Okay! So, since Anthony Harper and I hooked up December 1, 2005, he's thrown me some awesome BIRTHDAY parties! In 2006, he was still in Denver, but flew in as my birthday gift: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2006/11/21/a-birthday-in-the-life-of-riley.html. In 2007, he outdid himself! He came into a windfall and spent it all on me: a romantic trip for two to Manila where we saw - in concert - Beyonce who we met and who - at the end of the show - serenaded me "Happy Birthday". A TRUE HIGHLIGHT! http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/11/12/manifest-destiny-destination-manila.html. And that year, he further outdid himself stateside: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2007/11/20/keeping-the-music-playing-on-my-p-day.html. In 2008, it was a karaoke set! What a blast: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/11/26/accept-me-flaws-and-all-and-thats-why-i-love-all-of-you.html. In 2009, I'd just returned from a year away in L.A. and Atlanta - producing "Monica: Still Standing" and "Frankie & Neffe" - so this party was a WELCOME HOME party after a rough year away from home and apart from the one I love: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/11/17/la-proved-too-much-for-the-man.html. 2010 was quite the extravaganza. Many beats to this year. All great onces - including a set at the tony Griffin in the meatpacking district: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2010/12/1/i-recall-the-scenes-that-never-die.html. In 2011, it was karaoke. But there were also other locales for celebrating - including New Rochelle. Also, Sid's Harlem pad served as the backdrop for one of the nights: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2011/12/14/get-into-it.html. In 2012, there was more karaoke: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2012/11/19/golden-hearts.html. And this year's "chicken and champagne" set was a low-key hang of just a few buddies on the block - all of whom came out to play on a school night. Shout out to childhood BFF Ernest Maynor; Derrick Hemphill; Isoul Harris; Kevin Freeman; Monique Taylor; Nathan Hale Williams; Jamar Dunn; Mr. Eric (One of the glam squad for the Fashion Queens); and - GASP! - is that "internet wifey" and "Amazing Grace", BFF Mara Schiavocampo in the house? YAZZZZZZZ! LOL! The intimate set was hosted by my buddy Merrell, celebrity makeup artist to Wendy Williams, Diddy, Usher, and many more. His fried chicken is the best! And how GRATEFUL am I for Ant and everybody who LIFTED ME UP on my birthday this year! THANKS TO EVERYBODY! And a special shout out for my nephew who put his special touch on my birthday extravaganza: a great meal at our favorite Hillstone. And I got to hang with my buddy Bobby Roache before that meal. Always good to chill with my brother from another mother. Though my birthday was Tuesday, November 19th, I want to SHOUT OUT ALL who came out to KARAOKE with me at Karaoke Duet 53 last night! WHAT A BLAST! So many of my friends from my many walks of life were in the house: Friends from Savannah Ernest Maynor and Maurice Marable were in the house; Maurice brought our friend, sometimes-boss, and fellow “creative” in common: Kendrick Reid, Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director, Brand Strategy for BET Networks (who is my fellow Scorpio along with my fellow “karaoke” BFF Dante Higgins and our girlfriend Ashley Fettig – both of whom attended with extended fam in tow. Thanks Brandon, Mike, et al!). Was great to see my young NABJ buddy and my former Harpo colleagues (now-fellow-freelance-writer/producers here in NYC): Blair Youngerr and Suzanne. Of course, my usual suspects were in the house: Jamar Dunn, Derrick Hemphill, Dayne Brett, etc. And I was UBER-EXCITED to have in the house: Mr.Justiin A Davis of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire fame:https://www.facebook.com/JustiinDavis. TOTAL HONOR! BIGGEST SHOUT OUT to my partner Ant for ensuring I felt the LOVE from the night and my birthday overall! THANKS, BABE! GREAT NIGHT!
It gets better
Shout out to Amanda Johnson with Here Media (www.heremedia.com). She brought me to the attention of Wells Fargo which is producing a video campaign titled “It Gets Better” in conjunction with Out Magazine (in which I was once featured as a, ahem, model: Was my MAHOGANY MOMENT! LOL! http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/7/28/im-so-glad-we-had-this-time-together.html And some more intel on it: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2009/2/2/we-will-find-a-way.html. And a piece on when I stumbled into the opportunity before the issue came out. Thanks Sandra Lee and OUT!: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2008/8/15/butterflies-begin-from-having-been-another.html)! The OUT 100 gala took place recently…and what a BLAST it was! Was great to hang out with my buddies – including Morehouse brother and UPTOWN Magazine Editor-in-Chief Isoul Harris and my dear friend DeMarco Majors. DeMarco introduced me to Gerald McCullouch (Best known for playing Bobby Dawson on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation... but currently DIRECTOR on a new film project DADDY: A Film Written By Dan Via (www.daddythemovie.com and www.facebook.com/daddythemovie and TWITTER: @daddythemovie). ALSO IN THE HOUSE: My boy Derrick; American actress, reality star, and transgender activist Laverne Cox; and RUPAUL DRAG RACE winner Sharon Needles. I also considered it a total honor to chat with Gail Marquis and the legendary Audrey Smaltz – a married couple that is featured inside the sixth installment of a series of short films by Antony Osso: “THE DEVOTION PROJECT”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBjdokpUQpM. This series of films documenting LGBTQ couples and the love they share. It premiered online on February 14, 2013. The first five films, "More Than Ever", "Say Only Yes", "Listen from the Heart", "My Person" and "Build Your Wings" are also available on the channel. The purpose of the “IT GETS BETTER” video is to inspire teenagers who may have been bullied and offer them inspiration – perhaps that may have been lacking when I was coming up. We worked the red carpet and enjoyed the VIP benefit of this event and soon, a nice video package will be readied for global viewing. And I’ll be sure to blast it your way, once it’s done. For more information, please go to www.Out.com/Out100 #OUT100
Thanks to Linda Johnson Rice, Desiree Rogers, and Amy Dubois Barnett for inviting Ant and me to EBONY's POWER 100! What an awesome evening inside of which we honored the 100 most influential African Americans in the country - including Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Berry Gordy - Motown Founder and Music Impresario. You know I got the chance to work as the Opening Night host of Broadway's "Motown: The Musical": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK1yncqPlOQ. Shout out to Director Charles Randolph Wright for reminding Mr. Gordy. Also honored: President Barack Obama; Kerry Washington; Earvin "Magic" Johnson; Nick Cannon; and Marian Wright Edelman. The gala celebration took place in New York City at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall in the Time Warner Center. The EBONY editorial team selected the 100 most influential African Americans in the country. The 2013 Power 100 list will appear in the December/January issue of EBONY on newsstands. AND P.S. ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE MY FRIENDS! XOXOXOXOXOX
ALL ON A LUNCH BREAK! LOL! Hi folks! I’ll have more to say on this when it actually launches VERY SOON this month! But let me now SHOUT OUT my Morehouse brother Isoul Harris for introducing me to the awesome team behind UPTOWN Unplugged, which UPTOWN is launching as an extension to its brand. As I’ve been featured in the FAB mag’s H List a time or few (http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/tag/uptown-magazine), the H List (and a little of my story) come to LIFE via this segment which focuses on individuals the editors and producers feel are tastemakers and scene stealers! SCENE STEALERS???????! LOL!
I guess that’s me! LOL! As an independent producer/personality/writer and veteran pop culture expert (their words! LOL! AM I THAT OLD? LOL!), the amazing team of Executive Producer Lynne McDaniel and talent booker extraordinaire Tyese Carmichael –Styles invited me to chat and be one of their first short-form episodes (3-5 minutes) on UPTOWN Unplugged, which will live on YouTube among other platforms. My friend, Co-Founder and Group Publisher of Uptown Magazine, Len Burnett, says the new channel will offer a mix of original and curated content. Marriott International is the presenting sponsor for “The H List” and two other original series: “Uptown Studio” (for which the AMAZING HOST WITH THE MOST, MISS ASHLEI, interviewed me on its comfy, intimate, lounge-type set inside one of Ren 57 Hotel’s midtown suites) and “Uptown ProFiles” – all of which are interview-style series (primarily being shot at the Uptown Studio located in the Renaissance New York Hotel). Uptown Unplugged will also look to produce and distribute original and curated branded content. UPTOWN Magazine celebrates the luxury lifestyle of professional and influential urban consumers across the country with city-specific editions in New York, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Its editorial content, promotion, and brand extensions communicate the appeal of a luxury lifestyle with an authoritative voice and sophisticated design. Editorial content highlights the best in home décor, automotive, technology, fashion and jewelry, fitness, health and beauty, travel and leisure, food and wine, sports and entertainment, and arts and culture. It also includes provocative profiles of the tastemakers who represent this audience. AND TO RECAP: “UPTOWN Unplugged” creates and distributes celebrity and lifestyle video programming for that young and happening demo that aspires and inspires (my words). As a premier digital entertainment destination, UPTOWN Unplugged is a fully-integrated channel extension of the Uptown Magazine brand. All shows featured on the Uptown Unplugged Channel are distributed across all relevant media platform extensions and through our exclusive partnerships. The channel will be promoted and leveraged via all forms of social media. #uptownunplugged #uptownstudio #uptownmag
So on my “birthday eve”, I attended the BLACK NATIVITY premiere at THE APOLLO! Shout out to my Spelman and NABJ sister Tosha Whitten Griggs with Front Page Media PR for the LOVE! Afterwards, the cast and guests gathered at Red Rooster for the after party. As the day grew long in the tooth from having had many juggling balls yesterday, I instead tried out the new “Red Lobster” (don’t judge! LOL!) and headed home. But before, fellow BLACK NATIVITY attendees and my BFFs/MOREHOUSE brothers Michael K. Watts, Mario Ephriam, and Herman L. Riley III – also my “favorite” nephew joined Ant and me to wish me an EARLY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! LOVE MY BROTHERS, NEPHEW, MAN, FRIENDS, and FAM! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Black Nativity, starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Jacob Latimore, Tyrese Gibson, Luke James, NAS and Mary J. Blige.
Special shout out to my friend/fellow LIFE AFTER pundit/Celebrity Gossip Reporter/NOVELIST Flo Anthony who has a new book out! “Deadly Stuff Players” is Flo's second novel and is filled with juicy tid-bits from Hollywood's hottest nightclubs; boardrooms, steamy bedrooms; and behind ALL the scenes. A Howard University Graduate, Flo was the first Black woman in the nation to work on a gossip page: NY Post's highly-revered Page Six. LOVE YOU, FLO! CONGRATULATIONS on your GREAT READ! Perfect for the HOLIDAYS! http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Stuff-Players-Flo-Anthony/dp/1593095074 #deadlystuffplayers
blood sweat heels
We are ALL celebrating the “platinum” success of my friend BEVY SMITH and her “FASHION QUEENS” – including Miss Lawrence Washington and Derek J – the latter of whom I had the chance to meet during my “reality” days in 2009 – producing “Monica: Still Standing” and “Frankie & Neffe” (in Atlanta while the 2nd season of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” was taping and the sequel of “Why Did I Get Married?” was filming): http://www.bravotv.com/fashion-queens. Meanwhile, another friend and a couple of associates I’ve had the chance to get to know inside New York’s elite circle of high-style media socialites and tastemakers have been announced as the stars of a NEW Bravo venture that is scheduled to launch at the top of 2014. Former video vixen turned realtor Melyssa Ford is starring alongside two women I know: modeling agency owner Mica Hughes (dear friend I met years ago through one of my BFFs Lisa Goodnight) and a style and pop culture journalist with whom I recently had the chance to work on a project with mutual client BET (under the supervision of Michaela angela Davis), Geneva S. Thomas – Detroit’s own. Affordable-style expert Daisy Lewellyn and “A Belle in Brooklyn” blogger and author Demetria Lucas round out the cast of “Blood, Sweat & Heels,” which premieres Sunday, Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The premise: a group of up-and-coming movers and shakers in New York’s elite circles of real estate, fashion, and media are chronicled...and it the trailer demos lots of drama: http://www.bravotv.com/blood-sweat-and-heels. GO MICA! http://www.bravotv.com/people/mica-hughes/bio.
Where Are They Now?
I've been workin' overtime these days! And I'm grateful for work coming my way ---- on so many platforms and from an array of clients - old and new. I don't typically promote in my blog space assignments I do for recurring client OWN as so much of what I'm assigned is confidential. But I will ask you to tune into "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" as an interview I conducted with Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been excerpted and is ready for air this Sunday at 10/9c. As always, I appreciate your support! http://www.oprah.com/WhereAreTheyNow
Subscribe to OWN: http://bit.ly/18Lz0rV #WhereAreTheyNow
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