May 30, 2013

By KENNETH D. MILLER

Entertainment Editor

 

It’s been almost 50 years since the late Ted Watkins put the city of Watts on the map developing it as a treasured African American culture base that today is known throughout the world.

It’s his son Tim Watkins, who is carrying the might of his legacy as President and CEO of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, but ultimately rising pop diva Mali Nicole might be brightest star in the family tree. Nicole is the great grand- daughter of Ted Watkins and is Tim Watkins granddaughter.

The tiny city of Watts is no stranger to celebrities in both music and sports.

Tyrese Gibson catapulted to fame after performing a soda pop jingle and is now a star in both music and film.

The late ‘At Last’ vocalist Etta James resided in Watts, Olympic gold medalist and world record holder the late Florence Griffith-Joyner grew up there, and rapper Jay Rock who fought to make a name for himself is from Watts.

However, none of them symbolizes what teen sensation Mali Nicole does.

In a new age of social media and transforming generations, Nicole is a teenage rising pop and R&B singer approaching who at 16 has captured the imagination of the entertainment industry with a voice that’s a cross between Whitney Houston and Beyoncé.

With glowing light hazel eyes, a caramel skin coat that melts your heart and shoulder length blonde hair as the flavor of the day, Nicole appears to be on her way.

She has embraced her family heritage, but is bold and gifted enough to be singularly focused on following her own unique path to success.

“I know that my great grand father was a famous developer in Watts who did many wonderful things,” said Nicole in her soft voice.

Tim influenced Nicole and his other grandchildren to follow their dreams, while he continues to be the caretaker of his father’s.

For Nicole, the daughter of Tim’s son Robert, it was music and entertainment.

“I just love music. It’s something that I want to do all the time,” she told the Sentinel.

Her singing career when she joined her other siblings as part of a group.

Their act Statik Express led them to an audition and a nice run on the talent reality show X-Factor where they rocketed to top 30 list of performers, but Mali Nicole really stood out.

During an impromptu interview for the show, the group was ask to sing the national anthem and while all sang admirably, it was Nicole’s voice which dominated the song.

Many management companies took notice, but their ears really perked up when Nicole sold 30,000 CDs out of the family garage.

The red hot smash hit ‘Krush’ elevated her to a new stratosphere and then another subsequent video ‘A Thousand Years’, a joint dedicated to her parents on their wedding anniversary lit up on the Internet, and  ’Sweet 16’ a single about her 16th birthday put icing on the cake.

Booming managing firm Stampede Management rushed to sign her to a roster that includes the likes of Snoop, DJ Quik, Mystikal and YG among others, banking that Mali Nicole is a star.

Now, Stampede Management may have their new franchise player.

After trying her hand at acting at the age of seven, tagging along with her father to acting classes, Mali Nicole transformed into someone special when they put microphone in her hand at the age of 10.

Having performed on numerous mix tapes with super stars such as Chris Brown, Omarion and Justin Beiber, Nicole still distinguished herself with a voice that is effortless and powerful, signing each note with her teenage signature.

Nicole credits her parents as her greatest inspiration, but also admires the stage presence of Beyoncé and sites influence of  ‘Pop King’ Michael Jackson as to why she works day in and out on her craft.

“I know there is no substitute for hard work and I know that Beyoncé works harder and most people in this business which is why she’s so successful. I want to be like that,” Nicole said.

Nicole has the support of her family and hometown and is already prepping for her first CD expected to come out later this year.

"I have been singing all my life and I can't stop. Its something I have always wanted to do and I'm ready to do big things."

In years to come, she visions herself with a Grammy and touring the world.

Obviously she will carry the family heritage with her every step of the way, but this diva is a developer of a serenading music aimed at enticing a ‘Krush’.

Follow Mali Nicole on twitter and Facebook at malinicolemusic.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

May 23, 2013

Sentinel News Service 

 

The kudos just keeps on coming for the Pan African Film Festival. After a month-long business trip to Africa visiting an international film festival and several film events, Ayuko Babu, executive director of PAFF along with director of programming, Asantewa Olatunji, returned to Los Angeles with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). AMAA, considered the African Oscars, held its ninth award ceremony on April 20, 2013 in Yenagoa, Nigeria, the Bayelsa state capital, honoring top films and performances from Africa and its Diaspora.

PAFF, America's largest and most prestigious international Black film festival, wrapped its 21st anniversary with the documentary, “Free Angela and All Political Prisoners,” directed by Shola Lynch  at the Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills 15 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. In February, the festival screened a total of 154 films, representing 34 countries -- that is, 23 documentaries, 13 short documentaries, 67 narrative features, and 51 narrative shorts.

“It’s very humbling to receive such a prestigious honor from the African Movie Academy,” said Babu. “It’s thrilling for the work of the Pan African Film Festival to be recognized on this level by the international film community. It’s also a testament to the contribution and global impact this film festival has made in bringing stories from around the world to American audiences.”

While in Africa, Babu and Olatunji were special guests of the Pan African Festival of Cinema and Television (FESPACO) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso as well as the nomination committee meetings for AMAA in Lilongwe, Malawi. The two also attended the official press launch for the Accra International Film Festival held near the Du Bois Centre in Accra, Ghanna. 

Earlier this year, PAFF also received the first ever Special Achievement Award in the Film Festival Category by African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), recognizing its contribution to cinematic arts.

The Pan African Film & Arts Festival is an official event of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa's Celebration of African American Heritage Month. PAFF is sponsored by Union Bank; Macy's; Wells Fargo Bank; General Motors; Sony Pictures, CareMore; Water Replenishment District of Southern California; South African Airways; the National Film and Video Foundation; One Village; Addco Party Rentals; TestFlick; O.N.E. Coconut Water; Dama Tequila and Mascarade Liqueur; the Department of Cultural Affairs, the City of Los Angeles; the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; as well as Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (Second District) and Los Angeles City Council members Bernard C. Parks (District 8), Jan Perry (District 9), and council president Herb J. Wesson Jr. (District 10).

Wrapping up its 21st anniversary, the Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), is America's largest and most prestigious Black film festival. Each year, it screens more than 150 films made by and/or about people of African descent from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific, Latin America, Europe and Canada. PAFF holds the distinction of being the largest Black History Month event in the country.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

May 23, 2013

LAWT News Service

 

His legacy has been marred with misconceptions of the life he truly lived and the family he dearly loved. He constantly walked a tightrope between being who the world expected him to be and who he felt God called him to be. He secretly suffered in silence from the scars that women in his life had inflicted on him and longed for the true love they never supplied.  He also inwardly battled to stay true to who he was as a person, safeguard his place in musical history and not succumb to an industry and music label that fought to turn him and his world upside down. He was Marvin Pentz Gaye and now a theatrical drama that focuses on the man behind the music reemerges on stages across the country — My Brother Marvin.

My Brother Marvin is a gripping, riveting and dramatic account of the life of the man who transformed and revolutionized the landscape of soul music — Marvin Gaye.  Everything his label and lovers didn't want you to know, stories swept under the rug about him and his family and secrets once thought to be buried with him and his mother surface and are now revealed in  My Brother Marvin. It delves into the story that framed the life and engineered the tragic death of iconic soul legend Marvin Gaye. The play specifically focuses on Marvin’s relationship with his mother, father and siblings. The story is inspired by and told from the vantage point of Marvin’s sister Zeola “Sweetsie” Gaye. “My Brother Marvin” achieves what other offerings have previously failed to do — give the uncut, unadulterated, untainted truth about Marvin Gaye. The show also features original music inspired by Marvin Gaye and the musical era he influenced.

“Through the years, I became taken aback and disappointed with everything that had been written, said and published about my family, especially my brother Marvin that wasn’t accurate,” said Zeola Gaye. “In the play, I simply wanted to set the record straight. I wanted to leave a true account about Marvin the man and our family. People need to know what really happened and Marvin would want his fans to really know what happened. We are finally bringing the truth the world needs and must know .”

My Brother Marvin the stage play was conceived by Zeola Gaye. It is directed by acclaimed actor Clifton Powell (“Next Friday,” “Ray,” “Dead Presidents”) who also stars as Marvin Gaye’s father in the show and is being produced by Detroit Touring Group. “My Brother Marvin” is written and adapted for the stage by heralded urban theatre playwright — Angela Barrow-Dunlap. Undoubtedly, Barrow-Dunlap is the premiere and most acclaimed writer, director, producer in the urban theatre circuit to date. “My Brother Marvin” is just one of many hit shows she’s been at the helm of creatively. Her other works have included “Real Men Pray,” “I Won’t Be The Other Woman,” “Why Do Good Girls Like Bad Boyz?”, “If These Hips Could Talk,” “Gossip,” “Lies & Secrets,” “My Sweet Potato Pie” and “Church Girl.” Not only has Barrow-Dunlap launched and successfully toured hit shows, but she’s also cast some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters and most loved African-American actors  in her shows including legendary actors Billy Dee Williams and the late Sherman Hemsley of “The Jeffersons” fame, actresses Robin Givens, LisaRaye and Tichina Arnold, actor Boris Kodjoe and singers Charlie Wilson of The Gap Band, Angie Stone and Ginuwine just to name a few.

:My Brother Marvin: stars Grammy nominated R&B singer, actor and radio host Keith Washington (:Kissing You: and :Make Time for Love:), who plays Marvin Gaye in his latter years. Also bringing Marvin Gaye to life during his early years is veteran urban theatre actor and singer Tony Grant and child protégé Havier Hill-Roller who plays Marvin Gaye as a child. Also starring in the show is Emmy Award winning actress Lynn Whitfield (“Josephine Baker Story,” “Eve’s Bayou,” “Head of State,” “Madea’s Family Reunion”) who plays Marvin’s mother, Alberta and Image Award winning actor Clifton Powell who plays Marvin Gaye, Sr.

“My Brother Marvin” made its’ off Broadway theatrical premiere in Detroit, Michigan in 2006 during the Christmas Holiday. It received rave reviews and would go on to play a limited engagement tour in theatres in  Philly, Chicago, Oak­land, Memphis, Oklahoma, Kansas City and Little Rock. During the 2006-2007 season, the play’s storyline was told from the sole perspective of Zeola Gaye and her book. Recently, Zeola discovered the private memoirs of their mother and letters of their father, adding some very integral elements and scenes to the original storyline presented in the play. It was believed that Marvin’s mother, Alberta Gaye took her secrets to her grave, until the recent discovery of her hidden journals, in which she writes candidly about her husband, her family and of course her superstar son. Now, the world will hear and see it all.  

Ticket prices range from $43.00 to $65.00, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, by calling 1-800-745-3000, and at the Pantages Theatre Box Office (Opens daily at 10AM).

Performance Schedule:

All shows will take place at Pantages Theatre,

6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

The Los Angeles, CA performance schedule for My Brother Marvin is as follows:

Thursday, May 23rd at 8 PM

Friday, May 24th at 8 PM

Saturday, May 25th at 3 PM and 8 PM

For more information on My Brother Marvin, log onto www.detroittouringco.com

Follow My Brother Marvin on Facebook at http://www.facebook. com/MyBrotherMarvin

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

May 23, 2013

 

ARIES (March 21-April 19)

"I'm still learning," said Michelangelo when he was 87 years old. For now, he's your patron saint. With his unflagging curiosity as your inspiration, maybe your hunger for new teachings will bloom. You will register the fact that you don't already know everything there is to know . . . you have not yet acquired all the skills you were born to master . . . you're still in the early stages of exploring whole swaths of experience that will be important to you as you become the person you want to be. Even if you're not enrolled in a formal school, it's time to take your education to the next level.

 

 TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman admitted that physicists can't really define "energy," let alone understand it. "We have no knowledge of what energy is," he said. "We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount." While it's unlikely that in the coming weeks you Tauruses will advance the scientific understanding of energy, you will almost certainly boost your natural grasp of what energy feels like both inside and outside of your body. You will develop a more intuitive knack for how it ebbs and flows. You will discover useful tips about how to make it work for you rather than against you. You're already a pretty smart animal, but soon you'll get even smarter.

 

GEMINI (May 21-June20)    

Giant Sequoias are the biggest trees on the planet. Many are more than 300 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Their longevity is legendary, too. They can live for 2,000 years. And yet their seeds are tiny. If you had a bag of 91,000 seeds, it would weigh one pound. I suspect there's currently a resemblance between you and the Giant Sequoia, Gemini. You're close to acquiring a small kernel that has the potential to grow into a strong and enduring creation. Do you know what I'm talking about? Identify it. Start nurturing it.

 

CANCER (June 21-July 22)  

Don't take yourself too seriously. The more willing you are to make fun of your problems, the greater the likelihood is that you will actually solve them. If you're blithe and breezy and buoyant, you will be less of a magnet for suffering. To this end, say the following affirmations out loud. 1. "I'm willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them." 2. "I'm sorry, but I'm not apologizing any more." 3. "Suffering makes you deep. Travel makes you broad. I'd rather travel." 4. "My commitment is to truth, not consistency." 5. "The hell with enlightenment, I want to have a tantrum." 6. "I stopped fighting my inner demons. We're on the same side now."

 

LEO (July 23-August 22)

Would you buy a stuffed bunny or a baby blanket that was handcrafted by a prisoner on death row? Would you go to a cafe and eat a sandwich that was made by an employee who was screaming angrily at another employee while he made your food? Would you wear a shirt that was sewn by a ten-year-old Bangladeshi girl who works 12 hours every day with a machine that could cut off her fingers if she makes one wrong move? Questions like these will be good for you to ask yourself, Leo. It's important for you to evaluate the origins of all the things you welcome into your life -- and to make sure they are in alignment with your highest values and supportive of your well-being.

 

VIRGO  (August 23-Septeber 22)

Having good posture tends to make you look alert and vigorous. More than that, it lowers stress levels in your tissues and facilitates the circulation of your bodily fluids. You can breathe better, too. In the coming weeks, I urge you to give yourself this blessing: the gift of good posture. I encourage you to bestow a host of other favors, too. Specialize in treating yourself with extra sweetness and compassion. Explore different ways to get excited, awaken your sense of wonder, and be in love with your life. If anyone calls you a self-involved narcissist, tell them you're just doing what your astrologer prescribed.

 

LIBRA (September 23-October 22)

The German word Fernweh can be translated as "wanderlust." Its literal meaning is "farsickness," or "an ache for the distance." Another German word, Wandertrieb, may be rendered as "migratory instinct" or "passion to travel." I suspect urges like these may be welling up in you right now. You could use a break from your familiar pleasures and the comforts you've been taking for granted. Moreover, you would attract an unexpected healing into your life by rambling off into the unknown.

 

 SCORPIO  (October 23-November 21)

We call it "longing," says poet Robert Haas, "because desire is full of endless distances." In other words, you and the object of your yearning may be worlds apart even though you are right next to each other. For that matter, there may be a vast expanse between you and a person you consider an intimate ally; your secret life and his or her secret life might be mysteries to each other. That's the bad news, Scorpio. The good news is that you're in a phase when you have extraordinary power to shrink the distances. Get closer! Call on your ingenuity and courage to do so.

 

SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21)

Are you ready to go deeper, Sagittarius? In fact, would you be willing to go deeper and deeper and deeper? I foresee the possibility that you might benefit from diving in over your head. I suspect that the fear you feel as you dare to descend will be an acceptable trade-off for the educational thrills you will experience once you're way down below. The darkness you encounter will be fertile, not evil. It will energize you, not deplete you. And if you're worried that such a foray might feel claustrophobic, hear my prediction: In the long run it will enhance your freedom.

 

CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19)    

In the course of his 91 years on the planet, artist Pablo Picasso lived in many different houses, some of them rentals. When inspired by the sudden eruption of creative urges, he had no inhibitions about drawing and doodling on the white walls of those temporary dwellings. On one occasion, his landlord got upset. He ordered Picasso to pay him a penalty fee so that he could have the sketches painted over. Given the fact that Picasso ultimately became the best-selling artist of all time, that landlord may have wished he'd left the squiggles intact. In every way you can imagine, Capricorn, don't be like that landlord in the coming week.

 

 AQUARIUS  (January 20-February 18)      

"I was often in love with something or someone," wrote Polish poet Czesław Miłosz. "I would fall in love with a monkey made of rags. With a plywood squirrel. With a botanical atlas. With an oriole. With a ferret. With the forest one sees to the right when riding in a cart. With human beings whose names still move me." Your task, Aquarius, is to experiment with his approach to love. Make it a fun game: See how often you can feel adoration for unexpected characters and creatures. Be infatuated with curious objects . . . with snarky Internet memes . . . with fleeting phenomena like storms and swirling flocks of birds and candy spilled on the floor. Your mission is to supercharge your lust for life.

 

PISCES (February 19-March 20)

Scientists in Brazil discovered a huge new body of water 13,000 feet beneath the Amazon River. It's completely underground. Named the Hamza River, it moves quite slowly, and is technically more of an aquifer than a river. It's almost as long as the Amazon, and much wider. In accordance with the astrological omens, Pisces, I'm making the Hamza River your symbol of the week. Use it to inspire you as you uncover hidden resources. Meditate on the possibility that you have within you a secret reservoir of vitality that lies beneath your well-known sources. See if you can tap into deep feelings that are so deep you've been barely conscious of them.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

May 23, 2013

By BILL HETHERMAN

City News Service

 

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Testifying in trial of a negligence/wrongful death suit against AEG Live over the death of Michael Jackson, the top lawyer for the concert promoter acknowledged this week that its CEO publicly said the company hired Dr. Conrad Murray to be the singer's personal physician.

Shawn Trell, the entertainment conglomerate's general counsel, said under questioning by Jackson family attorney Brian Panish that Brandon Phillips made the remark shortly before the entertainer's death during a media interview

with the AEG Live logo in the background.

``I know he made that statement, yes,'' Trell said on his second day on the stand.

Under further questioning by Panish, Trell confirmed Phillips sent, ``This Is It Tour'' director Kenny Ortega, an email five days before the singer died, in which he said Ortega should not worry about Murray's credentials because the physician was ``extremely successful'' and ``does not need this gig,'' referring to Murray's selection as Jackson's personal doctor while the entertainer toured.

Ortega had written AEG executives days before Jackson's death expressing concern about the singer's health and ability to rehearse.

Asked by Panish why Phillips would make such laudatory remarks about Murray given that Trell had testified that AEG Live does not do background checks on independent contractors like the cardiologist, Trell answered, ``I don't know where (Phillips') expression or intention comes from.''

Trell suggested Panish ask Phillips the same question. But Panish continued to press Trell for answers, at one point asking, ``You didn't want Mr. Jackson to die, did you?'' Trell replied, ''Nobody did, sir.''

Lawyers for 83-year-old Katherine Jackson, who filed the lawsuit in 2010 on behalf of herself and her late son's three children, allege that AEG Live hired Murray to care for the singer and failed to supervise him properly.

AEG Live attorneys maintain that Jackson hired Murray in 2006 as his personal physician and chose him to be his doctor during his ``This Is It Tour.'' Jackson was rehearsing for 50 sold-out concerts in London at the time of his overdose death at age 50.

Panish showed Trell copies of emails between various AEG Live executives discussing Jackson's health in the days before his death. During previous trial testimony, witnesses said Jackson had a bad rehearsal day on June 19,

2009, that prompted the AEG hierarchy to call for a meeting with the singer and Murray the next day.

In one email, Phillips wrote then-AEG Inc. President and CEO Timothy Leiweke stating, ``We have a problem here.''

Asked by Panish if that raised a red flag in his mind, Trell answered, ``I think he (Phillips) realized there was a problem on the 19th. I would take it seriously as I believe Mr. Phillips did.''

However, Trell added, ``I don't think I need to use the word red flag.''

Panish also displayed for the jury a copy of an email from then-Jackson attorney John Branca to Phillips saying he knew a ``therapist, spiritual adviser and substance abuse counselor'' who would help Jackson. Branca -- now

one of two executors of Jackson's estate -- wrote that the person had once helped boxer Mike Tyson.

In yet another email, Paul Gongaware, co-CEO of Concerts West, a division of AEG Live, told Phillips, ``I'm not sure what the problem is, psychological or physiological.''

In another development, Trell said he erred Monday when he testified that Ortega's contract with AEG Live was based solely on a series of emails. He said Ortega actually had a formal agreement.

Murray was convicted in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter for giving the singer the anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid and was sentenced to four years

in jail.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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