November 29, 2012

Berry Gordy Jr. may only be five-foot tall in height but he left big shoes to fill when he sold Motown Records nearly 25 years ago.

As founder of the historic record company in 1960, which launched the careers of Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and the groups The Temptations and The Supremes, Gordy, 82, said he had a vision to introduce Black singers to America.

“I knew there was talent beyond just white voices. There were soulful sounds being made by Blacks but no one could hear them because they had nowhere to go to produce the kind of music Blacks wanted to hear,” Gordy told an audience during a tribute to him at the Art Institute of Chicago.

“All I wanted to do was help Black singers recognize their talent and share it with the world.”

He added that he always took the unconventional route to success, regardless what the circumstances were. This was a man who, as a child, could not recite his alphabet from A to Z but could sound them off backwards. He recalled how he was once stopped in Los Angeles by police for suspected drunken driving and was let go after the officer told him to recite the alphabet backwards.

He also talked about what he had to do for the classic movie “Lady Sings the Blues” starring Diana Ross to get made and released by Paramount Pictures. The movie studio had only budgeted $500,000 for what he said they described as a Black movie.

“I told them that this is not a Black film (but) a film with Black stars,” recalled Gordy.

These were some of the memorable stories he recalled during a PBS-TV taping where journalist Gwen Ifill interviewed him before a live audience. The History Makers, a non-profit organization in Chicago, hosted the tribute. The show is expected to air spring 2013.

Joining Gordy at the tribute was the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Suzanne de Passe, a former Motown Records executive; Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times Publisher Danny Bakewell; Gordy’s daughter Hazel Gordy and son Stefan Gordy.

Audience members were treated to a performance by two cast members of Gordy’s upcoming Broadway show, “Motown: The Musical.” The scene, he said, re-enacted Gordy (portrayed by Brandon Victor Dixon) and Diana Ross (played by Valisia LeKae) falling in love in Paris. The song: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “You’re All I Need to Get By.”

Entertainment at the tribute included a performance by singers Kem and Valerie Simpson, who performed “I’ll Be There,” originally sung by the late Michael Jackson and his brothers known then as the Jackson 5.

Berry had dropped out of high school to pursue a career as a boxer before finding his niche in music. Before pursuing music Berry was a lover of boxing. So he dropped out of high school to pursue a boxing career, which lasted until 1950 when the United States Army drafted him for service in the Korean War.

In 1953, he returned home from service and married Thelma Coleman.

In 2001, Berry Gordy established a relief fund for former Motown artists, musicians & writers who are down on their luck.

The Gwendolyn B. Gordy Fund assisted artists from the 60’s and 70’s with Gordy donating $750,000 in the name of his late sister.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

November 22, 2012


Associated Press


Rapper and entrepreneur 50 Cent is taking a swing at promoting boxing in Nevada.

Nevada Athletic Commission executive Keith Kizer said Monday the entertainer and businessman whose real name is Curtis James Jackson III won approval earlier this month for a promoter’s license.

The company is called SMS Promotions. It’s handling a Dec. 8 bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas between Cuban-born Miami-based boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa and an opponent yet to be named.

Messages left Monday with the company in New York City weren’t returned.

Kizer says 50 Cent and boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. had been talking about forming a promotions company called TMT Promotions.

But the rapper told the commission those plans fell through, and the fledgling business was being absorbed by SMS Promotions.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

November 22, 2012



 You can be discreet and cut down on some of the envious comments you are attracting. Or you can continue to flaunt it since you’ve got it. Your choice this week! Watch for a pleasant change in a romantic partner’s attitude.  Soul Affirmation: The winner is me. I smile for the cameras.



 Take advantage of bursts of energy all week. Body and mind are in sync. Don’t take things too personally this week, you might get your feelings hurt. If you do, night time is a great time to make-up. Make the call.  Soul Affirmation: My hunches are right more often than not this week.



You are a superstar at work. Efficiency seems to be your middle name. As you go your charming way, don’t forget to delegate tasks with a smile.  Soul Affirmation: I give my mind a holiday again this week.



A relationship may be heating up. Make sure you know what you want, then go ahead. Minor challenges on the home front are easily dealt with.  Soul Affirmation: The widest outlook comes from the look within.



You make important progress at work this week by seizing the initiative and letting your leadership abilities shine. What you do makes things better for everyone around you, so rock steady. Meetings and conversations go especially well. Soul Affirmation: The word is in me. I bring it forth.



Lucky! Your natural ability to shine is magnified this week. You’ll be garnering positive attention on a project you recently completed. Bask in the glow of public admiration! Be daring you’ll find much support for the things you want to do.  Soul Affirmation: This week I forgive myself for everything that has happened.



A celebration is in store and you are the guest of honor! You’ve achieved something wonderful and you need to take some time to enjoy it. Let yourself enjoy the applause then move onward and upward. Soul Affirmation: I entertain wild ideas about making money this week.



Let someone else make a few decisions this week. Take a backseat and enjoy the respite from doing all the driving. You’ll enjoy the ride more this week if you just admire the view as it goes by.  Soul Affirmation: I enjoy living in my dream.



Sometimes you imagine that everyone needs to hear your sensible opinions on all matters of significance. And other weeks you know that you are wise and generous enough to listen to others as they share their good ideas. This week is a week for listening. You’ll learn much.  Soul Affirmation: I listen with an open heart.



Anybody may occasionally have a week when their energy feels low. Your natural good health will see you through a possible down time if you just go with the flow and let yourself relax. Rest if you have the chance and you’ll feel like your wonderful self in no time flat! Soul Affirmation: I calm my emotions by forgetting about the past.



You are the center of attention this week and while you’ll be very busy you’ll love every moment. Enjoy your time in the spotlight! You may want to indulge yourself with some emotional theatrics this week.  Soul Affirmation: All vibes are good for me this week!



Stay flexible this week especially where a partner is concerned. While they may be moody there’s no need for you to join them in their attitude unless you really, really want to! Stay positive and go with the good vibrations that surround you. Soul Affirmation: I exercise to lower tension this week.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

November 22, 2012

Associated Press

Rhythm and blues singer Billy Scott has died in North Carolina at age 70.

Bill Kopald with the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame said Scott died from pancreatic and liver cancer Saturday at his home in Charlotte.

Born Peter Pendleton in Huntington, W. Va., he sang with various groups while in the Army. After he was discharged in 1964, he changed his name and with his wife, Barbara, in 1966 began recording as The Prophets. Their first gold record was 1968’s “I Got the Fever.” Other hits included “California” and “Seaside Love” as the Georgia Prophets.

The group recorded a number of hits in the 1970s in the beach music genre, a regional variant of R&B. Scott was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

November 22, 2012

By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY Associated Press


Is Broadway ready for Twan, Sylvester, Pimp Lucius and “the package”? R. Kelly thinks so — and says he’s working to bring the wacky characters and plotlines in his even wackier “Trapped in the Closet” series to the Great White Way.

The superstar announced Monday night that he’s had an offer to bring the cult classic to the stage, and he may even be in some performances.

“To transform it into a Broadway version, that’s what I’m working on,” he told a packed house at the Sunshine Theater, where he unveiled the latest chapters in “Trapped in the Closet,” which will debut on the IFC channel on Friday.

Kelly gave no other details about a possible Broadway adaptation of the wildly popular video opera. It got its start from a stirring series of songs Kelly debuted in 2005, which ended with a cliffhanger. The songs captured so much attention that Kelly made an over-the-top video series about it that just got crazier and crazier as he added more chapters.

Kelly has often referred to “Trapped” as an alien, and on Monday, he said: “I’m glad to be one of the astronauts to take this thing to the unknown.”

He thanked the enthusiastic crowd for accepting the series, and admitted that he always wanted to act: “Somehow, I landed ‘Trapped in the Closet’ from being silly.”

He also joked about the ridiculous nature of the series.

“I’m just having a lot of fun. I don’t have a job, so I sit in the studio all day and think of stuff to do and this is just something stupid I’ve done that’s been successful for me,” he said. “I’m having a lot of fun with it.”

The latest chapters introduce a few new faces, and like the others series, ends with a cliffhanger. While it’s taken Kelly five years to add these latest chapters, Kelly says he won’t take as long to produce more.

“I want everybody to know I’ve got 85 chapters of ‘Trapped in the Closet’ waiting in the studio for y’all,” he said. “The chapters that are coming — the show, we call it — is going to exceed every chapter that you have ever seen.”

Kelly capped off the evening with a rendition of one of his biggest hits, “I Believe I Can Fly,” for the audience.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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