Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rockmond Dunbar Directorial Debut, "Pastor Brown"

Rockmond Dunbar, the gorgeous and multi-talented actor many of us love best as Kenny Chadway from "Soul Food" is sharing his talents in front of as well as behind the camera in his directorial debut "Pastor Brown", a Rock Capital Studios film.

Also starring in this drama is more familiar faces, including Salli Richardson, Keith David, Tasha Smith, Dunbar former "Soul Food" castmate, Nicole Ari Parker, Tisha Campbell Martin, and Michael Beach. With that kind of cast, I'm looking forward to a great movie experience when it's released in theatres later this year.
The film centers around "Jesse Brown". She steps off stage and into the pulpit when her father, Joseph Brown, the pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church, becomes gravely ill and requests her to take his place. Ordinarily such a transition may not be so difficult, but when Jesse's usually on stage there are no microphones, just poles.

Now before you start thinking this is going to be a typical preachy "come to Jesus" movie, watch the trailer. Though there may be a universal message in the film, I don't believe this film will be that overly simplified. Here's a review from fellow blogger, Rantings of a Creole Princess, that saw the film at the American Black Film Festival in Miami last month. A release date has not been announced.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

E.Lynn Harris Remembered...My Introduction to "Invisible Life"

I've got so many things to do that if I don't stop for just a moment, more days will go by without me reflecting on the works and life of renown author, E. Lynn Harris. Truly, I have to share how his books impacted me and the world.

Undoubtedly, E. Lynn Harris truly helped change the way we viewed gay men and especially African American gay men in our community. Whether deemed right or wrong, the discussion of homosexuality in the black community, specifically the "down-low" factor, was out the closet and open for debate thanks to E. Lynn's books. And Lawd, talk we did when they were first released! Everywhere I went women were discussing his characters' "tea".

(Sidebar) Okay, for you that only know "tea" as that refreshing, sweet or unsweetened libation, "tea" is also used in some gay circles to refer to someone personal business,ie...he didn't want anyone to know his tea. How I know it classified information! Moving on!

Do you remember your introduction to E. Lynn's first books, "Invisible Life" then "Just As I Am" in early 90's? I do. Harris'"Invisible Life" easily pulled me in with reflections of Langston Hughes' poetry, Black fraternity and sorority life, and campus football games. Pn fsct, the first few pages read like scenes from my own college experience and then eventually they didn't!

Ray, the handsome star athlete and fraternity brother that was in love with a sorority sister got turned out, "twisted", by another man! My reaction was this: "Oh hell naw!" But I cursed NOT out of disgust but pure shock! This was not the character I expected to be gay! And that shock kept me turning the pages for three days straight. I literally could not put the book down.

But though "Invisible Life" was a great read, truthfully it affected me negatively for much longer. I laugh about it now but then for a month or so every brotha to me was gay. Truly, E. Lynn's story had a sista overly paranoid. "I see gay people" was my mantra when it came to men that were to me too fine, too pretty, or had too much machismo!



It took me a while to shake the thought pattern, but E. Lynn opened our eyes as women to something we didn't want to see, but needed to see. He gave the country a whole new profile of a gay black man, and it surprisingly looked like our oh so manly husbands, lovers, brothers, entertainers, and athletes. His books woke us up and made us examine exactly what we as women were dealing with.

And to E. Lynn's credit he did it without being crass, overly sexual or sensational. E. Lynn was a true writer, a great story teller, with pivotal stories, and memorable characters. To this day, I can't hear the word "basil" and not think of the manipulative character of the same name in his later books. And truly after the first three novels, to me his work transcended the "gay love novel" genre and they just became great novels.

So E. Lynn Harris, THANK YOU for being man enough to be true to yourself. In the literary tradition of Hughes and Baldwin your stories too changed hearts and opened closed minds. You entertained us and enlightened us not only through your work but through your spirit. Rest in Peace.

Debbie Allen Pays Tribute to Michael Jackson

I saw this and just had to post it! I love this! *In Michael's voice* Go'on Girl! Go'on!



Follow Debbie Allen on Twitter @msdebbieallen! And learn more about her dance classes and performances at www.debbieallendanceacademy.com.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Niecy Nash Talks G-Force, Lola Falana, & Clean House

The moment Niecy Nash's familiar face appeared on screen during Disney's Wednesday screening of "G-Force", a woman behind me quietly, but excitedly blurted out "Niecy!". Hearing her announcement of Niecy Nash's surprising appearance wasn't what caught my attention, but how the fellow audience member said it did.

Whether a "Reno 911" or "Clean House" or "Bernie Mac" fan, the mother sitting with her kids behind me spoke Niecy's name like her dear friend had just arrived. And once she had even more laughter, especially for the adults, would follow.

With that expressed sentiment in mind, I began my phone interview with the lovely, comedic actress. Since she portrayed a pet shop owner in "G-Force", our conversation began with childhood pets and inspirations, then spanned from balancing work and motherhood to handling an emotional "Clean House" episode and humorously managing Facebook and Twitter accounts. Prepare to laugh, then press play!





Visit
www.niecynash.com to read Niecy's blog and get more information about her upcoming projects. After that, head to the theaters this weekend! Niecy's on the big screen in "G-Force!"

And if you're really just a kid disguised as an adult and liked "Transformers" with all it's high powered action and gadgetry, you'll love this gigantic, 3-D spy adventure brought to you in small packaging. Just don't forget the real kids!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chris Brown Public Apology: Can We Forgive?



Public celebrity apologies such as this often come off a little too scripted. But when you've got so much to say in such a little time, maybe it's best too have a prompter rolling to keep the message on course. The important thing is whether you believe the sincerity of the apology. Personally, I do.

People will also argue the timing of this video message, but again does that really matter either? The important thing is that it has been done. Brown has seemingly repented, apologized not only to Rihanna but to his family, fans, and God. He's doing his part, now can we truly begin to do ours?

Let he/she without sin cast the first stone. Personally, I can't even act like I'm gonna pick up a speck of dirt to toss at anyone. So as for me and this blog, we understand that if you want to receive forgiveness you must first forgive as well. Now would I be saying that if Brown had not public apologized? Yes!

This young man had an amazing career ahead of him and he still might. And since I believe that everything happens for a reason and serves a purpose often without our understanding of it, I want to see Chris Brown evolve and learn from this situation and reach his full potential.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Talks Heavy Duty Roles in G.I. Joe & Monk

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. You may have a little difficulty saying this Emmy Award winning actor's name, but you definitely have no problems recognizing his face. For millions of fans of HBO's "Oz" he is the trouble making prisoner "Adebisi". And for millions of others he is the enigmatic "Mr. Ecko" on ABC's "Lost".

In this Hollywood As I Live & Work EXCLUSIVE, Adewale portrays himself as he takes a break from his busy schedule to talk with me about his exciting new role in the highly anticipated action flick "G.I. Joe" and his return to the small screen. Roll this beautiful Adewale footage!


My little blunder was definitely an ice breaker. Some celebs would not have been so forgiving. But "Triple A" made it fun out in the Hollywood sun!

So again, mark your calendars or set your smart phones for AUGUST 7th. Adewale hits the big and small screens that day in "G.I. Joe" and the season premiere of USA's "Monk". And in the meantime, follow him on Twitter @TheOneTripleA to get updates on what's going on in his world.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

She IS Sasha Fierce: Beyonce Live at Staples Center

"If you like it then you should did it blog on it!" Uh uh oh!

No matter how calm things appeared outside the Staples Center last night as LA concert goers entered the stadium, inside was a rush, a tangible energy that only high anticipation could create. And once the supreme dream girl Beyonce Knowles aka Sasha Fierce hit the stage, that energy turned into a raging force as she, her band, and team of sexy dancers took command of the place.

Entering the stage amidst flashing lights and dense fog, the artist known now by only one name stood in silhouette striking a pose like only a true diva could. Her familiar "Baaabay" from hit single "Deja Vu" greeted the adoring crowd like a sweet, southern "hello" and then was followed by video favorite, "Crazy in Love." It was time to dance!

And dance Beyonce did! Though not the first to booty shake or "pop it" while looking over a shoulder, "Crazy in Love" confirms she's made the sexy move her own, right along with the "talk to the ringless hand" movements. The proof was in the YouTube video montage of fans from around the world, expertly or often comically imitating the hand gestures and choreography.
And just when you thought powerhouse vocals, seductive dance moves, great staging, fabulous costuming, and chart topping hit after hit weren't enough to entertain you, Beyonce added trapeze artist to her act. Truly, anybody can walk, run, roll, or dance their way to another stage amid the crowd. But only "Sasha Fierce" would fly high above the stadium crowd, twirl in the sky, and then descend perfectly on an intimate stage to get a little closer to her fans.

Interestingly, throughout the night it seemed that was Beyonce's goal--to bridge the gap between super star and those that make them such. By acknowledging fan made videos, giving hugs, personal mentions, sharing her mic with fans, or literally putting herself in the middle of the crowd, it seemed she was giving back the love she received in her own special way. Even those that influenced her career received shout outs in either video or song, including Obama and Janet Jackson. Making that kind of connection with her fans undoubtedly will help keep her climbing the industry charts.

But only her "hero" Michael Jackson did she deliver a moving "Halo" tribute to including a childhood video, the night she saw MJ perform for the first time and she "decided exactly who I wanted to be like." Though she's done an MJ tribute in previous shows since his death, this time it seemed so very appropriate considering the time and place. Beyonce is the first artist to perform at Staples after MJ rehearsed there just a matter of weeks ago. And consequently, she's also the first artist to perform there a mere six days after his memorial.

Then after the heartfelt tribute she stood high above the stage under the words "I...Am..." and professed to the seemingly sold out crowd "I Am Yours", promising to always give a 100% of herself in entertaining her fans. And with that she ended the amazing 2 hour the show. And what a great show it was! Where does she get the energy?

Before I wrap this post up, I want to give a special shout to Kimi Rochelle and her company,

THANK YOU KIMI ROCHELLE PR EVENT & ENTERTAINMENT FIRM
for the ticket. Check out Kimi's Facebook page for more info about upcoming local events and giveaways. Just click the the hyperlink. And check out too her Urbanlifestyles Magazine blog for her online magazine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hollywood Scoop Exclusive: Author Omar Tyree Turning Books Into Movies

Last month at the Saving Our Daughter's: From A Man's Point of View event, I saw a familiar face in the crowd--the handsome face of National Best Selling Author, Omar Tyree. He currently lives in Charlotte, NC. So what brought him to the west coast? Books of course, but that's not all! Tyree is in Hollywood making major moves in turning his books into movies. Oh happy day!

For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Amazon.com is your friend. Use it! If you're a fan like me then you know Tyree has been writing best selling novels for several years. In my interview with him below, he gives me exclusively the Hollywood scoop on which of his novels will make it to the big screen first.



As Tyree stated we won't have to wait too long to see his feature film debut, so in the meantime let's read re-read "Leslie" and some of his other great books.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Facebook Movie Script Leaked By Blogger!

With the numbers of people joining Facebook into the millions, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to make a movie about the mega popular social network. Well, that someone was Alan Sorkin, creator of "West Wing."

And today the internet is abuzz because details of Sorkin's script have leaked thanks to ScriptShadow blogger, Carson Reeves. ScriptShadow's tagline reads "reviewing the latest Hollywood scripts." Seems Reeves got the inside scoop!

According to Reeves review, Mark Zuckerberg, described as "slightly cooler than Bill Gates", is dumped by his girlfriend, Erica. Angrily, he blogs about the break up and in the process is inspired to start a website. Basically, the site allows Harvard dudes to rate the "hotness" of female students. With the help of his best friend, Eduardo, the site becomes a campus success.

Their creativity earns them the attention of Cameron and Tyler, two wealthy star athletes of Harvard's row team. They have a Myspace-esque idea and want Mark to handle all the technical aspects. Mark takes on the project and adds his own creative twists and touches. Those most important being adding a real life aspect to the site where only personal details about site users would only be shared amongst friends of the user's choosing. He called his new internet creation, Facebook.

The rest of the story reads like a scandalous corporate drama complete with backstabbing, manipulation, and success-at-all-cost scheming. So is there a happy ending? I'm not telling, you'll just have to wait! Remember, this is only the first draft of the story. By the time it reaches the big screen, the story may totally be changed, so don't get attached.

And this just in, literally,"Fight Club" and "Benjamin Button" director, David Fincher is in talks with Columbia Pictures to direct the movie. That said, think Brad Pitt would turn back the hands of time again and portray Zuckerberg? Again, we'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I Never Will Say Goodbye, Michael Jackson!

The poignant and inspirational memorial service is over. So sweet prince, Michael Joseph Jackson, King of Pop, what ever title we here on earth give you, I say to you rest now, for God still has use for you on the other side.

So I WILL not say goodbye. I WILL see you in a smile of a fellow fan; see your influence in other artists as they aspire to be like you; see your dance steps unrehearsed and clumsily imitated the next time there's a old skool MJ remix at the club.

Moreover, I'll feel your presence as a church choir sings "Man In The Mirror" or "You Are Not Alone", or better yet feel close to you when I'm driving through LA streets blaring "Remember the Time", and doing that famous Fatima choreography in my seat.

And though you're not here in flesh, your legacy of philanthropy, caring, and giving back to the world will last forever. Now other entertainers, especially of this time know that they have been blessed so that they can be a blessing to others not just musically.

So MJ I dedicate your song right back to you! Here's Siedah Garrett, writer of "Man in the Mirror" honoring you with Agape's International Choir.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Ginuwine Album Release Party: Trey Songz, Columbus Short, Tank, Talk New Music, New Projects

Okay folks, allow me to apologize. This post was supposed to be up before the BET Awards. But life threw us a curve ball June 25 that none of us were expecting and personally it took me off course. That said, it's time to get back on track.

Right before the BET Awards began, sexy R&B; singer, Ginuwine threw an album release party in Hollywood. His new CD, A Man's Thoughts is available for your listening and purchasing pleasure now. So after hearing me chat it up with gorgeous party guests: Trey Songz, Tank, Columbus Short, and the man of the night, Ginuwine, take a listen to his, "A Man's Thoughts" album by pressing play on the album widget. Ladies...Fellas, Genuwine's got something for everybody!


MusicPlaylist
MySpace Music Playlist at MixPod.com





And since I'm in such a good mood. Here's a FREE DOWNLOAD of Trey Songz new mixtape, "Anticipation". It's the foreplay to his upcoming album, "Ready", due later this summer as he mentioned.



So ladies, grab your umbrellas! Trey Songz sets out to make it rain where ever you are with this sexy mix of songs--and I'm not talking the kind watering May flowers! Visit his blog to read what he's been up to since that great BET Awards tribute to the O'Jays.

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