The following is an excerpt from Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Ben Greenman, out now from Grand Central Publishing.
I got a text from Prince's assistant. That's how things go in the Prince universe: You get a pre‑message saying that a phone message is coming later. But this time, the message said something different. It said that there was going to be a roller‑skating party that night, for Valentine's Day, and that I should bring some cool people.
I was puzzled. What did Prince mean by "cool," exactly? I wasn't sure if he was trusting me with the word or with the concept. I texted back: "Cool?" It turned out they meant the people who were already with me: Mos, Talib, Jill, Erykah, Common. I started to line people up in my mind and called them to give them the news. I thought they would do backflips: a party with Prince? To my amazement, most of them weren't up for it. Jill came backstage and told me that she was tired. Talib said that he needed to be in bed before midnight. I ran into Alan Leeds, who led me to Raphael's dressing room, where Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy were sitting and talking. I went to my same pitch: "Hey, guys, want to go roller‑skating with Prince?"
"Right," Alan said. "I'll be in the grave before I'm in skates."
"Right," Chris said. "Like I'm skating with these knees."
"Right," Raphael said. "I'm too old for that shit."
Internet & Podcast personality Just Some Guy Named "Jay" does impersonations / impressions of former SNL stars Tracy Morgan, Jon Lovitz, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler, as well as Jason Sudeikis giving New York based recording artist Mono Bagends an endorsement for his singles "On Fire" and "You Drive Me Crazy" as well as mentioning the new campaign to get Mono Bagends on SNL as a musical guest!
Rock's tweet responded to a HumorMillMag.com post that said he and Chappelle have been "working out" material at a New York comedy club, in preparation for a joint comedy show. If that show goes well, the two may plan a joint comedy tour.
Chappelle has performed throughout 2011, but Rock hasn't focused on stand-up since his 2008 Emmy-winning HBO comedy special "Kill the Messenger."
The two worked together in 2003, when Rock made a guest appearance on Chappelle's Comedy Central sketch comedy series "Chappelle's Show."
Producer Tyler Perry speaks after receiving his award at the 2011 Triumph Awards while Rev. Al Sharpton looks on
Rev Al Sharpton looks on as Honorable Judge Greg Mathis speaks after receiving his award at the 2011 Triumph Awards
Tyler Perry has gotten plenty of criticism from some who feel his popular movies don't reflect well on the black community. But Al Sharpton says Perry's critics are "proper Negroes" who don't understand regular black folk.
Sharpton's National Action Network honored the filmmaker Wednesday night in New York City at its second annual Triumph Awards with its Chairman's Award. Sharpton lauded the creator of movies including "Madea's Family Reunion" and "Why Did I Get Married" saying he "never lost his authenticity."
Perry said he was grateful for the honor, and chastised those who have criticized his characters as stereotypes.
He said he has the "ear of the people" and his critics need to stop running from "our parents and our grandparents and our uncles."
Here are some of the great pictures that Aaron J (RedCarpetImages.net) took at the event. Visit http://www.RedCarpetImages.net to order or view more images.
Considered by some to be the greatest comedian of all time, Richard Pryor was lewd, crude and absolutely brilliant Ã¢â‚¬" three reasons why he'd be the first to tell you that most of his movies, well, stunk. Now, Chris Rock is hard at work developing a biopic about the groundbreaking funnyman who paved the way for him, and he's determined to make sure the Richard Pryor Movie Jinx stays a thing of the past.
"Marlon Wayans is going to play Richard Pryor," Rock told us recently, giving us an updateon the high-profile biopic. "And we are just waiting for the green light from the studio, pretty much."
Over the last few years, there has been nearly as much drama around the movie as there was within Pryor's roller-coaster life of triumphant highs and tragic lows. Hobbled by multiple sclerosis and on the verge of death, Pryor himself handpicked Mike Epps ("The Hangover") for the part in the comedian's final days. But four years after his passing, news broke that the film had never gotten off the ground with Epps and that Marlon Wayans would instead be playing the role in the movie, titled "Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?"
"Marlon Wayans screen-tested for it, and it was amazing," Rock said of why Wayans got the job, comparing his upcoming performance to what is largely considered Marlon's best movie. "If you ever saw him in 'Requiem for a Dream,' you know how dramatic he can be."
Rock, who can be seen in front of the camera himself in the new film "Death at a Funeral," is expecting the biopic to shoot this fall, and says that we shouldn't let all the silly Wayans Brothers movies cloud our judgment before seeing what Marlon does with the role. "The cool thing about Marlon is he has different dramatic chapters of vulnerability about him," Rock explained. "Richard Pryor was a very vulnerable guy.
Showtime has acquired the film "Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy," which examines the history and cultural influence of American black comedy. I will air Thursday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. and continue to air throughout Black History Month.
Directed by actor-producer-director Robert Townsend ("Hollywood Shuffle"), the documentary, which originally screened at Sundance in 2009 in the Premiere section, features interviews with prominent scholars, politicians, cultural critics, and a host of notable comics, including Bill Cosby, Chris Rock, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Steve Harvey, and Katt Williams.
"Why We Laugh" tracks the evolution of black comedy from the character of Stepin Fetchit and minstrels in blackface to the politically tinged humor of D. Gregory, and from the television success of Good Times and The Jeffersons to the big-screen accomplishments of stars such as Eddie Murphy and Whoopi Goldberg. The film also turns a perceptive eye on the controversial career decision of Dave Chappelle and the implications of corporate efforts to capitalize on the massive success of Russell Simmons's Def Comedy Jam and Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy.
"'Why We Laugh' is a major historical contribution to American culture," said Codeblack executive vice-president Quincy Newell. "This film is a tribute to the way one courageous person with a microphone can change history."
Newell produced the documentary which he co-wrote with John Long. The film is based on the book "Black Comedians on Black Comedy: How African-Americans Taught Us to Laugh," by Darryl J. Littleton. Codeblack's Clanagan, Richard Foos, and Littleton are executive producers on the project.
Director Townsend has been at the forefront of black cinema for 30 years and received a Career Achievement Award from the American Black Film Festival in 2002.
Beyonce's little sister Solange showed up at the recent MTV Video Music Awards with locks shorn very close to the grain.
Though she rocked the 'do well, it made me think that Beyonce - who is arguably somewhere near the peak of her career - couldn't get away with such a radical hair change at this point. Though she's a bit better looking than her little sis and could likely pull off a short coif, I don't think America is ready for its premier mainstream black diva to abandon the horse hair just yet.
And then I watched the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair this past weekend. After viewing the movie - which focuses primarily on black women and their obsession with weaves, perms and all manner of faux follicles - I find myself even more deep rooted in my outlook.
I am not sure how a black woman could walk away from the film, which I highly recommend for its humor first and social commentary second, without feeling a bit of social deference and a tad moral uneasiness for subjecting herself to the process of hair enhancement for a litany of reasons.
Despite the film's rousing humor, it serves as the Fast Food Nation for the weaved-out set: an indictment of an industry and the folks who pour money into it. Good Hair reveals that the multi-billion-dollar hair industry (which, despite thriving off of black folks, is owned largely by whites and Asians) has dubious characteristics that play out like a less-violent version of the blood diamond trade.
Rock shed light on an issue I've pondered since I was quite young: Black folks who grew up in or around the hood all know ladies who stayed noggin-deep in costly hairdos while simultaneously collecting welfare and living on a shoestring budget. Jacked-up weight, credit health or dental issues be damned -- the hair was on point, if nothing else!
Maybe it's a straight male, $20-for-a-haircut-and-shave thing, but I can't understand the practicality of spending upwards of thousands of dollars on something that goes on your head. A memorable vacation around the world? Okay. A colossal-ass television? Sure. Something that's ruined the moment you slide too far backwards in the bathtub? Yeah...no.
I am, and always have been, a proponent of self-expression. But there's something fundamentally wrong with the level of importance that women place into what's jumping off atop the scalp...especially considering their reasons.
Sure, I do think American men of all races tend to gravitate toward longer hair. But I'm strongly of the belief that it's not requisite for black men - the group to whom black women are most interested in appealing. If you're attractive anyway, we don't care as much how your hair is sitting as mainstream America might. Case in point: ask most black men who they think the most attractive woman in the world is, and I'll wager over 50 percent will say Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
NEW YORK - BET welcomes comedienne extraordinaire, Mo'Nique, as she returns to the network this fall for her highly anticipated late night show debut, THE MO'NIQUE SHOW, premiering Monday, October 5 at 11:00 PM. This season, viewers can expect appearances from numerous guests including Chris Rock, Steve Harvey, Queen Latifah, R&B group Bell Biv DeVoe, and many more to come.