PATRICKRILEYHEADSHOT2.JPGWELCOME to "The Life of Riley" which will include periodic chronicles of pop culture and possibilities that flow out of Patrick L. Riley's day. That's me!!! Through blogging (and soon some other technological features on which I'll keep you posted as they launch), I will pull experiences from my busy life to entertain and inspire all of you. Through this site, I will share my observations and insights. 

Some features to look forward to:

1.) "PATRICK'S POP UP(DATES)" will feature stories from pop culture, music, theater, fashion, and the entertainment industry at large. 

2.) "The Life of Riley" will also introduce a "take-a-look-at-your-life" section (READ: sort of an advice column), where I will help readers come up with their own questions and answers around what "ways of being" are working (or not working) to have them acheive their respective goals and live their best lives. This section is called "WHO YOU BE?".

3.) Additonally, there will be a free-flowing, organic section called "TESTIFY" from which I will pull from my own life's journey to share and hopefully inspire. Some of the fare may be new musings and experiences. Other times, I may pull from my journals and past sharings to shed light on some uncomfortable truths that I've experienced and that may perhaps play a role in healing someone else's wounds as the real-life experience did for me. From my experience of covering 9/11 as a freelance journalist to courageously coming out (as gay) to my family, "TESTIFY" promises to move those who choose to read it.

4.) And a section titled "PR" (like my initials, but also like "public relations") will include press clips from any coverage I get. 

5.) And anytime pictures or video can support an entry (in the blog, and perhaps in the subsequent podcasts, my space, and website), those visuals will keep things aesthetically enrolling. That section will be called "MY TUBE".
Patrick L. Riley


ask patrick


This entry was to announce that ALL STAR KARAOKE is coming back at the end of APRIL 2015! Then, the QUEEN OF SOUL called and my lead is buried! But this is MISS ARETHA FRANKLIN, after all.. LOL!.... so let me interrupt this regularly scheduled programming for this ROYAL RE-CAP that deserves some R-E-S-P-E-C-T....


CHECK OUT THIS LATEST VIDEOs on NBCBLK - a viral that details MISS FRANKLIN's "openness" - shall we say - to do some EMPIRE - Season 2 - and here is a RE-CAP of the MAGICAL NIGHT:


It’s for NBCBLK – recurring client which dispatched me to do this LEE DANIELS interview last month:  Over the years, MISS ARETHA FRANKLIN has invited LIFE OF RILEY to celebrate her birthday and other milestones. There was last year’s birthday at the RITZ CARLTON. Denzel Washington stopped by: In 2009, I was a guest at Miss Franklin's HOLLYWOOD BOWL show followed by a post-show set at the PENINSULA HOTEL. This was on the day that Michael Jackson died: The year prior to that, Miss Franklin’s camp asked me to secure SECRET TROIS for her birthday set in Detroit and to accompany them. The QUEEN’s wish was Anthony Harper’s and my command: And years ago, in 1992, when I started my career in TV, I got to interview Miss Franklin at then-CBS affiliate WXIA. We dished on “The Young & The Restless”. Fast forward 23 years later to Miss Aretha Franklin’s 73rd birthday celebration recently held at the Ritz Carlton, Central Park South; LIFE OF RILEY gets another ROYAL INVITE; NBCBLK asks if they can tag-along; and THE QUEEN OF SOUL and I do some catching up – on the SOAPS. But this time, we talked EMPIRE and Tyler Perry’s THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS. She’s a fan of both. ALL HAIL THE QUEEN for whom some very special guests came out: Record industry legend Clive Davis, Empire creator Lee Daniels, Attorney General Eric Holder, singers Valerie Simpson and Freddie Jackson, LABELLE original Sarah Dash, CNN’s Don Lemon, my fellow journalist buddy Jamie Foster Brown (“Sister 2 Sister”), choreographer George Faison, Sirius XM’s Tracey J. Jordan, Lawrence O'Donnell, Tamron Hall from msnbc and NBC Today, Rev. Reverend Al Sharpton, Charlie Rangell, the Duke Ellington Jazz All Stars, philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, Avery*Sunshine, etc. Shout out to my friend, Detroit’s own Greg Dunmore who emceed the festivities. Miss Franklin’s actual birthday is March 25. FOR MORE INFO on LIFE OF RILEY, click here: I love that even at the Queen of Soul's 73rd birthday party, we're in an EMPIRE state of mind! LOL!  #NBCBLK

PHOTO - Michael Stewart. 



 As brutal as winter was, I know we made a good decision to hibernate BILLIE'S BLACK PRESENTS ALL STAR KARAOKE WITH PATRICK L. RILEY during winter break. Well, as Spring awakens, I'm excited to announce that BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND, we are returning with our SPRING 2015 SERIES - STARTING Tuesday, April 28th! We'll go every Tuesday through Tuesday, July 14th from 7p-10p.

Highlights have included:

Monifah singing -

* Keke Wyatt singing

* Patrick L. Riley singing with Keke Wyatt

* Patrick L. Riley singing I AM CHANGING (and more on my YOU TUBE channel):

* Good Morning America’s Mara Schiavocampo promoting her book THINSPIRED:


* Iconic vocalist Toni Seawright brought her son Qaasim Middleton to ALL STAR KARAOKE Spring 2014. Fast forward to this week: he is an "American Idol Top 10" finalist. Did you see that SAVE? LOL!

* My Spelman sister Kimberly Nichole has also performed on the Billie's Black stage as she is now perched on Team Christina Aguilera for the current season of "The Voice".

* After Broadway hit MOTOWN THE MUSICAL's marketing rep hired me to host its Opening Night:, the producers wanted to partner with ALL STAR KARAOKE for what we coined: #MOTOWNMAY - a month of participants singing songs from MOTOWN's legendary catalog; a handful competed each week inside a MOTOWN-RETURNS-TO-THE-APOLLO-style competition for a chance to sing with the show's DIANA ROSS on the Broadway stage for ONE NIGHT ONLY (Our winner: emerging vocalist Husain Mello Deas Williams). MOTOWN THE MUSICAL also provided lots of giveaways; discount codes for the show; and - as our GRAND FINALE judges - a handful of cast-members from MOTOWN THE MUSICAL - including Marva Hicks (Gladys Knight in the show) and Bryan Terrell Clark (Marvin Gaye in the show).


TV One's R&B DIVAS' Monifah Carter & Keke Wyatt came by to karaoke; sing their songs; and promote their show/new music. 

* Recording artists Alyson Williams; Shaliek; Gordon Chambers; Kenneth Carr; Kim Waters (who serenaded me HAPPY BIRTHDAY:; and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

* Broadway star Anthony Wayne ("Pippin'") took a night off from the Great White Way to join me on the All Star Karaoke stage to preview his smash hit "Mighty Sylvester".


* We never know who will pop in - including ALL STAR KARAOKE supporter Bevy Smith (BRAVO's FASHION QUEENS HOST); Mica Hughes (BRAVO's BLOOD, SWEAT, & HEELS); Artie Thompson (BRAVO's CHEF ROBLE); Mara Schiavocampo (GOOD MORNING AMERICA correspondent/best-selling author: THINSPIRED); Shiba Russell (NBC4 Anchor); Xosha Roquemore (Actress, FOX's "The Mindy Project"); and Laurie Anne Gibson(Choreographer/Recording Artist - clients including Lady Gaga and more).

* Before we did ALL STAR KARAOKE at Billie's Black, NATIVE Restaurant hosted it. Some of those CELEB sing-bys included: Tichina Arnold (Actress, "Martin", "Everybody Hates Chris", etc.); Kevin Mambo (Actor, "FELA" on Broadway); TONEX (Recording Artist); Brenda Braxton (Broadway legend, "Chicago"); Napiera Groves (Actress, "As The World Turns"); David Nathan (Author, "Soulful Divas"); Greg Dunmore (Host, PULSEBEAT); Jamie Foster Brown (Publisher, SISTER 2 SISTER); etc.

* Though most are in the house to enjoy ALL STAR KARAOKE and the food and drink BILLIE'S BLACK provides, the room is also a networking room. You could be dining or singing alongside any of the entertainment and media industry's best - from all domains - including CELEBRITY HAIRSTYLISTS Carla Bone (clients including: Kerry Washington, Jada Pinkett Smith, and more); Brian Badie (clients including: Ice T, Coco, "Power"); BLACK OPAL Creative Director Merrell Hollis (celeb make-up artist including Wendy Williams; Diddy; Usher; Cynthia Bailey; Jessica White; etc.); celebrity publicist Gwendolyn Quinn (clients including: Keke Wyatt [who she brought]; Aretha Franklin; Deborah Cox, etc.); President of the New York Association of Black Journalists Mike Feeney; legal analyst/journalist Lisa Bonner, Esq.; BLISS President Mike Indurksy; "Blackbird"/"The Skinny"/"Noah's Arc" Director Patrik-Ian Polk; producer/director Nathan Hale Williams; NAACP Image Award winning producer Sidra Smith; actor/writer/director Stanley Bennett Clay; "Drums Along The Hudson" producer Carl Nelson; Tony-award-winning choreographer/Faison Firehouse's own George Faison; New York Times writer Nikita Stewart-Henderson; etc.

* Industry players use our ALL STAR KARAOKE experience as a BUILT-IN BIRTHDAY PARTY. We've toasted many - including: Kevin Anthony (international performer/recording artist); Rowena Husbands (celebrity photographer); Penwah (singer/casting director/producer [STEPS: An Eddie Harris Film]; Anthony C. Harper (my partner and - at the time - producer, The Wendy Williams Show); and me.


* MANY SPONSORS have appreciated the excitement of our night; the folks in the room; and the on-line social media buzz we get during and after that they have reached out to partner with ALL STAR KARAOKE - including our main FALL 2015 SPONSOR "Miss Jessie's" who donated giveaways for all of our ALL STAR KARAOKE guests. Plus, Co-Founder Miko Branch ensured TWO big weekly prizes for two on-stage participants to hopefully win at the end of the night. ALL STAR KARAOKE is excited to help promote MISS JESSIE'S: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch - Naturally (Amistad; Hardcover; On Sale: April 14, 2015; $24.99). #IAMMISSJESSIES

HENDRICK's GIN provided a month of ONE-HOUR TASTINGS along with signature cocktails at a discounted price to quench the thirst of our ALL STAR KARAOKE regulars. Dear friend Sidra Smith brought that integration to ALL STAR KARAOKE. She is an NAACP Image Award winning producer for documentary "Free Angela", Sidra Smith, is a dear friend (and also the identical twin of Hollywood actress Tasha Smith - known for her current role as Cookie's sister in EMPIRE and her starring role in Tyler Perry's "For Better or Worse" on OWN).

* RAFFLES: We also do $2 raffles (and sometimes $5 raffles for BIG GIVEAWAYS). Our RAFFLE SPONSOR for SPRING 2014 and FALL 2014 was RILEY/LAND GOURMET PANTRY - providing a number of high-end gourmet samples.


A. BRING YOUR CLIENTS: Already, we're receiving word from CELEB family members; publicists; and crew-members that some of their clients want to come by. So, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD to any of your CLIENTS or PEEPS that BILLIE'S BLACK PRESENTS ALL STAR KARAOKE WITH PATRICK L. RILEY is a good room to DRIVE-BY on TUESDAY NIGHT!

B. LIFE OF RILEY FRIENDS & CLIENTS: As an independent personality, producer, and writer, you folks know LIFE OF RILEY is all over the place: As such, I LOVE when I'm working on a special project with recurring client BET and I see my BET FAM at ALL STAR KARAOKE! So, to all of MY RECURRING CLIENTS & FRIENDS, here's a SHOUT OUT for you to CONSIDER a TUESDAY NIGHT (s) to come out and decompress or celebrate APRIL/MAY/JUNE/JULY birthday(s). That includes: my peeps at ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360; OWN TV; NBCBLK; NBCU's "The More You Know" team; NYABJ (New York Association of Black Journalists); LIVE OUT LOUD (LGBTQ Mentoring Organization); NABJ Arts & Entertainment Task Force; NABJ LGBTQ Task Force; "The Wendy Williams Show"; etc.


* SAGE Harlem provides services and advocacy for GLBT Elders. SAGE Harlem program manager (and friend) Christopher Jones asked me to perform for the group's holiday party after he’d attended Billie's Black Presents All Star Karaoke FALL 2014 SERIES. WAS FUN to sing my ALL STAR KARAOKEstaples for this enthusiastic audience: “Reasons” -; “This Woman’s Work” -; and “Endless Love” - Learn more at:

BILLIE'S BLACK PRESENTS ALL STAR KARAOKE WITH PATRICK L. RILEY was also able to offer support to MISS JESSIE's (talent and food) in the wake of MISS JESSIE's co-founder Titi Branch's passing at a MEMORIAL TRIBUTE - celebrating her life:

* After AMERICAN IDOL finalist Qaasim Middleton’s mom Toni Seawright graced our ALL STAR KARAOKE stage several times with her AMAZING TALENTS, I was too excited when she asked me to host her 50th Birthday Honoring the Music and Legacy of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Her family and friends all gathered in Brooklyn, New York at the 5 Spot. I sang “Got to Be There” with the HOT BAND! Shout out to them for rehearsing with me a couple of days prior to ensure I could hit those CHAKA notes. I even rehearsed at our closing night of ALL STAR KARAOKE:

* We are currently in talks with varied sponsors and organizers regarding an ALL STAR KARAOKE TOUR for later this year or next year. Stay tuned as we've received word from several entities that they would love ALL STAR KARAOKESome of the information in the attached POWERPOINT underscores some of the current outreaches. Nothing is firm as the TOUR goes - so if an announcement, you'll hear it first from me.  ENDLESS LOVE for #ALLSTARKARAOKE #BILLIESBLACK AND ALL OF YOU!


Great to gather and celebrate Mairie Ame Raxy at Isola on Columbus where I just had to break out in a HAPPY BIRTHDAY serenade for our BDAY GIRL - looking to celebrate another birthday this summer: she, her husband Eric, and big sister Raixy's new addition: a baby boy! CONGRATS on everything, Mairie! We LOVE YOU! Remember when Ern and I had the chance to attend their beautiful wedding last year in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Ant and I enjoyed catching up with Miss Angelique Miles. She’s so FAB! Please check out her method to living a balanced, healthy, fit, social life at 45+. It’s The Miles Method – a content portal that allows you to read and see many of her fitness/lifestyle escapades. Good tid-bits… and you might as well listen: Ain’t she FINE! LOL! Please like her page, The Miles Method, and invite your friends to like it too!:




‪#‎FBF Paula MadisonN is one of my (NABJ) National Association of Black Journalists MENTORS! At a time in my career when I needed to "attract" skill-set work in entertainment and pop culture, she - at the helm of News 4 New York - quickly and deliberately stepped in and up and presented me a handful of opportunities to SHINE via the local news division's special projects unit. The year was 1997 and - to that moment - I became a "working", full-time, independent producer, personality, and writer. And the melody lingers on. By way of that one chance she took on me, I continue to know ENDLESSLY that I can make it - even when the fiscal snapshot isn't cute. She remains supportive and kind. And she continues to lead by example - having experienced many chapters inside the book of her own amazing life since we worked together in the late '90s - including leading diversity efforts in network TV and Hollywood; owning sports teams and networks; and - wait for it - dancing with Prince on his "Musicology" tour. Her latest flourish is an actual book that she's written (alongside a companion documentary she produced) about her search to connect with her Chinese relatives. And she will be in NYC April 12-15 for the launch of Finding Samuel Lowe: Hit up my sister friend publicist Lauren Tobin with PANTHER PR, if you want to consider booking our beloved Paula and/or knowing where she's signing and speaking. Book launch at B&N on 82nd and B'way, 7P Tuesday 4/14!!! Please come on out to show your friendly face. Paula says she will be signing books until they close!!! AND PAULA? If you make it back Harlem-way between Tuesday, April 28th and Tuesday, July 14th, please stop by Billie's Black Gourmet Soul for Billie's Black PRESENTS ALL STAR KARAOKE WITH Patrick L. Riley... and sing a tune with me as we hip my folks to FINDING SAMUEL LOWE! LOVE YOU! ‪#‎findingsamuellowe ‪#‎nabj40 ‪#‎billiesblack ‪#‎allstarkaraoke


LOVE when my LEGENDS are still high-kicking and singing for the gods! lOL! One of my heroes from the land of TRIPLE THREAT: Ben Vereen recently did a stint at #54Below: WAS TOO EXCITED to interview Ben Vereen a month or so ago at ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360:  Watch Daily On Time Warner, Verizon Fios, Centric and On Demand...  + you can watch it streaming live on at 3p/eastern. As always, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! #ARISE360#hiphopchangedus #devotion #endlesslove #popcultureandpossibilities #billiesblack #allstarkaraoke#CentricTV


CLICK HERE: - LAWD! Blair Younger - one of my work BFFs - formerly from Harpo Productions /Oprah Winfrey Show and currently via recurring client BET - is always YAPPING about her FAMILY - primarily her sister, professional musician Brandee Younger AKA Brandee A. Younger (as well as her FIERCE mother Linda Mcnease-Younger)! Well, NO SURPRISE these two AMAZING WOMEN are MEDIA DARLINGS this week - BRANDEE inside a feature on FOX 5 / c/o Chrystal Young: & MOM was featured in one of Anthony Harper's The Wendy Williams Show contributions - dating back to his former employer's sneak-peek: It was CELEBRITY FAN OUT... and Miss Linda was inside the segment with not one, but TWO pix with two of the FINE BROTHERS in Empire: Bryshere Gray and Jussie Smollett! HOW YOU DOIN'? LOL! - ‪#‎empire ‪#‎harp

john edward

Remember CROSSING OVER? Too cool to interview John Edward (and co-host Kat Jenus at Evolve) recently for recurring client OWN. Catch up with John and more on March 29th on Oprah: Where Are They Now? WHAT AN ICON HE IS! My DL Hughley is coming up in that episode as well. For more on Oprah: Where Are They Now, visit: To join the conversation on social, use: #WhereAreTheyNow @OWNtv

iconic inclusion

tony bennett

Last week in the LIFE OF RILEY should have had me stay in the house for the rest of week after I met: THE Tony Bennett!!! YEP! Shout out to Lincoln Center’s Dwayne Ashley for making sure I could meet him and a whole bunch more – including Nancy Sinatra – in the house for the opening of the exhibition: SINATRA: AN AMERICAN ICON – Friend since and for forever, Carl Nelson, accompanied! FUN EVENING! AWESOME EXHIBIT – a MUST SEE that will remain on view in the Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery through September 4, 2015. #lincolncenter #sinatra

inclusion show

Hi folks! As always, THANKS for your support of LIFE OF RILEY! Check this link out: Was great being a guest on The Inclusion Show with Wallace Ford – as produced by Ideal Development, Inc. and the awesome production team at the Cliffside Park, NJ studio – led by Carlos Rosa. The episode in which I’m featured is now on YOU TUBE… and will aired this past weekend: as well as on the Soul of the South Television Network. I met host Wallace Ford - ( - a couple of weeks ago as we were both guests on Arise News' ARISE AMERICA with Debbye Turner Bell: For more on Inclusion The Show Show, click here: It is a televised, short-format, weekly commentary and conversation program which takes on the contemporary topics that matter today. Thx! XO #theinclusionshow #soulofthesouth #ARISETV360 #ARISENews #EMPIRE #FOXTV

sage harlem, sing!

After SAGE Harlem program manager (and friend) Christopher Jones stopped by Billie's Black Gourmet Soul this past December for our FALL 2014 SERIES of Billie's Black PRESENTS ALL STAR KARAOKE with Patrick L. Riley, he asked if I'd sing for the SAGE Harlem Pride holiday party at the Dempsey Theater. AWESOME event and cause: SAGE Harlem provides a safe space for LGBT older adults in Harlem and The Bronx. SAGE Harlem is a program of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). Fun to sing favorites: “Reasons” -;  “This Woman’s Work” -;  and “Endless Love” – (LINK TO COME). Learn more at: #SAGEUSA #SAGEHARLEM

honeymoon in vegas

Great times at Honeymoon in Vegas - - starring Tony Danza! Getting in the latest BROADWAY and OFF BROADWAY shows to share with you in the coming month on Arise Entertainment 360 where I have been guest co-hosting as well! We had a fun pre-show mixer atBar Catalonia: - #honeymoonbway#tonydanza #ARISETV360 #lifeofriley #HONEYMOONBWAY

rupaul legends

HERE'S OUR LEGENDS BALL SELFIE C/O Chuckie Amos! It's ALWAYS LEGENDARY when we gather at the home of Merrell Hollis for FRIED CHICKEN WINGS c/o MAKEUP by MERRELL and the PREMIERE of RuPaul's Drag Race! WE GATHER EVERY CYCLE! LOL! Hey Memsor Kamarake! Ian Adrian! Derrick Hemphill! ETC!!!!!!!!! FUN TIMES! #wespeakyourname #rupaulsdragrace

wendell pierce

THIS JUST IN from my friend Derrick Hemphill: his NBCBLK debut onWendell Pierce! You know Derrick's writings from UPTOWN Magazine! His online & pre-and-post-production content is often used in my blog LIFE OF RILEY and our ALL STAR KARAOKE franchise at Billie's Black Gourmet Soul. And a time or two on Oprah: Where Are They Now? and THE Keke Palmer Show - a behind-the-scenes with 5th Harmony! GO DERRICK! Glad more and more of my folks are contributing to NBC News' latest African American vertical to which I got to contribute my debut last month: Lee Daniels on Empire:  #Billie's Black #ALLSTARKARAOKE #brothersfromthebottom #wendellpierce #NOLA#NewOrleans #SELMA50 #SELMA

idol voice

TOP 16, LOOK OUT! Qaasim Middleton continues to do his thing on AMERICAN IDOL! AMERICA AND THE JUDGES LOVE THEM SOME QAASIM! Keith Urban said "watching [Qaasim] Middleton is what it's all about, noting he explodes on stage in front of an audience"...Harry Connick, Jr. said [Qaasim] "that's what we're looking for"...And Jennifer Lopez said "It's so crazy how funky you are. You own that stage." YAZZZZZZ! THIS IS WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT! PROUD OF YOU, QAASIM! AND IT LOOKS LIKE WE KNOW SOMEONE ON THE VOICE AS WELL: MISS Kimberly Nichole, my Spelman "little" sister! LOL! Congrats to a diva we've been following around NYC for years and now the world will know the name and the endless talent of KimberlyNichole! Check her blind audition out the other night on THE VOICE: Glad they both have popped by ALL STAR KARAOKE - from Native Restaurant to Billie's Black Gourmet Soul! #allstarkaraoke #billiesblack #motownmay #Idolonfox #americanidol


CHECK THIS OUT: and on all platforms: #ETIQUETTEWITHSHANCES #SHANCES #ETIQUETTECHANCES – My friend Sharon Frances’ new lifestyle resource: ETIQUETTE FOR EVERYONE AND ANY OCCASION! ETIQUETTE for the person you want to be!




empire recap


EMPIRE is on everybody’s minds these days! THE LIFE OF RILEY is no exception. Not only am I talking about the antics of Cookie, Luscious, and the Lyons “dynasty”… but when I wear my guest co-host hat and/or my pop culture analyst hat, it’s EMPIRE and its creator Lee Daniels all day:

Last week, Lee Daniels stopped by to dish on EMPIRE and its over-the-top SUCCESS:!

That booking came a couple of weeks after my NBCBLK interview  - my debut contribution to that new, African American vertical for NBC News:

And ARISE AMERICA had me on with Debbye Turner Bell who – like me – is a FAN! GREAT CHAT with Debbye:


I've been talking about the careers of the EMPIRE cast for years. I've met Taraji. Terrence has been really cool throughout the years - dressy or casul! LOL! I attended the "Precious" premiere in Hollywood and met Gabourey. She, Lee, and I would be in the same screening room to see one of his first sharings of "Lee Daniels' "The Butler". And on and on, I could go about the AWESOME cast. Also: From two day-playing roles on another FOX TV hit from the mid-'90s, "New York Undercover", I first got to know EMPIRE co-star Malik Yoba. Have attended his live shows over the years. Happened to be producing BET reality show "Monica: Still Standing" while Malik and the cast of Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married Too?" were filming. We all stayed at the TWELVE Atlantic Station. But par for the course in the LIFE OF RILEY, I'll also be sharing some NAMES behind the STARS and the BRAND of EMPIRE who will be popping up! I want to make sure you are in the KNOW! Shout out to my college BFF Audrey Irvine – CNN’s own – for sending some EMPIRE tea my way. On THIS WEDNESDAY’s episode (March 3, 2015), the vision and cutting edge style of designer Lorra Rivers 'Nikita' clutch will make its debut on Empire!! A homegrown DC talent, Lorra Rivers is a professsionally trained interior designer who received her interior design degree with a minor in architecture from Taraji's alma mater Howard University. With over 27 years' experience, Lorra has served as a contributing writer for Ebony, Homes of Color and Upscale magazines. She was a featured designer in the coffee table book, Spectacular Homes of Greater Washington, DC where her custom furniture designs were on display. In a little over 5 years, Lorra has transitioned her design experience towards another passion, the fashion industry. In creating the 'LorraRivers' brand, her purse designs reflect a cutting edge style for the fashionista with flair. The signature collection 'Nikita' clutch will be featured on this week's Empire.  Which character will  hold the 'Nikita'? Lorra describes the 'Lorra Rivers Woman' as one who possesses awe inspiring sensuality, a playfully shines from within and commands strength tempered with refinement. Stay tuned this Wednesday at 9p on FOX. And let LORRA RIVERS – and LIFE OF RILEY –know your thoughts on the purse AND the episode.

Contact information

IG: lorrarivers

Twitter: @lorrarivers1

Facebook: Lorra Rivers bag


I have also been seeing Kehinde Wiley’s work in EMPIRE – since Episode 1. Was happy to support my friend Lamar Johnson's film project KEHINDE WILEY: AN ECONOMY OF GRACE which he Executive Produced in partnership with PBS: TRAILER: It was on a short list of documentaries being considered for the final ballot at this year’s Academy Awards. Look to hear more from Lamar very soon; meanwhile, so good to see Kehinde on EMPIRE!


You see the one on the right with the sunglasses and the pink shirt? I used to call him "Tandi's little brother". She and I were closer in age as we matriculated through Savannah's social teen scene. But I must give him a GROWN MAN shout out to my Savannah homeboy; fellow Windsor Forest High School KNIGHT; and Morehouse brother Nsilo Reddick – business partner and producer to Grammy-winning MC Chamillionaire: The two moguls and their team are stellar exemplars of making the most of THE BUSINESS in SHOW BUSINESS as they aim to encourage "our people" to learn more about finance, investing, the tech industry, etc...and to put some of that floss less into bottle service and more into making power moves - for example - at a venture capital firm. And the proof is in the pudding as Chamillionaire announces that he - and Nsilo - are now an entrepreneurs-in-residence for Upfront Ventures, an investment firm. EXCERPT from the article above: “In a letter written by Upfront Ventures’  investment partner Mark Suster, he detailed how his relationship with Chamillionaire began and how the “Hip Hop Police” rapper is flourishing into quite the entrepreneur. The Houston spitter caught Suster’s eye after a 2009 speech about social media engagement in the music industry. A few years back he started many mini investments in tech firms with Suster, which led to Cham wanting to becoming more involved with the tech start up world. “A while back Chamillionaire started telling me he wanted to immerse himself even more in the tech world – learning to build products, studying different business models and committing himself to being a true tech entrepreneur,” Suster wrote. “Chamillionaire has a way more refined sense of what customer behavior is like than most ivy league graduates with nice Powerpoint slides that I meet.” Now as an entrepreneur-in-residence for the next several months, Chamillionaire is soaking up knowledge about start ups and is also advising Upfront Ventures along with his business partner and producer Nsilo Reddick.” LOVE IT! LEAD BY EXAMPLE, MY BROTHERS!





 Hi folks! YOU can watch me (from time to time) on ARISE - now on Time Warner, Verizon Fios, and On Demand... THIS WEEK, I’m filling in for my friend Shannon Lanier who is on Oscar duty. I’m working alongside Sharon Carpenter who is filling in for our beloved Lola Ogunnaike. Earlier this week, Lee Daniels stopped by to dish on EMPIRE and its over-the-top SUCCESS:!  This comes a couple of weeks after my NBCBLK interview with one of Hollywood’s finest directors: And ARISE AMERICA had me on with Debbye Turner Bell who – like me – is a FAN! GREAT CHAT with Debbye: THIS WEEK on Arise Entertainment 360, we talked OSCARS and interviewed actress Regina Taylor (star of USA Network's DIG on USA) -; Anthony Harper's and my friends, Miss Robbie Montgomery and her son Tim Norman – stars of recurring client OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s Welcome to Sweetie Pie's -;

 Claire Gilman on why Tomi Ungerer is the first illustrator to be shown at The Drawing Center in its over 30 year history -; Scheana Marie fromVanderpump Rules on Bravo -;

 Crystal Mccrary (Director, “Little Ballers”) -;

plastic surgeon Dr. Randal Haworth -;

 Thelonious Monk III -;

 Jason Hervey (EP, “Outlaw Country”/Child star, “Wonder Years”):

; fashion designer Kimberly Goldson (Season 9 FINALIST on “Project Runway”) -; and – from MINIBAR (delivery apps) - Lindsey Andrews: PRIMARILY I do Broadway/pop culture segments and guest co-host on ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360: As always, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!#arise360#ariseTV360 #sweetiepie



SHOUT OUT to Toni Seawright for sharing her son Qaasim Middleton (and his AWESOME brother Khalil) with us during the SPRING 2014 SERIES of Billie’s Black Presents All Star Karaoke with Patrick L. Riley (At the end of June, I also got to share a stage with them as I hosted their mom’s 50TH BDAY PARTY – a tribute to Michael Jackson!).

WELL, NOW WE NEED THE VILLAGE TO LIFT HIM UP as he is TOP 24 on this season of AMERICAN IDOL! TOMORROW night on Fox!!! This week, AMERICA VOTES!!! AND WE MUST GET HIM TO THE TOP 12! So please spread the word and vote for Brooklyn's BADD Boy, New York and Mississippi's Finest in Entertainment!!! And also join his Fan page on Facebook… and hit him up and follow him on:
His Twitter is @QaasimOfficial 
His Instagram is @QaasimOfficial#billiesblack#allstarkaraoke #motownmay#AmericanIdol #LetsBegin#SypheEntertainment#MCMI #MCMIReport#RebellionEvent#idolauditions


Selma – Cochran Firm

During this last week of February, The Cochran Firm is giving high school students from selected metropolitan area schools the opportunity to see Selma Movie. Through the efforts of regional offices of The Cochran Firm, students aged 12 – 19 are seeing the movie, Selma, and are participants in a social media campaign highlighting their thoughts on current social justice issues. For the New York City screening at Magic Johnson Theater in Harlem, organizer of this effort/my NABJ sister friend Yolanda Young – an attorney and journalist – asked me to present the film; The Cochran Firm rep for NYC: Tracey L Brown; and the winnings from the student social media contest to three NYC students: Brian Brown Jr.; Zydasia Ramos; and Joshua Glover. As part of this event, students from across the country posted their original artwork, photos, poems, memes and essays - expressing their views on today’s social justice issues and what they would like to do to peacefully implement change. Winners for their work received a $50 Visa gift card, and the school with the most participation, shares, and entries will win $500. Platforms to follow these works are Twitter (@CochranNational), Instagram (CochranFirm) and Facebook (The Cochran Firm). THANKS COCHRAN FIRM! And SHOUT OUT to YOLANDA YOUNG, who last booked me a year or so ago to host “Lawyers of Color” HOT LIST ROLL CALL reception at esteemed law firm Sullivan & Cromwell!  

#SELMA #selma2015 #SelmaStudentSocialMediaContest #FDA2 #LifeofRiley #LOR #PatrickLRiley #PatrickRiley

standing next to goddess

miss watley is everything

MISS Jody Watley made it a "Night to Remember" for 'Life of Riley' (and childhood friend Ernest Maynor's BDAY + NJ BFF TATA met her "DIVA" in person). B.B. King Blues Club's was the place to be as MISS Watley sang from her Shalamar AND solo repertoire. She was in AWESOME VOICE and her performance gave everything her loyal fans (and the sold-out audience) hunger to experience: the HITS; the MOVES; the DRAG; the DRAMA; and the DIVA! I was on my feet through most of the highly-charged set... and on my knees  -BOWING DOWN - for the rest! LOL! SO WAS THE REST OF HER LOYAL FOLLOWING! She did 'Most' of the material but not 'everything'! BACKSTORY: So, I have loved MISS Jody Watley since she was a teenager – dancing on Soul Train before she joined the group Shalamar – at which time I was a footloose and fancy-free Air Force Brat of six-years old in San Bernadino, CA on Norton Air Force Base --- with a blow-out of dusty dark brown and the inevitable bell bottoms! LOL! Well, fast forward through many years in which she brought me only the FIERCEST brand of JOY - from the balance of her SHALAMAR years through to the launch and lift-off of her SOLO career... and stop for a moment on July 1995. Philadelphia. And MISS Jody Watley was headlining a concert for the National Association of Black Journalists' annual convention. She called me on stage to dance with her. Talk about A NIGHT TO REMEMBER! Though I’d seen her fabulous solo show a couple of years ago at B.B. KINGS, I got another opportunity to be an audience with MISS Jody Watley (album) back in September 2013. Her publicist Juanita Stephens is a mutual friend and led MISS JODY WATLEY to my blog A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RILEY as a vehicle to – via phone and an on-line Q&A - update folks on her latest release "PARADISE" – quite the global dance senastion: iTunes Digitally (as well as other select digital outlets) –  [EXCLUSIVE CD, includes 'Everlasting' not available digital:]. What a GREAT PHONE CHAT: SO LAST NIGHT: MISS JODY WATLEY was back at B.B. King Blues Club accompanied by her new and reloaded Shalamar… and we ENJOYED THE SHOW; CELEBRATED BFF (since 7th grade), Ernest Maynor’s birthday; and – afterwards – got some LIFE OF RILEY & JODY WATLEY time and - FINALLY - my posed photo op (though LOVE NABJ bestie and Morehouse brother Michael K. Watts captured MISS WATLEY and me on stage in Philly). Was great to catch with MISS JODY WATLEY on all she's got going: her upcoming shows - including one in NYC this summer (TBA; Stay tuned...); how she came to re-incorporate the SHALAMAR legacy into her SOLO shows - now that she OWNS THE NAME & BRAND! YOU GO, MISS JODY!; and – because ‪#‎itsinthemusic – she shared that her upcoming music release plans, which include forthcoming single “DANCER”: AND we're excited to hear some of what we didn't hear this go around THE NEXT TIME - including: "Most of All"; "Everything"; "All Begins With You" (MY REQUEST FOR NEXT! LOL!); "When A Man Loves A Woman"; "Off The Hook"; and WHAT ELSE? Shalamar’s “I Don’t Wanna Be The Last” and the MOTOWN REVUE song! LOL! OH, WE JUST LOVE YOU, JODY WATLEY! And could listen to you and DANCE WITH YOU ALL NIGHT LONG! SHOUT OUT to MR. WALLACE who works with JODY... and Editor in Chief of UPTOWN MAGAZINE, my brother friend Isoul Harris! XOXOXOXO ‪#‎JodyWatley#itsinthemusic ‪#‎dancer ‪#‎paradise ‪#‎nightlife‪#‎lifeofriley#allstarkaraoke ‪#‎billiesblack ‪#‎motownmay#ARISETV360 ‪#‎NBCBLK‪#‎COZITV ‪#‎OWNTV ‪#‎TVONE#CENTRICTV ‪#‎BET

more arise

In the wake of doing a freelance interview with Lee Daniels for recurring client NBCBLK:, I got a booking to chat about the success of EMPIRE on ARISE AMERICA with Debbye Turner Bell: We had a GREAT TIME as she's a FAN like me. I guest co-hosted last week on ARISE ENTERTAINMENT 360 (and am on HOLD for some days in the coming weeks). Has been fun to fill in for my friend Shannon Lanier to and to rejoin Sharon Carpenter who is filling in for our beloved Lola Ogunnaike. YOU can watch them (and me from time to time) - now on Time Warner, Verizon Fios, and On Demand...  As always, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Here are a few of the segments we did this week:


Author of "The Work" Wes Moore!


The Authors of "Single Man Married Man!"


Author of "MelloYello" Walker Smith!


T.S. MONK (Thelonious Monk III)




Zaraah Abrahams (from Spike Lee's "Da Sweet Blood of Jesus")

#arise360 #ariseTV360 #allstarkaraoke #billiesblack #wesmoore #thework #singlemanmarriedman #pervistaylor #melloyello #jacktherapper #walkersmith #brianwatkins #ritani #theloniousmonkIII

vivica a. fox

Shout out to my friends from SavvyMarketing Entertainment Group LLc for inviting us out to the Unsung HOLLYWOOD premiere of Vivica A. Fox which is airing on TV One! IT'S GOOD!!!!!! And was good to see my peeps Savoy Walker; Mark A Forrest; Cynna Gorham; Tasha Lynch; Jamar Dunn; Deborah Gregory; and MISS Vivica A Fox herself!

3 the hard way comedy

Shout out to my BET colleague and sister in CREATIVITY, Thembisa Mshaka, for hipping me to some work she's doing with an amazing comic named Jabari Baraka Davis, whose definitely on the rise in standup. He produces an event called 3 The Hard Way Comedy--the goal being to diversify comedy in NYC with talented women and people of color taking the often segregated stages of Manhattan. He considers himself a product of both philosophy and hip hop, and his comedy reflects this in unexpected ways. He's also a former substitute teacher, so the jokes are smart and street.The BHM edition has 3 Black comedians: Seaton C. Smith and Janelle James join Jabari Davis on 2/24 at 8pm at Stand Up NY LabsY. There will also be shows March 6 and 31 - so look for my updated accordingly and know that I'll likely be at one of the shows. SO, PLEASE SAY HI, if you come. Here's a link to Jabari's bio: CONGRATS!

get focused on reading

Shout out to my brother friend Goldin Martinez, Founder of Get Focused - - introducing its newest initiative called Get Focused On Reading, which will be the focus of an event on Saturday, March 21st, 2015 at Inwood Academy to commemorate National Reading Month. They want to increase their impact with Get Focused On Reading… and to give you a chance to help:

1. Organize a book collection with your network. They accept all books from poetry, biographies, children books, and more, and can arrange a pick-up. This will help us reach our goal of 1,000 books.2. Make a personal monetary donation to our cause. This will help us with transportation, storage, t-shirts, marketing material, etc. Our goal is to raise $2,000 to help pay for expenses.

Go to for more information.

standing next to God

He's much like a nephew! Mr. Myles and his mom Tracey Moore are producing his documentary "Standing Next to God" about his recovery from traumatic brain injury. Please make a Love Donation and share this link in your network. Thank you! This is the fundraising campaign for Standing Next to God -Myles Marable:  ‪#‎StandingNextToGod

precious queen

MY LATE, GREAT MOM QUEEN ELIZABETH BELLINGER RILEY - a social media SENSATION! LOL! With all the controversy over Beyonce and Ledisi and "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" and the Grammys, I'd been having an internal dialogue with myself about MY LATE, GREAT MOM QUEEN ELIZABETH BELLINGER RILEY. My self-chat goes something like this: "Thank you, Thomas Dorsey for the song! Thank you, Mahalia for sharing it with the world! Thank you, Ledisi for your recording on SELMA! Thank you, Beyonce for your performance on the THE GRAMMYS! But NO ONE SANG "TAKE MY HAND, PRECIOUS LORD" LIKE MY MOTHER!!!!!!!!" 

Well, I'd told many of you my mother could sing and did often in The House of Prayer (our family church) as well as in all our travels - from Germany to Japan to California to Valdosta, GA, etc.  I've even compared her to Mahalia Jackson with a little Tamala Mann to boot! LOL! Well, via FACEBOOK, it seems we're not the only ones thinking this. A FACEBOOK note from my sister's childhood friend from our mid-to-late-'70s days in San Bernadino, Califonia on Norton Air Force Base underscored what we always knew (How’d she remember, after all these years?):

 February 10 at 7:05am · Edited ·

Janice, I don't care what anyone says "Queen" is still my winner when it comes to singing "Take my hand". Everytime I hear it I remember her singing it at Norton! — feeling blessed.


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