Good times
These are the good times

So Ant and I wanted Ern’s birthday after set to be at Sugar Lounge in Red Hook, Brooklyn (http://lounge.sugarlounge.com/). But on his night, we went to our regular spot instead. Still, Ant and I popped by to see what their karaoke night is like (on Wednesdays). I performed my Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” for the new audience. Surely, Ant and I will go back. Join us sometime. Afterwards, we went to SPLASH to toast our friend Nathan Hale Williams for his birthday. Of course, he has more than a birthday to celebrate of late. 2010 is off to a great start for he and his business partner Crystal McCrary Anthony’s respective companies iN-Hale Entertainment & Crystal McCrary Anthony Productions.  First, their television show, LEADING WOMEN (formerly Real Life Divas) has been nominated for the NAACP IMAGE AWARD (The same category in which I had the luxury of being LAST YEAR as part of a team that produced a Martin Luther King documentary). Awesome to be nominated. Better to win. And better luck next time for us all. The episodes profiling DR. MAYA ANGELOU and INDIA.ARIE got the OUTSTANDING TELEVISION SHOW - NEWS/INFORMATION nod. And Ant, Ern, and I enjoyed the show after going to Red Robin to pick up a snack and coming back to Ern's place for a low-maintenance night in the wake of yet another blizzard.  MEANWHILE, Nathan and Crystal are also currently taping a new docu-series that will air on the SUNDANCE CHANNEL in August.  This time, however, they're in front of the camera.  The new show chronicles their relationship as business partners and friends as they prepare to make their next film, HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE – based on Crystal and Rita Ewing’s groundbreaking and best-selling novel of the same name. This book really is the first to begin to explore NBA Players and their wives/girlfriends.

Leave your cares behind
These are the good times

Ant and I had invites to the INDASHIO fall/winter 2010 “red carpet” collection and were on our way to  NYC hotspot TENJUNE to attend. However, a stop by my girlfriend Sidra’s Harlem place inspired us to spend some quality, down time with her. We decided to pop by our boy Brian Palmer’s restaurant Native for a little bite and we ran into my buddy Patrik-Ian Polk who credits himself a New Yorker now. He’s now a singer for Los-Angeles-based band Fol Chen, which is an art rock/electro-pop band (www.myspace.com/folchen). Plus, he’s writing “Noah’s Arc” spinoff for LOGO right now. Lead characters and couple Noah and Wade move to New York City, prime for new adventures. I love those guys! And they are all so nice!

Good times
These are the good times

Though Ant and I didn’t make the fashion show, Sidra provided us another awesome opportunity to socialize a week or so later: her birthday extravaganza in Harlem. She gathered a group of her favorite folks to eat, drink, sing, and be merry. Several of the performers – including two of my favorites: Anwar Robinson and Gordon Chambers – shared a stage with me a couple of months ago when we all sang for “Ashford & Simpson”... and they turned it out for Miss Sidra.The backdrop was Indigo Arms (www.indigoarms.com) – cute bed and breakfast on Lenox Avenue. And so much LOVE was in the room for Sidra – including Television Personality/Fashion & Lifestyle Correspondent & Host Paul Wharton, who is poised to be a stimulating source of drama on the upcoming “Real Housewives of DC”. www.evolutionlook.com and
. He was such a breath of fresh air. Sid has wanted us to meet for years and now we finally got the chance. And it was also great to see my George Faison who so graciously participated in one of the BET Black History Month campaign spots I produced at The Faison Firehouse (www.faisonfirehouse.org) – dropping historical science as the first African American man to win a Tony in choreography for “The Wiz” in 1975 (ftp://ftp.bet.net/BHMGEORGEFAISONCUT7.wmv). Also in the house: friend of the blog Charlotte Doreen Small (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/12/16/cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof.html) and stage grand dame Ebony JoAnne. Speaking of birthdays, Ant and I got the chance to celebrate with “The Queen of Soul” last year in Detroit (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/3/26/people-say-im-the-life-of-the-party.html). Well, I must mention her cute SNICKERS commercial with Liza Minnelli. Did you see it? Check it out! A HOOT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLrsCnBvQFo.

Our new state of mind
These are the good times

FIRST WEEKENDS (BLACK MOVIES)! My buddy Nate Parker invited Ant, our mutual friend Ike, and me to join him a couple of Fridays ago to see his movie "Blood Done Sign My Name" (http://www.hulu.com/watch/127642/movie-trailers-blood-done-sign-my-name). I tweeted all of you about it. Of course, I talk about Nate Parker all the time in the blog (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/8/31/i-can-do-good-all-by-myself-and-with-someone.html). Met him through his college buddy Ike who has become a dear friend of Ant and mine.  You know him from "Great Debaters". Also, "Secret Life of Bees". In this film, he plays civil rights activist Benjamin Chavis. BE SURE TO CHECK IT OUT! Afterwards, Nate, Ike, their gang of buddies, Ant, and me enjoyed a little snack and drink at BBQ. This, as we toasted yet another strong performance on film from Nate. PROUD OF YOU, NATE! KEEP DOING IT!

Happy days are here again
The time is right

Lots to toast of late: my girl Cynthia's new digs in the suburbs of New York City. At this lovely event, Ant and I got the chance to hang out with my Amazing Grace Nichole and friends Michelle & Nelson’s little boy Ferro. The cutest! Another recent celebration: Sam Fine! He’s our friend... and a great guy all his own. But he is known the world over as the legendary Celebrity Makeup Artist for Great Divas – including Iman and Vanessa Williams who are always BEAT! Right? Well, he’s moving into the head-to-toe territory. He launched Sam Fine by Cavage at Dex Studios. The line is comprised of ballet flats for today’s cosmopolitan woman. And live models were on display in the windows to showcase them. I got the chance to hang out with our boy Theo. Also, my stylist friend Deb Ginyard who you recall worked alongside Ant in helping me style the ladies for my 'first lady fashion show' on CN8's "Your Morning" (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/11/2/hey-i-aint-got-no-money-but-im-rich-on-personality.html) or to see it:  Also, known for Kissable Couture, AJ Crimson. Great to finally meet him (www.kissablecouture.com/).  Lawyer friend Londell McMillan came by as well. the way, CAVAGE shoes are made from the highest-quality raw materials, with the use of refined leathers, Swarovski crystals, and imported fabrics and satin. Furthermore, genuine exotic alligator and snake skins are also used. CAVAGE is one of the few Brazilian companies in this field that owns a special license issued by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources – IBAMA, to manufacture, sell, and export shoes made from exotic animal skins. This, before Ant and I rushed home to see RuPaul's Drag Race and the best our TIVO playlist had to offer.

For makin' friends
Let's get together

Well, I couldn't very well field and story produce 'Monica: Still Standing' (in Atlanta and L.A.) and alert/stalk you to watch on BET each Tuesday of our 12 episode run throughout 2009 and the top of 2K10 and not ALSO share with you the first video off of the upcoming project (my favorite select, i might add). Wearing the late, great Alexander Mcqueen, MISS THANG herself: MONICA with 'EVERYTHING TO ME' (sampling Deniece Williams' 'Silly' and produced by MISSY!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqe93Bct7UU&feature=player_embedded THOUGHTS? On the day this came out, Ant and I – along with his ‘Wendy’ co-worker Tashara – went to Wilhelmina Agency's Hot Body Model Search. Met a cool model Andre Douglas while there. He's as good looking on the outside as he seems on the inside. Some models aren't always the most approachable. But Andre was kind and chatty. One of my NABJ mentors Roy Johnson is Editor-in-Chief at “Men’s Fitness” - one of the editorial sponsors for the contest. I've known him since I was a student in the National Association of Black Journalists and was excited to see him working the room to ensure all clients and partners were having a good time. The next day, I went to see Patti LaBelle at ‘The Wendy Williams Show’. Many called, texted, emailed, tweeted, and FB’d me after they saw me in the audience giving what my Dad called: “...(my) 1-2-3-4 clap... straight from our church The House of Prayer. LOL!  ...” Before the show started, my buddy, Patti's music director John Stanley, came out and said HI. He's always so gracious and calm, even prior to playing for Miss LaBelle before millions. And one of Patti's AWESOME background vocalists Keith Fluitt sang background for me when I did "The Boss" for Ashford & Simpson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbI1qEM_k8k). He assures Nick & Val loved it and that we'll get to do it again really soon (I'll be better prepared). And after the show, Wendy received a special MLK Award from a renowned Jewish organization. And Patti will appreciate this as proof that all that glitters isn’t gold in my world: I went right home to take another stab at being domestic: cleaning bathroom & laundry (hopefully without a flood this time. LOL! Someday my MERRY MAID will return! LMAO!) And also on this night: I was featured in a piece re: Ebony Fashion Fair on CUNY-TV's "Indepedent Sources" that runs on CUNY TV - channel 75 in New York City (8:30 PM).

How 'bout a quarter to ten
Come tomorrow
Let's all do it again

CONGRATS to my girlfriend Erica Watson in her one-woman show "FAT BITCH" (http://www.spincyclenyc.com). It was AWESOME - funny, insightful, honest, raw, and just plain FABULOUS! LOOK OUT FOR IT! Also, good to hang out with our Charlie T. And it has been a minute since we've had the chance to hang out with our Jamar, but he called and VOILA! He enjoyed the show with us as well! On this particular day, before I met up with Ant, I happened upon the “Meet The Oscars” exhibit on the 2nd level of the Time Warner Center mall on Columbus Circle...  and I got to pose with AN OSCAR! Of course, after all these years, I channeled my DIANA ROSS and how she should have won back in the early ‘70s for “Lady Sings The Blues” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YA22pXIf1I).

Boys will be boys
Better let them have their toys

Ant and I enjoyed a fun time at BET's taping of "Rip The Runway" where I got to run into many of my BET family – including my hometown best friend Maurice Marable and Creative Director Michaela angela Davis. Here, I channeled MISS ROSS again as each model CATWALK’d on her shoulders http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFB2E8v4MUg. They even had an inspired moment in the show where they VOGUE’d! Miss Bevy Smith was in the house... and it is always a pleasure to see her. She informed me that she and my nephew are TWITTER friends. LOVE IT!

Girls will be girls
Cute pony tails and curls

After the show, Ant & I ran into Kittie (from 'Let's Talk About Pep') in the subway. Her co-star Jacque Reid is a friend.   Jacque invited us to join them for their Season Finale party. We’ve enjoyed the show and considered it a total honor to be asked to attend. The set was festive. Our friends, publicists Katrina Boswell (with Kat Walk Media) and Theo Perry, made sure we were taken care of in anticipation of Miss Jacque's arrival. Though Ant and I didn't get our Kittie moment on, we did get some time with Jacque. Also, Pepa seemed to remember me from the last time we met at a VIBE party a couple of years ago. We too were reacquainted at her book party which Salt attended. And Pepa's Tom was in the house... and quite gracious with the photo ops. And in the house to support the ladies: Miss Gayle King herself... and Fatman Scoop and his wife Shanda... They both were so nice and quite funny. Also, I was shocked to stumble into my Atlanta buddy Lamoh who works with longtime friend Dwight Eubanks of "Real Housewives of Atlanta" fame. Of course, it's always a blast when Dwight is around... and Pepa seemed to agree. Too, Ern, Ant, and I got to sit with one of Whitney's close-circle handlers Ulysses Carter. He is preparing to join Whitney in Europe as she's on her world tour that has already taken her through Korea and Australia. GO WHITNEY, GO! It was cool to experience the show in a theater setting. Everyone laughs in the same places. CONGRATS, JACQUE and all the girls! By the way, I Chair the NABJ Arts & Entertainment Task Force and we are producing a panel: "REALITY SHOWS: IS THIS WHERE THE JOBS ARE?" As I have had to consider the skills-set applicable genre as a way to maintain my living, others have too… and it can be quite lucrative. The NABJ Convention is in San Diego  on July 28-August 1. (www.nabj.org)... And we are going to explore the changes that have been an inherent part of our members and fellow journalists for the last couple of years. As newsrooms downsize and newspaper circulation/TV viewing habits are on the decline, many of us have replaced our own displaced realities with ‘reality TV’.

From NABJ baby to seasoned publicist (and dear friend) Paula Witt represents many of the reality stars – from Kandi ("Real Housewives of Atlanta") to Tiny & Toya ("Tiny & Toya"). Her simple thought is we can explore the place that REALITY TV currently has in a journalist’s life… and already, Jacque has agreed to sit on the panel along with my buddy Dr. Ian Smith. And my boss from 2009, Evolyn Brooks, who was the show runner on “Monica: Still Standing” and “Frankie & Neffe”.

Must put an end
To this stress and strife
I think I want to live the sporting life

Ant’s Amazing Grace Manivone invited us to hang out with their Denver crew Chris and Reggie along with some of their other friends for a screening of “Bronson” and some delicious bites as prepared by Manivone's talented hands - including rice pudding for dessert. Quite intense, but loads of FUN! By the way, you all know I love TV One’s UNSUNG! It’s coming back March 22 with four new episodes: Rose Royce. Sylvester. Childhood favorite Stacy Lattisaw. And The Bar-Kays. APPOINTMENT TELEVISION! (www.tvoneonline.com/).

A rumor has it that
It's getting late

Remember I met KINDRED last year (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/11/2/desperate-real-times-in-atlanta.html)? Well, check this out: www.vimeo.com/9386223 My friend Tierre Brooks who I met in Indianapolis as he was fill-in managing for neo-soul great Donnie. Well, he asked me to take a look at the first episode of Kindred's web based reality series "Six is It." Soon thereafter, he set up a conference call with Kindred and me – asking for a little consulting. There may be synergies for us down the line. However, the official launch of the husband-and-wife duo is being announced on Tom Joyner this week. Too, they asked me for a quote. Here goes: “I've always loved Kindred's music. And as reports of their steadily-expanding family have unfolded over the years, I often wondered how they manage it all. Well, the first episode of Kindred's web based reality series "Six is It" answers some of those questions and then some. I'm excited to see more of the adventures of this neo-soul Jon & Kate + 6!"

Time marches on
Just can't wait
The clock keeps turning
Why hesitate

Besides dancing for "Shakira", Ant’s and my hip hop dance isntructor Tweetie aka TweetBoogie has  been performing for myself these days. Below is a piece of which she is very proud. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piikOR4w3zE And of course, we are proud of her. As always. Love you, Tweetie! www.TweetBoogie.com and www.Twitter.com/TweetBoogie and www.FaceBook.com/TweetBoogie and www.Myspace.com/Birddance2

You silly fool
You can't change your fate
Let's cut a rug
A little jive and jitterbug

My L.A. buddy Herndon Davis’ book “Repackaged Common Sense: A New Age path to career and business” is out and you must check it out! It is a 13 chapter spiritual guide book for those seeking career and business success utilizing spirituality tools and techniques.  It speaks directly to career minded people-of-faith from all beliefs and is written through the lens of universal spirituality and metaphysical thinking.  You can purchase the book today on Amazon.com. (www.herndondavis.com) LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING HIM when his book tour comes to NYC!

We want the best
We won't settle for less

Though not the best occasion - my uncle Bobby's passing, my cousin Bobby, his siblings, and I got to reconnect as we buried their father in Pontiac, MI late last year. More than how much Bobby and my dad Herman's kids are aesthetically family, musical talent runs in our family too. My dad was very much a big Gospel quartet singer in the day. Via my parents, I sing. And Uncle Bobby had some pep in his musical step too. So, I am not surprised that my cousin Bobby is on that path as well. He recently shared the following with us as his upcoming release goes. Bobby Black comes to us from Chop Shop Records. Check him out... and let me know your thoughts: http://apps.facebook.com/reverbnation_fb/artist/bobbyblack?autoPlay=3425530&_fb_fromhash=cb0f82f2f48e664894ba7629be5f8c38. CONGRATS, CUZ! I'm SO PROUD OF YOU!

Don't be a drag
Clams on the half shell
And roller-skates

LYRICS from CHIC - Bernard Edwards & Nile Rodgers


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