AFUWI & BET
Shout out to BET’s Janet Rolle – Gala Chair for inviting me a second year to produce the tribute videos for The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies awards gala. What an inspiring night! And Suzanne de Passe (pictured) was the first woman to receive AFUWI’s Bob Marley Award. Shout out to honorees Jeanine Liburd (also from BET) and New York anchor Brenda Blackmon. My NABJ mentor Paula Madison – Dinner Chair – was in the house (Pierre Hotel Grand Ballroom) along with NABJ friends Michelle Leone; Elinor Tatum; Nick Charles; etc. Paula is currently Executive Vice President of Diversity for NBC Universal and a Company Officer for GE. She has been an awesome partner and sponsor for the National Association of Black Journalists' Arts & Entertainment Task Force which I Chair. Last year, in San Diego, NBC Universal powered a couple of our well-received programs - including one on journalists interested in transitioning into writing for primetime TV. Star Jones hosted the evening. She was in great form. In addition to being responsible for why the Jackson 5 got signed to Motown, Suzanne - one of Miss Ross' BFFs - was nominated as part of the team that wrote the “Lady Sings the Blues” screenplay. Also, she won one of her Emmys for executive producing MOTOWN 25 in 1983. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KujXaiphzJI
FASHION SHOW & JEFFREY WILLIAMS
Meanwhile, I'm still EXCITED for my friend Jeffrey & his IMAN-anointed, ULTIMATE COLLECTION! He WON "The Fashion Show" (Bravo – also with Isaac Mizrahi)!!!!!!! Nichole & I were with him at the celebration: Caza Mezcal! CONGRATS to JEFFREY who dedicated his line to his late mother (Nichole’s aunt). She died from cancer in 2000. What a living legacy he is. And surely, his mom is looking down and so proud of him as we are.
THE WHIPPING MAN
Saw "The Whipping Man" - a new play starring two-time Emmy-award-winner Andre Braugher as a former slave in the almost-abandoned home of a Jewish Confederate family that owned him. It's in previews. It offers up a bold, fresh, and edgy voice on what some some may deem a cliche (in that it's another play on slaves or post-slaves). My girl Marcia Pendelton is handling marketing and audience on the show. So, for more information, go to: http://www.walktallgirlproductions.com/.
LIBERATION OF SEXUALITY
Was on a panel last week with friend Marlynn Snyder and A-LIST’s Mike Ruiz (on LOGO) among others. COMPELLING & INSPIRING! Raphael Brown A.K.A. OM coordinated a Gay Men of African Descent panel titled “Liberation of Sexuality and all things that ignite us to live”. He invited me to speak on the panel along with Marlynn; Mike; Hanifah Walidah, Amor Boykin, and moderator Jaszie Alejandro (Shout out to my boy Kijuan who came out to support!) Afterwards, we met up with friends at The Darby (and were told Beyonce & Jay Z were in the house). We missed her this time, but – of course – got to capture our moment with her in Manila (2007) when Ant took me there for my birthday. Seeking a 2011 BEYONCE photo op… now! SO CLOSE, right? LOL! But we did get to hear the house band – featuring Ron Grant. Also, Ashford & Simpson were in the house.
My friend Carl and I went to the Caribbean Cultural Center in Manhattan for a Haiti-inspired, multi-media art exhibit – including the work of Haitian artist VidHo. We nibbled on “Posh Delights” - great little cupcakes from Brooklyn (Montgomery Street). Then, ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT. Last week featured the stellar vocals of KJ ROSE (www.kjrose.com). She let us having it with her rendition of Thelma Houston's "Don't Leave Me This Way". Her encore? Michael Jackson's "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)" - another home run; Danni; and our ALL-STAR REGULARS – like Ephraim, Harlem’s Anthony, April (+ one of our Italian tourist friends).
JUST AS WE ARE
Our buddy Charlie T's "Just As We Are" 2011 fundraiser had us hanging with former NBA player John Amaechi (who is gay and OUT). The National Arts Club in NYC's Grammercy Park was our FAB backdrop. To find out more: www.justaswearetour.org CONGRATS, CHARLIE T!
LIVE OUT LOUD
I do a lot of speeches with LGBT youth in NYC via Live Out Loud (http://www.liveoutloud.info/). I recently spoke to some great kids from several GSA (Gay-straight alliance) clubs across the city to eat pizza, play games, listen to a speaker (me), discuss issues, and meet other LGBT kids in the city.
Shout out to Leo Preziosi. He is the Founder and President of LIVE OUT LOUD.
I recently went to Harlem’s George Faison Firehouse to join Malinda Williams opposite whom I played (as actor) for a mutual friend’s table reading. We read the screenplay of a romantic comedy that is soon to shoot (FELA!s Saycon Sengbloh also read). Funny script. Also, fun to act. The feedback was encouraging.
Hey y'all check out my girl PENWAH! She and I also did that table read together for an upcoming film project (Stay tuned). She's currently featured in Naughty by Nature's new video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLniK-B8VDc&feature=player_embedded Also, she’s got a fan page on FACEBOOK that you must check out… and LIKE: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=268556&id=662073736#!/pages/Penwahs-Artist-Appreciation-Page-aka-Fan-Page/148898295161605. I LOVE ME SOME PENWAH! Tell her you LIKE her by clicking on her FAN PAGE.