Friday, July 30, 2010

The Colour of Beauty: Fashion Industry Racism Exposed

So you want to be model! Mamma always said you were gonna be a heart-breaker. And now as a teenager, "The Men All Pause"--and some women too--is your theme song when you walk into a room. Pretty brown skin, svelte body, and a mean walk perfected for European fashion runways. You're the next Iman, Naomi, Tyra, Alek Wek!

Baby girl, before you head out to make your mark in the world of fashion modeling see what professional model, Renee Thompson, goes through daily as she pursues the coveted gig for NY Fashion Week and a much-needed boost in her career. The mini-doc is called "The Colour of Beauty" and it is the slap of reality you'll need to face the challenges ahead!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dondria vs. Phatfffat: Music Producer Jermaine Dupri Uses Fans To Develop Twitter Marketing Plan

Y'all know I'm on this social media thing real heavy. So I study who is doing it, and doing it, and doing it well! Music hit maker, Jermaine Dupri, is one of those people. In this new age of digital technology and social media, it's getting difficult for music labels and artists to stick solely to traditional means of marketing to turn potential fans into customers. That said, the award-winning producer is taking a non-traditional approach in marketing his new artist, Dondria aka Phatfffat, to the masses.

Here's a brief backstory. Through word-of-mouth--which is still the best marketing tool--Dupri was introduced to Dondria via YouTube about three years ago. From her home in Texas she simply sang on camera--just her, her wonderful voice, and THOUSANDS of captive watchers. Dupri recognized her raw talent and growing audience, signed her to his So So Def label, and now the YouTube discovery is in heavy rotation on radio stations throughout the country and has a #10 record on the music charts. Daaamn, talk about overnight success! But in reality if you follow his blog, Global14.com, you know ain't nothing delivered overnight but FedEx.

Dondria's debut album, "Dondria vs. Phatfffat" drops August 17th. Below is one of the first non-traditional marketing meetings with Dondria fans, not with record executives nor promoters. And what's cool is that he conducted this meeting while in FRANCE and fans are talking to him from the US, Germany, France, and Jamaica. It's a great example of how social media connects people from all over the world and how entertainers can extend their brand, music, or whatever to fans and audiences off stage.

So watch this SoSoDefTV UStream vid AND PARTICIPATE in the growth of this great new artist, Dondria, using Twitter. She's @Dondria and Dupri is @LTLline on the social network. Follow them both to get updates, videos, downloads, and info on her upcoming tour. You can hit her up on Facebook too! Also, take note of how they use to use social media to create buzz and turn the fans into more than customers but into ambassadors.



Now here's Dondria new single, "Shawty Wus Up", from her upcoming album, "Dondria vs Phatfffat". "Dondria vs Phatfffat".




Lastly, if Amazon ain't your thing, I gotchu boo! Click the iTunes image to the left to download this new single. The album's dropping August 17th. And if nothing I've said convinces you this young lady has mad skills vocally, download her mixtape! She's got that not too young yet not too old sound that's just right for us grown folk!

The Social Network: The Facebook Movie Hits Theaters This Fall

I informed y'all several months ago that a film about Facebook and its founding was in the works. You can read that HERE! Well, now the work is almost ready to be seen by the masses so get ready to hit that ubiquitous thumbs up button! The film is called "The Social Network" and will be release by Sony Pictures.

Scheduled to hit theaters October 15, 2010,"The Social Network" is based on Ben Mezrich's book, The Accidental Billionaires, and is produced by Kevin Spacey--yes, THAT Kevin Spacey--and stars Justin Timberlake. Ironically, though the film is about Facebook, Sony has chosen Twitter initially to promote the film using promoted trending topics.

I've read it's supposed to be a funny film, but there's not much to laugh at in the trailer. And according to a recent article on Mashable.com, founders Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moscovitz aren't laughing either.

"Zuckerberg, currently Facebook’s CEO, had some negative comments about the film when he took the stage at the D conference last month, saying he wished the movie had not been made. Moscovitz wasn’t completely down on the movie; however, his mostly sarcastic comments did belabor the point that the film is anything but historically accurate — at least from his perspective."

Watch the trailer below. Though I like Twitter more, I'm definitely anticipating "The Social Network". How 'bout you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From "The View" on HIV & African-Americans & to No Black Girls For Ochocinco

Look here! Black people are in the news! Nooo, not for anything to be overly proud about but because of WHO they are and WHAT they've been saying lately while the cameras are rolling. I've tried to be quiet, but thanks to several phone chats and emails about these instances, I'm going to weigh in on two of the recent headlines.

Let's start with "The View" and regular co-host, Sherri Shepherd and guest host, D.L. Hughley. They stated the epidemic rise of HIV cases amongst black women is due to the "down low" factor. Watch the clip from the show!



Now gay-rights group, GLAAD, and the Black AIDS Institute, are pissed and want "The View" to publicly apologize for allowing such misinformation to be said on air. Will it happen? Ummmm, maybe not! The show is called "THE VIEW" and what was said by the co-hosts, Hughley and Shephard, were their OPINIONS.

Sadly many will take what these two prominent black entertainers said as fact and not do the research. However, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) SEX WITH MEN is the leading factor, but whether these men are gay or bi-sexual is still questionable. That said THE DOWN-LOW IS A FACTOR, BUT NOT THE ONLY FACTOR in the disproportionate numbers of HIV cases amongst Black women, aged 25-34. THE SECOND LEADING FACTOR according to the CDC is injection drug use.

That said, instead of asking a show themed on opinions to give apologies why not ask those who gave the misinformation originally to do so? Honestly, their thinking is representative of many in the black community. So go straight to the sources and ask Hughley and Shepherd to correct what they said either on the show or through some other meaningful public forum.




Ohhhh Ocho, he's pissed off the sistas, even Wendy Williams! But not this one 'cause honestly he's fallen right into the stereotypical profile of a professional black athlete. That includes not being so intelligent where this new "The Ultimate Catch" reality show is concerned. In fact, I would suggest re-titling it "The Ultimate Fumble."

Here's how Ocho dropped the ball! He's asked black women to support his tv show, but seemingly forgot black women are not well represented nor represented well on the show. Then in interviews says, "I'll deal with y'all" as if we'll always be around and will accept whatever crap he doing 'cause he's a baller! Sadly, that may be a true for a few, but the majority...not so much.

But here's the flip side. Why are we as black women complaining? Do we really need another reality show with us acting a fool over some man that doesn't want us to begin with and says so publicly? Hell-to-the-naw! On that thought, maybe Ocho did us a favor. O.k., that's a stretch but in reality (putting on my producer's hat) if the women Ocho chose from were mostly black women, the show would be on BET or TV-One, not VH-1. Remember this is the business of show, not cultural sensitivities nor responsibilities.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Neptune's Pharrell Produces Film Score For "Despicable Me"

Got voice recorder and fresh batteries? Check! Read production notes? Check! Directions to the location of the interview? Check! Seemingly, I was prepared to do my first interview with Neptune's hit-making producer and artist, Pharrell Williams. But sometimes things are not as they appear.

The focus of the interview? Pharrell scoring upcoming animated flick, "Despicable Me"--it's his first time ever having this distinction.

Over the past several years, we've come to know the Grammy-winning musician as part of the producing team, the Neptunes, and as band member of N.E.R.D.. Outside of generating chart-topping hits for Usher, Gwen Stefani, Kanye, and Shakira to literally just name a few, he's also ventured successfully into fashion with Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Clothing.

In 2003 he released his first single, "Frontin'", then followed it up three years later with his solo album, "In My Mind." To describe his musical sound is taking a auditory journey through rock, pop, funk, hip-hop, and many genres of music and influences including Micheal Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye, and even Tribe Called Quest.

Sitting comfortably near the head of the table in a West Side Staging conference room, I waited along with other writers for Pharrell's arrival. Once his entourage assembled outside our room I grabbed my trusty recorder and turned it on. He sat at the head of the table, close enough for me to see his eyes behind the dark shades on his boyish face.

For such a heavy weight in music producing, Pharrell himself is quite the light weight in stature. Dressed in a fitted black jacket, tshirt, and jeans, and of course the celebrity shades which never came off----very boy-next-door except for the tats, he said his "Hello's" as we introduced ourselves. Everything was going well until....

As customary in these types of interviews, recording devices were quickly thrust before him. I followed suit, pressed record, and then received the worst breaking news of the day: MEMORY FULL. What the _________! Even more frustrating was the warning beep which caught Pharrell's attention, but he graciously kept talking.

Thinking quickly, I replaced my useless recorder with my Blackberry and the interview was going smoothly until the phone vibrated. I snatched the noisy device off the table wondering why of all days was technology working AGAINST me not for me as usual. So much for good impressions!

"Do you want me to stop?" Pharrell asked. Embarrassed I said, "Nope!" Being center of attention now was bad enough, I certainly didn't want him to hold things up for me! So as he continued talking, the Blackberry was put in silent mode and with a silent prayer hesitantly placed back on the table near him. For the remainder of the interview there was no beep, no vibration, no more interruptions. Whew!

Despite my technological snafus, the interview went very well. Pharrell pulled off his jacket and just talked comfortably about music, matching music with body language and moods, and working with "Despicable Me's" music producer Hans Zimmer and composer Heitor Pereira pictured above. In the clips below listen to how he was chosen by music supervisor, Kathy Nelson, to score the film. He also shares his love of cartoons, passion for live instrumentation, the idea behin the film's theme song, "Gru's Theme" and upcoming projects.

Click here to listen to How he was chosen.mp3

Click here to listen to Gru's theme.mp3

Click here to listen to live instruments.mp3

Click here to listen to Future Solo Projects.mp3

Universal Studio's "Despicable Me" opens this Friday, July 9, and it's a great film for young and old. Gru (Steve Carell) is a villain you grow to love as he and his minions plan to steal the moon. Standing in his way is a young, hip, bad guy named Vector (Jason Segel). The antics the two pull to outdo the other are hilarious! But once Gru adds three adorable orphaned girls to his scheme, something more valuable to him than the moon gets stolen.

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