xscape puerto rico 2016
WHAT A WEEKEND! And I MUST say off the top, it would NOT have happened without the recommendation from my partner Ant’s sister from another mother, Sabrina Coleman AKA Bri Cole AKA Pansophy PR guru – clients over the years having included and including LEON, FRENCHIE DAVIS, MICHAEL JAI WHITE, PRESSURE, and XSCAPE PR!
Once she extended the advisement to Xscape Puerto Rico founders Gregory Douglas and Maurice Foley, they invited me to co-host and present at their Memorial Day Weekend Tropical Getaway for an esteemed LGBTQ set, I couldn’t refuse.
Was a bit more of a journey to get to this weekend --- with family crisis; some reversals on our original deal; lots of juggling deadlines, but I’m clear where I was supposed to be this weekend! WHAT A BLAST!
We CELEBRATED all things Patrik Ian Polk and the cast of Noah's Arc, including the one cast member with whom I'd yet to take a pic til now:Gregory Keith who plays Alex's partner and an anesthesiologist Trey Iverson. Always loved him on the show.This was one of many highlights that included a “Noah’s Arc” reunion with most of the balance of the cast: Darryl Stephens; Jensen Atwood - my friend who is always such a joy....
and such a stand for the LGBTQ set as he looks to showcase his authentic hetero side in the upcoming season of TV One's "Hollywood Divas" (but the "children" still love them some Jensen - me included);and Rodney Chester. I share to inspire you joining us next year: www.xscapepr.com. Instagram: xscapepuertorico Twitter: @xscapepr
Oh! And my dear friend James Earl Hardy – who I met via the National Association of Black Journalists in 1995 in Philadelphia – who is responsible for the B BOY BLUES franchise: books and staged work – was honored with a Vanguard Award. Love him and his work so much! Congrats James!
And you MUST KNOW Miss Frenchie Davis was a fierce and fun presence to the gathering of hundreds of LGBT professionals and our friends – performing a fab set of material in Old San Juan for one of our late night parties. She did Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”; Katy Perry’s “Fireworks”; a tribute to Prince and Denise Matthews: Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl”; a remixed Rihann’s “We Found Love” with just piano accompaniment; and an a capella “Home”. YAZZZZ! AND THANK YOU!
We didn’t do ALL STAR KARAOKE (which I host in New York City) this year in Puerto Rico (though I did stumble upon some karaoke in the general lounge…and I just had to get “The Boss” in for the packed lobby). But as a Celebrity Ambassador, I got the chance to host the Opening Night party, which was star-filled: Angie Stone played her new CD “Dream” and performed a few tracks from it (and her classic repertoire). She received XSCAPE PR’s Vanguard award that night.
Was also a treat to introduce two of my favorites with whom I’ve had the chance to know on a friend/fam tip these last few years: My R&B DIVA QUEEN MONIFAH and The Queen of Bounce: BIG FREEDIA – both also VANGUARD AWARD RECIPIENTS... in addition to supermodel and star on “Real Housewives of Atlanta”, Miss Cynthia Bailey: She shared her eyewear --- and lots of generous, connected time --- with everyone. LOVED hanging with her this weekend. THE KIDS LOVE CYNTHIA BAILEY!
Also there were wonderful HIV/AIDS awareness panels – one featuring my friend Marco Benjamin with the Aids Healthcare Foundation. There were also many authors in the mix including Sundiata Alaye whose book "Empty Promises Private Pain: A Light Out of Darkness" is winner of James Baldwin Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in the Arts
I don’t want to forget anyone, but let me take a stab at sharing with you who was in the house: Wendell James (“Raising Whitley”); THE VIEW’s Raven Symone accompanied EMPIRE and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL’s own Azmarie Livingston; Ariane Davis (“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta”); my friend Clay Cane who presented his BET.com documentary “Holler if You Hear Me: Black and Gay in the Church”; Juan & Gee (Power Couple/Love Works/The Gentlemen's Ball); Torrei Hart (Actress & Reality TV Star/Hollywood Ex's ATL); Melli B, out hip hop artist; Sampson McCormick, Stand Up Comedian.Writer.Activist; MJ Harris (Co-Founder & Vice President-The Hurston Group); CoachG - Health & Fitness Expert; Alain Fagnidi, Celebrity & Intl. Lifestyle Brand Designer; Chef Will Brown (TV Network Personality); Sundiata Alaye (“Empty Promises Private Pain "A Light Out of Darkness"”); Rashad Burgess (Gliead Sciences, Inc.); playwright and actor Daniel Beatty; etc.
My childhood BFF Ernest joined me after Ant couldn’t make it due to a family emergency. We enjoyed the company of Moe Dee; Ashley; and so many others. And when Sabrina Coleman wasn’t juggling her many balls as publicist of Frenchie Davis and XScape PR or her production/script writing duties for The Vanguard Awards or the Opening Night party for which she produced me, we all got several much-needed doses of fun and relaxation, which – even with rungs of resort hiccups – couldn’t make our time at XScape PR anything short of a OPRAH-LEGENDS-WEEKEND-style LOVE FEST! LOVE YOU ALL…and see you NEXT YEAR!
DISNEY on Broadway
“Can I tell you the way that Disney does it? There’s something for everyone. Shows like Aladdin and The Lion King get us in touch with our inner child.” That’s what I told the hosts at Arise Entertainment 360 a couple of years ago on my former, recurring theater segment: : https://youtu.be/3x2PkFiqqu8 . Since Ant and I met on Broadway almost 11 years ago at Oprah Winfrey Presents The Color Purple and I’m always waxing theatrical on some platform, the PR folks with these shows asked LIFE OF RILEY to return and – via blast – to underscore that any of Disney’s Broadway fare is a swell date night in addition to being a kid-friendly experience. Take some time to re-experience these amazing productions and each other on a DISNEY ON BROADWAY DATE NIGHT:www.disneyonbroadway.com. TWO favorites (among many) are in these two Great White Way productions ALADDIN has Clifton Davis (whose LIFE AFTER on TV ONE is among the shows on which I appeared as pop culture analyst) As always, THANK YOU for keeping up with LIFE OF RILEY:www.thelifeofriley.squarespace.com/rilys-blog/... and THE LION KING has Morehouse brother RUSSELL BROWN, a Broadway veteran, in it. BRAVO TO ALL! As Ant and I were en route to the earlier curtain of 7p, we happened upon “Wicked” co-star Peter Scolari who I got the chance to interview a year or so ago for recurring client OWN-TV’s “Oprah, Where Are They Now?”:https://youtu.be/cwexkUN9iZU and https://youtu.be/noz_zrQasH4. then from Broadway’s “Shuffle Along”, we happened upon tap star Savion Glover and director George C. Wolfe – both Broadway babies! I also got to recently interview multi-Tony-award-winning “Shuffle Along” star Audra McDonald for #WhereAreTheyNow - https://youtu.be/pE5EgP-a6Kc. #broadway #arise360 #aladdinonbroadway#thelionkingonbroadway #BazanPR#TheColorPurple #OprahWinfrey #Oprah#allstarkaraoke #billiesblack #DisneyOnBroadway
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