WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?
Well, Ant & I have seen "Why Did I Get Married Too?" twice already… and it’s not out until the top of April (www.WhyDidIGetMarriedTooMovie.com). But you know how we do with our special ladies – his being Miss Jackson! Of course, we loved the sequel’s predecessor (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/10/11/what-has-pop-culture-done-for-me-lately.html)… and got to celebrate that one as well with Janet; Jill Scott; Tasha Smith; and Mr. Tyler Perry. This go around was no exception, though Miss Jackson managed to evade a second photo-op with us but not her date, oldest Jackson sibling Miss Rebbie "Centipede" Jackson. But then, we still got the chance to attend the NYC Premiere at the SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS THEATER. Then, the after party at THE BOWERY HOTEL. First, the movie was AMAZING! What a rollercoaster ride. We LOVED it! The highs were high; the lows were low; and it all had me emotionally riveted and quite proud of Miss Jackson for clearly channeling her real-life loss and churning it into this brilliantly-executed role. The rest of the cast is stellar as well… and a host of others. And they were all too glad to strike a pose amidst the night. ROLL CALL: Tasha Smith; Malik Yoba; Michael Jai White; Richard T. Jones; Sharon Leal; Lamman Rucker; Tyler Perry; Deborah Gregory (Cheetah Girls); Gayle King; Dr. Maya Angelou; Ashford & Simpson; Oscar-winning "Precious" screenwriter (adaption) Geoffrey Fletcher; Judge Mathis; Terri J. Vaughn; "Blindside" actor Quinton Aaron; Caroline Rhea; SNL's Rachel Dratch; Jawn Murray; Bob Tate & Dedra Tate; Sports Illustrated model Jessica White. She's the new generation of Tyra; Lynn Whitfield; the ever-lovely Miss Jill Scott. And so many more - including a special shout out to my girl Anna Fuson with Red Sea Entertainment for keeping me in mind for special events like this. This, since we met during my extended stay in L.A.
BLACK ANGELS OVER TUSKEGEE: THE STORY OF THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN
Special shout out to “WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO” actor Lamman Rucker who I’ve known for years since he was first in New York City working on one of my favorite soaps “As The World Turns”. We’ve stayed in touch – whether in L.A. or NYC – over these years. To that, he has returned to the Stage for Off-Broadway’s historic drama that pays tribute to the Tuskegee Airman. It’s "Black Angels Over Tuskegee" at New York's St. Luke's Theater. The production is written and directed by Layon Gray. Lamman, who too is a 2010 NAACP Image Award nominee for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for "Meet The Browns", is joined by a stellar company of performers, who along with Rucker co-founded The Black Gents of Hollywood, an all-male ensemble driven to resurrect, redefine, and restore positive images of African-American men. "It is our duty to highlight a legacy that I believe contributes to restoring the identity of the black male", he says. "I'm especially honored that The Black Gents will debut Off-Broadway and pay tribute to The Tuskegee Airmen and other ancestors of that time who have embodied excellence, self-determination and self-discipline." "Black Angels Over Tuskegee" has been an official selection of the 2007 and 2009 National Black Theater Festival and recently won the 2009 NAACP Award for Best Ensemble, as well as the 2009 Artistic Director Achievement Award for Best Play. "Black Angels Over Tuskegee"- St. Luke's Theater - 308 W. 46th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues), NYC. (Monday, Friday, and Saturday -8:00 pm/Sunday -5:00 pm). Tickets are $31.50 and $56.50 and available at www.telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200.
a COOL DIP in the BARREN SAHARAN CRICK
Meanwhile, save 40% on Kia Corthron's new hot-button drama @ Playwrights Horizon! (DISCOUNT CODE CDPP) http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2010/3/22/save-40-on-kia-corthrons-new-hot-button-drama-playwrights-ho.html
MONICA: STILL STANDING
As you know, I field and story produced hit reality show “Monica: Still Standing”. Well, the album is finally in stores… and she’s out and about, making sure the world knows. On her CD’s release date, she was here in NYC on CBS Early Show (http://www.cbs.com/daytime/the_early_show/video/?pid=_bJRmbXFwgkiuMkzsoOvyutf3CyRODQN&vs=Default&play=true). Then, she went back to ATL for a signing and then returned to NYC for a late-night CD release celebration. She was up bright and early for “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” on radio; more blitz; and another party on the following night. GO MONICA! GO! SO PROUD OF YOU… and LOVE THE CD!
TV ONE’S UnSUNG
TV One's UnSung is back for its third season… and I’ve seen screeners of Rose Royce (which just aired this week); Stacy Lattisaw; and Sylvester (running this week). It airs now on Monday nights… and is so entertaining. It's totally the kind of show on which I would work because it chronicles some of the most influential, talented and often forgotten R&B, Soul and Gospel artists of the last 30 years. This biography-style show promises to reveal the business and personal struggles that kept these artists from achieving the iconic commercial status they deserved.
NEW AMERYKAH PT. 2: RETURN OF THE ANKH
Erykah Badu shared the cover of her upcoming March 30 release, New Amerykah Pt. 2: Return of the Ankh. The artwork was done by noted rock poster designer Emek. And follow up to “Window Seat” is supposed to be a song --"Strawberry Incense"… and you can hear this and find out more by clicking on www.ErykahBadu.com We LOVE our Erykah!
BLOOM - The Spring Party
My buddy Clarence Haynes – renaissance man who writes, edits, models, acts, etc. – is helping to put on a sexy, stylish, Afro-rhythmic, artistic night called BLOOM --The Spring Party. It ‘celebrates the season of flowers and sun, fuses burlesque dancers, booming music, and beautiful bodies bedazzled with paint. Billed as a “pan-sexual celebration” of cultural expressions from the African and Latin Diasporas, this party promises to attract New Yorkʼs bold and beautiful. BLOOM blossoms on Sunday, March 28 from 6:00 p.m. to midnight at ARENA, located at 135 West 41st Street, between 6th Avenue. The parties are produced by Bloom | Events -- a division of Banyan Tree Worldwide Media, Inc. -- in association with Dan Laufeswiler, Ron Lester and my friend Clarence Haynes. ARENA, located next to Bryant Park, ARENA is a multi-level event venue with a capacity for 600+ guests, featuring 20ʼ ceilings and New Yorkʼs largest programmable L.E.D. lighting system. Tickets for the party range from $10 - $25, depending on time of purchase, with pre-sales being handled online at www.thebloomparty.com
MICHAEL K. WATTS, MAXWELL, & THE NYABJ AWARD
Best friend and Morehouse brother Michael K. Watts’ interview feature story on Maxwell won 2nd place in the Magazine - Arts & Entertainment category of the New York Association of Black Journalists Awards. The piece is featured in the August 2009 issue of Upscale magazine. Michael had the pleasure of having a lunch interview with him in early May in advance of Maxwell’s current album BLACKsummers'night which was released on July 7 last year. This feature story, entitled "The Ladies Man" is the result of that lunch, held at Manhattan's Philippe by Philippe Chow on the Upper East Side.
Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or Having Sex
My former boss of many years Ellen Rakieten is now not only the Executive Producer of NBC’s Marriage Ref but she is an author – along with Anne Coyle – of “Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won't Be Dating or Having Sex”. And they have dropped their science all over – including “The Wendy Williams Show”. They ask questions like: “Did your date show up wearing socks with sandals? Are tighty-whities a deal-breaker for you? Do fanny packs make you want to run for the door?” The book promises to reveal the secret list of things that so many perfectly eligible guys manage to wear, say, or do to make themselves completely undateable… and then they offer solutions. Be sure to check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Undateable-Things-Guarantee-Dating-Having/dp/034552067X
My boy Kenny Miles hipped me to artist Easy Evans – a new, soothing vocalist whose debut effort “At Ease” showcases his ‘in-your-face voice and a tender ear for sophisticated R&B poignancy”, per his bio. It’s a return to good music. Check him out via his twitter – www.twitter.com/easyevans and www.facebook.com/1easyevans and soon his website: WWW.EASYEVANSONLINE.COM.
Ant and I hung out with our buddy Robert on Sunday. We had brunch at The Original Pancake House; a cocktail or two at Houlihan's in Weehawken; then more karaoke so I could homage Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross on the mics. Ant got in his muses Janet Jackson and Prince as well. Robert sang not a lick. LOL!
Miss Janet Jackson – by the way - also sang the “WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?”s lead single, “Nothing” in collaboration with Jermaine Dupri and Brian Michael Cox. Beautiful song with a pitch perfect message: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpAIHjJh_Gs