May 22, 2014
By Kam Williams
Since retiring from the NFL, Terry Crews has traded in his helmet and cleats to pursue an acting career while also becoming the ultimate family man and fitness enthusiast. Over the past several years, omnipresent Terry has been seen almost everywhere, whether as the pecs-popping pitchman for Old Spice, portraying the overworked dad on “Everybody Hates Chris,” a tough guy in “The Expendables” film series, the loveable goofball in “White Chicks,” Will McAvoy’s bodyguard on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” or randy congressman Herbert Love in “Arrested Development.”
2014 has been a busy year for Terry, who has already appeared in Tyler Perry’s “The Single Mom’s Club,” and in “Draft Day” opposite Kevin Costner. And later this year, he will be starring with Sly Stallone in “Reach Me,” and reprising the role of Hale Caesar in the “The Expendables 3.”
Terry is currently a series regular on the Golden Globe Award-winning TV sitcom “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” playing Sgt. Terry Jeffords, whose ripped exterior belies a sensitive and beleaguered interior. Crews also just added author to his resume with the release of his first book, “Manhood.” And it was recently announced that starting this fall he will be serving as host of the game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
Here, he talks about playing “Nickens” in his new movie, “Blended,” co-starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Kam Williams: Hi Terry, thanks for the interview.
Terry Crews: Oh, you got it, Kam.
KW: Congrats on the Golden Globe for your TV show, Brooklyn Ninety-Nine.
TC: Thank you! It blew me away when we got that Golden Globe. What an honor! I had no idea. It’s an awesome show and one of the best things I’ve ever done.
KW: And you get to play a complex character in Sergeant Terry Jeffords.
TC: That’s the best thing, that [scriptwriters] Mike Schur and Dan Goorhore created real people everybody can recognize. That’s real cool!
KW: I loved Blended, and I’m not a fan of Adam Sandler’s lowbrow brand of humor. But this one is different and kept me laughing non-stop.
TC: That’s great! And it touches your feelings along the way, too. That’s the thing. What’s so good about the Adam-Drew [Barrymore] collaborations is how she tempers him. It’s the real deal. Their 50 First Dates was the first comedy that I ever caught feelings on. I was like, “Whoa! I’m feeling the romance here. I want them to get together. Why do I care so much?” And I got emotional about it. That is what they bring, a magical combination that works every time.
KW: I liked the two of them in The Wedding Singer, too.
TC: They’re a great combination. My wife does that for me. By myself, I’m a hard pill. But, wow! My wife makes me look real good, because she smoothes my rough edges. That’s why I say, “Take your wife everywhere. It’s a good thing.” [Laughs]
KW: You provide the comic relief throughout this movie. Just when we’re about to forget about Nickens, he pops up again with that Greek chorus.
TC: You know what’s wild? Adam called me up and before I’d seen a script, he said, “Man, I wanna do this movie with you that we’re shooting in Africa. Are you down, brother?” I had no idea what was going on, but I was like, “Let’s go! This is awesome!” I’m a card-carrying member of the Happy Madison Productions family. Adam put me in The Longest Yard, Click and The Benchwarmers. Every time he calls, it leads to nothing but great things. That’s why I just said, “Let’s do it!” We didn’t really have this character all straightened out. We sort of figured it out as we went along. He came up with a great idea. He said, basically, “Let’s make him the South African Tom Jones.” Once we had that, we were off and running.
KW: Had you been to Africa before?
TC: No, that was my first time, and I loved every minute of it. I traveled all over South Africa. I was in Cape Town, Soweto, Sun City and Johannesburg. I would’ve visited Durban, too, but we just didn’t have the time. We met the most beautiful people and ate the best food! And we went on safari in Madikwe which is near Botswana. It was amazing. Some people say Sante Fe is spiritual, but you haven’t experienced anything until you’ve been to Africa. You know the world is bigger than you are after you see Africa.
KW: I was surprised that they shot the film in Africa at all, since it’s a romantic comedy that could’ve been made in Hollywood, not a drama that called for an exotic location.
TC: I think the moviegoers are tired of always seeing L.A. and New York. Come on! I think you can only do but so much here. It’s about time that the rest of the world is represented in entertainment. Africa is a huge continent. The world is gigantic. We get a little insulated. New Yorkers never go anywhere because they think everything’s already in New York. You can to Disney World or watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, but you have to travel to Africa to have the real experience. And if you ever do go, it will change your life. I was changed. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
KW: What do you think about the 300 schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria? TC: Oh man, what can I say brother? I have four daughters. I consider myself a feminist. My whole life has been about standing up for women, for anybody really, who’s been abused. So, I’m outraged about the way they kidnapped and are mistreating those young ladies. That’s sick! All I can think about is what if someone took my daughters from me. It hurts. My heart is still breaking. You can post or tweet about it, but it’s not going to rest, until we find them and get them back home safe and sound. But nothing will change, until really righteous men stand up and say, “This is wrong! Females cannot be treated this way. Women are not property. Women are not second-class citizens.” Women all over the world deserve pay equal to men, a voice equal to men, education equal to men, and to be respected. We’ve got to realize that we’re all the same.
KW: Since you’re a former pro athlete and you live in L.A., I also have to ask you what you think about the L.A. Clippers. Should the owner be forced to sell the franchise for what he said?
TC: Wow! This is what I think about Donald Sterling. We need to forgive him.
KW: Forgive him?
TC: Let me tell you why. We’re all guilty of what he did. I’ve said things about my wife which would make people think I was a horrible person, if somebody had recorded me. You say things in anger that you’d never normally say. If someone secretly records you in your own home, you’re going to offend somebody. Taking Donald Sterling’s team away from him, because people don’t like what he said doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t know Donald Sterling. I don’t like him. We’ll never hang out. But let people vote with their dollars. You have to recognize that this is a dangerous precedent. If you don’t forgive, you’re setting yourself up to be judged forever. And as soon as you say something somebody doesn’t like, they can take what you own away from you. I know a lot of people disagree with me, but I just don’t believe in a system that doesn’t allow you to apologize, change and move on.
KW: That’s an interesting take. You surprised me. Food for thought.
TC: It’s the new McCarthyism. It’s just not right. What I’m saying is that everybody has done it. You might not have said something about black people, but you might have said something worse than what Donald Sterling said, something horrible about your wife, your kids, your best friend, or someone else. If you can’t turn around, say “My bad. I’m sorry,” and be forgiven, then what do you do now? Are we going to hold everybody to that standard? People like to throw stones, but I say “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” We have to give mercy to get it.
KW: Attorney Bernadette asks: What advice would you give your teenage self just coming of age, if you could travel back in time?
TC: I would say, “Terry, behave like a king.” Because, when I was young, I spent a lot of time behaving like a fool. And fools get mad when people try to give them good advice. They actually get angry at ‘em. [Laughs] Because by being a fool, you start messing up everything, and all of a sudden you want to blame everybody else. You’re a victim! It was my mother… It was my father… It was my wife… It was society… It was my being a black man… It’s endless. But when you behave like a king, you make no excuses, because it’s your court, your world, and you’re responsible for everything in your circle. That’s what I would tell my younger self. “Dude, behave like a king, and know it’s up to you.” That’s the deal. And I say it to young men now.
KW: The Harriet Pakula-Teweles question: With so many classic films being redone, is there a remake you'd like to star in?
TC: Wooooo! Kam, that’s a big question. There are so many. I wanna be Radio Raheem, if they ever remade Do the Right Thing. [Chuckles] Yeah, I would love to play Radio Raheem. [Laughs some more]
KW: The Anthony Anderson question: If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?
TC: Wow! What superpower? Flight! It’s gotta be flight, because I love to travel.
KW: Is there any question I haven’t asked you that you wish I had?
TC: No, I’m good.
KW: Then thanks again for the time, Terry. Good luck with Blended and your many projects. And I look forward to speaking to you again soon.
TC: Oh, thank you, Kam. You got it, my man. Take care.
To see a trailer for Blended, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w168vuhjRo
May 15, 2014
Aries March 21 - April 19
The week continues to be very sociable and mainly positive. Monday brings a chance to connect with others to brainstorm, get feedback, and interact for romance or business purposes. Take it easy around midweek, when a Full Moon in Scorpio could arouse passions and intense feelings. You might be tempted to vent, but it might be wiser not to. As of Thursday, opportunities for spontaneous meetings, instant attractions, and fun times can give you a boost.
Taurus April 20 - May 20
You might want to invest in improving your health and overall wellness by purchasing some exercise equipment or a gym membership. Midweek could have a deep and profound resonance, as the Moon in Scorpio can bring hidden feelings into the open. Passion, jealousy, anger, and just about any other intense emotion could show up in key interactions, so mind how you go. Pay attention to intuitive insights about how to improve your finances. It could save you time and money.
Gemini May 21 - June 20
Your curiosity could peak, spurring creative ideas or enticing you to consider dating if you've been out of the loop for a while. You're in your element now and eager to enjoy the pleasures of life. You might want to lighten your schedule around the midweek Full Moon in Scorpio, as feelings may be running high. It would help to ease off the accelerator and go with the flow. Later, social opportunities look especially encouraging, with a chance for a delightful meeting.
Cancer June 21 - July 22
Though creative conflict still appears in your life, you might be motivated to start on an idea you've been mulling over for some time. Don't let the Full Moon in your creative sector keep you from moving ahead. It's in Scorpio, so fear or doubt could assail you right when you need confidence and enthusiasm in order to get ahead. Fortunately, the rest of the week provides just that. Success happens when you take that first baby step and keep going.
Leo July 23 - August 22
Conversations lead to productive encounters, collaboration, and opportunities to get involved in creative projects. Take it easy on Wednesday, as intense feelings could stir up issues at home. This isn't the time to make snap decisions or say anything you could regret later. The rest of the week seems delightfully upbeat, bringing encounters that inspire and delight. Sizzling chemistry may endear you to someone very quickly on Thursday. The weekend brings a chance for all-out indulgence.
Virgo August 23 - September 22
Business deals and career opportunities may show up this week, enhancing your prospects if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone. Connecting with key people, researching options, and gathering information can help you reach an important goal. However, an emotional surge may cloud thoughts midweek. Avoid making important decisions at that time. Wait a day or so to feel calmer and more collected for best results. There's also a chance of a small windfall - enough to put a smile on your face!
Libra September 23 - October 22
Although relationships could be a bit of a challenge, there's also plenty of sizzle showing up in your social life. Opportunities to explore groups or move in new circles could be a revelation. Try to avoid splurging at the time of the midweek Full Moon, even if it does help you feel better. Chances are you'll regret it the next day. Still, one or two small luxuries could boost your mood. Romance can happen if you're willing to move outside your comfort zone and seek adventure.
Scorpio October 23 - November 21
You may be thinking about life's deeper issues, as a focus on spiritual and emotional matters could encourage a period of reflection. Perhaps what you really want is for harmony and balance to pervade your everyday existence. Don't let the Full Moon in Scorpio throw you off. Although powerful emotions may arise, simply feeling them can help them dissipate. If you've been considering therapy or counseling, this might be a good time to find a suitable person.
Sagittarius November 22 - December 21
You seem to be on a roll, especially as your social life and love life are concerned. Interactions with many people can be the catalyst to some exciting things happening for you. Be willing to let your curiosity lead the way and more exciting things will come to you. Also, opportunities for romance seem particularly appealing. Whether you're in a long-term relationship or looking for love, the flame of passion could be kindled in the days ahead. The weekend looks particularly fun and indulgent.
Capricorn December 22 - January 19
You may be curious to explore options for new contracts, jobs, and work in general. With Mercury in Gemini and making some spectacular aspects this week, it's a good time to advertise your skills and services, apply for interviews, and get things up and running in general. There is also a lot happening on the home front, with the chance of a surprise visitor showing up. Socializing and home entertainment can be fun and delightful, with plenty to anticipate.
Aquarius January 20 - February 18
Opportunities for romance, business, and anything else you can think of could be there for you this week. Researching your options by surfing online could result in rich pickings. Try not to be swayed by the midweek Full Moon in Scorpio concerning an important career move or goal. Intense energies could cause you to doubt your motives - or someone else's. Reflect carefully before you make any important decisions. Later, the chance to do business in a fun, upbeat environment can be very enjoyable.
Pisces February 19 - March 20
Home and family matters seem positive, as upbeat transits may coincide with family get-togethers or celebrations. You might want to splurge on items for your home. A spontaneous decision to upgrade the decor could have you considering paint, carpets, or curtains. However, it also pays to monitor your spending and stick to a sensible budget. Spending without thinking could cause unnecessary anxiety later. The rest of the week brings a chance for good times that can generate happy memories.
May 15, 2014
By Chelsea Lenora White
Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward-Times
After almost a decade with Def Jam, our Barbadian rebel, Rihanna has reportedly decided to part ways with the record label. RiRi has of course thought this entire decision out and has already inked a new deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation label. Although she was not signed to Roc Nation (record label home to J. Cole and Rita Ora to name a few), Rihanna has been managed by the label for the duration of her career.
Despite rumors, there is no bad blood between Def Jam and RiRi; and there should not be. Rihanna released SEVEN majorly successful and lucrative albums for the label! So we are sure that she has done more than fulfill her quota at the label.
With her latest career move, Rihanna has proven once again that she takes notes from her mentor, Jay Z. Last month, Jay partnered Roc Nation with one of music’s largest corporations, Universal Music Group.
Don’t expect to see Rihanna celebrating with her new label mates on her infamous Instagram page, though, as it has been deactivated! We’re not sure if the pop star decided to deactivate it herself, or the risqué topless photos from her LUI Magazine shoot violated Instagram’s terms and caused the app to deactivate her page altogether. Either way, we’re excited to hear some new music from RiRi with her new home team!
ABC will add a new drama from “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” powerhouse producer Shonda Rhimes to its schedule in the fall, giving her ownership of Thursday night on a network that’s lagging behind its competitors among advertiser-favored young adults.
Rhimes’ “How to Get Away With Murder,” a legal thriller starring Viola Davis, is among 12 new series that will occupy an ABC schedule that's heavy on crime dramas and rich in ethnic diversity. Rhimes is “one of the greatest voices on television,” ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee said Tuesday before the network presented its new schedule to advertisers.
“Grey’s Anatomy” will move to 8 p.m. Thursday, followed by “Scandal” at 9 p.m. “How to Get Away With Murder” will close out the evening at 10 p.m. That will bolster what has been a weak 8 p.m. slot for ABC and give the new drama a strong launching pad, Lee said.
“Scandal” will air opposite NBC’s hit series “The Blacklist” later in the new season, but Lee said he’s confident his series will stand up to the challenge, especially as viewers adept at time-shifting have allowed dueling series to both perform well.
Medical soap opera “Grey’s Anatomy” can be racy, but Lee said it will have appropriate content for the first hour of prime time, traditionally home for more family-friendly programming.
ABC and its heavily female audience ranks third in viewership this season behind CBS and NBC, but is fourth among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic it cares most about. The network, known for its multi-ethnic casts, is adding shows focused primarily on non-white characters or with minority creators — something often missing from major broadcast networks.
The new sitcoms include “Black-ish,” starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as a suburban family trying to embrace their African-American identity, and “Fresh off the Boat,” about an immigrant Chinese family pursuing the American dream in the 1990s and based on chef Eddie Huang's memoir with the same title.
“Cristela,” another comedy, is about an ambitious law student (Cristela Alonzo) at odds with her traditional Mexican-American family.
ABC hits “Modern Family” and “Scandal” have benefited from their inclusivity, Lee said.
“America has changed,” he said. “We see that in the election cycle and we see that in everything.”
Other new dramas include “Secrets and Lies,” starring Ryan Phillipe as a murder suspect trying to prove his innocence, and “Forever,” with Ioan Gruffudd as a New York City medical examiner with a secret: He’s immortal.
May 08, 2014
By Terri Schlichenmeyer
Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer
They should have called you Super Fly.
Yep, that’s what you were, dancing in front of your TV every Saturday, spinning on the carpet and waving your arms around until you got yelled at for “going [to] break something.” But you were the flyest of fly. The only thing you were going to bust was a move, just like on Soul Train. And in “The Hippest Trip in America” by Nelson George, you’ll read about the iconic TV program that you never, ever missed.
Everyone knew that Don Cornelius had “ambition”: he was a car salesman, policeman, and insurance agent before his “foghorn voice” led him to radio in 1966. He made the transition to TV two years later, and he soon realized there was a need for a “black” TV show. He presented the idea, then he found major corporate sponsorship, and on October 2, 1971, Soul Train appeared locally in Chicago.
The show was “’overnight hot’” but Cornelius knew there was more to this idea. With another sponsor on-board for a nationwide launch, Cornelius pitched the show to the networks, but they turned it down. He decided to syndicate Soul Train and moved the show to Los Angeles.
Though the music was always the focus of Soul Train, Cornelius knew that the dancers (in particular, those in the Soul Train line) were what brought viewers back.
In Los Angeles, scouts kept their eyes open for promising teens who could dance, often mining prospects from three main area clubs. Dancers performed for free but the real appeal of being a Soul Train dancer was fame and the opportunity for a career in show biz. It seemed as though every regular viewer wanted to be a Soul Train regular, too.
But as much as Cornelius controlled his show (and, to a certain extent, his dancers), he couldn’t control what happened, culturally. Early-90s fashions confounded him, music videos concerned him, and gangsta rap made him uncomfortable. And so, though the show would continue for another 13 years, Cornelius announced in 1993 that he’d step down as Soul Train host – a move that arguably meant “the show was over.”
From its first pages and throughout, the word “joy” crops up often in “The Hippest Trip in America,” and for good reason: it was everywhere in the show and even more in this book.
I took great joy, in fact, in seeing how author Nelson George sent me to the Internet. His descriptions of what happened through the years on Soul Train made me want to see, too, and there are plenty of clips online. I also liked the interviews with former dancers and the cultural frame-of-reference included here, and the history of the show – along with little-known tidbits – made this a great (and surprisingly fast-paced) read filled with reminiscing, “love, peace, and soul.”
Get out your bell bottom pants and your best dancin’ shoes, have a good Internet connection, and get ready. For you, “The Hippest Trip in America” is a book you’ll want to bust out and find.
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