“BABY, IT’S ME”
Broadway's new musical "Baby, It's You" (about The Shirelles and its founder Florence Greenburg) brought more than wonderful music and a great new staging of a special moment in pop music. It also brought me a nice chat with Jane Fonda and her man Richard Perry, legendary producer of my Miss Ross' "Baby It's Me" album (1977) - one of my favorite albums ever… and her duet with Julio Iglesias (“All of You” – her lead-off single from her 1984 “Swept Away” album). My nephew, his mom, and other friends joined us. Afterwards, on a rainy Saturday night, friends Nicky, Eric, and Steph joined us for karaoke; cocktails; and Cafeteria. While at “Baby, It’s You”, I ran into my friend Phil Geston whose “Love Is Finally Here” CD is available on iTunes, rhapsody, CD Baby, and Amazon. To follow Phil, go to: www.facebook.com/philgeston
“BABY, IT’S YOU”
“BABY IT'S YOU” is an original Broadway musical that is based on the inspiring true story of Florence Greenberg, a suburban housewife from New Jersey, who discovered one of the greatest girl groups of all time, The Shirelles, and created Scepter Records, becoming the music industry's first female powerhouse. BABY IT'S YOU! features non-stop doo-wop, pop, and rock 'n' roll classics such as "Dedicated to the One I Love," "Duke of Earl," "He's So Fine," "It's My Party," "Louie Louie," "Mama Said," "Shout," "Sixteen Candles," "Twist and Shout" and many more! Celebrate Florence's incredible journey from housewife to record mogul, and discover the fascinating, untold story behind your favorite songs at BABY IT'S YOU! The production is playing at The Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th Street between 8th and Broadway. Shout out to my girl Marcia Pendelton from Walk Tall Girl Productions.
The Supremes’ success came in the wake of The Shirelles. Some might attribute Diana, Mary, and Flo as the reason for the commercial demise of The Shirelles. You be the judge when you see it, but Ant and I are clear – from our recent experience of Miss Ross – why she is LEGENDARY and such a SUPERSTAR. Miss Ross was closing out her tour at a Staten Island Theater. Her background singer Fred White – also the writer of “I Love You” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_xc_bJEVYw&feature=related – graciously met us after the amazing show. I hope he and Miss Ross are collaborating on some new music.
Ant’s diva is Janet Jackson and we got to see one of our sold-out performances here in NYC at Radio City Music Hall. These tix surfaced because of our friend Lajuan who came in from Houston, TX for the occasion. Now, we hear Miss Jackson is extending her tour dates. GO JANET! Oh! And Wanda Sykes sat next to us during the show! LOVELY LADY!
Ant and I got to attend Miss Franklin’s birthday party a couple of years ago in Detroit. This year, she came to NYC to celebrate. My friend Greg Dunmore got to attend along with many other buddies. I hear it was a GREAT PARTY! Take a look at the video version of: Greg Dunmore's Hot Happenings!!! Defining "Fabulous": Aretha Wows 'Em in Manhattan!!! http://jazzjewels.tv/enter/?p=214 And for more info: www.jazzjewels.tv and www.pulsebeat.tv
http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/2/8/i-kept-the-memories-one-by-one.html THE LEGEND HAS LEFT THE BUILDING – meaning Mr. Trump’s board room. We LOVE YOU, DIONNE! HOLD YOUR HEAD UP! The nerve of those hussies! LOL! Watch your back, Miss LaToya! Betta step it up, boo boo! They are closing in! GO STAR, as always! WHAT A FUN SHOW this season!
Shout out to platonic boo Carl Nelson for invite to Donna Karan's Urban Zen. She hosted the benefit for Women for Women Int'l (Zainab Salbi) & We Advance featuring the photography/art of Elizabeth Jordan. Also in the house: new Norwegian friends Elizabeth & Andre; Mexico’s Next Top Model's Jo Lance; and social buddy George T. Wilson.
How is Wendy Williams doing after getting the boot off of Dancing With The Stars last night? Just fine, children! She’s on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine! GO WENDY! And I went to the party that celebrated it the other night! My good girlfriend Constance White is now the Editor-in-Chief. And it was so good to see so many fab friends and associates – including Miss Sherri Shepherd, Yvette Nicole Brown; and more. Also, my sometimes-editor Patrik Henry Bass was in the house. Also, another NABJ buddy Chemene – producer at “Today”. Also in the mix: Wendy's parents and Lynn Whitfield (here posing with Wendy's dad). Speaking of ESSENCE, my friends Fred T. Jackson & Perri Pebbles Reid sent me notes about www.essence.com/rbstar (THINK: AMERICAN IDOL).
My boy Lamoh Hicks & I went to my friend Jamar Dunn's Hennessy Remixed party. It was hosted by Toccara. And what a good time we had as we took in the well-appointed space; the delicious cocktails; and the video games. And the room was an impressive one - including Nicholas with Pradia bow-ties (www.robertjpradia.com) and a host of other friends.
ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT is always a BLAST… and will continue to be for the next few weeks (We’ll go on summer hiatus from NATIVE on the 2nd week of May). This week, however, we’ll celebrate Ant’s birthday – so PLEASE COME OUT! Last week, Paul Wharton (of “Real Housewives of DC” fame) came by to support along with a fun group of friends – including my Sidra and our new ALL-STAR for the night: Timothias! He turned the room upside down… in a good way! And it was nice to see all of my ALL-STARs who come out to support our good time!My dear friend Jamie Foster Brown (Publisher, "Sister to Sister") popped by recently. As for Paul, he is moving to NYC to do his new show "Model Intervention" for MTV 2. He’s back with the team that hired him in 2002! Also, his new book is launching June 1st: http://paulwhartonstyle.com/pulling-it-all-together/.
MARA BROCK-AKIL & SALIM AKIL
My friends Mara Brock-Akil and Salim Akil have been busy as ever. “THE GAME” was a big success at BET, which renewed it for a new season. It’s been announced that they are working on a “SPARKLE” remake. And Salim’s directorial genius can be seen in “JUMPING THE BROOM” – out in a few weeks. Y’ALL BETTER WORK! And send me some!!! LOL!
NYC's Irving Plaza was the backdrop for a Windsor Forest High School reunion of two KNIGHTS as I enjoyed a performance by my Savannah homeboy and classmate Anthony David who performed his new hit and some of his classics. This BET Music Matters set also included Melanie Fiona & Marsha Ambrosius. Anthony and I caught up afterwards! Make sure you catch his new CD "As Above So Below" & the new video for "God Said".
PROJECT 1 VOICE
I’ve been working on a project with my friend Erich McMillan-McCall. Well, I’m supporting it. One day, he asked me to stop by and participate in his PROJECT1VOICE (www.project1voice.org) video. Well, here’s one of the videos: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Project1voice/158820437504381 On JUNE 20th, 2011, PROJECT1VOICE will stage a one day play reading of Alice Childress' TROUBLE IN MIND in theatres across the country. PLEASE JOIN OUR MOVEMENT!
JENNIFER HOLLIDAY & RAPHAEL WARNOCK
Y'all know I LOVE ME SOME Jennifer Holliday! http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/6/13/from-black.html Looks like she and my Savannah homeboy & Morehouse brother Raphael Warnock have a collabo that we must ALL check out! http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/4/16/as-the-sun-has-its-place-up-in-the-sky.html
VY HIGGINSEN & GOSPEL FOR TEENS
I also LOVE ME SOME Vy Higginsen and have interviewed her myself a time or few. Well, get your kleenex (if u haven't seen it already): This 60 MINUTES piece on her "Gospel for Teens" program will have you swimming in tears <at least, it did me>! BEAUTIFUL WORK, VY!
Y'ALL KNOW I LOVE ME SOME JILL SCOTT, right? If you're a fan, too... check out her new viral video of "LOVELY DAY" on www.jillscott.com and you can participate in Phase I of the "HAVE A LOVELY DAY" Campaign or you can link directly here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOmPJeIJd8k LOVE YOU, JILL!
Was just with NABJ mentor Paula Madison at the AFUWI event I helped produce: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/1/27/live-out-louder.html In fact, via NBC, she and I have partnered on some AWESOME A&E programming at NABJ... over the years: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2010/8/4/i-can-feel-the-warmth-of-love-surrounding-me.html. CONGRATS on JOB WELL DONE, PAULA!
My friend John Stanley just performed two sold-out shows at The Triad here in NYC! I was not able to make it, but I hear it was AMAZING… as I have experienced him many times (as Patti LaBelle’s Music Director). Plus, he has worked with everyone from VALERIE SIMPSON to LUTHER VANDROSS Download ALRIGHT from: www.johnstanleymusic.com And check this out from that night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYtQrn-S0QU&feature=share. CONGRATS, JOHN!
My Itika T. Oldwine took me to the premiere of this film "Black Butterfly" last year while on an extended special project in Chicago: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2010/4/30/lip-sync-for-your-life.html. Looks like more people will be able to see it in cities across the U-S. For more information: https://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=93122939113.
Just stumbled into this tid-bit about Darryl Stephens, Noah of "Noah's Arc" fame. He has a debut novel! CONGRATS DARRYL (who I met during my 2009 stint in L.A. See attached blog entry which also includes another QUEEN OF SOUL set I attended in Beverly Hills after her "Hollywood Bowl" concert & lots more!) http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/shortcomings/15235929 CONGRATS, DARRYL!
To my Frankie & Neffe family - Evolyn Brooks, Nichole Andrews Shellman, Shareen King, Maia, Elizabeth, et al. Wasn't Dariel Pulliam a calm inside of a storm? May he rest in peace! www.DarielPulliam.com
R.I.P. Sidney Lumet - DIRECTOR of "THE WIZ" and many more! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnrP-4LVhgU
R.I.P. Sidney Lumet - DIRECTOR of "THE WIZ" and many more! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnrP-4LVhgU
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