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freedom you see


Well, President Obama is in The White House! And like the first time, I am starting to get political/pop cultural bookings (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/6/6/a-pound-is-nothing-without-someone-you-love-to-share-it-with.html). A few of those impressions were with NBC News Correspondent Mara Schiavocampo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXc6x5JlJuw & So far this time, it comes in the form of a call-back from DON’T SLEEP – HOSTED BY T.J. HOLMES ( http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2012/9/28/arms-open-wide.html). Last night, we discussed what Obama's re-election means to Black America and how it was the minority – at-large – that got him his second term i.e. Blacks, Latinos, LGBT, and the youth (http://www.bet.com/video/dont-sleep/highlights/2012/sleep-talkers-don-t-sleep-121-12021.html). Also, I was interviewed back-stage before the show: http://bet.us/TuU3Eb I got to wax philosophical with journalist/cultural critic Toure, whose work I’ve admired for years – on-camera and via the National Association of Black Journalists’ annual convention. Also in the mix: Rapper “The Game” (who – by the way – has a new CD coming out December 11th. It’s called “Jesus Piece”. ) He shocked me when he told me that he was a ‘fan’ of my blog. THANKS GAME! I truly enjoyed sharing the table with the fellas. As we looked at same-sex marriage passing in two states (Maryland and Maine), I was posed a question or two. One thing I wanted to offer was a shout out to Bayard Rustin about whom I’ve blogged before: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2010/6/19/postcards-from-the-edge.html. He took a backseat as he orchestrated much of the movement on behalf of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and so many more (He organized The March on Washington, for example). This, because he was gay. Always out and unapologetic. But smart enough to know that - at that time - his orientation may have confused the efforts that were being made to gain civil rights for Black people. I've studied Bayard Rustin and consider him a personal hero. With that, I lift his name up for having to move to the back burner despite his brilliance. 50 years later, LGBT issues are at the fore; we are at the table and know our value; and we were key in not only helping to get President Obama elected, but we are beneficiaries and muses of the many other things he has done for the LGBT community since being in office – including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; lots of bullying motivation (including a letter to a 10-year-old girl who was being bullied because she had two dads); and so much more. Also on this Election Day: Shout out to Wisconsin for producing the first openly gay or lesbian person to win a U.S. Senate seat: Tammy Baldwin.  HERE'S A LINK: http://www.bet.com/video/dont-sleep/highlights/2012/sleep-talkers-don-t-sleep-121-12021.html. And the back-stage one: http://bet.us/TuU3Eb. PLEASE SHARE & TWEET ACCORDINGLY: @BETDontSleep #BETDontSleep THANK YOU, T.J.


On the back-stage viral that the DON’T SLEEP producers did with me when I was on the show, I mentioned everyone’s favorite Real Housewife Nene Leakes. She is on the cover of EBONY’s POWER 100 ISSUE. I got to toast her on that point recently at a gala that was thrown to honor the cream of the crop (including Quevenzhane Wallis - one to watch in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" - a flick my girlfriend, Fox Searchlight Pictures marketing exec, Cassandra Butcher brought to the National Association of Black Journalists' Convention back in New Orleans a few months ago: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2012/6/29/impossible-inevitable.html). It is a must see: www.beastsofthesouthernwild.comShe was gracious; happy to pose for a pic; and she seemed quite genuinely appreciative that we are fans of THE NEW NORMAL – her hit sitcom. I was there – however – to toast my homeboy Maurice Marable (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/11/10/put-me-to-the-test.html) & my NABJ A&E Task Force sister Nekesa Moody - TWO of EBONY's POWER 100.  ALSO IN THE HOUSE: Many of the POWER 100 and LOTS of my friends from EBONY and beyond! I LOVE IT WHEN I REALLY KNOW THE PEOPLE ON THESE LISTS...and when they are REALLY DESERVING! Proud of Y'ALL! XO PLR http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/ebony-reveals-its-2012-power-100-list-100 



You all know I LOVE EVERYTHING ROSS, which includes her offspring. The eldest daughter of Miss Diana (and Motown Founder Berry Gordy), Rhonda Ross gave a stunning performance last night at Lee Summers’ The Triad here in NYC: http://www.facebook.com/events/505801396114740/! Her jazz-inspired set included a little hip hop (“Empire State of Mind” by Jay Z & Alicia Keys – her opener); lots of neo-soul; and a few classic and modern-day anthems – including “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (her encore) and the R.-Kelly-penned title track of the late, great Whitney Houston, “I Look To You” – a touching rendition dedicated to the family of the two brothers, Brandon and Connor Moore, who were swept out of their mother’s arms by floodwaters during Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island. Also, Rhonda’s own self-penned compositions were sprinkled throughout her set. One tune was designed to inspire us ALL to get out and VOTE (Rhonda’s exclaimed preference: President Obama). Mission accomplished. But having just experienced a week without power and a week in which so many have experienced difficulties, Rhonda Ross inspired us all to live our best lives IN LOVE. And that shows up on-stage and off-stage. Worth noting, Rhonda is busy as ever these days with more than motherhood (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/rhonda-ross-kendrick). She is hosting the Hearts of Gold benefit next week here in NYC (www.heartsofgold.org/). As a consultant for Remy Martin, I enrolled the luxury liquor company (known for its Cognac) to be a sponsor for the charity event which  fosters sustainable change in lifestyle and levels of self-sufficiency for homeless mothers and their children. It was also great to see my fellow ROSS fans in the house – including Andreas (who came all the way from Germany for the show) and Dustin Fitzharris – also a fellow journalist who did a wonderful interview with Rhonda to promote her show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=styk1uJ7VNY.  CONGRATS on a GREAT SHOW, RHONDA! One more thing: MISS ROSS – who normally attends all of her kids’ special functions – is out of the country on a lucrative gig – performing in India. It's a birthday event that Naomi Campbell is hosting for her boyfriend. I LOVE ROSS, of course... and NAOMI!


http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/6/15/welcome-back-into-my-life-again.html My Spelman sister and fellow NYC friend Tai Monique Beauchamp Tai Beauchamp is always handling her business (www.youtube.com/watch?v=R76dF0ScGyk). She has partnered with one of our favorite retailers, Target, as they begin to spread the word about their extensive product offering geared toward the multiethnic woman. GOOD STUFF, TAI! CLICK HERE: www.youtube.com/watch?v=R76dF0ScGyk.


Shout out to my girl Tamara Tunie who not only just completed a successful singing stint at Feinstein’s, but she’s co-starring with Denzel Washington in “Flight”. It is playing at a theater near you. http://www.paramount.com/flight/CONGRATS – as always – on EVERYTHING, TAMARA! XO



Urban Vintage (www.urbanvintageny.com) was the well-appointed backdrop of the baby shower we attended recently. The guest of honor will be here in a month or less, but I have known her mom Radiance Salem since she was a child. And now, she’s having a baby! TIME FLIES! CONGRATS, RADIANCE! WE LOVE YOU!


I mentioned Mara above. Her husband is Tommie. Our BFFs! Their daughter is Nina... and this is what it looks like when I 'babysit' her! A laugh before you go: https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=4849253031802


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