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MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL

Enjoyed an EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK at "MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL" (www.MotownTheMusical.com)  #GetReadyBroadway #ChryslerMotown WHAT WONDERFUL EXCERPTS! THEY WERE DREAMY AND TRULY SPARKLED! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THE WHOLE SHOW! Of course, I love all things MOTOWN: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/3/26/people-say-im-the-life-of-the-party.html & MISS ROSS: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/tag/diana-ross.   It seems that after everyone else has taken creative license on Berry Gordy's story (including his romance with Miss Ross), that he and Miss Ross will finally OWN their story in this MUST-SEE MUSICAL! PREVIEWS begin March 11, 2013 and Opening Night is April 14, 2013. The Book is by Berry Gordy, Jr. based on the book "To Be Loved" and features songs from the Legendary Motown Catalogue. In the house: Rhonda Ross Kendrick (who will be doing her part for the Gordy/Ross legacy as she performs a show of her beautiful songs at The Triad on November 5th. Come out and join us! www.triadnyc.com/); Gordon Chambers (who reminded me of his birthday show - Midnight - at the Blue Note on October 13th: http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/schedule/moreinfo.cgi?id=10431); My girl Jacquie Lee who worked her integrating marketing magic on Broadway’s recent “Streetcar Named Desire” (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/tag/streetcar-named-desire) introduced me to Chrystler executive Justin Byrd, who is the brains behind a synergy that will entertain and promote the show and the music’s legacy over the next few months. With Chrysler lending its branding and integrated marketing power to "Motown: The Musical", we're all promised a ride as magical as the one Berry Gordy and TEAM MOTOWN continue to take us on today. Stay tuned.  Marcus Canty from X Factor (will release his debut EP aptly titled, This…Is Marcus Canty on October 30th. For more info: http://www.MarcusCantyOfficial.comhttp://www.twitter.com/IAmMarcusCanty.com, and http://www.facebook.com/OfficialMarcusCanty.com). Suzanne DePasse; my girl Marcia Pendelton who is on Team "Motown: The Musical", working her marketing/audience development magic. - audience; my girl Jacque Reid; Hoda Kofi from TODAY (The 10am hour); Gayle King; my friend Caliaf St-Aubyn who is in the cast; Marva Hicks who is in the show; L.A. Reid (X Factor) and wife Erika; Claudette Robinson, former Miracle and first wife of Smokey Robinson who was also in the house; famous former manager of Diana Ross; Supremes; Temptations: Shelly Berger; The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin; Emilio Sosa, costume designer of "Motown: The Musical". I had the chance to interview on the stage of one of his last projects, "By The Way, Meet Vera Stark" starring Sanaa Lathan; the Legendary Valerie Simpson; and a host of my nearest and dearest friends. I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS SHOW! GET READY BROADWAY!

DON’T SLEEP WITH T.J. HOLMES

I’m hoping for a call back now that I’ve done a test taping of “DON’T SLEEP! Hosted by T.J. Holmes” (as an on-cam “pop culture analyst” on his round-table – also adorned with fellow talking heads: Comedian Sherrod Small; Tiffany Shorter; and Issa Rae. We talked all things pop culture & politics – including: Ann Romney on LENO; “Gay Marriage: Will Blacks sit out the election?”; Celebrity Endorsements: Helpful? Hurtful?; Brooklyn Nets Cheerleaders New Uniforms; etc. WHAT A GREAT SHOW & A GREAT PRODUCTION TEAM! Everyone felt like family and some are – including producer Nichole Andrews Shellman, muse for my recent CNN.com piece (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2012/8/7/my-girls.html). And one of my BFFs Q (on tresses). And Unique (on make-up). “DON’T SLEEP!” premieres October 1st and will run Monday-Thursday at 11pm. For more info on BET and “Don’t Sleep!” check out http://www.bet.com/ and http://www.bet.com/shows/new-shows/dont-sleep-tj-holmes.html CONGRATS to TJ who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing through the National Association of Black Journalists (www.NABJ.org). GREAT GUY! CLASS ACT! AND FUNNY!!!!! It’s going to be MUST-SEE and a great way for us to be informed and entertained – at once! I look forward to return visit(s)!

BEING MARY JANE & URBAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL

The 16th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival presented by BET Networks opened last week at AMC 34th Street with the BET Premiere Cinema film 'Being Mary Jane,' an original made for television movie and pilot. On hand to celebrate this world premiere was the film's lead star Gabrielle Union along with cast members Tika Sumpter and Richard Brooks and my friends AKA writer/director powerhouse couple Salim and Mara Brock Akil. BET top execs Debra Lee (Chairman and CEO), Loretha Jones (President of Original Programming), Jeanine Liburd (Exec Pres. of Corporate Communications) and Connie Orlando (VP, Original Programming) were also in the house to present the film, which my date, buddy Carl Nelson, and I loved. It seemed the packed house love it too! ESSENCE entertainment director Cori Murray moderated the cast Q&A afterward. Then, we all went to the Gaansevort Hotel in NYC’s Meatpacking district for an after-set on its rooftop. Others in the mix:  Jacque Reid, Harriette Cole, Twinkie Byrd (casting director, "Being Mary Jane"), Susan Fales-Hill, Jennifer Williams (VH1, "Basketball Wives"), Karen Gravano (VH1, "Mobb Wives"), Taimak (actor, The Last Dragon), Stacy Spikes (founder, Urbanworld), and Gabrielle Glore (executive producer, Urbanworld).

SHAGGY & SHELLY ANN FRASER-PRYCE

Shout out to Ant's and my sister friend Sabrina Coleman who - with her Pansophy PR FIRM - brought a wonderful group of people together at Private East Side Manhattan home of Ambassador Brenda Johnson. The occasion was to unveil plans for The American Friends of Jamaica (and Executive Director Caron S. Chung) - a foundation close to my heart for the work I've done producing tribute videos for The American Foundation for the University of the West Indies over the last two years: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/1/27/live-out-louder.html. AFJ's 2012 Hummingbird Gala is scheduled for October 25, 2012. Here to help signal the occasion: Jamaica's 2012 Gold Medalist Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce (who signed a pair of NIKEs that will be auctioned off for the awesome charity event); MR. LOVAH-LOVAH HIMSELF, the BOMBASTIC Shaggy; my girlfriends (circa our GERALDO days), Debbie Mitchell (www.thebloggerconnection.com) and Lora Wiley (www.citizenbrooklyn.com), and my NABJ/BET sister Deborah Skinner. For more information on how you can be a part of this amazing effort which benefits so many Jamaicans in need, please kindly go to www.theafj.org. Afterwards, we reunited Sabrina briefly with her Mario who is responsible for introducing us all.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Shout out to my favorite nephew! He’s 24! YIKES! I LOVE YOU, Herman L. Riley III.

And we got a recent birthday toast (and bite) in with our friend, birthday boy Mike! Tao was our celebration spot, which doubled as a long-overdue delight! Hadn’t been to Tao in a minute!

TRENDING PIC OF THE WEEK (CIRCA 1984)

A BLAST FROM THE PAST sent this to my FACEBOOK and many had lots to say! LOL! YES, I PLAYED TROMBONE from 5th grade to Freshman year (first semester) in college. This picture is from Freshman Year in high school.  I not only played trombone (first chair typically), but I went on to be the Band Captain my Senior Year at Windsor Forest High School (when all of our bands were voted SUPERIOR on the STATE LEVEL(s) i.e. marching & symphony). And i even brought my trombone to Morehouse and actually joined the Marching Maroon Tigers alongside the Morehouse College Glee Club. Clearly, we know which won out as I chose not to do both. From there, I even kept my trombone in tact and with me, but - at some point - my brother 'borrowed' it to play in our 'church shout band'... and - let's just say - I never saw MY TROMBONE again! LOL! 

 

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