Got to experience BEYONCE’s GMA concert in Central Park with Ant and my nephew. A dear friend at ABC hooked us up with VIP passes. I wasn’t able to get an updated pic of BEY with me. But our cameras captured some especially intimate shots. She performed a handful of new tunes from her “4” CD. Oh! Will Smith's boys were in the house. When she was on her BDAY tour, you’ll recall Ant took me to Manila to see the diva. She serenaded me Happy Birthday as the 2007 trip was MY BDAY GIFT!
Beautiful Colorado was the back-drop for our 4th-of-July holiday. In addition to meeting the parents, our host Jean opened up her well-appointed home to us. We spent lots of time on the rooftop – watching fireworks; sipping wine; and even doing YOGA! Master Yogi Tyrone Beverly made a house call and instructed Ant, and our friends Manivone and Taha, in a moving and motivating session. Additionally, buddy Brina took us out. We did karaoke – twice (at Pierre’s and Armida’s). We got our tresses maintained at Center of Attention as she and expert stylist Tyrone worked their magic. Turns out Brina knows another of my friends – from the National Association of Black Journalists, reporter Don Champion. And can I shout out Manivone’s peeps (and the FOH!)! Also, The Gypsy House is the bomb! I had so much fun, I'm pondering a return in September to see my old & new friends. Oh! And if I time it out just right, I’ll see MISS ROSS too… on 9/20!
SUNDAE SERMON was a BLAST...
and it was so GREAT to hang with so many of my friends.
We danced underneath a BEAUTIFUL NYC sky!
And DJ Stormin Norman and company had that music pumping
! And of course, my girl Michaela angela Davis was in
the mix. Please continue to support: www.sundaesermon.com AMEN!
PROJECT1VOICEAn awesome fundraising event to benefit 5 Theatres in NYC. In addition, Project 1 Voice had over 15 readings of Alice Childress’ “Trouble in Mind” on 6.20.11 including: Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Birmingham, Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, and San Francisco.
The amazing NYC cast gave us an experience: Leslie Uggams, Malachy McCourt, Alano Miller, LaChanze, Andre DeShields, Justin Lupe-Schomp, Bill Irwin & Don Stephenson. Directed by Charles Randolph Wright. My friend Erich McCall and Gwen Gilliam and the entire Project 1 Voice team did their thing. And I saw so many of my friends – from my Morehouse brothers Maurice Mcrae and Charles Reese; Ken Roberson; Karen Chilton; Marcia Pendelton; Clay Cane; Dwayne Grayman; and many more. To learn more visit. www.project1voice.org
I stopped by 230 Fifth recently to toast Miss LaToya Jackson on her new book. Y'all know I LOVE me some LaToya! Her new book “Starting Over” chronicles her special relationship with her brother Michael. She was a gem! Shout out to Chip Duckett for giving us access. We too got to CONGRATULATE Tony-award-winning Nikki James who won for the virtually-clean-sweeping “The Book of Mormon”… and we had many friends in the house – including Erica Watson (“Fat Bitch”); Flo Anthony; Cynthia Horner (“Right On!”); and a host of others.
Shout out to my friend Harriette Cole whose Harriette Cole Media produced a book signing party last night in NYC to launch a series of vampire books called Aleron by a new author named Kane. It was a fun night with friends – old and new. Shout out to: Sid, Jacque Lee, Mykel; Tanya Wright (from HBO’s “True Blood”); my former NBC 4 colleague Maurice Dubois; iconic male model Rashid Silvera; Chaz Parker (from HBO’s 'Oz' and 'The Wire'); Harlem publicist/event producer extraordinaire Yvette Hayward; Napiera Groves; my friend Margot Jordan (photographer with the most) and her daughter Markita Prescott – actress/singer/dancer on the rise here in the city. Also ran into two Morehouse brothers (from my same class): actor Nasser Metcalfe & Shawn Peters.
Rapper Trae's listening party at the Worldwide Universal Headquarters to hear his new project "Street King" - featuring collabos with Rick Ross; Jadakiss; Lloyd; Game; Gorilla Zoe; Jadakiss; J-Dawg; Scarface; Wyclef Jean; Shawty Ko; Lupe Fiasco; Big Boi; etc. Shout out to Jah Mikal who is guiding Trae’s segue from regional to international as he did for Akon; Yelawolf; and – soon – Nikkiya (who has been likened to Erykah Badu). A pop down to The Village by Café Wha? and The Monster signaled the coming of PRIDE this upcoming weekend. Even ran into legendary make-up artist Byron Barnham – maker of Iman's cosmetics formula and he still beats her stunning canvas beautiful today. HAPPY PRIDE, Y’ALL!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yWhhc2G72E I had a hand in producing the video elements that complimented CEO of BET Debra Lee's speech at Consumer 360 yesterday in Orlando. Along with a "village" to pull-off the two-week project, I'm happy that the more than 1,000 attendees thought the presentation a resounding success (Standing Ovation to boot!). THANKS BET! Meanwhile, shout out to BET! Black History Month Campaign 2010 (which I had a freelance hand in helping produce) was nominated for a Promax Award (the Oscars of PROMOs). Much love to Michaela angela Davis for sharing the news + all of our BFFs at BET!
Big BRAVO to Rodney Chester whose one-man-show was AWESOME! Friends and producers Nathan Hale Williams and Lloyd Boston (also host) did the THANG (at friend George Faison's Firehouse)...and BRILLIANTLY so. Plus, it’s always EXCITING to see my friends Deborah Gregory, Maurice Jamal, DJ Baker, and new friend Christian Vincent who played Ricky on “Noah’s Arc”.
THE HELP & MOGUL (AGAIN)
Congrats to Terrance Dean whose listening party for his debut novel "Mogul" was held at Nectar. And we took Ern and Lamoh to see another preview screening of "The Help". Between the four of us, there are 8 THUMBS UP! Please be sure to check it out when it opens in August! www.facebook.com/thehelpmovie
Congrats to buddy Patrik-Ian Polk as he shoots his current film project "THE SKINNY"! SUP to the beautiful cast as well! XO
Happy PRIDE! Got to see many of my peeps! Shout out to Devon, MKW, Mario, Jason, Marqice, Trevor, Jeff, Carl, and a host of others.
Shout out to Hanna Lee (www.hannaleecommunications.com & www.unwindwithwine.com) for inviting us to Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel for her client Bortolomiol Prosecco’s tasting. In fact, Elvira Bortolomiol was in attendance and is one of Italy's few female Prosecco producers. She showcased her family's Proseccos: Brut, Rose and Cartizze. She also spoke about a new book honoring her father and his success at making Prosecco, a worldclass sparkler. And she discussed Valdobbiadene as a travel destination. Then, we popped down to the hotel’s lobby bar where talent agent Jason Marks (WWW.JMTALENT.COM) was hosting a PRO-MAX party (www.promaxbda.org). It made for a perfect segue. I saw lots of friends - old and new. And it made for a nice toast, given the PRO-MAX nod.
One recent night allowed me to connect with my Amazing Grace Nichole Andrews Shellman and our posse - including Troy Morrell; Shareen King; and Kenny. And what a good time we had in Harlem at Harlem's hot spot, Marcus Samuelson's Red Rooster. Shout out to Sidra Smith et al for making it a blast. And Derek? "The Boss" was the bomb! LOL!
REV. AL SHARPTON
Shout out to Elinor Tatum who recently booked me to be a guest on Al Sharpton's radio show. As pop culture analyst, I talked 'gay marriage': http://newsone.com/nation/news-one-staff/listen-live-at-1pm-newsone-on-keeping-it-real-with-al-sharpton/ Thanks to Elinor Tatum who invited me to join the chat.
My dear friend Ted Gibson and I have worked on some historic TV projects together (and some works-in-progress). He just sent a note, asking "Did you know hairdressers don’t get an OSCAR?" Ted and others say it's time for hairdressers to be recognized in Hollywood. Help him make this happen by LIKE-ing the following: http://www.facebook.com/WeNeedAnOscarForHair
Y'all know I love me some Tanika Ray Hgtv - my Spelman sister! Well, please be sure to SET YOUR TIVOs or TUNE IN to her new show DESIGN STAR, which she is hosting on HGTV (www.hgtv.com). CONGRATS TANIKA! Much LOVE, BOO!
You all know that the United House of Prayer for All People is my family’s church. One of my fellow members from the Atlanta church, Tramaine L. Bailey has a new book of poetry worth checking out. Find Tramaine L. Bailey on FACEBOOK and/or www.tramainebailey.com CONGRATS, TRAMAINE!
I was robbed! And I was given a gift at the same time. So while my appearance on "Million Dollar Password" repeated all through this past weekend on the Game Show Network, ANT had a new possibility up his sleeve: "Superstar K" - The 3rd Season, one of Korea's answers to 'Idol'; "X Factor"; "The Voice"; etc. Like with 'Password', I was resistant. I love to watch those shows but being under a pressure cooker or someone's wavering and/or cliche judgments is not my idea of a good time. Moreover, as a long-standing field producer myself, I am more interested in decoding the production and the behind-the-scenes manipulation than being in it. That said, I'm no stranger to being on-camera (as a spot personality) and - as Ant put it - I am always singing to somebody's praise at either karaoke, cabaret, or the Radio City Music Hall stage. Oh! And Ant added "The winner of Superstar K (which doesn't have an age cap like 'Idol') gets $500,000 and a car!" Since my 2008 'Password' win - $25,000 - I know better than NOT to follow Ant's vision, even when I may not want to be bothered or may find myself stretching in foreign territory. In fact, just months ago, Ant Berry-Gordy'd me into "America's Got Talent"s NYC auditions as he'd gotten a leak that one the NBC show's scouts would be in the house at one of our karaoke spots. I sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and - VOILA! - I got a scheduled appointment to audition; then call-back; and the hope of a call to go to Hollywood. But the call never came. Fast forward just two days from Ant sharing this Korean contest and I am in a line of mostly 600, singing ("And I..." again). The twist: there were 5 contestants singing simultaneously through their respective rounds on the same New York Times theater stage behind a curtain. Through all of that, I am the only act to get applause. So we were not surprised that I got a call-back late that Saturday night to show up (today) for "Superstar K"s 2nd-round of auditions (This time at Liberty Park in Jersey City). If I would have made it thru this round, Ant and I would have been going to tape the FINALs in Korea for three days at the end of August (towards that $1/2 million and that car). But after a full-day of shooting - including back-story on Ant and me; my rehearsing "And I..." which they asked me to sing again; and the subsequent audition (Another round of applause from crew; producers; and volunteers), the judges decided that as good as they think I am, turning around a Korean-language CD to the Asian marketplace right after the late-summer finals would be too tight to justify keeping me in the running. And though they experienced me a quick-study for today's taping (because of phonetics and my memory), a full album - to them - should go to someone who knows the language. But it was quite a few days "...in the Life of Riley..." and as always, I'll keep going for my dreams (even inside Korean packaging that may not be the most comfy fit). And I even quoted my muse (Miss Ross) to the producers and camera folks who I just knew would be ambushing me for an "I'm-Going-to-Korea" moment when I exited the audition space to return to Ant. I said "I Ain't Been Licked!" (and might consider learning Korean for Season 4. For kicks...) So NO KOREA...for now. But the "Idol"-esque set-up piece should still be cute. LOL!
FRIEND TO FRIEND
A dear friend of mine passed away. MARLON LAYNE? I love & miss you! He was my fellow MISS ROSS SUPER-FAN! And this song is dedicated to him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMc_B7ey5l0 Many of us indeed feel like '...he was our flower plucked away...!' And we will FOREVER love and REMEMBER Marlon Layne. I just found this entry from a Greenwich, CT concert that Miss Ross performed for her boys' teen center. Marlon and I attended together. & here are a couple of entries that 'recall the scenes that (will) never die:http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/5/12/where-god-left-his-shoes.html AND http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/1/12/stolen-moments-of-love.html