Monday, October 5, 2009

Star-Studded "Jazz on the Grass" Raises Money for Students

Whew!!! These last couple of months have been absolutely crazy for the Macklicious One! I have to admit that updating this blog hasn't been at the top of my priority list, but I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. So much has happened in our fair city, since we last spoke. Rather than trying to catch you up -- because if I know you as well as I think I do, you already know the deal -- I'll just take you from where we are today.

This weekend, I was able to attend the Jackie Robinson Foundation's 4th annual Jazz on the Grass event. It was originally inspired by the March on Washington back in 1963. At the time, Jackie and Rachel Robinson organized a jazz concert at their home to raise bail money for jailed freedom fighters. This year's event was held at the home of director Oz Scott, and the money raised will be used to help fund four-year scholarships for deserving minority youth.

While the tickets for individuals were $300 -- $250 if you got 'em early -- the lineup was well worth the price. The scheduled performers included James Ingram, Patrice Rushen, Brenda Russell, Kevin Toney, Kathryn Bostic, Michael Lington, Carmen Lundy, Ndugu, Greg Phillinganes, Sylvester Rivers, and Billy Valentine. As if that wasn't enough, the UNSCHEDULED folks included the likes of Sheila E., Kat Dyson, Marcus Miller, Stephen Bishop, Dave Koz, and George Duke. In addition, we heard some of the Jackie Robinson Foundation's up and coming musicians.

With a lineup like that, you'd think there wouldn't really be any standouts. You'd be wrong. One of my favorites came from actor Michael Chiklis. The former star of The Shield did a rousing rendition of Mustang Sally that he punctuated by jumping from the stage into the pool. Hilarious.

Another stellar set included Sheila E. We all know she's an wicked percussionist, but who knew she had such an awesome sense of humor? She was the one who started calling people out of the star-studded audience to come out and perform. One standout was MC Lyte. Apparently Sheila had invited her to the gig, but didn't tell her she was gonna put her on the spot. It was funny because Lyte was eating an ice cream bar when she was called to the stage. Sheila took her bar and proceeded to take a bite while Lyte stood there in shock. She said, "This is gonna be really quick, or else I won't have any ice cream left." She did a bit of Cha Cha Cha, and quickly exited the stage.

Please know and trust, the stars really turned out for Jazz on the Grass. In addition to Chiklis, I saw Dondre Whitfield and his lovely wife, Sallie Richardson-Whitfield, Attila Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X), James Avery and Tatiana Ali of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Reginald VelJohnson of Family Matters, CCH Pounder, comedian Chris Spencer, Drop Dead Diva star Brooke Elliott, Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and three Grey's Anatomy stars -- James Pickens Jr., Justin Chambers, Showtime at the Apollo's Kiki Shepherd, and Kevin McKidd.

What was truly great was seeing these big-time celebrities doing their thing and supporting a great cause. I'm just glad I was able to see it all.

*Oh, I normally would've posted pictures, but cameras weren't allowed.*

Friday, July 24, 2009

Is E. Lynn Harris Dead?

I'm not a fan of reporting stories that are in development, but since it's spreading rapidly, I want you to at least be in the know. Several sources are saying that E. Lynn Harris, the openly gay author that exposed a lot of us to what goes on behind the scenes of Black homosexuality, has died. All are citing ArkansasSports360.com as their source. Apparently Harris was found in his hotel room this morning during a West Coast book tour. No official confirmation has come, but big sites like Essence.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website have picked it up. Naturally, the Macklicious One will be all over this today, too. Stay tuned...

MackDiva's Statement of Apology

I need to apologize for not posting. Things have been crazy, and I have been on my normal grind. To those of you who faithfully follow me, I ask you to forgive me. I'm getting back into the swing of this thing again, and I'll make it a point to post more regularly. Starting now!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Berry Gordy Statement

Berry Gordy, the man who started Motown and signed the Jackson 5, issued this statement yesterday via their website:

I am shocked beyond words. It’s like a dream - a bad dream. This cannot be! How can Michael Jackson not be here?

As a kid, Michael was always beyond his years. He had a knowingness about him that was incredible.

When I first heard him sing Smokey’s song, Who’s Lovin’ You at 10 years’ old, it felt like he had lived the song for 50 years.

Somehow, even at that first meeting with him, he had a hunger to learn, a hunger to be the best and was willing to work as hard and as long as it took.

I had no concern about his ability to go to the top. He was like my son. He had warmth, sensitivity and two personalities.

When he was not on stage, he was loving, respectful and shy. When he WAS on stage, he was so in charge you would not believe he was the same person.

Michael was and will remain one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived.

He was exceptional, artistic and original. He gave the world his heart and soul through his music.

I extend my sympathies to Joe, Katherine and the entire Jackson family. My prayers are with them.


Berry Gordy
Founder, Motown
June 25, 2009

More Celebs React to MJ's Death

Here are a few more reactions to Michael Jackson's death, courtesy of AOL...

Dick Clark
"I knew Michael as a child and watched him grow over the years. Of all the thousands of entertainers I have worked with, Michael was THE most outstanding. Many have tried and will try to copy him, but his talent will never be matched."

Britney Spears
"He's been an inspiration throughout my entire life and I'm devastated he's gone."

Dionne Warwick
"We have lost an icon in our industry and my heartfelt condolences go out to his family and children in this hour of sorrow that they are now going through. He will live on in my memory and most definitely through the music he shared with so many."

DJ AM
"The world has lost one of the most talented people we've all ever known. He was a hero for me as a child, and his music helped my career to become known as an adult. He will always live through my turntables. Rest in peace, Michael."

Russell Simmons
"Michael Jackson was my generation's most iconic cultural hero. Courageous, unique and incredibly talented. He'll be missed greatly."

The Neville Brothers
"From one musical family to another our hearts go out to the Jacksons. We are greatly saddened by the news of Michael's passing. We know his music will continue to inspire generations to come, as he was one of the most influential artists of all time."

Smokey Robinson
"It's always hard to lose a friend."

John Mayer
"I think we'll mourn his loss as well as the loss of ourselves as children listening to Thriller on the record player. Dazed in the studio. A major strand of our cultural DNA has left us. RIP MJ."

Randy Jackson
"The greatest performer ever. He lit up the stage like no one else."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
"Michael was a pop phenomenon who never stopped pushing the envelope of creativity. Though there were serious questions about his personal life, Michael was undoubtedly a great entertainer and his popularity spanned generations and the globe."

Wyclef Jean
"Michael Jackson was my musical God. He made me believe that all things are possible, and through real and positive music. He can live forever! I love Michael Jackson. God Bless him."

Miley Cyrus
"Michael Jackson was my inspiration. Love and blessings."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Celebs Weigh in on Michael Jackson's Death

Naturally, everyone is commenting on the untimely death of Michael Jackson. Here are a few celebrity quotes, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly:

Steven Spielberg
"Just as there will never be another Fred Astaire or Chuck Berry or Elvis Presley, there will never be anyone comparable to Michael Jackson. His talent, his wonderment and his mystery make him legend."

Martin Scorsese (director of the Bad”video)
"Michael Jackson was extraordinary. When we worked together on Bad, I was in awe of his absolute mastery of movement on the one hand, and of the music on the other. Every step he took was absolutely precise and fluid at the same time. It was like watching quicksilver in motion. He was wonderful to work with, an absolute professional at all times, and — it really goes without saying — a true artist. It will be a while before I can get used to the idea that he’s no longer with us."

Lisa Marie Presley (who was married to Jackson from 1994 to 1996)
"I am completely shocked and saddened by Michael’s death. My heart goes out to his children and his family."

Madonna (Jackson’s date to the 1991 Academy Awards, in an exclusive statement to People)
"I can’t stop crying over the sad news. I have always admired Michael Jackson. The world has lost one of the greats, but his music will live on forever! My heart goes out to his three children and other members of his family. God bless."

Eddie Van Halen
"I am really shocked, as I am sure the world is, to hear the news. I had the pleasure of working with Michael on Beat It back in ’83, one of my fondest memories in my career. Michael will be missed and may he rest in peace."

Brooke Shields (who briefly dated the singer)
"My heart is overcome with sadness for the devastating loss of my true friend Michael. He was an extraordinary friend, artist and contributor to the world. I join his family and his fans in celebrating his incredible life and mourning his untimely passing."

Will.i.am (who was working with Jackson on his long-anticipated comeback album)
"I am so grateful to have worked with the King. He was a gift to the world. He is a bright light and I wouldn’t be surprised if the world stopped spinning tomorrow."

Ne-Yo
"Michael Jackson will live forever through the thing that he put all of his life energy into: his music. I will do my part to keep the melody alive, to keep the energy forever changing form, but never ever dying! Long live Michael Jackson."

Don Cornelius (longtime Soul Train host)
"I met Michael Jackson at the age of eight — when his father and my new friend Joe Jackson first began to bring the Jackson 5 to Chicago, from their home in Gary, Indiana, for concert appearances. As the word of the Jackson 5’s devastating abilities as concert artists had already begun to spread like an out-of-control forest fire ... Michael Jackson’s... amazing power as an entertainer was clear and unmistakable; and has never slowed to this very day! His passing will be grieved far beyond that of any other singer,composer, producer, dancer and choreographer, in the history of the world."

Quincy Jones (friend and producer)
"I am absolutely devastated at this tragic and unexpected news. For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the ‘80s. To this day, the music we created together on Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all … talent, grace, professionalism, and dedication. He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."

JC Chasez
"Words can’t begin to describe my sadness for the loss of Michael Jackson. I was honored and humbled to have the opportunity to perform with him several times and he had a profound influence on my career. Michael forever changed the world of music and entertainment and I will always remember him for his kind and sweet spirit."

John Landis (director of Thriller, who sued Jackson over the video earlier this year)
"I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure. My wife Deborah and I will always have great affection for him."

Say It Ain't So!

I'm so sad to report that Michael Jackson has died. There are various reports about how and when, but the general consensus was that the 50-year-old King of Pop was unconscious when they took him to UCLA Medical Center today.

For most of us of a certain age, Jackson was one of the defining musicians of our childhood. How many of us wanted the red leather jacket and the glitter glove? The picture I've included is one of my favorites. I was a young teen, and I thought I'd either sing a duet with him or marry him. Either way, I was completely smitten.

Recently, my Mr. Wonderful -- who also works in the industry -- took me to a rehearsal hall where Michael was rumored to be practicing for his upcoming tour. I told him that I would be completely impressed if I got a chance to meet him. Unfortunately, it won't be happening now.

Despite all his troubles -- legal and otherwise -- Michael Jackson was an amazing entertainer, and he will truly be missed. My prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chrihanna at NBA Finals Game 4

Chris Brown and Rihanna may be in the midst of a legal battle in Los Angeles, but that didn't stop them from enjoying last night's NBA Finals game in Orlando. A source told People that the two had asked for seats together, but it didn't look like the request was granted. When ABC's cameras showed the celebrities in attendance, they flashed a lone shot of her on the screen. Sources said that the two have attended earlier games separately.

While the game was probably a fun distraction, the only joint venture RiRi and Chris have up is a court date. The Good Girl Gone Bad has been subpoenaed to testify against Brown at a preliminary hearing on Monday, June 22nd.

As expected, Rihanna's rep had nothing to say.

Usher Says "I Don't" to Tameka

Here's one we never saw coming -- wink, wink. After months of being photographed without his ring, In Touch Weekly is reporting that Usher has filed for divorce from his wife, Tameka Foster. The 30-year-old singer filed the paperwork in Atlanta yesterday morning. Apparently he's been out of the house for almost a year after nearly two years of marriage.

At this point, Usher wants to handle his divorce delicately because of their two sons, 18-month-old Usher Raymond V and six-month-old Naviyd.

This is probably one time Usher wishes he'd listened to his mother. Apparently Jonnetta Patton never approved of his relationship with the 37-year-old mother of three teens. It was so bad that his momager skipped their multiple wedding ceremonies back in 2007.

Since Tameka has never been cast in a good light by the media, the former stylist has taken to Twitter to change that. According to AOL's Black Voices, she's been on the social networking site misquoting Bible verses and posting inspirational quotes lifted from various spiritual gurus. In addition, she's supposedly hired the same public relations firm Kim Porter used after her split with Sean "Diddy" Combs.

Naturally, Usher's rep was mum on the subject. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Jaden Smith is "The Karate Kid"

The Karate Kid lives again, thanks to Will Smith. According to MTV.com, the rapper-turned-Oscar nominee's production company, Overbrook Entertainment, is remaking the 1984 classic. Will's son, Jaden, is starring in the title role, with Taraji P. Henson doing the honors as his mother. The martial arts instructor will be played by none other than Jackie Chan. In the original, Ralph Macchio, Randee Heller, and the late Pat Morita played those roles.

Seriously?

Could Miley Cyrus and Sean "Diddy" Combs be Hollywood's next power couple? Even though x17online.com reported seeing the rap mogul leaving Hannah Montana's home in Toluca Lake, California last weekend, we can probably rule out a love connection. The two could've been discussing the possibility of him making a guest appearance on her upcoming tour. The more likely story -- in my honest opinion -- is that Diddy was locked out of his nearby house. Either way, if there's anything to the story, we'll find out soon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Kimora & Djimon's Twitter Baby

Congratulations are in order for Kimora Lee Simmons and her fiance, Djimon Hounsou. The two have become the proud parents of a baby boy last Saturday. According to E! Online, the Baby Phat mogul gave keeping everyone informed of the impending birth via Twitter.

While this baby, whose name is not yet known, is Hounsou's first, Kimora has two daughters with her former husband, Russell Simmons. The girls, nine-year-old Ming Lee and six-year-old Aoki Lee, currently appear with their mother on her hit reality show, Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane.

J-Hud's Reported Baby Shower

Note to Jennifer Hudson -- if you don't want anyone to know you're expecting, do not throw a baby shower. And if you do, tell your friends to keep quiet. While the 27-year-old Oscar and Grammy winner has yet to announce her pregnancy, her friend Felicia Fields told the Chicago Tribune that a celebratory soiree was held in Hudson's honor last week in Chicago. She described it as a low-key affair consisting of friends and family. When asked whether she received more blue or pink gifts, Fields said that they got more yellow things since the sex of the baby is currently unknown.

As you probably know, the child will be Hudson's first with fiance, David Otunga. The Chicago Sun-Times estimates that she's about seven months along, and while the couple has reportedly set a date, they haven't revealed it to the press. Stay tuned.

Whitney's Got a Date

Look out world -- Whitney Houston's on the comeback trail. According to Billboard.com, the former Mrs. Bobby Brown -- who hasn't been on the music scene in seven years -- will drop her much-anticipated album on September 1st. While some may be questioning whether Ms. Houston's voice has survived after years of drug abuse, Akon insists that it has. The rapper, who put on a producer hat for Whitney's album, said, "The voice is there. I don’t think anyone could ever take that from her. As long as we apply that voice to hit records, she’ll be right back where she left off." For her sake, let's hope so.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Smith Takes on Katrina

Will Smith is taking a Hurricane Katrina story to the big screen. According to Variety, Overbrook Entertainment -- Smith's production company -- and Sony Pictures have obtained the movie rights to the life story of John Keller, the ex-Marine who helped rescue 244 of his New Orleans neighbors back in 2005. John Lee Hancock of The Rookie and The Alamo fame has signed on to direct Smith in the film. No word yet on when we'll see the fruit of their labor.

Beyonce's Not Into the "Gym Look"

Just when you think you can't love Beyonce any more, she says something like this. The Bootylicious One told Britain's Daily Mail, "To me, it's sexier when it doesn't look like you go to the gym. If you look like you've been spending a lot of time in the gym, then it just looks like you spend a lot of time in the gym." (Sidebar -- I didn't say the girl was especially prolific!)

The singer also known as Sasha Fierce went on to say, "I feel best when I'm not really thin and not really heavy—when I'm still curvy. I really believe that everyone is supposed to be different, and whatever is a natural weight for you is usually what looks best."

Still, Bey claims that she struggles to maintain the body that makes grown men weep. She runs three miles when she's doing dance rehearsals, and six miles on her days off. When asked about her actual workout plan, she says that it's less about your regimen and trainer, and more about what you want. She says, "You have to push yourself."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Chrihanna Chronicles: Rihanna's Moving On; Chris Going Country?

We're not sure if Rihanna is REALLY over Chris Brown, but she's definitely doing her part to move on. Sources spotted the singer living her life in a New York Monday night -- and she wasn't alone. Even though she and a group of friends were kicking it at Lucky Strike Lanes & Lounge on 42nd Street, she was spending all her time with Canadian child actor-turned-rapper Aubrey Graham, better known as Drake. According to one witness, "She was drinking whiskey and apple juice and making out with him all night. They were really cute together." And get this -- she even left with him!

Meanwhile, Chris may be trying his luck as a country singer. Robert Allen, a writer and producer who's currently working with , told E! Online that he's even considering asking someone like Carrie Underwood to do a guest shot on a song called Trapped in a Dream.

Allen, who was at the BMI Pop Awards last night in Beverly Hills, said that he and Brown never discuss what's going on with Rihanna. He said, "We just focus on music. We're just happy-go-lucky people who just get into the studio as much as possible."

Keyshia's Got a Man!

Fellas, if you were entertaining thoughts of Keyshia Cole being your baby's mama, you should probably change your mind because the singer is officially off the market. Her publicist confirmed to the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Ms. Cole is making time with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson.

Of course, there were clues even before the official announcement. She wore Gibson's jersey in the newly-released Trust video with Monica, and she sang the national anthem at a Hawks-Cavaliers playoff game.

A Kidney for Natalie Cole

Congratulations are in order for Natalie Cole. The music icon underwent a kidney transplant yesterday in a Los Angeles area hospital. She was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2008 and had been on dialysis three times a week.

The 59-year-old daughter of Nat King Cole had been touring in support her latest album, Still Unforgettable, but doctors have advised her to postpone the summer dates as she recovers.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spielberg to Give MLK the Film Treatment

Martin Luther King Jr.'s life story is coming to the big screen, thanks to Steven Spielberg. Variety.com reports that DreamWorks has acquired the life rights of the slain civil rights leader from the King family estate. The company has also been granted permission to use MLK's copyrighted intellectual property, including the I Have a Dream speech he delivered in 1963.

King -- the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize -- was a guiding force in the civil rights movement against segregation and discrimination. He was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis at the age of 39.

Spielberg, who's also put his Academy Award winning touch on Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List, said he wants to present "a story of undeniable power" about King's life. Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones will join him with producer credits.

At this point, we have no idea how much money is involved, a production schedule, or what actors will be attached. Stay tuned.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What Ever Happened to...Queen Pen?

It's been a while since we've heard from Queen Pen, the 1990s Teddy Riley protege whose main claim to fame is Party Ain't a Party. However, that doesn't mean she's not making a difference. She's teaming up with the Brooklyn-based non-profit organization Children of Promise to make this Father's Day special for local children whose fathers are on lockdown.

The group is sponsoring free trips to area prisons so that kids can spend time with their incarcerated fathers. In addition to providing gifts for the children to give their fathers, Children of Promise will also having counseling-infused activities that take place in a safe and trusted environment.

As a vocal advocate for children, Queen Pen has worked closely with CPNYC to raise funds and awareness of the issues facing the children of incarcerated parents. In addition to the trauma of losing a parent, the situation is often made worse by the social and economic problems connected to their circumstances.

Children of Promise, NYC is a non-profit organization that embraces the children of incarcerated parents and empowers them to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system. For more information on how you, too, can help, check out the Children of Promise website.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Who's Really "Silly?"

Uh oh...who's the REAL silly boy? We told you about the track Kanye West posted on his blog featuring Rihanna and Lady Gaga. Now E! Online reports that Silly Boy -- originally thought to be about Chris Brown -- doesn't even feature the singers. Lady Gaga's rep called the song a fake, and Rihanna's spokesperson confirmed it wasn't her. Naturally, Kanye has been mum on the subject.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Queen Holds Court

When you're the queen, you don't have to go to people. They will come to YOU. Aretha Franklin went to see the musical Hair in New York on Mother's Day. Since she's not really moving as well as she used to, she declined an opportunity to go backstage to meet the cast. However, because she IS the Queen of Soul, the cast came in costume to her fifth row seat after the show. After about 10 minutes of pleasantries, Franklin invited them to her hotel suite for cocktails.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is Chris Brown a "Silly Boy?"

We're not sure if Rihanna has moved on from her association with Chris Brown , but we think it's awfully suspicious that her new song, Silly Boy, has lyrics like these:
I said I’m not coming back.
You fooled me once but you can’t have that ego turning.
Just too bad for you, that when you had me.
Didn’t know what to do, she’s over you.
'Cause you had a good girl, good girl, girl.
That’s a keeper.
You had a good girl, good girl but didn’t know how to treat her.
So silly boy get out my face.
Why do you like the way regrets taste?

The Los Angeles Times reports that Ri's friend, Kanye West, posted an MP3 version of this song, which also features vocals by Lady GaGa. The track focuses on a girl who won't take her boyfriend back because he's not treating her right. What do YOU think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Y'Anna Crawley Wins "Sunday Best"

Y'Anna Crawley won the title of Sunday Best last night. She not only got a recording contract, she also drove away with a 2009 Lincoln MKS.

While I could've died three whole deaths when Y'Anna and Jessica Reedy did a gospel-infested version of the New Edition classic, Can You Stand the Rain, I think I was more upset by the outfit Y'Anna chose to wear. (Note to stylists everywhere: sometimes more really is more -- especially when it comes to covering my bodacious sisters.)

The highlight of the show was the television debut of BeBe & CeCe Winans' new single, Close to You. I realized two things as I watched their performance -- one, I really like the song, and two, I can't for the life of me figure out why they stopped performing together. Kirk Franklin mentioned that they'd be going on tour, and please know and trust that the Macklicious One will be SOMEWHERE in the house!

While I think Jessica put up a valiant effort for the title -- and she's an extremely talented singer -- this competition wasn't hers to win. Her sultry delivery was great, but since they were looking for a Sunday morning-type of singer, she just didn't fit the bill. Do I think she's out of the game? Hardly! I'm sure she'll get signed before the day is up. As Tina and Erica Campbell -- the ladies of Mary Mary -- kept telling her, she's needed in the gospel industry. I, for one, can't wait to hear what she's got up her sleeve.

I really enjoyed this season of Sunday Best, and thank you for following it with me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tyrese Has a Stalker

If it's true that you're nobody unless somebody stalks you, add Tyrese to the list of somebodies. TMZ.com reports that a woman named Patricia has been tweeting the soon-to-be single singer. She told him, "Now that your wife is finally out of the picture, Daddy, it's my turn."

Unfortunately for Patricia, it may be her turn to do the jailhouse rock. While Tyrese hasn't said exactly what action he's planning to take, he did say that the situation was about to turn into a legal one. As for his dear stalker, he was quoted as saying that she's, "every bit of crazy and Looney Tunes."

Seriously, Tyrese -- tell us how you REALLY feel!

KFC Suspends Chicken Run

What a difference a day makes. We told you how clucked-up the deal was with Oprah's KFC offer. Now the good folks at the chicken chain are pulling the plug...sort of.

According to E! Online, KFC has decided to cut the promotion short. In other words, if you haven't already redeemed your coupon for a free meal, you can forget about it for now. KFC president Roger Eaton said on Oprah's website that excessive lines at restaurants around the country and the the fact that they just didn't have enough to feed everyone caused them to suspend the deal, which was slated to run through May 19th.

However, all is not lost. If you still have your coupon, you can take it to your local KFC and they'll give you a rain check, good for a two-piece grilled dinner AND a free Pepsi. The drink wasn't included in the original deal. Complete instructions on how to get your rain check are on Oprah.com.

But if you just can't wait on your free meal, El Pollo Loco said it will be honoring those coupons this Sunday.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beyonce Who? It's All About Tyra for Idris Elba!

While Jay-Z may have to fight a lot of men over his wife, Idris Elba isn't one of them. According to the New York Daily News, the former star of The Wire doesn't have any designs on his Obsessed co-star, Beyonce. Instead, he's saving his love for Tyra Banks. He called the talk show host sexy, and added, "I don't really get obsessed with anyone, but Tyra is definitely hot."

Another Day, Another Michael Jackson Lawsuit

Looks like when it rains, it pours for Michael Jackson. We told you yesterday how Ola Ray, his co-star in the now-infamous Thriller video, was suing him to get her royalties from the 1983 project. Now E! Online is reporting that his former publicist and personal general manager Raymone Bain has taken the same action.

Bain, who was the King of Pop's spokesperson for about five years, is taking him to court to get the 44 million bucks she claims he owes her for her services. She filed the paperwork Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. Her claim is that, in addition to entrusting her to run nearly every aspect of his life, he agreed to pay her 10 percent of the proceeds for the business transactions she oversaw. Those include the release of the 25th anniversary edition of Thriller and the negotiations that led up to the scheduling of his 50-date concert run in London.

Even though Bain has been forced to take Jackson to court, she says she holds no ill will for her former boss. In statement released Wednesday, she said, ""Despite the action I have been compelled to take for professional and business reasons, when looking back, I have no regrets. Michael Jackson, in my opinion, is the King of Pop.

Just in case you were wondering, Bain's replacement is Dr. Tohme Tohme.

Oprah Causes Chicken Run at KFC

Obviously KFC didn't get the memo about how good an endorsement by Oprah Winfrey can be for business. Entertainment Tonight reported that several restaurants ran out of the new Kentucky Grilled Chicken after the Queen of All Media made coupons available on Oprah.com for 24 hours for free meals. While there was a report of a riot at a New York City eatery, a spokesperson for the chain said it was greatly exaggerated.

At this point, the coupons aren't available from Oprah's site. However, if you downloaded one, it's good until May 19th -- excluding Mother's Day.

Jewish Group Honors Will Smith

Will Smith was honored for his humanitarian work in Beverly Hills this week. Entertainment Tonight was on hand at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2009 National Tribute Dinner to see the Hancock star accept the human rights organization's Humanitarian Award. Charlize Theron presented him with his prize.

Smith said he was overwhelmed to be honored at the same event as one of America's newest heroes -- airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger. You'll recall that Sully was the one who landed that plane in New York City's Hudson River back in January.

Hudson Reschedules Shows; Can't Hide Obvious

Jennifer Hudson is currently taking the week off from her tour with Robin Thicke to take care of some health issues. According to E! Online, the singer's throat has been bothering her, and she's being treated for the condition. At this point, dates in Oakland, Dallas, and Houston have been rescheduled.

Now as far as that pesky pregnancy rumor we told you about last month, J-Hud didn't mention it during her Saturday night show in Los Angeles. However, an industry insider who actually attended the show told me that the baby bump was undeniable. Unless her camp issues a statement saying she swallowed a bowling ball, I think she and fiance David Otunga are about to be parents. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What Ever Happened to...Ola Ray?

Remember Ola Ray, the girl who starred in Michael Jackson's Thriller video? Well, she's suing the King of Pop to try to collect royalties from her leading role. According to the New York Daily News, the 48-year-old former Playboy centerfold filed a lawsuit in Santa Monica, California Tuesday to get Jackson to pony up the cash for her now infamous strut and blood-curdling scream.

Ray's lawyer, Jason Feldman, said that she received some payments through the Screen Actors Guild in 1998, but she doesn't believe they were complete. At this point, Feldman says that the stay-at-home mother of a 14-year-old daughter just, "wants to get her fair share of payments from this extremely successful project that she's very proud of."

So just how much is Ray expecting to get? When you think about the fact that the Thriller video is still selling worldwide and was just re-released for its 25th anniversary, you're looking at quite a substantial sum. And that doesn't even take into account the licensing of the video's content and images to various DVDs and video games.

As for Ray, she still pursues her acting, modeling, and music work while living in Sacramento away from the spotlight. She wouldn't comment on the lawsuit, saying only that, "everything is good, especially now."

Ray was busted for cocaine in 1992 and was later quoted in People magazine as saying that she wasn't able to work after Thriller because she stopped giving sexual favors to producers.

Naturally, Jackson's spokesperson couldn't be reached by press time. Stay tuned...

No Athletics for Usher

Even though every mom has dreams of their little boys playing pro football player, Jonnetta Patton found out early that athletics wouldn't be a part of her son's future. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Patton went to see little Usher Raymond play at the Boys & Girls Club in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While the other boys were busy running and catching and tackling, her baby -- who would grow up to win five Grammys -- was on the sidelines eating cookies. At that point, Patton said, "We rethought that career!"

Patton told that story to a crowd gathered outside the Boys & Girls Clubs of America's national headquarters in ATL last week to celebrate the organization's Be Great campaign. Billboards of Denzel Washington, Martin Sheen, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and other celebrities as children were unveiled across the country to increase awareness of the clubs, and to encourage everyone to help America's young people be great.

Usher -- whose six-year-old likeness is displayed in Atlanta -- set the record straight about his game. He told the crowd, “Football games aren’t just about the game. You’ve got to enjoy the concessions!”

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reedy & Crawley Make "Sunday Best" Finals

This week's edition of Sunday Best started off with the first sing-off, which consisted of each of the three finalists singing Jesus Loves Me without any practice. The organ was the only instrumentation allowed.

Latice Crawford went first and took it straight to the Baptist church. She slowed it down and sang it in a real traditional manner.

Jessica Reedy, who has been jazzy throughout the competition, caressed the song and put those low notes in it that she's known for. I would call her version the nondenominational one.

Y'Anna Crawley, meanwhile took it to a very COGIC place. I thought she was gonna bust out with that timeless classic, Yes, at any moment.

While each of the ladies did a great job, Latice was eliminated -- leaving Jessica and Y'Anna to compete for the grand prize of a recording contract and a 2009 Lincoln MKS.

After a rousing performance by Rickey Dillard and the New Generation Chorale, Y'Anna put her spin on Yolanda Adams' The Battle is Not Yours. In my opinion, it wasn't her best performance, but it was still good. The judges pretty much agreed with me. Bebe Winans liked it, Tina Campbell wasn't impressed, and Erica Campbell said that she was still amazing even when she's not doing well.

I Won't Complain was Jessica's choice, and baby, it was a good one for her. The pain and the passion in her voice caressed that thing, and we finally heard the church girl peeking out from behind her jazzy exterior. I thought she was gonna get her shout on -- and I was gonna have to join her. The judges were in full agreement that she was awesome and necessary in the industry.

Crystal Aiken, the winner of the first season of Sunday Best, returned to the scene of the crime to perform the first single from her self-titled debut album, I Desire More.

The finalists closed out the evening by singing The Commodores' classic, Jesus is Love. The general audience gets to vote now, and we'll find out next week who'll be Sunday's Best.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Twitter & Chrisette Michele Make Proposal Great

If you've been looking for a reason to get familiar with Twitter, check this out! According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mose James IV, an Atlanta high school teacher, wanted to propose to her girlfriend, Shekita Redding, in a special way. He knew that Chrisette Michele would be in town, and through the social networking site, he was able to set up a special serenade for his bride-to-be.

Michele, whose album Epiphany drops tomorrow, said that she'd done it before, but this time was different. She said, "Usually I don’t sing that particular song [Golden] when the guy proposes, but you know, if someone asks me on Twitter...it could happen.”

Toni Braxton Files Suit

Toni Braxton says that while her heart may have been broken, there's no need for her pockets to be. According to TMZ.com, the singer is suing Lloyd's of London for not paying her for the Las Vegas concert she missed in 2006 due to heart troubles. She claims that she bought "non-appearance" and "cancellation" insurance, which is supposed to protect entertainers in case their shows have to be cancelled. Lloyd's doesn't want to cover her losses at her Flamingo Hotel concert because they claim her condition was an undisclosed, pre-existing condition. Mrs. Keri Lewis is suing for undisclosed damages.

On the Marriage Front...

It's hard to believe that Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey have been together for a whole year, but they have. The cougar and her cub celebrated their first wedding anniversary Thursday night in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino Resort. According to Entertainment Tonight, they gathered with a large group of family and friends at Simon at Palms Place for dinner. The tables were decorated with candles and a sign that said, "Happy Anniversary Mariah & Nick." Afterwards, the party moved to the Moon Nightclub where guests enjoyed a five-tier cake and a thousand balloons were released into the sky through the moon roof.

While it wasn't disclosed exactly what Mariah gave Nick, they said that Nick presented her with a video compilation of moments from their first year of marriage. Aww...

On the flipside, Kelis and Nas are calling it quits after more than four years of marriage. According to E! Online, Kelis -- who is expecting their first child this summer -- is the one who filed for divorce. Her rep has requested privacy.

Kelis and Nas said, "I Do," on January 8th, 2005 in Atlanta after a two-year engagement. The new baby will be a boy, and Nas has a teenage daughter from a previous relationship.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where in the World is Tameka Foster Raymond?

Okay...we know Tameka Foster Raymond isn't exactly lost, but it has been a minute since we've actually seen her. Her husband, Usher, has been spotted all over the place, but we haven't seen her with him since her plastic surgery health scare in Brazil in February.

Over the past few months, the singer has been spotted at the Kids' Choice Awards and at several meetings in Washington, DC. As if that weren't enough, he and his oldest son, Usher V were gallivanting in Miami on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Tameka hasn't been seen since late March. The missus was flying solo at a party in Atlanta, but insisted that her marriage was fine. In addition, she said she still plans to get a tummy tuck.

It was that kind of vanity that got her into trouble in February. Usher was supposed to perform at a pre-Grammy event, but had to cancel to go to Brazil to be with his wife when she suffered a heart attack from her liposuction. At the time, Tameka and Usher's youngest son, Naveid Ely, was about two months old. Most surgeons suggest that a woman wait more than six months after childbirth before going under the knife.

Sources say that Usher didn't know that Tameka was planning a surgery. When he went to Brazil to see about her, he was photographed several times outside the San Paolo hospital where she was staying. He eventually flew home alone the morning after her release while she took a separate flight.

Usher's publicist couldn't be reached by press time. Stay tuned...

The Clark Sisters to Perform on Leno

Congratulations are in order for The Clark Sisters. According to Gospelflava.com, Karen, Twinkie, Jackie, and Dorinda will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The legendary singers will be performing the song Higher Ground from the new CD, Oh Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration on Tuesday, May 5th.

Rihanna to Get Jewels Back

Good news for Rihanna! According to Entertainment Tonight, the singer will get the jewelry back that had been held as evidence in the Chris Brown assault case. Los Angeles Superior Court confirmed that they'll photograph the borrowed baubles that are reportedly worth 1.4 million and return it to her today.

Meanwhile, attorneys in the case are due back in court Thursday, May 28th, to set a date for the preliminary hearing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

No Eliminations on "Sunday Best"

Family was the theme for this week's edition of Sunday Best, and The Williams Brothers' Living Testimony was a perfect way to open the show. The ladies left standing at this point performed two songs each. Here's how it went down...

Jessica Reedy -- She opened the competition with The Winans' classic, The Question Is. While it was obvious that she was dealing with some hoarseness, she still did her thing. Her lower register defied description and her jazzy style was absolutely awesome. I loved her, but I didn't think it was one of her best performances. Judge Tina Campbell mentioned her vocal problems, but still liked it. Erica Campbell, on the other hand, wanted more from her. Finally, Bebe Winans said that she took his brothers' song and made it her own. In addition, he called her a professional who really understood the craft of singing.

Reedy's second choice was I'm Still Here. Her take on The Williams Brothers was a jazzy groove that really worked. The judges loved it, too.

Latice Crawford -- The Clark Sisters' Is My Living in Vain? was her choice, and she put a jazzy swing on it that was really nice. Bebe called her a tiny hurricane. He appreciated the fact that she didn't try to be a Clark. Erica loved her interpretation of songs and said that she'd be giving the gospel industry a lift once she became a part of it. Tina, meanwhile, wanted more from the performance.

Latice's second choice was I'll Take You There, originally done by The Staples Singers but remade by Bebe and his sister, Cece Winans. I personally wasn't impressed, but for the most part, the judges liked it. They sensed a disconnect in her, but overall they thought it was great.

Y'Anna Crawley -- She sang Mary Mary's Heaven -- a really bold choice considering that they were judging her. She put her usual bodaciousness on it, and it was wonderful. Bebe called it incredible. The sisters of Mary Mary loved what she did, and Tina told her that they should get together and do the song in the future.

Ain't No Need to Worry was the way Y'Anna closed out the night's competition. She showed another side of her talent when she slowed The Winans' classic down and sang the soup out of it. Again, the judges were in awe of her talent.

The Anointed Sisters closed out the family tributes with their song, It's Already Done. As if they weren't already tearing things up, their sister, LaShun Pace, came and helped them bring the house down!

In the end, all of the ladies were invited back for the first-ever Sunday Best "Sing-Off." Not quite sure what that's gonna look like, but we'll be here to figure it out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rihanna to LAPD -- Gimme My Stuff Back!

Rihanna may have agreed to cooperate in the case against Chris Brown, but she says her jewelry shouldn't have to. The Good Girl Gone Bad is seeking the return of a pair of earrings and a ring valued at 1.4 million dollars. The baubles were seized as evidence the night that Brown allegedly beat her up.

RiRi's attorney, Donald Etra, filed a motion on Tuesday asking the Los Angeles police and prosecutors to return her stuff. Fortunately, no one's opposed to it because they can use pictures instead.

The jewels -- which a part of the outfit that Rihanna was wearing -- were actually loaned to the singer by four companies who want their stuff back for some overseas events.

Meanwhile, Brown is due back in court on Wednesday.

Mutual of Omaha and Oprah Battle for "Aha Moment"

Who's really having an "aha" moment? It depends on who you ask. Mutual of Omaha -- the insurance company famous for bringing us Wild Kingdom in the 1970s -- is suing Oprah Winfrey and Harpo Productions Inc. over use of the phrase.

Mutual of Omaha released a statement on Friday saying that it had been grated preliminary approval of a federal trademark for the slogan, official sponsor of the aha moment," which became a part of its national ad campaign in February.

Unfortunately, Oprah is claiming rights to "aha moment." The Queen of All Media told Mutual to stop using the phrase to promote its insurance and financial products. In response, the company filed its lawsuit on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Omaha.

A Harpo spokesperson says they hope to reach a mutually acceptable resolution with the insurance company.

BET Parent Company Adds New Network for Grown Folks

BET's parent company, Viacom, announced last week that they're going after the Grown & Sexy crowd of African Americans. The New York Times reported that the media giant would be starting Centric to appeal to the 25-to-54 demographic that advertisers love.

Viacom didn't mention whether BET J -- the music-intensive offshoot of the network -- would be affected by the formation of Centric. Look for it to debut in October.

BET, which is available in 89 million homes, is the longest running network targeted primarily at African Americans. Its main competitor is the Comcast and Radio One-owned TV One, which is available in about 47 million homes.

Updated Funeral Arrangements for Rev. Timothy Wright

Services for Rev. Timothy Wright, who passed away last week, have been updated. The musical tribute, which was originally set to be at Pleasant Grove Tabernacle on Sunday, May 3rd will now be held at Pilgrim Cathedral at 7pm. Please note the correction and plan accordingly...

Public viewing
Saturday, May 2nd, 12noon to 8pm
Sunday, May 3rd, 1pm to 5pm
Grace Tabernacle Church of God in Christ
Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York

A Musical Tribute
Sunday, May 3rd, 7pm
Pilgrim Cathedral
Broadway & Gates Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11221
Bishop Roy E. Brown, pastor

Homegoing Service
Monday, May 4th, 10am
Pilgrim Cathedral
Broadway & Gates Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11221
Bishop Roy E. Brown, pastor

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Breaking News -- Rev. Timothy Wright Dies

We offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Rev. Timothy Wright. According to several industry sources on Facebook.com, the Godfather of Gospel apparently passed away last night. While we don't have any definitive details at this point, we know he had been paralyzed from the July 4th car accident that claimed the lives of his wife, Betty, and his 14-year-old grandson, DJ. We'll update this story as we get more details.

***UPDATE***

Here's what the Associated Press is saying...

The Rev. Timothy Wright, the Grammy-nominated gospel singer and composer known for his up-tempo praise songs and powerful mass choir sound, has died. He was 61.

Wright, who was seriously injured in a car crash that killed his wife and grandson, died early Thursday at the Bronx Veterans Hospital, music agent Will Bogle said.

Timothy Wright was the pastor at Grace Tabernacle Christian Center Church of God in Christ, located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. He released more than a dozen gospel recordings, writing many of the songs. His latest album, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, came out in 2007.

In 1994, his record Come Thou Almighty King, with the New York Fellowship Mass Choir, made the Billboard Top 20 charts for gospel albums and was nominated for a Grammy for best traditional soul gospel album.

He got another nomination in that category in 1999 for Been There Done That, recorded with the B/J Mass Choir and featuring Myrna Summers.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus features the New York Fellowship Mass Choir. The title track, written by Wright and his wife and recorded live at a Church of God in Christ convocation, expresses the plight of a woman displaced during Hurricane Katrina: She encourages herself and others by calling the name of Jesus. Among the other songs on the album was You Must Come In At the Door.

According to the book Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Encyclopedia, by Bil Carpenter, the Brooklyn-born Wright began playing piano for his local church at age 12 and also began composing at a young age. By his early 20s, he was music director at Brooklyn's Washington Temple Church of God in Christ.

He began writing songs for such fellow musicians as Mattie Moss Clark and the Rev. Isaac Douglas, according to Carpenter's book, and in 1976 formed the Timothy Wright Concert Choir. Among the choir's albums were Who's on the Lord's Side? and Do You Know the Light?

Wright was critically injured July 4th in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 80 near Loganton, Pennsylvania. Another car was going the wrong way when it struck Wright's car. His wife, Betty Wright, 58, was killed in the crash, and their 14-year-old grandson, D.J. Wright, died later at a hospital. The driver of the wrong-way car, John Pick, also was killed, while a passenger in a third car was injured.

The Wrights were returning from a Church of God in Christ conference in Detroit, said Leroy Johnson, a trustee at Grace Tabernacle.

Dove Award Winners Announced

The 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards took place last night in Nashville. The kudofest, which celebrates inspirational music in all its incarnations, is the culmination of Gospel Music Association week. Some of the folks we know and love who were in attendance included Kierra Sheard, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Edwin Hawkins, Tye Tribbett, and Dietrick Haddon.

Here's a partial list of the winners of the 40th Annual GMA Dove Awards. Click here for a complete list.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Steven Curtis Chapman

FEMALE VOCALIST
Natalie Grant

MALE VOCALIST
Brandon Heath

GROUP OF THE YEAR
Casting Crowns

NEW ARTIST
Tenth Avenue North

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
Steven Curtis Chapman

SONG OF THE YEAR
Give Me Your Eyes, Brandon Heath and Jason Ingram

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Bernie Herms

URBAN SONG OF THE YEAR
Get Up, Mary Mary

URBAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Fight of My Life, Kirk Franklin

TRADITIONAL GOSPEL SONG OF THE YEAR
Free At Last, The Blind Boys of Alabama

TRADITIONAL GOSPEL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Down In New Orleans, The Blind Boys of Alabama

CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL SONG OF THE YEAR
How Great Is Our God, LaRue Howard

CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Change the World, Martha Munizzi

Prince Sued Over Book Deal Gone Bad

No one ever called Prince an angel -- especially when it comes to his money. According to TMZ.com, a literary agency filed a lawsuit against The Purple One in Los Angeles Superior Court because of the skulduggery he displayed in their business dealings.

According to court papers, Prince chose the agency to be his "exclusive agent with respect to the negotiations of a publishing deal" for a book called 21 Nights and a special limited edition version. However, in the final stages of the deal, Prince stopped calling them back and went behind their back to finish the negotiations.

The agency is taking Prince to court to get the 15 percent he screwed them out of -- which roughly amounts to about 200-thousand dollars.

What's Really Going in with Tyrese's Divorce?

We told you last month how Tyrese Gibson was gonna have to pay to get his marriage to Norma Mitchell. However, TMZ.com has obtained the prenuptial agreement, and if it holds up in court, Norma will walk away from their union with nada.

The paperwork states that in the case of divorce, the mother of Tyrese's daughter, Shayla, would get 50-thousand a year for every year of marriage up to a maximum of ten years. Unfortunately, they were only married for ten months. As if that weren't bad enough for the soon-to-be ex-Mrs. Gibson, the prenup says that no matter who files for separation or divorce, she has to move out of the house within 60 days. Yikes!

It probably wouldn't be so bad if Norma actually had some other way to make ends meet. While Tyrese made just under a million bucks in 2008, she didn't bring in a dime. In addition, Tyrese owns a Bentley and a Land Rover, a house in Temecula, California, and two small production companies. Meanwhile, her listed assets include paintings and jewelry.

Fortunately, all is not lost for Norma. At this point, Tyrese is paying about 62-hundred dollars a month in child support. If you'd like to see exactly what Norma agreed to, click here. The real question I have is whether or not it'll hold up in court -- especially in light of her allegations of the singer being an absentee father and all. Stay tuned...

Hamilton, Soulchild, and Michele are Playin' It Cool

Anthony Hamilton has added more dates to his Playin' It Cool Tour. Musiq Soulchild and Chrisette Michele are joining him on this 17-city jaunt, which kicks off in Houston on Thursday, May 28th and wraps up in Charlotte, with stops in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

Here's a list of dates:

May 28 -- Houston, TX
May 29 -- Dallas, TX
May 30 -- Southaven, MS
May 31 -- St Louis, MO
June 4 -- Los Angeles, CA
June 6 -- Oakland, CA
June 11 -- Columbus, OH
June 12 -- Detroit, MI
June 13 -- Chicago, IL
June 16 -- Newark, NJ
June 18 -- New York, NY
June 19 -- Washington, DC
June 21 -- Baltimore, MD
June 25 -- Atlanta, GA
June 26 -- Augusta, GA
June 27 -- Birmingham, AL
June 28 -- Charlotte, NC

Is She or Isn't She?

Forget about how the country is going to get out of its economic problems -- the real question on the minds of Americans is whether or not Jennifer Hudson is pregnant. If the rumors are true, the baby will be a first for the Oscar winner and her fiance, David Otunga, a Harvard graduate who's best known for his stint on I Love New York 2 as Punk. This is one of many pictures of the singer that have people thinking that the two are about to be parents.

If Hudson's manager and publicist are to be believed, the answer's gonna be a no. However, the good folks at Essence magazine have staked their reputations on the words of two sources close to the Oscar winner that she is, in fact, with child.

J-Hud is currently on tour with Robin Thicke. While she and David have already set a wedding date, they haven't gone public with it. Stay tuned...

Gospel Tidbits

Here's what's going on in the world of Gospel, courtesy of Gospelflava.com...

Karen Clark-Sheard has added entrepreneur to her resume. The youngest member of the legendary Clark Sisters has started her own record label. Her next album, which is due in stores this summer, will be on Karew Records...

After spending years with folks like John P. Kee & New Life, Kirk Franklin, and his own group, Men of Standard, Isaac Carree is finally in the studio working on his solo stuff. Production on his as-yet-untitled effort will be handled by Rodney Jerkins, PJ Morton, Warryn Campbell, and Eric Dawkins. No word yet on a release date...

The Anointed Pace Sisters will be recording their latest album this weekend. The ladies -- Dejuaii, Duranice, June, Latrice, Leslie, Lydia, Melonda, and Phyllis -- will be at doing their thing at Covenant Ministries International in Decatur, Georgia on Saturday. The live CD/DVD, Access Granted, will feature the stellar production work of Asaph Alex Ward. Look for it to hit stores Winter 2010...

After a 15-year hiatus, there's finally new music from BeBe & CeCe Winans. Their new single, Close to You, is being released to radio this week. The reunion album -- which will be on B and C Records -- hits stores later this year...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Chrihanna Chronicles: Reunited?

Chris Brown and Rihanna are trying to make it look like they've gone their separate ways; however, the Chicago Sun-Times says that the two are living their lives together. While they haven't actually moved in together at this point, a friend of Rihanna's family says that they've spent quite a few nights in each other's company in recent days.

Even though Chris allegedly used RiRi's face as a punching bag after that infamous pre-Grammy party in February -- and was charged for it -- he apparently was able to beg his way back into her life. Despite many warnings from her family and friends, an insider said, "Unfortunately, Rihanna still wants him and has told all of us to 'get over yourselves. I'm with him, so deal with it.'"

While the Good Girl Gone Bad has been seen doing some solo house-hunting in here in LA, her heart has firmly been with Chris the whole time. She's been taking detailed photos of the ones she likes so she can forward them to him.

Of course, we probably won't be seeing Chrihanna together in public for a minute because she already knows how damaging it'll be to her image. She told those closest to her that they'll be keeping this new relationship under wraps for a while. Stay tuned...

Jill's New No. 1 Man

It's a boy for singer Jill Scott. According to TheYBF.com, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency star's new little mister made his grand entrance on Monday in a Los Angeles area hospital after two days of labor. Jett Hamilton Roberts weighed in at seven pounds, eight inches and is 20 inches long. Jill and her fiance, Lil John Roberts, are so proud. Congratulations!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tyler's Stalker Goes to Jail

Having stalkers seems to be par for the course for the rich and famous, and Tyler Perry finally has his. According to E! Online, Dawne Wilson was busted on Wednesday outside the Madea Goes to Jail star's Atlanta studio. She's currently being held on charges of aggravated stalking and has been denied bond.

Why so harsh, you ask? Apparently this isn't Ms. Wilson's first offense. In fact, Perry was able to get a restraining order against her after what he called a year of obsessive behavior on her part. Getting busted on Wednesday was a clear violation of that order.

Ms. Wilson is due in court on Thursday, April 30th. Meanwhile, Tyler is currently filming his next Madea movie, I Can Do Bad All by Myself. In addition, he's developing Why Did I Get Married Too, a sequel to his 2007 hit.

Will Smith & SciFi's "Unfinished Business"

Will Smith has some unfinished business with the SciFi Channel. He has teamed up with the network to produce the new crime drama about an ex-cop who teams up with the recently deceased to help them tie up their loose ends on earth. Unfinished Business will kick off with a two-hour TV movie that will double as the pilot. No word on when we'll actually see the finished product.

The Soul Bird Tour Comes to Anaheim: A Review

Normally I don't do reviews. However, the India.Arie show I attended last night at The Grove in Anaheim is really worth mentioning. She's back on the road after about an 18-month hiatus with The Soul Bird Tour, and it is awesome.

India's opening act is a new artist named Laura Izibor. This Afro-Irish girl can really sing. Her current single, From My Heart to Yours, is at number eight on the Radio & Records chart AND it's the most added single of the week. To let you know how cold the girl is, she came out on stage with just a keyboard and a guitar. No band. No backup singers. Just her and her guitarist, who also sang. They were awesome. If you get a chance, PLEASE pick up her album. We need to support real music every chance we get.

As for India, the girl is a cold piece of work. First of all, her voice is in EXCELLENT shape and I love the way she performs. Her hair, which she clearly is not, is cut short and at times she wraps her head. Her outfit changes were handled very succinctly because she pretty much wore all her dresses at once!

Arie's band and background singers are just as off the chain as she is. Special shoutouts to her guitarist Blu and her keyboardist-musical director Shannon. I was especially impressed with Armetria, one of the background singers. She put out a gospel album a few years ago that EVERYONE -- including myself -- slept on. However, I'm a complete believer in her talent after last night.

All in all, it was a great night. However, I have to say that meeting Hill Harper after the show was the most excellent part. Not only is he absolutely fine, he's also a gentleman.

Last night's show wrapped up the west coast leg of The Soul Bird Tour. Here are some additional dates, courtesy of her website:

April 30 -- Foxboro, MA
May 1 -- New York, NY
May 3 -- Baltimore, MD
May 4 -- Alexandria, VA
May 6 -- Charlotte, NC
May 9 -- Glenside, PA
May 10 -- Durham, NC
May 12 -- Milwaukee, WI
May 13 -- Minneapolis, MN
May 15 -- Toronto, Ontario, CA
May 16 -- Cleveland, OH
May 17 -- Chicago, IL
May 21 -- Dallas, TX
May 22 -- Houston, TX
May 24 -- Memphis, TN

When the show comes to your city, please make it your business to go. You will NOT be disappointed.

And Then There Were Three...on "Sunday Best"

Fred Hammond opened Sunday Best with a medley that started with his classic No Weapon and ended with This is the Day from his latest album. This week's edition paid tribute to the godfathers of gospel -- Dr. Thomas Dorsey, Dr. Bobby Jones, and Rev. James Cleveland.

The four finalists did Dr. Jones' take on Call Him Up as a group song. It was especially cool to see him in the audience singing along.

Latice Crawford started the competition off with Cleveland's Soon I Will Be Done With the Troubles of this World. The song had a hard-timey sound, and in my opinion, her elegant dress really didn't fit the mood. Vocally, however, she was completely on point. Bebe Winans called her a gospel Whitney Houston. Erica Campbell said that she killed it even though she sensed a disconnect. Finally, Tina Campbell called her a pro who could handle any song thrown her way.

Y'Anna Crawley did I Don't Feel Noways Tired. And that's the only way to say it. She ministered that thing -- and the judges were visibly moved. It was almost a shouting good time. Tina said that she gave the song exactly what it needed. Bebe called her his kind of singer, and Erica called her great.

Following Y'Anna wasn't an easy thing to do, but Jessica Reedy -- who has the distinction of being this year's youngest contestant -- rose to the challenge. While she didn't have the power Y'Anna had, her take on God Has Smiled on Me was low-key but excellent. Her bottom range impressed the judges so much that they were rendered almost speechless.

Finally, Zebulon Ellis put his spin on Dorsey's Precious Lord. The old-school came out in full effect, and while he wasn't bad, the anointing that was present during the ladies' performances wasn't there. Bebe called him a great singer. Erica thought he did a great job. Tina loved him vocally, but thought he lacked the 'wow' factor.

I guess the 'wow' was the difference because after all was said and done, Zebulon was the one who went home. Now it's all about the ladies on Sunday Best.

Another Side of Mike Tyson

Most of us who came of age in the 80s and 90s know Mike Tyson as a heavyweight champion of the world who self-destructed before our eyes. While he was able to knock folks out in the ring, he seemed to be knocked out in the real world by marriage, drugs, and the demons that haunted him. Now, thanks to the efforts of indie director James Toback, we are able to explore more of the bad-talking, ear-biting boxer in Tyson.

This documentary takes us up close and personal to a man whose life started off badly. His mother wasn't exactly the nurturing type and he didn't know his father. When she moved him to the Brownsville area of Brooklyn, he turned to a life of crime. After spending a few years in juvenile detention, he discovered boxing. Hooking up with trainer Cus D'Amato proved to be the catalyst of the "good" part of his life. He was able to leave his life of crime behind for the sport.

From there, we are taken behind the reports to find out what was going with Mike during the highlights and lowlights of his life. In addition to telling us about his fights, he also spoke about his marriage to Robin Givens, his love and admiration for Cus and how he felt about his death, and his feelings for Desiree Washington, the "wretched swine of a woman" he was accused of raping.

What really makes this film a treat -- in addition to just listening to Mike Tyson use words like "skulduggery" -- is the technique Toback used to shoot the film. While you only hear from Mike himself, the way he goes back and forth between the live interview and the archival footage is absolutely excellent.

Tyson opens in limited release -- which means New York and Los Angeles -- on Friday. We're not sure when the film will hit across the nation, but make sure you see it when it does.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chris is Living His Life

Chris Brown may be living his life, but Rihanna isn't necessarily happy about it. According to Us Weekly, the Good Girl Gone Bad didn't take too kindly to pictures of her supposed boyfriend and alleged attacker with Girlicious singer Natalie Meji in a West Hollywood tattoo parlor earlier this week. A source said she sent him a text message. His response? "It's none of your business." Yikes!

Brown's people are denying the romance. Unfortunately, Natalie didn't get the memo. On Monday, she told RadarOnline, "Things are going well between us. [Chris] has treated me like a a gentleman at all times."

Natalie probably hadn't heard about his antics the Saturday before. MSNBC's The Scoop reported that Brown was hanging with Tyrese and Omarion at the Lucky Strike Lanes and Lounge in Los Angeles . While the guys were all fairly tame, witnesses said Chris was awfully flirty.

At this point, there's been no official word that Chris and Rihanna have gone their separate ways. Meanwhile, he's due back in court on Wednesday, April 29th.

"One Tree Hill" Stars Skills Have Gotten Him in Trouble

Looks like Antwon Tanner has added "criminal" to his resume. According to E! Online, the One Tree Hill actor was busted in a sting operation and charged with selling 16 Social Security numbers and three counterfeit cards to middleman between December 2005 and last July. The 34-year-old pleaded not guilty in a New York federal court and is currently free on a 250-thousand dollar bond.

The actor allegedly gave up the phony digits and cards to an unidentified contact who turned around and sold them to an undercover agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The two-count indictment said that Tanner not only made up numbers, but he also swiped digits from the living and the dead. Those were passed along without him meeting the dealer face-to-face. As for the cards, they were allegedly sent through the mail.

Crime seemed to pay Tanner pretty good -- he was able to bank thousands of dollars over a two-and-a-half year period. Unfortunately, his antics could land him in The Big House for up to five years if he's convicted.

At this point, neither Tanner nor his lawyer commented as they left court, and The CW hasn't addressed his arrest or future on One Tree Hill. Stay tuned.

The Week in Review...MackDiva Style

Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted anything. Sorry about that. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well. First of all, let me catch you up...

* Apparently Chris Brown is moving on with a new woman. According to the New York Daily News, the singer has reunited with ex-girlfriend Erica Jackson. She's from his homestate of Virginia and they dated back in the day. While they're saying that she's no Rihanna, she'll be good for him. Naturally, his camp is denying this, so we'll have to stay tuned.

* And speaking of Rihanna, her dad was not pleased with Chris Brown's not guilty plea. Ronald Fenty was quoted in Us Weekly as saying, "So what happened? Somebody else did this to Rihanna then?" The crazy part is that apparently Mr. Fenty hasn't been a model citizen in the abusive department himself. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, he, too, has taken a swipe or two at his wife and daughter in the not so distant past. A close family friend said, "For him to talk about beating women takes a lot of gall." Yikes!

* In other Rihanna news, the Good Girl Gone Bad announced her return to the stage. She'll be performing for the first time since the alleged assault in Dubai on Thursday, May 28th.

* Meanwhile, Whitney Houston is countersuing her father's wife, Barbara Houston, for 1.6 million bucks. E! Online reports that John Houston's widow claimed that Whitney kept a million dollar insurance payout from her father's estate that was allocated for the mortgage on the condo Barbara has lived in for the past 20 years in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Barbara said Whitney was supposed to give up 723-thousand dollars for the mortgage and give her the rest. Instead, the Grammy winner kept all the money after John's 2003 death. Whitney says that she's entitled to the money because she put up the initial cash for the home and he hadn't paid her back by the time he died.

* Finally, looks like Jamie Foxx got off easy with his stalker. E! Online reports that Steven Toliver has been found to be actively psychotic and is incompetent to stand trial. Furthermore, the 49-year-old homeless man who had claimed to be Beyonce's producer was transferred from a Philadelphia lockup to Norristown State Hospital for 60 days for treatment. Foxx was in the City of Brotherly Love filming Law Abiding Citizen. His next foray on the big screen, The Soloist, hits theaters on Friday.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Two More Go Home on "Sunday Best"

This week's edition of Sunday Best found the contestants getting makeovers and G1 mobile phones. Here's how it went down...

Zebulon Ellis was announced as the wildcard contestant and he opened the show. He sang Donny Hathaway's A Song for You. Even though I'm usually of the mind that folks need to leave Donny's music alone, Zeb did an okay job of it. Since he was trying to gospelize it, he dragged it out in places that really didn't need it. However, he brought it together with some beautiful high notes at the end. Tina Campbell called his rendition fantastic. Bebe Winans echoed my sentiments about touching a Donny song, but said that he made it his own. Finally, Erica Campbell called his performance perfect.

Jessica Reedy came next with Just As I Am. Her smooth alto gave life and beauty to the song. Host Kirk Franklin had to bow. Erica loved everything about her singing. Bebe loved her tone, and Tina was almost rendered her speechless.

John McClure Jr. did You Are My Life. The Fred Hammond song was provided a smooth backdrop to showcase the loveliness of his voice. Erica thought he did a great job, and Bebe called his performance a quiet storm. Tina wanted him to hold some notes so we could fully experience his voice.

Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand was Latice Crawford's choice this week. Even though it was obvious that she was hoarse, her voice was still in fine form. In fact, she ministered that song like it had been a Sunday morning staple. Bebe acknowledged her hoarseness, but still said she was spectacular. Tina was completely impressed and promised to buy her records. Erica called her performance anointed and incredible.

Dontavies Boatwright did Chris Tomlin's How Great is Our God. While it wasn't bad, I don't think it was his best performance. However, Bebe, Erica, and Tina loved it.

Y'Anna Crawley finished off the night with her rendition of Waiting on the World to Change. Even though John Mayer probably wasn't thinking anywhere near gospel when he wrote this tune, Y'Anna's take on it changed the game completely. While Tina and Erica didn't think it was her best performance, they still liked what she did with the song. Meanwhile, Bebe told Y'Anna to forget the sisters better known as Mary Mary and listen to him. He was completely impressed with her version of the song.

After a stellar performance from Ann Nesby, Dontavies Boatwright and John McClure Jr. were eliminated. That leaves Y'Anna Crawley, Jessica Reedy, Latice Crawford, and Zebulon Ellis to duke it out for the title.