July 19, 2012

By Cora Jackson-Fossett

LAWT Contributing Writer



What does ‘The Soul Man’ do on Sunday?  He worships God, and on July 15, that’s just where he was – praising the Lord at three Los Angeles area churches.


Cedric The Entertainer, who portrays the Rev. Boyce ‘The Voice’ Ballentine on TV Land’s ‘The Soul Man’ sitcom, joined his family and cast members at First A.M.E. Church, West Angeles Church of God in Christ, and The City of Refuge.


The visits actually served a two-fold purpose for Cedric, who hails from a strong Christian background.  He got his ‘praise on’ enjoying the singing, prayers and sermon as well as addressed the congregations to encourage viewership of ‘The Soul Man.’


“It’s a blessing to be here and have an opportunity to talk about my show. You could see I was about to go to the big ‘desk’ before Pastor John (Hunter) pulled me back,” he jokingly told FAME’s 1,000+ members at the 10 a.m. service.


“We’ve had great shows in the past like ‘Amen,’ but I had the vision for this show, where we could talk in our community about some of the issues that are going on, show a family that’s loving, growing, learning, and we do it with each other.


“We hear talk about African Americans not having any presence on television and film, but when we have them, we must support these shows,” said Cedric.


Joining the audience in applauding Cedric’s comments, Pastor Hunter noted, “This is supporting and blessing our own.  There are not many positive, affirming, family-oriented shows that are clean on television. It’s the kind of family program that doesn’t undermine the image of African Americans, but it reinforces the positive with levity and fun.”


The series, created by Cedric and Suzanne Martin, revolves around the Rev. Ballentine, an R&B superstar-turned-minister. Upon hearing the call to ministry, he leaves his career and high life in Las Vegas to serve in his father’s church in St. Louis.  Reluctantly joining him are his wife, Lolli (played by Niecy Nash) and daughter, Lyric (played by Jazz Raycole). Rounding out the cast are Barton, Boyce’s cantankerous father (played by John Beaslely) and Stamps, Boyce’s crafty brother (played by Wesley Jonathan).  Reviewers agree that the show provides comedic, yet realistic, insights into the faith-based African American community.


A Sunday in the life of The Soul Man continued at The City of Refuge led by Bishop Noel Jones.


Nearly 2,000 parishioners viewed a special videotaped message from Cedric before hearing from ‘The Soul Man’ himself.


“It’s great that Bishop Jones allowed me to come in.  I have known him for a long time.  He married me and my wife 13 years ago,” said Cedric.


“Also, it’s very important, if you have an opportunity, to watch this show and tell others to watch, too.”


Bishop Jones revealed, “The reason I allowed Cedric to speak is that I know it’s going to be tasty, it’s going to be tasteful and the show is going to impact many people. I think that’s a good thing.  Entertainment is a good way to transfer a great many values.


“Hopefully, something within that show will have a message and entertainment that will uplift and encourage people.”


Uplifting people is a quality instilled in Cedric at a young age according to Eric Rhone, executive producer of ‘The Soul Man’ and his business partner since 1983.


“Cedric has a very strong family and upbringing back in Missouri, so those core values of respect and family have always been there for him.  We want to put out positive images and messages that we can all be proud of, particularly young people who come into this business after us,” said Rhone.


Cedric shared similar intents as he explained how the church became the setting for the show.


“I started looking at demographics, niche markets.  For us, I knew that black people are so spread out economically, but one place we come together is in the church environment. From hoodlums to educators, all of them are trying to be saved,” he said.   


“I just thought this was a great forum for me to do a show and it allows me to tell great stories because all types of people come there.  The church is the hospital for the soul.”


Another strength of ‘The Soul Man” is its ability to portray a variety of challenges encountered by both pastors and parishioners.


“It’s not only about what happens in the church.  Most people think the church is only on Sunday, but ministers are in operation all week long.  You’re dealing with people’s marriages, funerals, problems, and sometimes addictions.  We thought, ‘What a great platform.’


“When I was thinking of this show, it made sense, as a great platform, to do our community, our world, things that make sense to African Americans and at the same time, it also fits a broader community,” said Cedric who added with a laugh, “Now, I’m a flawed individual, trying to get right, so don’t write me saying, a preacher don’t do that.”


‘The Soul Man’ airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on the TV Land network.  Check cable or local listings for the channel.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cable channel truTV is putting Shaquille O’Neal on its team with a new series.

The channel said Wednesday that it’s ordered 10 episodes of “Upload with Shaquille O’Neal,” the working title for a series with the basketball star. Actors and comics Gary Owen and Godfrey will join O’Neal on the show.

The trio, along with a weekly guest, will share funny videos they find online and create their own, truTV said. Pranks and pop culture parodies also will be part of the mix.

In a statement, O’Neal promised “Upload” will “deliver big laughs.” A debut date for the series was not announced.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 12, 2012



Can you take a week off from work? It’s a perfect week to relax with a loved one in one of your favorite ways. Even if you can only spend a few hours decompressing you’ll be surprised at how little it takes to feel bliss this week. Soul Affirmation: I let the outer world and inner world change places this week



Vibrations this week make everyone feel as if the universe has given them another chance. Your fresh start may come in a romantic area. Buy a bouquet of flowers for your partner on your way home from work. See what happens. Soul Affirmation: I celebrate freedom of mind this week.



A short trip for business reasons gives you a little personal space to make some notes to yourself. Remember your best self, and keep a positive outlook. Buy a lottery ticket this week at your destination, or watch for some other type of “found” money. Soul Affirmation: I judge no one, especially myself this week.



Your home may need some of your attention. This is a fine week to check the fire alarm battery, put away gardening equipment, or redecorate your dining area. The results of a shopping trip for new bed linens will please you very much. Soul Affirmation: I keep my smile shining, especially at home.



Spend some time in the company of friends early in the week, then spend your afternoon relaxing. Your ability to tune out and mediate on the goodness that surrounds is comes easy. Let the good vibrations massage you with bliss. Soul Affirmation: I let positive emotions carry me through the week.



An unexpected clash may arise this week from an unlikely area. Try to maintain a position as mediator, rather than joining the fray. Loyalties may be stretched, but they won’t break. What you need is within you. Go there and get it. Soul Affirmation: My spirit will fill me with gladness.



Co-workers or customers may be grumpy this week. Don’t take it personally. Dwell in your peaceful inner space and the space around you will reflect the peaceful vibrations. Soul Affirmation: Jewelry reflects the beauty of my feelings about myself.



You feel centered this week and full of efficient energy. Use this week to accomplish tasks, make plans, and finalize arrangements that need to be made. Face into personal responsibilities with love and pleasure now. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy discovering new territory this week.



You can build a bridge with your imagination to reach the person you want to meet. Build the very best bridge your imagination can afford. Your soulmate will then cross over to you. Your intentions are warm and sincere. Soul Affirmation: Being true to others is the way to be true to myself.



You need to relax. The urge to do everything will take a toll on you this week unless you make a concerted effort to slow your own vibes down. Think peace love and happiness and let them be real values for you. Feed your soul. Soul Affirmation: I calm my emotions by forgetting about the past.



You’ll be efficient and productive this week if you got some rest. Slow down. Sometimes less is more, and you’ll see you’re doing better than most. Use your talents to create some free time for yourself. Soul Affirmation: I go inside myself to find peace and joy this week.



Someone wants to argue, and it’s up to you to walk away. It’s easy to let go of any idea of control if you remember that you are only responsible for your own feelings. Act healthy this week and enjoy your life. Soul Affirmation: As chances come around again. I take advantage of them.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 12, 2012

By MESFIN FEKADU | Associated Press


NEW YORK (AP) — The music industry is showing support to R&B singer Frank Ocean after he revealed that his first love was a man.

Ocean announced the news Wednesday on his blog. His record label’s president, Joie Manda, showed support to the rising singer in a statement to The Associated Press on Thursday.

“The courage he displayed in his beautiful and eloquent letter was touching on many levels. Frank broke down a wall that should never have been built,” Manda’s statement read. “The overwhelming show of support from his peers was awesome and inspiring. Island Def Jam is so proud to stand beside Frank Ocean — the artist and man — now and always.”

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons wrote in a post that he’s moved by Ocean’s “courage and honesty.”

“Today is a big day for hip-hop,” Simmons wrote on his Global Grind website Wednesday. “Your decision to go public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people still living in fear.”

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers tweeted: “Strong move by frank ocean, makes me happy.”

And others, from Solange Knowles to RuPaul to Rita Ora, also tweeted positive thoughts.

Actor Johnny Knoxville called Ocean's decision a “brave thing to do, and the right thing to do” in a tweet Thursday.

Ocean is best known for the R&B songs “Novacane” and “Thinkin Bout You.” The 24-year-old self-released his debut, “nostalgia, ULTRA,” to critical success last year and will release an official album, “Channel Orange,” on July 17. It features collaborations with John Mayer and Andre 3000 of OutKast.

Ocean has also written songs for Beyonce, Justin Bieber, John Legend and Brandy. He appeared on two songs from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album, “Watch the Throne.”

The singer is also a member of the alternative hip-hop group Odd Future. His band mate, Tyler, the Creator, is known for using homophobic words in songs, but he also has showed support for Ocean.

Outside of the celebrity world, some fans have praised Ocean. Others, though, weren’t as supportive, with some saying they could no longer listen to Ocean’s music because he was romantically linked to a man.

Ocean will launch his U.S. tour next week.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

July 12, 2012

(AP) — Move over Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, a veteran singing diva is joining the ranks of judges on reality TV: Gladys Knight.

BET’s sister network Centric announced Wednesday that Knight will work as the “lead judge” on “Apollo Live.” The new series is a singing competition at New York’s famed Apollo Theater and puts a new spin on the venue’s popular “Amateur Night” showcase. It will debut in the fall.

Knight joins previously announced judges Doug E. Fresh and Michael Bivins of New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe.

“Apollo Live” is executive produced by Jamie Foxx. Comedian-actor Tony Rock will host the show.

Centric said the series’ winner will take home a cash prize.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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