Events (97)

*”Walk On By,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “A House Is Not a Home” and many more songs have been the backdrop to a lot of folks’ lives either when they first debuted on the radio or when they have been sampled for newer tracks.

Those songs belongs to Grammy winner Dionne Warwick and fans of her music gathered in Beverly Hills at the Paley Centre for Media to celebrate the legend who has been in the game for 5 decades. There was a special screening presented by “PBS, My Music Presents: Dionne Warwick – Then Came You.”

The special showcased Warwick’s music career from her first meeting with songwriters Hal David and Burt Bacharach to becoming a U.S. ambassador of health for her support of AIDS awareness and featured Gladys Knight, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, and her main songwriter Burt Bacharach and other friends and admirers of Warwick’s music.

TJ Lubinsky who is the producer of “Then Came You,” says he grew up being a listener of the Warwick’s songs. Fun Fact:  Warwick recorded her first background session with Lubinsky’s grandfather, the founder of Savoy Records — in the 1940s. Warwick, who began singing at her grandfather’s church as a child — also talked about the origins of her chart-toppers, how she truly feels about “Do You Know the Way to San Jose” and how she created a fresh style of music with David and Bacharach.

Not only did her fans get to enjoy the showcase, the Paley Center brought in Larry King to talk to Warwick about her long career selling over 100 million records. Warwick talked about her memories in the music industry and she announced that she will be releasing a new album.

After watching her career flash before her eyes with the audience, the 77 year old singer said the following:

“I feel like I’ve truly been blessed.I’ve been fortunate enough to have people who have been loyal over the years to me and have enjoyed the music I’ve given them, as I have. I always say things happen the way they’re supposed to happen, and here I am.”


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*Every August, Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts hosts the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. Now in it’s 16th year, this brain child of Floyd and Stephanie Rance, co-owners of Run & Shoot Filmworks, brings some of the biggest names in films, not Black films, but FILMS … to the island.

On Monday (08-06-18), the Festival’s opening presentation was two hours of exclusive, “Clips and Conversation with Academy Award Winning Director Spike Lee, Actor John David Washington and Author Ron Stallworth – BLACKkKLANSMAN.”

The weather has been atypical for “the Cape and Islands” with humidity and temperature in the sweltering range, but the folks came out to see their island neighbor Spike, who has lived on MV for over 20 years, for the SRO evening.

The buzz in the line was of hopefulness, even anxiousness that this film would be a critical and commercial winner for Spike Lee. As one attendee put it:

“I loved the documentaries (The Academy award nominated “4 Little Girls”, and Emmy winner “When the Levees Broke”), but I want him to have a big hit movie like Malcolm X.”

Spike’s entrance drew thunderous applause. He was relaxed, happy and animated, obviously feeling very much at home with an audience of his island neighbors, Morehouse alums, and industry friends. Between incredible clips of the films he told stories about informing President Obama of the Charlottesville clash as he came off the 18th hole, which borders Spike’s house.  He gave a touching tribute to the talent of his young star John David Washington and spoke of the difficulties of being the offspring of a famous man (John David is the son of Spike Lee’s other favorite leading man Denzel Washington), which he personally observed friend and classmate Martin Luther King III endure.

The evening had a close, comfy feeling or that of a family reunion. A feeling that typifies the entire vibe of the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. The majority of the audience were repeat attendees, but they welcomed us first timers with roaring applause. But, we were there for a serious film.  Jordan Peele (“Get Out” 2017) pitched the concept to Spike. It only took six words Black police officer infiltrates the KKK.  Spike was adamant that this film “is not a history lesson.” Indeed, it is not. This film speaks to what is happening in America today.

Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, and the officer who is the subject of “BLACKkKLANSMAN,” regaled the audience with incredible stories of his tour of duty with the police force. He even when into his cell phone to replay a very creepy voice mail left by none other than David Dukes, former Grand Wizard of the KKK.


Dukes was apparently concerned about how the film was going to portray him, said Stallworth, which elicited peals of laughter  from Spike and the audience. Stallworth then said quite seriously …

“David Dukes is extremely charming, but when he talks about race it’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You cannot sleep on people like this. They are a dangerous threat.”

The film will also feature incredible new music from Prince, “Mary Don’t You Weep” which was taped in 1981 but discovered after his untimely death.

“BLACKkKLANSMAN” premieres nationwide August 10, one year after terrorist and racist  attack in Charlottesville, VA.

Subrina Wood is a movie critic and film festival blogger, specializing in promotion of independent films of the diaspora. She can be found at


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*Music Industry Quarterly Magazine (MIQ) & Urban Network Digital —two of the music community’s leading trade organizations – are proud to present the 5th Annual Business of Music Conference 2018. The 3-day event is scheduled for September 13-15, 2018, and returns to the Los Angeles area at the Westin Hotel Airport: 5400 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045. It promises to be a weekend of Music, Culture, and Conversation.

The Conference (a continuation of the Urban Network brand) has been a long-standing legacy and relevant networking event attracting top A&Rs, label executives, music publishers, TV & film music supervisors, radio professionals, social media experts, recording artists, producers/songwriters, music streaming curators, and the like.

This year’s event will be highlighted with over a dozen topics essential to success into today’s current industry climate. Themes include “Expanding Your Exposure: Press, PR and Performances”; “The Relevance of Radio in the Digital Age”; “Today’s Independent Model”; “Engaging & Establishing Brand Partnerships”; “A&R Strategies in a Digital World”; “Songwriters, Producers & Music Publishers”; “Managing Artists in the Streaming Era”; “The Power of Instagram & Social Influencers”; “The Dynamics Between Fashion & Music”; and lots more.

Some 100 speakers are slated to participate during the various panel sessions. Executives, entrepreneurs, influencers, and A&Rs from such companies as Atlantic Records, Def Jam Records, Spotify, Universal Music Group, YouTube, Instagram, Soundcloud, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Sound Royalties, SoundExchange, the OWN Network, Empire Distribution, Interscope Records, iHeart Radio, Apple Music, the Recording Academy, Capitol Records, Rhino Records, Kobalt Music Group, 740 Project, and more.

Conference attendees can also expect performances over three days by 50 plus emerging and established recording artists, from the genres of R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, Contemporary Gospel and Smooth Jazz. Exhibitors & vendors also have the opportunity to introduce, display and sell their merchandise, such as mobile apps, books, accessories and more. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

David Mitchell, Executive Producer of the Conference says, “This year’s theme is quite appropriate, ‘Industry Leaders & Creative Visionaries Designing the Future.’ Conference 2018 promises to provide a new and fresh vibe, along with conversations led by some of today’s top industry change makers,” thanks to the addition of Julian Mitchell (Forbes & Beats By Dre), who serves as Consulting Partner. He along with my longtime business partner, Arthur Mitchell, President of Urban Network Digital, are excited and ready to produce a quality event that’s progressive, fun-filled, and full of networking opportunities.”

For more information, continued updates on speakers and performers, visit

David Mitchell


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*In today’s music industry, having talent isn’t enough and at the 31st Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival is proof of that fact.  With well over 10,000 in attendance over the three-day event, festival producer Kimberly Benoit and her staff, has put together a quality event that the whole family can enjoy.  

Blankets, lawn chairs, a cot, and tents lined both sides and stretched around the Rainbow Lagoon as the sun mad tracks across the sky.

Benoit’s Health and Wellness Pavilion contained shaded seating, multiple food vendors including classic caterers Shabazz Foods, and newcomer the Grill.  Speakers covered everything from cooking to healing your relationships.

The second stage featured many up and coming artists including Sulpacio Jones and Ricky Jones, no relation, who both performed on Sunday.

If you are granted the ability to grace either of the stages adjacent to the Rainbow Lagoon in Long Beach California, you have the talent and that talent has been qualified by the staff of Rainbow Promotions.

What moves your performance into memory? What qualifies one performance over the next? This is an age-old concept that has many correct answers.  One of those correct answers is having a beautiful woman to stand next to you.  But is that beauty enough?

Friday brought out Maysa, a female singer who outshined all before her and proved that you don’t have to be popular to rock a crowd.  Unfortunately for Maysa, Jonathan Butler and his guitar made her vocals forgetful, moving from jazzy solo play to love ballads to up-tempo Rhythm and Blues grooves.  He was the exception to the rule, performing with a subdued band and keeping the focus on him, and of course, his guitars.


Saturday, featured several artists who looked to have guest singers grace the stage to pump up the energy of the set.  In the past, guest performances from the likes of Randy Crawford, Barbara Morison, Shanice Wilson, just to name a few, were all successful in making an already quality performance even more memorable for the host performer.  

2018 brought the likes of Chante Moore,a veteran singer, known for soulful, melodic ballads, and newcomer Honey Larochelle, who looked to prove herself on the main stage for the first time.  Moore performed alongside Everette Harp and Doc Powell. Larochelle was brought onstage by Marcus Miller.

Both Moore and Larochelle brought their unique styles to the forefront and gave their all.  Moore’s star power along with her winning smile helped boost her performance even in the times when her songs seemed forced.

Larochelle, walking on stage with nothing to lose and everything to gain, brightened the stage in a yellow themed outfit that shined like the sun with energy.  Her vocals seemed flawless and came off effortless as she covered many of Marcus Miller’s songs and interacted with his already energetic style.

Ending the night with a standing ovation, Larochelle won the day, boosting Miller’s show both times she took the stage, the second bringing a roaring cheer from the crowd and placing a huge smile on her face.

Sunday continued the unofficial battle of the guitars, and even pianists joined in with Keiko Matsui donning a keytar and rocking a dance move! Matsui played five different kinds of keyboards including the keytar, and a Roger Trotman style vocal tube that used her voice as the tones for her keyboard.

Opening the day was newcomer Jazmin Ghent, whose petite frame was almost overwhelmed by the size of her black and gold saxophone, but she bent the keys backward as she played adjacent to Brian Simpson on the keyboard.

Closing the show was legendary guitarist Stanley Clark who is known for his fast fingers and showed off on both the bass guitar and the cello.  The battle for the top spot continued with Clarke going head to head with his entire band!


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*Nestled in Downtown Inglewood, California on South Market Street is the Miracle Theatre, a cute and quaint venue that has only been in business for less than three years, but between the visionary owner (Owen Smith) and the acoustics, it has the potential to become a go-to establishment for concerts, plays and movie screenings in the LA area.  That leads us to tell you about the latest event held at the Miracle Theatre: The Los Angeles Nollywood Film Awards (LANFA), the brainchild of filmmaker King Bassey, who hails from Akwa lbom, Nigeria.

The black tie evening with an international flair began with a red carpet event, in which’s headman Lee Bailey and yours truly were a part of, in addition to celebrities that included Gloria Hendry, the first African-American Bond girl (“Live and Let Die”) and veteran actor Mel Novak, who was reunited with Gloria Hendry, his “Black Belt Jones” co-star.

The show was co-hosted by Motown Maurice (Snake Outta Compton) and Oge ILoghalu.   I will have to admit I was a bit thrown off when the show began with a mariachi band, who performed not one, but three songs.  I was not expecting a mariachi band at an event showcasing films made in Africa. I had to remind myself that an international theme was in play and that various countries were being represented, not just Africa.

I felt like order had been restored when there was a fashion show displaying fashions from  Although the vibrant colored fashions were mostly jackets with removable sleeves, pair them with the right jeans and shoes and you will have a winning outfit.  The other entertainment for the evening was Nigerian-American singer Chae Rose and her all girl band.  Chae Rose had a set of pipes on her and her band, mostly Asian, were on point as well.  I think they are on to something.

 litany of industry people were on hand for the evening, including Honorees actress Alice Amter (The Big Bang Theory); actress and radio personality Amber Lynn (Who’s Jenna?); Producer Anoush Sadegh (First Born), nominated filmmakers Dustin Ferguson (Nemesis 5: The New Model), former five-time World Kickboxing Champion Grandmaster and filmmaker Robert Parham (Jackson Bolt), Dawna Lee Heising (Samurai Cop 2: Deadly Vengeance) and Vida Ghaffari (The Mindy Project), among many others.  I have to admit that I had not heard of most of the attendees and looked forward to seeing and hearing about them.  I was suitably impressed.

LANFA is not on the scale of the Academy Awards, Golden Globe or even any of the lower level film awards; however, I really like what they are about, which includes rewarding some of the individuals not normally awarded.  Many of the award recipients mentioned they had never received an award before, so I enjoyed watching people being recognized for the first time for their effort.  My hope for LANFA is that it grows bigger and stronger each year.


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*Bruno Mars has announced that special guests Boyz II MenCharlie WilsonCiara, and Ella Mai will join upcoming U.S. dates as part of Mars’ 24K Magic World Tour this fall.

Mars, who is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction for his TV special “24K Magic: Live At The Apollo,” recently announced that his international outing will close with a trio of homecoming performances in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The three dates at Aloha Stadium are a record-breaker for the venue, with no other artist in its history to have booked that number of successive dates.

Produced by Live Nation, Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic World Tour has traveled the globe since 2017, and will have made over 135 stops across North America, Latin America, Europe, and the U.K once wrapped this November. The massively successful outing by the multiple-GRAMMY Award winner has sold out stadiums and arenas around the world, and was credited with selling 1 million tickets in a single day.

The 24K Magic World Tour celebrates Mars’ multiple GRAMMY Award-winning, 2x RIAA Platinum-certified album, 24K Magic (, released in November 2016 via Atlantic Records. The 24K Magic World Tour has been Mars’ first full-length tour since his hugely successful Moonshine Jungle World Tour in 2013, an international blockbuster that sold 2 million tickets worldwide across 155 sold-out dates.


Friday, September 7, 2018Denver, CO*Pepsi Center
Saturday, September 8, 2018Denver, CO*Pepsi Center
Tuesday, September 11, 2018


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

St. Paul, MN^


St. Paul, MN^

Xcel Energy Center


Xcel Energy Center

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Detroit, MI^


Detroit, MI^

Little Caesars Arena


Little Caesars Arena

Wednesday, September 19, 2018Philadelphia, PA*Wells Fargo Center
Thursday, September 20, 2018Philadelphia, PA*Wells Fargo Center
Saturday, September 22, 2018Toronto, ON**Scotiabank Arena
Sunday, September 23, 2018Toronto, ON**Scotiabank Arena
Thursday, September 27, 2018Boston, MA**TD Garden
Friday, September 28, 2018Boston, MA**TD Garden
Monday, October 1, 2018Newark, NJ**Prudential Center
Tuesday, October 2, 2018Newark, NJ**Prudential Center
Thursday, October 4, 2018Brooklyn, NY^^Barclays Center
Friday, October 5, 2018Brooklyn, NY^^Barclays Center
Sunday, October 7, 2018


Monday, October 8, 2018

Nashville, TN^^


Nashville, TN^^

Bridgestone Arena


Bridgestone Arena

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Friday, October 12, 2018

Tulsa, OK^^


Tulsa, OK^^

BOK Center


BOK Center

Sunday, October 14, 2018Dallas, TX^American Airlines Center
Monday, October 15, 2018Dallas, TX^American Airlines Center
Tuesday, October 23, 2018Los Angeles, CA*STAPLES Center
Wednesday, October 24, 2018Los Angeles, CA**STAPLES Center
Friday, October 26, 2018Los Angeles, CA^^STAPLES Center
Saturday, October 27, 2018


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Los Angeles, CA^


Honolulu, HI

Honolulu, HI%

Honolulu, HI%



Aloha Stadium

Aloha Stadium

Aloha Stadium


*Boyz II Men

^Charlie Wilson


^^Ella Mai

%The Green & Common Kings

About Live Nation Entertainment

Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Sponsorship. For additional information, visit


Emily Bender


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*When it comes to scholarship, merit and beauty little Black girls have taken it to a new level. This past weekend EURweb associate Rocky Harris got the chance to chat with judges, contestants and more at the 25th Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant.

On Aug. 12, folks came to the Nate Holden Theatre in Los Angeles to watch their daughters, nieces and sisters compete for the chance to take home first prize. According to, for the past 25 years, dozens of girls between the ages of 6-12 years of age have participated in this program. Hundreds of scholarships have been awarded, and lasting memories have been created for these young Academic and intellectual princesses.

While some of them come from strong supportive families, the majority of them come from under-served, single parent homes. The pageant provides an early introduction to the arts and training in public speaking, while promoting individual creativity and stimulating a heightened cultural understanding.

While there, one of the pagaent’s co-founders, Penny Johnson Jerald, discussed how the pageant came to be.

“Lisa (Ruffin) and I went to school together and she first told me about this and I thought I want to do a pageant. Why are we teaching girls about how to look good? They’re just beautiful. But then she explained to me that there was an educational program, and that it was under the umbrella of pageantry. So it’s not just beauty on the outside, it’s beauty on the inside and the beauty that you hold in your mind,” Jerald said.

The Little Miss African American Scholarship Pageant is a non-profit, educational program that caters to young girls 6-12 years old. This the event celebrates 25 years. And make sure you check out our exclusive red carpet coverage.


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*NASHVILLE, TN — The 2018 Black Music Honors recognized the legacy of Aretha Franklin during the award show taping on Thursday, August 16. Hosted by 2017 Marconi Award Winner Rickey Smiley and singer/actress LeToya Luckett, the annual two-hour television special honors artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music. This year’s honorees were Bobby Brown, Faith Evans, Bebe & Cece Winans, Whodini, Stephanie Mills and Dallas Austin.

The night included performances by Bell Biv Devoe, Next, Jade Novah, Kierra Sheard, Tasha Page-Lockhart, V. Bozeman, Demetria McKinney, DJ Mell Starr, Sammie, Donnie McClurkin, Sammie, Yo-Yo, Koryn Hawthorne, Rhyon Brown, Raheem DeVaughn, Regina Belle, Paris Bennett, Syleena Johnson, Angela Winbush, Jonathan McReynolds, Monie Love, Ruben Studdard and Doug E. Fresh. Additional VIP’s in attendance included Shiggy, Kyla Jade, Stevie J and more.

Proceeds from the 2018 Black Music Honors will benefit the 2019 opening of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) in Nashville. NMAAM’s mission is to educate the world, preserve the legacy, and celebrate the central role African Americans play in creating the American soundtrack. Event sponsors include AT&T, McDonald’s, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Chevrolet and State Farm as title sponsor.

The annual two-hour television special taping will broadcast in national syndication from Sept. 8-30, 2018 and will air on Bounce TV Sept. 28, 2018. Click here to see syndication airdates.

For more information on Black Music Honors visit Connect with Black Music Honors on social media @blackmusichonors, #BMH2018 and #BlackMusicMatters.

Black Music Honors is an annual two-hour event that acknowledges the legendary African American artists who have influenced and made significant musical contributions to African American culture and American music worldwide. Produced by Chicago-based production company Central City Productions (CCP) and hosted by Rickey Smiley, television and radio personality, and Grammy Award-winner and actress, LeToya Luckett. For more information visit

With 47 years of successful and innovative television production and marketing experience, Central City Productions (CCP) is a Chicago-based production company that focuses primarily on minority- targeted television. CCP is a full-service television production company that produces, syndicates, and manages advertising sales for all of its programs. CCP programs reflect the widespread diversity of talent, the one-time specials and the annual and/or weekly programs that have achieved tremendous mass audience appeal, including its flagship production of The Stellar Gospel Music Awards, and the Black Music Honors, which is now in it’s third year of production. For more information on CCP, check out

(Photo Credit: Earl Gibson III)

Jalila Larsuel
JL Media PR


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*On Saturday, August 18, The Miracle Theater on South Market Street in Inglewood was the site for a concert billed as, “An Evening of Jazz and Soul,” which featured Eloise Laws, Ronnie Laws and Tom Browne, with special guest Yakira Ketchens.  The theater was the perfect comfortable and intimate setting for the event co-promoted by Chuck Dennis, who I would like to thank for the hook-up.  Between him and Owen Smith, the owner, folks were well taken care of, especially in the VIP Section, which offered champagne and food.

Before the evening officially got started, there was non-stop Aretha Franklin music playing, in honor of the Queen of Soul.  A few people danced in the aisle.  It was an appropriate way to get the evening started, especially since first up was Los Angeles KJLH Radio personality Roland Bynum, the MC for the evening, who mentioned Aretha was part of his family and asked for a moment of silence.

Yakira Ketchens, who was the opening act, provided most of the vocals for the artists.   She has a nice voice and began her set doing a pretty fair job of Denise Williams’ “Free.”   She is also a percussionist and performed Sheila E’s, “Glamorous Life.”  In my best Randy Jackson (American Idol) voice, “It was just alright for me.”  She was not awful, just not on Sheila E’s level.

Wayne Linsey, keyboard player, drummer, Music Director and former Maze member, was very entertaining and an amazing keyboard player.  He performed a song called “Side Kicking.”  Not only does he have mad keyboard skills, which made him fun to listen to, he worked the stage like the pro he is, which was fun to watch.  He also played the drums, but it was obvious his specialty is the keyboard.

Eloise Laws came to the stage looking beautiful in a red pant outfit.  Although she began her set singing using a cheat sheet, which was very distracting, into her 70’s, she still has the voice I loved listening to decades ago.  She performed the Stylistics, “Love Come Easy,” which was okay.  I did not particularly care for the song “Love Factory,” but when she performed her hit, “You’re Incredible,” I was all ears.  She did not sing it just the way I would have liked, but it was a nice performance.

What can I say about Ronnie Laws that has not already been said a thousand times over the last forty years?  The man is BAD!  Every song he performed was top notch and perfectly done.  He did not miss a beat or a note.  Ronnie Laws, who plays both saxophone and flute, at one time had one in each hand, playing them simultaneously.  When he performed, “Friends and Strangers” the audience went wild.  “Every Generation,” a song written because of his maternal grandfather, a street corner, harmonica player, was also a hit with the audience.  Listening to Ronnie Laws never gets old and I’m already looking for another performance.

Before intermission, it was mentioned that Congresswoman Maxine Waters was in the audience; we sang happy birthday to her.  Although she left before the concert was completely over, she was present for most of it and appeared to be enjoying herself, even though her constituents bombarded her, which included a countless amount of picture taking.

Tom Browne was last up, after intermission and started by working his way through the audience, trumpet in hand, playing Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo” and it heated up from there.  When he performed “Thighs High,” he said not to put it on Facebook because his wife told him not to perform the song.  Well Tom, I did not mention it on Facebook.  LOL!  When Tom was ready to perform Mandela, in tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, the former African National Council Leader and President, there was technical difficulty with the drummer’s headset, which prompted someone in the audience to put the drummer on blast and tell him he will need to deliver; deliver he did.  Tom’s set was hot and included an exchange between him and Wayne Linsey (keyboard).  Of course his signature song, “Funkin for Jamaica” was the song of the set.  His performance did not disappoint.   I enjoyed him a lot.

Ronnie Laws’ son, Jaylen, also a saxophone player, was part of the band.  Although a decent performer, he is not as strong a saxophone player as his dad and interestingly enough, I noticed he did not play on most of the songs Ronnie performed.  He did play with Tom Browne, Eloise Laws and with vocalist Sharon Marie Kline, who had a very powerful voice.

The evening ended with the entire ensemble on stage for Ronnie Laws’ “Always There,” which was performed in tribute to Aretha Franklin, with Eloise saying, “Aretha you will always be there.”

With the exception of Ronnie Laws, Tom Browne and Wayne Linsey, all of the performances could have been better.  They were far from awful, but also far from some of the best I’ve ever heard, especially with the band overpowering the vocals on most of the songs.

Although the evening had a good crowd, it was not sold out.  I appreciate that there is a local neighborhood venue and hope people will patronize it.  There are a few kinks to work through, the parking for one; however, I believe things are right on track for this establishment.  You have a chance to check it out for yourself when the play, “Three Times a Lady” is performed there August 24-26.


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*Los Angeles, CA. — The Five Heartbeats fans nationwide will get a chance to crowd theatres once more on Monday, August 27 2018 for a one night only event for Robert Townsend’s Making of The Five Heartbeats!  In the early 90s, actor, comedian, writer and director, Robert Townsend, went against every obstacle in Hollywood, relying on his faith, street smarts, and tenacity to bring his passion project, 1991’s “The Five Heartbeats,” to big screens. 

The story of the rise and fall of an African American vocal group in the 1960s, the musical drama is the subject of Townsend’s new documentary, Making The Five Heartbeats. On Monday, August 27, 2018Fathom Events will present the theatrical release of Robert Townsend’s “Making The Five Heartbeats” documentary in nearly 500 select AMC movie theaters nationwide for one day only at 7 p.m. local time, through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN). For a complete list of theater locations, visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change). In addition to the documentary, attendees will view an exclusive welcome from Townsend.

Sell outs are expected.  Tickets for Making The Five Heartbeats can be purchased online at and participating theater box offices. 

Townsend’s documentary chronicles his inspiring journey to present a new image of black people in cinema. A love letter to the movie’s fans, as well as a master-class on filmmaking, Making The Five Heartbeats” is told through behind-the-scenes footage and personal stories with the five stars of the film (Townsend, Michael WrightHarry J LennixLeon RobinsonTico Wells), plus co-writer Keenen Ivory Wayans, and the film’s bad guy you love to hate, “Big Red” (Hawthorne James).

“For all those fans that have seen the movie more than once, for those that ask me when I’ll will revisit ‘The Five Heartbeats’ with a sequel, for those that love the R&B/soul groups that changed the musical landscape of America, and to all that want to dive deeper into this movie’s creation, this documentary is for you,” Townsend said. “I’m humbled by your ongoing love for ‘The Five Heartbeats’ and proud to be bringing you Making The Five Heartbeats.’” 

Additionally, Robert Townsend directed the 2nd episode of OWN TV’s new hit series “LOVE IS” created by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil. He was recently honored in Beverly Hills with the prestigious 2018 Icon Award from the Motion Picture Association of America and ICON Talks, and 2018 Marks the 25th Anniversary of Robert Townsend’s The Meteor Man which broke ground as the first ever black superhero movie.


Twitter: @Robert_Townsend,

Instagram: @IamRobertTownsend,



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*Atlanta – The Bronze Lens SuperStars Luncheon, an annual fete in Atlanta, is known for announcing firsts. Friday (08-24-18) was no exception when Connie Orlando, EVP Head of Programming at BET Networks promoted the rebranding of Centrix to BETher, the first 24/7 channel devoted to programming made for and by women of color. The announcement was fitting for the venue as the SuperStars Luncheon, a highlight of the Bronze Lens Film Festival, celebrates achievements of Black women in front of and behind the camera lens.

This was BET Networks first year as a sponsor of the Bronze Lens Film Festival signature luncheon event where three awards were presented. Tina Lifford, Aunt Vi on the hit series “Queen Sugar” airing on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, accepted the Visionary Superstar award to a standing ovation. Ms. Lifford’s work as a motivational speaker, gifted playwright, and killer scenes from “Queen Sugar” were showcased to the packed house.

Ayoka Chenzira, Ph.D., accepted the Catalyst SuperStar award for her pioneering work in independent cinema. Her work in interactive digital media production, in which she was the first Black woman to earn at Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology, mesmerized the room. Ms. Chenzira is now Chair of the Department of Art & Visual culture at Spelman College. To her delight, she noted that many of her former students had films entered in the festival.

Samantha Vincent rounded out this trio of visionary women as the recipient of the Vanguard SuperStar award. The producer of the eight films of the “Fast and Furious” franchise and younger sister of Vin Diesel, Ms. Vincent is the first woman of color whose book of films have grossed more than $5 billion. Ms. Vincent’s acceptance speech highlighted the fallacy purported by traditional Hollywood that black films do not sell in overseas markets and urged young filmmakers to forge ahead because outside of the United States “more people look like us than the people who run Hollywood.”

As BETher prepares for their rebranding kickoff in October, it can rest assured that there will be many more films coming from the sisters of the 9th Annual SuperStar Luncheon.


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*Los Angeles – the 12th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair returned to the intimate venue of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, Saturday, August 25, 2018.

“Voted One of LA’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals,” the 12th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair spotlighted southern roots and southern comfort as it highlighted the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to other parts of the Country, including the wild, wild, West.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Our Southern Roots.” the Liemert Park Village Book Fair’s tribute to the love of reading cleverly merges the worlds of literary, entertainment and southern culinary arts, offering an eclectic mix of literature, art, music and food.

Various pieces of vintage luggage was place throughout the venue as well as a classic car that greeted everyone entering into the main entrance of the Mall. The second level of the Mall featured a display of photographs in keeping with the topic of Migration. Cold refreshing beverages was served to quench everyone thirst on this beautiful, warm day in Southern California.

New York Times best selling author Eric Jerome Dickey was named the 2018 Distinguished Lecturer for the 12thAnnual Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Kristi Eddy, the reigning Mrs. California and children’s book author, was tapped as the book fair ambassador.

The Los Angeles chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Herman Jones Music Director, thrilled the audience in a tribute to the late great “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin. The Just Us Gospel Troupe raise their voices to the stratosphere to give Praises to God.

The California Librarian Black Caucus presented the Joyce Madkins Sumbi Emerging Leader Award to Ms. Pat Toney. The group surprised Mrs. Billie Frierson with Awards and Certificates of Recognition.

Marissa Wells had an engaging conversation with Mrs. California (Kristi Eddy). Kristi Eddy mentioned her earlier role as Miss Carson, that opened doors for advocacy for women’s health issues. As an Assistant Principle, she stated “everyday she instills in students that literacy is the key to becoming successful, literacy opens doors to further ones journey to success.” Kristi Eddy is a children’s book author, her latest book is “Beauty Is” in English and Spanish to help young girls, teens and young women realize that beauty can be found in oneself.

Poet/Spoken Word Artist Morgan Parker dropped some deep works to a captivated crowd. She recited several poems “Mrs. Black America,” “Their Grandmothers Never Did the Laundry,” “Afro’ about her experiences with TSA agents while traveling, and “13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl.”

Historian and Writer Alison Rose Jefferson gave a great eye opening power-point presentation entitled “The Great Black Migration 7 How it Changed California” across the spectrum. This portion of the program was moderated by Author, Political Analyst & Radio Host Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

New York Best Selling Author Eric Jerome Dickey had a fun engaging conversation with Michael Porter, LA Review of Books. Eric Jerome Dickey was presented with several Certificates of Recognition from the Office of Congresswomen Karen Bass, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson.

It was a special treat for me to hear readings of author Mildred Pitts Walker works and to hear words of wisdom from the 95 years young award winning children’s author.

Another engagement hastened my departure from the 12th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair. I was tempted to stay for dessert, pie was served! Along with other dessert delights from some of the most popular bakeries and eateries in town, including Shae Seward’s Cobblemania, the 27th Street Bakery, Southern Girls Desserts, Gwen’s Specialty Cakes and Marie Calender’s Restaurant & Bakery.

The 12th Annual Liemert Park Village Book Fair ended on a high note with an old-fashioned jam section with Long Beach blues guitarist Bernie Pearl and guest performances by the Franklin Bell’s Blues Workshop.

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Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. contact him via:


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*The Black Women’s Expo descended upon the city of Atlanta earlier this month, drawing thousands of people for it’s 24th annual event – part of a three-city tour that started in Chicago in April and culminated in Dallas on August 26. The event, which spanned over three days (Aug. 10-12), featured a wide array of uplifting and empowering educational sessions, lectures, panel discussions, corporate displays and entertainment.

This year’s theme was “She Matters,” and numerous celebrities and community leaders were in attendance, including Emmy Award winning actress Regina King (Seven Seconds, American Crime) who served as the keynote speaker,  Lamman Rucker (Greanleaf),  Angela Robinson (The Haves and the Have Nots), Dr. Heavenly Kines (Married to Medicine), Kim Fields and Cynthia Bailey (Housewives of Atlanta). R&B crooner Ginuwine serenaded the ladies during a concert to close out the weekend, performing nostalgic hits such as “Pony,” “Differences” and “In Those Jeans.”

There were numerous important discussions that took place, such as one on relationships and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition. In others, celebrities weighed in on how they aim to use their platforms to bring attention to critical issues facing African Americans.

“It is a really special thing when you have an opportunity for your artistry to meet your philanthropy,” said Regina King, referencing her role in Netflix’s Seven Seconds, which tackles racism and police brutality among other issues. “The things that go on in our community are stories that we can’t stop talking about. I feel very lucky that I get to be an artist that gets the opportunity to keep the conversation going.”

The Black Women’s Expo was started by founder Merry Green of MGPG events in 1994. Initially held in Chicago every year, Green has decided to expand the expo to Atlanta and Dallas.  As one of the nation’s premier events catering to African American women and their families, the Black Women’s Expo will celebrate a quarter century of empowering its community in 2019. For more information, check out And of course, see the video above for an inside look into the expo weekend in Atlanta!


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*A good movie usually remains with you days after you’ve left the theater and although KIN the movie doesn’t hit theaters until August 31, producers of the project are gearing up for the film in a major way. KIN is the story of “an unexpected hero” destined for greatness.

Chased by a vengeful criminal, the feds and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con and his adopted teenage brother are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.

KIN stars James Franco, Jack Reynor and Miles Truitt. To celebrate the film’s release, the studio invited EUR out for a fun game of laser tag with some of the most influential people on the gram.

We met up at UltraZone in Sherman Oaks where we were prepped on our mission for the day. Some of our favorite online personalities like Khadi, Dyvon, Arriana Jonae and E Breezy along with actress Aadyn Encalarde were in attendance to fight for their group’s championship on the battlefield. When I tell you these personalities are the best to play laser tag with, please, believe me.

For the first round we split up into three groups and dressed in our digitally receptive armor before heading in to the laser pit. For 30 minutes, we screamed, we laughed, we hid, we competed and we tried our best to get to glory. Of course, you may think you’re racking up points but it’s not until the final scoreboard reveals the standings that you know if you’re a pro or someone who needs to step their game up. Khadi and her team took home the bragging rights of being the laser tag champion team.

We were guaranteed that the movie will be just as exciting and fast paced as our laser tag experience and it was also a thrilling euphoria of pleasure and revenge. We may not know much about KIN the movie at this point because we didn’t screen it before our lazer adventure, but I have a strong feeling we will all be talking about it very soon.


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*Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul’s home going service can best be described as a combination of a revival, political rally, motivational talk, musical tributes, roast and of course worship. Presenters from the world of entertainment, sports, politics, business, and just friends came together on one stage to celebrate not only Franklin’s musical talents but her activism and the many lives she touched.

Franklin died Aug. 16 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76.

The service held at Greater Grace Temple was presided over by Bishop Charles H. Ellis, 111 who is also a long time family friend. Lining the street to the Church on Seven Mile road was a sea of over 100 Pink Cadillacs. Ellis and his wife Crisette Ellis thought up the idea. The cars arrived post arrival of Franklin, but as the funeral procession left for the cemetery they were four deep. Cristine Ellis is national sales for Mary Kay Cosmetic. So she didn’t have to go far to find owners of Pink Cadillacs. The company uses pink colored Cadillacs as a sales incentive for reaching what it calls “Grand Achiever” level of sales.

They came from across the nation suited in their signature outfits. They even had a special section in the Church. But there was some vintage Cadillacs on display. Bringing your car meant you would get entrance into the funeral.

The day kicked-off with the fourth and final viewing of the week which was held between 8:30-9:30AM – Two days of public at The Charles H. Wright Museum on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by another public viewing on Thursday at New Bethel Church. The Queen had clothing change for each of these viewing. For this final viewing she wore a gold lame dress and her gold Christian Louboutine Shoes – the red soles. Ever a signature of a Diva. Everything from the arrangement of the flowers that surround the 24 karat gold plated casket, which was similar to the one of Michael Jackson and James Brown, to the arrangements of the pastel colored roses that surround the casket was flawless.

In the foyer of the church attendees had the chance to see to floral arrangements sent by stars from around the World. The Miracles and The Four Tops arrangement was very dramatic, Mariah Carey’s White Roses formed into a cross was much photographed. Rod Steward, Elton John, Barbara Streisand, and Jimmy Fallon are just a few of the major stars from around the world who sent flowers. Oddly enough the arrangement sent on behalf of Diana Ross was more suitable as a tabletop. Franklin’s casket was surrounded by pastel roses and a Bleeding Heart from her grandchildren.

The program was to scheduled to start at 10AM but the family procession didn’t get going until 11:30AM. I clocked out the recessional at 7:15PM. The expression time flies when you are having fun or in this case inspired, uplifted and entertained.

The family and friends procession officially kicked off the service. Also leading the processional were funeral directors from around the country. This was a special touch organized by the Swanson Funeral Home. The program organized by the Franklin Family will be remembered as historic and talked about as the standard for a celebrity funeral. Gwen Quinn was the publicist for the family and knew how to draw media from around the globe.


Bishop T.D. Jakes (Potter’s House) was one of several pastors from across the country who knew Aretha Franklin or her Father C.L. Franklin. He read passages from the Bible. Jakes was one of the few members of the clergy that stuck to his allotted time. His eloquent reading from the Old Testament set the tone for what was ahead. He said, “She was classy enough to sing on the most prominent stages in the world, but she was home girl enough to make potato salad and fry some chicken. In a class all by herself.”

Faith Hill whose rendition of “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” was panned by some, but one singer who also performed said the sound system may have been off.

Local, state and national politicians told stories of how Franklin, a Detroit native, was a national treasure. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that he will send a bill to city council to rename Chene Park, which he said was one of her favorite places in the world, to be renamed Aretha Franklin Park. It seems Council President Brenda Jones also had the same idea and was introducing a resolution also changing the name permanently. She also announced that a portion of a city street is going to be renamed Aretha Franklin Way.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) talked about how she received a surprise phone call from Franklin after becoming mayor of Southfield, Mich. This was Franklin’s style. Franklin wanted Lawrence to attend an upcoming event so she picked up the phone and called her. Lawrence was in shock and responded, “No, excuse me, ma’am, you mean Aretha Franklin, like the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin?” She said Franklin was very supportive of women politicians. Lawrence is part of a group of lawmakers, including Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who introduced legislation to award Franklin posthumously with a Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest civilian honors.

Also attending the event was Sheila Jackson Lee and Maxine Waters who got numerous applause.

The cast of Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and The Have Nots got a standing ovation just for walking into the sanctuary. Perry said the show was Franklin’s favorite. The cast attended The People’s Tribute to the Queen the previous night and had fans going selfie crazy. They had front row seats at the funeral. Perry was also one of the speakers.

Ariana Grande had the twitter world working overtimes because of her attire. But one woman said “she was dressed like most young women of her generation.” She had her fiancé Pete Davidson in tow. It was reported that her old flame Big Sean was also in the house. She performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” After her musical tribute, Bishop Ellis embraced her and remarked that he thought an Ariana Grande was a new item on the Taco Bell menu. Her fans didn’t see the joke. He also had to issue and apology for this and in an interview with The Associated Press at the cemetery where Franklin was interred late Friday about touching her.

“It would never be my intention to touch any woman’s breast. … I don’t know I guess I put my arm around her,” Ellis said. “Maybe I crossed the border, maybe I was too friendly or familiar but again, I apologize.”

He said he hugged all the performers during Friday’s eight-hour service.

“I hugged all the female artists and the male artists,” Ellis said. “Everybody that was up, I shook their hands and hugged them. That’s what we are all about in the church. We are all about love.”

The Clark Sisters from Detroit brought the program back to its gospel roots. Their rich harmonies on the song “Is My Living In Vain” had the church on their feet.

Vanessa Bell Armstrong and the Williams Brothers, another Detroit group, gave the audience old school gospel.

Aretha Franklin’s grandchildren and nieces, Vaughn, Victorie, Jordan and Cristal Franklin was a reminder to all that she was not just an entertainer, but a mother, sister, grandmother and aunt. While she had a very public musical life, her personal life was off limits. The next generation of the Franklins talked about what it meant to have Franklin as a Grandmother and aunt. In the words of Victorie, “she was just my grandma.”

Former president, George W. Bush who honored Aretha with a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, sent a letter on behalf of himself and his wife that was read during the acknowledgments and condolences.

Going off the printed program schedule, Smokey Robinson looked GQ handsome and 30 years younger. He didn’t perform, but crooned a few bars from a song he wrote for another production. Robinson said in one of their last conversations, Franklin told him about the movie that’s in development about her life and asked who he thought should play him. He didn’t reveakl what he may have told Aretha, however, Robinson said: “I know you’re up there and you’re celebrating with your family, and all our neighborhood friends who have gone, and you’re going to be one of the featured voices in the choir of angels, because you’d have to be.”

A operatic presentation by Alice Mcallister Tillman singing “Ave Maria” was a reminder that Queen of Soul could sing any kind of music. Over and over through the program speaker mention her versatility and the fact that she was in a league of her own.

Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General talked about how he first met Aretha – like many – she just called him on the phone. This was her style to call public figures to complement them on their accomplishment. Many becoming lifelong friends. To cap his presentation he choose Aretha Franklin’s “Until You Come Back To Me (That What I’m Gonna do).”

Franklin’s son Edward Franklin who sometime performed with her was another family member who made a presentation. His vocal choice was Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me.”

Pastor Shirley Caesar in a silver lame evening gown dazzled the audience and had them dancing on the stage, in the pews and aisle. It was old school revival. She performed with Tasha Cobbs-Leonard. She even had Minister Louis Farrakhan who was seated on the podium swaying to praises. He stayed for the entire program on stage but did not make presentation.

Celebrity Judge – who is a real retired Judge – Greg Mathis told the audience of how his relationship with the Queen of Soul started with his political activism working with Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Reverend Al Sharpton read a letter on behalf of the former President Barrack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. He also talked about Franklin’s generosity to his organization. He said she once sent him a check to help his organization. He called to thank her and told Franklin that he had framed the check. Franklin replied: “don’t you have a photo copy machine because you need to cash that check.” Sharpton mentioned how he misspelled “respect” while discussing Franklin on his TV show. Fans called him out about this error. He said that he needed to “correct President Trump and teach him what it means. “Trump said, ‘She used to work for me,’” Sharpton explained. “No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.”

Chaka Khan who flew in Oprah Winfrey’s former hair and makeup artist Reggie Wells brought the house down with the gospel song “How I Got over.” In a slinky black sheath with a large taffeta duster she looked stunning with a fan for special effects. She gave the audience all the drama of a seasoned Diva. She came back for an encore. The only performer on the program to do so.

Ron Isley remarked he should have brought his brothers and the band His musical tribute was his “Eye Is On The Sparrow.” He grew up with Franklin and you could hear the sorrow in his voice.

Rev Jesse Jackson, founder/president of Rainbow Push Coalition was one of many from the clergy who used their tribute as a call to action to get people to vote. He said that we stand in line for a viewing but can’t stand in line to vote. Former President Bill Clinton along with his wife Hillary Clinton had the audience in stitches with his rememberance of the Queen of Soul.

“I was so happy when I got here and the casket was still open, I got to think: ‘I wonder what my friend has on today’.”

He added “You could say that Hillary and I went to college and law school with Aretha,” Clinton said at the time, “because there was scarcely a day when we didn’t listen to one of her songs.”

Clinton ended his remarks by holding his cellphone, playing Franklin’s “Think” up to the microphone.

The two “American Idol” alumni were both looking slim and trim held their own in the musical tributes. Fantasia Barrino-Taylor looked stunning in a black Sheath with a bolero jacket topped off with a fascinator hat. She sang “You’ve Got A Friend.” Jennifer Hudson also looking slim and wore a peplum jacket over a pencil slim skirt. She also sported a fascinator. Her musical tribute was “Amazing Grace.” Both performed in the latter part of the day but brought it on strong.

Cicely Tyson’s hat was a speech in itself. The 91-year-old actress read a version of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “When Malindy Sings,” subbing Aretha for Malindy. She still got it.

Clive Davis, Chief Creative Officer, Sony Music talked about his 30 year musical relationship with Franklin. He also shined a light on her activism quoting her as saying “I have the money. I get it from black people and I want to use it in ways that will always help our people.’ He is planning a tribute this fall to Franklin.

Bishop Paul Morton and Yolanda Adams took the traditioaln spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep” to a whole new level for me and had the stage stomping like a drill team in high gear. Adams says she is working on a new album.

Former NBA player and NBA broadcaster Isiah Thomas (Detroit Pistons) says he became friends with Franklin when he played in Detroit. He also reflected on how he was introduced to Franklin’s music by his mother. He said that depending on what song his mother was playing told him what was going on with his mother and father’s relationship.

Tyler Perry shared the same scenario about how Franklin music was the music of his youth.

Michael Eric Dyson, professor of sociology, Georgetown University came to the podium fired up and said The Queen Of Soul is the Queen of Our Soul, He summed up the event as the most spiritual expression of Blackness.

Gladys Knight another singer who has slimmed down sung “You’ll never Walk Alone.” She was one of the few who didn’t use the Aretha Franklin Choir or Orchestra to back-up her singing.

The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., a pastor from Atlanta’s Salem Baptist Church delivered the eulogy and talked about Aretha Franklin’s activism being an issue with her father. Franklin paid to get Angela Davis out of Jail. He said Aretha told her Father that Davis was a woman and didn’t need to be in jail.

But Williams who is known as a pastor’s pastor devoted a lot of time talking about black parenting and “black on black” crime.

Stevie Wonder stood playing a harmonica solo. While his address was about praising Franklin’s music uplifting people, he also commented on Williams’ statement regarding Black Lives Matter. He said that Black lives do matter and he is committed to making this world a better place.

“We can talk about all the things that are wrong, and there are many,” Wonder said. “But the only thing that can deliver us is love.”

His musical tribute was “As” from his 1976 album “Songs in the Key of Life.” They many not have been gospel music but the church rocked. His back ups … Jenifer Lewis, Dottie Peoples and Angie Stone learned that afternoon they would accompany Stevie.

Jennifer Holliday in a bright purple suite with rhinestones’ with the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir closed out the ceremony with a performance of “Climbing Higher Mountains.”

This service will be talked about years later and the event of the century.


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*Los Angeles –  the 2nd Annual BAY IN LA kicked off WOKE UP, a celebrity backed voter registration drive.

This awesome, relevant, timely event was superbly produced by Andre Farr, International (AFI) and sponsored by Carnival Corporation PLC, the worlds largest travel company.

The event took place at Macy’s Bridge inside the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, Saturday, September 1st, from 1:00pm-4:00pm. Capri Investment Group, the developer and manager of BHCP, opened its doors for this significant effort.

Popular DJ EQUE held it down on the ones and twos, spinning energetic, classic R&B and soul tunes, in conjunction with the energy of the venue.

Andre Farr got the program underway with welcome remarks and extended an invite for the VIP’s to come forward to register to vote. A powerful group of celebrities were in attendance to register voters. Anthony Hemingway, (Film Director- Red Tails, Underground, American Crime Story), LisaRaye, (Actress-Ballers), Adriane Hopper Williams, (Emmy Award Winning Television Producer), Terry Crews, (Actor, Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Olga Aguilar, (Actress), Edwins Hodge, (Actor), Aldis Hodge, (Actor, Hidden Figures), and Mitch Richmond, (NBA Hall of Fame).

The movement is picking up momentum, proof of the large turnout on this the first day of September. Rosario Cruz was the youngest person to step forward to register to vote. Guest and voters were engaged with a popular Photo booth with various props.

BlackSports Agents Association CEO & Chairman Andre Farr initiated the WOKE UP campaign to increase civic engagement and voter registration for all Americans, regardless of affiliation, gender, race or socioeconomic status.

“With WOKE UP, we hope to reach out to American’s who feel powerless. It helps them to truly understand that voting is power. Civic action is far more influential than simply complaining. A diverse democracy will provide a better indication of the true wants and needs of all Americans to our leaders,” Farr explains.

“Voting is at the core of citizenship. At Capri, we seek to uplift and improve every community we invest in, and think there is no better way to accomplish this than by getting community residents involved in the electoral process. We believe this is the first and most fundamental building block towards revitalizing areas that have been disenfranchised and compromised through under investment,” Capri CEO & Chairman Quintin Primo said in a written statement.

The celebrities who attended BAY IN LA, an annual event centured on purpose-related civic engagement for Los Angeles and Bay-area influencers, and IntraLink Global, a digital and branding agency focused on purpose-driven brands, also partnered with AFI on WOKE UP.

The 2nd Annual BAY IN LA Day Party timing couldn’t have been better, as we as a Nation get ready for this pivotal time for the upcoming Midterm elections.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via:


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*This Sunday, June 24, Broadway star Chester Gregory (“Hairspray,” “Tarzan,” and “Dreamgirls”) will bring the legendary singer Jackie Wilson to life on the stage at the popular nightclub The Sorting Room. The event is part of the Summer Sessions at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

In the 1950s, ’60s and early 70s, Wilson topped the music charts with the hits “To Be Loved,” “Lonely Teardrops” “Night,” “Baby Workout,” and “Higher and Higher.” “Mr. Excitement’s” brand of heartfelt lyrics sung with untold emotion earned him audiences from around the world.

Gregory has performed and produced the traveling “The Eve of Jackie: A Tribute to Jackie Wilson” since 2013 and knows the audience will appreciate what he is throwing down.

“It’s an intimate look at the final days of Jackie Wilson’s career,” Gregory told the EUR in a recent phone interview. “The show actually takes place in September of 1975 at the tail end of his comeback tour. It’s based off real events even though the night (of my show) is fictional.”

What is true is that Wilson collapsed onstage (conflicting reports cite a heart attack or stroke) on September 29, 1975 while performing at a nightclub in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He went into a coma and never recovered. Eight years later, on January 21, 1984, Wilson died at the age of 49. With his show, Gregory wanted to reimagine what could have happened before the night Wilson collapsed onstage.

“What sort of gave me the idea a while back when performing was a woman came up to me and said, ‘Don’t go to Cherry Hill,” Gregory recounted. “That was kind of eerie and stayed with me for years. If someone had warned him not to do that final concert, maybe things would have gone differently. So, that gave me the idea to say let’s go back to the night before he died and see how he is in that point in his career.”

Gregory added that, “Jackie Wilson deserves just as much recognition as Elvis Presley. Elvis stole a lot of elements from Jackie. A lot of people don’t know how his legacy still doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.”

The Gary, Indiana native kicked off playing Jackie Wilson shortly after graduating from college. He nabbed the lead role in the Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theatre production about the legendary singer. After a great reception, he was on his way to sold out shows and rave reviews. One of his most exciting performances was in 2003 when he rocked Wilson at a hometown event for another Gary native – Michael Jackson. Gregory knew right away, what he would not perform.

“I didn’t want to perform a Michael Jackson song for Michael Jackson,” said Gregory. “So, I just sang ‘Lonely Teardrops.’ I said, ‘Just like how Jackie inspired you, you inspired me.’ He loved it and gave me a standing ovation.”

Also playing at The Sorting Room this weekend, (Friday, June 22nd), is singer/songwriter Kandace Lindsey, known for haunting vocals coupled with the soul of Latin rhythms. Here is what audiences can expect from her.

“They can expect an exciting show of eclectic music,“ said Lindsey also in an EUR phone interview. “I call it world Brazilian soul because most of my band is Brazilian. Also, I sing in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. They can expect to dance. It’s feel good music.”

Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Lindsey listened to the likes of Aretha Franklin and Al Green at home. With the absence of black artists on the radio, she gravitated toward Mexican and Cuban music. Her appreciation for different types of music led her to tour with Marc Anthony (1999-2008) and his then wife Jennifer Lopez (2004-2008). Working on both shows offered up two very different experiences for Lindsey.

“For Marc’s show, it’s based solely on the music,” Lindsey said. “There are more musicians. Huge percussion and horn sections. I was singing and dancing with him. It was more focused on the band. With Jennifer, the focus is on her and she has separate dancers and a separate band. She had videos and pyrotechnics. They were two very different shows.”

Touring all over the world with two powerhouse artists for Lindsey, “Was a huge commitment. You work with amazing artists, musicians from all over – Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. I got do what I loved to do.”

Recording over a decade, Lindsey has three albums along with a compilation release under her belt. In 2016, her single, “When I Open My Eyes” found its way on the finale of the popular television series “Pretty Little Liars.” Lindsey, who is working on a new album, continues to write music for television and will be featured on the upcoming Netflix cartoon “Motown Magic.”

To recap, Kandace Lindsey will play at The Sorting Room on Friday, June 22. Chester Gregory as Jackie Wilson will play there on Sunday, June 24. Additionally, Kosine will be in the house on Wednesday, July 18th. The multi-platinum producer/songwriter, who is half of the LA-based production duo Da Internz, will introduce emerging songwriters at the ASCAP Urban Department presentation of “A Songwriters Showcase.”

For more information on The Sorting Room at the Wallis, go here. Click on the names to access more information on Kandace LindseyChester Gregory, and Kosine.

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*VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop” star Safaree Samuels is set to make several special appearances at the BET Experience 2018. Safaree will co-host the BET Experience at L.A. Live on June 21 along with Amara La Negra. He will return to  BETX to host and perform live on June 22 at Microsoft Square Live.

Safaree will participate in the launch of the first annual BET Celebrity Dodgeball Game taking place on June 22, 2018. The game will kick off at 8:30 pm PST.  Play by play announcers will include Christian Crosby, Gia Peppers and DJ Brittany Sky. Safaree will be playing with Nick Cannon along with other cast members from “Love & Hip Hop” New York, Atlanta, Hollywood and Miami including Keyshia Cole, Ray J., Stevie J., Yung Joc, K. Michelle, Erica Mena, Nikki Mudarris, Amara La Negra, Lil Fizz, Rasheeda, Momma Dee, and Karlie Redd to name a few.

In addition, Safaree will participate in the BET Celebrity Basketball Game taking place on June 23, 2018. On Sunday, June 24, Safaree will appear live as Celebrity Host of the 2018 BET Awards Twitter Red Carpet.


Safaree Samuels is an American rapper, songwriter and television star. As a hit songwriter, he co-wrote “Did It On ‘Em” for Nicki Minaj’ hit studio release, “Pink Friday.” As a television star, he is best known for his roles on VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood,” “Love & Hip Hop:New York,” “Scared Famous,” “Wild N’ Out,”  along with “K Michelle: My Life.”

A New York native of Jamaican descent, Safaree was recently honored with a Blue and Bougie Impact Award earlier in 2018. By popular demand, Safaree will appear at the BET Experience 2018 and BET Awards 2018 red carpet.

For more information on Safaree’s upcoming BET 2018 appearances, please click HERE.

Belinda Foster
AWJ Platinum PR

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*This month, Women In Film, Los Angeles (WIF) celebrated outstanding females in the entertainment industry with the 2018 Crystal + Lucy Awards at The Beverly Hilton.

The evening, themed “Ignited,” raised funds and awareness for the organizations numerous educational and philanthropic programs, and its advocacy for gender parity for women throughout the industry.

ABC Entertainment President, Channing Dungey, was presented with The Lucy Award for Excellence in Television.

“We can’t be afraid to standup, to speak up, to rise up,” Dungey shared during her acceptance speech. “When we see things around us that counter our values and beliefs, our actions must match our words. It’s not always easy to do.”

Event Highlights:
• Sister duo Chloe x Halle presented the WIF Artistic Excellence Award to music producers NOVA Wav (Denisia “Blu June” Andrews And Brittany “Chi” Coney) and performed “Warrior” from the soundtrack for “A Wrinkle in Time.” Jason Derulo, DJ Khaled and Ryan Press sent a congratulatory video messages for NOVA Wav
• “Black Panther” actor Isaach de Bankolé presented the Lexus Beacon Award to Victoria Alonso, Marvel Studios EVP of Physical Production, who accepted the award on behalf of the “Women of Black Panther” in front of and behind the camera.
• Each of the honorees and presenters took home a gift bag with an assortment of Lancôme skincare products and cosmetics

Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries — to achieve parity and transform culture. Founded in 1973, Women In Film supports all women working in film, TV, and digital media from emerging to advanced career. Our distinguished programs include: mentoring, speaker & screening series, production training program, writing labs, film finishing funds, legal aid and an annual financing intensive. We advocate for gender parity through research, media campaigns and ReFrame, a collaboration with Sundance Institute.

Membership is open to all media professionals, more information can be found at

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*The next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe touched down in Hollywood at the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. The film stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, and  T.I.

“Ant-Man and The Wasp,” begins a new chapter featuring heroes with the ability to shrink their size. In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang struggles with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. While he works to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.

EURweb’s Jill Munroe was on the red carpet talking to some of the stars of the Marvel Cinematic Universe including Simone Missick and Gabrielle Dennis about her exciting year working on two huge projects, the Netflix Marvel series, “Luke Cage” and playing Whitney Houston in BET’s upcoming “Bobby” two-night mini series. In ‘Luke Cage,’ Dennis’ character Tilda is a holistic doctor who is estranged from her mother Mariah (Alfre Woodard,) who comes with a lot of darkness and drama that is central to the plot for season 2.

Actor Miles Mussenden who stars as ‘Otis Johnson,’ father of Tyrone on FreeForm’s “Cloak and Dagger.” The Marvel affiliate show is set in New Orleans with racial overtones clouding the relationship about two teens, Tandy Bowen / Dagger and Tyrone Johnson / Cloak – one white and one black – who acquire superpowers and form a romantic relationship.

“Ant-Man and The Wasp” is directed by Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, Walton Goggins, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Tip “T.I.” Harris, David Dastmalchian, Hannah John-Kamen, Abby Ryder Fortson, Randall Park, with Michelle Pfeiffer, with Laurence Fishburne, and Michael Douglas.

“ANT-MAN AND THE WASP” opens in U.S. theaters on JULY 6.

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