A Winans Who Doesn’t Want To Sing??? Deborah Joy Shines On OWN’s Greenleaf

Photo courtesy of Derek Blanks
Photo courtesy of Derek Blanks

*Can you imagine a member of the Jackson family who didn’t want to sing? (Even LaToya tried.) How about a Bush or Clinton who didn’t want to be president? (Too soon?)

Deborah Joy Winans, one of gospel music’s Winans dynasty and one of the breakout stars of OWN’s Greenleaf, never wanted to sing. She spent decades eschewing it, in fact, in favor of acting.

I know — it’s hard to believe.  Heck, that family even had singing in-laws!  

As the superb series’ first season prepares to wrap up next week, and OWN releases an accompanying soundtrack album, I had to catch up with Winans and ask her about this “no singing” thing.

“My dad [Carvin Winans, one of the original Winans group] and mom never wanted to force us into the singing thing,” Winans, 32, told me. “They wanted us to find our own path. Singing was just never a passion. Since I was a little girl, I felt that acting was what I was called to do.”

Winans acted on that calling, ultimately earning Bachelors and Masters degrees in theater. As she performed in workshops playing CeCe Winans for the stage play Born For This, Winans caught the eye of a woman in the audience who would guide her towards God’s purpose for her life — and her own heart’s desire.

“I was at a point of asking God whether acting was what He really wanted me to do,” Winans recalled. “Oprah Winfrey came to one of my workshops, and a couple of months later she reached out to Uncle BeBe, who co-wrote Born For This. Oprah told him she was interested in me for the role of “Charity” on Greenleaf, and asked him to help her contact me.” Continue reading

Texas Teachers’ No Homework Policy Gaining Momentum (Even Parents Love It!)

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*Wow. Wow! Wow!!! Where in the world was this teacher when I was in school…at ANY grade level!? When second grade teacher Brandy Young wrote a note to parents informing them of a new policy where her students would have no homework for the entire year, no one clapped back. There was no, “What the heck?” No…”Let’s contact the school board”…No phone calls requesting a meeting to vent.

What there was, was a lot of… Hey, we think that’s a great idea.

Who’da thunk it?

The thousands of people sharing a post of the letter Young sent to parents. One of those parents uploaded it to Facebook telling how “Brooke is loving her new teacher already!”

Needless to say, the post has gone viral.

“After much research this summer, I am trying something new,” read the note from Young to parents of her second-graders. “I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your children to bed early.”

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I hope my teenaged grandson’s school adopts this policy. He works SO hard on homework….hours…even after a full day at school. Continue reading

TV Station Suspends Female Anchors, Orders Them To Lose Weight

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*They say the camera adds 10 pounds, and that everyone looks a little…healthier on TV.  Egypt’s state broadcaster thinks it’s more than the camera for eight of its female anchors, and has suspended them and ordered them to lose weight!  

The Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) has given the women just one month to take off the pounds before allowing them to appear again on air with what they say will be “appropriate appearance.”

Interestingly, the ERTU has a female director, Safaa Hegazy, who used a be TV anchor!  

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Lest you ask, yes, Hegazy is what many in the US would call a “skinny beeeatch.”   I think she looks like Sally Field, but anyway… Continue reading

Black Guest on C-SPAN Tells White Caller How ‘Not to Be Prejudiced’ (Watch)

Black guest

*When a white man called into C-SPAN to speak with Heather McGhee, an African American woman who was a guest on the show, and is president at Demos Action, a progressive public policy organization advocating for equality, he asked a question that I don’t believe he realized was profound. He asked, how can I get over being prejudiced? First of all, note that he said “prejudiced” not “racist.” We all know that the two words are different, as a racist is backed by a systematic power structure; whereas anyone can be prejudiced.

Even Black folks.

“I am a white man and I am prejudiced. The reason is it wasn’t something that I was taught, it was something I learned. I have these different fears and I don’t want my fears to come true.”

This is how the caller from North Carolina opened up the conversation.

He concluded with, “What can I do to be a better American?”

I was glad that McGhee, who was visibly moved by the callers words, opened her response to this man, thoughtfully, by acknowledging his honesty (and thanking him for it) in posing the question. And further, reminding him that it is precisely this question, or topic, that we in this country need to address. Continue reading

Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura 2 U) Guest Stars on Y&R for 11,000th Episode Celebration!

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nichelle nichols

*May the force be with you. Those words, and the familiar parted, four-finger signal that accompanies it, is forever etched in the minds of those familiar with the original Star Trek. I am so proud to say that I was one of those who sat around the TV set with my family as the U.S.S Starship Enterprise headed by handsome “Captain James T. Kirk” (William Shatner). Yes youngins, he did significant work prior to those Priceline commercials!, along with the half-human-half-vulcan Science Officer, “Spock” (played by the late, great Leonard Nimoy) and of course, the beautiful, leggy, Communications Officer “Lieutenant Uhura” (Nichelle Nichols) — among others. At 83-years old, Nichols is still going strong and we will be able to watch her perform  a special 2-day guest starring role on the #1 Daytime television series, “The Young & The Restless” as the program celebrates its 11,000th episode.

Everything is hush-hush on what Nichols will actually do, but sources say that the character the legendary actress will play is named “Lucinda,” and they hint that she has some kind of “emotional connection” to a beloved Genoa City resident.

Hmm… Continue reading

Online Date Ends Up Being ‘The Last’ for This Single Dad (Video)

Online date, man murdered

*A single father who was looking for love on the online dating site, Plenty of Fish, was found dead on his kitchen floor after he went out on a date with an 18-year-old girl who it was later learned, had set him up for a robbery.

His murder may have been a last minute decision.

27-year-old Adam Hilarie met 18-year-old Hailey Bustos via Plenty of Fish, an online dating site. The two went bowling on their first date. After the date the pair went back to Hilarie’s house, and upon parting, Bustos texted: “I had a good time and would like to see you again.”

The agreement turned out to be a grave mistake.

They set up a meet at Hilarie’s place for the next night. But instead of arriving alone, the girl brought three friends with her.

According to a report on the Miami Herald:

Cops said 18-year-old Hailey Bustos had been paid $50 to arrange the theft of Hilarie’s TVs, Xbox and iPhone, and returned hours later for the robbery with the three men.

The incident escalated.

Continue reading

‘Don’t Want No Trouble!’: Florida Gator Takes Leisurely Walk Through Yard (Watch)

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*We always hear the tragic stuff when an alligator is in the picture. But sometimes these crocodilians (I learned that word from Wikipedia) just want to hang. You know, take a leisurely walk around your yard to see what’s up on the other side.

Secretly, they may wish we would just stop fearing them, and allow them to just lay beside us on the ground as we enjoy our outdoor picnics. Hey, they may even want us to play a friendly game of ball. You know, you use your feet to roll it over to the croc, and then watch him skidaddle over and catch it in that huge mouth.

OK, I know it’s a stretch, but you’ve got to admit, I was on some kind of a roll!

Anyhoo, fun times appear to be what’s happening for the world-weary gator in the video below, shared by the Miami Herald

I’ve decided to name him Socrates, after the Greek philosopher. Why?

I dunno. Just felt like it. Continue reading

Judge Orders Parents of Dead Son to Pay Legal Fees of Alleged Suspects

Kenneth and Jackie Johnson with photo of son, Kendrick, in the back.
Kenneth and Jackie Johnson with photo of son, Kendrick, in the back.

*My god. Position yourselves people, because it’s going to be hard to wrap your brain around this one. Do you recall the tragic 2013 story about a teenage boy’s body that was found rolled up in a gym mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta? Well the case was just closed and they were no closer to what may have been the truth on how Kendrick Johnson ended up in that mat. But here’s the thing: after all was said and done, a judge has now ordered the dead teen’s parents to pay the legal fees of the two brothers they suspect murdered him!

Kenneth and Jackie Johnson pointed to Brian and Branden Bell, saying they killed their son, and filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the brothers, who had alibis and witnesses to back it up.

In March, the Johnson’s withdrew their lawsuit.

The feds got involved and Michael Moore, former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia,  brought on lawyers and investigators from the Justice Department, District of Columbia police officers, U.S. marshals and the FBI to investigate. All of this personnel claim that nearly 100 interviews were done and, according to a statement by the Justice Department, “tens of thousands” of emails and text messages were reviewed, along with surveillance videos from Lowndes High School, where Johnson’s body was discovered on Jan. 11, 2013.

Still, no evidence to substantiate the parents claims of coul play. Continue reading

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