October 11, 2012

LAWT Wire Service

 

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced an exclusive partnership with Tyler Perry, the award winning actor, director, screenwriter, playwright and producer, to become his singular destination for all new television series and projects, including two new scripted series for the network to premiere in mid 2013. These will be the first original scripted series for OWN and Perry will executive produce, write and direct both series.

The announcement comes as the network closed its third consecutive quarter of year-over-year, double-digit ratings gains across primetime and total day in the key women 25-54 demo (+63percent and +70 percent respectively) and saw triple-digit ratings growth in September.

OWN network officials have said that they felt targeting an underserved African-American audience may be the best opportunity for the network to sustain growth. OWN has produced ratings winners with “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” and interview specials with artist Rihanna.

Perry’s popular television series “Tyler Perry's House of Payne” “Meet The Browns” and “For Better Or Worse” have been massive hits with record-breaking ratings. Perry had his first foray into television in 2007 with the hit series “House of Payne,” which premiered as cable’s biggest comedy debut ever. The series remained basic cable’s top-rated sitcom only until the premiere of Perry’s second series “Meet The Browns.”

“I have been looking forward to the day when we would be in the position to enter the world of scripted television. That day has come,” said Oprah Winfrey, CEO, OWN. “We are all energized by the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler who has a proven track record for producing highly successful cable series. He has an incredible ability to illuminate life stories and characters in his unique voice and inspires and encourages people all over the world.”

“It’s a dream realized to partner with Oprah and bring scripted programming to OWN,” stated Perry. “She has accomplished so much with the network and I’m excited to work with her to be a part of its continued growth.”

“Bringing Tyler Perry exclusively to OWN is a major coup. Today’s announcement demonstrates the power of the Oprah brand to attract some of the biggest names in television and film to OWN,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. “OWN’s growth over the past nine months has been nothing short of phenomenal and, with the continued support of our advertising and affiliate Partners, this bold move into scripted entertainment positions OWN to continue that momentum going forward.”

OWN’s flagship series “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” featuring Winfrey’s interviews with top news-making celebrities, has given the network its highest ratings ever, hitting No. 1 in its time period in all of cable multiple times. The fall premiere of the OWN original primetime series “Iyanla: Fix My Life” featuring life coach Iyanla Vanzant garnered the network’s highest rated series debut in network history and the return of the popular family docu-series “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” hit an all-time series high. In addition, the thought-provoking documentary series “Our America with Lisa Ling” recently wrapped its summer season posting triple-digit gains versus year ago numbers.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 11, 2012

LAWT Wire Service

 

The Grammy Foundation is currently accepting applications for its 2012 Grammy Camp, Grammy Camp Jazz Session and Grammy Signature Schools programs for high school music programs. These programs are part of the Foundation's GRAMMY in the Schools® offerings and are supported in part by Best Buy and Converse.

"Grammy Camp and Grammy Camp  Jazz Session allow high school students to experience firsthand what it feels like to have a career in the music industry, and our GRAMMY Signature Schools program provides generous financial resources to high schools for the benefit of their music programs," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy® and the GRAMMY Foundation.

"These Grammy in the Schools initiatives are helping to inspire and educate the next generation of music makers."

Students and schools interested in participating in the 2013 Grammy Camp — Jazz Session and Grammy Signature Schools programs can apply at www.grammyintheschools.com. Completed applications are due Oct. 22 for both programs. Oct. 22 is also the early decision deadline for students interested in attending the 9th annual Grammy Camp to be held in summer 2013. Early decision applicants will receive a 10 percent tuition discount if selected to attend GRAMMY Camp. They receive this discount whether they are selected as part of the early decision process or drawn from the regular applicant pool. Applicants not selected via early decision will be reconsidered with the final pool of applications. The final Grammy Camp application deadline is March 31, 2013. In the past, approximately 75 percent of Grammy Camp participants who have applied for financial aid received assistance.

The Grammy Foundation is also pleased to announce that recordings from the jazz program can now be purchased on iTunes, Amazon.com and other online music outlets. Albums released from 2007–2012 are now available for download. These projects were recorded at the world-famous Capitol Recording Studios (EMI Music) in Hollywood, Calif., by Grammy-winning engineers Manny Marroquin and Al Schmitt, and mastered by GRAMMY winner Bernie Grundman.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 11, 2012

By Joy Childs

LAWT Contributing Writer

 

It truly was an artful night, as the Friends of the California African American Museum (CAAM) feted legendary actor Sidney Poitier and acclaimed artist John Outterbridge with Lifetime Achievement awards at the foundation’s seventh annual black-tie fundraiser this past Saturday.  CAAM’s main hall was transformed into an elegantly glamorous and festive venue, with pristine white tablecloths and dainty bright burgundy flowers adorning the tables.

A diverse group of hundreds of dinner guests turned out to honor the two and to also support the museum, which is a huge source of community pride, at the event called “An Artful Evening at CAAM.”  Celebrities who came out to salute the honorees and to support CAAM’s outreach missions — Mentoring Generations Program, the Young Docent High School Intern Program, and the Busses and Docents Program (the last of which provides transportation service for Title I schools that otherwise could not afford a field trip to CAAM) — included Larkin Arnold, Clarence Avant, Howard Bingham, Bernie Casey, Art Hillery, Dawnn Lewis and Larenz Tate.

The excitement that comes with being in the in-crowd and honoring an acting gem like Mr. Poitier was palpable — from CCH Pounder, the Emmy®-nominated actress who hosted the event and welcomed the crowd to former First A.M.E. pastor Cecil “Chip” Murray standing up for the requisite invocation to the scrumptious dinner catered by Wolfgang Puck.  

A little while later, several young docents who’ll no doubt directly benefit from the fundraiser proudly shared their life-changing experiences and career goals.

CAAM Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson beamed with pride as she told of how the funds raised by CAAM and its 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Friends of CAAM support the state-supported institution’s missions and goals.  CAAM hosts around 10 in-house curated and/or traveling exhibitions and more than 80 public programs each year. 

As Councilman Bernard C. Parks explained:  “We work very closely with CAAM because they used to be in our district … This is a place that really is our legacy for this city and the nation.  It’s the only place you can find the concentration of African American art, culture and history in one place …  And for those who are unfamiliar or who came along after the struggle, this is the place for them to get a tremendous education about our past … ”  Though he’d met Poitier only once, when jokingly asked about his favorite Sidney Poitier movie moment, Parks responded, “a scene in ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ ”!

The reigning grand dame of stage and screen, Diahann Carroll, who’s known Poitier since both were starting in the business (he was in the historic Negro Ensemble Company  while she was in the Actor’s Studio: “I already knew how to be a Negro,” she quipped), says it was important for her to be there primarily because of him.

Her favorite Poitier movie moment?  She said she’d seen all his movies and, because the two are friends, they’d discussed many of them, so she couldn’t name her absolute favorite, sighing, “There were just too many of them.”

Jackée Harry, the diva behind “227,” then “Sister, Sister,” told of meeting Poitier when he was in New York casting young people for a movie. She was 15 at the time.  The star looked her straight in the eye and told her, “You know you’re going to be famous,” as she nervously shivered inside. Many, many years later, at a time that she would have sworn he didn’t know her from Tom’s house cat, she ran into him at an event and he said to her, “I met you when you were just 15!” She chuckled at the memory, going on to reveal that she’s just learned in an elevator ride with Poitier and Carroll that at one time the three had lived in the same building in Hollywood — Joan Collins too!

Talented actor Larenz Tate said his favorite Poitier movie moment was from “In the Heat of the Night” when Poitier declares, “They call me Mr. Tibbs.” As Tate saw the movie just recently, he noted: “It’s such a strong moment in the film but it was such a strong moment in our culture for someone to stand up and say, ‘Recognize who I am.’ ”

When called to accept the award, Mr. Poitier graciously thanked his forebears for giving him the strength to do what he’s done and what he will do — and, the actor added, it was always his intent to be famous!

Right on point!

 

 

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 11, 2012

 

ARIES

This week should bring an opportunity to further your education, don’t pass it up. Pay special attention to details at work. A friend needs your support. Find joy in giving it. Soul Affirmation: All things work together for good.

 

TAURUS

Your leadership skills are shining this week, so get out there and glimmer with good vibrations. Others are looking to you for guidance and as a path to follow. Let your journey through the week provide a good model. Soul Affirmation: I let worry fly away.

 

GEMINI

You are brilliant this week as you gather materials and resources together for an important project. There’s a good probability for wonderful news late in the afternoon. Ride the vibes and be gentle with your own feelings. Soul Affirmation: There are plenty of fish in the sea waiting for me.

 

CANCER

A date or meeting that is unexpectedly cancelled may make someone very unhappy. Recognize that all things work for good, and that a better solution is being provided in the space between what you think you want and what you are getting. Soul Affirmation: This week silence speaks loudest and truest.

 

LEO

Serenity is yours as you realize you can get what you need. It’s coming and you deserve it! Take a few quiet moments this week to listen to your inner voice. It will give you a powerful hint about what activities you should be pursuing right now. Soul Affirmation: I let positive emotions carry me through the week.

 

VIRGO

In all of the hustle and bustle of the week this week, take some time to observe the Now. There’s a great deal to be thankful for! A great idea could come to you when you are out with friends. Soul Affirmation: I celebrate with those around me.

 

LIBRA

Relax the grip you have on your attitudes this week, and just go with the flow. Ease up in full knowledge that goodness is being perfectly fulfilled. Let go of any feelings of insecurity or loss and bless the perfect moment. Soul Affirmation: I quiet all confusion

 

SCORPIO

Exhilaration is high and your mental abilities are amazing. Use your intuition to brainstorm your way to a highly creative idea that could change the way you make your living. Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the chance to give.

 

SAGITTARIUS

What you say and what you do are in harmony this week. The importance of your idea(s) comes through very clearly to others. They can see that you walk what you talk. Communicate your ideas through your values. Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the goodness in people.

 

CAPRICORN

If you feel as if the vibes this week are mixed at best, make up your mind to only receive the positive ones. Tune the transmitter in your soul to life and give your spiritual a workout. You are in charge of who you are. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.

 

AQUARIUS

A benefit arrives, and there’s good reason to celebrate. Claim your blessing and do the happy dance! Loving, supportive friends surround you, and family members are well behaved. Enjoy! Soul Affirmation: I speak my mind knowing that truth is my best defense this week.

 

PISCES

Look forward to some pleasant news. There is every possibility for a renewed love affair or a refreshing new romantic interest. Free yourself from the past and make a fresh start. Soul Affirmation: I see myself as a finisher rather than a starter this week.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

October 04, 2012

By Starla Muhammad

Special to the NNPA from The Final Call

 

Lana Michele “MC Lyte” Moorer burst on the rap scene in the late 1980s, and immediately established herself as one of the best female emcees in the game and one of the most popular. She was the first female rap artist to release a full length solo album, be nominated for a Grammy award and be inducted into VH-1’s Hip Hop Honors. Never one to be one-dimensional, through the years MC Lyte has branched out into acting, voice over work and business endeavors. She is also a well sought after motivational speaker, DJ and is known for her community activism.

The Brooklyn bred rapper has recently added “author” to her extensive resume with the release of her book “Unstoppable, Igniting the Power Within To Achieve Your Greatest Potential.” Final Call staff writer Starla Muhammad recently interviewed MC Lyte about her career longevity, the current state of hip hop and her new book at the 2012 African Festival of the Arts that took place in Chicago during Labor Day weekend. Below are excerpts from that interview.

LA Watts Times (LAWT): The first question, M.C. Lyte, you’re a hip hop legend, of course, and have accomplished so much in the rap game. You’ve evolved as not only as an artist but an author, businesswoman, activist and much more. How do you view your development and evolution over these years?

MCLYTE (MCL): Oh boy, how do I view it? I definitely see it as necessary. I mean there’s only a couple of ways you can go and that’s either up or down. It’s either to grow or wind up depleted. The evolution to me has been, it’s God-sent but it’s Him giving me the vision to be able to get it done. I don’t know. It’s almost like when people say to me how was it being a woman in the business? Well, shucks that’s the only thing I know. When you ask me what it’s like to expand, it’s the only thing I know to do, to do more, to be bigger and be greater than I was before.

LAWT: As an artist when you see and listen to hip hop today, what are your honest thoughts and feelings when it comes to lyrical content, presentation and imagery?

MCL: My thought is they’re doing what feels either one, comfortable for them, which sets a whole other place in time. What is now acceptable in our community back when I was there was not. If we were to go back in that space and time, and what is also deemed necessary I think mainstream, the record labels have made it so that it’s no longer entertaining to just hear a woman rap. You’ve got to see skin, you’ve got to see things that just don’t make sense when it comes to hip hop. Like the whole reason for hip hop has become one to be heard and so I think we’ve moved into a space that’s a little disheartening but that’s only on the mainstream level. We have so many female MCs that are kicking knowledge that are, you know, well respected in their circles, in their community and even online for just being the MCs that they are and not selling sex.

LAWT: Do you think it’s fair to say that this new generation of artists is destroying hip hop culture versus examining the record corporations and their role in it?

MCL: No. For me destroying feels so malice like they’re intentionally doing it. They don’t know what they’re doing and they don’t know that they’re being used as pawns in the game either until they’ve moved into a space where they’re able to stop, look and listen; and right now if you have an artist out there that’s selling, you know, a whole lot of records and people are showing up at concerts in droves, screaming. They’re calling women out of their names but yet women are the top purchasers of their music and they’re the ones spending $60 to 100 bucks to get into their concerts, you can’t tell them they’re doing anything wrong.

‘How am I doing anything wrong?’ ‘These people love what I’m putting out there.’ So, I don’t feel like they’re intentionally destroying it, but we see what they don’t. Just as our parents saw things that we didn’t see. That it’s much more of a community and that means generations of people that will suffer because of what’s happening, if it’s not turned around.

LAWT: In light of the continued violence that we see in our communities, do you think remakes of songs like “Self-Destruction” or “Not With the Dealer,” could aid in heightening the awareness of how violence is really destroying and impacting the Black community in particular?

MCL: Yeah, yeah, but I don’t know who’s going to do it. Who’s going to do it that someone is going to listen? It could be a Nas; it could be a Jay-Z; it could be a Kanye. It could be one of those people to actually put it in a record where it’s cool enough. When Jay-Z said, okay, we’re part of the 40-Club now, it’s time to take off the jerseys and suit up. You know it’s time to be a man. When he said that in a song, it resonated with people, especially with the guys I know because they all of a sudden… nobody was wearing jerseys. They were all wearing button-up shirts. These guys are trendsetters and so in understanding their power, if they took on a mission like that, I’m sure there could be some success to it.

LAWT: Of course, your new book, “Unstoppable, Igniting the Power Within To Achieve Your Greatest Potential”… talk a little bit about the inspiration behind that title and what you want to share with the young people out there.

MCL: I just think for me it’s all about inspiring people the best way that I can so if by chance this book can inspire some young kids to want to do better, be it male or female, that’s what I’m after and I’m hopeful that one page in that book has the possibility of changing someone’s outlook and having them be better for themselves so then they can be better for their friends, for their family and for their community.

LAWT: Last question, MC Lyte: Are there any final thoughts you would like to share?

MCL: Oh goodness! I only could say to believe in yourself. There’re so many things out here that try to deter us from being who we really are at the core. Things that tell us it’s not cool to be nice; it’s not cool to be kind or generous or thoughtful. It’s cool to just take. It’s cool to look out for self. And to me I think kids are happiest when they are themselves and when they’re true at the core and not hung up on trying to be like the in-crowd or taking upon activities that takes them outside of who they really are, whether that’s smoking weed, whether that’s drinking, whether it’s hitting on girls, you know, whatever that thing is, I just want them to get to the core and love themselves.

You can follow MC Lyte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mclyte or visit her website athttp://www.official mclyte.com or http://www.hiphop sisters.org. 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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