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 Mary Wilson (3)

tbaal riverfront jazz festival 2017

Hi folks - especially my DALLAS PEEPS! Ant and I truly enjoyed our time in DALLAS at Riverfront Jazz Festival! I told you how excited I was to attend: Well, we really did have a BLAST!Jonathan Butler, Melanie Fiona, Jon Secada, and Rachelle Farrell join Rahsaan Patterson, Original SUPREME Mary Wilson, Band of Gold's Freda Payne, and Oleta Adams as some of the star performers who SLAYED! BRILLIANT TALENT back-to-back-to-back made for a WONDERFUL HOLIDAY WEEKEND! And so good to see dear friends and local hosts: Kevin....  Nanette Lee, NABJ brother friends Terry Allen and CBS Dallas' Steve Pickett, my beloved Ed Roebuck, the uber-talented and inspirational Darren Henson, and more. The TBAAL and VISITDALLAS teams have been too hospitable in this awesome city - starting with Pecan Lodge welcome meal of BBQ and more.... for Ant, my NABJ besties Greg Dunmore (in town for Pulsebeat) and Jill Tracey (covering for Hot 105.1 Miami). Plus, we got the benefit of connecting to a number of wonderful, new Dallas friends. The weekend's kickoff concert was given by none other than Dallas' own homegirl from outer space, THE Erykah Badu who did just about everything except for maybe Bag Lady. She plucked "Believe in Yourself" from The Wiz - and her TBAAL past with Godfather Curtis King - as a tribute to our Houston, TX family as they find their way back to life. BRILLIANT SHOW! BADU BROUGHT IT! Others on the stellar line-up include: Will Downing, Najee, Yarbrough and Peoples featuring Benita Arterberry, Martha Wash, Pieces of A Dream, Ruben Studdard, Alex Bugonon, Kim Waters, Phil Perry, Eloise Laws, and MANY, MANY MORE! I MUST BE IN THE HOUSE NEXT YEAR! #LifeofRiley

 #TBAALriverfrontjazzfestival or @TBAAL

in the name of love


UPDATE: The video I host on Motown: The Musical's Opening Night Celebration is edited and here. Please feel free to VIEW/FWD/SHARE...and - most of all - to come and see MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL on BROADWAY):


 After I did my “Blacks and Broadway” segment on COZI-TV (, the “Motown: The Musical” ad folks hired me as its host for the show's OPENING NIGHT CELEBRATION – including interviewing all the guests as they walked the red carpet! Stay tuned for that clip...  

You see me interviewing my life-time idol Diana Ross and Motown Founder Berry Gordy along with many other greats!!!

The client also serviced my interviews to REUTERS and others.

SEE MISS Diana Ross; Berry Gordy; and a little of me (along with reax from Jane Fonda) also here in this piece:

And in this BROADWAY CHANNEL clip, you'll see glimpses of my footage and me as I interview the great Debbie Allen, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams, Sting, his wife Trudie Styler, and more excerpts from my Ross and Gordy chat (not all of the soundbites are mine as Broadway Channel had someone on-site as well): WHAT A MAGICAL NIGHT! 45th Street shook like an earthquake when Miss Ross arrived in the same limo as Mr. Gordy for the highly

anticipated world premiere at The Lunt Fontanne Theatre, followed by party at Roseland Ballroom.

I reminded Miss Ross and Mr. Gordy that Motown nor Diana were strangers to Broadway (1. Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations' follow-up TV special to their debut TCB was GIT: Getting It Together on Broadway;

2. "Pippin'" with Tony-award-winning Ben Vereen was a Motown soundtrack and Diana and the Jackson 5 both covered the show's hit track "Corner of the Sky";

3. Miss Ross won a Tony for her Broadway-staged one-woman show which broke box office records: "An Evening with Diana Ross").

Diana said to Berry: "He has a great memory! Always!" (Miss Ross referencing my memory of steel on all things Ross & Motown from a three-day set of interviews I got to do with her in 2005 at the "Legends" ball + she's called me on the stage to dance on "Upside Down" a couple of times over the years, too).

Worth also noting that Miss Ross, her original supreme mate Mary Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and many of the other Motown LEGENDS joined the cast on stage at the end --- embracing and celebrating the performers who were playing them (I also interviewed them all on the red carpet).


These pictures and video were taken by my friend Brandon Bain – singer/personality/karaoke host – who got to sing with ‘Diana Ross’ [Valisia Lekae (formerly of “The Book of Mormon”)] on “Reach Out & Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” – preview night one. He too attended the opening night after party.

While I was on duty, he shot some of this behind-the-scenes footage of MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL’s after party

(including the great still shot of Diana, Berry, and Mary (and Jesse Jackson)! INDEED, Miss Ross and Mary Wilson BACK TOGETHER AGAIN:;

Afterwards, Miss Ross - as promised (with Berry Gordy still in tow) – came to talk to me again.

She exclaimed she LOVED Valisia in the leading role of Diana Ross ("I'm CUTE," Miss Ross shared before giggling, sharp contrast to the many tears of joy and nostalgia she'd expressed from her seat during the show).

She too said that Berry Gordy is a 'great storyteller'!!! MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL features music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue and a book by Berry Gordy. It is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright stars - in addition to 'Diana Ross' - Tony Award® nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (The Color Purple) and and features Charl Brown (Jersey Boys) as Smokey Robinson, Bryan Terrell Clark as Marvin Gaye and an ensemble cast of 40. I spoke to many of them. Others in the house - many of whom I too spoke: THE COMMODORES, BONO, GAYLE KING, STING, JANE FONDA, JULIE CHEN from "The Talk"; LES MOONVES;





MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL is the real story of the one-of-a-kind sound that hit the airwaves in 1959 and changed our culture forever.

This exhilarating show charts Motown Founder Berry Gordy's incredible journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross,

Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and many more.

Featuring all the classics you love, MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America.

The music that shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat finally comes to Broadway in the season's most anticipated show.

It's playing at The Lunt Fontanne Theatre - 205 West 46th Street (Btwn Broadway & 8th Ave - North sid Roseland Ballroom 239 West 52nd Street (Between Broadway & 8th Avenue). Special shout out to Marcia Pendelton, Marketing Outreach for the Motown: The Muiscal. She was THE key player in ensuring I was a part of this historic night!



Motown and Diana Ross' collective and respective LEGACIES LIVE alongside their LIVING FABULOUSNESS (a la Broadways’s ‘Motown: The Musical’ and Miss Ross' still-busy-and-impressive itinerary (She hosted 'Christmas in Washington' for The Obamas this past December: - cast in tow from injury sustained at a reported $1,000,000 one-nighter to serenade supermodel Naomi Campbell's billionaire boyfriend's birthday party in India): My friend, TONY AWARD WINNING STAR OF 'THE COLOR PURPLE' AND "RAGTIME' LACHANZE's three-date, one-woman-show LOVE HANGOVER, which runs again Thursday, April 18 & Monday, April 22: LaChanze presented "Love Hangover" - her mostly re-conceived arrangements of Miss Ross' repertoire (or as she put it "...the soundtrack of my life..."). In attendance, a room full of LaChanze's friends and fans - many our own: our friend, Director Ken Roberson (GREAT JOB!), jazz singer Greg Generet (who performs three sets every Thursday in NYC at SMOKE);   one of my favorite actresses on TV, film, stage, daytime, nighttime, Broadway, off-Broadway, cabaret: Tamara Tunie; Broadway's best Norm Lewis (also in 'Scandal'); all my other favorites: siblings Sapp (and Bree); Rita Wilson (singer, actress, film/TV producer; and wife of Tom Hanks) who was performing a later set at the same venue [I got the chance to shoot a pic with her outside the preview press event 54 Below hosted with LaChanze, Wilson, and some of the other stars performing there in the next month.]; film/TV producer Angelique Francis; my homeboy, Richmond Hill's own Algernon Campbell: dancer (and dance instructor) EXTRAORDINNAIRE: and many more!!!

 Set list: starting from back of the house onto the stage:

Love Hangover

 Them There Eyes (from "Lady Sings the Blues")

 Touch Me in the Morning

 Last Time I Saw Him

 Good Morning Heartache (from "Lady...Blues")

 You Can't Hurry Love

 I Hear A Symphony

 Baby Love

 Reach Out & Touch prelude (featuring LaChanze's first leading man Jerry Dixon - "Once on this Island")

 You're All I Need To Get By (w/Jerry)

 Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing (w/Jerry)

 You Keep Me Hangin' On w/hints of Sting's "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free" w/two gentlemen background singers

Be A Lion (from 'The Wiz')

 I'm Coming Out (w/two gentlemen background singers)

 Ain't No Mountain High Enough

 The Boss (encore)



Then, my friend Jamar Dunn asked Ant and me to pop by his place for an. 'American Idol' screening party with a fun group including the legendary Pepa of 'Salt & Pepa' fame; her hairdresser Troy Turner (Also Lil' Kim's hair stylist); another celebrity hairstylist Octavio (Mary, Mary; Serena Williams; and more); and a host of others. A-I-wise, we're all Team Candice!!!! But we are also Team Pepa! She engaged us so about the history of hip hop and her place in the landscape. And though I've enjoyed several moments in which I was an audience with Pepa, none quite this intimate and open - Pep and I even uncovering we share an astrological sign in common: Scorpio! What a pop cultural blessing! #moreloot


What a week! "Motown: The Musical" on Broadway was a blast on Sunday. But Monday had me dotting Is and crossing Ts to ready the video for BET's Up Front, a project on which I have been working with recurring client BET Creative Services for the last few months. Always nice to see my labor of love on an EPIC screen in the front of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall where BET pulled out... all the stops in addition to the video programming sizzles I had a hand in producing: performances by Chaka Khan ("Tell Me Something Good" for CENTRIC section); Kierra Sheard and brother John Drew Sheard II (who performed a Gospel tribute to Boston); also, appearances by Boris Kodjoe; Kevin Hart; Nelly; Selita Ebanks; and others from "Real Husbands of Hollywood"; Chris Tucker (just-announced host of the BET Awards which go down during the unprecedented BET Experience at LA LIVE, a three-day music-and-more festival at the end of June); Comedians Sommore and Tony Rock; star of BET's 1st Original Movie & 1st weekly, one-hour drama "Being Mary Jane", Gabrielle Union; Boris' beautiful wife, actress Nicole Ari Parker; legendary Gladys Knight; and a performance by Miguel. Several mingled and posed for pix with the many advertising folks in the audience - there to determine if they will buy into BET. From the feedback and various ovations, it looks good. Great to work with such an AWESOME TEAM at BET. Happy my nephew Herman L. Riley III was in attendance and I got to hang out with him a little - a rare treat.


So happy to attend the New York City PREMIERE of SEEIt Film THE DIVORCE COUNSELOR – written, produced, and directed by my friend and often-fellow-collaborator (at recurring client BET): THEMBISA S. MSHAKA. It took place recently at the New York Film Academy. And now you can get in on the session: THE DIVORCE COUNSELOR can be seen on-line --- EXCLUSIVELY on WWW.FREESWORLD.COM (FREE hosted the festivities!). Please feel free to REFER “The Divorce Counselor”. CONGRATS, THEMBISA! BEAUTIFUL NIGHT! Shout out to Chasity, Loren, Kris, Deangelo, Rachel, et al. #TheDivorceCounselor


You know I love the Dance Theatre of Harlem! You may recall I recently attended DTH's Vision Gala as a guest of friends Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil who weren't able to attend (Vanessa Williams - now in Broadway's "The Trip To Bountiful" - was honored):  You may also recall I hosted DTH's Annual Street Fair in Harlem a few years ago: Recently, many of us gathered to see the DTH Company at Jazz at Lincoln Center - a beautiful series of performance in the Rose Theater.In the house: SO MANY FRIENDS - including my 'Amazing Grace' Nichole; friend (and producer of "Drums Along The Hudson") Carl Nelson; BFF Sidra Smith (Producer, "Free Angela" documentary); Stacie J ('Apprentice' star - Season 2); Ed Roebuck (clients including Diana Ross, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Nancy Wilson); Miss Dawn Riley (performer as well as TV production credits that include "Third Watch" and "Lipstick Jungle" among many others); and my SURPRISE BLAST FROM THE PAST (who happened to be seated next to me): CNBC Business News talent Sharon Epperson, my former co-worker (I worked at CNBC with Geraldo Rivera in the mid-'90s) and forever NABJ sister!! It was her birthday but the treat was all mine to chat she and her sister up during scene pauses and intermissions. And to those I'm not listing due to space, GREAT TO SEE YOU AS WELL and as ALWAYS! Center Charge: 212.721.6500 Afterwards, we grabbed a bite in the area (Rosa Mexicana) before turning in. FUN FRIDAY!!!


Date DAY & NIGHT: Ant & I got a quality-time Saturday in, compliments of friend, publicist Gwendolyn Quinn. We saw one of my TOTAL FAVs, GRAMMY® nominated recording artist Deborah Cox (as Lucy) in JEKYLL & HYDE THE MUSICAL alongside another American Idol FAV, Constantine Maroulis (Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde). Deborah's return to Broadway is a 13-week limited engagement at Broadway's Marquis Theatre in New York City. It's a great show-Deborah is AMAZING!!! The review I text some close friends: "Deborah Cox (AND Constantine) are singing for the gODZ in "Jekyll & Hyde" on Broadway! Sexy! Sultry! Beautiful, BELTING & nuanced vocals!!!" JEKYLL & HYDE is based on the acclaimed novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, about a London doctor who accidentally unleashes an evil alternate personality in his quest to cure his father's mental illness.


On June 4, 2013, Brooklyn Community Services will host its annual BCS Human Spirit Awards at the Grand Hyatt-Manhattan Ballroom. I’ve been asked to join its host committee and to invite as many of you to get in on this wonderful cause as possible. This year BCS will honor two cultural leaders who call Brooklyn their home. My friend, National image activist, Michaela angela Davis, and award-winning artist, Danny Simmons, will join other honorees in a ceremony that celebrates individuals who through their vision, leadership, service and generosity have built a lasting impression on both culture and community. The Human Spirit Awards is the annual fundraising dinner for BCS that highlights individuals, groups and programs that have made lifting up the lives of Brooklynites their call to action.  Last year's gala raised $500,000 and provided vital resources to support BCS's mission to strengthen families, help children and youth reach their full potential, and support adults in leading productive, fulfilling lives.  Proceeds from this year's online and silent auction will support efforts to provide continued relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy in Coney Island. This year's gala is already shaping up as a Who's Who of local and national notables, including international DJ and Black Girls Rock Founder and Executive Director, Beverly Bond, who will present the award to Ms. Davis.  Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, who has long been a strong supporter of BCS, will present the award to Danny Simmons.  Other confirmed guests to date include:  filmmaker and hip hop journalist, dream hampton; writer, musician and producer, Greg Tate; R&B recording artist and model, Maiysha Kai and playwright, radio host and political commentator, Esther Armah. I just recently had a chance to work with Michaela angela Davis on one of my last freelance projects (the aforementioned BET Up Front 2013). She has already made an indelible mark on culture, style and image activism.  As the former fashion, beauty, and culture executive editor for Essence magazine and founding fashion director of Vibe, Ms. Davis helped expand the narrow narratives of what is considered beautiful for millions of readers.  As a leading image/style maven, she has worked with the likes of Oprah, Beyoncé, and Prince.  Currently she leads MAD Free, a multi-platform, multi-generational critical community conversation project focusing on image. Danny Simmons has been a leading figure in the New York art scene for over 30 years.  Danny is a noted abstract expressionist painter and the older brother of hip hop impresario Russell Simmons and rapper Joseph Simmons ("Reverend Run" of Run–D.M.C.).  He is the co-founder and Chairman of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (since 1995), which provides disadvantaged urban youth with arts access and education.   As a former social worker, Danny understands the impact early intervention can have on a child's life, believing that arts and creativity are a way out of a particular circumstance through the power of imagination. Through their courage, determination and creative drive, Ms. Davis and Mr. Simmons have inspired and uplifted the many young people, struggling families and adults with challenges, who are served by BCS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW YOU CAN BUY TICKETS FOR THIS AWESOME GALA OR MAKE A DONATION: Click on


Though the night got a little long in the tooth, glad we got to support our friend Nathan Hale Williams’ Ocean Thursdays party at Splash recently! Special guest Kenya Moore performed “Gone With The Wind” fabulous! and was most gracious to show the kids how to pose – on stage and at the step & repeat. Was also EXTRA special to see some dear friends – including face-beater-par-excellence (makeup artist to the stars) Sam Fine; Editor-in-Chief at Uptown Magazine, Isoul Harris (my Morehouse brother whose book “NICKI MINAJ: HIP POP MOMENTS 4 LIFE” just came out this week) ------ ALL OF THIS after enjoying a nice family meal with my nephew and his mom (visiting from our hometown Savannah) at Billie’s Black. #GoneWithTheWindFabulous!!!!


full circle


So honored to have been invited to be the Keynote Speaker for the 2012 NABJ Multimedia Short Course - a journalism boot-camp that attracts 30 or so college students from all over to receive intensive hands-on training at FAMU's School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (and its 100,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility). As I am one of the NABJ BABIES who just-over 20 years was introduced student opportunities the like of this one, you must know how excited I was to share my testimonial in front of these bright students and others of my NABJ colleagues who volunteered their time to teach. And on top of that, I got the FULL CIRCLE honor of reuniting with the very woman who introduced me to NABJ in 1991 (circa my days at Morehouse and in the AUC - including Clark Atlanta University's Mass Media Arts Department from which I got much of my early training): Dr. Ann Wead Kimbrough, now-Dean of the FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (Twitter: @annkimbrough) and my "industry mom" with whom I also got to enjoy one-on-one catch-up time at one of Tallahassee's best restaurants Masa... and after my speech, I got to enjoy a tour of Tallahassee and further catch-up time (on our families and mutual colleagues) at her beautiful home. As I look back on my last 20 years, I'm so proud to continue my investment in the next generation of media professionals. NABJ continues to teach us well! (! Oh! Don't tell my Morehouse brothers, but the FAMU hosts made me an honorary "rattler"! LOL! SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! THANKS FAMU for hosting me in EXCELLENCE!


My friends at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation ( invited me to the African American Museum in Philadelphia, for cocktails; appetizers; one-on-one chat time with Miss Ross' fellow Original Supreme, the FABULOUS Mary Wilson whose new exhibition, "Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection" will run January 25-July 2013 at the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP).
For more info:
The exhibit will include more than 30 gowns from the musical group but it will be about so much more:
·         How the Supremes began to change the perception of black women in America in the 1960s and 70s
·         Music of the era
·         Fashion: the exhibit contains Supremes' wigs, jewelry, accessories, album covers, etc.
The exhibition is likely to strike a chord with baby boomers, fans of the music, mothers and daughters, etc.  This is the first time this many gowns will be shown together, and in this social context-the empowerment of women and the breaking down of social barriers.
Mary shared many stories - including many of the Motown memories; sang beautifully one of her jazz staples "Here's To Life" a capella; played one of her new pop songs "Life's Been Good To Me" for us (after those many #1 hits piped through the sound system); and once she and I sat down to talk, she asked if I'd send her my "...Life of Riley..." Blog entry. I assured her I'd get it to her AND blast it out to many friends who - I'm sure - will want to come see the exhibit with me next January 2013 - June 2013.
I'M SO GLAD I TOOK THE TIME TO 'COME SEE ABOUT (THE FABULOUS MISS MARY WILSON)'. Someday she, my beloved Diana, and Flo-Ballard-replacement Cindy Birdsong may NOT ever be together again. BUT like Miss Ross (a few times over), I'M THRILLED I GOT TO MEET HER!