Saturday, December 29, 2007

Millionaire Reveals her Journey in New Memoir

Ella M. Coney's When You Fall Down - Get Up!: A MILLIONAIRE'S MEMOIR takes you through 30 years of personal diary entries, chronicling Coney's obstacles on the way to becoming a millionaire. Coney, a single mother starting her journey with legal trouble, decides to join the Air Force and later on finds her niche in real estate.

Coney wants her readers to know that "the goal is very attainable if you are willing to focus, sacrifice and work hard." She comments, "Life is hard, but get up! Keep getting up!

The book can be ordered directly from the publisher at or through the book order hotline at (888) 280-7715.

Debbie Allen Revives "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

Debbie Allen

Terrence Howard

Anika Noni Rose

Super-sista Debbie Allen's Broadway revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" commences on March 6 at New York's Broadhurst Theatre. The all-black cast is the first production to be authorized by playwright Tennessee Williams' estate.

The noir cast is an assemblage of notable actors. Terrence Howard will make his stage debut and Tony Award winners, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad and "Dreamgirl" Anika Noni Rose star in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Southern drama.

Howard will play the haunted, alcoholic Brick, a former football player who rebuffs the advances of his wife, Maggie (Rose), and faces a tortured relationship with his domineering father, Big Daddy (Jones). Rashad plays Big Mama. The other two main roles in the dysfunctional family are yet to be announced.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Kathleen Battle to Sing in the New Year in China

World-acclaimed and uber-talented American soprano Kathleen Battle and Chinese pianist Lang Lang, will perform at the international opening of The National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing's brand-new state-of-the-art performing arts center. Both artists will appear in special gala performances on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day with the China National Symphony Orchestra led by the highly sought-after Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa, who is currently the music director of the Vienna State Opera.

An American treasure, Battle has earned countless accolades for her luminous voice called "without qualification, one of the very few most beautiful in the world" by The Washington Post.

Kathleen Battle's performances in China will also mark the beginning of a major year for the five-time Grammy-winning opera singer, who is a favored soloist with the world's most esteemed conductors and orchestras. In spring 2008, Battle will return to New York City's Carnegie Hall for her first recital there in many years. In 1991, Battle made her Carnegie Hall solo recital debut as part of the famed concert hall's 100th anniversary season. A celebrated recording of her performance received a Grammy Award.
Take a minute to view a clip of this diva singing like a bird.

Janet Jackson Making Comeback with DISCIPLINE

DISCIPLINE, Janet Jackson’s new album — and the 10th studio album of her career — is scheduled to arrive in stores on February 26th. DISCIPLINE was executive produced by Antonio "L.A." Reid, Chairman, Island Def Jam Music Group. Janet's guest producers include musical creme de la creme: Rodney Jerkins, Jermaine Dupri, Ne-Yo, Stargate, Tricky Stewart, and The-Dream.

Hopefully, DISCIPLINE is the comeback album that Janet's die-hard fans have been waiting for. Her first single off the album, "Feedback," has already leaked and is receiving postive feedback. We're pulling for you Ms. Jackson!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Rihanna and Other Celebs Support "Fashion Against Aids"

(Photos:Photographers: John Scarisbrick & Daniel Jackson - H&M / Collage: nitro:licious)

H&M and Designers Against AIDS (DAA) are joining forces in the battle against AIDS and are launching a collection for guys and girls together with Rihanna, Timbaland and other well-known designers, musicians and artists. The aim is to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS, which affects many young people all over the world. The collection “Fashion Against AIDS” will be available in H&M’s Divided departments from February 2008.

The artists taking part in “Fashion Against AIDS” are Rihanna, Chicks on Speed, Good Charlotte, Henrik Vibskov, Jade Jagger, Katharine Hamnett, My Chemical Romance, Rufus Wainwright, Scissor Sisters, The Cardigans, Tiga, Timbaland and Ziggy Marley.

"Supporting the Fashion Against AIDS campaign was a great way to encourage my fans to join me in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I love that H&M is providing a fashionable and easy way for young people all over the world to get involved in this worthy cause, “says Rihanna.

Twelve million young people in the 15-24 age group are now infected with the virus. The initiative for this collaborative venture was taken by Designers Against AIDS (DAA), a non-profit organisation that seeks to mould public opinion through collaboration with fashion designers, musicians and other artists. Twenty-five percent of proceeds will go towards the cause.

MTV Making the Video with Shell

Music channel, MTV and oil giant, Shell, have partnered to showcase African music. According to Mr Jandre Louw, Marketing Manager of MTV Networks Africa, the MTV Making the Video with Shell initiative has been created to boost Africa's contemporary music industry. Providing the best platform to inspire, encourage and promote filmmakers and artists through creative and technical training workshops, an acquisition of new knowledge and ideas to make their productions more professional for a real visibility on the international scene.

World renowned US video music director Rachel Watanabe-Batton was in Accra to shoot a video for Ghanaian hip-life sensation, Tinny as part of the MTV Making the Video with Shell campaign. Gabonese hip-hop duo Movaizhaleine got to unwrap an early Christmas present when they took delivery of their brand new music video for ‘Nous’ on December 21st. MTV Making the Video with Shell initiative enabled Movaizhaleine to have their music video shot free of charge by legendary Chilean music video director JG Biggs, with a cameo appearance by French-Cameroonian star Pit Baccardi.

The campaign brings together directors from Africa and renowned international directors to work side-by-side through music video workshops and video shoots featuring local and international artists. The project has visited South Africa, Gabon, Kenya and Nigeria.

Fashion, Stars and Cars @ Upcoming Urban Wheels Awards

Journalist, Kevin Frazier

Actress, Rosie Perez

Randi Payton (UWA creator, CEO/Founder of OnWheels Inc.

On January 15, Kevin Frazier, 'Entertainment Tonight' correspondent and weekend anchor, will join Rosie Perez as co-host of the 12th Urban Wheel Awards at Detroit's Fox Theatre. The Urban Wheels Awards(UWA) honors pioneering automotive industry leaders who transcend the mainstream and embrace diversity to create products and services recognizing the growing clout of multicultural consumers.

This star-studded awards forum recognizes the top African-American, Asian-American and Latino executives in the automotive and ancillary industries who have furthered diversity in their employment practices and in the community through marketing, employment, public relations, manufacturing and/or corporate activities. An independent panel of noted journalists determines the winners.

UWA creator Randi Payton is also CEO and founder of OnWheels Inc, which publishes African Americans On Wheels, Latinos On Wheels and Asians On Wheels magazines. The Urban Wheel Awards benefit the Edward Davis Education Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation whose purpose is to provide scholarship support to college students of color working toward degrees that will lead to careers in the auto industry.

Leading Ladies & Gents of African Cinema Honored

Actors, Nadia Buari and Van Vicker

Brooklyn, New York was the epicenter of African glamour and showbiz as the superstars of African cinema descended on the city for the 10th Annual Five Continents Awards. The event was in honor of Nollywood and Ghollywood for raising the bar for the African film industry which has become very prosperous.

Nollywood is Nigeria's booming film industry and is the world's third largest producer of feature films. Ghollywood is Ghana's very popular film industry.

Ghana’s finest, co-stars, Van Vicker and Nadia Buari, received awards for their roles in “Beyonce, The President’s Daughter” series. Nollywood stars also represented: Chinedu Ikedieze, Osita Iheme, Patience Ozorkwo, Mike Ozuronye, Jim Iyke, as well as Omotola Jalade.

The Consul General of Ghana, His Excellency Obeng Gyan Busia, was one of the dignitaries who graced the occasion in addition to the Nollywood/Ghollywood fans who were overjoyed to see their actors.

The international film industry is starting to take notice of the African cinema and the talent it has to offer. Nollywood has generated so much buzz, it definitely one to watch in 2008. As global popularity grows, many speculators of African cinema acknowledge that the time has come for fresh story lines, depth and glamour.

Society Noir will write future posts detailing the growing Nollywood and Ghollywood industries.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Alesha is 'Strictly' the Victor

Alesha Dixon, the former member of R&B group Mis-Teeq, danced her way to victory in the ballroom competition " Strictly Come Dancing." Alesha and dance partner Matthew Cutler's fates were sealed by the viewers, whose votes determine the winner.
As host Bruce Forsyth handed Alesha the winners trophy, he told her "You could become the biggest female star in this country."

Runner-up Di Angelo and his dance partner Flavia Cacace said they were "very pleased" to have made it to the final.
The two finalists performed five dances each, including their favourite ballroom and Latin dances of the series.

Check out the video clip of Alesha and Matthew dancing their hearts out.

Tyra and Kimora Lee on Forbe's Savviest Celebrity Businesswomen List

Tyra Banks

Kimora with daughters, Ming and Aoki

Forbes Magazine compiled a list of ten female celebrities who have done an amazing job of handling their business. These women capitalized by marketing themselves as a brand and making dynamic corporate deals. Best friends, Kimora and Tyra were the only sistas who made the list this year.

Tyra Banks has morphed from supermodel to mogul with an estimated $18 million/year earnings. Her appropriately named Bankable Productions has been just that. Banks is the producer of two highly rated TV shows: a daytime talk show and the reality hit America’s Next Top Model. In October, Banks signed a multiyear deal with Warner Brothers to create and produce prime-time TV shows, both scripted and reality-based, as well as feature films, and a direct-to-DVD series based on the best-selling Clique series of books for teens. Expect Banks’ estimated $18 million a year earnings to keep pace with her output.

Kimora Lee Simmons has proven she's a dealmaker all on her own. When Kimora's ex-husband Russell stepped down in September as head of Phat Fashions, Kimora stepped up and took over creative duties for the men's, women's and children's lines, sold in over 3000 outlets worldwide. This summer her reality show Life in the Fab Lane debuted on E! Entertainment and Style, becoming the highest rated show on Style with the female 18-34 demographic. Don't forget about KLS Collection, her line of women's clothes, makeup and fragrances, as well as the Simmons Collection, jewelry sold through Zales and Kay Jewelers. Simmons pockets about $10 million a year from her various business interests.

Kobe Reaches 20,000 Points

Kobe Bryant is the youngest player in NBA history to reach the 20,000 point plateau. Bryant's 3-pointer today in the early third quarter of the LA Lakers' game against the NY Knicks allowed him to reach the milestone at 29 years, 122 days. Before him, only Wilt Chamberlain (29, 134) and Michael Jordan (29, 326) had gotten there before turning 30.

Bryant needed 811 games to reach 20,000 points, 15th-fastest in league history. Chamberlain did it in 499 games.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Beyonce Strips Down to Jeans in New Ad

The hardest working woman in showbiz teases her fans with a new sexy ad. At first glance, it appears Beyoncé is topless in her new jeans advertisement for "House of Deréon", but it's just trickery. As usual, Beyoncé keeps it sexy but classy, marketing the sensual potential of her clothing line. "House of Deréon" is a prêt-à-porter fashion line introduced by singer Beyoncé Knowles and her mother/stylist Tina Knowles in 2004. The style and concept is inspired by three generations of women in their family, with the name "Deréon" paying tribute to Beyoncé's grandmother, Agnèz Deréon.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Harrods Gets the Golden Touch

Laban Roomes with investor James Caan (centre) and Harrods owner, Mohamed Al Fayed

In addition to celebrating an investment from BBC2's Dragon's Den, businessman Laban Roomes is ecstatic about signing a deal with exclusive retailers, Harrods.

Laban, whose gold plating business, 'Goldgenie' won a £60,000 investment from equity boss James Caan, has a range of luxurious 24-carat gold plated items such as iPods on sale in the top store.

As part of the contract with Harrods, 'Goldgenie' products will be available for purchase through their store and online shop later this month.

Roomes, 38, originally from Leytonstone, in east London, has done high profile work for clients such as the Emmy Awards in the US. Goldgenie was responsible for the gold plating of the awards that went to Helen Mirren and Denzel Washington.

Ethics are also important to Goldgenie, which donates a percentage of their profits to a Ugandan mining charity. They are striving to secure 'ethical gold' status for the mines of Uganda, ensuring that miners work in safe and sanitary conditions.

Laban said of the contract with Harrods, "We are of course delighted to be associated with such high end retailers as Harrods, and to know that when I first started my company the ultimate goal was to have my products selling from this iconic store, is amazing."

Michael Jackson & Fergie: Beat it '08

Wow, remember when Michael used to be fine? (long sighhhhh)
Now Michael did this line trading remix of "Beat it" with Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. I prefer the original. What do you think?

Michael Jackson & Kanye: Billie Jean '08 the Remix

Michael Jackson is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his landmark album Thriller by remixing select tracks with today's hottest musicians. Michael let Kanye West remix " Billy Jean" and there's a remix of "Beat It." I don't feel there's that much of a difference from the original "Billie Jean" except for some additional percussion in the background and ad-libbing. I still like this jam though, this song was always one of my MJ favorites. It brings me back to good ole' '80s.

The 25th anniversary Thriller albums drop on February 12th.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A 'can of worms' called New Orleans Pt.1

Hurricane Katrina

The Superdome

The 9th Ward

Just mention the name New Orleans to a Black American and their blood pressure immediately starts rising. I know mine does!
Doesn't it seem like every time you turn around there's another issue in New Orleans? The people of New Orleans just can't seem to get a break, can they?

The city of New Orleans has always had a history riddled with scandals (don't even get me started on the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927), racism, violence and poverty, but when Hurricane Katrina swept down she opened up a 'can of worms' that left many Americans with a 'bad taste in their mouth.'

Worm #1: The governments' (local and state) pure incompetence in providing emergency aid, shelter and protection. Everyone in power seemed to be clueless about what was going on and who was doing what. Meanwhile, 'the forgotten ones" are up in the Superdome fighting for their lives.

Worm #2: Those shoddy levees broke. The Army Corps of Engineer spent millions of tax dollars to build flawed levees that ended up causing people to lose their lives, lose every single thing they own and billions of dollars of damage.

Worm #3: FEMA and the military's response. It took them almost a week to show up. I'm sorry, but that's way beyond C.P. Time! Once again, 'the forgotten ones,' trying to survive, are either stranded at the Superdome, stranded on top of their roof, drowning or trying to cross that highway. Oh, did I mention they were thirsty,starving and hot as hell. Meanwhile, "Brownie" is getting the "good job" pat on his back and the 'Black-Hawks' are dropping water from the sky.

Worm #4: The Exodus. The government separated families and loaded them up on buses going in every direction. Need I say more.

Worm #5: Reconstruction. The majority of New Orleans is still in shambles and unlivable, thanks to the slow effort being made by all levels of government, contracting corruption and unjustified bull-dozing. Just thinking about the 9th Ward brings a tear to my eye.

Worm #6: The Return. Many New Orleans natives would love to come home, but once again, many of their neighborhoods are unlivable. No sanitation, no water, no electricity, no school and no jobs= no return. Pure economic peril. The latest twist in this tragedy is the controversy stemming from HUD wanting to demolish 4,500 public housing units and rebuild it as a mixed income neighborhood. HUD Homes says they have good intentions, but many residents don't believe it.

Please forgive me while I get deep.

The Black Diamond of Greece

DJ Latoya is described by many as the "black diamond" of Greece. She's an Aruban/Somalian, who's originally from Holland, but has been in a Greece for over 10 years. She's a very popular Dance and Techno dj at several nightclubs in the Athens area. DJ Latoya's also pursuing a career as a singer. She's appeared on numerous shows in Greece and Holland.

During my visit to Greece this year, DJ Latoya showed me how local Athenians really live. One of the best times ever! She is truly one of the sweetest people I've ever met. Check out her performing "Thelo Pipa" on greek tv show Extra 3.

PS: If you've never been to Greece- go!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And the Winner is...

(Photo: Eddie Grant)

Congratulations to 18 year-old Daniel Ellis, a sophmore at the University of Toronto in Canada, who's this year's winner of the Arts and Culture Jamaica Inc. Scholarship. Arts and Culture Jamaica was founded to showcase Jamaica's arts and culture to both Canadians and Jamaicans, and to support Jamaican artists.

The organization made the announcement and presentation at its 'Christmas in the Caribbean' concert, held at the Hillcrest Christian Church in Toronto, Canada.

Daniel, originally from Jamaica, who is studying Theatre Arts, was one of six students who applied for the scholarship. The scholarship is open to students of Jamaican heritage who are enrolled in a Canadian university or college and studying either Fine Arts, Design, Literature or the Performing Arts, which include Dance, Music and Drama.

The student who was bitten by the acting bug at an early age, had a small part in the Jamaican movie, 'Third World Cop', and was the youngest member of the Cathy Levy Players, spending two years with the company and has appeared in several television and radio commercials.

Prior to migrating with his parents, Annette and Owen 'Blakka' Ellis to Canada three years ago, Daniel attended Campion College where he was a member of the School Choir, Drama Club and Rugby team. He attended the Blessed Mother Teresa Catholic School in Toronto, becoming a founding member of the Environmental Friendly Teens Club. He was also the treasurer on the Student Administrative Council and the first recipient of the 'Generosity of Spirit Award' for his contribution to the life of the school.

Nigel Smith,Consulate at the Jamaican Consulate General, commended the work of Arts and Culture Jamaica, noting that the organization has "promoted the unique and vibrant culture of Jamaica during 2007."

President of Arts and Culture Jamaica, Cherita Girvan-Campbell, thanked the many supporters and announced that the organization would be hosting an exhibition of works by Jamaican-based artists and readings by Jamaican authors in 2008.

The Founder of Arts and Culture Jamaica Inc., Paula de Ronde, encouraged more students to apply for the scholarship, saying it was just as important "to feed the soul as the body," and artists help us to do that.

$500 million for Jamaica's Vulnerable


Last night, Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced a $500 million assistance package for the poor and those deemed to be otherwise vulnerable. The initiative is a response to the spiralling food and petrol prices, blamed mostly on the rising prices for corn, wheat and fuel in the global market. Resulting in sharp price increases in Jamaica including basic food, gasoline and electricity rates. The Opposition had called on the Golding Administration to take steps to cushion the effects of the increases on those most vulnerable.

Mr. Golding, who was making his contribution to the debate on the First Supplementary Estimates, in the House of Representatives, said the process for distributing the funds hadn't been worked out yet.

He indicated the possibility of funds being channelled through the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), or another institutionalized framework.

How do You Like Your Tea?

Mark Dalgety receiving award from presenters.

Southeast London-based Dalgety Teas & Herbs, recently won the prestigious International Business award at the Thames Gateway Business Awards, at Greenwich's O2 Centre.

Founder and owner, Mark Dalgety, started the business 12 years ago with £1,000 on a Visa credit card. He has since built Dalgety Teas into a thriving business, which employs thirteen workers in its London factory operations. It is the only black-owned tea company in the UK, with its own in-house, state of the art tea production facilities and its production capability is 1.4 million tea bags per day. Dalgety Teas buys directly from more than 100 small farmers in the Caribbean.

Dalgety declared: "I knew I had an excellent product on my hands when the Chinese were so impressed they wanted me to set up the business there. As a business, we have never been afraid of exploring new markets, and believe this award has recognised that."

Dalgety has recently introduced its teas to the Nigerian market. The aim is to use Nigeria as the hub for the rest of Western Africa. The teas can be found in many independent retailers across the UK, as well as leading supermarket chains like Sainsbury's and Tesco.

Kosovans Love 50 Cent

Clips from Kosovo concert

Rapper, 50 Cent, became the first high-profile performer to throw a public concert in Pristina, Kosovo. "I came to entertain the world," the rapper told the Associated Press while promoting his show at a soccer stadium in the capital, Pristina.

On Monday, he entertained over 25,000 fans outdoors in the cold, war torn province. The crowds chanted along to the songs in a performance marked by fireworks lighting the Pristina skyline.

Chris Rock Goes Global

Actor and comedian, Chris Rock is returning to his stand-up roots on New Year's Eve when he launches his international No Apologies Tour. His expedition starts in NYC's Madison Square Garden, then directly on to Europe for a run through January 26th. Rock's tour continues in the U.S on February 8th. This is Rock's first international tour.

Go to to find out when he'll be in your city.

Jay Z's Hospitable?

511w21st Hotel Site

Entertainment Mogul Jay-Z recently earmarked a $66 million development site in New York City as the location for J Hotel. J Hotel will be a 150,000-sf 5 star luxury hotel. Located in the Chelsea section of NYC, in the heart of the gallery district between 10th and 11th avenues, the hotel will be the flagship for his new hospitality brand that Jay-Z intends to branch out in select cities.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tide® and Taye Diggs Welcome New Orleans Families Home for the Holiday

Mrs. Clarica Hampton, Taye Diggs, Denise Bennett

Yesterday, ten families returned to their rebuilt homes in New Orlean's St. Bernard Parish. Over the past few months, Tide in partnership with the St. Bernard Project (a grassroots, nonprofit rebuild organization) rebuilt ten home for these families as part of its commitment to helping families affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The families were welcomed with a festive caroling celebration led by actor Taye Diggs. Diggs was joined in caroling by New Orleans' Vero Gospel Choir, Grammy award winning soul singer Irma Thomas, BET's "Sunday Best(TM)" winner Crystal Aikin, and St. Bernard Parish families, neighbors and friends. In the spirit of the season, the community of St. Bernard Parish gathered at one of the newly rebuilt Tide homes to admire the beauty of the holiday lights, sip hot cocoa and sing holiday classics including: "Jingle Bells" and most appropriately "I'll be Home for Christmas." The ten families also received brand new energy-efficient, front-loading Affinity(TM) washers and dryers donated by Frigidaire(R), a Winn-Dixie gift certificate and a one year supply of Tide detergent.

"Yesterday, I spent time visiting a number of families in New Orleans. They told me that this is the first time in two years that they will be able to enjoy the holidays in their own homes. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to help Tide support such a worthwhile cause," said Diggs. "I encourage everyone to join them in doing everything possible to
continue to help this city."

To help families affected by Hurrican Katrina visit

Valencia Gayles Becomes CEO of True Agency

Congrats to Valencia Gayles, the new CEO of Los Angeles based creative advertising agency The True Agency. Gayles, 41, will assume CEO responsibilities in January 2008. She said"I'm most looking forward to continuing to grow the business." True Agency's vision is about transcultures and going beyond the boundaries. Their list of clients includes Nissan, Infiniti, AARP, Countrywide, and Hilton Hotels.

Since 2002, Gayles has been with The True Agency. She has served as chief operating officer and most recently was the president. She had a hand in several popular ad campaigns including True's "Infiniti In Black" campaign for Nissan. "In Black" featured five top black artists in the first ever prime-time commercial-free branded program on BET. The artists noted distinct characteristics of their art form that also mirrored key features of Infiniti models.

Gayle says that successful transcultural campaigns appeal to people on all levels regardless of color. "It's not just about ethnicity. It's about lifestyle and culture."

HipHopSodaShop Grand Opening Today in Tampa

H3 Enterprises Inc.(Pink Sheets:HTRE), the world's first publicly traded Hip-Hop company, is launching America's first HipHopSodaShop today in Tampa, Florida. Andre Harrell will be hosting the grand opening complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony, a performance by Every One's Youth United Marching Band of St Petersburg, FL, red carpet ceremony and a special performance by Doug E. Fresh.

Dr. Benjamin Chavis, CEO and President, stated, "H3 Enterprises is proud of the fact that we have reached a major milestone today. The opening of the HipHopSodaShop is a landmark event for the culture of Hip-Hop. It is also a new global business model that we intend to replicate not only in the major cities across America, but also in the major market places throughout the world. In fact, business leaders as well as celebrities are arriving in Tampa from cities across America today to witness how to develop and launch a HipHopSodaShop franchise in their respective communities."

The Tampa franchise will offer patrons popular music, an eclectic healthy menu, merchandising, a state of the art recording studio, Xbox 360 and 30 giant LCD screens. The venue, which is less than a mile from the University of South Florida which has over 40,000 students is over 11,000 sq ft and will also function as a modern day cultural arts center. Targeted to a youthful demographic, aged 13-35, the restaurant will hold special events like open mic nights, live HD sports casts, live outdoor concerts and cyber-gaming.

Complimentary food from the HipHopSodaShop's menu will be available and all activities are open to the General Public on a first-come, first-served basis. You can watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony's live broadcast on the web at 12pm EST.

Visit for more info.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Dame Shirley Bassey !!

Dame Shirley Bassey held her belated 70th birthday party in England last night at the Clivedon Hotel. The Capricorn actually turned 70 this past January 8th. Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, is a Welsh singer, perhaps best-known for performing the theme songs to the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979). She is the only singer to have recorded more than one James Bond theme song. She has sold around 135 million records in her 55 years as a recording artist and has a new album out called "Get the Party Started."
Watch this vintage clip of Dame performing "Diamonds are Forever." Pure classic.

MIA's New Video: "Paper Planes"

I'm loving M.I.A's new song " Paper Planes." This chick is so funky, unique and could care less what any thinks of her style, which makes me like her even more. If you've never heard of M.I.A aka Maya Arulpragasam, is a rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, and painter from London. Her music is best explained as multi-genre ( grime, hip-hop, ragga, dancehall, electro, baile funk).

MTV actually censored her video and she's furious about it. But I've got her uncensored version, check it out!

Reggae Rock Fusion: Tessanne Chin

I was recently turned on to this reggae-fusion sensation from Jamaica by the name of Tessanne Chin. She has a voice powerful enough to carry her multi-genre sound. Jamaicans know her as the lead singer of reggae-rock band, Mile High.
Before pursuing a solo career, Tessanne gained priceless experience as a back-up singer to world renowned reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and has been singing professionally since the age of 17.

Tessanne's music is a spicy blend of Reggae, Dancehall, Rock and Soul. Her new song "Black Books" sounds like a gumbo of Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Taylor Dayne and Celine Dion's voices, with a Bob Marley/ Nirvana /Chris Daughtry vibe.

Check out her video "Black Books" below.

Future Star: Jamia Simone Nash

Georgia peach, Jamia Simone Nash is a multi-talented young lady who is too cute to boot. Jamia's only 11 years-old but she's already garnering respect as a actress and singer. She's performed at the Apollo, 2003 Essence Awards, singing Michael Jackson's "Who's Lovin You" honoring Mary J Blige. She and her younger sister Olivia sing the hook in the song "Black Girl Pain" on Talib Kweli's 2004 album The Beautiful Struggle; she also sings in the hook for "Black Maybe" on Common's 2007 album Finding Forever.

The young actress has landed some solid movie roles as well. She played a ten-year-old Fantasia Barrino in the 2006 Lifetime Original Movie Life Is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story, and has a role in new movie August Rush.

Coined as MC Lily, Nash sang about the alphabet on Nick Jr. Her song "Bongo Bird" was featured as a video on the Noggin series Jack's Big Music Show. She provides the singing voice for the character Uniqua on The Backyardigans. Jamia has also had cameos in episodes of 7th Heaven, Romeo!, My Wife and Kids, and appeared as herself on The Tony Danza Show, Half & Half and Big Time.

This little girl has extraordinary star quality. I can't wait to see how her future pans out for her.

Peforming Michael Jackson' "Who's Lovin You"

Song "Raise it Up" from movie

Essence Hosting its 1st Annual Literary Awards

Author, Terry McMillan

ESSENCE magazine will host its first-ever ESSENCE Literary Awards on February 7,2008. The event will commemorate emerging and established African-American authors, it will also kick-off ESSENCE magazine's "Save Our Libraries Campaign." The ESSENCE Literary Awards will be hosted by Hoda Kotb (TODAY show co-anchor) and Dr. Ian Smith, creator of The 50 Million Pound Challenge.

ESSENCE Literary Awards will honor critically-acclaimed author Terry McMillan with the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Countee Cullen Branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem will also be the first recipient of ESSENCE's "Save Our Libraries Campaign." "Save Our Libraries" is designed to honor its contributions and to solicit support in order for it to maintain its services to the community.

"ESSENCE has had an extraordinary literary legacy since its first issue," said Patrik Henry Bass, ESSENCE Senior Editor, Books and Arts. "Terry McMillan, Bebe Moore Campbell, Gloria Naylor and so many other authors first came to the attention of readers through ESSENCE's pages. At the ESSENCE Literary Awards we want to honor writers in their tradition,
while acknowledging future generations of African-American authors. We also hope that through our Save Our Libraries campaign, entities such as the historic Countee Cullen Branch will have the crucial resources needed to provide the services our communities so desperately need."
For more information click here.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Will Smith's "I am Legend" Makes History

Actor, Will Smith is a box office legend. His recent movie I am Legend debuted at an estimated $76.5 million in ticket sales this weekend in North America, the largest December opening in history.

In 'Legend,' Smith stars as a scientist who is the world's lone survivor of a virus that transforms humans into blood-thirsty mutants.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Deni Hines Headlines New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival

Australian hit soul artist Deni Hines and jazz virtuoso James Morrison are teaming up to perform at the upcoming New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival. The pair recently released a critically acclaimed album together called "The Other Woman." Many familiar with the Jazz genre refer to it as "the other woman." Hines and Morrison's album consist of jazz classics from Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Aretha Franklin as well as a couple of their own originals.

The annual New Zealand International Jazz & Blues Festival which runs from March 25 to April 4 features some of New Zealand’s finest musicians as well as a line-up of top international performers.

Check out Deni Hines and James Morrison video "I Only Have Eyes for You."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lewis Hamilton is Sportsman of the Year

Today the Sports Journalists' Association honored Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton with their prestigious 59th Sportsman of the Year and Best International Newcomer awards.

The awards, sponsored by BT Vision and UK Sport, are the result of a poll of the members of the Sports Journalists’ Association (writers, photographers, broadcasters). The presentation was held at a gala lunch in the City of London with nearly 400 from the worlds of sport, celebrity, politics and the media in attendance.

Hamilton had an amazing year with numerous impressive performances that erased all doubt from skeptics. Twenty-two year-old Hamilton from Hertfordshire,UK led the world drivers’ championship going into the final race of the season but finished a point behind the eventual champion, Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton won four Grands Prix during the season and became the first driver to finish on the podium in his first nine races. Hamilton is a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver.

By the age of 13, he was talent spotted and subsequently signed to the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Young Driver Support Programme by McLaren Group Chairman and CEO Ron Dennis. The program provided Lewis with a long-term contract guaranteeing financial and technical support to help with his future motorsport career and included a future option for the entry into Formula 1.

Lewis remains the only teenager ever to be signed by a Formula 1 team at such an early age.

ANTM's YaYa @Harlem YMCA

Actress and former contestant on America's Next Top Model, YaYa DaCosta, spoke at the StoryCorps Griot and Harlem YMCA "Gathering Stories" event in New York City.

(Photos: WireImage)

Flashes UK: SugarBabes, BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Pop group, Sugarbabes

Amelle and Keisha

Formula One race-driver, Lewis Hamilton

Multi-Gold Winning track star, Linford Christie

Olympic track star, Kelly Holmes

Rugby player, Jason Robinson

Pop group Sugababes performed for EMAP Radio competition winners in Glasgow, Scotland.

The athletes looked dapper as they attended the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony.

Janet Jackson's new "Feedback"

Check out this new tune from Janet Jackson. Janet has finally come back to her feel-good, up-tempo style. I'm really feeling this jam. Ms. Jackson has an album coming out in 2008, this song leaked so I'm not sure if it'll make the final cut- but it should. Keep the jams coming Janet! Listen and let me know what you think about it.

IMAN's "Global Chic Collection" to Launch on HSN

IMAN Global Chic City Tote Signature Handbag
IMAN Global Chic Ribbed Cuff Bracelet

Supermodel and fashion icon, IMAN is launching her internationally inspired Global Chic Collection exclusively on HSN (Home Shopping Network) and beginning 8 PM EST on Saturday, December 15th and Sunday, December 16th at 9 AM and 6 PM EST.

IMAN's stylish Global Chic Collection is inspired from vintage and her global travels, it consists of fashion accessories, jewelry, and the latest tips on style and beauty.

"Whether I am off to a business meeting, the PTA, a romantic night out with my husband, or at a red carpet, high-voltage event, I rely on stunning jewelry and accessories to give me fashion 'extras' to highlight my looks," says IMAN. "It is important to know fashionable accessory trends, but it is more important to know how to properly incorporate them into your world and your lifestyle. You are never fully dressed without them."

IMAN's Global Chic Collection jewelry and fashion accessory prices range from $19.95 to $129.95.

Atlanta Falcons Hires its 1st Black Head Coach

Emmitt Thomas when he played for the Kansas City Chiefs

NFL team, Atlanta Falcons, promoted its assistant coach Emmitt Thomas to interim Head Coach, making him the first black coach in the team's history. The change came after former Falcons coach Bobby Petrino resigned to become the coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Since 2002, 64 year-old Thomas, has worked as an assistant for the Falcons. He has no previous experience as head coach, but has 28 years in coaching. Thomas is a former college and professional football player who played for the American Football League's Kansas City Chiefs from 1966 to 1969, and then for the Chiefs in the NFL from 1970 to 1978. He owns the Chiefs all-time interception record with 58, which places him ninth on pro football's all-time list.

Congratulations and good luck Emmitt Thomas.