Shout out to on-line health journalism camp “Young Savannah Voices” – directed by my fellow journalist and friend Tina A. Brown who I just ran into a couple of weeks ago at client, The Links, Incorporated’s National Assembly in Orlando. Soon after our reunion, Tina invited me to be a one-time Professional Skype Coach. I presented a workshop about “The Art of a Story” (As a Largo Tibet Elementary School; Derenne Middle School; and Windsor Forest High School alum, I get excited when I speak to folks from home!). Among other sharing, I got to speak on a health-related project on which I’ve worked in the last year with the AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION. In addition to being hired as VO talent for the sponsorship video (http://www.powertoendstroke.org/about-sponsorship-reel.html), I was hired to do the red carpet reporting for the association’s Spring APOLLO benefit 2011. It ran on GMC last summer as well: From the 'on-line health journalism' angle, it showed the students the many CELEBS who spoke on the red carpet about STROKE AWARENESS. ADDITIONALLY, the AMERICAN STROKE ASSOCIATION/AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION hired me to blog and testify about STROKE in my life and family: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/4/3/american-heart-association-presents-you-are-the-power-benefi.html -AND- . In addition to being a member of The Links, Tina is an author/lecturer. “Crooked Road Straight: The Awakening of AIDS Activist Linda Jordan” is her first book: http://www.crookedroadstraight.com/. I LOVE YOU, SAVANNAH! THANKS TINA! And to my new friends, THE YOUNG SAVANNAH VOICES: THANK YOU for your enthusiasm, great questions, and spot-on intellect!!!!


It's been a busy week - producing a special project for recurring client BET Creative Services. Glad my 'Amazing Grace' (I call her), Nichole Andrews Shellman, invited me out for a catch-up drink (She and I will soon be featured in a piece I wrote on 'gay men and their best girlfriends' that's due to drop on CNN.com very soon). Ant and his BFF Manivone joined us at Therapy - also for light bites. From there, Manivone and her man, Taha, convinced me to pop down to Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (to the 5 Spot - www.fivespotmenu.com/) to join the Open Mic Wednesday Night. I sang Maxwell's "This Woman's Work" and the FAB band didn't miss a beat. Taha’s brother Adam and Denver buddy Chris were in the mix too. Great Wednesday which had me missing my ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT (but it was REALLY NICE with a HOT BAND! THANKS Y’ALL!). For those new to ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT: We are currently looking to host another karaoke night in Harlem. As you know, we gave birth to ALL-STAR KARAOKE in August 2010 when NATIVE Restaurant asked me to HOST a karaoke night. Hence, ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT was born! And we had a blast until our wrap back in June 2011 (last year). We are exploring new locales now. Our guest singers - on any given night - included: songstress Tichina Arnold; R&B divas Alyson Williams & Monifah (SOON to be seen on TV ONE’s “R&B Divas” - http://tvone.tv/shows/r-and-b-divas); actress Napiera Groves; the artist formerly known as TONEX, B. Slade; Mariah Carey's long-standing background singer Melony Daniels - an artist her own right; Broadway baby Brenda Braxton; singer/author David Nathan; FELA!s Kevin Mambo; Paul Wharton ("Real Housewives of DC"); etc. WOULD LOVE TO CONTINUE that level of evening in addition to our regular karaoke lovers! Of course, the blog “A Day in the Life of Riley: pop culture & possibilities” has chronicled much of the ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/tag/karaoke.


“A Day in the Life of Riley: pop culture & possibilities” welcomes Candice Harper to the blogosphere! She introduced Candy SEZ - Self-Esteem Zen for the Single City Girl last night (www.candysez.com). She is now LIVE with 'Nistas, Alkaline Recipes, Ex-Con ex Boyfriends, and all kinds of Single City Girl STUFF! Candice’s favorite writing spot Astor Row Café hosted the well-appointed affair at which she read an article live, and auctioned off mini blow-ups of 'Nistas. She also led a fundraiser for Girls Inc. – raising a few hundred dollars for that awesome cause. AND she presented the RED VELVET CANDIECAKES TOWER – comprised of delicious mini-cupcakes that we all enjoyed – including Sidra Smith, my Morehouse brother George Alexander, Ant, and a host of others. CONGRATS MISS CANDICE HARPER! WE LOVE YOU!See More


Shout out to my friend Ed Roebuck for inviting us out to his Long Branch, NJ family home for pool-side pleasantries. Ern, Ant, and I went together and joined many friends – including Lemuel Adams; Lamoh Hicks; Dwight Ross; Monroe Shannon; David P. Martin; and several other great folks! Ed’s producing and organizing expertise is often called on by only the greats – including Miss Nancy Wilson and Miss Diana Ross…and many around the pool can drop a name or few from their respective client lists as well.


“New Jack City” was recently the selection for movie night at Mara and Tommie’s Harlem pad. Next select: “Boomerang”! On another day at Mara, Tommie, and their newborn Nina’s place, we were supposed to be celebrating Nina's mom Mara Schiavocampo's latest nod as 35 UNDER 35: YOUNG, BLACK, AMAZING in Essence.com: http://photos.essence.com/galleries/35_under_35_young__black___amazing/entry_image/1382653-mara_schiavocampo_32#!1384763. But once propped up by dad Tommie, Nina requested her own celebration in SONG c/o MOI! LOL! To the inspired melody of Lionel Richie’s “Truly”, I served accordingly: https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=4360775780176.


James Baldwin’s LEGACY continues beyond the wonderful experience I had to participate --- as narrator --- with the cast of Baldwin’s AMEN CORNER for PROJECT 1 VOICE (www.project1voice.org). My Morehouse brother CHARLES REESE is still out on the road with his unique literary performance book salon experience in honor of James Baldwin’s birthday celebration. Presented by the National James Baldwin Literary Society on this FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2012 (STATION NORTH ARTS CAFE & GALLERY. 1816 North Charles Street. Baltimore, Maryland – from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. 410 625 6440. www.jamesbaldwin.org), expect a great time. “JAMES BALDWIN A SOUL ON FIRE,” a book version of the critically-acclaimed Off Broadway short play by the late playwright and Emmy Award Nominee, Howard B. Simon (1962-2000) is now available at Amazon.com. Edited and guided by the original Off-Broadway actor and DC native, Charles Reese with a special foreword by David Leeming (Baldwin’s Biographer and former secretary); and coupled with an afterword by original actor and Tony Award Nominee, Forrest McClendon (Scottsboro Boys). The book was published by Azaan Kamau/Glover Lane Press, an independent publisher. The experience – including a copy of the book – is $20. There will be a lively conversation with some rare archival footage of the Off Broadway play and music. Reception immediately follows the book signing. Charles is also currently a series regular on the hit micro web comedy, "WHO" available only at www.ajakwetv.com. For more information on Charles Reese and Book Salon, please email: soulonfire63@yahoo.com or visit: www.sag.com/iactor.com and www.jamesbaldwinasoulonfire.com.


During my days at Morehouse, I spent lots of time at Clark Atlanta University’s Mass Media Arts Department under the supervision of advisor/mentor/friend Ann Kimbrough. Over the years, we’ve stayed in close touch and – at a point – she became my ‘mother of the industry’ (and holding). She just recently snagged her Ph.D and has been named the Dean of the School of Journalism at FAMU. Though I’m sure we’ll celebrate, Dr. Kimbrough’s message to fellow classmates and AUC alums alike: “…YOU will be coming to Tallahassee to help the students!” And so it is… and will be! LOL!

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