television

Source: Variety

Janet Jackson is getting into the reality TV business, developing a music competition with 25/7 Prods. for MTV.

Untitled project, which has already started casting, will feature Jackson as she mentors a group of aspiring singers and dancers. Project will be shot in the coming months as Jackson prepares for her world tour, which launches on Sept. 10.

"It's really about finding who's the next Janet Jackson or Justin Timberlake or Usher," said exec producer Dave Broome. "And we'll find it from a pool of people who you wouldn't typically find it from. We'll go to YMCAs, church groups, local community centers and try to cast the show."

Show will also take place in various street locales, rather than on a studio soundstage. Producers are still ironing out the prize - but it could potentially relate to Jackson's tour.

Deal also reps the latest chapter in the recent turbulent relationship between the channel and Jackson. MTV produced the infamous Super Bowl halftime show that featured Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction." After that, fans accused MTV of blackballing the singer from the channel.

But Jackson has been seen more often on MTV lately, having appeared on TRL to promote her latest CD in February. She also starred in a series of shorts spoofing MTV series like "The Real World" as part of MTV's "52 Artists/52 Weeks Total MTV Takeover."

Broome's credits include "The Biggest Loser," "The Radio Music Awards" and NBC's Tsunami benefit.

Gil Duldulao and Jackson are behind the show's concept; Jackson, Duldulao, Broome, Kenneth Crear and Johnny Wright are all exec prodcers.

SIDENOTE: TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW FOR THE UPCOMING ROCK WITH YOU TOUR. JUST CLICK JANETFANCLUB.COM OR VISIT TICKETMASTER.COM

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sex & The City Or Waiting to Exhale?

It's a tug of war of love, ladies and gentlemen! Representing the east side are the fashionable ladies of New York: Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha. And keeping it real for the sisters on the west side of the rope is Arizona's finest: Bernadine, Savannah, Gloria, and Robin. In the struggle of who best represents the 30 and 40 something woman's search for love and understanding, who really put it down at the theater?

Let's start by comparing some of memorable scenes and memories from both movies:












Of course, these are just a few considerations when deciding which film wins in the end. But then again, may be it's not of question which film is better, but where you see yourself in each character and their situation. That's the real deciding factor. As for me, I'm still at the spoken word spot in Love Jones wondering which cutie will be fated to spill his drink while standing next to me at the bar.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Once You Go Mac....A Computer Love Story

I know you've noticed. The post are coming slower. Why, when there's seemingly so much to write about? Well.....I'm sad to announce that Hollywood: As I Live and Work has suffered a great loss. My beloved Tyrone is dead! After four wonderful years together, Tyrone Powers IV went to sleep and never woke up. Oh! The agony!

For those of you new to my site, Tyrone, was my computer. And yes, I named it! I'm sure it's not the first time you've been introduced to something that should have remained nameless, but you or its owner named it anyway! As humans it's in our nature to categorize and label things, so why not give my Powerbook G4 a name that it would be proud of? Tyrone Powers, IV, was perfect!

Why "Tyrone"? Cause of Erykah Badu's advice to "call him". And I did for some of everything--movies, news, phone numbers, music, trivial information, escapism. However, I stopped at calling him for dates. Despite the online dating boom, I still like meeting people the old fashion way--face to face. "Powers, IV" was just a twist on Powerbook G4. Of course, after a few introductions to friends, I was made aware of the actor by the same name, but I had no knowledge of him nor his work when "my computer" became "Tyrone" so the name remained.

A handsome, titanium skinned, 15 inch screen, blog making machine that gave me more to smile about than most dates, Tyrone was a blessing. From the moment we spotted each other across a crowded CompUSA in Raleigh, NC, it was love at first site. And from that moment on we were never apart, except for that time I almost lost him in Vegas rental car. All that you see here was generated through Tyrone's intelligence--artificial as it was--and my creativity. We were a perfect team. And now I must move on.

So what's a girl to do when the thing that brought her so much happiness passes on? She looks for another one. But not only does she seek another one, she shops for a better one. Let me upgrade, you! specifically to a sexy 15 inch--not too big and not too small--metallic, Macbook Pro with some new tricks, lots of power, and plenty of old Mac swagger. I'm looking for a new love baby, a new love!

So be please be patient with, Apple is not through with me yet. Once the new Tyrone arrives (hopefully soon) you'll be the first to meet the new addition to my life. And if you've got some suggestions for a different name, I'm open to considering them.

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