READY FOR YOUR CLOSE UP, MISS ROSS
As Miss Ross wraps a sold-out tour of one-nighters across the U.S., I’m thrilled that one of those nights was in New York City at The Waldorf – now the backdrop of my first PHOTO OP with Miss Ross. We didn’t pose. Just stared into each others' eyes admiringly. And we danced. But THANKS TO ANT, I can – for now – check that one off of my bucket list. With the draw of Miss Ross to help, a total sum of $10 Million Dollars was raised at the 26th Annual Great Sports Legends Dinner for the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. And in addition to Miss Ross, the sold-out celebration featured many greats – including Olympic track legend Carl Lewis; Jerry Rice; Nancy Kerrigan; and Andre Dawson. Even Wayne Newton was in the house. The proceeds go to support the ground-breaking spinal cord injury research being done by The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. This is a historic year for the organization as tremendous scientific advances continue, including the recent submission to the FDA for a first-in-man Phase 1 Schwann cell transplantation clinical trial. For more information on The Buoniconti Fund visit: www.thebuonicontifund.com And on top of all of that, Miss Ross called me on stage to dance with her as she performed “Upside Down” (another out-of-body moment!). I LOVE YOU, MISS ROSS!
MISS ROSS isn’t the only DAZZLING DIVA who has requested my dancing moves on the stage. Thanks to one of my Morehouse BFFs Michael K. Watts, I’m reminded of a NIGHT OF DAZZLING DIVAS at the NABJ Convention in Philadelphia CIRCA 1995 when MISS JODY WATLEY asked me up. Then, VESTA who we just lost since I last wrote to you. R.I.P. VESTA!
MOREHOUSE: BROTHERS IN SONG!
As an alumnus of Morehouse and the Morehouse College Glee Club, it was great to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of the world-renowned glee club. I had the pleasure of being a member for all four of my years at “The House” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZF2iK2VOY). So many of my fellow Morehouse brothers; our friends; and many patrons and supporters gathered at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (Avery Fisher Hall) for the Concert of a Lifetime. This, to culminate an awesome weekend which included: on Friday, the Glee Club and Morehouse ringing the closing bell at NASDAQ. Saturday night, history was made again when Glee Club alumni were featured in concert at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. It was simply incredible. And this alum - me - got TO HOST! WOW! And my dear friend LaChanze (Tony-award-winning actress for "The Color Purple") attended with her Morehouse Man husband Derek Fordjour. We saluted the 100 year legacy of our national treasure, the Morehouse College Glee Club – performing songs that were inspired by Morehouse and/or composed by our many musical icons. And Spelman alum Cassie Davis (of Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” fame) and Morehouse alum Spike Lee introduced Spelman and Morehouse, respectively. In the Spirit of Georgia Starr, Kemper Harreld, Wendell Whalum, Morehouse brothers continue to sing on!
After Hurricane Irene swept through DC and postponed the dedication of the MLK Monument (as well as the CNN.COM piece I wrote on Morehouse/MLK/Morehouse College Glee Club, the Morehouse Benefit Concert) has been rescheduled for the now-rescheduled dedication weekend. Morehouse College hosts a Memorial Concert and Tribute in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. The event will now take place on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 8 p.m. at the beautiful Music Center at Strathmore. The concert will be the first event of a long list of activities planned for the national dedication of the MLK monument. As originally planned, the Memorial Concert and Tribute, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual Foundation, with Timeless Voices featuring Eddie Levert, Dennis Edwards and Johnny Gill. The evening will be hosted by accomplished stage, film and television actor Avery Brooks and will include special presentations to music icon Stevie Wonder and Congressman John Conyers Jr.,(D-Mich.), who will both receive the Morehouse Presidential Renaissance Medallion of Merit for their roles in spearheading the effort to recognizeKing¹s birthday as a national holiday. To get tickets, click here: http://www.strathmore.org/eventstickets/calendar/syos.asp?id=7902.
AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION W/HEART!
Shout out to Pamela Garmon Johnson who invited me to an American Heart Association and "Go Red for Women" event at Abe & Arthur's Restaurant hosted by Star Jones. A "little" film by Elizabeth Banks "just a "LITTLE" heart attack" premiered (www.GoRedForWomen.org). Pamela (and my friend/producer Sidra Smith) hired me as the red carpet reporter (and VO talent: http://www.powertoendstroke.org/about-sponsorship-reel.html) for the AHA and American Stroke Association's stroke awareness benefit back in May at The Apollo (http://22.214.171.124/PRiley/PatrickDemoSept2011.mov). As the grandson of three stroke victims (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/4/3/american-heart-association-presents-you-are-the-power-benefi.html), I too am the son of a mom who died in 1994 from congestive heart failure. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women. AHA & GO RED say "Make It Your Mission to care for your heart and Tell 5 women you love to do the same".
Amidst Urbanworld Film Festival festivities, Ant got more of his ART on. Our girlfriend C. Burgos hosted “Artist Loft Sunday’s” at her Mt. Vernon studio. Under his artist name Akhenaten, Ant presented new pieces along with artists Estos (www.ESTOSINC.com) and our friend Dawn Murphy (jewelry designer). They did it under a HOLIDAY SALE last December (and Ant SOLD OUT: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.484938008736.255891.662073736&l=83aa705506&type=1. And another is coming up at the top of December – so I’ll make sure you all get invited! GREAT ART! GREAT PRICES! And just an ALL-AROUND AWESOME experience – from lovely catering provided by Secret Catering Company (www.SecretCateringCompany.com)... to Miss Ross and her fellow legends playing on the record player in vinyl splendor (a la DJ Elijah)... to a political visit from Councilman Richard Thomas for whom Cynthia and Ant painted a mural and other bold signage at his campaign headquarters! CONGRATS Councilman Thomas (www.thomas4council.com).
RED ROOSTER & MOZO
One recent night, my friend Sidra Smith invited us to accompany her to Red Rooster in Harlem. The night helped launch Marcus Samuelsson’s MOZO shoe line that provides chefs with the ultimate stylish, comfort shoe in the kitchen. The MOZO Chef Signature Collection is a collection of chef shoes created by various chefs such as Chef Chris Cosentino and Chef Aaron Sanchez that are currently available on www.MozoShoes.com. These shoes are not only uniquely designed chef shoes, but provide anyone who has to stand on their feet all day long with a sense of comfort in mind. After a well-appointed buffet – and a spirited array of cocktails, now-Harlem’s own performed. Belinda Munro is one of our All-Star Karaoke Thursday night regulars. She is now recording new music and just won at The Apollo. And as always, great to see Derek Fleming and the rest of the Red Rooster team. Also, Fab 5 Freddy was in the house!
Through many busy work days of late – including freelance for ‘Anderson Cooper’; ‘Wendy Williams’; BET; and more, I have tried to keep my “…life of Riley…” itinerary in-tact. The Royalton Hotel was the recent backdrop for the James-Kinney-produced (www.kinneygroupcreative.com) set. It featured recording artist and one of our friends at ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT, KJ ROSE. You'll recall, I initially met her last Fall in New Rochelle where her singing talents were one of the LIVE auction items for a Boys & Girls Club event I hosted. So many familiar faces and friends were in the house - including the FABULOUS Lynn Whitfield; my New RO-Mt Vernons Michelle, Erika, stylist Pamela Watson, etc; my buddy Kevin Freeman for whom you should look out on the upcoming season of "Real Housewives of Atlanta"; my friend Darius Booker who co-produced (with friend Kevin-Anthony) the tribute to Ashford & Simpson in which I got to sing Miss Ross' "The Boss" December 2009; and a host of others. KJ Rose was AWESOME - singing so many classics and special songs from her repertoire. Check out her debut album "All Heart, No Regrets". She was named one of the Top 100 Artists on the Verge by The New Music Seminar - a feature on BET's "Music Matters" campaign, the feature in the music issue of ELLE Magazine, and countless other break-through moments! GO KJ!
Remember when my Amazing Grace Nichole’s cousin/our dear friend Jeffrey Williams won “The Fashion Show 2011” on BRAVO earlier this year (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/1/27/live-out-louder.html)? Well, he invited us out to experience the presentation of his Spring/Summer 2012 Collection (ANU.): http://jeffreycwilliams.com/. Of course, our usual suspects were in the house: Danielle; Michelle Sanchez-Boyce; Shareen King; Kenny; and Dawn. Songstress and reality star (“La La’s Full Court”), Po Johnson, was in the house. And THE BIRTHDAY BOY, my nephew Herman Riley who continued his celebration this evening – attending the presentation with his Spelman sister Tanisha and allowing his uncle to put some food and drink in his belly at L’Oubli Gourmet Bar. We also recently got some more NEW RO time in at “Alvin & Friends”. Our friend Resa was in town as well.
THE PORTERS + 1
After recently field producing a shoot for my ChicagO client in Wayne, NJ, I pulled it together to celebrate my dear friends Mara Schiavocampo and Tommie Porter. It was a baby shower/birthday party (for Mara). And friends from far and near came to TOAST them: Itika Oldwine; Kendra G; Sidra Smith; Jamar Dunn; Cole McDonough; Ernest Maynor; Anthony Harper; and more. Of course, Itika wasn’t going to be in the house without making a fashion statement. Sporting a black, full-length Halston number with a long, thigh-revealing split. She calls it her homage to Sarah Jessica Parker’s short white Halston doppelganger which she sported in the “Sex & the City” promo and spots. GO TI-TI!
Sundae Sermon's FINALE was a BLAST! It included 80s synth-duo The System’s Mic Murphy performing “You Are in My System” and “Don’t Disturb This Groove”. Great to see so many friends this go around: Ernest Maynor; Michael K. Watts; Sidra Smith; Kiwan Michael Anderson; Jamar Dunn; Bevy Smith; Michaela angela Davis; and MORE! See u NEXT SUMMER…and look for certain SUNDAE-SERMON franchises throughout the FALL & WINTER! GREAT JOB, STORMIN NORMAN!
BASKTEBALL WIVES OF L.A. AND MORE
Shout out to my friend Joy Doss, Executive Producer of The Style Salon (www.thestylesalonnyc.com) which debuted FIVE new designers for the 4th year in a row – including women’s wear from Kachi Designs and Maria Michele to millinery from Ikasho and handbags from Sukari New York and Nailah’s. Gloria Govan and her sister Laura (Basketball Wives L.A.) were in the house. I also got re-acquainted with designer Jedda Kahn (Joe Zee’s All on the Line) who was re-introduced to me by my dear friend Yvette Hayward with whom I recently worked on the Power to End Stroke benefit at The Apollo. She just produced the African American Literary Awards (http://www.literaryawardshow.com/) which took place at the Adam Clayton Powell State Building/Melba’s event space (3rd Floor – one flight above Ant’s two pieces, which are showcasing in the Basquiat community artist tribute)]. Atlanta’s own Derek J (www.thejspotsalon.tumblr.com) was also working his sparkly pumps. And of course, it’s never Fashion Week – officially – without a hug and catch-up from my industry buddies, model and talent manager for 2M, Mica Huges; Harriette Cole (http://harriettecole.com/); and 2R’s Entertainment & Media owner & publicist Ra-Fael Blanco whose current client of note is B. SLADE whose new, sensual video “SEQUEL” is the latest release from the critically-acclaimed album “DIESEL”. The video was directed by Bruce Wayne and the song was produced by T. Boy and written by Anthony C. Williams II. DOWNLOADBLE LINK – “SEQUEL” – VIDEO - http://youtu.be/dS1OzhW_z4U. PURCHASE LINK to "DIESEL" album by B. SLADE http://bslade.bandcamp.com/album/diesel VIEW B. SLADE's EPK here - http://www.sonicbids.com/BSlade
ETIQUETTE FOR CHILDREN & ADULTS
Look at what my homegirl from Savannah, Tatia Adams Fox is doing inside her passion & purpose! In April of 2011, she launched The New School of Etiquette: www.newschoolofetiquette.com. See their blog too: www.newschoolofetiquette.tumblr.com She is truly being a DIFFERENCE for our children... and THE WORLD - from teaching etiquette and social protocol to children and for adults too (She is a certified business etiquette and international protocol consultant): www.boopamarketing.com & www.careerandcupcakes.boopamarketing.com GO TATIA, GO!
ALWAYS so exciting when our New Yorker Trevor visits us in New York from Atlanta. This last time, he introduced us to Harlem’s own Anthony Morgan, who is a multi-talented artist. He is renowned as the head of the spectacular Gospel Voices of Harlem. And he loves singing and performing Gospel Music to the world. Anthony’s mission is to spread the Good News of the gospel message worldwide! Mr. Morgan’s love of singing gospel and his vision of spreading the gospel through song has inspired him to found what is now known as Anthony Morgan’s Inspirational Choir of Harlem. We even tried a ditty via this Grand piano.