Welcome to Hollywood As I Live And Work
An east coast import with a southern charm. Hang with me online as I share a personal perspective on working in Hollywood
Go behind the scenes and meet those that make it happen! Actors, directors, producers, publicists...The best show is always backstage or on set.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I even thought of setting up the camera and making a personal video response to the news of his death. He impacted my life that much, but I'm not willing to be seen crying on the internet. This blog enables me to write, express my hurt, and cry without worry of how I look doing it.
The Blackberry is ringing and vibrating. Friends are calling to talk, to reflect, to sympathize, to gossip. I don't feel like talking. When it feels this bad, I'm compelled to write. So instead I surround myself with blessed quietness so I can hear God speak.
A friend, a family member, an inspiration, a legend transitioned from flesh to spirit just moments ago and I'm going to miss his presence immensely. Yes, I'll see glimpses of him in others, but nothing and no one will ever truly replace the original.
"So, why are you crying? It's not like you knew him." I didn't have to be invited to his home to feel Michael's spirit. As I commented elsewhere online, in order to affect the world the way he did, his true spirit had to come through. Only spirit gets beneath the social, economical, political, and racial surfaces we are so distracted by and inspires generations around the globe to live out their dreams. MJ did that and more.
Why else am I crying? Because I wanted to see Mike be on top again before he officially ended his career. I wanted him to show the world that genius spirit on stage one more time. Say what you want about his looks, his clothes, when The King of Pop took stage all the haters and the gossip spewers bowed down to his brilliance. But now that is not to be. Gone to Soon? Only God knows.
So I will give myself only a few more hours of blessed quietness before responding to the calls. And during that quiet time, I'm going to say a prayer, a prayer for comfort and peace beyond understanding. Death sometimes seems so much harder on the living than those that actually passed away.
Lastly, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, you are not forgotten. They now suffer no more. Both were incredible talents too that inspired many to follow their dreams. I pray God's comfort and peace for their family and friends as well.
To the McMahon, Fawcett, O'Neal, and especially Jackson families I dedicate this song:
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So let's think back when we used to dress like the music stars we so adored? Remember damn near every kid on the block borrowed something from Michael Jackson's wardrobe--the highwater black pants with white socks and penny loafters, or the infamous one glove, and then the most coveted item--that red jacket from either "Beat it" or "Thriller"?
For the Hip Hop heads, remember when the fellas used to rock whatever Run DMC or LL Cool J was sporting. The "fresh" Kangos, suede Adidas sneaks with the fat laces or no laces at all, Can't forget the black leather jackets, gold chains, Gazelles, and sweat suits. RIP Jam Master Jay!
Do the ladies run this m****k! Hell yes! Okay ladies remember when we used to search high and low for big hoop earrings, perfect pair of black biker shorts to show off our thickness, and multiple silver or gold bracelets or just colorful thick ones. I'mma take you back! One third of Shalamar influenced my first hoop earring purchase.
Can't forget the "Round da way girls"! Remember when we used to scare our mothers to death by coming home from the beauty shop with the asymmetric bobs? Then to keep it "fresh" and "fly" we added the door knocker earrings, belt buckles with our names in them, and again those ever popular black biking shorts. At that time, these 3 ladies definitely turned it into a fashion statement.
Speaking of hair, think back to when young boys wanted to rock that Gumby-esque hairstyle Bobby Brown wore in this sexy video. Funny, now everything is about the mohawk!
Front if you want to, but those loose fitting bottoms Bobby Brown rocked in that video were brought to the mainstream by Mc Hammer. But "Hammer pants" as we called them weren't really anything new, just a fashion statement borrowed from traditional African garb.
Knee pads! Who would've thought that knee pads would become a fashion statement in a music video? A pretty girl in knee pads meant hard core dancing was about to take place. Mary J. Blige wasn't the first to do it. But I'd be willing to bet this woman helped bring it to the mainstream. So why knee pads? Was it a principle of need or pleasure?
Okay this last entry brings things more current. This woman was born under water with 3 dollars and 6 dimes. Her Afro-centric vibe seemed to make headwraps, ankh rings and funky bracelets more than a mere fashion statement. They seemed to represent a way of thinking.
Monday, June 22, 2009
In the video hear what inspired the book and the role Tyler Perry Productions and producer, Roger Bobb, played in its creation. Hear too from celebrity contributors and supporters, Nia Long and Gary Sturgis, as I talked with them about why "Saving Our Daughters: From A Man's Point of View" is so important and timely.
Learn more about the books at http://www.amanspointofview.org.
The Elements: Earth, Wind, & Fire!
Frankie Beverly & Maze: When the DJ drops this classic hit in the club, time rolls back and you groove to it like your parents did when it first came out!
These brothers from Tuskegee University! That's right! These former HBCU students produced some of the best music ever! Then when Lionel went solo...y'all know how the story goes.
I really like Charlie Wilson's current music. But before being a solo artist he led the Gap Band to hit after hit, putting Oklahoma on the map. Outstanding was and still is the jam.
Baby, what's your phone number? This was the jam! That Minneapolis sound ruled the day in the mid 80s.
Okay, where my ladies at? Klymaxx is in da house!
This list could go on forever, but I'm gonna stop it here. It's on to the next decade on Wednesday.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Source: Getty Images
Sing along with me, "Halle and Jamie on tv, k-i-ss-i-n-g, first comes lust, but no marriage, then comes Halle who already had a baby carriage!"
Errbody's talking about how lucky Jamie Foxx is for living damn near every straight man's and some gay one's too fantasy of freaking Halle Berry. And to be fair, I imagine there's some lesbians willing to get in line too for just a hint of what Jamie received at the now highly anticipated Guys Choice Awards airing this Sunday on Spike TV.
Whatever! This blogger is going on record as saying Halle is lucky too! *Singing* "Some girls have all the luck, some girls have all the fame, some girls get all the breaks.."
I've had my eye on Jamie since his first album,"Peep This", which I had on cassette. And peep it I did! Since then I've been in the man's presence several times--not that he noticed--but that's okay. Some fantasies should remain such. Still, if I'd rolled up on Jamie and planted the kiss Halle did, you think I would have gotten such a warm reception? Can you say, SECURITY!
I totally understand lust at first sight but was it something he said, his cologne, or just mere female ego trip? Only Halle knows it doesn't appear she's telling.
Anyway, here's a brief snippet of what everybody is waiting to see this Sunday on Spike TV.
Video Source: Whatitbe.com
Halle, I got one question, actually two: 1. Is everything that's grown in Texas as big as they say it is? and 2. What was it like being stuck between a "Decade of Hotness" award and a hard place? Whatever your answer, YOU LOOKED DAMN FABULOUS! The hair, the dress, the shoes, that gleem in your eye! Go 'head Halle Berry! Peep her shoes! *Singing* "The Men All Pause"!
The 80s saw "The Boss" make a name for herself as a solo artist. This diva original truly became a fashion, beauty, and music icon in this era. Who am I talking about? None other than Diana Ross!
Now these 5 boys from Boston, really rocked my little young world when they appeared on the scene. Ralph was my favorite, then Johnny Gill came along and well, my attention was diverted. This is a Solid Gold performance. Remember that show?
When this musical legacy introduced us to her beautiful voice, it was love at first note. Whitney had us in the palm of her hand with this, her debut single.
The 80s gave witness to what we refer to now as old school rap music. One of my favs from that era is Kurtis Blow. One of his biggest hits was in the late 80's when "Krush Groove" hit the big screen. Get your Kango and Gazelles and gold necklaces for this one!
The late 80s also saw the first Hip Hop love song become a classic hit. LL Cool J's "I Need Love" had my little girl hormones doing crazy things. And ain't jack changed, the heart still skips a beat in the presence of the gorgeous family man and actor. (Had to say that to bring me back to reality. Nice to dream though :-D) And with that, I'll say til we meet again on Monday for the "Making the Band Monday".
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Remember when we used to run to the tv for music awards and musical tribute shows, and then the next day in school it was all we talked about? Remember when we used to call each other right before or somewhere in the middle of a show to let others know it was on then hang up. "Motown 25" is possibly one of the most memorable television musical moments of our lives. Thank you forever Suzanne DePasse and the other producers. "Motown 25" is still one of the best televised music tributes in history.
And although many of us know MJ was not the first to "moonwalk", when he did it in this performance he made the move his own. And now having seen this performance "50-11" times my response is just as passionate as it was in the 80s--though now I'm more prone to curse when excited. Forgive me cause I'm gonna say it how I REALLY feel it. That motherf#*&^k OWNED the damn stage! And I say motherf#*&^k in the most loving way! Lol. No damn body in their right nor left mind would choose to perform AFTER Michael. After Mike did his thing on stage, you could have said the benediction, rolled the credits, or whatever you do to signify the end. The show was over!
And then near the end of the 80's, the Jackson little sister showed the world why you never underestimate a Jackson born of a strong union of Katherine and Joseph. Janet Jackson created a genre of music performance that now we take for granted when Beyonce, Britney, Rihanna, Ciara--and the list goes on--take stage. This performance laid the foundation for them all.
And this next video proved once again broke a musical mold. By the late 80's watching MTV and BET had become a favorite pass time. Remember when we used to watch our favorite videos, record them on VHS, them study them so when we were at the party we could break out the choreography or perform it in talent shows? Errbody watching new where the dance steps originated from despite what you were dancing too. This video and the dance moves featured in it, literally took things to a whole 'nother level.
So is that then end? No! Only the beginning musically but for this blog post I'mma end it now. Considering the Jackson clan ruled this post, I have to include some of my other favorites from the 80s. So check back Friday for a new post of Black Music Month.
Monday, June 15, 2009
In her newest role, Jada gives audiences another every day "she-ro" as Christina Hawthorne, Chief Nursing Officer, at Richmond Trinity Hospital. While passionate about helping others Hawthorne finds she may herself need help as she tries balancing the stresses of career and motherhood.
Here's excerpts from an interview conducted with Rachel Cicurel with Oprah.com about the new show, her role, and what she hopes audiences get from the show.
RC: How do you separate being an executive producer of HawthoRNe from being an actress?
JPS: You literally have to just switch hats. You know, when I'm on screen, I listen to the director and I listen to the producers when they have notes for me as an actress. "You've got to try this; you've got to do that." I come off of the set and I go into the video room, and then we have discussions as an executive producer. I go, '"Okay, I feel like we need to move this scene here and there." Literally, you have to take one hat off, and just understand- you have to listen to people and be very aware. It's like okay, if your director comes to you and says, "Jada, I need you to try this emotion in this scene," now I'm an actress taking a note from my director. And so really you just have to have a level of awareness and openness. And, you just have to be very fluid and you just have to know when and where to take and put on those two different hats. That's the best way that I can describe it.
RC: What drew you to this specific medical drama?
JPS: I really loved the project. I loved the script, and I really loved the idea of showing an ensemble of everyday people who do extraordinary things for people that they don't know. And I felt like in these next few years, we are going to, as Americans, reach for our internal heroes to endure the years that are to come, and I really felt like this show could inspire in that way.
RC: Were you able to draw on your mother's nursing history as inspiration for Christina's character?
Jada Pinkett Smith: I pretty much used my mother's über problem-solving skills. She is a woman that's quick on her feet, very organized and very dependable and trustworthy, and so I definitely used those qualities for Christina.
RC: What can we look forward to in HawthoRNe?
JPS: I think HawthoRNe is a really heartfelt show, and I'm hoping that people are looking for a place that they can laugh and cry, because it's a dramedy. So I'm hoping that people will see it as such.
Visit Oprah.com HERE for the full interview. "HawthoRNe" debuts TONIGHT 9/8c so set your DVR! Tell some folk, share this blog post with friends and fam. Here's a sneek peek!
First up, the 70s: Music the older kids and my parents introduced me to, back when a diaper was my only fashion statement. Afro's, platform shoes, bell bottoms, big, fly away collars and 45's on the record player. Lawd! I wish those days could musically come back once more!
Caught my grandmother doing her sexy senior citizen dance to that one! And witnessed my mother doing her own Buckhead Bounce before we reinvented with a name 20 years later to the next one!
KC and The Sunshine Band! Timberlake and sexy Alan Thicke combined don't have the funk KC did then. Timeless music! Timeless performances! Really, when was the last time you saw a horn section straight groove like that?
Whoops, I almost forgot! Can't end the 70's without Don Cornelius and the Soul Train. Brought to you by Soft Sheen and Ultra Sheen Cosmetics. Love, Peace, & Soul! I could watch these old school videos all day.
On Wednesday, the 80's!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
So here's six reasons why Black Hollywood needs to be blogging and social networking:
Black owned publications like "Ebony" and "Jet" that cater to our need for quality coverage of Black celebrity and entertainment news may soon be gone. "Essence" has been doing it's thing online for years now thanks probably to its AOL/TimeWarner ownership. But Johnson publications got into the online game late with "Ebony" and "Jet" and now is facing bankruptcy.
For generations we've taken it for granted that these iconic publications would always be around. So accustomed to reading them for free in our cultural hangouts, we forgot BUYING them kept them printing. Consequently, getting a mention or cover story in these publications can't be taken for granted by Black Hollywood anymore because they may not exit.
*Singing* "You don't what you've got til it's gone."
The mess permeating the net from gossip sites must be balanced with something more substantial. Actress Gabrielle Union recently threatened to spank one particular site's ass in court since it refused to remove false information about her from its site. Get 'em Gabby!
Admittedly, we all dabble in some form of gossip, but to use it as our main source of information about Black Hollywood or anyone in general is ignorant. Other viable alternatives for black celebrity online must be created. Which reminds me....
CELEBRITY WEB SITE/BLOG MANAGERS... By linking to gossip sites you increase their prominence and page rank instead of your own. If they don't often link back to you, drop' em! Learn how SEO and page rank works.
Think E! and "Access Hollywood" will fulfill our need for black celebrity news? No diss to them, but truthfully, unless you're on their "mainstream" A-list they're not covering your event nor the story detailed in that press release you so eagerly sent. And if you thought BET was coming...no diss to them either, but we all know news is not its focus and turn around time for those celebrity driven shows is long. It's the nature of the beast called "production".
*Shouting like Fishburne in "School Daze"* WAKE UP!!!
Blogs, websites, and social networking are now tools of publicity and immediate feedback from fans. Magazines and newspapers can't get a story on the shelves or published to the masses faster than a blogger or website manager can upload it to the internet. And tv news coverage is overly filtered before it makes it to air. So the angle of the story a publicist presents may be changed--and not all the time for the good.
Understandably, the push is for media coverage from outlets with the biggest audience. But even the major media outlets now rely on blogs and websites for information. They don't often credit us as sources, but if the info is from the official celebrity website or blog they do, which makes what they report more credible.
"Branding" is the not-so-new buzz word online. An online identity is crucial and a celeb's image, logo, music, whatever that identifies them as them must be consistent online. So, if well established names/brands like Oprah, Jet Blue, Starbucks, P.Diddy are using social networking why shouldn't those that need it most use it to upgrade their celebrity game?
The social tools not only promotes the brand, but also provide opportunities to share the celebrity's perspective. At the end of the day when entertainers take off the cloak of celebrity, they're generally just regular people with high profile jobs. Social networking and blogging can be used to allow fans and followers to see the whole person. The only person controlling how much and how long it's shared is the individual.
Creating a dialogue with fans online whether through social tools utimately helps increase sales at box offices, ticketmaster, and Itunes. They can also be used to get immediate feedback on new material. Fans like to know their opinions matter and what better way to illustrate that by asking for comments AND responding to them.
Too often Black celebrity fundraisers and philanthropy is only heard about it in tight Hollywood circles and thus the info is limited to those "in the know". These social tools help to further get the word out and raise money. Facebook is especially equipped to to do that. Remember, too that Obama funded his campaign by asking for $5 dollar contributions via social tools.
Got a product to sell? Or maybe a certain entertainer has a relatable side hustle. All of which can be promoted and sold for potentially nothing through a blog, website, and social networking for a profit.
I've got more reasons, but this blog has gotten too long. Want to know more hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. I've become a Twitter junkie so I'll definitely receive your message and respond.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
In "The Taking Of Pelham 123" Walter Garber's (Denzel Washington) day as a New York City subway dispatcher was going pretty regularly until he noticed train, Pelham 123, go off course. Then when an angry, clever man threatens to kill the train's passengers unless he receives 10 million dollars in an hour, Garber is certain his day--to put it mildly--is shot to hell.
The intelligent mastermind behind the hijacking calls himself Ryder (John Travolta). Mad at the world, and especially the city of New York, Ryder is definitely one criminal not to play with. First he demands that no one talk to him but Ryder, then proves his threat is real by killing the conductor. In response, city officials turn New York City upside down in their rush to meet the rest of his demands and save the lives of the passengers left.
A remake of the 70's television classic, this cinematic upgrade is not so much a film of flying bullets, car crashes, and runaway trains, as much as it is a story of give and take between two very different men: a family man and city employee and a smart, dangerous criminal who's more than he appears to be. Listen to what director, Tony Scott, has to say about Denzel's and John's unique roles in the film.
Another underlying story of the film is a redemptive one. But how far should a man go to regain his self respect and that of his peers? Follow-through is a great quality to have but is it really worth sacrificing your life? "The Taking Of Pelham 123" rides this story element out to a climactic end.
Though the film revolves around the interaction between Garber and Ryder, is not without some great high actions scenes that literally made us jump in our seats during our screening. Having never seen the original, I have to say this 2009 version has enough action, suspense, and speed to satisfy the masses. Also too are great performances from some surprising familiar faces including: Gbenga Akinnagbe ("The Wire"), Tonye Patano ("Weeds"), and Aunjanue Ellis ("The Express")
"The Taking of Pelham 123" hits theaters THIS FRIDAY. Check the film's website for more info.
Monday, June 08, 2009
Below is host, Dana Hanna and yes, ME, having some fun on camera as the event comes to a close. To learn more about HBFF and festival winners check out Hbff.org.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Thanks to technology provided by Livestream.com, formerly Mogulus, we were able to bring the energy of opening night right to you. Several andChatters from Twitter and other curious viewers were able to ask us questions directly as the we talked to people at the event. So if you missed this historical internet event check it out below.
I've posted it twice just in case you can't view one or the other. After viewing check out my Livestream channel HERE for more vides.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Face down, ass up that's the way we like to do the 2009 MTV Movie Awards! What the &*%^! If you missed the live broadcast of the show then you missed this surprising stunt that resulted in "Borat" actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Eminem getting real acquainted with each other. And based on the above picture, the outspoken rapper and the outrageous actor had at least 69 things in common.
It's now the morning after and blogsphere is going to help viewers and readers relive the cozy Eminem and moment for the rest of the week at least. Which brings me to this question? Was it a stunt or an unrehearsed snafu? Based on the video below, I say stunt. Why? First, I've worked an MTV Movie Awards Show before and show producers go all out for big laughs, ratings, after-the-show publicity, and of course heavy internet traffic to the network website.
Secondly, anger management classes must really be working 'cause I don't necessarily see the "outrage" or the "storming out" of the theater that has been quoted around blogsphere. In the YouTube provided clip below notice how Eminem and his boys calmly walk out of the venue and the camera is just ready to catch the exit.
From a tv director's stand point (yes, I've done some of that too) you rely totally on the camera operators to show you the action. It's interesting to me that a camera would be that far back in the darkened audience to conveniently catch Eminem's exit. None of the celebs sit that far back. But, it's quite possible that camera was stationed there earlier to catch something else considering the show producers can use any of part of theater they want.
And another point, if you saw a half naked man--not of your own choosing--or his ass about to descend on your head would you sit and wait for it to land in your face? Live tv show or not, HELL TO THE NAW! Still, if the thing wasn't staged, I find it interesting too that considering all the crazy antics and crap he raps about other celebrities, Eminem finally got served a bit of his own medicine. Think he'll parody the incident in his next video?