CRAZY, STUPID LOVE.
Shout out to Anna Fuson, Tagan Lee, and Raqiyah Mays for inviting us to pre-view screening (and "Fashion 40" pre-show mixer) of "Crazy Stupid Love" (starring Steve Carell ). It came out this past Friday and is poised to be a BIG HIT! While at the mixer, Flo Anthony introduced me to Victoria Giler - "the NEW Beyonce?" (Can't wait to hear!). And friend Walter Greene is always doing something FAB in fashion. Great to see you, Walter, Diaz, Dominga, et al! www.facebook.com/crazystupidlove AS THE MOVIE... & ITS STELLAR CAST GOES: I fell in love w/the talent of Julianne Moore years ago on 'As The World Turns'; Marisa Tomei on 'Different World'; Emma Stone just weeks ago in 'The Help' (out soon). Well, they all had me HOWLING (& even crying a little) in the new romantic comedy "Crazy, Stupid LOVE." A MUST SEE...and according to "...the life of Riley...": HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
You all know that Ant is an artist. And while on summer hiatus from producing “The Wendy Williams Show”, he is putting much muscle into his art alter-ego Akhenaten. And come Saturday, August 13th, you can join him, our girlfriend Cynthia Burgos, and a host of other artists in Harlem for their opening. Museum of African American Cinema MoAAC, School of Visual Arts Alumni Affairs and The New York State Office of General Services proudly presents “MANIFEST: A CONJURATION OF RADIANCE” (GREG MILLS – Art Gallery Curator). A HOST OF VISUAL ARTISTS pay TRIBUTE to Jean-Michel Basquiat – including: Akhenaten (AKA Anthony Harper) AND Cynthia Burgos. COME JOIN US on Saturday, August 13th from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm to: MEET THE ARTISTS at the exhibition (opening reception & film screening).
The Art Gallery – 2nd Floor – FREE ADMISSION
ADAM CLAYTON POWELL, JR. STATE OFFICE BUILDING
163 WEST 125TH STREET @ 7TH AVENUE
(You must have photo ID to enter building)
BASQUIAT TRIBUTE ART EXHIBITION SPECIAL EXTRA VIEWING DAYS TO PUBLIC ARE:
Saturday, August 13th – 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Sunday, August 14th – 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Monday, August 15th – 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Daily film screenings - 12:00 pm & 8:00 pm
NABJ IN PHILLY
Stumbled into a few days of freelance here in NYC at recurring client BET. WHEW! Among many things (as I gathered through certain elements in the archives – to produce an overview video of all the network has to offer), I got to see BET's upcoming, scripted sitcom "Reed Between The Lines" which co-stars Tracee Ellis Ross & Malcolm Jamal Warner. I love them both… and am EXCITED that they will be coming to Philadelphia for the National Association of Black Journalists’ Convention (I just heard that Tracee’s mom, my Miss Ross, visited the set of “Reed Between The Lines” – perhaps to ensure all is going well with her star daughter. NABJ is in a few days! www.nabj.org
NABJ AFTER DARK: MICHAEL BAISDEN – RELATIONSHIP FILM: DO WOMEN KNOW
WHAT THEY WANT?
Best selling author and nationally syndicated radio personality Michael Baisden has made a career of provoking conversation about everything from why men cheat to sexless marriages! Now, the outspoken relationship guru takes his raw style from the studio to the streets. No longer anonymous voices on the radio, would men be honest about their multiple relationships, interracial dating, and why they choose to date but not marry some women? And would women admit to having affairs with married men, take responsibility for their bad choices, and explain why they faked it? What started out as a cordial conversation with one simple question, “Do Women Know What They Want?,” exploded into a battle of the sexes that will have you laughing hysterically one minute and shouting at the screen the next!
LOOK WHO’S TALKING: INTERVIEWS GONE VIRAL
The key to getting eyeballs to follow that amazing interview you did with that A-list celebrity isn’t just about placement on a page, news program or on the Web; it’s about using your interviewing skills to get that amazing dish that will have tongues wagging. Top entertainment journalists talk about what it takes to really get that interview to be a newsmaker.
Nekesa Moody, Music Editor, Associated Press
Kelley L. Carter, Entertainment Journalist
Bob Meadows, Deputy Editor, Essence
Jermaine Hall, Editor in Chief, VIBE Magazine
Lola Ogunnaike, Cultural Correspondent
Alicia Quarles, Global Entertainment Editor, Associated Press
“TRINITY GOODHEART” SCREENING”
Based on an original screenplay written by Rhonda Baraka (Pastor Brown), Trinity Goodheart is the inspiring and heartwarming story of a smart, independent young girl (Erica Gluck) being raised by her single, free-spirited musician father (Eric Benét). Finding comfort in creating decorative paper angels that provide inspiration to her and the patrons of Mr. Kwon’s Deli and Bookstore where she and her father work, Trinity begins to make peace with the fact that her unconventional father and her friend and confidant Mr. Kwon (James Hong) may be the only family she ever knows. But when an angel visits and tasks her to find the missing half of a broken heart pendant that once belonged to her long-lost mother, Trinity embarks on a mission to find her mom and uncover the truth about her parents’ complicated past. Discovering both sides of her estranged family are alive and accomplished, but missing a deeper sense of connection and purpose, she attempts to use her charm to encourage them to set aside their differences and come together as a family to bring her mother home. TRINITY
GOODHEART can be seen exclusively on GMC TV Saturday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. EST.
Moderator: TJ Holmes, CNN
Panelists: Eric Benét, Actor/Singer-Songwriter
Rhonda Baraka, Screenwriter
Paul Butler, GMC Senior Vice President/General Counsel
MICHELLE OBAMA ON A MISSION: IMPACT AFRICA
BET News/Docs takes viewers inside the First Lady’s motorcade as she takes her family and her bold initiatives global, retracing the struggle against apartheid and renewing the American commitment to supporting a free, democratic and prosperous South Africa. In this half-hour television special, Michelle Obama speaks personally and directly to the BET audience about the importance of connecting to the world beyond US borders and the special link between the struggle for freedom in the US and Africa. It’s an inspiring adventure in high level diplomacy and a rare glimpse into the world of First Family.
THE JOY ROAD PROJECT SCREENING
The film Joy Road is a mainstream movie telling the story of a fictional corporation for whom necessity dictates that legislators pass laws that will keep privately- owned prisons at a capacity that will ensure profitability. The Joy Road “App” offers information about a similar real-life entity and enables users to become active in fighting against and impacting the effectiveness of this organization. Also, in addition to addressing the prison industrial complex, Joy Road examines other issues within the black community such as middle class identity, the role of black professionals as well as who is to blame for our issues. Come join us and share your views as we discuss these issues; how they relate to one another; and what the Joy Road Project is doing about it.
NABJ PRESENTS: DISNEY CELEBRATES “DREAMS COME TRUE” SHOW AND RECEPTION
Disney Parks invites you to a celebration of dreams come true! “Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine” turns five and to mark this important milestone Grammy award winning singer Yolanda Adams and other special guests take center stage for an unforgettable heart warming program, followed by a news maker reception. Co-hosted by Patrick L. Riley (Chair, NABJ A&E Task Force)
NABJ FILM FESTIVAL: “THE HELP”
Based on one of the most talked about books in years and a #1 New York Times best-selling phenomenon, “The Help” stars Emma Stone (“Easy A”) as Skeeter, Academy Award®–nominated Viola Davis (“Doubt”) as Aibileen and Octavia Spencer as Minny — three very different, extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 1960s, who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk. From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to be crossed — even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with the changing times. Deeply moving, filled with poignancy, humor and hope, “The Help” is a timeless and universal story about the ability to create change. “The Help” opens in theaters everywhere on August 10.
Moderator: Tamron Hall, MSNBC
Panelists: Viola Davis, Academy-Award© Nominated Actress
NABJ FILM FESTIVAL: “RED TAILS”
Lucasfilm Ltd. is proud to preview a special sneak peek at RED TAILS – a high-flying WWII epic inspired by the heroism of the first all African-American aerial combat unit. Showcasing the inspiring story of the Tuskegee Airmen to the screen, the film celebrates the intrepid young airmen who took to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world. Selected members of the cast will make a guest appearance.
Charles Floyd Johnson, Producer
Terrence Howard, Actor
Octavia Spencer, Actress
Tate Taylor, Director/Screenwriter
Kathryn Stockett, Author
My BFF Carl Nelson attracted a round-robin of LOVE for his birthday recently. Girlfriends Mairie Raxy; Ivonne Velasquez-Razzaq; and a host of others pulled out the stops for us to celebrate our Carl. On the rooftop of MiMa, the party went on into the late hour... LUV U, CARL! And Melky Jean was in the house! And our friend Luigi was there as well… from Italy.
Don't miss THE SINGER'S LOUNGE SERIES. There’s another one coming up. It's FREE & so INSPIRING! FUN too! The first one I attended: Gordon Chambers & Melisa Morgan. And let me tell you: It takes a village to put it on – so SHOUT OUT to: Savoy Walker, Mark A Forrest; Ulysses Carter; Anwar Robinson; & my Morehouse brother Jonathan D. NiBlack (who reps Dawkins &Dawkins, who performed the week after Gordon and Melisa). Also, BET SUNDAY'S BEST SEASON 2 FINALIST JESSICA REEDY performed. My buddy Anwar Robinson hosts and SINGS! It all takes place at the Samsung Experience (in Time Warner mall in Columbus Circle) – one level above BORDERS books (the iconic store chain that is poised to close down very soon in the wake of an unfortunate bankruptcy situation. I LOVE BOOKS… and BORDERS). Anwar is – of course – an American Idol alum. A couple of weeks ago, he sang a beautiful song, "Coming Home", for our soldiers (Video out soon!). Prior to his stellar performance, he testified of a near-fatal scenario he experienced with a friend while driving last week. A young man held a pistol up to Anwar & his passengers - even shot at them. He wasn't hit but says he's forever grateful to God to have gotten away from that situation and to be here – PERIOD! – to testify; sing; and to lift the GRACE of GOD up HIGH! AMEN! The stars of the evening were Gordon Chambers and Miss Melisa Morgan – both of whom shared generously during the Q&A and sang amazingly well during their brief performances. Thanks to my friend Ulysses Carter (long-standing Whitney Houston PR rep) for inviting us. The guys at SAVVY MARKETING (Savoy Walker & Mark A. Forrest) put on a FIRST CLASS affair that was scored during breaks by DJ Suave Luciano. After a great Q&A with Anwar - chock full of great tid-bits about his career & collabos (Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Queen Latifah, etc.), Gordon Chambers performed two great tunes - one from his first CD (dedicated to Luther) and another - a preview from his upcoming 3rd CD "Sincere" [A ditty called "I Can't Love You (If You Don't Love You)"]. GREAT SET, though I hoped he would sing my favorite tune that he penned, “If You Love Me” by Brownstone! Melisa Morgan also gave a great interview – including a tid-bit of how she sang background for greats like Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston before she got her deal. Then, she proceeded to SANGING "Fools Paradise"!!! and "Do Me Baby"! THREE standing ovations later, the energy in the room inspired an impromptu duet with Melisa and Gordon on Melisa (and Kashif’s) “Love Changes"!!!!! BEAUTIFUL NIGHT! SHOUT OUT to Rowena Husbands for providing me pix on this AWESOME night: www.blinkofaneyephotographyonline.com
Was great to pop by Schomburg Center in Harlem to see friend Dwight Eubanks. He's doing more than "Real Housewives of Atlanta" these days. He was commissioned to work his hosting magic at Clairol Professional's ART OF FABULOUS hair competition. Shout out to InternationalModel Jay DeAgo who joined us. He sports some of Dwight's men's underwear in his new international calendar for which Ant (the artist Akhenaten) directed and shot one of the dozen art images (http://www.jaydeago.com/).
Brooklyn is getting lots of "... life of Riley..." LOVE of late (I do and have always loved me some BK!). Manivone’s boo and our friend Taha Clayton's SOLO ART SHOW opened (and is still running) at Habana Outpost. It was a BLAST! A posse of us are just back from DENVER where we enjoyed the July 4th holiday: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/7/13/best-thing.html CONGRATS TAHA! See Taha's work here: www.artlordz.com. Was also a treat to hang out with two of my HERO WRITERS Michael A. Gonzales and Amy Linden!
Shout out to my friend Tracey Moore who has always been an international superstar of spiritual and powerful note to me. Well, now the proof is in the pudding. First destination: Ghana where Tracey is making spirited actors' dreams come true along with my friend and Morehouse brother/spirited actor EXTRAORDINAIRE Rockmond Dunbar! It’s “The Spirited Actor in Search of Africa's Next Hollywood Star”… and gonna be on in the Fall.
CONGRATS to Miss Tichina Arnold on "Happily Divorced" with Fran Drescher. Now the TV LAND writers must challenge themselves to use her many talents via better scripts! OKAY!!? Meanwhile, keep being AMAZING, TICHINA!
GREAT JOB, Mike Ruiz! He joined with my buddies Sam Fine (makeup) and Oscar James (hair) on some recent shots of Iman (www.mikeruiz.com). BEAUTIFUL... as always! I LOVE IMAN… and THANK all of you for supporting our IMAN Cosmetics/”In The Glow” campaign. I’m so happy many of you were able to get pampered.
CONGRATS to Lisa Raye and all of the "Single Ladies" (and gents)! The VH-1 show has been picked up for Season 2! http://www.s2smagazine.com/stories/2011/07/singles-ladies-renewed-season-2
I always get excited when my girl Kim Coles pops into NYC. Hadn't seen her in a few months. But she just emailed me that she is coming back in mid-August for a friend's animal charity event. Click here for more info & a peek at Kim's new look: http://youtu.be/qbiSUEhbWOs HOPEFULLY we'll connect over dinner or drinks. XO
Shout out to Nathan Hale Williams for hipping me to new show. It's called Kimchi Chronicles (PBS) & its star Marja Vongerichten, who is the wife of celebrity chef Jean-George Vongerichten. Kimchi Chronicles is more than a cooking show. It is an exploration into Korean culture and history as we watch Marja discover her roots (She's Korean & African American). www.kimchichronicles.tv
FAISON HARLEM STREET FAIR
Shout out to friends George Faison; T; Rick Pelzer; Earline Franklin; John Stanley (who has been traveling all over as Music Director for Miss Patti LaBelle + performing and touring on behalf of his own music and non-Patti collaborations); Alyson Williams; and so many others who made the 5th Annual Harlem International Street Fair a SUCCESS! GOOD TIMES HAD BY ALL - including me! Afterwards, we enjoyed a lite bite with friend Castro at Harlem Tavern. Remember to check out Alyson for Stormy Mondays at Melba's EVERY Monday Night for Happy Hour 7pm - 10pm. Melba's 300 West 114th Street, Harlem, NY 10026 - Reservation 212-864-7777
Just did 'The Voice'-Season 2 audition in NYC. I sang 'This Woman's Work' & 'Can't Let Go' (Mariah). I was offered an appointment to go right into the call-back round of auditions. So there were no lines. Judges were nice and seemed to enjoy. They video-taped. I feel good. If I go to Hollywood, they will call after the US tryout tour of many other U-S cities! Ant nudged...and I put myself in the hot seat (AGAIN! LOL!). We'll see! Meanwhile, we need to attract some RIGHT-NOW revenue! LOL!
KEEP ON DANCING
Like Sundae Sermon which I hosted last week Harlem, Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn brought friends - old & new, including long-lost buddies Eliseo Perpee Palomar Baloyo & James Dunn. Then, there was more Sundae Sermon: www.sundaesermon.com. And I LOVE that there is so many places to KEEP ON (DANCING).
My girlfriend Sidra Smith recently hired me to be consulting producer/co-writer on a cross-cultural marketing project with advertising/marketing ICON Ogilvy. It gave me the chance to work again with Soledad O'Brien who was plucked as our stellar host for the roundtable. Along with Rachael Ray, I had the chance to field produce a big segment on Soledad for my former Chicago client. Rachael taught Soledad how to prepare a picnic for a wonderful day in Central Park with her kids. Of course, Soledad is also my NABJ sister who I often see in that world. I'm looking forward to seeing her in Philadelphia for our Convention.
KEVIN ANDRE DICKENS
Speaking of NABJ: My friend Kevin Andre Dickens is an AWESOME designer. His FABULOUS collection of ready-to-wear/made-to-order suiting (and tailoring) services will silhouette me while in Philadelphia this week for the National Association of Black Journalists’ Convention (www.nabj.org). The website featuring Kevin’s extraordinary work for men & women will be re-launched soon. In the meantime, stop by and visit Kevin at his design studio (325 W 38th Street, Suite 1206).
"MORE THAN CONQUERORS"
Shout out to my girls Andrea and Shani who invited Ant and me out to Brooklyn to hang out on one of the borough's finest rooftops. New friends Cuncho and Andre L. Wilkins were also in the house. Andre is a documentary film-maker whose "More Than Conquerors" explores African Americans and their struggles and triumphs with Cancer (forthe American Cancer Association). The project was a finalist at the American Black Film Festival in Miami a few weeks back. CONGRATS ANDRE! For more information on his project, click on: www.kickthecanentertainment.com
My girlfriend Katrina Boswell's client Vivian Sessoms is performing LIVE! this Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm at FEINSTEIN's at Loews Regency (540 Park Avenue): http://mim.io/42ea51. This is what they are saying about her:
"Sessoms' clear, exquisite voice shimmers against a percolating R&B/jazz backdrop." -- Billboard Magazine
"Sessoms' voice is a malleable wonder that rhapsodically floats from ageless soul shouts to intuitive jazz phrasing to spontaneous pop pep." -- Urban Network magazine
"As Vivian sang the first few lyrics of the classic song "At Last", I thought the heavens had opened up and rained down some of the best singing and performance style I had ever heard."-- Patti Austin
It was July 20, 1994.A day I’ll ALWAYS remember. That was the day my mother died. It’s been 17 years since she passed away… QUEEN ELIZABETH BELLINGER RILEY! I LOVE YOU… and miss you so! R.I.P.