December 19, 2013

Associated Press

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Tyler Perry writes, directs, stars in and produces his own movies and TV shows, so he doesn’t have much time for outside projects. One he’s glad he made work is a role in director David Fincher's upcoming film, “Gone Girl.”

Based on the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl” is the story of a man who comes under suspicion in the disappearance of his wife. The movie, scheduled for release next October, stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

“Gone Girl” is “the most educational, awe-inspiring thing that I've ever done,” Perry said in a recent interview.

“Sitting in his presence, in his genius, the man is a genius,” he said of Fincher. “It really makes me go, ‘Whoa, let me just stop and take this in,’ so it’s been wonderful.”

And, as one filmmaker to another, he’s humbled by working with the Oscar-nominated director.

“I’m a storyteller. That man is a di-re-ctor. He is amazing. And to watch him work and to watch how he paints his pictures, the tableaus, everything is really just beyond anything I could ever imagine.”

Perry plays Madea, a big and boisterous grandmother he’s made popular in previous movies, in “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” now in theaters.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 12, 2013

 

ARIES

Balance is an important skill. If you’ve been working too hard, the urge to play is going to be nearly irresistible this week. However, if you’ve been playing too hard, it’s a terrific week to restore some order to your work. Keep smiling! Soul Affirmation: I quiet all confusion. Lucky Numbers:  11, 26, 27

 

TAURUS

Your energy level is marvelous, and you are probably getting a great deal of work done in an unusually facile manner. Bless your lucky stars, and stay on track. Expect to hear from a friend this week. Soul Affirmation: I entertain wild ideas about making money this week. Lucky Numbers:  40, 46, 52

 

GEMINI

A little space from your current love interest seems to be in order. Use a brief time-out to remember the unique and wonderful personality traits of the person you love. Don’t forget to tell her or him of your love! Keep your heart open. Soul Affirmation: Smooth communications is the key to my success this week. Lucky Numbers:  19, 30, 32

 

CANCER

This is truly your week. Take a break from any disappointments that you may have been remembering and move toward the Now with a wise heart. Your attention may focus on personal health, and ways to make yours better. Soul Affirmation: I exercise to lower tension this week. Lucky Numbers:  9, 17, 24

 

LEO

Family matters will be pleasant this week, but save your evenings for your romantic partner. The vibes support a mutually wonderful experience that will deepen your appreciation for one another! Soul Affirmation: I obey the rules this week and avoid hassles. Lucky Numbers:  1, 2, 46

 

VIRGO

You lucky ducklings! Everything goes your way this week, so relax and enjoy the abundant and wonderful soul vibrations. Make calls early in the week so that you can cruise through the afternoon. Soul Affirmation: I find peace in spending time out of doors this week. Lucky Numbers:  18, 29, 36

 

LIBRA

A project at work may suddenly demand your attention. If you pounce on it rather than waiting for it to go away (it won’t), you’ll be finished by lunchtime. Your speed and agility enable you to work smart; use your advantage. Soul Affirmation: By going slowly I get there faster this week. Lucky Numbers:  14, 40, 55

 

SCORPIO

Talk it up this week.  You’ve got a gift with words this week that will facilitate all endeavors. If you’ve been meaning to ask for a raise, this week might be the day to broach the subject with the boss. Trust your instincts! Soul Affirmation: By rewarding others I reward myself. Lucky Numbers:  51, 53, 54

 

SAGITTARIUS

Energy in the mornings will be more productive than the energy you feel in the afternoons. Work hard early each day, then take the afternoons off to play.  Better yet, get your honey to join you in playing hooky from work! Soul Affirmation: I give thanks for the chance to give. Lucky Numbers:  31, 42, 52

 

CAPRICORN

Finding a way to do it better than others is not going to be hard this week. Share your wisdom with other seekers. All who receive your word will benefit this week. Happiness rules! Don’t waste a moment of this perfect week on any negative thoughts. Soul Affirmation: I create a positive world for myself by thinking positive. Lucky Numbers:  11, 13, 18

 

AQUARIUS

Strong vibrations bring a series of dramatic interactions with others this week. Practice your charm. Let it come from the heart, and let your energy carry you upwards to your best, highest self. Keep emotions calm. Soul Affirmation: In the storms of the week I find comfort inside myself. Lucky Numbers:  25, 28, 30

 

PISCES

People often forget about the roaming side to your personality. This week is a week when you’ll love thinking about “far away places with strange sounding names,” as the song says. What you do about your urges is yet another matter. Home calls too. What a week! Soul Affirmation: I smile as I think about far away paces. Lucky Numbers:  42, 47, 49

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 12, 2013

By Donald James

Special to the NNPA from the Michigan Chronicle

 

He has been called a musical genius, a dream weaver, an international pop culture icon, and a pioneering entrepreneur, all of which only begin to define Berry Gordy, founder of Motown Record Corporation, perhaps the world’s most beloved record label in history.

As the mastermind behind the Detroit-born hitmaking “Motown music machine,” Gordy launched the careers of such greats as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, Mary Wells, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas, Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 and many more. From these artists came hundreds of hits, described by Gordy as “The Sound of Young America.”

On Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Grand Ballroom of Cobo Center, the Michi­gan Chronicle will honor Gordy, a native Detroiter, with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Legacy in Motion event. While he has received a litany of awards and honors over the last seven decades, this one, according to Gordy, will be special.

“I could not be more excited than to be honored by the Michigan Chronicle, because the newspaper represents my roots,” said Gordy, during a phone interview from Southern California. “Selling the Michigan Chronicle was one of my very first jobs that I ever had when I was around 12 or 13. The newspaper represented hopes and dreams for me. I outsold everybody because even then I wanted to be the best. I credit some of my successful Motown marketing strategies to what I learned from selling and marketing the Michigan Chronicle to both Black and White customers.”

In addition to his early experience with the Michigan Chronicle, like many Detroiters, Gordy worked in the automobile industry in the mid-1950s. In his 1994 autobiography, “To Be Loved,” Gordy described how the automobile factories impacted the way that he would one day run Motown. His stint at Ford, however, was short-lived. Gordy’s experience at Lincoln Mercury Assembly Plant was much better.

“The minute I walked into the Lincoln-Mercury Assembly Plant and saw how cool it was — no furnaces, fire or hot metal — I knew this was going to be my home for a while,” Gordy wrote. “Little did I know when I started how important to my future that assembly line was going to be. All I knew was those slow-moving car frames were the loveliest sights I’d ever seen. There was a pleasing simplicity to how everyone did the same thing over and over again. I fastened upholstery and chrome strips to those frames being pulled down the line on conveyor belts. It was a snap. I learned it so fast. I could jump into each car as it arrived, do my job, get out and have time to spare. Before long that extra time was devoted to singing and writing songs.”

Gordy, however, wanted to start his own business, even though he was already an accomplished songwriter. A couple of years earlier, he had partnered with his brother, George, to open a jazz record shop in Detroit called the 3D Record Mart – House of Jazz. Not long after, Gordy closed the shop and worked as a salesman for Guardian Service Cookware. But after borrowing $800 from the family’s savings fund, Gordy, with the blessings of his parents and siblings, started Motown in 1959.

Barrett Strong charted the label’s first hit in 1960 with “Money (That’s What I Want)”; the Miracles gave the company its first No. 1 hit with “Shop Around.” From there, the rest is history as Gordy applied what he had learned while working on the assembly line: “Everyone doing the same thing over and over again.” For Gordy, that translated into Motown’s long assembly line, involving artists, musicians, songwriters, arrangers, producers and distributors, all “doing the same thing over and over,” which for Gordy and Motown meant making hit songs.

The company began churning out hit after hit at a high rate of frequency. Motown, and its various subsidiary labels, including Tamla and Gordy, produced well over 100 No. 1 hits and many Top 10 hits under Gordy’s skillful eye and ear from 1960 to 1988. Among the classic hits were “Please Mr. Postman” (the Marvelettes), “Reach Out I’ll Be There” (the Four Tops), “My Girl” (the Temptations), “Stop! In the Name of Love” (the Supremes), “For Once in My Life” (Stevie Wonder), “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (Marvin Gaye), “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Gladys Knight and the Pips and later Marvin Gaye), “My Guy” (Mary Wells), “Dancing in the Streets” (Martha and the Vandellas), “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell), “Where Did Our Love Go?” (the Supremes); “Baby I Need Your Loving” (the Four Tops), “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (the Miracles), “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (the Temptations) and “I Want You Back” (the Jackson 5).

In addition to charting some of the best R&B and pop songs of all time, Gordy was influenced by the Civil Rights Movement and recorded several speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I had Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. under contract, which was strange,” said Gordy, with a laugh. “We did three albums with him, including ‘The Great March to Freedom’ which was his June 23, 1963 speech in Detroit. It was recorded several months before the historic march in Washington, D.C.”

Gordy recalled that Dr. King came to see him because the civil rights leader was impressed by how Motown’s music was about promoting emotional and social integration before political and intellectual integration could happen.

“He told me that he was out there and heard our music and it was always positive for all people,” Gordy recalled. “He was surprised that Motown’s music did not offend anyone, and he loved it. He said that he wanted to do something with Motown, if I was interested. I responded, ‘Are you kidding? I would love to do something with you on Motown.”

While Motown was doing extremely well, reaching audiences across broad social, cultural, and ethnic lines around the world, Gordy had some difficult decisions to make pertaining to expanding his portfolio. He began to look at opportunities in Los Angeles.

In 1972, amid criticism, some of which came from family members, Gordy relocated Motown to Los Angeles.

“My mindset was that I wanted to seek my fortune,” said Gordy. “I wanted to make movies, I wanted to do television and I wanted my artists to have the opportunity to do movies and television and stage plays. I knew that the only place that I could do this was in Hollywood. My family tried to stop me because they told me in California I would be just one of many who were trying to make it in music, movies and television. In Detroit, they told me, I was king. However, I didn’t want any limits put on anything that I was doing with Motown, so I moved the company to Los Angeles.”

Gordy credits Detroit for being the strong foundation that has propelled him to high levels of achievement.

“Growing up in Detroit gave me the best foundation that I could have had,” said Gordy. “It gave me the grit, glamor, strong work ethic and the competitive spirit. The city prepared me for anything and everything that I’ve had to face in life. When I got to California, I had a huge advantage and was stronger than what competition was there because I was from Detroit. So everywhere I go, I always take Detroit with me.”

In 1988, Gordy sold Motown Records to MCA. Motown Records continues to exist with such artists KEM, India.Arie, Ne-Yo and Chrisette Michele, Gordy admits that he is still a supporter of the label. However, his energy these days is in other places, such as with the hit Broadway production, “Motown the Musical.” The play is based on the true story of Gordy and his rise from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul and how he influenced the rise to stardom for a multiplicity of now legendary artists. Gordy wrote three new songs exclusively for the stage production.

“‘Motown the Musical’ is awesome,” said Gordy. “It’s the truth told in an entertaining way. People are loving it and I’m thrilled about that.”

Gordy is also working with a young female singer named Jadagrace. Hehe expects to release something on her next year.

“She has a very special vocal gift and is such a talent,” he said. “I believe she’s going to be a star. People are going to love her.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 12, 2013

By Shonassee Shaver

LAWT Contributing Writer

 

Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela’s passed December 5. He leaves behind a political and social existence that continues to grace the nation as well as the screen. Mandela, 95, had been in poor health since June. Hollywood continues to pay homage to the Anti-Apartied leader with the anticipated biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” open in select cities and releases nationwide on December 25. The film tracks his life as a young man, his journey from being incarcerated for 27 years to becoming South Africa’s first black president. “I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family,” Elba told the news.  “What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela,” the actor continued, “and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Mandela’s life and career has been the object of interest before, in “Invictus” (2009) with Morgan Freeman who portrayed Mandela’s involvement with South Africa’s rugby team where he worked to bridge sports and the country during the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship. “Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century,” reported nydailynews.com.  “Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve, a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind.”

Jennifer Hudson captured the origin of Winnie Mandela’s marriage to the South African Leader in the film “Winnie Mandela” in (2011), released this year in the U.S.

“The Mandela family is in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Mr. Mandela fought for freedoms and equality that changed the face of South Africa and the world. We can all learn from his extraordinary journey,” she told ABC News.

Terrence Howard stated, “Mandela shall be missed but his spirit remains with us as long as we remember the principal of greater love for one another and respect for oneself,” Howard said. “Rest well brother until the world cries again for the warmth of your brilliant light!”

Sidney Poitier played in “Mandela and de Klerk” (1997) depicting Nelson Mandela’s political relationship with FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid-era South Africa. Their efforts to bring democracy to South Africa earned them Nobel Peace Prize.

Others actors to respond to the passing of Mandela:

Alfre Woodard recalls meeting Mandela, “So I went and I wrapped my arms around him, and I said to him in his ear, ‘Oh Madiba, Madiba. How are you? Have you eaten? Have you slept?’ And it became a really funny thing because ‘Nobody has asked me that, Alfre, in my entire travels,’” Woodard said with a laugh. “So that sort of became the basis of our relationship.”

Jada Pinket Smith wrote on her twitter account, “The world lost a great man, powerful spirit and that simply made me…sad. Rest in peace, Madiba.”

Oprah released a statement “One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you've ever heard and more, humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time.”

According to the Associated Press, Danny Glover received an award at the Bahamas International Film Festival a day after the death of the 95-year-old former South African president and anti-apartheid activist. He earned an Emmy nomination for portraying him in the 1987 TV film “Mandela.”

“I think this is particularly special because it comes the day after the transition of someone who I never in my lifetime thought I would get the chance to meet, and someone who became a friend. He used to affectionately call me, ‘Danny boy,’” Glover recalled.

Mandela has always been influential to music; Stevie Wonder’s song “It’s Wrong” (1985) helped to end apartied. The singer was arrested the same year for protesting outside the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Regarding his song, “I wanted to speak out, and do it in a way where people will feel the rhythm of it, but also get the message across, and a peaceful way that’s also strong,” Stevie Wonder told the New York Times in an interview in 1985.

Wyclef stated “The way we all can carry the legacy of Nelson Mandela is practice what we preach,” the hip-hop veteran continued. “We should fight for the idea of equal rights and justice. The idea of fighting for a better world; the idea of we don’t want wars no more, we should fight for that,” reported theboombox.com.

He honored Madiba with a song, “He’s was ready for the firing squad / To die for equal rights and justice / I wrote this song ’cause I shook the hands of the prophet, Nelson Mandela.”

 

Jay Z gave tribute to the South African leader performing “Young Forever,” during his concert at the Staple Center on Monday. “We want to dedicate this song to Nelson Mandela. Great man, who spent 27 years in prison, came out to be president. All dreams are possible,” he told the crowd.

Beyoncé remembered Mandela instragamming a photo of her and Mandela at the “Meeting Mandela: A Staying Alive Special” documentary, she captioned Thank you for all you have sacrificed to improve the lives of other human beings. Rest in peace.”

 

 

 



Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

December 05, 2013

Special to the NNPA from The St. Louis American

 

Fresh out of prison, Conrad Murray has been making his rounds on the interview circuit and tainting the memory of his former boss Michael Jackson in the process. He reveals graphic claims about treatment and fuels the fire regarding allegations that the late pop star committed sexual abuse.

Released three weeks ago, after serving only two years of his four-year sentence,  the 60-year-old former cardiologist and personal physician to late pop star Michael Jackson is sharing appalling intimate details in interviews with UK’s Daily Mail and “60 Minutes Australia.”

“You know, for the rest of your life and my life our names will become inseparable,” Murray claims Jackson said. “‘I asked him, “Michael, what do you mean?” and he smiled and said, “I am clairvoyant.” ’

Murray talks about Jackson’s perilous physical, mental and financial state and the singer’s secret addiction to prescription drugs. And while he still contends he gave Jackson “nothing that would have killed him,” and tells the Daily Mail that instead he believes the entertainer “woke up, got hold of his own stash of Propofol and injected himself.” “You want to know how close Michael and I were,” Murray said. “I had to put a condom catheter on him because Michael dripped urine. He had a loss of sensation and was incontinent.

“Michael didn’t know how to put a condom on, so I had to do it for him.”

While proclaiming his own innocence, Murray quietly throws Jackson under the bus by exposing alleged secrets and personal demons.

“I tried to protect him but instead I was brought down with him,” he claims, as he continues to share about Michael’s filthy bedroom; his ultimate desire to have “flawless, porcelain skin” how he really felt about his mother; and the admission that Jackson thinks he may have been sexually abused by one of his doctors.

In his interview with “60 Minutes Australia,” Murray was asked if he feels Jackson was a pedophile. He takes a dramatic 15-second pause before refusing to give a straight answer.

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