Anthony Harper and I are here watching Xscape Unsung. Talk about the soundtrack of OUR LIVES (and - for me - my young adult years right as my pie-in-the-sky ambitions were about to meet crippling-despair at the pass... and life would never be the same... and yet I'm here to tell the story)...GOD IS GOOD!See the time stamp: July 8, 1994. And the frame is footage from some behind the scenes footage of that Xscape music video shoot for the song "Tonight". As I was an associate producer and the entertainment guy for FOX 5 Atlanta's Good Day Atlanta, I took my little cousin DeeDee Manor with me to the set as she was visiting Atlanta from Savannah for the summer and had just come up with my mom #queenelizabethbellingerriley for my sister Janice Riley Priester's July 4 work cookout. That week, we also saw Whitney Houston at The Omni. At 23, I was readying for the wrap of "Options: Image of the Future" summer camp which I co-directed with Reginald Parker (our banquet was approaching) and I was Co-Chair of the first Unity Journalists of Color / (NABJ) National Association of Black Journalists Convention (as VP-Broadcast of Atlanta Association of Black Journalists - AABJ). A week later, I'd wreck my car on Georgia Tech's campus. That's where we held our camp. Then 7/20 happened: my mom had a heart attack and instantly passed away. When this frame of video flashed across the screen, I got goosebumps. It all came pouring back! It was 21 years ago this month...time flies... and pop culture is here to remind us. XO RIP #queenriley #72094
THE GRAND FINALE of Billie's Black PRESENTS#ALLSTARKARAOKE with Patrick L. Riley: our SPRING 2015 SERIES went out with a BANG! Broadway DIVOs Ryan Shaw (Stevie Wonder from “Motown the Musical”). Also, my friend Charles Wallace (Broadway’s “Amazing Grace” which OPENS this Thursday) came by and SANG Aretha and Teddy. The passing of songwriter/producer Michael Masser hit me like a ton of bricks as I was first introduced to him via Miss Ross' liner notes. He wrote "Touch Me In The Morning"; "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To?"; "Last Time I Saw Him"; "It's My Turn"; "To Love Again", "In Your Arms", "One More Chance", "Stay With Me" --- many of my FAVORITES! Then, when Miss Ross exited stage left from his works in the '80s, Miss Whitney Houston inherited his genius on "Greatest Love of All", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "All At Once", "After We Make Love", and so much more - for these ladies and George Benson and Natalie Cole, etc! I would have me choose two favorites from his Diana Ross/Whitney Houston repertoires: “It’s My Turn” and “Didn’t We Almost Have it All”: https://www.facebook.com/patrick.l.riley/videos/vb.662073736/10153136593663737/?type=2&theater¬if_t=video_comment. And we celebrated two birthday girls: Rachelle and Tracey as well as the CUNY Journalism Fellows who my friend Nikita Stewart Henderson (from “The New York Times”) brought to hang out with us. AND WE DID THE #THEBOSSCHOIR at#BILLIESBLACK ONE MORE TIME! LOL! https://www.facebook.com/patrick.l.riley/videos/vb.662073736/10153136580498737/?type=2&theater THANKS TO EVERYBODY who has been such a STEADY SUPPORT of our LITTLE NIGHT that COULD - including our TITLE SPONSOR Miss Jessie's... and Riley/Land Gourmet Pantry XOXOXOHope to see y'all in the FALL... if we don't pop up somewhere in the meantime! Endless Love for Billie's Black! Love you, Adriane and Marian! XOXOXOXO
I love my National Association of Black Journalists' sister friend Katti Gray - so much I got up too early (after the GRAND FINALE of our Spring 2015 Series of “Billie’s Black presents All Star Karaoke with Patrick L. Riley”) to teach her new, diverse crop of NYC high schoolers participating in the NYU Urban Journalism Workshop "THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW". Plus, I had a young CAU-bound intern Blake shadowing me for the day on an ask from my friend Marcia Cole. GREAT KIDS! GREAT TIMES! http://urbanjournalismworkshop.org/ My recap from last year: http://thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/2014/7/21/time.html #nyuujw
Thanks to my "nephew" and NABJ BFF Brian Henderson for hipping me to filmmaker Aviva Kempner's latest work: Rosenwald, a documentary describing how businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined with African-American communities in the South to build schools for them during the early 20th century. Rosenwald will be released in theaters in August 2015. And there's a screening next week in L.A. MUST SEE! Thanks Brian!
Brian and his wife, dear friend Nikita Stewart Henderson - New York Times' own - invited me to experience Nikita's daughter Ella for what is being dubbed "the greatest showcase of the summer"! This weekend, at the lengendary Bitter End, talented teenage musicians took over the stage at "ROCK IN BLEECKER"! Proceeds benefitted the charity Music Unites, which is dedicated to spreading music programs throughout public schools for at-risk youth. GO ELLA who also graced our Grand Finale of Billie's Black presents All Star Karaoke with Patrick L. Riley. She's also working in several fabulous arts programs - including a Clive Davis one at NYU and another at Harlem School of the Arts. And she's interning at Sounds of Brazil: SOBs this summer - booking acts for the famous live venue.