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


Entries in JANET JACKSON (7)

Tues Dec 5th Please BUY Patrick L Riley Book

Hi folks!


Dorpie Books launched its website - announcing my book "That's What Friends Are For: On The Women Who Inspired Me" as its first title:

 1. Here's the website:

2.  Here's the book trailer:

3. Here's my sizzle for speaker consideration:

4. PLEASE pre-order starting: Tuesday, Dec 5th


5. Period to PRE-ORDER BOOK for MARCH 2018 release: Tuesday, Dec 5th --- Friday, Dec 22ND.


6. For more information – including BULK BUY DISCOUNT INFO, please call

7. As always, THANK YOU folks for your support! And SPREAD THE WORD on DORPIE BOOKS which seeks to disrupt publishing's lack of black authors.


8. As I shape up my 2018 around promotion of this passion project, I extend my gratitude to each of you who will support this high-stakes effort in any way you can.


9. You can follow @DorpieBooks on Twitter and Facebook. Retweet and post with #PatrickRileyFriends hashtag and link to:


10. FYI: My birthday is Sunday, November 19th (would appreciate late birthday gift between Tues, Dec 5 – Fri, Dec 22).




Patrick L. Riley

Author, “That’s What Friends Are For: On The Women Who Inspired Me” (Dorpie)






Broadway's new musical "Baby, It's You" (about The Shirelles and its founder Florence Greenburg) brought more than wonderful music and a great new staging of a special moment in pop music. It also brought me a nice chat with Jane Fonda and her man Richard Perry, legendary producer of my Miss Ross' "Baby It's Me" album (1977) - one of my favorite albums ever… and her duet with Julio Iglesias (“All of You” – her lead-off single from her 1984 “Swept Away” album). My nephew, his mom, and other friends joined us. Afterwards, on a rainy Saturday night, friends Nicky, Eric, and Steph joined us for karaoke; cocktails; and Cafeteria. While at “Baby, It’s You”, I ran into my friend Phil Geston whose “Love Is Finally Here” CD is available on iTunes, rhapsody, CD Baby, and Amazon. To follow Phil, go to: 


“BABY IT'S YOU” is an original Broadway musical that is based on the inspiring true story of Florence Greenberg, a suburban housewife from New Jersey, who discovered one of the greatest girl groups of all time, The Shirelles, and created Scepter Records, becoming the music industry's first female powerhouse. BABY IT'S YOU! features non-stop doo-wop, pop, and rock 'n' roll classics such as "Dedicated to the One I Love," "Duke of Earl," "He's So Fine," "It's My Party," "Louie Louie," "Mama Said," "Shout," "Sixteen Candles," "Twist and Shout" and many more! Celebrate Florence's incredible journey from housewife to record mogul, and discover the fascinating, untold story behind your favorite songs at BABY IT'S YOU! The production is playing at The Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th Street between 8th and Broadway. Shout out to my girl Marcia Pendelton from Walk Tall Girl Productions.


The Supremes’ success came in the wake of The Shirelles. Some might attribute Diana, Mary, and Flo as the reason for the commercial demise of The Shirelles. You be the judge when you see it, but Ant and I are clear – from our recent experience of Miss Ross – why she is LEGENDARY and such a SUPERSTAR. Miss Ross was closing out her tour at a Staten Island Theater. Her background singer Fred White – also the writer of “I Love You” – graciously met us after the amazing show. I hope he and Miss Ross are collaborating on some new music.


Ant’s diva is Janet Jackson and we got to see one of our sold-out performances here in NYC at Radio City Music Hall. These tix surfaced because of our friend Lajuan who came in from Houston, TX for the occasion. Now, we hear Miss Jackson is extending her tour dates. GO JANET! Oh! And Wanda Sykes sat next to us during the show! LOVELY LADY!


Ant and I got to attend Miss Franklin’s birthday party a couple of years ago in Detroit. This year, she came to NYC to celebrate. My friend Greg Dunmore got to attend along with many other buddies. I hear it was a GREAT PARTY! Take a look at the video version of: Greg Dunmore's Hot Happenings!!! Defining "Fabulous": Aretha Wows 'Em in Manhattan!!! And for more info: and

DIONNE WARWICK THE LEGEND HAS LEFT THE BUILDING – meaning Mr. Trump’s board room. We LOVE YOU, DIONNE! HOLD YOUR HEAD UP! The nerve of those hussies! LOL! Watch your back, Miss LaToya! Betta step it up, boo boo! They are closing in! GO STAR, as always! WHAT A FUN SHOW this season!


Shout out to platonic boo Carl Nelson for invite to Donna Karan's Urban Zen. She hosted the benefit for Women for Women Int'l (Zainab Salbi) & We Advance featuring the photography/art of Elizabeth Jordan. Also in the house: new Norwegian friends Elizabeth & Andre; Mexico’s Next Top Model's Jo Lance; and social buddy George T. Wilson.


How is Wendy Williams doing after getting the boot off of Dancing With The Stars last night? Just fine, children! She’s on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine! GO WENDY! And I went to the party that celebrated it the other night! My good girlfriend Constance White is now the Editor-in-Chief. And it was so good to see so many fab friends and associates – including Miss Sherri Shepherd, Yvette Nicole Brown; and more. Also, my sometimes-editor Patrik Henry Bass was in the house. Also, another NABJ buddy Chemene – producer at “Today”. Also in the mix: Wendy's parents and Lynn Whitfield (here posing with Wendy's dad). Speaking of ESSENCE, my friends Fred T. Jackson & Perri Pebbles Reid sent me notes about (THINK: AMERICAN IDOL).


My boy Lamoh Hicks & I went to my friend Jamar Dunn's Hennessy Remixed party. It was hosted by Toccara. And what a good time we had as we took in the well-appointed space; the delicious cocktails; and the video games. And the room was an impressive one - including Nicholas with Pradia bow-ties ( and a host of other friends.


ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT is always a BLAST… and will continue to be for the next few weeks (We’ll go on summer hiatus from NATIVE on the 2nd week of May). This week, however, we’ll celebrate Ant’s birthday – so PLEASE COME OUT! Last week, Paul Wharton (of “Real Housewives of DC” fame) came by to support along with a fun group of friends – including my Sidra and our new ALL-STAR for the night: Timothias! He turned the room upside down… in a good way! And it was nice to see all of my ALL-STARs who come out to support our good time!My dear friend Jamie Foster Brown (Publisher, "Sister to Sister") popped by recently. As for Paul, he is moving to NYC to do his new show "Model Intervention" for MTV 2. He’s back with the team that hired him in 2002! Also, his new book is launching June 1st:


My friends Mara Brock-Akil and Salim Akil have been busy as ever. “THE GAME” was a big success at BET, which renewed it for a new season. It’s been announced that they are working on a “SPARKLE” remake. And Salim’s directorial genius can be seen in “JUMPING THE BROOM” – out in a few weeks. Y’ALL BETTER WORK! And send me some!!! LOL!


NYC's Irving Plaza was the backdrop for a Windsor Forest High School reunion of two KNIGHTS as I enjoyed a performance by my Savannah homeboy and classmate Anthony David who performed his new hit and some of his classics. This BET Music Matters set also included Melanie Fiona & Marsha Ambrosius.  Anthony and I caught up afterwards! Make sure you catch his new CD "As Above So Below" & the new video for "God Said".


I’ve been working on a project with my friend Erich McMillan-McCall. Well, I’m supporting it. One day, he asked me to stop by and participate in his PROJECT1VOICE ( video. Well, here’s one of the videos: On JUNE 20th, 2011, PROJECT1VOICE will stage a one day play reading of Alice Childress' TROUBLE IN MIND in theatres across the country. PLEASE JOIN OUR MOVEMENT!


Y'all know I LOVE ME SOME Jennifer Holliday!  Looks like she and my Savannah homeboy & Morehouse brother Raphael Warnock have a collabo that we must ALL check out! 


I also LOVE ME SOME Vy Higginsen and have interviewed her myself a time or few. Well, get your kleenex (if u haven't seen it already): This 60 MINUTES piece on her "Gospel for Teens" program will have you swimming in tears <at least, it did me>! BEAUTIFUL WORK, VY!





Y'ALL KNOW I LOVE ME SOME JILL SCOTT, right? If you're a fan, too... check out her new viral video of "LOVELY DAY" on and you can participate in Phase I of the "HAVE A LOVELY DAY" Campaign or you can link directly here: LOVE YOU, JILL!


Was just with NABJ mentor Paula Madison at the AFUWI event I helped produce: In fact, via NBC, she and I have partnered on some AWESOME A&E programming at NABJ... over the years: CONGRATS on JOB WELL DONE, PAULA!


My friend John Stanley just performed two sold-out shows at The Triad here in NYC! I was not able to make it, but I hear it was AMAZING… as I have experienced him many times (as Patti LaBelle’s Music Director). Plus, he has worked with everyone from VALERIE SIMPSON to LUTHER VANDROSS Download ALRIGHT from: And check this out from that night: CONGRATS, JOHN!


My Itika T. Oldwine took me to the premiere of this film "Black Butterfly" last year while on an extended special project in Chicago: Looks like more people will be able to see it in cities across the U-S. For more information:


Just stumbled into this tid-bit about Darryl Stephens, Noah of "Noah's Arc" fame. He has a debut novel! CONGRATS DARRYL (who I met during my 2009 stint in L.A. See attached blog entry which also includes another QUEEN OF SOUL set I attended in Beverly Hills after her "Hollywood Bowl" concert & lots more!) CONGRATS, DARRYL!


To my Frankie & Neffe family - Evolyn Brooks, Nichole Andrews Shellman, Shareen King, Maia, Elizabeth, et al. Wasn't Dariel Pulliam a calm inside of a storm? May he rest in peace!


R.I.P. Sidney Lumet - DIRECTOR of "THE WIZ" and many more!




"Words that people say are just that: Words that people say. They are not reality!" Alosondra de la Parra. Founder/Conductor, Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas (from NBC 4 special NYC WOMEN for "Women's History Month" on CMT Taxi Programming - I LOVE THAT QUOTE!


By now, all have seen MISS ROSS’ most recent tour de force on TV’s airwaves. Now, she’s on tour. A few notes:

1. Miss Ross sang “It’s Hard for Me to Say”. Luther Vandross wrote & produced it for her 1987 “Red Hot Rhythm & Blues” album (her final RCA project which was a companion piece for her Emmy-award-winning TV special of the same name: To her fans, like me, it’s a long-overdue acknowledgement of a cult classic that she is currently singing in her current concert repertoire.

2. I’m reminded that Miss Ross’ Emmy-award-winning TV special “Red Hot Rhythm & Blues” produced more than an album with a Luther Vandross song on it ( The 1987 May sweeps event also included yet another reunion with Billy Dee and Miss Ross.

3. And as we were given the chance to see Miss Ross & Lionel Richie perform the most successful duet of all time “Endless Love” on the Academy Awards:, we know that since her Oscar nomination for Best Actress in “Lady Sings The Blues” ( that she’s been quite the Academy Awards darling. Other appearances follow:

4. "The Motown Sound: In Performance at the White House" was missing Miss Ross. I think she was inside existing scheduling conflicts when the planning of this one came to be. Plus, aren’t we all still trying to recover from the magic of MISS ROSS in February?:

5. My Morehouse brother JONATHAN ROPER – filmmaker out of NYC – sent me this link of him at Miss Ross’ Central Park Concert – Day 2. He’s peeped around 2:08 on the this clip of her singing “You Can’t Hurry Love”:  

6. I should have told American Idol's Ashthon Jones that as much as the song is a favorite, America didn't get Miss Ross' "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" when she first recorded it. But the rest of the world did: - including Manila where Ant took me for my BDAY a few years ago. I did it at karaoke... OF COURSE! LOL! 


Though we’re taking this Thursday, March 17th off from ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT, we are back up and running on Thursday, March 24th in Harlem at Native Restaurant (Lenox Avenue & 118th Street). We’ve been having great times over the last few weeks. So many of our favorites popped by. And even more sang. My Morehouse brothers Mario and Jamahl King (of STEPS Event Planning Firm - came out to support. Also, my NABJ buddies Mara Schiavocampo and Mike Feeney (who is a writer and reporter at The New York Daily News - including the paper's UPTOWN section). And some old karaoke buddies came and graced us all with their talents. We got visits from my karaoke buddies Caliaf St. Aubyn, who I first met at Pulse Karaoke. And Brandon Bain. He's really one of my favorite karaoke peers. So good... and smooth as he croons to us all!  He invited us recently to perform at his LIVE BAND KARAOKE set. It takes place at PROHIBITION on Columbus Avenue between 84th and 85th Streets. I got to do Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”. By the way, we have been doing a lot of karaoke of late. I ran into Josh Groban at another of our karaoke spots - just casually. He was walking out as I was doing Beyonce's "Listen" from "Dreamgirls". After his thumbs up to me, I got a picture!


Shout out to Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle who hired me to host its BE GREAT fundraiser. What an INSPIRING night! When New Rochelle's own Ray Rice popped in, I convinced $8,000 out of two attendees who - through Ray's generosity - get a Baltimore Ravens’ helmut & jersey – each – signed by Ray himself! One cool way to kick off raising $$$ to help our kids. I feel GREAT! FYI: Ray Rice is an All-Pro Running Back for the Baltimore Ravens. He's an '05 New Rochelle High School grad and a member - as a youth - of The Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle! Thanks Ray! CLASS ACT!!! And thanks to Quay, Michelle, Nichole, Oscar, Jill, Jamie, Robin, and a host of the others who supported my participation in this special program. We also saluted the 25th Anniversary of the Remington Flyers Track Team (led by coach Walter Brown - pictured). Wynton Marsalis Jr. and his bandmates (Vassal States) performed for the cocktail hour. Wynton Sr. is speaking at my Nichole’s upcoming Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle event: Passport to Manhood Mentorship Dinner later this month.Oh! My girl Cynthia's art was one of the silent auction items that helped raise money for the kids. And friends (of "Alvin & Friends" fame) were in the house - including The Frances family (Angelique & my Morehouse brother James). You'll recall, I recently hosted their daughter Arianna's 16th birthday party.


Great to moderate the Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) panel recently. THEME: "The Black Church and her Other Sheep: Where is our room at the inn?" LOCATION: The LGBT Center. I learned a lot from these folks who not only brought their expertise but their open hearts. Powerful program! Esteemed panel – including soon-to-be systematic theologian Nixon Cleophat; Gay Men Health Crisis’ Krishna Stone; ministerial sexual health training expert (for Pastors, Ministers, and church staff personnel) Michael Elam (DSA Ministerial Development, Inc.); and Rev. Dr. Paulette M. Zimmerman, advocate for the infected and affected HIV/AIDS population inside and outside of the faith-based community in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I learned a lot from these folks who not only brought their expertise but their open hearts. Shout out to my Morehouse brother Kevin Rusty who attended and waxed philosophical as well.


Shout out to Tika Sumpter who has been on "The Game" inside a recurring role opposite the "Malik" character. Have you been watching her? I met her at the NYC Premiere party for the hit BET show! And here's hoping for a NEW SEASON on BET as "The Game": REINCARNATED has brought ratings GOLD to the cable network!


Shout out to my friend Erich McMillan-McCall for inviting me out to a playreading for "Trouble in Mind" by Alice Childress and directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. Cast includes: the legendary Leslie Uggams & my Tony-award-winning friend La Chanze. Esteemed actress Mary Alice was in the audience!!! That's "Stevie" - the dorm director - from "A Different World" and Fred Sanford's sister in "Sanford & Son". My friends Marcia Pendelton, Charles Wallace, and several others were also in the house. Inside this reading, Erich’s PROJECT1VOICE officially launched yesterday (at the American Airlines theater): The inaugural event JUNE 20, 2011 will be a one-day, staged reading of Alice Childress' TROUBLE IN MIND. This reading, in theatres across the country, will promote the legacies of African-American theatre organizations and celebrate the rich catalogue of literary works by African-American playwrights and authors.


So EXCITED that my friend Kenneth L. Roberson is about to unveil his “Middle Aged Passage Crisis” at The Triad on Monday, April 4 at 7pm ( and It’s a benefit for YOUTH REPRESENT – a legal services organization dedicated to young people age 24 and under ( Ken is such a GREAT FRIEND… and an AWESOME, INTERNATIONALLY-RENOWNED TALENT!


Got to celebrate my dear friend Sid's 40th birthday recently! Always good to show Sid how much she means to all of us! Her guests included our Mara and Tommie, of course. But also in the mix: model and artist Bobby Roache’. Bobby's breakout moment came when he was cast as Grammy-Award-winning singer BEYONCE’S no-good boyfriend for her #1 HIT single “IRREPLACEABLE" music video: But he is doing his thing: on the runway; in the fashion world; and in popular publications like ESSENCE Magazine. Additionally, his art has already captured the attention of many, including our First Lady Michelle Obama who has acquired and hung one of his pieces on a wall in The White House. He too has a mural on the side of the Reformer building (Corner of 12th and U Street). The DC-native/Duke Ellington School of the Arts alum is one to watch.

Keep doin' your thing, Bobby... brother from another mother!



I got lots of texts & FB messages from folks.


They are saying they saw me on at the party for and live performance of Marsha Ambrosius.


Ant and our friend Jermaine went as well.


He was shooting some shots as well for his own blog. 


Also, my buddy Jamar was in the house.


 She shared tunes from her highly-anticipated debut solo album, “Late Nights & Early Mornings“. It is in stores now! The location: Time Warner Center’s Samsung.


I didn’t realize this while at Marsha Ambrosius’ CD release party, but someone just told me that the liner notes of the solo debut of the former-Floetry-diva’s debut album includes a dedication to MY MISS ROSS. To quote: “ Diana Ross in Concert!” Here is one of the virals from that night:  


Then, by the time we re-connected with her – a week later – at our friend Nathan’s SPLASH party, Marsha had the #1 & #2 albums on Billboard's R&B and pop charts… and the kids CELEBRATED with her!


Oh! I almost forgot: My dear friend Brian Henderson ( You recall, he is my NABJ brother and 'play nephew' with whom I've grown close over the last few years. When he saw that I went to see Marsha, he sent me this  historical image of Floetry - the duo from which Marsha hails. When they first hit the scene, they had a concert in Washington D.C. in 2003 and Brian was able to have a shoot with them at Logan Circle near the hotel at which they were staying. THANK YOU, BRIAN!



Ern and I got to attend “The Wendy Williams Show” on which Marsha Ambrosius appeared.

But we were there to see “Celebrity Apprentice”s own Latoya Jackson.

Also, to enjoy Wendy’s toss to Part 2 of her Aretha Franklin interview (which she conducted in Detroit over high tea).

You know, Ant & I have held court with THE QUEEN in Detroit... and she's a most gracious, elegant, yet whimsical lady.

All of those sides showed up in her Wendy interview. I'm thrilled that she is feeling better.


By the way, please check out my Detroit BFF Greg Dunmore's piece on Miss Franklin:, Wendy’s fans are asking “HOW YOU DANCIN’?” as she’s been announced to the new cast of “Dancing With The Stars”! GO, WENDY GO!



Was walking to Columbus Circle subway station near Time Warner Center. Happened upon the papparrazzi - snapping a tall blond & beautiful woman in full-length fur. Cajoled to join in, I pulled my cam out of my pocket and started shooting. I even got in one. After the surge of excitement ended, she went in. I "then" asked my fellow "paps" 'WHO IS THAT?' Of the group, only one person knew it was <drumroll> Deborah Norville from "Inside Edition"!!! I know who she is and what she looks like but usually inside the TV box. She looked good though! Also, just ran into my girl RENE SYLER here in the CITY! Always a pleasure! Had a chance to recently hang with some cool folks from the world of television. My dear friend Mara Schiavocampo (NBC News Correspondent) invited me to hang out with some of her colleagues from The Grio ( - including the NBC-owned website's fearless leaders David Wilson and Goldie Taylor. I happened upon some fun industry friends - old and new, including Miss Bevy Smith. Also on hand: Fox News Channel's anchor/reporter/attorney Jamie Colby.

And a recent hang at the Downtown Manhattan STANDARD (in the Meatpacking District) gave us the chance to see our Itika for a quick spell before she and her fiance Datari Turner embark on a voyage of sorts. Many CONGRATS are in order Mr. Datari Turner. And Mr. Datari's upcoming 2nd season of LISA RAYE's TV ONE reality show for which he is the Creator and Executive Producer. In this file pic, see Miss Lisa Raye and Miss Star Jones, who is making her splash in the realm of reality a la CELEBRITY APPRENTICE!


Congrats to my NABJ friend Constance White (pictured right with Jacque Reid [Have you seen Jacque on LXTV a la NBC of late? CONGRATS!] and me). Now working it at the top of the iconic ESSENCE Magazine, a recurring client.


One NABJ mentor Jackie Jones asked me for a quote about another NABJ mentor Sheila Brooks and I consider it a blessing to SPEAK THE NAME of one of my personal living LEGENDS! Take a look:


We got to laugh; walk down memory lane; and cry (just a little) at "Cheaper To Keep Her" matinee at Beacon Theatre. Vivica A. Fox; Brian McKnight; my ATL buddy Jonathan Slocumb; Karen Malina White ("Cosby Show"; "Different World"), and a talented cast ( Shout out to show's creator Je’Caryous Johnson. He could be likened to Tyler Perry with all he's building with his empire. Oh! Miss J of "America's Next Top Model" fame was in the house too.

Ant and I got a pic with Vivica. As soon as I can get it properly scanned, I'll put it up. Here's a pic she and I took (kinda') a couple of years ago during Fashion Week at a Kimora Lee Simmons' set. And finally, here's the pic we took that night.


Shout out to Harlem-based artist Dianne Smith whose work is international. She invited us to The Korean Art Show 2011 & Red Dot Art Fair in SOHO located at 82 Mercer between Spring & Broome: & www.reddotsale.comAnd PS: Shout out to Sophia Loren Coffee who - in addition to being a fine artist - is a fine vocalist. She sometimes gigs at St. Nick's Pub. And it's usually FREE...and a lovely slice of Harlem!


 My boy Norm Lewis starred in "Les Miz" on Broadway(and I got to hang out with him a time or few during his run). He was part of PBS' LES MISÉRABLES 25TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT AT THE O2 that premiered recently on PBS, but you know you must check your local listings to see when it will run again. CONGRATS NORM! Here's a peek: CONGRATS NORM! XO


The fried catfish fingers at Moca Bar & Lounge in Harlem are so GOOD! Almond crusted chicken fingers are a delight as well. Price point good, too! And I want to shout out my boy Matt Morgan for the social work he's doing in Harlem.  "Music Mondays" at Nectar ( w/guest vocalist Sonia Rogers (pictured). You must check it out! Also, in Harlem, we went to the new home of Mr. John Castro. It was housewarming time... and - while there - we got to host dear friends – including Denver-based recording artist and compadre Aaron Blaze ( 


Miss Jackson blew through Chicago and - per the picture - stopped by The Baton Show Lounge's drag show. The Baton is a world renowned establishment in Chicago celebrating over 40 years, and the longest running female impersonation show in the country. Mimi Marks, standing on Janet's left in the photo below, has been friends with Janet. This, as Ant & I are excited to see Miss Jackson when she blows through town this week and next week.


I hear - by all accounts - that my friend Marcia Pendelton's preview presentation of Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Notage's work "By The Way, Meet Vera Stark" went very well. Lynn, the director, and the cast - including Sanaa Lathan - were in the house. It runs at Second Stage Theatre & co-stars Sanaa Lathan. I was to be standby host (and still attend regardless). But I was then reminded of another commitment: my Pulitizer-prize-winning photojournalist friend Michelle Agins ("New York Times") had a set. It was an intimate Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras set - the reputation of which precedes itself. So, I had to go! And what a TREAT! Great New Orleans cuisine, Hurricanes, and an ecclectic mix of folks from far and near.


Shout out to my friend Richelle who hipped me to this group GRADDAi which performed Live in NYC @ The Nuyorican Poets Café last week. They are ones to watch:


Shout out to my girl Nina Flowers at The Apollo. She invited me to experience my friend Michaela angela Davis' brilliance as moderator of panel "Women in Film: Breaking the Barriers" - scheduled for Monday, March 28th at 6pm. It's FREE! For more information, click on These women - inlcuding film producers Lisa Cortes; Dana Offenbach; and Friday Torresblanco; will join Managing Director of Tribeca Film Institude Eileen Newman to explore the accomplishments made by women in the film industry.


Remember my special gift from my friend Carl Nelson: A lovely corduroy coat by FAB designer Myriam Belasse ( She too is a friend. Her fabulous men's designs take up a lot of room in my closet... and her many talents have been seen even on "Real Housewives of Atlanta" and beyond. Her women's wear collection comes to us in April. Inspired by Myriam's Caribbean culture, you will see elegant silhouettes,inspiring textiles, vibrant colors and prints, in 100% silk, silk blends with some Lycra, and soft Pima Cotton. CONGRATS MYRIAM!


Shout out to my friend Terry for walking me down memory lane to LOLA FALANA! A LEGEND! I LOVE HER!


And WE must continue PRAYING for those in Japan, which - via my being an Air Force Brat - is my birthplace (a la Tokyo). MY HEART IS GOING OUT! 



Have seen “For Colored Girls” twice now. It’s Tyler Perry’s upcoming film which marries the classic-Ntozake-Shange poem (circa 1974) with something like “Crash” to AMAZING EFFECT! Kudos to Janet Jackson and the rest of this AMAZING CAST - including Loretta Devine; Kimberly Elise; Thandie Newton; Phylicia Rashad; Anika Noni-Rose; Kerry Washington; Macy Gray; and Whoopi Goldberg who clearly reminded everyone not to get it twisted. More than a “View” host, “I am an Academy-Award-winning actress, dammit!” (My thought). And many others may be up for the golden prize – including Mr. Perry for his stellar craftsmanship in adapting this classic, Obie-and-Tony-award-winning choreo-poem (by Ntozake Shange) into an AWESOME cinematic treasure. It’s deep – even heavy. But what a ride!

Now, you know Janet is Ant's girl. And he's had several chances to be an intimate audience with Miss Jackson. Me too. At "Why Did I Get Married?" premieres (both). And some other places, too. But the excitement never wears off for him. And as I LOVE JANET too, I get as excited. (NOTE: MISS ROSS?? I'M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP... WITH YOU!!!! LOL!).

One way here in NYC that we got to celebrate: Tim Palen’s “FOR COLORED GIRLS: Living Portraits - Opening Night Reception Hosted by Janet Jackson” at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery. Miss Jackson – who I’ve interviewed before and with whom I have chatted socially – received us warmly. She was very present and always seems to remember me. Some of her co-stars were also in the house – including Loretta Devine; Kimberly Elise; Thandie Newton; friend Anika Noni Rose; Kerry Washington; Khalil Kain; and Tessa Thompson.  And Ntozake Shange, the original writer of the award-winning choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf” (on which Tyler Perry adapted his film), also attended along my other industry friends and associates Phillip Bloch (Current book: “The Shopping Diet: Spend Less and Get More”); Star Jones (“Celebrity Apprentice”); and the “Precious” film director Lee Daniels; Bruce with Sheridan radio; and my girls from Red Sea Entertainment, Miss Anna and Miss Tagan – both of whom are absolutely THE BEST!

The World Premiere of “For Colored Girls…” took place last night at The Ziegfeld Theater. Sid, Ant, Michael, Mario, and a host of others enjoyed yet another night with Miss Jackson and the amazing cast of talented women and men (including my homeboy, Savannah’s own Omari Hardwick, who played opposite Miss Jackson). Afterwards, a virtual WHO’S WHO poured into The Oak Room at The Plaza Hotel – including my buddy, ABC 7’s Sandra Bookman; my CJ; BET’s Ed Gordon; Janet’s nephew Austin Brown (only boy of her oldest sister Rebbie. His album ‘85’ is scheduled to be released in 2011 –; our Ledisi; America’s Next Top Model’s Ya-Ya; Miss Niecy Nash; my Bridget, Karu, Kevin-Anthony, and on and on, I could go. GREAT NIGHT!



I got to work on something with Jon Stewart on one of my All-Star Karaoke Thursday Nights. But he got me out in time to get to my Thursday gig at Native Restaurant on Lenox Avenue @ 118th Street from 9pm-MIDNIGHT. Shout out to my girl Sidra who – one week - filled in on the ONE-TWOs when Ant was under the weather. And THANKS to the many, many ALL-STARs who keep coming out - from near and far.Last week’s LOVE FEST included some INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR. My dear friend, soul music historian, journalist, author, founder of Soul, singer, and record producer David Nathan (and his alter ego “Nefer Davis”) came from the U-K for Dionne Warwick’s 50th Anniversary and – with his friends in tow – he came to sing for my night. From Dionne’s “Alfie” to Aretha’s “Think” (and a Coldplay number), he ROCK’d (and SOUL’d!). Another friend, singer/songwriter Anise White ( blew the roof off the place with Lisa Stansfield’s “Been Around The World”. And our ALL-STAR regulars showed up and out i.e. Brian, Rick, Troy, Anthony, Turquoise, Jasmine, etc. Plus, “The Professor” gave us a great harmonica solo in the wake of his recent Apollo appearance… and friend Mica (whose working on some new music in the studio) popped by and gave us a serving of her fab brand of pop. And my ALL-STAR friends came out in full-force – including Sidra, Craig, Nichole (with new friend Eva from Dallas), Toby, glam god Q, Jacquie Lee (with client CJ Miller. He is author [“Grind: How to Turn Your Coffee Break into your Big Break”]/motivational speaker/reality co-star [Tyra Banks’ “True Beauty” & Omarosa’s “Ultimate Merger”]; my Kim (and her posse – all from Oakland and other Bay Area spots); Harlem promoter Bill Foster; my “girl” Cynthia Burgos – artist extraordinaire whose work of acrylic, oil, sand, and glitter portrays the iconic Oprah inside an exhibit, "25 Years of Oprah," that is presented by the New York African American Historical Society. It is showing in the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building in Harlem until November 24 ( My girl Flo Anthony was also in the house. HEY FLO! THANKS TO ALL!!! And I want to see you folks at ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHTS! We are having a BLAST!


Hope to see you all next week for ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHT at NATIVE RESTAURANT - from 9pm - 12 MIDNIGHT (LENOX AVENUE @ 118th Street). ALSO, I want to invite you out to THE HARLEM CRAWL - an opportunity to experience Harlem and its many cool bars, restaurants, and businesses from 6pm - 10pm - all for one price. And once the CRAWL wraps at 10pm, you can come back to NATIVE - which is on the CRAWL tour - for ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHTS (until MIDNIGHT!). Get Tickets now -


Our girlfriend Sidra invited us to Manolito for Sunday brunch recently.

Turns out the owner Cristina was hired by my idol Diana Ross to be nanny to her - at the time - three children Rhonda, Tracee, and Chudney (circa 1983). Though she spoke diplomatically as someone who likely signed a confidentiality agreement, she did confirm what was going on professionally with Miss Ross at that time. Of course, I gave her the options. After Motown 25?

Before Central Park? While she was on the road with the "For One, For All" tour? Were Arthur - the driver, and Geneva - the cook, on staff at the time? It all begged the question: "How do I know all of this stuff? LOL!" The lovely chat inspired information about The Diana Ross Playground - the beneficiary from Diana's pockets and whatever proceeds came from the sale of merch at her FREE Central Park concerts.

Sid didn't know that there was a Diana Ross Playground - so we took her.

All of us – including Murphy – walked through Central Park to the Diana Ross Playground - partially via bike.

We even walked by The Dalton School where the Ross charges attended school here in Manhattan alongside many of the rich and famous offspring.

And we HAD FUN (AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN)... just like little children. THANKS to MISS ROSS for a playground that I'm certain has brought JOY to millions of kids. And some adults too! LOL!



Then, we enjoyed a nice dinner & hang at Murphy’s Harlem pad.

 Friends Carl, Nicole, and others joined us.


On another Sunday, we finally got to see Daniel Beaty's "THROUGH THE NIGHT" with our Andrea and Ike in tow. Great work!


Had a great evening in New Rochelle where my highlight for the night was spending some time with special guest, Academy-Award nominee Ruby Dee. Our New ROs Michelle & Nelson – the Boyces - invited us to the opening of “Alvin & Friends”, a southern and Caribbean contemporary bistro in New Rochelle. Its Executive Chef is Raymond Jackson, formerly of Maroon’s. Its owner Alvin Clayton is best known as an artist (Denzel Washington, Robert DeNiro and Don Cheadle own his work) and model (L.L. Bean catalogue, most recently). “Real Housewives of DC”s Paul Wharton – a friend – and my girl Sidra accompanied me. Many were excited to see him as the reality show on which he co-starred was wrapping up. We all commuted – for the first time – via the Metro North. Also, it was great to see my favorite New ROs Nichole and Cynthia. Also, great to see my buddies Will and Joe, two of the best in the business!!!! LOVELY NIGHT IN NEW RO!


I was invited to the launch event for “INSPIRED: Iconic African-American Women & Their Inspirations” (at The Studio Museum of Harlem) – co-authored by friends Nathan Hale Williams and Crystal McCrary Anthony. So many great friends were in the house – including Native Restaurant’s Brian (my boss on Thursday for All-Star Karaoke); Miss Jean; Kelli Goff, Jamar, Ryan, Tracy, Adrienne, Patrik-Ian Polk, Olivia, and a host of others. After, we revisited the INSPIRED folks for a night of “Boomerang”. Also, there was R&B music. Both at Native, where Nathan’s “Classic” Tuesday night takes place. This is also where we do ALL-STAR KARAOKE THURSDAY NIGHTS! Here our buddies Sidra, Derek, DeJuan, Hal, Erica Watson, and others were in the house. CONGRATS NATHAN & CRYSTAL!


Friends Donna Torrence and Hanna Lee invited us to attend Mark Oldman’s wine book launch party at Mark’s FAB new NYC apartment. There were numerous wines from all over the world to sip and Chef Michel Nischan cooked up some savory treats. And I got to take a little time to chat with three producers from “The View” – Patrick, Jonathan, and Natalie. Darryl “Dr. Mixologist” Robinson (of “Cooking Channel” fame) was in the house as was my NABJ friend Lola Ogunnaike.


El Debarge was in town. We went. Radio City Music Hall is where he performed the soundtrack of my childhood & adolescent years. Afterwards, EBONY’s current cover model Mary J. Blige (channeling one of MISS ROSS’ classic EBONY covers from the ‘70s) headlined. A stop through Washington Heights for karaoke Monday nights before heading home to check in on Nene, Dwight, and the gang! Y’all been watching “Real Housewives of Atlanta”? FIERCE!


One night in Harlem, I felt like I might have been in a ‘70s movie. After a day of working from home, I think I stepped into a time capsule. We joined our favorite Harlem couple Mara & Tommie at Moca (including some slamming catfish fingers). Afterwards, Ant got off late to join us for dinner & drinks at Mojo. A birthday girl shared her Chanel and Louboutin cupcakes with us, compliments of Ilene Miriam Baked Goods – Legendary actor Glynn Turman dined at the table for which we had to wait. I followed him out for a quick chat and photo-op. He played Leroy "Preacher" Jackson in “Cooley High” (and – of course – “Dr. War” in “A Different World”. Too, he is Aretha Franklin’s ex-husband). As we segued back to Mara & Tommie’s for a night-cap, we observed one of NYC’s finest sanitation workers macking on an attractive young lady, who too had just dined at Mojo. We observed her give the garbage man her number, which conjured up images of “Claudine” for me. Diahann Carroll was nominated for an Oscar in her portrayal of a mother of six on welfare, who was a part-time maid. She and trash man – a fine & mellow James Earl Jones – manage a romantic threesome between the two fine characters and “Mr. Welfare”. After we looked at a couple of YOU TUBE clips, including Willow’s new hit song, I insisted on sharing “Claudine” with the young folks. It’s a classic, albeit dated, arguably – some might say - stereotypical. Yet like “For Colored Girls…” (which was originally an early ‘70s choreo-poem), the messages are still relevant today. Here’s the first of a series of YOU TUBE clips that comprise one of my favorite childhood movies:  SO, LADIES!!!??? QUESTION FOR YOU: You're out with friends. Dressed to the NINEs. A garbage man is on his route. He's fine <but of course, he's in uniform>! He likes the way you look as well; chats you up quickly between tossing trash bags on the back f the truck; and he asks for your number. You give it to him. He's go...nna call you later for a date. Some of my lady friends (and a couple of men friends) seem to think I've over-romanticized the moment and that most women would NOT go for a garbage man. That's where the chat about the classic film "CLAUDINE" started. And don't forget 'ROC'. But in real life, WOULD YOU DATE A GARBAGE MAN and/or seriously consider a relationship with one? I say "GO FOR IT!" In the case of this one, he's cute; has a job; and benefits (and seemed to be able to nicely put a sentence or two together). Some of my girlfriends - shockingly to me - said "NO WAY!" WHAT DO YOU SAY?


Whether you're lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or not, be proud of who you are and your support for LGBT equality this Coming Out Day (or any day… and beyond)! I’ve LIVED OUT LOUD for 15 years now and struggled inside for all the years prior to that. The journey hasn’t been easy, but since COMING OUT and... being TRUE to myself and my loved ones, it’s better out here – professionally and personally. I now dedicate time and resources to LGBT-mentoring/scholarship organization LIVE OUT LOUD (; the National Association of Black Journalists’ LGBT Task Force of which I am a founding member; I hosted a well-received (but not picked up) ‘Queer-Eye’- meets-‘The-View’-pilot a few years back (; and I speak up whenever asked – including recent appearances on Michael Eric Dyson’s radio show ( and the first Urban LGBT network glo-TV (; and I take part ownership in a particular GLAAD Award for a talk show’s episode titled “When I Knew I Was Gay” (I was on-camera & produced a number of segments for that edition). ONWARD & UPWARD, MY PEOPLE! And the recent string of reported bullying incidents that are leading to these gay suicides MUST STOP! And to the politicians, religious leaders, and pundits who have made careers out of saying that gays are somehow less than, please STOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE! – especially if you are engaging in DL activities yourself. And whether STRAIGHT or LGBT, BE THE CHANGE and SPEAK UP! And to those LGBT teens who may be having problems or thoughts of suicide, please visit or call the following website/number: or call 1-866-4-U-TREVOR. I LOVE YOU ALL! And ONE MORE THING (because many of my yellow brick roads lead back to MISS ROSS):



My karaoke spin on Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work”:!/video/video.php?v=390384328736&ref=mf Standing on Maxwell’s shoulders alone is heavy, but as evidenced by TV ONE “UNSUNG”s take on Sylvester’s life (, my falsetto is also standing on big shoulder (pads)! LOL! Shout out to the strong falsettos out there – including Earth, Wind, & Fire's Phillip Bailey and The Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks. I recently got to echo Kendricks' style when my Tony-award-winning friend LaChanze ambushed me with the mic on she and Greg Generet’s recent spin on “Just My Imagination” -


Consider it a birthday serenade, of sorts. Miss Ross recently celebrated another year of fierceness and fabulousness. But the big gift is ours as concert tickets have been cleared to see my favorite, 66-year-young diva Diana at Radio City Music Hall on May 19th and – a week and change later – in Chicago, courtesy of my earth angel Sally Lou.  This “More Today Than Yesterday” tour promises lots of comfort and joy for me in May (!/DianaRoss?ref=search&sid=662073736.1095004508..1). But there are also birthday shout outs due to our girlfriend Cy whose Big 3-0 fete Ant and I weren’t able to make. Still, we absolutely adore our diva girlfriend who is a Designer/Social Entrepreneur/Sustainable Lifestyle Branding Guru EXTRAORDINAIRE ( We were, however, able to get out – in the 11th hour for our other Aries birthday girl Dr. Shirley Madhere – plastic surgeon with the most ( She emailed us at 12 noon to show up at her last-minute brainchild of a celebration at the well-appointed, private club Norwood ( And what a set it was as I uncovered that we have more mutuals in common than we knew about – including: “Why Did I Get Married Too?”s Malik Yoba; Yoki Brown (of Brandy's 'Full Moon' video notoriety -; our girlfriend, good dentist Dr. Ericka; and my Lisa Goodnight's college mate Mica who inspired Ant and me to karaoke afterwards. She owns an anti-aging spa business which she is growing as it is still in the infant stages:, but look out: With Mica behind it, it promises to be a big success. While at our Dr. Shirley’s set, I got to reiterate to Malik - a regular reader of my blog 'A Day in the Life of Riley' - how great he is in "Why Did I Get Married Too?” Hopefully you have seen the film by now. Ant and I went a third time on our new favorite film’s opening night with Ern, Charlie T, and Danielle. AUDIENCES seem to be LOVING it… and are quite SHOCKED at several reversals Tyler Perry incorporated into the film to off-set critiques of being predictable and cliché. And as I shouted out Miss Aretha Franklin who too recently celebrated a birthday (Ant and I attended her BDAY set last year in Detroit:, and I just uncovered that “Secret Trois”, the trio Ant and I secured for Ms. Franklin’s party last year, shouted us out: This, for arranging their performance:   And another shout out to Joe Ballon who too celebrated a birthday in March. He's Ant's colleague at 'The Wendy Williams Show' and is just an all-around, swell dude. And he and I have a love for all things 'Black sitcoms' in common. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE! 



Ant and I went to the BLOOM Spring Party on invite from my friend Clarence Haynes (I teased it in last week’s blog entry: It was quite festive – dancing, cocktails, African drums, World music remixes, etc! Then, Ant and I went to BLEU's Beautiful People night - Sunday - at 7 BELOW 0 in Harlem. Turns out Ant and I were named to the Winter 2010 issue of BLEU Magazine's BLEU LIST! Total honor! Shout out to BLEU Publisher De’Von Christopher for the LOVE (!


My girl Loren - who collabo'd with me on my recent BET projects - co-edited this critically-acclaimed film TEZA for which the Dwyer Cultural Center in Harlem hosted a launch. Danny Glover endorses TEZA and hosted the opening night alongside TEZA’s director Haile Gerima ("Sankofa"). It’s currently showing in NYC at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and other select movie houses nationwide ( CONGRATS LOREN!


  • ·        So my good girlfriend Jakki’s stepdaughter Kamari has just started a new blog site called "Save Safe Sex" ( and FACEBOOK: And her blog: She has started a fan page on Facebook called “Let’s Talk Sex...Blog In!! Her mission is to teach everyone from the young ages of 11 to seniors at 85 about saving safe sex. She felt that if she just stuck to the basics and did a blog on Reality TV or Celebs, it wouldn't have made a mark of any importance in the lives of everyone. For Kamari, she feels that this is important because she trusts that her story and some of its challenges must parallel other girls around the world and she just wants to do her part in helping that not be the story of our future girls.
  • ·        My Morehouse brother Maurice McRae is currently at Baltimore’s Centerstage, set to open in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom", featuring a talented cast including diva E. Faye Butler. Maurice is playing the role of Levee originated by Charles Dutton. Then, they are in Philadelphia. For Baltimore: For Philly: And for more on Maurice:



On this day, Ant and I celebrated a holiday meal with Ern, Danielle, her husband Bernard, and our girlfriend Tina. A couple of years ago, Ant, Ern, Danielle, and I did the same location - Delta soul food restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ near Rutgers University. Now, I’m packing for a multi-week stint in Chicago (with a quick stop in L.A.). With Spring in BLOOM, I’m thrilled and blessed that some work has accompanied it. And though I am still a work-in-progress on a journey that is chockful of twists and turns, I am so GRATEFUL to have so much LOVE and LIGHT around me. Today, as we all broke bread, fellowshipped, and acknowledged the reason for the season, I was reminded how GOOD GOD IS. And it is HE who sustains me while on this ride called LIFE.  

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