LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE!!!
“LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE” is a muse for this entry. Not sure why. But do you folks remember the show – an anthology of comedic episodes about LOVE? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNHuI0Pw0m8 At least, those of you who are old enough to remember (at least a syndicated version of it, which is why I remember it).
FATHER’S DAY (AND A MOTHER)
When last I wrote you, it was FATHER’S DAY weekend. I was asked to be a guest on Michael Eric Dyson’s new radio show: http://dysonshow.org/?p=1721. It was a MEN’S SUMMIT! Please take a listen between 13:46-31:27. On the day itself, my DAD called to say he received my basket of healthy gourmet goodies - a blend of savory and sweet. He – in turn – sent a lovely note and this hard copy picture of my siblings and me with our late mom Queen Elizabeth Bellinger Riley. I thought this was from my birthplace Tokyo, Japan (circa '70s) but my sister has reminded me that it was from when we were stationed in California soon thereafter.. Since her passing in July of 1994, I’ve kept few pictures of her in my personal collection. At the time, it was just too painful. Here 16 years later, I still miss her so. But there are too many fond memories that have shaped me to be who I am today. So, this was quite a lovely THANK YOU from my father! Amidst FATHER’S DAY, Ant and I went to join my girlfriend Sidra who invited us to enjoy an easy, breezy Sunday in Harlem (Morningside Park, to be exact) – for house music and lots of fellowship. Ran into many buddies – including Kevin "Moochie" Freeman (Kevin's “Amazing Grace” Erika Munro Kennerly also popped by); Chenoa Maxwell; Tai Beauchamp, Stacey J, her daughter Riley, and Riley’s father; and our girl Bevy Smith.
PRINCE & ELIZABETH
At the Harlem event, I ran into Dave Rowan (pink shoes). He invited Ant, my Morehouse brother Michael Bryant, and me out to celebrate all things Prince and Elizabeth (www.princeandelizabeth.com). The evening included a tour of the retail space (Prince of SOHO); the showroom space (The SHOWROOM); and a preview of Tacombi Taco Stand. Afterwards, we did a swim by our Nathan Hale Williams' SPLASH set. Prior to our Prince and Elizabeth moment, Michael and I met up at nearby BarBossa to discuss future business possibilities.
PRIDE IN BLEU
As PRIDE festivities kicked in, my friend Ra-Fael Blanco invited us to SOHO’s BO CONCEPTS store to celebrate the 4th anniversary of our beloved BLEU Magazine (www.BLEULIFE.com). Many were in the house – including: dearest friends Marqice, Jason, Marlynn, Theo, and Trevor - all celebrating DeVon Christopher's labor of love; Derrick Briggs; Jamar and Ryan; Maurice Jamal; Demarco Majors; Seven; our Hal; and on and on I could go. And recording artist and actress Teyana Taylor was host with the most for the night. Afterwards, a drive by Desire and Chi-Chi’s in the Village. Derrick Bell doubles as bartender and artist.
Soon came the 1st anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing. About 3 minutes into this clip, hear and see Miss Ross' MJ Tribute. It is from her summer tour which received RAVES! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDnoQLvuh_s Last year, I was in the throes of field and story producing reality TV for Dubose Entertainment (in L.A. and then Atlanta). The team with whom I worked included my “Amazing Grace” Nichole and Miss Shareen – both of whom credit “The Nate Berkus Show” as their new employer. As they are busy working on the start-up, they did honor me by letting me get a quick glimpse of them at Copper Smith’s after they clocked out for the weekend. New friend Lorna joined us as well. Then, Ant and I took a meeting at Native with its owner Brian (Stay tuned for a night in which I’ll be hosting a special evening of karaoke. You won’t want to miss it!). Then, we did “Leaving Neverland”, a multi-media tribute to Michael Jackson. It was created by our friend George Faison (Tony-award winning choreographer for “The Wiz” and gracious participant in and generous donor - of space - for the Black History Month campaign I helped produce for BET). And singing diva sister friend Toni Seawright collaborated with him. And my Morehouse brother Khalid worked on the production. Also, Ashford & Simpson were in the house. Since I sang “The Boss” to them back in December… and since Miss Ross is now opening her current show with the hit tune, I wanted to make sure they knew. SMILE! My girl Deborah Gregory was one of the narrators of the script. It was written by Quincy Troupe. His wife Margaret is a famous art curator and collector. From there, we enjoyed a hang in Harlem – including Amy Ruth. Always great to see my performer friends - whether they/we are on the stage or just supporting others to do their work.
PRIDE COMES TO HARLEM!
On last Saturday, there was PRIDE in HARLEM. Ant and I rolled through before heading to see ‘RACE’ on Broadway care of our beloved Marcia Pendelton. Nichole and Khalid joined us. Ran into my friend Alicia Evans who is a publicist extraordinaire and a singer with whom I've shared a stage or two - including the holiday party for the Black Public Relations Society some years ago (She was the President and booked me to entertain the troops with Christmas songs and many-a-pop-standard). This is Ebony Jo-Ann - also at RACE. She is featured in the new film "The Grown Ups". Go check her out! Afterwards, we joined our Momentum buddies Ruben, Raoul, Ruben's mom Cookie; and Liz for Ruben BDAY BBQ in Washington Heights followed by a roll through No Parking. Then, the next day, we went to the PRIDE parade. We got a bite at COWGIRL with our girl Andrea, her girls, and Ant’s cousin Chantay. Plus, we ran into many friends along the way.
Last week, I got the chance to put my acting cap on and participate in a table read for an upcoming romantic comedy that a dear friend is producing. It went well. Here, the rest of the table-read cast celebrate a great session at Native in Harlem.
A few days later, film adaptations were on the mind of many who attended the book signing for “Visible Lives: Three Stories in Tribute to E. LYNN HARRIS”.
My dear friends Terrance Dean (not in attendance on this night), James Earl Hardy, and Stanley Bennett Clay have homaged E. LYNN HARRIS with their three sizzling novellas.
James and Stanley read from their selections and Miss Tina Andrews (who wrote 'Sally Hemmings' telescript and "Why Do Fools Fall In Love") hosted the book signing/reading event at Barnes & Noble on 82nd and Broadway.
My girl Sidra was in the house.
And our dear friends Danielle and Charlie T.
Charlie T (center) is a renowned photographer and creator of Stamford, CT exhibit "Just As We Are" which is now being prepped for a London debut. She shot Ant and me a couple of years ago (www.charlietphotography.net/portfolios.htm and www.justasweare.org). We are featured in her photo exhibit. Afterwards, got to enjoy a lovely meal of pasta, tuna, and wine at my Sid's new Harlem digs. En route, we stumbled into artist Hani Shihada (on Broadway and 91st street - www.HaniSideWalkArt.com).
In addition to chasing checks for spot work I’ve recently done, I am open to some new projects (Whatcha got? Any good-fit fare? Gotta keep that revenue streaming). SOS! But in the meantime, I am not twiddling my thumbs as my mostly volunteer efforts as Chair of the NABJ Arts & Entertainment Task Force have me on back-to-back conference calls – in preps for our San Diego convention at the end of July. It’s gonna be a BLAST (if I can put my pennies together to actually be there. UGH! This, as it too will be good for networking and attracting more good-fit work). Michael K. Watts and I are co-producing the NABJ Opening (featuring my buddy DR. OZ and gospel great Donnie McClurkin); Boris Kodjoe is coming to promote his new NBC show “Undercovers”; and so much more that we are still aiming to greenlight (ahem, time will reveal...). Stay tuned. NABJ is always a blast! (www.nabj.org). One highlight: “The Young & The Restless” is powering our NABJ A&E Task Force reception. The highest-rated daytime drama on American television joins one of NABJ’s top task forces for an evening that promises sparkling synergies and star power. This reception will take time to salute the iconic, multi-Emmy-award-winning “The Young & The Restless” which has charmed its audiences with the best soap operas have to offer since March 26, 1973. For nearly 40 years, Y&R has stood firmly inside a commitment to diversity with its cast and storylines. Y&R stars Kristoff St. John (“Neil Winters”); Darius McCrary (“Malcolm Winters”); and the legendary Jeanne Cooper (Y&R's ever-youthful matriarch “Katherine Chancellor”) will attend this NABJ A&E Task Force’s signature event. These beloved and revered co-stars will share great reflections and updates on the hit soap opera. The characters are like family members i.e. Drucilla RIP (I got to interview her in Vegas at NABJ a couple of years ago); Neil; Lily; Malcolm; Olivia; etc. - just a few of the key players on the show who help to underscore that rare commitment to diversity in the soap world (My brother, my nephew, and I stand on our late mom's (nephew's grandmother's) shoulders with this pass-time. LOL!). Additionally, the NABJ A&E Task Force LEGACY Award will be presented to JET Magazine’s own Clarence Waldron. The creation of the "LEGACY AWARD" - first presented in 1997 at Chicago's NABJ - is designed to acknowledge our unsung (perhaps less heralded) crop of A&E journalists who have spent substantive careers chronicling the often-celebrated and high-profile lives and careers of others. Clarence - known to some as 'the Dean of the African American entertainment journalists' - joins the company of a special group - including the late John H. Johnson and EBONY's former Managing Editor Lynn Norment, also an active member of the NABJ A&E Task Force. Additionally, we've honored such noteworthy journalists as USA Today’s music critic Steve Jones (pictured); the Michigan Chronicle's Rita Griffin (first journalist to interview Diana Ross & The Supremes and their many fellow MOTOWN mates in Detroit -before they became international icons); and David Earl Jackson of Memphis' Tri-State Defender.
STATE OF INDEPENDENCE
This past Happy 4th of July weekend provided lots of relaxation - including a great cookout at one of the homes of Ant's extended Brooklyn family. Ern joined us. A little work. Actually, went to Wal Mart to grocery shop. GASP! And Ern had us over for a seafood fest a la shrimp/catfish/hush-puppies/baked-fries(with rosemary and other seasonings). And daiquiries. Also, it was great to see friends Sid, Candice, Mara, Tommie, and others over the last few days.
SPIRIT OF SUCCESS
My high school principal from Savannah's Windsor Forest High School passed away. AWESOME LADY! MAJOR MOTIVATOR! Frances Wong R.I.P. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/savannah/obituary.aspx?n=frances-wong&pid=143824140&sms_ss=facebook
LUTHER: HERE AND NOW
LUTHER V! We miss you! But you're still HERE & NOW! WE ARE LUTHER! See these LV-related archive entries from "A Day in the Life of Riley: pop culture & possibilities" (circa '07): http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/2/25/we-are-luther-please-reply-by-march-12.html and http://thelifeofriley.squarespace....com/rilys-blog/move-on-up-a-little-higher-lord-upgrade-me.html
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MKW
So all of my peers are turning 40. How can that be? Perhaps because – in November of this year – I will turn 40. Many are being low-key about it. My Morehouse BFF Michael K. Watts did it up – including Ammos Greek Seafood Restaurant in East Midtown - a FAB backdrop to ring MKW into his "NEW DAY"! Also, via FACEBOOK, Michael did “40 Days to 40 Years” in which he counted down 40 days leading up to his 40th Birthday with a new photo uploaded each day - tracing his evolution from birth to age 40. And though I’ve known him since I was 17, his picture #38 honored our friendship. Read on:
40th Photo #38: When my best friend Patrick Riley and I pursued careers in journalism while at Morehouse, we had no idea where our paths would lead us. We supported each other professionally and personally, and our career paths would cross a few times: his leaving FOX 5 Atlanta to move to New York caused a job opportunity for me at FOX 5; when I moved to New York, we collaborated on freelance projects between jobs. Our most significant collaboration has been producing major events for the National Association of Black Journalists for the past several years. Here we are posing during the convention in Indianapolis. We are a team, and our friendship is priceless.
40 LOOKS GOOD ON YOU, MICHAEL! I breathe better as I look to mine. LOVE!
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