July 04, 2013
By Chelsea Battle
BET launched its 12th annual awards show this Sunday at LA Live’s Nokia Theater. The star studded event featured performances from some of the entertainment industry’s hottest artists. This year’s headliners included Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Young Jeezy, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Lion, Charlie Wilson, R. Kelly, Robin Thicke, TI, Pharrell, Miguel, ASAP Rocky, 2 Chainz, Erykah Badu, Beenie Man, and Elephant Man.
The show also attracted nine Oscar-nominees, including winners Jamie Foxx, Forrest Whittaker, and Stevie Wonder. Also in attendance was the cast of “The Best Man Holiday” (the sequel to “The Best Man”) including Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Terrance Howard, Regina Hall, Harold Perrineau, and Melissa De Sousa. The stars of “Think Like a Man 2” (sequel to “Think Like a Man”) Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Meagan Good, and Taraji P. Henson also made appearances.
Best Performances of the Night
Charlie Wilson: After winning the Cadillac Lifetime Achievement Award, Charlie gave an electrifying performance alongside Pharrell Williams and Snoop Lion to their 2003 hit single “Beautiful”. Both the performance and the award served as a tribute and testament to his successful career in the music industry. He later joined Justin Timberlake in a performance of their hit single, “Signs”. Adding the cherry on top of what was already a momentous performance, Wilson belted out his classic chart toppers “Outstanding”, and “You Dropped a Bomb On Me”, as delighted fans sang along.
Kendrick Lamar: The audience jumped up out of their seats and stayed up when Kendrick Lamar performed his hit single, “M.A.A.D City”. Things really began to heat up when he brought out guest star Erykah Badu to sing the chorus of the critically acclaimed single, “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”.
Ciara: Ciara delivered an outstanding performance of her hit single “Body Party”, complete with those sultry dance moves that only Ciara can pull off. She looked like new money—literally—in a sexy two-piece costume bedecked with dollar bills.
TI, Robin Thicke, & Pharrell: Three of the hottest men in the building gave an even hotter performance as they hammered out their second hit single of the summer, “Blurred Lines”. Surrounded by beautiful women on a stage illuminated by red lights flashing the words “Blurred Lines”, the trio crossed all limit lines between them and an audience on fire.
Full list of BET AWARDS 2013 winners are:
Best Female R&B/Pop Artist
Best Male R&B/Pop Artist
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
A$AP Rocky f/ Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar – Problems
Best Male Hip Hop Artist
Best Female Hip Hop Artist
Video of the Year
Drake – Started From The Bottom
Video Director of the Year
Best New Artist
Best Gospel Artist
Think Like A Man
Subway Sportswoman of the Year
Subway Sportsman of the Year
Coca-Cola Viewers Choice Award
Tamar Braxton – Love and War
Best International Act: Africa
Ice Prince (Nigeria)
Best International Act: UK
Photos by Robert Torrence for LAWT
Mail, e-mail, or telephone brings news of a matter that demands more attention than you might think. Opportunity knocks at work this week. Tonight spend some quality time with your family. Soul Affirmation: I keep in mind the practical side of life this week.
Lucky Numbers: 7, 10, 30
Listen well for the indications that money can be found in an unusual place. Social and romantic interest should be your focus this evening. Love comes from what you do not say. Soul Affirmation: I let my mind go slack and tighten up my body
Lucky Numbers: 20, 37, 38
Some people may not “get” where you’re coming from, but ask your family and significant other to give you time to explain your way of looking at life this week. Do it calmly and confidentially. Soul Affirmation: I let go and let the spirit take control.
Lucky Numbers: 45, 49, 54
Now’s a better than usual time for self-reflection and meditation. Share your ideas. They’re more valuable than you think. Appreciation comes from someone far away. You make the call. Soul Affirmation: I admit what I really want out of life this week.
Lucky Numbers: 27, 48, 52
Listen carefully and follow good advice that will come from someone you’ve often regarded as foolish. You run into difficulties with one of your projects; don’t worry, it’s only temporary. How you manage your mind will affect the eventual outcome. Soul Affirmation: The deed is done. I must wait for the results to unfold.
Lucky Numbers: 8, 10, 32
If there is someone or something that you’re avoiding don’t panic if you find you must confront what you’ve been hiding from. Wait for things to work themselves out. Don’t force the issue. Time solves more problems than you ever can. Soul Affirmation: I seek connection with the best that is in me.
Lucky Numbers: 6, 15, 17
Be flexible. Yes, you. There are many ways to be right and your lover or friend will have come up with one that is different from yours. You‘ll be asked to compromise this week or you just have to give in. Remember you sometimes have to give a little to get a little. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.
Lucky Numbers: 23, 28, 36
Use your natural magnetism to get to someone who might be hard to reach. If you have a problem that you need to get off your chest tell a relative or friend, don’t hold it inside. Where’s the party? Find it. You need a social setting to make the magnetism work best. Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the chance to give.
Lucky Numbers: 41, 47, 52
Even if you can’t be with someone you care for, call that person or send a Soul Vibration to let them know you care. You’ll feel better and so will the person. Take time to meditate on the good things life has in stored for you. Soul Affirmation: The success of others is the investment I make in myself.
Lucky Numbers: 35, 41, 50
A person is only as good as their word. If you have made any promises recently remember to follow through. People will be counting on you. Any dissatisfaction you feel might come from not doing what you told someone that you would do. Soul Affirmation: Superficiality is often the best route to clarity.
Lucky Numbers: 12, 18, 36
If you’re not sure about a business deal ask someone who knows. Asking questions now can help avoid mistakes in the future. The love that you have been looking for is right in front of you. Your ability to see it improves this week. Soul Affirmation: When I am clear about who I am, the world becomes clearer.
Lucky Numbers: 9, 14, 22
Your ability to display enormous grace under enormous pressure will be tested this week. Use your gifts this week to transcend petty criticism. Consider the source and know that you are doing just fine. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the love that others have for me.
Lucky Numbers: 8, 19, 41
By KENNETH MILLER
Assistant Managing Editor
By Charlene Muhammad
The energy poured through the inaugural BET Experience & Taste of Soul Community Stage at L.A. Live last weekend as thousands flooded parking lots decorated with music stages, basketball courts, beverage trucks and multi cultural food vendors, providing yet another economic boost to the renovated downtown region.
A massive collaboration of the Black community joined forces with premier network Black Entertainment Television (BET), businessman and activist Danny Bakewell Sr. (Chairman and CEO of the Bakewell Media) and entertainment conglomerate AEG to bring a world class event featuring elite entertainment from music to film, to comedy, basketball and the best cultural food experience.
Michael Roth, vice president of communications for AEG, was joined by BET Chief Operating Officer Debra Lee, Congresswoman Karen Bass, City Councilman Curren Price, Assemblyman Isadore Hall III, Compton Mayor elect Aja Brown, veteran sportscaster Jim Hill, Bakewell Sr. and a host of other elected officials and dignitaries during a ribbon cutting ceremony that kicked off the BET Experience last Friday.
“I could not be more thankful to AEG and our sponsors for making this dream a reality. It’s great to be in Los Angeles where we expect to have 50,000 join us for this inaugural BET Experience weekend,” said Lee.
For BET and AEG, the matter was not just about entertaining people before the much anticipated BET Awards show, but for many who flew in from other states and around the world it would have been enough. The ‘Taste of Soul’ and the Community State was just the icing on the cake.
“As many people who’ve been to ‘Taste of Soul’, this weekend is going to bring even more people who don’t know what ‘Taste of Soul’ is and that’s all great for everybody. You come to this once, you’re going to find ‘Taste of Soul’ wherever it pops up again later in the year, but it’s really about celebrating everything we have, the culture,” said Roth.
Bakewell, who is also publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, created the Taste of Soul Family Festival that will be held on Crenshaw Blvd. October 19 for the eighth time. ‘Taste of Soul’ has been an economic boon to local business and has also showcased local restaurants, entertainment, exhibits and non-profit organizations.
The BET & Taste of Soul Community Stage was not only filled with performances, but with activities for the audience. People filled the area doing the Cha Cha Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. Some even won food vouchers for the Taste of Soul vendors.
“[A Taste of Soul] has been a really nice experience,” said Steven Coleman, 56. “It’s where young and old meet and have togetherness on one accord. It’s a beautiful thing.”
There wouldn’t be a BET & Taste of Soul Community Stage without food. There was competition for best barbecue in which Cynthia Daniel from Our Place Barbecue and Shawn Black from Big Ronnie’s Barbecue won Taste of Soul gift bags, tickets to the Grammy Museum and the title of the best barbecue at ‘A Taste of a Taste of Soul.’
People raved about the Taste of Soul vendors all weekend. Some of the fan favorites were Harold and Bell’s, Bourbon Street Fish and Chicken Hut.
“Chicken Hut has the best chicken ever,” said Valerie Bowden from Atlanta as she sat with her daughter and friends. “We’re all from Atlanta and this is the best chicken in the world.”
A Taste of a Taste of Soul did its job in bringing Los Angeles flavor to the BET Experience. With great performances and great food, everyone received a taste of soul.
Rounding out Saturday’s line-up were Fox 11 News Anchor Christine Devine’s protégé Sean Christian Jackson aka Lotis. The Sparkids and performers from the California African American Museum (CAAM) featuring actor Jeffery Anglenson Gunther took part in the BET & Taste of Soul Community Stage.
“This is a great multicultural activity that really allows those in the African American community to offer both the enterprise of their food services as well as to share entertainment and also create an opportunity for small business to integrate in a dynamic project that is not only of economic benefit to our community, but cultural enrichment as well,” said former Assemblyman Mike Davis as he enjoyed the festivities.
The original idea came about when AEG hierarchy met with BET officers to envision what the weekend would be, he said. After they decided to make it a celebration of all of the Black culture, it crystalized they needed to have food and they called Bakewell to help make it happen.
“I don’t know if you could say that I made it happen. However, I am pleased that ‘Taste of Soul’ nation could spice things up a bit,” stated Bakewell.
“Up until 2013, no one’s been able to even buy a ticket to the BET Awards because of its popularity,” Roth explained. “The notion was to package the program with other events and concerts during the three-day weekend, thus the BET Experience with a Taste of Soul.”
“That’s why this festival, which is free to anybody, is so great for us. You experience the food, the free Music Matters stage.... It’s a win-win for everybody. I think the legacy of the BET Experience is going to be what we can give back to the community ... a chance to attend some of these events,” Roth said.
When Shae Sewad’s Cobblermania was selected to vend for Taste of Soul at the BET Experience. She said the impact was two-fold.
“As a vendor at the annual Taste of Soul events, we love the event and are proud to be vendors at it. We were honored to be chosen as one of the vendors,” Sewad said.
She usually sells her vegan cobblers at the local farmers’ market on Vermont Ave, but attendance has dwindled, she said. Taste of Soul at the BET Experience helped to regain some of that exposure, she expressed.
“It was an attempt for us to not only promote our businesses, but also to let people know what type of vendors are vending at that particular famers’ market,” she shared.
Other food vendors selected for the event were: B.D. Burgers, Bac 2 Basic, Big (Kone) Huna, Big Ronnie’s BBQ, Big Tasty Legs, Boone’s Fabulous Fried Fish, Bourbon Street Fish & Grill, California Fish Market, Chef Marilyn Soul Food Express, Dulan’s, Fun Time Kettle Corn, Grandma’s House Catering, Harold & Belle’s Restaurant, Hot Diggity Dog & Co., Juice It Up! Just My Truffles, Kobbler King, LeSassier Catering, Little Ethiopia Business Association, OMG Chicken & Waffles, Quebec Smokehouse Ribs, Stone’s Jamaican Food, Sweet Red Peach, Thai & Hawaiian BBQ, Wi Jammin, Worldwide Tacos, and Young Ladies with Potential.
General Jeff, who was born and raised in South Central, is now a community activist, he serves on the board of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. Since he’s lived downtown since 2006, he’s noted a tremendous lack of Black business owners, he said.
Jeff said he’s been trying to do all he could to get Black businesses, especially food vendors into downtown Los Angeles and succeeded recently when Quick N Split, a hamburger joint, opened on 7th and Broadway.
“That was tremendous in and of itself but this is by far 10 times 10-fold compared to that It’s just to give the downtown community and the greater Los Angeles community an idea of what Black-owned food vendors would do in the downtown community,” Jeff said.
He proudly basked in the glow of the historic moment. It was the first time ever the BET Awards show presented as a three-day festival celebrating Black music, he expressed.
“It’s not just an awards show anymore. It’s a fan fest. It’s a music fest. It’s a love for all things Black and so we’re talking about the Black food, the Black music, the Black culture period. And that’s something that the downtown community definitely needs to see,” Jeff declared.
Interns Shanen Hill and Shonassee Shaver contributed to this story.
Rapper turned actor Ice-T is making more moves in the world of film production. After tasting some success with his documentary “The Art of Rap,” he’s gearing up to release a documentary on the father of street literature Iceberg Slim.
The film, titled “Iceberg Slim: Portrait Of A Pimp,” takes a hard look at the troubled life of the pimp turned author. Iceberg Slim was born Robert Lee Maupin and fought his way from a rough life in the streets to become an author who inspired plenty of rappers. Some pay homage to him with their rap monikers such as Ice -T and Ice Cube. Other rappers have spun some of his gutter street tales intro their rhymes and therefore given themselves street cred.
The documentary features commentary from the likes of Chris Rock, Henry Rollins, Quincy Jones, and Ice-T and is directed by Jorge Hinojosa. It will be released in theaters on July 9th and will its way to on Demand by July 12th.
June 27, 2013
By Shonasse Shaver
The Long overdue documentary, ‘Dark Girls’ will force America to take a look at the harsh discrimination that faces dark-skin African American woman, their plight, complexities and unshakeable scars.
Legendary filmmaker Bill Duke’s ‘Dark Girls’ explores deep into the lives of dark-skin African American women and what it means to be a dark-skinned. Many of these woman encounter prejudices before of their skin and are victims of such prejudice within and outside her own race.
Duke also depicts the struggles, the taunting and the abuse they encounter women face and how they loathe themselves for it.
“Young black girls need a voice,” explained Duke.
“From the ages of 7, 8, 9 and 10 [they] are being called monkeys. Babies are not exempt.”
As Bill Duke depicts in his documentary, colorism is real. A Black woman in America is born at a disadvantage economically, socially and financially to her white counterpart. However, a dark skinned Black woman, encounters a double disadvantage to her white counterpart, and to a light-skinned Black woman. Dark-skinned Black women are frequently passed over in relationships because of their complexion.
“Two teenage girls 16 to 17-years old wept after a Q& A session. I asked why they were crying so deeply and they said that they were not invited to the prom. Up to three years ago, a Black woman in her late 30s had never ridden in the passenger seat of a man’s car,” disclosed Duke. “I have gone to my boyfriend’s house and he makes me ride in the passenger as his assistant,” she confessed to Duke. As unbelievable as this may sound, this is the reality for many women because of the tone of their skin.
The women suffer from low self esteem, depression and ridicule. Television and society defines beautiful women as those blond hair with blue eyes. Subsequently, even African American women aspire to such promotions and men gravitate to it.
Duke is tackling a most difficult issue head on and he uses his platform built from a successful acting career to ignite conversation about the matter. “At the Apollo Theatre, a woman shouted out to me, ‘why are you airing our dirt stinking up the house,’ said Duke.
“We cannot keep pretending that colorism does not exist. Many of us are too ashamed and pained to talk about it. We cannot continue to deflect the huge elephant in the room.
“It is the year of 2013, right? We’re passed the colonial times and American slavery. Why are we continuing this process.” No argument there, we have definitely reached a moment in time where such ignorance should not be tolerated. Comparable to racism, colorism is as current that has chopped at the heels of the first Black President Barack Obama.
It’s shocking to discover, Blacks bleaching their skin like Michael Jackson to become acceptable in a society that shuns them.
“Skin bleaching is a billion dollar business. Dark-skin African Americans are bleaching their skin. How unfortunate that this is a universal problem. Men in India are bleaching their skin to appeal to women.” Duke explains, “The field worker has dark skin and the office worker has light skin.” This is a bit nostalgic to American slavery, where there was the field slave versus the house slave. This is deep. Can we actually believe that this type of logic still exists?
The irony with this problem is that while dark-skinned Black women are lighting their skin and wearing weaves, “white women are getting butt implants and crinkling their hair to look like us,” added Duke. Can we say this behavior is learned from the media? We rarely see positive and beautiful images of dark-skin African American women; therefore we don’t recognize the beauty of ourselves. When asked how he felt about the controversy surrounding actress Zoe Saldana playing iconic jazz singer Nina Simone in a biopic, Duke responded, “Hollywood is a contradiction. They tend to go with what is safe.”
There was a bit of controversy with the casting of Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone. Zoe Saldana, a proud Afro-Latina actress had to be darkened and wear a prosthetic nose to achieve the physical appearance of Nina Simone. “She was friend of mine. She wore her hair natural on her album cover. She talked about loving Black women and men. She was a hero,” said Duke. This is not to say Zoe Saldana would not be able to connect to Nina Simone because her ethnicity difference. However, there are many dark-skin Black actresses such as Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Hudson, Tika Sumpter, Nia Long and Regina King who could have been cast to play Nina Simone. Yet, Hollywood went with what was familiar to them, a Black actress who has European –like features to play a black woman on screen.
It can be hard for dark-skin African American actresses to get work in films or on television, but when a film calls for a Black actress, she is frequently replace by someone close to white.
Zoe Saldana is A-list star in box office films. “We have to keep in mind films and castings are done from a global perspective. These are business tactics. In their (casting directors) mind, they do not feel that they are doing anything wrong,” said Duke.
Sending the wrong message is not new in Hollywood and dark-skinned girls and women are not deemed acceptable to portray certain roles.
It is a reflection of our time says Lanita Jacobs, an anthropology professor at the University of Southern California who often lectures on the portrayal of African-Americans in film and on television, and says Saldana's casting and subsequent transformation into Simone is offensive to women who have struggled with self-image.
Hollywood cannot be solely at fault for this harmful issue that lies within the lack community. Bill Duke’s ‘Dark Girls’ will not change the negative experiences dark-skin Black women experience. “The documentary gives the voiceless and a voice,” said Duke. Finally, Black women who are experiencing colorism are talking back to their bullies, naysayers, and critics.
The documentary is not used to expel the notions that all dark-skin Black women are bad, undesirable, unintelligent, or lower class. But to use Bill Duke’s documentary as a medium where we can ask ourselves what are we going to do about the situation? Are we going to continue to indulge in self- hatred, calling dark-skin Black girls monkeys and degrading them for their darker skin tone?
“It has to start in the home. It needs to be a school program implemented to encourage students to love one another and embrace the color of all races and skin complexions,” stated Duke.
“We should not look to ‘Dark Girls’ to broaden the perspective of the ideal beauty. However, create a space where dark-skin African American women leading isolated lives can feel a part of the mass culture like never before.
“We need to be a movement to uplift our dark skin sistas,” said Duke. We need to show the world that dark-skin sistas are no different from their light-skin sistas.
“Oprah fought for broadcasting for ‘Dark Girls.’ She showed commitment to this issue,” said Duke. Dr. Channsin Berry and Bill Duke’s Documentary will aired on OWN network last week. On Oprah’s Next Chapter, she with an intimate person-to-person conversation with actresses Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Union and Phylicia Rashad on how successful black women are still being plagued by the color of their skin.
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