Ant and I got the chance to experience “The View” LIVE yesterday. Though I’ve seen the show LIVE before with two of my muses in pop culture and possibilities – once with Diana Ross (promoting her TV movie with Brandy “Double Platinum” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sX7cO9rgcqs) and another time with new-age guru Marianne Williamson (www.marianne.com/), we got word that my alma mater Morehouse College’s first White valedictorian Joshua Packwood would be appearing.(You recall me meeting Josh during his CBS “Early Show” appearance a couple of weeks back - http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/5/20/a-reversal-of-mendacity.html) And since Ant and I have been saying that we wanted to see the new roster (with Whoopi and Sherri Shephard), we thought “Let’s kill two birds with one stone” and go to “The View”. I made a call to friend Natalie Bubnis, who is an associate producer at the show, to see if we could get a couple of tix. She graciously provided them (though in the 11th hour). That meant Ant and I would have something to do after we took my nephew Herman to his first day on the job (his HBO internship). Up at 5:30 am. Out by 7:00 am. Short walk from New York City’s Port Authority. Then, a little breakfast. And like taking my own child to kindergarten for the first day, we dropped Josh's fellow Morehouse Man “Noot” (I call him - a junior) off to his summer job. From there, we made our way up to “The View” and uncovered that we would be able to take pix between commercials. It was a day of “Real life HOT TOPICS”. Josh was ever the articulate Morehouse Man (as he’s been through this whole blitz). He spoke to Whoopi, Joy, Sherri, and Elizabeth about the commencement speech he gave (http://www.morehouse.edu/events/commencement/video/grad1.wmv). He further spoke about his background and how Morehouse was more of a natural choice (even though he’s White) than meets the eye. In a nutshell, he made us proud to call ourselves Morehouse Man (yet again).
Quick aside regarding Morehouse and a recent Los Angeles Times (www.latimes.com/) article re: the climate around homosexuality at Morehouse (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-morehouse22-2008may22,0,1504077.story). Though unrelated to Josh, this story is just as connected to the progressiveness required of a Morehouse Man and a nation of forward thinking people (according to me, but also Morehouse’s President Robert Franklin, who points out in his May report to alums that this story and conversation is “…evidence of our commitment to embrace diversity and as a compliment to our strength and stature as the nation turns to us to see how we face this often difficult topic …”). Brought to my attention by a Morehouse brother’s wife Tracey Clarke Washington, she too made sure I was updated on my good friend Korey Washington’s latest (He’s a big production designer in stage, TV, and film). He recently finished a movie with my other Morehouse brother Rockmond Dunbar (www.rockmonddunbar.com/). It is Rockmond’s directorial debut starring Sallie Richardson. Korey was the production designer. The movie he did last year, "The Lena Baker Story," was recently screened at Cannes Film Festival (www.festival-cannes.fr/). They are hoping it will get picked up for distribution. It was screened here at the Atlanta Film Festival back in April (www.atlantafilmfestival.com/) and Korey was part of a panel that discussed the film. It is based on a true story of Lena Baker, the first black woman who was sentenced to death and executed in Georgia. Tichina Arnold has the lead role.
Back to THE VIEW for a minute: Ant and I got the chance to see our girlfriend Natalie (Thanks again!). During commercial breaks, we got the chance to ask Whoopi about her role as lead producer in Broadway’s play-with-music (starring India.Arie) “For Colored Girls…” (due out this fall on The Great White Way). She didn’t know much but assured she was excited to be a part. She said she’s also going to be producing a Broadway piece on ex-patriot contemporary of Josephine Baker/Paris cabaret owner “Bricktop”. Stay tuned. Also, Ant got to ask Sherri Shephard about Miss Janet Jackson whose tour she unofficially announced a couple of weeks ago on the show (www.janet-xone.com/). Ant wondered if Sherri had gotten her tickets as she said she has waited in many-a-line to see Miss Jackson (“… if you’re nasty.”) in concert. Sherri said she hadn’t heard from her yet. (Ironically, as I write this, Miss Jackson just surprised Sherri with a couple of tix. Now, I kinda’ understand the look on Whoopi’s face yesterday after Ant’s question. We’re on the pulse, huh?):
Also, it turns out Janet Jackson was in town to make a special presentation during the Apollo Theater 2008 Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony on Monday in New York City. Smokey Robinson, the 68-year-old Motown legend, was inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame, joining the ranks of Gladys Knight, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald and Little Richard. Also in attendance: Denzel Washington, Terrence Howard, Wanda Sykes, and India.Arie.
As we watched "The View" on TIVO later tonight, we saw that there was a relatively prominent cutaway of Ant and me at the beginning of the show when they cut to the audience as the ladies walk in. We thought it was our little secret, but then our very detail-oriented friend Jason texted us that he saw us as he was doing his late-night decompression of watching "The View" on DVR (like we do). (And apparently he and Marqice don't always get their "View"s in together because Marqice just texted us that he just got a glimpse. SMILE! Love you, guys!).
After we made it through our day – post-View and once Noot was off, we went to workout with Tweety at Alvin Ailey for our hip hop dance class (www.alvinailey.org).
Though Noot has worked his way around a dance floor, he hadn’t taken a class for it. So, he was a little reluctant and thought he might be embarrassed. But he did great! He was further excited that he got a glimpse of Frank Gatson, choreographer of En Vogue, Beyonce, Rihanna, etc.
Another old school diva Regina Belle is back on the charts, but a different one: the gospel charts. I had the chance to co-produce an event for the National Association of Black Journalists (the one that Rene Syler hosted a few years back) featuring entertainment from Regina Belle - client of my industry girlfriends Gwendolyn Quinn and Robin Ryland-Sanders via their firm GQ Media & Public Relations, Inc. Now, Belle is climbing up the charts in Gospel music with her new album “LOVE FOREVER SHINES” - the Grammy winner’s debut CD release for the re-launch of Ruben Rodriguez' Pendulum Records. The CD is executive produced by Ruben Rodriguez, Ray J. Davis and Chris Walker. LOVE FOREVER SHINES features the first single, "God Is Good." The single remains in the Top 5 at gospel radio across the country and Top 5 at R&R. The album is available on www.iTunes.com, www.Amazon.com, and all music retail outlets everywhere. The ringtones for LOVE FOREVER SHINES is also available (text REGINA2A to 30303). For More Information on Regina Belle please visit: www.myspace.com/msreginabelle and www.pendulumrecords.biz. I’ve loved Regina Belle since she debuted years ago. Her current album’s title is inspired by a tune she recorded on her debut project. It’s called “Long After The Love Has Lost Its Shine” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca-eg9cBBZk). I didn’t realize Gladys Knight had first recorded the song, one of my favorites, under the title “Glitter”. Anybody have a copy of that? Please send it my way. Would LOVE to hear it.
My good friend from The New York Association of Black Journalists (www.nyabj.org) and big-time producer at WABC in New York (www.abclocal.go.com/wabc/) Cat Mckenzie hipped me to a friend’s client Alex Castro who stars as MILITIA on the hit show AMERICAN GLADIATORS (www.nbc.com/American_Gladiators/). The publicist had bigger dreams about where Alex’s inspirational story could be told (He’s already been written about in The New York Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/latino/2008/05/09/2008-05-09_alex_castro_the_cuban_gladiator.html). But I thought I’d share some of it here with you. He escaped CUBA over 15 years ago to pursue his dreams in America. He nearly lost his life on a raft with no food for 5 days until the US Marines rescued him. Upon being rescued, he enlisted in the Marines as his way to give thanks for what they did for him. Now, 15 years later, his American dreams are becoming a reality after a five-year stint as a featured performer with Cirque de Sole in Las Vegas and around the world he is known as an AMERICAN GLADIATOR and the first Latino to ever be part of the 20- year franchise. Also, he was just names one of the 50 most beautiful Latinos in Hollywood by People Magazine (www.people.com/).
Industry buddy Kyle Donovan , founder and CEO of NV Magazine (http://www.nvmagazine.com/) is now author of the newly released book, the DO' BEES (www.thedobees.com). Kyle is always working on something new and cutting edge. Donovan, now 35, started his own photography business at the age of 19 years old. By 23, his business had a client list that included the New York Times, Barron's Dow Jones and EMI-Capitol Records, just to name a few. From the profits of a self-taught stock market venture, Kyle launched NV Magazine (New Vision in Business) to become the youngest publisher of a national publication. NV is a glossy, bi-monthly magazine filled with vibrant graphics, powerful photographs and articles about investing, business ownership, financial topics, technology and fashion. CONGRATS KYLE!
Speaking of kids (and in the wake of my new passtime – speaking to youth), my good girlfriend Michelle Hord-White, television exec at ABC News, asked if I’d come and speak to juniors and seniors at Marble Hill High School (http://www.marblehillschool.org/) in the Bronx as part of NYC's "principal for a day" program (www.pencil.org). Marble has a diverse population and focuses on international studies/languages. She recruited me to talk about my career path in part and also charged me to give interviewing and resume tips. I went over the importance of an interview in todays' society; the different skills/pointers involved in a good interview/what the interviewer is looking for i.e. eye contact; dress code; punctuality; vocabulary; FAQ's in an interview; etc. These are some sharp students and I’m excited to see what they will do in their lives and careers.
Arguably “the hardest working man in the business” (I’m busy and continue to be way impressed with him): Nathan Hale Williams (www.nathanhalewilliams.com) whose parties I’ve often written about attending. Additionally, he is doing lots more in TV, film, and print. “Real Life Divas” (www.bet.com/OnTV/BETJShows/reallifedivas/) is a show on BET-J on which he is one of the executive producers. BET J has rolled out six new episodes of its hit original series REAL LIFE DIVAS – starting with an exclusive one-hour episode featuring "editorial queen" Susan L. Taylor. The Spring season will feature an all-new star- studded lineup of beautiful iconic personas including Naomi Campbell, Jill Scott, CeCe Winans, MC Lyte and Sony Records Executive Lisa Ellis. REAL LIFE DIVAS is executive produced by friend Sean Joell Johnson, Crystal McCrary Anthony, Nathan Hale Williams and BET J EVP Paxton K. Baker . The show is in its third season.
The following highlights programming airdates for additional Real Life episodes:
Thursday, June 5 at 10:00 PM, featured diva is CeCe Winans.
Thursday, June 12 at 10:00 PM, featured diva is Lisa Ellis.
*All times are ET/PT
Look out for the fourth season of Real Life Divas and a new series LEADING MEN, which will all debut this Fall!
And as you know, I’ve been talking about “Dirty Laundry” for a long time. Nathan was an executive producer on that project and the film is now available on DVD and On Demand. You can purchase your copy today from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Blockbuster, TLA Video Releasing or Net Flix. And, you can rent the movie On Demand (for a limited time) or at Blockbuster and Netflix. Don't wait...pick up your copy today! Dirty Laundry is a modern day prodigal sun story that stars Rockmond Dunbar, Loretta Devine, Jenifer Lewis, Terri J. Vaughn, Sommore and Maurice Jamal. (www.dirtylaundrythemovie.com/) It was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award and a 2008 GLAAD Award! Check it out today! Tell a friend!
And if that wasn’t enough for Nathan, he has been named the Arts & Entertainment Editor of The Daily Voice. The Daily Voice is an online newspaper that serves as Black America's Daily News Source. Publisher, Malcolm Harris and Editor-In-Chief, Keith Boykin have assembled some of the nation's top African-American scholars, commentators, artists, thinkers, celebrities, athletes and intellectuals to provide Black America with daily news content on everything from politics, entertainment, economics, sports and more. It is considered the premier site for Black news. (http://www.thedailyvoice.com/).
Remember I told you that Ant would be Guest DJ-ing in Brooklyn at Art Land ( www.11211.info/artland.htm )? This, via our good girlfriend Gail who also works at our favorite boutique N Harlem (www.nharlemnewyork.com/) and she too is an artist (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/5/2/just-like-little-children-know-how-they-have-fun.html). Well, next Friday night is the night. Come on out to Art Land if you can. I'll aim to get more details to you before - so you know when to come, other information, etc.
My friend Seitu sent this to me: http://www.kcrw.com/music/programs/pl It’s one of his favorite on-line music shows to which he listens when he is on the west coast. He says the host is one of his favorite people in the whole world… and she has impeccable music and fashion taste. I share here.
I’ve had the chance to collaborate on a project or two with my fellow NABJ friend Linda Villarosa. This, while she was busy working on her debut work of fiction “Passing For Black” (www.lindavillarosa.com/passingforblack.shtml). Well, be sure to pick it up and check it out. She boldly probes the issues of race, desire, sexuality, family, friendship, religion --- and hair. New York Times bestselling author E. Lynn Harris has endorsed it – saying “Passing for Black weaves issues of identity and sexuality into an engaging tale of love, passion, and family”. And now, just in time for summer, you can go on that adventure via Dafina Books. Linda is a freelance writer, popular lecturer, and editor whose work has been seen in “The New York Times”; “Essence”; “Vibe”; etc. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her partner and their two children.
I’ve blogged about him before - http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/7/13/yall-didnt-think-that-i-could-bump-like-this.html: male supermodel Miguel Perdomo made an appearance on the nationally syndicated Tyra Banks Show last Wednesday (www.tyrashow.warnerbros.com/). Tyra spent the hour helping two of her closest glam friends find love. First, she spoke with her stylist and high school friend, Yaniece, and her hair stylist, Oscar, to find out why they haven't met "the one". (Oscar [right side of this pic], by the way, is such a great guy. I've met him times before and have referenced him here in the blog - like in this pic with makeup artist extraordinaire Sam Fine). Then, Tyra introduced each to six sexy, single New York men who are put through a series of challenges; testing everything from their kissing skills to their personal style. Yaniece and Oscar's friends and family, including Jay Manuel from "America's Next Top Model," were on hand to offer advice on which man to choose before Tyra sent them on their first date: http://tyrashow.warnerbros.com/TyraMediaPlayer/player.html?=promos/3161. Sorry fellas who may have been confused by Miguel’s inclusion on hip gay mag Blue magazine, he was a candidate for Yaniece. And ultimately, she chose him. CONGRATS! I wanna hear if you folks had your three dates as Tyra requested. For more information about MIGUEL PERDOMO, add MIGUEL to your friends list at www.myspace.com/MIGUELPERDOMO23.
My good girlfriend/plastic surgeon Dr. Shirley Madhere (www.drshirleymadhere.com/) is featured in “Plastic Surgery Products” this month (www.psp-interactive.com/) – looking amazing to have never herself been under the knife. CONGRATS DR. SHIRLEY!
"... TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO ENJOY YOUR VIEW..."
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A Day In "The Life Of Riley" - Blog - "...TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO ENJOY YOUR VIEW..."