July 11, 2013

By Chelsea Lenora White

Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

 

Pharrell seems to have carried the BET Awards 2013 theme of “Anything Can Happen” with him from that Sunday evening to Monday morning. Just one day after he offered arguably some of the best performances of the night at the BET Awards in LA, which featured heavy hitters such as: TI, Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg (I refuse to call him Snoop Lion) and trailblazer Charlie Wilson, he filed legal papers in federal court in Manhattan seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement on Will.i.am’s “I AM” trademark.

The two artists have been in dispute for the past several months over the infringement issue. Will.i.am has owned the “I AM” trademark since 2001 and he filed objections in March and May against Pharrell Williams’ company, “i am OTHER,’ which launched in 2010.

Will.i.am uses “I AM” for his businesses, including his charity foundation “I AM ANGEL.” Pharrell’s “i am OTHER” produces web series, including hit web series and my absolute favorite webisode, “Awkward Black Girl.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 11, 2013

By Chelsea Battle

LAWT Contributing Writer

 

Kevin Hart has grown. However, be forewarned that a physical inspection would be a waste of your time. The actor still stands at a commanding 5’2” tall.  Yet an in-depth conversation with the comedian/actor, primed by the cool confines of Beverly Hills’ Four Seasons Hotel, reveals that the humble Hart has grown both personally and professionally. Staying true to form in his customary all-black ensemble the budding star is ready to explain it all. From his new movie Let Me Explain, which was released in theaters July 3rd, to his roads-to-riches success story in general, there is a lot more to Hart than meets the eye.

He’s hot, ladies and gentlemen and literally lights the stage on fire in his new hilarious comedy, Let Me Explain. During the 70 minute film, geysers of fire randomly fly from the stage as he dishes on everything—his divorce,  his clueless friends who unsuccessfully help him cheat on women,  his life as an L.A.B. (local ass bitch, a term coined by his friends)—you name it. The movie also validates Hart’s international appeal, following him as he tours all over the world performing stand-up comedy before thousands of adoring fans. (proof-positive, actually, that he is definitely not an L.A.B.) 

 

During an interview Hart discusses the movie and his road to becoming a successful multi-millionaire executive producer.

LAWT: Sitcoms and movies like Soul Plane didn’t exactly pan out as you had hoped how did those experiences prepare you for today?

Kevin Hart (KH): I’m a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. And back then I was young. I was 23, 24 years old and I was thrown into a realm of dude I got my own show. I’m an executive producer, I’m writing, oh my God I’m starring in Soul Plane its over. I’m outta here.  At the end of the day that stuff didn’t work because I probably wasn’t prepared for it mentally. I think now I’m dealing with this success so amazingly well because I understand how fast it can go away. I was setup for greatness and when it didn’t happen I was left with nothing. No movies, no auditions, and I had to start from the bottom and work my way back up.

LAWT: So in this movie you were called a b*tch and called others a b*tch quite a few times. Did you ever keep count on how often you said it?

KH: I use bitch a lot. I cuss a lot so you can’t really count my cuss words because they’re not offensive. I can say the most disrespectful sh*t ever and it’s all laughs. My friends and I friends call each other bitches everyday. ‘Shut up b*tch, you a dumb b*tch kiss my ass b*tch.’ I think within our group that’s what keeps us grounded. There is no I’m above you guys we don’t live like that.

LAWT: So what’s it like being the boss and an executive producer?

KH: For me it’s intriguing because as “the boss” you’re just a guy who knows what you want to do, but you have to hire people that can put you in the position to do it. So the boss is just the guy that’s smart enough to hire people that are smarter than him without having an ego. The reason you get people that are smarter than you is because these are people who can paint your vision and make it a reality. My smart move was educating my friends, and making them aware of the business so that they can be involved in my company. [As a result] you are not just friends who are receiving a check but you’re actually earning a check. My friends are now in positions where they’ve made deals and they speak on my behalf with certain endorsements. With Let Me Explain I think I personally put 2.5 million dollars into it. I put them into positions where not only do we know where all my dollars are being spent, my friends are the ones who broke the deal with the garden [Madison Square Garden], my friends are the ones who got another production company to come to discuss how we can maximize our dollar amount for what we wanted to shoot.

LAWT: What are you most proud of at this point in your career?

KH: I think what I’m most proud, is that despite my relationship with my dad, I’m very proud of the way that I balance my personal life and my career. My kids are a priority so I’m proud of the fact that my kids understand what I do, and it’s very clear why their dad is working, and what he’s working on. At the young age of 8 and 5 their understanding of the business is ridiculous, but it’s because I’ve had them around it since they were young.

LAWT: So are you thinking of putting them in show business?

KH: I don’t want my kids anywhere near show business, but when they get to the age where they can make those decisions for themselves then of course I won’t hold them back. But I have them around so I know that they know what their father does. You just have different respect when your dad is gone and you can relate to where he’s going.

LAWT: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

KH: The best piece of advice I got was from Chris Rock and it was be your own brand. It may take you along time [to reach stardom] but be Kevin Hart.

LAWT: What have been some of the rockiest points in your career?

KH: After Soul Plane and The Big House that was a rough stint in my career because as a comedian I wasn’t known, so I wasn’t making money on the road.  I was doing colleges here and there but I was probably getting 500 or 600 dollars a college, but it was costing me 300 dollars to fly to a university. I was doing 7 shows for the weekend and I’d  walk away with 900 dollars, but after paying for my flight, and the rental car, my 900 would get knocked to 600, so stand up wasn’t really giving me a comfortable lifestyle. It was still a struggle so after my TV show got cancelled and Soul Plane flopped, I was stuck just sitting by the phone literally. Conversations with my manager were like ‘Well what’s going on, well can I get an audition?’ ‘Did they call back? Did they like me? No they didn’t.’ I hated the fact that I had no control. But you got to get up off you’re a** and figure something else out.  Once I said to myself forget this I’m not worried about Hollywood anymore, it was just all about stand up comedy. I went and I slaved the road for about 4 or 5 years and I just did comedy clubs. By year three, two out of my seven shows were selling out. By year four I’m selling out four of the seven shows. Year five I’m selling out all the shows.

LAWT: Do you make all those memes of yourself on Instagram? It seems like every time you look up on Instagram a Kevin Hart meme pops up

KH: All of them, every single last one.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 04, 2013

By Chelsea Battle

Contributing Writer

 

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

Rihanna

Best Male R&B/Pop Artist

Miguel

Best Group

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Collaboration

A$AP Rocky f/ Drake, 2 Chainz and Kendrick Lamar – Problems

Best Male Hip Hop Artist

Kendrick Lamar

Best Female Hip Hop Artist

Nicki Minaj

Video of the Year

Drake – Started From The Bottom

Video Director of the Year

Benny Boom

Best New Artist

Kendrick Lamar

Best Gospel Artist

Mary Mary

Best Actress

Kerry Washington

Best Actor

Jamie Foxx

YoungStars Award

Gabrielle Douglas

Best Movie

Think Like A Man

Subway Sportswoman of the Year

Gabrielle Douglas

Subway Sportsman of the Year

LeBron James

Coca-Cola Viewers Choice Award

Drake – Started From The Bottom

Centric Award

Tamar Braxton – Love and War

Best International Act: Africa

Ice Prince (Nigeria)

Best International Act: UK

Emeli Sandé

Photos by Robert Torrence for LAWT

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 04, 2013

By Nicole Williams

Contributing Writer

 

Where can you get concerts by Beyonce, R.Kelly, Kendrick Lamar and comedy shows like Mike Epps and Cedric the Entertainer, listen to seminars on issues like gun violence AND enjoy live music outside WHILE eating delicious local food? THE BET EXPERIENCE! The first ever BET Experience graced its presence in the historical LA Live in DTLA June 28-30th, all happening before the 2013 BET Awards. The extravagant event of limitless things to do was made possible by the partnerships it created.

It all started with the ribbon cutting at the open ceremony where BET’s CEO Debra Lee alongside our local politicians and partners got to welcome everyone to the first ever BET Experience stating that it would go down in history. The Fan Fest hosted the BET Pavilion, Centric Pavilion, Music Matters Stage, a Taste of a Taste of Soul, Health & Wellness, Dance 4 Hope, BET & Taste of Soul Community Stage, 106 & Park Stage and a Celebrity Basketball game.

The game featured celebs like Chris Brown, Marques Houston, Columbus Short and Busta Rhymes, Mike Epps, Tyga and Keke Palmer. Clipper’s player Matt Barnes was also there participating as a coach for one of the teams. Crowds gathered to the Sprite Basketball Court to watch the celebrity battle go down. They warmed up as the DJ spun some records and started balling out! The Sprite Court also hosted Youth Basketball Clinics, Girls Basketball Clinic featuring Lisa Leslie, Sprite All-Star Slam­Dunkers, Drumline Competi­tion judged by celebrity judges and Dance 4 Hope.

A Taste of a Taste of Soul brought in by Bakewell Media offered an appetizer to what LA’s largest annual street festival Taste of Soul is all about. It featured vendors such as Harold & Belle’s, Mel’s Fish Shack, Grandma’s House Catering, OMG Chicken and Waffles, Stone’s Jamaican Food, Big Ronnie’s BBQ, Fun Time Kettle Corn, and Big Tasty Legs just to name a few. The aroma of seasonings coming from several different types of food filled the air along with sounds of Bakewell Media’s StarQuest winners and local artists on the BET/Taste of Soul Community Stage.

Friday, the stage hosted a Taste of Soul Food Showcase, StarQuest winner Adrian Battle, Crenshaw Elite Choir, LAUSD “Spotlight” Winners, LAUSD Classical & Jazz Ensemble and Debbie Allen’s Dance Academy’s “Kids Crewe.”  Satur­day, the stage hosted Starquest winner Beau Williams, a Taste of Soul Food Showcase, LAUSD “Spot­light” Winners. LAUSD Classical & Jazz Ensemble, Marquise Brown & The Gifted and Lula Washington Dance Theatre’s Youth Dance Ensemble. There was no way you could resist not grabbing a plate if you were at the Fan Fest! And if you didn’t get to eat, you missed out, but no worries, the annual Taste of Soul is October 19, 2013. Chairman and CEO of Bakewell Media says that it was an honor to be apart of the BET Experience this year.

“The fact that they have established the BET Experience and have partnered with a Taste of Soul, it just makes it something that welcomes the community to downtown Los Angeles,” Bakewell said.   

He also says that a Taste of a Taste of Soul just hints at what’s to come!

“What’s important about Taste of Soul, different from this [a Taste of a Taste of Soul] is that it’s bigger, it’s better and it’s in our community. It’s in our house where everyone is welcome!

The Music Matters Stage hosted several talented artists and up-and-coming artists over the weekend. Day 1 of the Music Matters Stage brought artists such as Mali Music, Rap Pack, Kimberly Nichole, PJ Morton, BJ the Chicago Kid and Adrian Marcel. 

Day 2 brought artists: Curtis Fields, Marsha Ambrosius, Mateo, Elijah Blake, RaVaughn, Ab-Soul, K. Michelle, Austin Brown and Jessy Wilson.

The BET Experience also brought the BET Pavillion, which hosted movies, gourmet food, beauty/grooming lounges, health and wellness, celebrity basketball games and a relaxation lounge. The Beauty Lounge was the perfect place to get your make-up and hair touched up for free! The temperature was HOT that weekend, so touch-ups were a necessity as lots of women gathered to get groomed. Once your make-up and hair was done, you walked away with some beauty products provided by Covergirl and more!

What could be better than FREE Celebrity Panels apart of BET Revealed? Several panels were conducted over the weekend offering advice on love & relationships, money & finances and issues like gun violence. Panels featured were ‘Couples Uncovered,’ which featured couples Nicole Ari Parker & Boris Kodjoe and Mari Brock Akil & Salim Akil. Another panel featured was ‘Rich Forever: How to Make It, How to Keep It,’ which featured Janice Howroyd, Dennis P. Kimbro, Master P and moderated by Paula Madison. ‘Black Girls Rock! – Rebuilding the Village’ was another panel which featured Beverly Bond, MC Lyte, Lil Mama, Holly Robinson Peete, Tricia Rose and was moderated by Harriette Cole.  ‘Making Moves Outside the Game’ featured Laila Ali and Lisa Leslie and was moderated by William C. Rhoden. Speaking on issues of gun violence was the panel ‘NO GUNS ALLOWED: Disarming Violence in Our Community,’ which featured Snoop Lion aka Snoop Dogg, Ryan Coogler, Melvyn Hayward Jr., T.I. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and was co-moderated by Rob “Biko” Baker and Brandon T. Jones. Rapper, Snoop Lion aka Snoop Dogg says he has changed and hopes to help others change as well.

“You know we got to try to save the world in a better way, by making it a better place to live as far as ridding the world of gun violence and I’ve always been one to glamorize gun violence, so now I’m ready to change and do the right thing and say the right thing, so this is what it’s all about,” Snoop said.

BET Revealed also featured “Genius Talks” with Pharrell Williams in conversation with Bevy Smith and Nick Cannon in conversation with Bevy Smith.

We can’t forget the Film Festival! It featured “Imagine A Future,” “Mother of George,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Things Never Said,” “BET Premiere Cinema: Gun Hill,” “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete” and “Fruitvale Station.”

The JW Marriott Gold Ballroom hosted Spike Bellator MMA, which featured cage demonstrations and chances to meet & greet with talent all throughout the weekend. The demonstrations were enough to get your adrenaline rushing!

Several concerts and comedy shows were also apart of the BET Experience including Mike Epps who took to the Nokia Club stage Friday night with hilarious stories, some that made us cringe, but laugh until we cried. Erykah Badu whose sultry and soulful songs beamed throughout the Nokia Club following Mike Epps Friday night.  The beautiful Beyonce also kicked off her tour “Mrs. Carter Show” Friday night at the Staples Center. Singer Melanie Fiona opened up for Queen B’s kick-off tour concert. Saturday was also full of ear candy goodies including The Roots & Friends, which included Nelly, MC Lyte, Naughty By Nature and Too Short. They performed at the Nokia Club as well. The Staples Center hosted a huge gallery of hip hop/rap artists Saturday night including Schoolboy Q, Miguel, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Lion aka Snoop Dogg and a whole bunch of surprise guests. Those surprises included Dr. Dre, Problem, Future, Ace Hood, Wale, Warren G, Kurupt, Jay Rock, Trinidad James and Wiz Khalifa. Talk about a hip-hop head’s DREAM! Cedric The Entertainer and friends took up the Club Nokia stage Saturday night making us all enjoy some good laughs for the BET Experience. Sunday’s Best was held Sunday at Club Nokia and was hosted by Kirk Franklin. The concert featured Donnie McClurkin, Karen Clark-Sheard, Kierra ‘Kiki’ Sheard of The Sheards, Amber Bullock, Joshua Rogers and Le’Andria Johnson. Bullock, Rogers and Johnson were past gospel competition winners on BET’s Sunday Best TV show and recently released chart-topping albums.

All I can say is what an experience! If you were there, hope you enjoyed the FIRST EVER BET Experience and hope you make plans to participate again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Robert Torrence & Troy Tieuel for LAWT

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 04, 2013

 

ARIES

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

 

TAURUS

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

 

GEMINI

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

 

CANCER

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

 

LEO

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

 

VIRGO

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

 

LIBRA

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

 

SCORPIO

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

 

SAGITTARIUS

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

 

CAPRICORN

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

 

AQUARIUS

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

 

PISCES

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

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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