As I am inspired to title this entry after the now-famous lyric from Kelly Rowland's summer hit "Like This" (www.kellyrowlandonline.com/), I'm watching her perform via TIVO on "The View" (www.abc.go.com/daytime/theview/) after being chatted up by Elisabeth and guest co-host, actress Debi Mazar, who is Madonna's good buddy and former makeup artist. I'm reminded of how much I love this song and I'm thankful that Kelly has proven she can turn in an "in-tune" performance of this song on the heels of her slightly-off-kilt rendering of the go-go-tinged jam at the BET Awards.
Actually, I have been bumping like this all week. And really enjoying my summer so far. Last Saturday, socialites Randall Isaac and co-hosts of "the & show" Nathan Seven Scott (www.the7magazine.com) and Jared Shuler (www.youtube.com/theandshow) hosted a party at The Johnny Gentry Loft near Bryant Park in Manhattan. Anthony and I had a good time, though we spent the first hour of our time at this set stuck in an elevator with eight other brothers. Initially, it was cute. Two minutes later, claustrophobia kicked in. Five minutes later, someone thought to push the alarms and do all we could vis-a-vis the elevator phone; blackberries; cell phones; etc. to get help. Ten minutes later, we were all soaked as if we'd been in a pool. Fifteen minutes later until we were rescued by the firemen, what happened in the elevator will just have to stay in the elevator. Randall, Nathan, and Jared were gracious, once we all made it into the party. We danced - to Kelly Rowland -and saw all of our usual suspects at these "boyz" events. Anthony stumbled into some old friends. And I saw some surprises, including my Morehouse brother Dexter, who I had just seen at my 15-year-reunion from Morehouse. It was nice to introduce him to Anthony as he'd heard a lot about him.
On Monday, my friend Theo, a publicist extraordinaire, hipped me to a set at HONEY, a cute little lounge on 14th Street (across from where Nell's used to be). It was a birthday party for a young lady who works for Honey Magazine (www.honeymag.com/), the on-line destination for multi-cultural females, who love all things fashion, beauty, and pop culture. Many of the fashionistas came out to play and I really enjoyed meeting many of them. Theo introduced me to his friends Tanisha Blakely from "New York" Magazine (www.nymag.com/) and Aleatrice Dixson, a freelance reporter for Men's Fitness magazine (www.mensfitness.com/). They generously shared their appetizers of pizza, wings, and shrimp. Then, I met (for the first time) Natasha Aarons who heads up video promotions at Jive Records (www.zombalabelgroup.com/). She and I have communicated via e-mail for over a year, but have never met. She is the cousin of my good girlfriend and "Amazing Grace" Audrey Irvine, who I've referenced here in the BLOG before (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/4/24/on-the-road-again-and-again-and-again.html) and (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/2/18/my-funny-and-diverse-valentine.html).
Also, I ran into Whitney Cunningham, one of the contestants on Cycle 8 of "America's Next Top Model" (www.cwtv.com/shows/americas-next-top-model). On the heels of her elimination, the plus-sized cutie went back to Dartmouth (www.dartmouth.edu/) to graduate and says she's just moved to New York City to start her career. Where that will lead? She is open. My hunch is she will be using her personality as she's got lots of charisma, but ivy-league seasoned Whitney must carve out her own niche as Cycle 3's full-figured fashionista Toccara (www.toccarajones.net/) and her down-home brand have made her a BET and Manhattan favorite (www.bet.com/takethecake_hosts.htm), especially since she is poised to co-host a live, one-hour, late night game show called "Take The Cake" on BET, starting this summer. Clearly, there's room for them both in the industry. Theo also introduced me to a flamboyant, extra-stylish socialite in the mix, Celebrity Styleaholic Najwa (www.styleaholics.blogspot.com/) who is doing her thing on behalf of pop culture and fashion. Check out this pic.
Then, one of the industry players I've gotten to know a bit over the last year, Ra-Fael Blanco (www.myspace.com/2rsentertainmentandmedia), walked in with three of his clients: TWEETIE, host of MTV's "Dances From Tha Hood" (dancesfromthahood.mtv.com/). She too personally taught Gayle King how to hip hop dance in the class she teaches at Alvin Ailey Dance Company (www.alvinailey.org). Alongside her was SMOOV, dancer/choreographer and co-host of MTV's "Dances From Tha Hood". And if that wasn't enough, MIGUEL PERDOMO was in the house. He is the cover model for the current BLEU Magazine, also Ra-Fael's client. (www.thebleumag.com). He is the new face of SEAN JOHN and has been labeled the first Dominican Male supermodel. And though it's obvious that he is HOT, he too is warm and as nice as you would want someone that FINE to be. (I'LL SAY NO MORE <wiping off the sweat from my brow and other places>).
Imagine my surprise when we ran into Ra-Fael, Tweetie, and Smoov the following night at SPLASH (www.splashbar.com). Anthony had been telling me about this new dance Aunt Jackie - even showing me how it's done on YOU TUBE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o7wJYW3fXU). While we enthusiastically re-acquainted (and I introduced Anthony to Tweetie and Smoov), Tweetie went on to give me the lesson in "Aunt Jackie" and - HOT OFF THE PRESS - THE TAMBORINE (a la EVE - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxUS6URbbOY ). We had a good ol' time dancing and enjoying the music. Tweetie even graciously invited Anthony and me to join her on Mondays for her hip hop class. I think we're going this Monday. WATCH OUT! Y'all know I've always been told I have the lines of a dancer and you know that Gene Anthony Ray is one of my muses from childhood via his run in "Fame" - the movie and the TV show (www.fast-rewind.com/fame.htm). As a child, I'd high kick towards our high-ceilings, mimmicking what I saw "Leroy" and Debbie Allen do on the screen. Those inspired moments made me ask my parents if I could take dance. Instead, I was told to "stop flouncing around the house" and get those thoughts out of my head. Via music theater and chorus, I found more socially-acceptable (to them) ways to express my talents. But I'm sure I could have been a dancer. Then, I would really be exclaiming: "Y'all didn't think that I could bump like this...".
Also in the house (or at the door), Miss Erica Watson, who is featured in J. Maurice Jamal's "Dirty Laundry" of which I've shouted out here in the BLOG many times. (www.dirtylaundrythemovie.com/) She is one to watch - comedienne, actress, producer, director, writer, and the consummate "Amazing Grace" to the many gay men out there. She's always a joy and Anthony took a pic of us at SPLASH.
Speaking of folks who are doing their thing, I want to shout out MO'NIQUE, who seems to be the HOSTESS with the MOST-EST these days. Her encore run as host of the BET Awards was generally well received (www.bet.com/Site+Management/Packages/beta.htm). Though I ignored the first five or so weeks of "Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School" (www.vh1.com/shows/dyn/charm_school/series.jhtml), a marathon just sucked me in and had me at my "heart" through to its season finale and reunion. I ADORED the role MONIQUE performed --- humbly and with lots of humor. CONGRATS to SAPPHYRE, who truly deserved the $50,000 and seems to be on her way to A NEW LIFE! ALSO, MO'NIQUE is poised to host Oxygen's MONIQUE'S FAT CHANCE (www.oxygen.com/monique/) is coming down the pike from Paris later this month. And though my book project "Big Willies & Amazing Graces: gay men and their best girlfriends" has yet to be picked up, MO'NIQUE was the first to agree to be a part of it and tell the tales of she and her "Big Willie". I look forward to the opportunity to share those tid-bits and those from other CELEBS pending this book's greenlight. KEEP DOIN' YOUR THANG, SISTAH MO'NIQUE!!!!
And one more shout out to my Morehouse Brother Isoul Harris who I always knew was gonna "bump like this...". I've known him for years since being an entertainment editor for Rolling Out Magazine in Atlanta. He is currently an editor for Atlanta Peach Magazine (www.atlantapeach.com/) for which he has done many entertainment stories and covers. He too does freelance stories for People Magazine (www.people.com/). And this week, a story to which he contributed regarding the Chris Benoit Murder-
Suicide is on the cover - his first. CONGRATS ISOUL!
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