Came into the New Year without Ant as he was still in Denver while I was back home from Savannah in Jersey. But my ride-or-die Ern was free. We hung out at the home of Queenie - a friend of he and Kimberly. Also, Ern and I got another set in at his real estate compadre Cindy's lovely place. Food, fun, and fellowship! What better way to come into 2010!

The next day, Ern, Kim, and I trekked up to The Poconos. We spent quality New-Year's-Day time with our girlfriend Cristal and her mom Sheila. They were hosting a special outing of dinner and cards. Awesome time! I got some sad news that one of our classic, soul food restaurants The Pink Tea Cup (in the Village) was closing... and it is now gone. My cousin-by-marriage Vincent was the longstanding manager there. I will miss The Pink Tea Cup.

At the top of January, I got two, month-long assignments from BET to field produce/write/edit BET's Black History Month campaign and to produce tribute videos for The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies. Working under the Creative Direction of Michaela angela Davis and my Savannah homeboy Maurice Marable (Director), it was a great opportunity. I interviewed a number of celebs at BET Honors which taped in D.C. I chatted up Tischina Arnold, Trey Songz, Ryan Leslie, Jasmyne Sullivan, Gabrielle Union, and a host of others. Ran into my Morehouse brother Khari Simmons, long-standing bass player for India.Arie and son of BET Honors recipient Dr. Ruth Simmons (Brown University President). Ran into dear friends Terri and Alvin Bowles. Always good to see them! Here I pose with one of our First Lady Michelle Obama's hairstylists Johnny Wright.

Also in D.C., we shot with the Howard University band and many of its students and some Duke Ellington School of the Arts students. My Savannah homeboy James Davis (with whom I also went to high school) came by to say HI... and provide me more laughter than a little bit with our reflections of the way life used to be (Oh, life was so simple and funny then! LOL!). I LOVE JAY! He's a Howard grad and teacher in D.C. After the shoot, we tried to eat at The World Famous Florida Ave Grill (but it was closed). Instead, my Brian and Kelli came and took me to dinner before my train back to NJ. We ate at Union Station.

While in New York City, we shot some awesome folks - including Tony-award-winning George Faison, Vy Higginsen (of "Mama I Want to Sing" fame), and Spoonbread's Norma Jean Darden.Also, we captured the talents of "Precious" Gabby's mother Alice who sings gospel-tinged soul in the subways of NYC. Too, I've done some spot assignments from main clients and new clients (including a recent shoot in D.C.). And in the wake of the BET project, I'm going to Miami to interview folks on the red carpet at its telethon for Haiti this weekend.

And I am still pushing the spot on-camera work. Most recently, my pop culture analysis was included in a piece that ran on MSNBC at the top of the year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pYKZBjEx40). Also, I am featured in an Ebony Fashion Fair profile on CUNY-TVs "Independent Sources" in February. And recently got to host a "The Frog & The Princess" preview with Anika Noni-Rose in Tampa for NABJ ( Also, I was asked to weigh in on the use of the term "Negro" in the census (www.thegrio.com). My full reply: Wilona from "Good Times" would check "negro" (circa 1978). LOL! Well, if the census form authors are going to go so far as to include an the archaic term "negro", why not put "colored" on there... just in case someone hadn't graduated from that word usage. I'm just saying... LOL! (I didn't know. Not sure I care. But thinking more thoughtfully about it, it seems that perhaps the census folks want to be as comprehensive and inclusive as possible, hence my joke above about the "coloreds"). The piece that ran: http://www.thegrio.com/2010/01/the-word-negro-in-2010-census-form-offends-some-blacks.php.

* And singing has always been a sidelight (
You'll recall, I recently got thrown into a stretch to sing Diana Ross' "The Boss" for its composers Ashford & Simpson at Gospel Uptown. Didn't quite land in the wake of the spontaneity but I still consider it an AWESOME highlight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbI1qEM_k8k. Ashford & Simpson's enthusiasm (along with crowd) kept me going. SMILE! Stay tuned for more intimate evenings of song... from me. I'm booking some dates for the Spring now.

OUT AND ABOUT * Ant and I always enjoy our karaoke. On this night, we hung out with our friend Cathy on her birthday. She and her crew of 'real housewives of NJ' brought the FUN!

* Far left is Goodman from the legendary Ray, Goodman, and Brown. Next to him is legendary Vaughan Harper of 'Quiet Storm' fame. This too was at Harlem's Gospel Uptown on the day I interviewed several folks for the BET Black History Month campaign!

* Ant and I have spent some fun nights with his 'Wendy' co-workers - from Candice to Merrell to D'Angelo. Candice's birthday just passed and we toasted her accordingly. Merrell had us over to watch "RuPaul's Drag Race".

* Ant and I recently got to see my Spelman sister Bridget Bland ("Harlem Heights") at her cousin and castmate Brianna's purse party at the Maritime Hotel in NYC. This is the line's one year anniversary: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/2/2/we-will-find-a-way.html. Also in attendance: Ant's buddy Mike (Aaron Blaze) and Derrick Briggs along with another of Ant's 'Wendy' co-workers Talia. And a host of other beautiful people were in the house. Also there: my dear friend Kevin-Anthony who booked me to sing for Ashford & Simpson (We're supposed to do another for Haiti soon). After Brianna's purse party, we went to BBQ and I ran into my little Spelman sister (now Columbia U masters candidate) Janelle. So good to see her: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/8/12/this-dream-is-for-all-of-us-this-one-can-be-real.html.

* My friend and Morehouse brother Michael K. Watts surprised me with two of my fav Morehouse brothers Mario and Devon at Tyler Perry's "Madea's Big Happy Family". We had a blast! As I've written, Devon is an actor/singer in his own right. He and I (and Michael) did our own take of 'Gospel play' stage work in "Martin" - a show that used to run annually out of Morehouse's King Chapel. In the piece, I was Martin Luther King Jones and got to sing a wonderful song at the end of the play with music: "Walking In Strange And New Places". In recent years, Devon and I uncovered that we are kindred in the ways of music, divas, and the 70s. Miss Ross and DREAMGIRLS reign SUPREME as our collective muses go. Also, it was fun to see my Spelman sister Bridget Bland and one of Carl Nelson's Associates from his event planning firm Diante... and with Tyler Perry's success in TV and film, it's interesting to see the cross section of demographics in attendance at his staged plays - the first genre he tackled.

* Our theatre marketing diva Marcia Pendelton (Next up: FENCES w/Denzel) invited Ant and me out for an awesome dinner at Gospel Uptown in Harlem. First time eating at the restaurant in the wake of having performed and attended a show or two. Yum!

RANDOMS: I stumbled into some shows I hadn't seen in a minute. On-line, I found myself catching up on some shows I hadn't seen - including Oscar nominee Mo'Nique's show along with new web-i-sode "Buppies" by Tatyana Ali, who is also co-starring in a Martin Lawrence-produced sitcom on TV One's first orginal, scripted program: "Love That Girl".

Also, I stumbled into a marathon of "South Central" (remember that?) with Larenz Tate and Jennifer Lopez. Had never seen it in the '90s. I enjoyed it. Even saw some stars I got to know since - including Marva Hicks; Tasha Scott; and Shar Jackson (who would go on to do "Moesha").

REMAKES: So, an expanded re-release of Diana Ross' hit album "Touch Me In The Morning" is out along with a 25th anniversary edition of Whtiney Houston's debut album. Also, some new folks got together to re-record "We Are The World" (for Haiti). Moreover, there's a cool book I read over the holiday: "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story behind the Song - The Exclusive Personal Stories behind 101 of Your Favorite Songs".


* My dear friend Robin Stone is steering the legacy of her late, great husband Gerald Boyd - also a friend. He passed away a couple of years ago after an amazing career in journalism (making it to the heights of being the highest-ranking African American man at The New York Times). Well, his remarkable American tale "MY TIMES in Black & Whote: Race and Power at The New York Times" is done. Other upcoming events:  http://www.booktour.com/author/robin_d_stone Become a Facebook fan: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1435626294#/pages/GeraldMBoydMyTimes/146984572566?ref=ts and www.mytimesinblackandwhite.com

* My CAU sister Ytasha Womack has a new book "Post Black: How A New Generation is Redefining African American Identity" and Booklist has picked it as a To 10 Black History Reader for the Year! She's coming to town for a book party. Hope to see her.


* My girl Danni Conner's new blog: www.graffititomboy.blogspot.com

* My girl Renea's new gig: www.mobilematters.org

* My girl Tomika who is publicizing DORIS products, which were developed as part of a small home-run business over 35 years ago, but went public last January. DORIS NEW YORK is a hair care company owned and operated by Doris and Marlene Duperley, who are women of color and a mother-and-daughter team based in Queens, New York. Doris, who's the mom, is a long-time hairstylist and salon owner as well as a first generation Jamaican American. Her products are her dream come true.

*WHO IS GARTH VOISIN? Well, my girl Audrey hipped me to who he is. He's an Atlanta-based personal trainer and fitness model. He was recently named the 2009 cover model winner for KRAVE Magazine in Dallas, Texas. The contest featured models from across the country who sought after votes to win the cover. He is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and has been a resident in Atlanta for the past two years. He says he has always had a passion for working out and exercising so he naturally fell into the role of fitness professional. Voisin hopes to continue on the path of modeling, training and teaching youth today that exercise and fitness can be fun. Voisin will be featured on the September edition of KRAVE Magazine. For more information on Garth Voisin, log on to his website at www.gavjourney.com or check out www.kravemagazine.net. You can also see him in Angie Stone's new video: "I Ain't Hearin' You" among others.


Robin Diane Lynn

I am an AUTHENTIC, LOVING, and VULNERABLE MAN! Robin helped me access those ways of being which made way for BEING THE DIFFERENCE - even in the eye of the storm. R.I.P. Robin Lynn!

Eunice Johnson

Roxanna Floyd

I've always been told that makeup artist for the stars - including Miss Ross at LEGENDS - Roxanna Floyd was my cousin some kind of way. She was always such a love and light when we'd run into each other at industry functions. R.I.P.

John Cater

 He used to log my field tapes in Chicago and went on to become an Emmy-award-winning reporter. Then, suddenly, he died at just-over 30. SUCH A GREAT GUY! GONE TOO SOON! But what a DIFFERENCE he was while he was here. RIP JOHN!





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