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Hard Choices / SCANDAL or VEEP?
« on: April 29, 2012, 07:00:36 am »


Is this really a hard choice??
I know, I know, one is a drama and the other is a comedy but there are some striking resemblances between the two. SCANDAL sometimes appear as a comedy show when it is really a drama and VEEP sometimes appear as a drama when it is really a comedy.
Both television shows have a main female character in power positions, sometimes in politics, sometimes between thier peers but which TV show is more preferable?

Latest Flicks / SPARKLE
« on: April 03, 2012, 06:18:12 am »
Ladies & gentlemen of HEF...

The latest trailer from the movie,  SPARKLE.

Cast: Jordin Sparks, Whitney Houston, Derek Luke, Cee-Lo Green
Director: Salim Akil
Writer: Mara Brock Akil

« on: March 18, 2012, 02:41:09 am »
ShowTime has another comedy show called LIP SERVICE, A Night Of Sexy Comedy, hosted by Niecy Nash starring 4 lovely ladies doing stand-up comedy:

Vanessa Graddick, the ex-social worker...

Shawn Pelofsky a.k.a. The broke Barbera Streisand...

the woman who will make you laugh and tired, Christian Shirm

and the Lioness, Michelle Buteau...

EDIT: Corrected the line-up. That's what I get for posting over-night... sorry. :-[

Hudlin TV / SNOOP DOGG presents...
« on: March 11, 2012, 02:56:56 pm »
It seems like ShowTime is onto something with these comedy shows every other weekend. The legendary Dee-Oh-Double-Gee has put out a hour-long special show featuring the 5 funniest ladies doing stand-up comedy. If you do a search on DIRECTV,  on-stage you will see Tiffany Haddish, April Macie, Cookie Hull, Monique Marvez and Luenell each doing thier own brand of 'Ladies First' type of funny.


General Discussion / HEF at 85!!?
« on: February 14, 2012, 05:52:36 pm »
From the "Letters to the Editor" page of Morning News
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'HEF at 85'!!? What's that got to do with the Pee Dee?

I've often wondered how this paper chooses what items are important enough to make the front pages of various sections.
I'm sure there are times that require quick decisions/choices to be made, and there may not be a lot of 'news' items readily available to choose from. But, some days' front pages make me not even want to pick the paper up and read it, if the articles printed there are the most important "news" you could find to report on!

Section C of Sunday's (Jan. 29) paper really took the cake for Pee Dee Living front pages. I'd think you must have more time to collect items for a Sunday paper, and maybe I'm wrong in thinking the section "Pee Dee Living" should be about people or happenings in the Pee Dee??
But, I'd like to ask what the heck "HEF At 85" has to do with Pee Dee Living.? Come on! ....How deep did you have to dig? Yes, I'm sure some readers were delighted to see the famous 'man in his bathrobe' and read of his Playboy Empire; obviously, his unscrupulous lifestyle and magazine have a huge following.
But, why did you think this article deserved a front seat for the bulk of readers in the 'Pee Dee'? Why not, instead, the article that was put on page 2C about the 'Pee Dee' grad?....or even the Pee Dee area brides!?

There are many stories out there about Pee Dee folks/families, past and present. You don't have to look far to find one. (I tried to get an article published in a Saturday "Faith & Values" section about a minister, born and raised in the Pee Dee, who had recieved a prestigious award. I was told it couldn't be printed unless I paid an unreasonable sum of money!)It's not my place to judge those who live in or long for "HEF's" world. But, my opinion is that he and his empire started a web of immorality and degradation that continues to spiral out of control. It's ruined individuals and families not grounded and strong enough to fight the effects.

It's also my opinion that this article should not have been allowed to represent "Pee Dee Living" or appear to be of such great interest to those who live here. Of course, there's much obsession these days with celebrities and thier lifestyles..... How many times have we heard about Lindsey Lohan going back to jail before other reports on the national news?! Priorities are messed up everywhere. But this paper could do better for its readers.
Pictures of "HEF" in his bathrobe tend to make me nauseated. God help us, if that's the best Sunday reading you can find to offer folks faithfully sending too many of thier hard-earned dollars to subscribe to your paper.


In The News / Give Her, Her Due
« on: February 12, 2012, 09:21:46 am »
Patricia Stephens Due Dies at 72; Campaigned for Civil Rights
Published: February 11, 2012
Patricia Stephens Due, center, in a protest at a segregated theater in 1963 in Tallahassee, Fla.
"She always wore dark glasses after a police officer threw a tear gas canister in her face in 1960." ---as told by Tananarive Due

Patricia Stephens Due, whose belief that, as she put it, “ordinary people can do extraordinary things” propelled her to leadership in the civil rights movement — but at a price, including 49 days in a stark Florida jail — died on Tuesday in Smyrna, Ga. She was 72.

The cause was thyroid cancer, her daughter Johnita Due said. She had moved to Smyrna, an Atlanta suburb, to be near her family after living in Miami.

At 13, Patricia Stephens challenged Jim Crow orthodoxy by trying to use the “whites only” window at a Dairy Queen. As a college student, she led demonstrations to integrate lunch counters, theaters and swimming pools and was repeatedly arrested.

As a young mother, she pushed two children in a stroller while campaigning for the rights of poor people. As a veteran of integration and voting rights battles, she went on to fight for economic rights, once obstructing a garbage truck in support of striking workers. As an elder stateswoman of the movement, she wrote a memoir to honor “unsung foot soldiers.”

She fought beside John D. Due Jr., a civil rights lawyer, whom she married in 1963. For their honeymoon, they rode the Freedom Train to Washington to hear the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Mrs. Due paid a price for this devotion. She wore large, dark glasses day and night because her eyes were damaged when a hissing tear gas canister hit her in the face. She took a decade to graduate from Florida A&M University because of suspensions for her activism.

Her F.B.I. file ran more than 400 pages. Her stepfather urged her to give up civil rights, to protect her and his own job. She was kicked and threatened with dogs, including a German shepherd whose police handlers gave it a racial slur for a name.

Mrs. Due’s greatest prominence came after she and 10 other students were arrested for sitting at the “whites only” lunch counter at a Woolworth’s store in Tallahassee, Fla., on Feb. 20, 1960. It was 19 days after four black students in Greensboro, N.C., had made civil rights history by doing the same thing.

Mrs. Due and seven others refused to pay $300 fines for violating laws they abhorred. Five served the full 49-day sentence.

As leader of the sit-in, Mrs. Due became a national figure. Jackie Robinson sent her a diary for her jail-time thoughts. James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte and Eleanor Roosevelt endorsed her efforts. Dr. King sent a telegram saying, “Going to jail for a righteous cause is a badge of honor and a symbol of dignity.”

It was not easy behind bars. She and her sister, Priscilla Stephens Kruize, her compatriot in many battles, had to share a narrow bed. They suspected that a mentally disturbed woman was placed in the cell to unnerve them. Food was awful; nights were cold.

Thurgood Marshall, head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, questioned whether it was all worth it, given the deplorable state of Southern jails. But the drama of righteous incarceration seized the nation’s attention, a freed Mrs. Due went on a national fund-raising tour and the “jail-in” became a movement standard.

Patricia Gloria Stephens was born on Dec. 9, 1939, in Quincy, Fla., and was raised in Belle Glade, Fla. As high school students, she and Priscilla, who was 15 months older, started a petition to have the principal removed, The Miami Herald reported in 1990. Patricia said the two were “always testing things.”

In 1959, she formed a local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality. It was the beginning of life as “a professional volunteer,” in her daughter’s words. She worked with youths, helped out in political campaigns and spoke on human rights issues. In the last year of her life, state, county and local governments in Florida honored her.

In addition to her husband of 49 years, her sister and her daughter, Mrs. Due is survived by two other daughters, Tananarive Due and Lydia Due Greisz; a brother, Walter Stephens; and five grandchildren.

In 2003, Mrs. Due and her daughter Tananarive, a novelist, wrote “Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights.” The book discusses thorny issues like black people’s ambivalence about the civil rights struggle in the movement’s early days and the emotional turmoil of children whose parents are activists. It also contains many tales of courage.

“Stories live forever,” Mrs. Due liked to say. “Storytellers don’t.”

« on: February 06, 2012, 06:18:12 am »

Prickly and funny, as always, Paul Mooney is in top form in his latest venture on ShowTime... 


Last night after the SuperBowl show, I found myself chuckling & nodding my head in agreement with virtually everything this brother had to say about Hollywood, celebrities, today's politics, President Obama and most of all...

---White people! ;D   Not necessarily in that order. ;)

When you get a chance, do a search on DIRECTV and find out why folks call him 'The Godfather Of Comedy'.

Directing / Can You Guess This Movie Set?
« on: February 02, 2012, 05:03:28 pm »
Here is an interesting set built for an up coming movie. Can You Guess What Movie This Set Will Appear In?

« on: January 20, 2012, 06:33:41 pm »
Etta James Passes Away In California

The Look Of Tragedy, Triumph, Tragedy and Triumph.
Excerpts from the article:

The tender, sweet song belied the turmoil in her personal life. James — born Jamesetta Hawkins — was born in Los Angeles to a mother whom she described as a scam artist, a substance abuser and a fleeting presence during her youth. She never knew her father, although she was told and had believed, that he was the famous billiards player Minnesota Fats. He neither confirmed nor denied it: when they met, he simply told her: "I don't remember everything. I wish I did, but I don't."

She was raised by Lula and Jesse Rogers, who owned the rooming house where her mother once lived in. The pair brought up James in the Christian faith, and as a young girl, her voice stood out in the church choir. James landed the solos in the choir and became so well known, she said that Hollywood stars would come to see her perform.

But she wouldn't stay a gospel singer for long. Rhythm and blues lured her away from the church, and she found herself drawn to the grittiness of the music.

"My mother always wanted me to be a jazz singer, but I always wanted to be raunchy," she recalled in her book.

She was doing just that when bandleader Johnny Otis found her singing on San Francisco street corners with some girlfriends in the early 1950s. Otis, a legend in his own right, died on Tuesday.

"At the time, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters had a hit with 'Work With Me, Annie,' and we decided to do an answer. We didn't think we would get in show business, we were just running around making up answers to songs."

And so they replied with the song, "Roll With Me, Henry."

When Otis heard it, he told James to get her mother's permission to accompany him to Los Angeles to make a recording. Instead, the 15-year-old singer forged her mother's name on a note claiming she was 18.

"At that time, you weren't allowed to say 'roll' because it was considered vulgar. So when Georgia Gibbs did her version, she renamed it 'Dance With Me, Henry' and it went to No. 1 on the pop charts," the singer recalled. The Gibbs song was one of several in the early rock era when white singers got hits by covering songs by black artists, often with sanitized lyrics.

After her 1955 debut, James toured with Otis' revue, sometimes earning only $10 a night. In 1959, she signed with Chicago's legendary Chess label, began cranking out the hits and going on tours with performers such as Bobby Vinton, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and the Everly Brothers.

"We would travel on four buses to all the big auditoriums. And we had a lot of fun," she recalled in 1987.

James recorded a string of hits in the late 1950s and '60s including "Trust In Me," ''Something's Got a Hold On Me," ''Sunday Kind of Love," ''All I Could Do Was Cry," and of course, "At Last."

"(Chess Records founder) Leonard Chess was the most aware of anyone. He went up and down the halls of Chess announcing, 'Etta's crossed over! Etta's crossed over!' I still didn't know exactly what that meant, except that maybe more white people were listening to me. The Chess brothers kept saying how I was their first soul singer, that I was taking their label out of the old Delta blues, out of rock and into the modern era. Soul was the new direction," she wrote in her autobiography. "But in my mind, I was singing old style, not new."

In 1967, she cut one of the most highly regarded soul albums of all time, "Tell Mama," an earthy fusion of rock and gospel music featuring blistering horn arrangements, funky rhythms and a churchy chorus. A song from the album, "Security," was a top 40 single in 1968.

Her professional success, however, was balanced against personal demons, namely a drug addiction.

"I was trying to be cool," she told the AP in 1995, explaining what had led her to try heroin.

"I hung out in Harlem and saw Miles Davis and all the jazz cats," she continued. "At one time, my heavy role models were all druggies. Billie Holiday sang so groovy.
Is that because she's on drugs? It was in my mind as a young person. I probably thought I was a young Billie Holiday, doing whatever came with that."

She was addicted to the drug for years, beginning in 1960, and it led to a harrowing existence that included time behind bars. It sapped her singing abilities and her money, eventually, almost destroying her career.

It would take her at least two decades to beat her drug problem. Her husband, Artis Mills, even went to prison for years, taking full responsibility for drugs during an arrest even though James was culpable.

"My management was suffering. My career was in the toilet. People tried to help, but I was hell-bent on getting high," she wrote of her drug habit in 1980.

She finally quit the habit and managed herself for a while, calling up small clubs and asking them, "Have you
ever heard of Etta James?" in order to get gigs. Eventually, she got regular bookings — even drawing Elizabeth Taylor as an audience member. In 1984, she was tapped to sing the national anthem at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, and her career got the resurgent boost it needed, though she fought addiction again when she got hooked on painkillers in the late 1980s.

Drug addiction wasn't her only problem. She struggled with her weight, and often performed from a wheelchair as she got older and heavier. In the early 2000s, she had weight-loss surgery and shed some 200 pounds.

James performed well into her senior years, and it was "At Last" that kept bringing her the biggest ovations. The song was a perennial that never aged, and on Jan. 20, 2009, as crowds celebrated that — at last — an African-American had become president of the United States, the song played as the first couple danced.

Would You Like To Know More?

Feel The Funk / Top 12 Reasons Gospel Artists are Broke
« on: December 20, 2011, 06:44:03 am »
Top 12 Reasons Gospel Artists are Broke
by James Walker Jr. Esq

I read this article by my friend attorney James L. Walker (No relation) where he talked about the reasons Hip-Hop and Rap artists were broke after a career in music. I tweeted him and said "I need this article for Gospel artists," and below is what he wrote for me and has so graciously allowed me to share with you, my readers. I urge you to read, learn and take heart his words of wisdom.

Kirk Franklin wrote a mega song once that asked, “Why Do We Sing?

With over 100 gospel albums released since that 1993 Grammy winning song and album, I’m still asking why are gospel artists singing and making CDs when seemingly only 5-10 are really making money to survive on as a person.

In nearly 20 years, I have worked with practically every major gospel artist on the planet in some shape or form, whether promoting a concert featuring them, managing them, administering their publishing or obviously, serving as their legal counsel.

I have noticed one common trend: that while we have some well known names who are doing a lot of damage (i.e., making a ton of money), like Marvin Sapp, John P. Kee, Yolanda Adams, Donald Lawrence, Donnie McClurkin, CeCe Winans, Fred Hammond and of course, Kirk Franklin, there are 99% that never see an actual royalty check from their record sales and to be frank, are really struggling financially.

We have 99% of the so-called “national gospel artists” or “international gospel artists” (depending on how they describe themselves on the press release) struggling to pay the mortgage, car note or rent.

So I asked why are we (STILL) singing? Specifically, why are we making CDs and then I realized many of the gospel artists probably don’t know why they are struggling or broke.

I gathered 12 Top Reasons for this struggle.

But before I state them, I am aware that gospel artists or “church folk” always like you to give some Biblical or “spiritual” foundation or “exegesis” before you sound off in an article like this.

So before reading the list below (if you need too have a Biblical backdrop), know that in biblical terms, the number 12 is symbolic for perfection. Some say 12 is the product of 3 (the perfectly divine and heavenly number) and 4 (the earthly, i.e., the number of what is material and organic).

There were 12 patriarchs in the Old Testament from Shem (the son of Noah) to Jacob.

In wise leader Solomon’s reign, the number 12 was the predominating factor vs. the number 5 in the tabernacle.

In the New Testament it is no different: 12 Apostles; 12 Foundations in the Heavenly Jerusalem; the 12 Gates; the 12 Pearls; and the 12 angels.

There are 12 months in a year. And, if all of that is not “deep” enough for some reading this article, my grandfather had 12 kids (which is significant enough for me)!

Now that we have laid the foundation and gotten that out of the way for “church folk”, here are the 12 Top Reasons Gospel Artists Go Broke (among many more):

1. They TRUST Jesus & Anyone Who Uses The Name of “Jesus” to Convince Them Not to Read Their Contracts or Hire Good Representation.

2. They PRAY Daily, But Won’t READ Daily.

3. They Sing and Shout Day and Night, But Never Listen Morning or Evening.

4. They Keep Hiring A Choir Member or Deacon From Their Church to “play” Manager.

5. They Like New Shoes More Than New Money.

6. They Overprice Themselves Out of The Market and Don’t Understand the Changes in the Marketplace.

7. They Won’t Read ANY Contracts, Even the Sprint Contract, then Cry “Satan is a Liar”, When The Phone Is Shut Off.

8. They Love a High Profile Nice Big Car, vs. a Nice Low Profile Large Bank Account.

9. They’ll Listen to Their Pastor’s Advice Before They’ll Listen to Their Attorney, Manager or Accountant.

10. They Don’t Realize Jesus Wept Because He Knew A Generation would Sing and Never Get Paid Until They Read Their Contracts Like they Read the Bible and Pray Daily.

11. They Don’t Understand a Point, Publishing or Statutory Rates.

12. Like All Artists, They Want To Be A “Star” For All The Wrong Reasons! But They Even Wrongly Feel Jesus “Called Them” To Just Sing And Not Worry or Care About Business.

Let me explain a little about some of these reasons that are not obvious.

About 5 years ago, a gospel artists told me don’t “worry about the contract, me and the label president went to church together, he’s a Man of God.”

I wasn’t worried about the “God” in that statement, I was worried about the “Man”, i.e., flesh. Gospel artists often feel because an executive knows Jesus or comes to church with them or has a “come to Jesus” moment with them, that this executive could never send them a one-sided contract.

WRONG! Matter of fact, in those cases of someone “bonding” with you that much, please read the contract even closer and avoid the pitfalls of Top Reason #1 above.

Also, my Grandfather was always a man of prayer, but he also taught me don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good. When an artist spends all day praying, but refuses to spend anytime reading (Reason #2 above) books like “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” by Donald Passman or Kashif’s Book, “Everything You Better Know About The Record Industry”, he has done himself no “earthly” good in terms of protecting himself.

I appreciate Donald Lawrence tweeting my book from time-to-time, “This Business of Urban Music” (Random House/Billboard Books), and just pray people or rather gospel artists go buy the book. But, being a former President of the Stellar Awards Board, I often took copies of my books to our annual Stellar Awards and gave them out, but some artists still would not read.

And per Reason #4 above, realize you can’t have Pookie and Ray-Ray managing you. Do not hire your BFF (best friend) from the choir to manage you or the deacon who raised you to be manager. Unless they are trained, it will be very hard for them to advance your career, no matter how “anointed” they are.

The gospel concert marketplace is really different than when promoter Al Walsh took out the Kirk Franklin-Yolanda Adams-Fred Hammond tour and shocked America with a mainstream gospel tour.

Nowadays, people don’t want to pay $30,000 or $15,000 and in some cases $5,000 to a gospel artist. And, consumers are not gonna pay to see a major artist in a commercial venue for $40 dollars when they know T.D. Jakes’ Potter’s House will have you for free two weeks later.

So, as Reason #6 eludes to, as an artist, you have to take this into consideration and work with the church or promoter in a reasonable way, in terms of your pricing, hotel, travel demands and even food requests. Otherwise, you will overprice yourself and sit home every weekend, while lesser known artists get work.

Per Top Reasons #7-9 above, listen to your advisors, live conservatively and read all your contracts. I understand your pastor is a very important individual in your life. But your pastor is not your accountant, lawyer or manager and he or she may not know the ins-and-outs of the music industry. Thus, you cannot listen to him on music biz stuff.

Like all artists, gospel artists must learn what a point is on an album, that percentage of their royalties that is paid to the producer, i.e., Top Reason #11 above. They should also understand music publishing, i.e., how a simple song on a Donnie McClurkin platinum album could garner the songwriter in upwards of $100,000 in royalties under the laws of copyright (i.e., what’s known as the Statutory Rate).

And, lastly, even if you feel “called” by God to sing and “that’s the reason why you sing”, please feel just as “called” to study the “business” of music and protect yourself.

John 11:35: Jesus Wept!!!! (and is STILL weeping while we just sing and don’t handle business)!

James L. Walker, Jr., is an attorney and real estate owner based in Atlanta, GA. He can be reached at; or on Twitter @jameslwalkeresq or on his website: Attorney Walker is a Professor, Legal Analyst and the Author of “This Business of Urban Music”.

« on: November 25, 2011, 05:30:48 am »
Anybody catch this show on ShowTime? ;D
It's like a soft core adult (by today's standards) version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the Muppets puppet characters.  Instead, the show is comprised of two guys sitting on a couch, making fun of old porn flicks on video tape. What's even more remarkable is that the movies these guys review will occasionally invite the porn legends themselves on the couch and give additional commentary.  I think it's the best show on (pay) television!  

Whatever happened to this show?

Latest Flicks / The Avengers
« on: October 11, 2011, 07:26:42 pm »
Avengers Assemble!

Vox Populi / It's A Great Day... where?? :)
« on: October 06, 2011, 12:48:54 pm »
Pretty Indian chick South Carolina Governess, Nikki Haley, is now requiring all state workers to answer phones with this greeting,

"It's A Great Day In South Carolina. How Can I Help You?" 

Wanna have some harmless fun?

Here's a contact number to the State Mansion:  (803) 734-2100  or this one: (803) 734-2100 to see if the state employees are following orders. :)

Mind you, this is confederate territory so proceed with caution. :-[

Acting / Halle in a new Charlie's Angels series?
« on: September 18, 2011, 08:03:48 am »

I like this shot of  Halle Berry's 1970s look that I clipped from my ISPs main site.  Doesn't she look similar to Kate Jackson? :)

Technology / Steve Jobs Resigns From Apple
« on: August 24, 2011, 04:50:58 pm »
" 'Bout time!"
Steve Jobs Resigns From Apple

(Reuters) - Silicon Valley legend Steve Jobs on Wednesday resigned as chief executive of Apple Inc in a stunning move that ended his 14-year reign at the technology giant he co-founded in a garage.

Would You Like To Know More?
Google it!

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