Monday, March 31, 2008

Mos Def To Portray Chuck Berry In Cadillac Records

I mentioned it in a post several weeks ago that Beyonce Knowles would be portraying Etta James in the upcoming film entitled "Cadillac Records". Now it has been announced that rapper Mos Def will play Chuck Berry in the film. Mos Def is no stranger to acting, having won critical acclaim as Vivien Thomas in "Something The Lord Made". He also sang and performed in HBO's "Lackawanna Blues". I for one think that he will probably do an excellent job as Berry, if his previous acting endeavors are any indication.

Rounding out the cast is Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters and Gabrielle Union as Muddy Water's girlfriend and later his wife. Adrien Brody will portray Leonard Chess, Eamonn Walker as Howlin Wolf, Cedric The Entertainer as Willie Cox, and Columbus Short as Little Walter. I love the musical biographical genre and I am really hoping that this cast can do the justice to the material. Please enjoy this clip of Chuck Berry performing Johnny B. Goode.

In Search of Sade

The last time I heard from Sade was in 2002 when she released Lover’s Rock after a seven year hiatus. Over the course of her career she only released six albums; the first five sold over 50 million albums worldwide. With that kind of following it seems that she would be dropping CDs like hotcakes, but not Sade. Helen Falasade Adu noted for her soulful, smoky contralto voice achieved success in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and 2000’s as the front woman and lead vocalist for the Grammy Award winning group.

Her first foray into the music business came about this time, as a member of a short-lived Latin soul group named Arriva. It was as a member of Arriva that she first performed the song “Smooth Operator” which would eventually become her first US hit. This song was co-written by guitarist/bassist Ray St. John. Shortly thereafter, she joined St. John's band Pride, which also included guitarist Stuart Matthewman, bassist Paul Denman, and drummer Paul Cooke. When St. John left Pride the remaining members morphed into Sade, with the addition of Andrew Hale on keyboard.

I was fortunate enough to catch the band in the summer of 1988 at what was then called Pine Knob Theater, an outdoor venue in Clarkston, Michigan. It was a warm summer night filled with the sweet sounds of “Cherry Pie”, “Your Love Is King”, ”Sweetest Taboo”, “Is It A Crime”, Stronger Than Pride” and a host of other songs from her first three albums. I remember leaving the park satisfied that I had witnessed one of the best concerts that I had attended so far.

So if you are out there Sade, please know that your fan base certainly miss you and your multi genre music. Hopefully you will return sometimes soon. If anyone sees her or any of the band members tell them the fans are waiting for her return. Until then I will have to be satisfied with listening to the excellent and perfect “Diamond Life”, “Promise”, “Stronger Than Pride”, “Love Deluxe” and “Lover’s Rock” CD’s. Check out this performance of the group in its heyday.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cooking For Real

Sunny Anderson has a new show on the Food Network entitled "Cooking For Real". The first episode will air on Sunday, April 6th at 10:30 am EST/9:30 am CST. I love food and I love with the Food Network is doing these days by recognizing the diversity in food preparation. They truly have something for everyone now.

Cooking for Real
will not be the first time Food Network audiences have seen Sunny Anderson. She debuted on the Network back in 2005 as a special guest on Emeril Live, cooking side by side Chef Emeril Lagasse — an appearance Sunny deemed as her greatest "foodie" moment ever. In 2007, Sunny co-hosted Food Network's series of specials, Gotta Get It, uncovering the latest and greatest food gadgets and gizmos on the market.

The newest edition is a young woman who was has served time in the United States Air Force. Sunny's passion for food paved the way for a passion with music. While growing up traveling the world as an Army brat, her parents always encouraged her to indulge in the local cuisine. When Sunny joined the Air Force, she continued her trek through the world for culinary finds and soon discovered she had a desire to explore music. Soon enough, she became an award-winning military radio host and news reporter.

Upon finishing her tour of duty with the Air Force, Sunny kept on her broadcast career playing radio host at stations in New Orleans, Montgomery, Detroit, and finally, in New York at hip hop radio powerhouse, HOT 97. Within a year, Vibe Magazine rated her show as one of the top 9 to listen to nationwide and crowned her, "Ruler of the Airwaves." Her radio success landed her guest hosting duties on MTV2, and voice over gigs on television and radio ads for Destiny's Child, LL Cool J, and John Legend.

Check out Ms. Anderson in this promo for a show she hosted on the network last year entitled "Gotta Get It".

Thinking Blogger's Award - I've Been Tagged

I was tagged by Malcolm of Pop Culture Dish fame as one of the blogs that makes him think I humbly accept the tag and now must pass it on to five blogs that I tune into on a regular basis. Of course Pop Culture dish is one of my favorites, but since you've already been tagged I won't re-tag you Malcolm (smile).

Participation rules:

1) If you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 that make you think.

2) Link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3) Optional: Proudly display the "Thinking Blogger Award"

With that said, I am tagging five blogs that I find both motivational and insightful:

Lori's Old School Mix

The X Spot

Why Black Women Are Angry

The Abundance Place

Buck Naked Politics

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Vintage Television - Thea

I was channel surfing and stopped on BET because a show from the early nineties was showing. Thea only aired for nineteen episodes, but it helped to launch the career of Brandy Norwood (Moesha). Stand-up comedienne Thea Vidale stars as Thea Turrell, a widowed mother of four who works in a Houston supermarket by day and runs a one-chair beauty salon on the corner of her porch in the evenings. Vidale was nominated for a People's Choice Award as Favorite Female in a New Series for her portrayal of the no-nonsense Thea. The series was cancelled shortly after only one season due to low ratings. Veteran actors Yvette Wilson, Jason Weaver, and Adam Jeffries round out the cast of the show. I really enjoyed the show when it first telecasted back in the day and I found that I still enjoy it. Thea airs on Saturday mornings at 9:00 am EST on BET.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mumia Deserves New Hearing

A federal appeals court on Thursday said former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal cannot be executed for murdering a Philadelphia police officer without a new penalty hearing. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Abu-Jamal's conviction should stand, but that he should get a new sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions. If prosecutors don't want to give him a new death penalty hearing, Abu-Jamal would be sentenced automatically to life in prison.

Abu-Jamal, 53, once a radio reporter, has attracted a legion of artists and activists to his cause in a quarter-century on death row. A Philadelphia jury convicted him in 1982 of killing Officer Daniel Faulkner, 25, after the patrolman pulled over Abu-Jamal's brother in an overnight traffic stop.

He had appealed, arguing that racism by the judge and prosecutors corrupted his conviction at the hands of a mostly white jury. Prosecutors, meanwhile, had appealed a federal judge's 2001 decision to grant Abu-Jamal a new sentencing hearing because of the jury instructions.

Hundreds of people protested outside the federal building in Philadelphia in May and an overflow crowd - including legal scholars, students, lawyers, the policeman's widow and Abu-Jamal's brother - filled the courtroom when the appeals court heard arguments about the case.

The officer's widow, Maureen Faulkner, has kept her husband's memory alive over the years, and recently co-wrote a book about the case. The book, "Murdered by Mumia: A Life Sentence of Loss, Pain and Injustice," written with radio talk-show host Michael Smerconish, came out in December.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 16 - Thirteen First In Women's Achievements

In Recognition of Women History Month I have selected thirteen of the many first achievements of women. These women come from all walks of life including politicians, social reformists, scientists, educators, etc. Some of these women are virtually unknown to the masses, however they played an important part of historical events that occurred after their initial contributions. These women set the stage for advancement of women, not only in America, but around the world. Who are some of the women you feel changed the course of history?

1. Elizabeth Blackwell - First woman to obtain a medical degree - 1849

2. Amelia Jenks Bloomers - Publisher/editor of the first prominent women's rights newspaper - 1849

3. Harriet Tubman - First woman to run the Underground Railroad to help slaves escape - 1850

4. Susan B. Anthony - Co-founder of the first women suffrage organization - 1869

5. Victoria Chaflin Woodhall - First woman presidential candidate - 1872

6. Susan Madora Salter - First woman mayor (Argonia, Kansas) - 1887

7. Mary McLeod Bethune - First women to establish a secondary school that went on to become a four year accredited college - 1904.

8. Hallie Ferguson - First woman governor of a U. S. state (Texas) - 1924

9. Katherine Bement Davis - First person to conduct national survey on sexual attitudes - 1929

10. Jane Addams - Social reformist, founder of Hull House in Chicago and the first woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize - 1931

11. Hattie Mc Daniels - First African American of any gender to win an Academy Award - 1939

12. Mary Clarke - First woman to be named a major general in the U. S. Army - 1978

13. Christa McAuliffe - First women citizen passenger on a space mission - 1986

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

American Idol - David Cook

I know I have mentioned being a fan of American Idol. This year I have had a difficult time getting into the contestants. I just could not find anyone to get really excited about for the first time since the show aired in 2002. That is until last night when I heard the best spin on a popular song that I had ever experienced. The contestants sang songs from their respective years of birth and the last performer, David Cook, stopped the show with a totally awesome rendition of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". David Cook is a stone rocker and his approach to the song was different than anything Michael could have ever imagined. Cook slowed the tempo of the song and gave it a rock, bluesy feel that literally brought the house down.

David Cook is a twenty- five year old Missourian, who may well be the one to beat this year. Simon Cowell said it best a few weeks ago, "If the show remains a singing competition, rather than a popularity competition, you actually could win this entire show". This guy has been the most consistent performer and I feel that he might just win, but we have seen upsets so many times before on this show. Remember Chris Daugherty? Check out David performing The Beatles "Eleanor Rigby"

Monday, March 24, 2008

Alarming News - Half of Black Teen Girls Has an STD?

Last Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control released a study that found that one in four young women or 3.2 teenage girls are infected with a sexually transmitted disease. To top it off according to the study, nearly half of African American girls (or 48%) in this age group has least one of the following: the human Papillomavirus (HPV), Chlamydia, herpes, or Trichomoniasis, with HPV leading the charge. I find this statistic alarming because in essence one out of two African American females between 14 – 19 has an STD. The two most common STDs in the study -- HPV, and Chlamydia -- may not show any symptoms.

The report, sponsored by the CDC and conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics took a national sample of 838 young women. The study did not include the STDs syphilis, HIV or gonorrhea. According to Dr. Stuart Berman, Chief of Epidemiology and Surveillances, STDs at the Centers for Disease Control, "Put in context, you take a sample, but a sample done in a smart way, so you can extrapolate the data. What this study says, is that this is a problem for the country. It's your kid, my kid, the neighbor across the street."

While I am not the parent of a teenager, I think that we all should be aware of what is happening in our communities, in this country, and for that matter, globally. It concerns me that we are not properly educating our youth and if this trend continues it could be very problematic in the future. Social and economic issues, such as access to health care, and low or no health insurance are major contributory factors to this crisis.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Soul Men" Starring Samuel Jackson, Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes

Malcolm Lee (Best Man and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins) is bringing Samuel Jackson and Bernie Mac together for a movie entitled Soul Men. Jackson and Mac will play two former backup soul singers who are part of a famed group that fell apart once the lead singer went solo. Bernie's character went on to open up Car Wash stores and retire while Sam's character started robbing banks and ended up in prison. He eventually gets out. They haven't spoken to each other in 20 years but reluctantly agree to travel cross country together to the Apollo Theater in New York City for a tribute performance in honor of their recently deceased band leader.

The film promises to be hilarious. You can hardly lose with a cast of this caliper. Production of the film started in January and it has a release date set for sometime in October. Another aspect that will make this film a must see is that Jackson and Mac will do their own musical and dancing performances for the film. I, for one, can hardly wait.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama and Rev. Wright

Amidst the inflammatory remarks spouted by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, presidential candidate Barack Obama has been forced to address the issue of race for the first time. In a sermon in 2003 Rev. Wright stated that “instead of singing ‘God Bless America’ Black people should a song essentially saying ‘God Damn America”. Standing in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia Obama admitted that “race still matters”. Now it might not have been the most politically correct thing to say, but truth is truth and the fact is color matters in America and there are vast racial disparities still exist in this country.

Of course progress has been made and no one is challenging that fact, however African Americans, other minorities, and the poor continually come out on the short end economically, educationally, and dare I say politically. Obama used this teachable moment to contextualize the anger and resentments on both sides of the racial divide. "But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality."

While Obama condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright, he refused to disown him. He simply stated that if we walk away and retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. I do not know if Rev. Wright’s comments will hurt Senator Obama’s political aspirations in the long run, only time will tell. You got to love a man who is eloquent and able to think on his feet.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

After the Dance By Lori Johnson

Next week, Tuesday, March 25, 2008 will be a special day for one of my blogging buddies, Lori Johnson. That day will mark the release of her first novel “After the Dance”. The release has been much anticipated and a lot of us are looking forward to a good read. I have pre-ordered my copy from Amazon and it is suppose to ship next Tuesday.

I have read the excerpt on
Lori’s website and it was laugh out loud funny in some parts and poignant in others. I also found myself caring about the characters and hoping that the main characters would somehow find their way to each other. I really cannot wait to read what happens to them.

Lori had a little promotional contest on her blog Lori's Old School Mix in which the winner received an autographed copy of the book. Unfortunately Malcolm of Pop Culture Dish beat me to obtain first prize. I was however able to finally make a correct guess on the second part of the contest and win an “After the Dance” CD by Fourplay. There might still be another prize up for grabs.

Visit the website, read the excerpt, and order a copy of the book, which promises to be a page turner. Join me in wishing Lori much success on her first published work and here is hoping that this is only the first in a long line of literary accomplishments for this young lady.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Thursday Thirteen # 15 - Thirteen Classic Television Shows Now On DVD

I love television and I did not realize that so many vintage shows were now available on DVD. I choose thirteen titles you don’t see in reruns. Some of these take me back to my childhood, in fact there were so many it was really hard to choose. I hope you visit this website and find some titles that you enjoy as well. What are some of your favorite vintage television shows that you wish you could see again?

Richard Pryor (1977) This show lasted only four episodes due to its controversial subject matter and its time slot (why would you put Richard Pryor on at 8:00). It is probably more famous for the talent it introduced, rather than the show itself. The cast included Robin Williams, Sarah Bernhard, John Witherspoon, and Tim Reid. Not bad huh?

Tony Orlando and Dawn (1974) Tony Orlando, along with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson were a singing group who had several hits including "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree". The went on to have a successful variety show which aired from 1974 - 1976. This was a time when variety shows ruled, much like reality televison now. It is a genre that I wish would return.

Soupy Sales (19??) I remember watching this show before I even started elementary school on channel 7 out of Detroit. It was really silly with a lot of pie throwing and sight gags, something children really love.

Too Close For Comfort (1980) Ted Knight and Nancy Dussault starred as Ted and Muriel Rush, owners of a San Francisco Duplex. There two adult daughter also live in the duplexYou can see Ted Knight on reruns of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but he was really funny in this one as well.

Hazel (1961) Hazel was a white maid (what a concept) who always seemed to be solving problems for her boss and his family. The series is notable for starring Whitney Blake, the real life mom of Meredith Baxter Birney, as the mother on the show.

Untouchables (1959) Robert Stack and the voice of radio great Walter Winchell were the highlights of this show about Chicago gangland life. This show introduced the "drive by" as mobster were always rolling up blasting folks with their Tommy Guns. The show also featured well known guest stars each week.

The Carol Burnett Show (1967) After Ed Sullivan's "Toast Of The Town" this is probably my favorite variety show of all times. Besides Ms. Burnett the show featured Harvey Korman, Vickie Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway, as well as weekly guest stars. This is the show that spawned "Mama's Family".

Chico and the Man (1974) This show ran for four seasons, which was one season too long. After the suicide of the principle star (Freddie Prinze) the show should have ended; however the producers went out and found a kid, named him Chico and went on with the show (huge mistake). Jack Albertson, Della Reese, and Scatman Crothers also starred.

The Judy Garland (1963) This variety show lasted for only one season. but what an enjoyable season it was. Variety shows were really big in the 1960's, with sketch comedy, etc., but this one consisted mostly of musical acts and singing.

Mary Hartman Mary Hartman (1976) This show was innovative and fresh. A spoof of soap operas, this show poked fun at the genre in a unique way. A Norman Lear production set in Fernwood Ohio, the show dealt with many of the topics considered too racy so it aired at 11:00 pm in many markets. The show is also noted for launching the careers of Mary Kay Place, Graham Jarvis, Martin Mull, and Dabney Coleman.

Johnny Quest (1964) I can hear the theme music in my head as I type this. Jonny, along with his family of Dr. Benjamin Quest, Hadji, their dog bandit and bodyguard Race Bannon. They traveled around the world investigating strange phenomenon and fighting villians.

The Electric Company (1971) This was instructional television at its best. Not only did entertainers like Morgan Freeman Jr., Hattie Winston, Lee Chamberlain, and Irene Cara get their start on the show, but veterans like Bill Cosby and Rita Moreno were also regulars.

Peter Gun (1958) Craig Stevens portrayed private detective Peter Gunn. This show is now remember for its jazzy theme music. What distinguished Gunn from other gumshoes of his day was that he epitomized "cool", hanging out at "Mother's" a waterfront club, where his girlfriend was an entertainer.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!