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|Mon, March 06, 2006 at 11:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
He's back. The man better known as Juvenile has `bounced back' from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina with a new album. Reality Check, in stores March 7th, is promised to be his best work yet, because adversity always creates good music.
Titled Reality Check because he addresses the realness of everything from politics to partying, his first single, "Rodeo", is dedicated to women, particularly the ones in the strip club. The video explains the whole story in essence, and in the Juvenile fashion, the classic wording and signature drawl makes the song an instant hit.
"I really want to motivate women," Juvenile said, appreciating the fact that he was accepted for doing something different.
Juvenile has always stood out, despite the trends, and in a shot at the current administration of the country, the video for "Bounce Back" was filmed as a disheartening collage of Katrina's destruction. In response to Kanye West's comments, Juvy simply states, "If what Kanye said wasn't politically correct, then (he) should go out of his way and prove him wrong." Months after the accusation, it was heard that Bush finally addressed Kanye. Too little, too late?
Juvenile has survived leaving Cash Money, the death of a friend (Soulja Slim), the rap game doing a 180, and more, but he's still here. He hasn't severed ties with all his Cash Money Crew; look out for the single with Mannie Fresh called, "Wipe `Em Down". He has been in the game for a long time and as he said, he's still `hanging with the best of them'. Funny, because at times it seems these rookies are struggling to keep up with this vet.
The year is 2006, and we ALL need a Reality Check, so go cop the album.
|Thurs, March 02, 2006 at 11:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
I was 15 years old when Tupac Shakur succumbed to bullet wounds, and I remember looking at MTV thinking "damn, that's pretty messed up." But I didn't take it to bed with me. When Biggie went six months later, I was caught by surprise and my mouth hit the floor, but I went on to school that morning with the same insouciance I woke up with.
I caught wind of Jay Dilla's Feb. 10 death close to the end of my work shift the Friday he died, My mans Buff of Athletic Mic League posted a bulletin on Myspace in memoriam. It took a second to register; mainly because I had purchased his new album Donuts just three days prior, and I was still on this whole "Dilla's gonna change the game" high. When it finally settled in, I was floored. Done. A mild depression marked me for the remainder of the evening...
I spent the entire week before Dilla's death trying to convince people to listen to Donuts, which happens to be the most fluid, consistent beat tape I've ever heard. But I had two very prominent obstacles working against me: It's only a beat tape, and no one outside of a very esoteric circle of hip-hop fans and producers were familiar with or cared enough about the artist to make a conscious effort.
So will this change now in light of his passing? Probably not. It's well-known that in the vein of artistry, when one dies before their time, one's work becomes increasingly more appreciated (skyrocketing album sales in the case of musicians) than when the artist is here on earth. Hell, even I was guilty of running out and finally copping Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. in late September of 1996. But even if I were to ask a random sampling of Detroiters that caught wind of Dilla death, I'd bet two bits to a bottle of piss that most wouldn't even know that he dropped an album three days before he went...
Virtually all of the rappers we tend to put in the pantheon died arguably at the top of their games. Throw in a couple bullet casings into the mix and we're talking a romantically tragic death. Pac and Big each put in less than five years proving their worth, and I have no doubt in my mind that if either rapper were still living, both would have had a fall from grace that every single rapper is fated to experience. There is minimal longevity in the rhyme game But Dilla? Dude has been in the game for more than a decade laying down classic cuts. Thing is, he was the man in the 1990's, and after leaving Slum Village at the turn of the century, he started to hit his stride with increasingly musical, loop-based beats.
We all love Pharcyde's "Runnin'" right? Who engineered that classic beat? We love Common to death, but who produced the best tracks on his last three albums? Who helped usher in De La Soul's triumphant return? Who sculpted some of the finest beats of Busta Rhymes' career? The quietest third of the Ummah production team kept under the surface his entire career, but ask the Pharrells and the Kanyes and the 9th Wonders about Dilla and they will all but admit that he fathered their production styles.
So what do we get in the wake of his death? A little blurb of a story on the Associated Press. Quick article on MTV News; maybe a mention or two in a few entertainment periodicals and done. Sh!t, I had to call The Detroit News the evening of his death to inform my former coworkers. I was met with cluelessness...not just of his death, but of who he was and what he accomplished. I kept thinking that if Kanye H. Christ or an artist of his pop culture stature died anytime soon, there'd be introspective on top of memoriam on top of this and that, and MTV's SuChin Pak would probably have her bony azz on the South Side of Chicago interviewing people about his "impact" o
|Wed, March 01, 2006 at 11:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
I heard Gucci was free. And I'm not talking about those 600 dollar purses. But he has enough cash to buy you one if you want, because he's still "So Icey". Gucci Mane is back in these Atlanta streets to keep it shiny out here.
He had more than a little bit of legal trouble last year, charges stemming from a shooting that occurred on the night of May 10. He claimed it was self-defense, and apparently the judges agreed. The charges were dropped, and with confidence, Gucci said he `expected to be cleared'.
Still, with our shady legal system, the ball could have bounced either way.
"I've learned I've got to surround myself with positive people and keep myself out of negative situations," Gucci Mane said.
As far as his alleged beef with Young Jeezy, which was made public by a series of diss mixtapes produced by both parties last summer, Gucci simply squashed it.
"I ain't got no problems with dude," he said, "I'm just doing me right now."
Indeed Gucci Mane is doing his thing. Even though he was largely unable to promote his debut album, Traphouse, it still sold over 100,000 units independently. Now that his drama is over, Gucci is revived and ready to push his product. His next single, "Go Head", is coming to a BET or MTV station near you soon. He plans to tour this summer, ready to hit areas like the West Coast and `up top', but until then, he'll be doing spot dates.
"I'm real proud of what we've accomplished already and I'm looking forward to accomplishing more," Gucci said of his budding career.
The Southern rapper grew up on the east side of Atlanta, also known as Decatur, and notes rappers such as Tupac, N.W.A. and Run DMC as influences. As far as family, Gucci said his mother was a huge influence. When he was dealing with his le gal issues, he relied solely on her and the Lord for the strength to overcome. Now that he's back in the game, his resolution is 'staying out of trouble, staying positive, and staying focused'.
So 2006 should be a great year for this Mane.
|Tue, February 14, 2006 at 12:00 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
It was a mid-winter wonderland, a magical vibrant city with people and life, a nightlife. It seemed like even though the snow was falling fast and tangling in my hair, everything was going to be alright. Women in mini-jean skirts or boots stood patiently in lines, huddling and holding umbrellas while big trucks rode past, looking for a place to park. As our limousine pulled up to the curb, I got out feeling like a movie star, stepping through the slushy snow. People were everywhere. Yet nowhere did I see the drug dealers or desolate poverty that Detroit was supposed to be. Instead, I saw a deadening determination to make it in the gleam of everyone's eye. Amazed, I linked arms with my girl as we were escorted into the private door and whisked into the ambience.
This was Michigan, Detroit. The Motor City. The Motown of the North, the original. Home of GM and Ford, who just laid of 33,000 workers, and constant coney islands. Its where Shady and Kid Rock claim, even though Kid Rock is really from Clarkston, a small city a hour into the Oakland county suburbs, which by the way is one of the nation's richest counties. Though not as well publicized, Detroit had race riots too and white flight hit the city hard. Northland, a suburb mall located just over the 8 mile border from Detroit, is the oldest mall in the nation and I remember taking the undependable D-Dot bus from 7 mile to go shopping there as a young girl. Fashion has always been a favorite Detroit past time, by the way, the best selling Foot Locker in the nation is located in the heart of Detroit's East Side. So it's "...pink gators, my Detroit players," like Biggie said. Yes, Detroit was hosting the Superbowl.
Rappers Juelz Santana, Twista, Juvenile, Ludacris, and Young Jeezy gave an exciting performance to a 5000+ crowd that Friday night. Backstage at the Rap Bowl, I got a chance to chat with Juvenile about what it feels like to leave his home. His newest album, Reality Check, was inspired by the devastation of New Orleans, and it hits stores March 7th.
We had something in common; Juvenile left his hometown because it was declared a disaster zone, and I left Detroit for much of the same reason. For years, the citizens of Detroit have struggled with an absent economy and a failing school system. In hopes of building a better future, I moved to Atlanta. When Katrina ripped through the city, Juvenile's house was destroyed and he had to relocate his family to Atlanta.
"New Orleans people are all over the country," he said, "And the insurance companies aren't doing anything."
Wow, I thought, even a G like Juvenile can't get a break when it comes to this disaster. They kicked everyone out of New Orleans by force or by flight. Though he has plans to rebuild his house in New Orleans and go back home, he is very concerned for the future of his city. Me too, I thought.
We have reached a new century, and times are rapidly changing. Juvenile agreed he was concerned about the upcoming crisis, as far as who would lay claim to the new city of New Orleans.
"They're gonna build it up to be a casino area," he said. Just like Detroit, I thought.
They are re-claimin
|Sat, February 11, 2006 at 11:50 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
The world paused to say good-bye to Coretta Scott King on Tuesday in Lithonia, Georgia. Four U.S. presidents, members of Congress, and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement joined the four King children and thousands of mourners along with such notables as Governor Sunny Perdue, Mayor Shirley Franklin, Ambassador Andrew Young, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Michael Bolton, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Maya Angelou, Bebe Winans, Cece Winans, D!ck Gregory, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Dottie Peoples, Gladys Knight, Chris Tucker, Hank Aaron and Cecily Tyson, for the funeral services at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church.
A beautiful portrait of the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was painted in words of her as a mother, wife, a force in maintaining her husband's legacy while making her own; the day was long and full of emotion. Dignitaries from all over the country met at undisclosed locations to ride charter buses in a convoy to the church. It was an honor for me to have been included in the number and to share my perspective of the Coretta Scott King's final service. The freeway was closed as a number of buses traveled over 20 miles east of Atlanta. My eyes filled with tears when our bus turned onto the New Birth Campus and was met by protestors.
About twenty brave white men and women stood holding large red, green, and yellow (similar to African colors) signs with bold black letters stating King Is In Hell, Do Not Worship The Dead, She Loved Homosexuals, some of the signs included photos of Mrs. King and Dr. King. For the first time in my life, I saw racism in action and it has forever changed me.
President Bush, alongside former Presidents Bush, Carter, and Clinton and their wives for the great homegoing service; there have been a number of comments about the times when speakers took the opportunity to denounce the war in Iraq, the Bush administration's wire tapping program, and the federal government's slow response to Hurricane Katrina. But none of those comments were as offensive to me as Bishop Eddie Long's poor attempt to use the funeral as an opportunity to promote himself and his church. The service at times was completely overshadowed by his attempt to pitch himself as the next leader in the Africa America struggle.
Rev. Bernice King even stretched theology to answer questions surrounding the death of her mother, location of the funeral, and praise Bishop Eddie Long--was far more offensive to me than the political statements made by leaders. The Kings were leaders that called into question violations of human rights and peace. Therefore, it was expected for individuals that worked with Mrs. King to address ideals that she made her lifes work.
It was disgusting to have included an interview clip of Bishop Long in the video presentation of Mrs. King, which was A wonderful collection of her speaking and even a happier moment of her makeover on Oprah; to touching appearances with her at the Crystal Cathedral--ended with a excerpt of Bishop Long grinning and discussing what type of wife she was to Dr. King to the final clip of a shalom faced Mrs. King standing in the pulpit at New Birth while Rev. Bernice King stated "Bishop Long, Dr. Martin Luther King could have never accomplished what he did without this woman." The additions of Long were completely inappropriate and distasteful.
The eulogy Rev. Bernice King delivered seemed to have been riddled in guilt as she tired to explain her rational to have not used modern medicine to battle her mother's cancer. Bernice should have addressed those issues in a press conference rather than as the final words over her mother's remains. "She had to die in Mexico because she was a global leader-we had to use alternative medicine because the Ki
|Tue, January 31, 2006 at 6:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
NEW FAMILY FILM TARGETING BLACK CHURCHES CAPTURES FESTIVAL SCREENINGS IN SAN DIEGO AND LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES, CA (BlackNews.com) - Los Angeles based writer and director Sheila Marie Norman's inspiring new feature film REUNION has been selected to screenings at film festivals in San Diego and Los Angeles during Black History Month, February 2006. "REUNION is a sure fire hit," said Quentin "Q" Holmes, AT WEAR Clothing Company Founder and Director, who portrays himself in a cameo role in the film.
The World Premiere of REUNION will occur at the Noir Film Festival in Norman's hometown of San Diego, at the Pacific Theatres Gaslamp 15 on Saturday, February 4th at 3:00pm. The movie will be featured during the festival's "Noir Family (Church, Kinfolks and Food) Program." Public screenings of REUNION will continue at the Magic Johnson Theaters in Los Angeles during the Pan African Film Festival on Sunday, February 12th at 1:25pm and on Monday, February 13th at 4:05pm.
REUNION breaks from convention with a touching universal family story with a cast of realistic and memorable characters. As relatives struggle to communicate and let guards down to let love in, the story unfolds into powerful confrontations and honest dialogue. "REUNION proves to be a soulful dramedy that masterfully portrays emotional complexities underscoring family affairs," said Leena Holland, Film Critic, Ego Magazine. The film features dozens of up and coming talent lead by Carolyn Owens, Trisha Mann, Dickie Wrightsil, Sid Burston, Dominiqua Lint and Micah Marie. REUNION was filmed in four locations including Palm Springs, CA and Hot Springs, AR.
As Hollywood continues to push the envelope with more and more edgy and controversial films, this urban family dramedy seeks to pull that envelope back. "REUNION is truly a must see for the entire family," said Norman. The producers are targeting churches in Black communities in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. The movie spotlights powerful black women as well as strong, family oriented black men in openly spiritual settings. "Our test audiences find the positive images very refreshing," said Executive Producer, Jerry L. Norman, III, of Norman & Norman, Inc. Entertainment. This is similar to the successful marketing campaigns used by such notables as Playwright Tyler Perry with his runaway hit "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" and Actor/Director Mel Gibson with his highly successful "The Passion of The Christ."
"REUNION is a simple story, told well, with people who look like me," said Norman. REUNION marks the directorial debut for the screenwriter. From idea to execution, Norman, a graduate of the USC School of Business and former Insurance Manager, worked in a self-taught approach, applying her business skills to the art of filmmaking. Norman is pleased with the arrangement, summing up: "There is a short supply in the way of older black female filmmakers, which makes REUNION a uniquely important contribution. Before becoming a filmmaker, I used to think I just belonged to the back room of corporate America, but now I appreciate the importance of adding my voice to the film community."
For Noir festival screening information, visit www.noirfilmfestival.com
For Pan African festival screening information, visit www.paff.org
For more information about REUNION, visit httpwww.reunion-movie.com
Jerry L. Norman, III
Norman & Norman, Inc. Entertainment
(714) 690-9777 Office
(714) 736-9777 Fax
|Mon, January 30, 2006 at 11:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Hollywood and New York met in Atlanta at the 14th Annual Trumpet Awards, founded by Xernona Clayton. The Trumpet Award is an distinguished honor to bestowed on individuals for outstanding achievement while contributing to humanity. Almost two thousand special VIPs from all over the world assembled on a "Rainy Night In Georgia," at the Georgia World Congress center for the invitation only event. Vivica A. Fox, Usher Raymond, Stevie Wonder, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, were all trumpeted by Clayton, a Civil Rights Icon.
A packed weekend for activities celebrating African American trailblazers, beginning with the Opening Prayer Breakfast, Meet the Authors book signing, Future Trumpet Awardees Breakfast, celebrating talented children, Cultural Explosion Concert featuring Eric Benet and Melissa Morgan, Nominee Dinner, built a momentum to the auspicious night. The rain did not stop the one person from attending and walking the red carpet. A sea of wigs, weaves, and make-up everyone strutted their stuff as they entered the ball room, while some should have taken the back entrance.
The paparazzi were out in full force at the Trumpet Awards to catch a glimpse of celebrity attendees. Co-hosted by Chris Tucker and LisaRaye McCoy, who led the walk of fame; Vivica A. Fox said, "This night means everything to me," as the beautiful movie star shared with me on the red carpet. "This is like the Black Golden Globe Awards," Vivica smiled. "It feels so good to have your own celebrate your hard work." Stevie Wonder, Usher Raymond, Aretha Franklin, Judge Mablean Ephram, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Eric Benet, Blair Underwood, Doug E. Fresh, Dr. Bobby Jones, Pastor Paula White, Judge Greg Mathis, Iman, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Attorney Willie Gary, Brian Jordan, Emmanuel Lewis, Rev. Clifton Davis, D!ck Gregory, George Wallace, Najee, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Melissa Morgan all came racing inside to get out of the rain, but made time to talk to yours truly.
"I have the honor of presenting Archbishop Desmond Tutu," Iman said. "I also participated in the book signing with my beauty book for women of color." Iman was stunning in a gold and black gown with a mink wrap. "It is always great to be in Atlanta and it does not get any better than the Trumpet Awards," Judge Mathis said. We were able to chat briefly on his feeling about Stanley "Tookie" Williams on his way into the ball room.
"It is a travesty of justice and he could have done more alive by continuing his work, which is more then anyone can do dead," Mathis declared. "We all can change; I went from jail to judge in fifteen years." The most rememrable moment of the night was Stevie Wonder's mini concert during is acceptance speech. Wonder called Doug E. Fresh on the stage to join him and Aretha Franklin, who presented him the distinguished honor. A melody of music flowed from Stevie effortlessly. "My Cheri Amore," "Very Superstitious," and "Until You Come Back To Me," by The Queen of Soul while he backed her with his harmonica.
The second most rememrable moment was Usher thanking his mother for believing in him and his thanking all the attendees for his dream becoming a reality. Raymond also requested the efforts of others to join him as he works to give back to the community. With a choirboy type of innocence you would have almost forgotten the rumors of him dating his married stylist. Read all about it in my "Street Committee," section.
A number of other individuals were honored on the historic night. Great accomplishment may not always come with fame, but their work is just as noted. Dr. Keith Black, neurosurgeon, Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, Chief Justice of Georgia Supreme Court, Danny Beckwell,
|Sun, January 22, 2006 at 11:59 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of nonviolence and reconciliation-what better day for Kobe and Shaq to make peace. Monday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles my man Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal finally shook hands and buried the hatchet. Kobe and the LA Lakers beat Shaq and the Miami Heat 100-92. Surprisingly enough O'Neal first approached Kobe while he was stretching before the game and congratulated him on the birth of his daughter and the child that he has on the way. "It made me feel good," Kobe said he was surprised by the gesture.
"We've been through so many wars together. Now we can move on, try to do the best for our teams, I wish him the best in South Beach," Kobe continued. "I think it's good for the city of Los Angeles, good for the NBA, good for the youth, being Martin Luther King Day, Shaq said" In deed it was good for the entire world to see these two great basketball players forgive each other. Especially, for Shaq to have been man enough to go to Kobe since he kept the feud going--this adds to the long list of reasons to respect Shaq. Face it Shaq has earned his Masters Degree, completed the police academy, and does a number of things in the community. Shaq is defiantly a role model and did the right thing to extend his hand to Kobe.
Shaq did admit that he did not take such a giant step on his own. "I had orders from Bill Russell," Shaq shared. "Me and him were talking in Seattle the other day, and he was telling me how rivalries should be. I asked him if he ever disliked anybody he played against, and he told me, `No, never,' and he told me that I should shake Kobe Bryant's hand and let bygones be bygones and bury the hatchet. "Today is a day of peace; Dr. Martin Luther King was an ambassador of peace. So when I talked to Mr. Russell, he said that he and Chamberlain spoke once or twice a week before he passed away. And even though people thought they hated each other, there was nothing but love there." An example of a true role model, it is not what others do to you, but how you respond. Good job Shaq and Kobe!
It would be great if Dr. King's children could live up to their father's mission and come to peace on the sell of The King Center. Only one of the King children attended the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service on Monday. The message was clear that the center will be sold to the National Park Service, which is owned by the federal government. The dark shadow of the sell center, the division of the siblings, and the absence of Mrs. Coretta Scott King loomed over what was to be a service that honors his legacy.
Dr. Christine King Ferris announced that Rev. Bernice King was watching the service at home with her mother and Martin III and Yolanda had previous engagements. What other engagement could have been more important then your father's service? Well, they must have been somewhere else speaking and collecting a check off of his memory than at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where their father and grandfather once were the pastors. Rev. Flyod Flake's sermon was must moving as he sited examples of the continued struggle of African Americans and how present day leaders are to insecure to mentor and extend opportunities to young people due to their own selfish gain and insecurities. Flake reminded us that Dr. King died at age 39 and Jesus at age 33 and they accomplished more in their young lives than a lot of old people. Fear is what causes the so called cliques to keep others out especially the young.
"We are pursing an offer to sell, but we have not sold the center as of yet," Dexter King said. "My mother was always planning to do this, however my brother and sister were not planning f