Great moments over the last couple of weeks…
I met Chandra in 1992. We hit it off instantly and grew quite close. She introduced me to Tata at the top of 1995. Not exactly a love fest off the top, but soon thereafter, Tata became my total BFF and sister. In those days, we spoke our dreams - including love, family, and fortune. Fast forward to 2009 and Chandra's baby boy Gavin comes into our lives, and she brought him up from Atlanta to spend time with us. We did Thai at Pongsri in NYC. And Gavin enjoyed his Uncles Ern, Ant, and me before they went their way and we headed back to NJ by way of The Path to Hoboken, then home. LOVELY REUNION!
Speaking of reunions: I recently sent a note to "Girlfriends" creator Mara Brock Akil - a friend of mine. I told her to do a "Girlfriends" finale/reunion on "The Game". Melanie and Joan are first cousins after all. All Melanie needs to do on one episode is leave San Diego and go to her cousin Joan's wedding in L.A. VOILA, right? Oh, by the way, I love the STYLE-network special on Tia and Tamera. I love them anyway! Seeing them in their 'reality' proves that much more compelling for me.
Speaking of girlfriends: I finally went to my girlfriend Georgia Scott's coffee shop and book store GLOBETRIPPIN' for a brunch of blueberry pancakes, extra crispy bacon, and signature breakfast potatoes and eggs. It's been many years since I've seen my Georgia! Thrilled for her newfound, entrepreneurial success. GLOBETRIPPIN' is... in Harlem on Amsterdam between 143rd and 144th.
Was great to see karaoke buddies Sharleen, Mari, and Marco at our karaoke spot.
We always have a sanging good time!
Also, recently had lunch at Native with Earth Angel Management’s Nicolle McGuire and her client Gustavo, an awesome graphic artist from Argentina. (Maybe synergies for the pilot project).
Then, an impromptu afternoon in Harlem – including the Harlem Street Book Fair;
wine & laughs at our girlfriend Sidra’s place (along with my LEGENDS: “Visible Lives” author, actor, and screen/playwright Stanley Bennett Clay and Tina Andrews, screenwriter of “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?” and the ‘Sally Hemmings’ story).
We all segued to our favorite couple Mara and Tommie’s place to meet Mara’s cousins from Sicily, Laura and beau Sebastiano.
They enrolled us into an afternoon at The Met (for the ‘American Woman’ gown/costume exhibit. HEY MISS ROSS! and cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at The Balcony Bar). Then, I serenaded the troops with one of our talented NYC musicians. From there, a quick drink at Vig 27 before a hearty meal of barbecue at Blue Smoke; and karaoke spot, anyone? (Mara’s buddy David Puente joined us) – all before heading back up to Harlem for a night cap. FUN IN NYC!
Morningside Park is the backdrop for Uptown Sundae Sermon: Harlem NYC. DJ Louie Vega + DJ Kevin Hedge +THE MINISTER: DJ Stormin' Norman played soulful house music, classics + afrobeats and we all danced under the sun - including my Bevy Smith; Michaela angela Davis (whose beau is Stormin' Norman); and my Jackie Williams.
Did you see Walter Hawkins’ funeral? Quite the tear-jerker, but ever-the-TESTIMONIAL of LOVE, LIFE, and LEGACY! Donnie McClurkin sang “You just STAND!!!” He is scheduled to perform for next week’s San Diego NABJ Convention Opening which I am co-producing with Michael K. Watts. Dr. Oz, Rene Syler, and others are also presenting. LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
Also, recently saw my fav comic, the legendary Joan Rivers’ documentary “Piece of Work” – another TESTIMONIAL of LOVE, LIFE, LEGACY, LAUGHTER, and LIGHT! It’s AWESOME – as is Joan, who I met a couple of months ago.
Via TV, I stumbled onto Chaka Khan, guest on Mo’Nique. While watching, I peep BET’s SOS: Saving Ourselves PSA which uses excerpts from interviews I conducted with Common, Gloria Estefan, and Spike Lee at the network’s Haiti.
Recently caught TV ONE's "Life After" (Janet Hubert & Ruben Studdard). I LOVE this bio format ("Unsung", too!). I'd like the chance to weigh-in on these types of shows with my on-camera pop culture analysis. Too, would be cool to field/story produce on similar installments as well. JUST PUTTING IT OUT THERE! Gotta land some AUGUST work!
Ant and I did a recent quick trip to Philly for buddy Caleb's birthday set at Lucky Strike. My other BFF Brian came. And Kim and Monica - a couple of our creative partners on the pilot project - popped by as well. I hoped to see my homegirl from Savannah, Krysten, but we've committed to see each other the next time.
Made it to 4th Annual Harlem International Street Fair as thrown by George Faison and our friends at the Faison Firehouse. So good to see my friends Dwayne, Charles, Chad, Carl, et al. Marva Hicks wrapped the day up with a fabulous rendition of “Home” from “The Wiz” – the 1975, Tony-award-winning musical for which George Faison was the first African American to snag a Tony for choreography – some history he recently dropped on BET’s airwaves when I interviewed him for BET’s Black History Month campaign 2010 (on which I conducted interviews and field produced). Afterwards, we stumbled into our friend Hal. Then, we got to spend some quality time with Carl, jewelry designer Trevor, and others at Covo Trattoria – Harlem’s own Italian restaurant. Also dining in: Tamara Tunie and husband Gregory Generet, who will be performing a jazz set at the Metropolitan Ballroom next Thursday.
We finally got Tamra Davis’ film “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child” in. It’s playing at The Film Forum. Afterwards, we enjoyed a post-movie cocktail and an appetizer or two at 10Downing Restaurant in The Village. In addition to our usual suspects, I was an audience with entertainment attorney Louise West and Barbara J. Harris, current Weichert realtor and former director of artist relations and special markets for Atlantic Records and ABC Records. Her clients included Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack, and Donny Hathaway (about whom she reflects in TV One’s Donny-installment of “Unsung”).
As I close this blog entry, I am managing more NABJ preps (including a call from Disney – asking me to participate in their NABJ event and this-just-in panelist for the NABJ A&E Task Force’s “In Living Color: Our Hollywood” panel, Actor LaVan Davis, “Tyler Perry’s House of Pain”, now joining ET’s Kevin Frazier and others on one of our NABJ A&E Task Force panels. And was that a THIS JUST IN that just came in from Interscope Records? EL DEBARGE may still pop by? EXCITING!). I came up for air long enough to ask: “WHAT WILL I WEAR?” Not an economy in which I’m shopping much, I called my friend R. Scott French who is the signature couturier for the new Richard Harris line and my favorite American Chang. He is dressing me in their Fall pre-view line. Thanks, Sara! Additionally, my MOSHOOD – who is celebrating 16 years of success – insisted I continue to include his special pieces in my wardrobe for NABJ. And so it will be. I LOVE MOSHOOD!
So, why has “Donald J. Trump Presents the Ultimate Merger” caught my eye? Twelve bachelors vie for the affections of Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. She dated two of them before: Charles, a foreign currency trader, and Al B. Sure!, — an R&B singer people of a certain age remember.
My dear friend and NABJ brother, Greg Dunmore, is the son and manager of jazz vocalist and pianist Jo Thompson who has an upcoming show at the Metropolitan Room (www.metropolitanroom.com). It’s scheduled to take place Saturday August 7 from 7:00 until 8:30 pm. It’s called the “Lena Horne Salute - THANK YOU LENA!!!” (Conceived by Greg himself). And it’s Jo Thompson with the JC Heard Orchestra. The elegant set is directed by Walt Szymanski. Additionally, this special event will mark the official CD Release of “Jo Thompson: Forever Fabulous!!!” (with the JC Heard Orchestra directed by Walt Szymanski) on the Jazz Jewels Digital Label (www.jazzjewels.tv/jothompsonepk.html).
See you when I get back from San Diego!
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