I was so excited this weekend when Ern's and my friend Latecia (Tish) who I've known since 7th grade (from our days in Savannah, Georgia) was coming to town. She and Ern go back to 4th grade. With that, we three were a part of a clicque that included Natalie, Cres, Bernadette, Lanette, Tonja, Reggie, Kevin, and others. And we stayed in touch over these years, Natalie, Tish, and I attending college together - Spelman and Morehouse respectively. Tish now lives in DC and decided to pop up and spend some time with us. Moreover, she wanted the chance to meet Anthony and not only meet him, but in all of our years of exchanging stories across the miles, she was excited to even see what a man looks like on me. She had not met any of the others, though she did come up here to be with me after Kodjoe's passing in early 2005. With that, we chose Cafeteria as our brunch spot (www.cafeteriagroup.com). Also, Tata's new man Jewels was getting his opportunity to meet my Anthony for the first time. We had a lot of fun over eggs, bacon, a number of other goodies (including the "liquid lunch" portion of the afternoon).
While dining, I was excited to see my friend Lola Ogunnaike who I had just read is joining CNN' American Morning. I know Lola through my work in the New York Association of Black Journalists and the National association as well. She and I are somewhat kindred in that she is an Entertainment, Pop Culture Correspondent who has represented some awesome brands in her career - namely as culture reporter for "The New York Times". She started Tuesday and - like her fill-in time on "The View" - she should compliment the chemistry while giving it some edge and style. She's also written for VIBE, Rolling Stone, New York, Glamour, Details, Nylon, The New York Observer, and V Magazines. She's also made regular guest appearances on CNN as well as "Today" Show, MTV, and VH-1. Lola received her master's in fine arts degree in journalism from NYU and a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Virginia.
As I look to be a presence on someone's air --- in this way --- I celebrate Lola for opening yet another door for us journalists of color in the entertainment/pop culture realm.
After brunch, Tish, Ern, Anthony, and I did another round of karaoke (I'd forgotten how lovely Tish and her singing tones are. We blend to perfection. Just wish they had Diana's "Stranger in Paradise" from her "Red Hot Rhythm & Blues" Album (from 1987/RCA) - so we could really walk down memory lane. From there, Tish and Ern dropped Anthony and I off to Anthony's best bud Lonni's home for a lovely dinner in Inwood. At one point, we sat on the roof and were an audience with the stars. It was a great day!
Anthony and I had another great day recently as we enjoyed a meal at our favorite healthy Asian cuisine spot Ginger (www.gingerexpress.com). While dining, we were joined by my friend and stylist from N, Jamar and a surprise of all surprises: my dear friend and Georgia homeboy Ken Roberson who is the choreographer of the Tony-award-winning "Avenue Q" (www.avenueq.com), which is getting ready to start its road tour on the West Coast. Ken and I hung a little a few years back and he - from the day we met to now - is just always joyful, fun, and a hoot. What can I say? On the night we met, we were at an open-mic in the King Kong room at "The Supper Club". We soon found out we had Georgia in common (He Athens; Me Savannah). From there, he learned singing was a sidelight of mine and put me on the bill to sing in front of a room of impressive recording artists and R&B singers. I threw caution to the wind and did a - let them tell it - "winning" rendition of "Wind Beneath My Wings". Also, I've been invited and have escorted Ken to some great events including one gala a couple of years ago when he was honored by the New Professional Theatre - NPT - www.newprofessionaltheatre.org/ . NPT is a 501c3 non-profit organization that survives on pledges from foundations, corporations, and individual giving. Some foundations that have funded them include The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Carnival Cruise Foundation, and Bloomberg, etc. But there are always needs for the ARTS to stay alive... and they really are doing great work in launching new plays for the stage. (In fact, I just ran into Sheila Kay Davis - Founder/Artistic Director of New Professional Theatre. As I celebrated my 15 years since Morehouse, she was right across the street celebrating her 30 years since Spelman. (NO BLACK IS NOT CRACKING!!! With that, she shared some of the NPT plans for the future... and you don't want to miss being a part!)
ALL OF THAT SAID, Ken joined us. He had not met Anthony and has been quite busy since we were last together at his 50th Birthday party - also a couple of years ago. He looks amazing and would go on to invite Anthony and me to his place. We even took pix. And I have pix of us from his big party a couple of years back. After dinner, he hosted Anthony and me at his new Harlem apartment which is nothing short of gorgeous and inspiring to Anthony and me as we look at improving on our New Jersey space towards buying a New York City place. As Ken sat with us and inspired us - as he called us "his nephews" - we got the chance to be inspired by his journey, which continues to take an impressive course. He's choreographing "Women of Brewster Place", the stage play debuting in Atlanta's Alliance Theater (www.alliancetheatre.org/), where we recently saw Dawnn Lewis in "Sister Act". Also, he's choreographing "Ray Charles Live!" at the Pasadena Playhouse (www.pasadenaplayhouse.org/). Ken, too, choreographed the 'fish fry' scene in this much-celebrated HBO Film (www.hbo.com/films/lackawannablues/).
In the spirit of what Ken's work is and in anticipation of the "Tony Awards" (www.tonyawards.com/), my friends Sean Hollingsworth and Kevin-Anthony are introducing yet another great (www.b2productions.xbuild.com/) "Tony Awards" Viewing Party. My favorite "Jackie Washington" Jennifer Lewis (from "Jackie's Back" and many other great films and TV appearances) is co-hosting the affair. (Last year, the "original" Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday hosted as they honored "Dreamgirls'" 25th Anniversary and I scripted the event). The "3rd Annual Black 2: Broadway Celebrates the Tony Awards" is scheduled to take place Sunday, June 10th, 2007 at B.B. King Blues Club in Times Square and MTV News Correspondent "SWAY" is co-hosting. Also, Freddie Jackson will sing.
Honorees for the evening are; the original Broadway Cast of "THE WIZ". Scheduled to be on hand are; "ANDRE DESHIELDS, CLARICE TAYLOR, HOWARD PORTER, BEN HARNEY" and our 2007 Living Legend recipient, "GEORGE FAISON". Broadway Publicist/Producer "MS. IRENE GANDY" will receive the Vanguard Award. Ms. Gandy's body of work is amazing, with 11 Tony Nominations for "Spring Awakening", and 4 Nominations for "Radio Golf" this year alone, she has been at the forefront of theater.
And MISS "Tamara Tunie" is making Broadway history by being the first African American Female Producer to have not only two Broadway Shows on The Great White Way, but two Multiple Tony Nominated shows on Broadway at the same time (Spring Awakening & Radio Golf). I had the chance to talk to her about this during Black History Month (at MTV) before both shows opened. () Clearly, we will be rooting her on... Tickets may be purchased at The B.B. King Blues Club box office or at (www.theatermania.com).
$75.00 in advance
$85.00 at the door day of event.
Admission includes: Live entertainment, big screen viewing, hors d'oeuvres, buffett, dessert, coffee & more!
A portion of our proceeds will benefit "The Black Aids Institute". (www.blackaids.org/)
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