December 24, 2015


Ray Chew & Vivian Scott Chew Produce ‘Gospel Sing Along’ Concert at Carnegie Hall


World-renowned Music Director Ray Chew and his wife and business partner, Vivian Scott Chew were tapped to produce “Gospel Sing Along” concert at Carnegie Hall on the legendary Ronald O. Perelman Stage.


“Gospel Sing Along” featured multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artists Donnie McClurkin and GRAMMY®-nominated Kim Burrell with surprised guest, music legend, Cissy Houston. Reverend Dr. Lester W. Taylor, Pastor of Community Baptist Church of Englewood, NJ directed the 160 voice New Jersey Delegation Choir and also served as Creative Consultant.


Rounding out the evening were Vy Higginsen’s international ensemble, Gospel for Teens, under the direction of Higginsen’s daughter, Ahmaya Knoelle Higginsen; the Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, the Middle Church Jerriese Johnson Gospel Choir, and the Girls Club Choir.


The Carnegie Hall “Sing Along” concert series was initially presented in the 60’s with music legend Peter “Pete” Seeger, an American folk singer and activist. The “Sing Along” platform was also used as a backdrop of the Civil Right Era and included songs in its concert that were dedicated to support the March on Washington and the Civil Rights Movement. This season, after several decades, Carnegie Hall landmark “Sing-Along” brand returns to the historic concert hall.


Under the music direction of Chew, who also served as host of the Carnegie “Gospel Sing Along” concert. “Gospel music is at the core of my musical heritage,” says Chew. “I am especially honored that I get to collaborate with some of the most iconic names in music and at the same time, have the opportunity to present music on the most historic concert stage in the world. It’s a blessing and a dream come true for both Vivian and I.”


A few days prior to the concert, McClurkin and Burrell returned from Lagos, Nigeria where they performed for over 700,000 people as part of the successful and sold-out “Festival of Praise” national and international gospel tour. “We were so happy they came back to do this event,” says Chew. “It was a calling.”


During one of the evening’s many highlights, Cissy Houston led McClurkin and Burrell on Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night.” Surprised by her appearance, the audience gave Houston a rousing standing ovation as they too celebrated her legacy and presence at the historic concert hall.


The music featured a diverse range of gospel and popular music standards including Hezekiah Walker’s “Every Praise,” and “Faithful Is our God;” Thomas Andrew Dorsey and Mary Garner’s “Walking Up The King’s Highway;” Burt Bacharach and Hal Davis’ “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” McClurkin’s “Stand,” and “I Call You Faithful,” and Chris Tomlin’s “We Fall Down;” Clara Ward’s “How I Got Over;” Williams Herbert Brewster’s “The Old Landmark;” Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr’s “Silent Night;” Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson’s “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand);” and David Crawford’s “Mighty High.”


Chew is currently the music director for ABC-TV’s Dancing with the Stars and formerly the music director for FOX-TV’s American Idol.


One of most sought-after music directors in entertainment, Chew’s work has paired him with who’s who of popular artists including Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, Prince, Justin Bieber, Lenny Kravitz, Barry Manilow, Queen Latifah, James Taylor, Shirley Caesar, and Jennifer Hudson, just to name a few. Chew is best known for his work on Showtime at the Apollo and BET Network’s franchises Sunday Best, Celebration of Gospel, BET Honors and the BET Awards.


Chew also served as music director for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, the 2015 Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the 44thAnnual NAACP Image Awards and the 2008 Democratic National Convention, among numerous others televised specials and high-profile events.


Chew’s wife, veteran entertainment executive, Vivian Scott Chew, also the founder of international marketing and promotion firm, TimeZone International and co-founder of Chew Entertainment was the lead producer for “Gospel Sing Along.” As partners, she is honored to work alongside her husband of 18 years.


 “We are truly blessed,” says Chew, “God has brought both Ray and I a mighty long way. The opportunities that He has entrusted us with and the many rewards we have received to bless other people is what continues to motivate and keep us going.”


The Chews will produce their “Night of Inspiration” concert series at Carnegie Hall in 2016. For more information, please visit:




African American Film Critics Association Relaunches ‘Seal of Approval’


*The African American Film Critics Association has relaunched the AAFCA Seal of Approval program for film marketers and distributors.


Movies that earn the AAFCA Seal of Approval must met a set of standards, including cultural/historical relevance, and are evaluated by a special panel of AAFCA members, film journalists and academics.


Some of the upcoming titles accepted into the program include films from Alchemy (Stock Option), Arc (In My Father’s House), Array (Ayanda, Out Of My Hand) and Codeblack Films (Legacy).


“Black filmmakers applaud AAFCA as a tremendous resource for filmmakers and film marketers alike,” says “Selma” director Ava DuVernay. “The organization provides knowledge, community outreach and unbridled enthusiasm for those committed to furthering and fostering black cinema.”




John Boyega Needs More Security Due to Love, Not Hate


*It’s funny how time changes things.


If you recall, it was not that long ago that we were telling you about the hate that that new “Star Wars” star John Boyega was getting from racist trolls for daring to be a b lack storm trooper.


Well, that was BEFORE “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” took over the global box office this past weekend. But by Saturday it seemed the 23-year-old British actor, on the verge of superstardom, needed some extra security to get around Manhattan.


Boyega was at a matinee of musical “The Color Purple” near Times Square when “he needed help from theater security just to get into the theater,” a source told Page Six.


The night before, Boyega was popping up at “Star Wars” screenings around town to surprise fans.


Spies said that when he showed up at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square, about 20 fans followed him out as he high-tailed it to the next theater.


Later in the weekend, he headed to London for more press events.




Meek Mill Loses Role in Will Smith Drama Due to Probation Violation


*Meek Mill’s legal woes are hurting him where it counts, his bank account. The judge in his latest battle with the courts has prohibited him from traveling or performing until his February 5 sentencing, resulting in a loss of income worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Here’s a brief recap of Meek’s criminal history: he was arrested for “illegally possessing a firearm and assaulting the police when he was 18, resulting in probation.” Since then, he has been arrested four times for parole violation.


 In 2008, Mill was “convicted of drug dealing and gun possession and was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison. He was released during the early portion of 2009 under a five-year parole agreement. In December 2012, Meek was found to have violated his probation and the judge revoked his travel permit.”


Which leads us to his most recent violation, Meek failed to procure a travel request in order to attend the 2015 American Music Awards in Los Angeles. He was found guilty of violating parole, and the judge scheduled a Feb. 5 hearing. While he awaits whether or not the judge will sentence him to prison, he’ll also be missing out on several lucrative deals, including a starring role in a Will Smith-produced film, Page Six reports.


Known for his love of dirt bikes, Meek was a front-runner to portray Wheelie Wayne in “12 O’Clock Boys,” an upcoming film produced by Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment. The film is as an adaptation of a 2013 documentary of the same name about dirt bikers in West Baltimore.


According to Page Six, Mill’s November trip to Hollywood to meet with the producers was cancelled “because he had to take a urine test as part of his probation just four days after a previous test.”


Meek sources say the rapper scheduled a slew of gigs before a Pennsylvania judge prohibited him from leaving the state. TMZ reports that not only is he losing money by not performing at concerts, (including a NYE performance that he and Nicki booked in Vegas), he’s shelling out tens of thousands every month leasing a house with Minaj, which is now off-limits to him. He’s also unable to record at an L.A. recording studio that he pre-booked for $15k a week.

Category: Arts & Culture