Many moments have popped up in the media this week that I feel I need to comment on - albeit briefly.
1. The "OUR WORLD WITH BLACK ENTERPRISE" (hosted by Ed Gordon) -- featuring me as pop culture analyst -- aired this past weekend (www.blackenterprise.com/mediacenter/ourworld.asp). I thought it was going to be the upcoming weekend and would have done a media blast, but the phone began to ring as early as Sunday morning with folks from Savannah who stumbled upon it. My Auntie Mary Lee ("AUNTIE MARY LEE") called to say she spent so much time calling to tell people to watch that she couldn't tell me a word I said during the entire show. Still, those who did watch say I did a good job. The goal is to do more on-camera appearances towards my own project that I will helm. Though my graphic was mis-spelled (It's RILEY), the "OUR WORLD" staff - including my "Amazing Grace" Nichole who was instrumental in this booking - is nothing short of professional and great to work with. Here's to an encore... (Oh! And a REPEAT as I understand this episode will air at some point over the summer). Stay tuned...
2. I've told you folks how I feel about the SOAPS.... CBS SOAPS, to be exact. (HAL IS GONE (AND SO IS LIFE AS WE ONCE KNEW)) and ("FIRST HAL, NOW SALLY..." ). So many changes are happening on "Y&R" ("Young & The Restless"). A month or so ago, Victoria Rowell left the show as the portrayer of the beloved Drucilla, who fell to her "death" after a fight with Phyllis. Now, Phillis' husband on the show Nicholas Newman is dead. He was killed in an accident. Joshua Morrow, the actor, has left the show. (www.cbs.com/daytime/yr/)MEANWHILE, as CBS synergy goes, BOB BARKER is throwing in the towel at 83, after hosting "THE PRICE IS RIGHT" for the last 35 years. (www.cbs.com/daytime/price/) ) My sister reminded me that Bob Barker was our wake-up call during the summer months when we got to sleep late. Basically, if we weren't up before 11:00 A-M, the sound of "The Price Is Right" (and its bells & whistles) would awake us because Dad would have the TV so loud as it was his favorite show. Or, if we snoozed through that, you could always count on a LOUD YELL when someone bid in a manner that he didn't find acceptable. The whine and subsequent advisement that would come from Dad's mouth (to the 'dumb person' in the TV) would sound so loudly, we knew it was between 11 and NOON, and we should get on up.... to get showered, dressed, have breakfast, and in front of the TV by 12:30 for.... "YOUNG & THE RESTLESS". SUMMER CAMP, what?
3. Did you see that "UGLY BETTY" Season finale?(www.abc.go.com/primetime/uglybetty/index.html). What about "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES"? (www.abc.go.com/primetime/desperate/) ABC did well to keep me reaching for the Kleenex and cliff-hung... between those two shows. Can't wait for next season.
4. Well, MELINDA has been eliminated from "American Idol"(www.americanidol.com/). I'm glad America didn't "age" her out earlier as she was truly a consistent contender who delivered everytime. Still, I felt like JORDIN's talent and youth would reign supreme and the young girls (and boys) of America would connect to BLAKE's youthful demeanor as the only 'stud' (loosely used) left. And as "America's Next Top Model" goes, I hear (as I've not seen it yet, but will watch on the computer later) that Jaslene is our current victor (or victoria). Good for her. Anyone who is raised by a "pack of drag queens" is okay in my book.
5. It was five years ago about this time. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes died in a fatal car crash. A handful of years later, VH-1 brings us "The Last Days of Left Eye", a haunting documentary that plays Lisa's life, but most pointedly, her last month out in the film from the very footage she was shooting for this project she envisioned. Anthony and I watched it the other night and are still haunted by the reality that we saw everything from the anticipation around her trip to Honduras (Central America) to the final seconds in her car (with her protegees Egypt) as she drove the car off the road. She was there on a 30-day pilgrimage for spiritual and physical healing, and we get to watch that process - during which she reflected on her life and career, sharing details about her father and all of the drama that followed her after she became a member of the most successful R&B trio in the history of music. I had the chance to know TLC in the early-'90s as their careers launched alongside my post-Morehouse career at "Good Day Atlanta". I did a lot of pitching to clueless newsroom management to get the girls some of their first coverage. By the time, Lisa burned down Andre Rison's home, we were armored to cover the story and know what a TLC was and who its members were. I even got an exclusive interview with the ladies - promoting their sophomore project - "CrazySexyCool" - just before I left Atlanta. I remember getting to LaFace Records' office and setting up. Eventually, Chilli and T-Boz made their way in... through make-up... etc. And as the countdown ticked for our start time, Left Eye had still not arrived. We decided to start the interview without her... and who showed up into the 3rd question? Left Eye. She popped in to frame and proceeded to weigh-into their banter... on the TLC tip. They were gracious and warm. Chilli (Rozanda) - to this day - is still very kind and excited when she's me out and about (rare occasions that we're both under the same room). Though I had completed production on the piece, I had left town before it aired. Given this just-released documentary, Left Eye knows something about that.
6. DIANA ROSS wrapped up her mostly sold-out European tour in Paris last night. City by city and country by country - from Rotterdam to London - she has been delivering and receiving "beaucoup" praise for her talents. It's no surprise that the legendary songstress is being honored next month with BET's
Lifetime Achievement Award (www.bet.com/). "Diana Ross' impact on the cultural landscape is almost impossible to measure. Her achievements as an artist extend across the medium and
decades," said Reginald Hudlin, President of Entertainment, BET Networks. And that influence continues to show up in the form of "DREAMGIRLS", the DVD of which I finally got to see. Anthony and I were pleased to see our friend Peanut, who has choreographed some of Beyonce's videos and concerts. On one of the showstopper features on the DVD, you get to see Peanut and her colleagues do "visualization sequences" for all of the "DREAMGIRLS" performances that are now legendary. Well, it required that Peanut and the ladies block all of that 'fabulousness' out before the movie's stars could execute it. Peanut - at times - was Effie and in other sequences - Deena. She was wonderful in all roles. We had a chance to meet her through Khalid some weeks ago ("SUCCESS IS NOTHING WITHOUT SOMEONE YOU LOVE TO SHARE IT WITH..." ). She too is featured - IN YELLOW - in Beyonce's "Freak 'em Dress" video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI41y53-J2I) and she's a powerful and generously-talented energy. ALSO, as ROSS' influence goes, MARY J. BLIGE is featured on the cover (and inside the pages) of this month's ESSENCE in a layout that pays direct homage to DIANA ROSS and "MAHOGANY". She looks beautiful and - like Beyonce in "DREAMGIRLS" - takes the template DIANA set and WORKS IT. YES, THEY ALL ARE STANDING ON DIANA'S SHOULDERS!!!! And as MISS ROSS continues to TAKE IT HIGHER, it's clear they are not heavy. This, while Diana's "MAHOGANY" DVD continues to fly off the shelves (Mahogany Dvd - Amazon.com) and fans continue to say "I LOVE YOU" to DIANA by buying her current CD (www.dianaross.com/) featuring a title with the exact same sentiment.
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