Category Archives: Hollywood

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

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

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

Olympians Have To Pay Federal Taxes On Their Medals

Olympian Simone Biles, earning her 4th gold medal this week in Rio.
Olympian Simone Biles, earning her 4th gold medal this week in Rio.

*Simone Biles is bringing home mucho oro from the Olympics in Rio…

(that’s “a lot of gold”…thank you, Rosetta Stone!)

…but Uncle Sam will be expecting his cut after she gets back.

I guess I should have known. Lottery winners often pay hefty taxes on cash prizes. But I guess I figured that after athletes like Biles gave their blood, sweat and tears to beat out every other athlete in the world in their sport of choice, the US government could give them a break on the tax bill.

Nope.

It seems that in addition to the gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded to Olympians, cash awards are also dispensed. Big ones: $25,000 for gold medals, $15,000 for silvers, and $10,000 for bronze ones.

With maximum taxes that look like this…

Continue reading

Review: With Star Trek Beyond, the Enterprise is in Good Hands

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*Thanks to Twitter teaching me about the beauty in brevity, I can sum up my feelings for the rousing new Star Trek Beyond with a simple sentence:

The Enterprise is in good hands.

Maybe not GREAT hands, as I think the movie may have been a little more coherent if director J.J.Abrams had stayed at the helm. But with his promotion — or demotion, depending on which team you’re on — to the Star Wars franchise, Justin Lin’s taken over and delivered a very, very good movie — not quite as good as the 2009 reboot, but better, actually, than Abrams’ 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness.

I pride myself on writing reviews that don’t give away plot points, but let me say keep your eye on EVERYONE in this film. Several characters aren’t quite what they appear. Continue reading

Phylicia Rashad Directs ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ at CTG/Mark Taper Forum

Director Phylicia Rashad on the first day of rehearsal for August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Craig Schwartz.
Director Phylicia Rashad on the first day of rehearsal for August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum. Photo by Craig Schwartz.

*Rehearsals have begun for August Wilson’s blazing masterpiece “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” which begins previews September 1, opens September 11 and continues through October 16, 2016, at the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum.

Phylicia Rashad, who directed Wilson’s “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at the Taper in 2013, directs this groundbreaking play which depicts the racism and exploitation in the music industry through a 1927 recording session in Chicago with a legendary blues singer. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is inspired by the real-life Gertrude “Ma” Rainey.

The cast features, in alphabetical order, Greg Bryan, Keith David, Jason Dirden, Damon Gupton, Matthew Henerson, Nija Okoro, Lamar Richardson, Ed Swidey, Glynn Turman and Lillias White.

Scenic design is by John Iacovelli, costume design is by Emilio Sosa, lighting design is by Elizabeth Harper, sound design is by Dan Moses

“Extraordinary! Ma Rainey rides on the exultant notes of the blues!” – Jack Kroll, Newsweek Continue reading

Model With Vitiligo Redefining “Beauty”

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*Just when you think you might be able to define the term “beauty,” I invite you to take a look at model Chantelle Winnie’s stunning cover shot!

Winnie was born Chantelle Brown-Young in 1994 in Toronto, to parents of Jamaican heritage.  At the age of four, she contracted vitiligo, a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes a loss of pigment on the skin in patches around the body, particularly the face and hands.

While the condition is not contagious, it affects two percent of the population and has no known cure.  Vitiligo affects all ethnicities, but is more visible among people of African and Hispanic heritage.

By the time she entered school, Winnie has being teased — and even beat up — by her classmates.  Some likened her to a cow and “mooed” at her, while others simply avoided her in the mistaken fear that they might  “catch” the condition.

“I remember sitting by my window, wishing upon the stars that my skin condition would go away,” she remembered.  “I wondered, ‘Why me?'” Continue reading

South Central LA Community: ‘Add Your Story’ Workshops Announced

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LA’s award-winning Black Theatre company sponsors artist-in-the-community workshops featuring four produced playwrights.

*An artist-in-the-community series of workshops led by Ben Guillory and four of the Robey Theatre Company playwrights has been launched to provide story-telling tools and writing tips for LA’s South Central residents. According to Guillory, the idea is to recognize the community as “History Detectives”, digging for those stories you’ll never find in a history book, yet will never forget.

“We’re looking for everyday residents”,  Guillory continues, “even those who no longer live in the community, but who have been “witnesses” to history—our cultural history.”  Those stories define who we are—explaining where we were, once and informing where we find ourselves now, in and out of “the Community”.  The key to our success will be participation. Continue reading