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Anita Baker, is she set ………to retire?!!!!! She’s been releasing a series tweets and using the hashtag #retired. She’s also been taking to social media and writing how retirement is a goal of hers. Could The Songstress, who turns 59 this month, be ready to really call it quits? Baker is a staple on WDAS with her classics Talk To Me, Giving You The Best That I Got, Caught Up In The Rapture, Fairy Tales, Mystery, Just Because, Angel and Lead Me Into Love, just to name a few. Her 2013 album, Only Forever, was never released only the single Lately, which brought Baker yet another Grammy nomination. So is that it? Baker says she still likes to write and record, but she’s on a different road. Stay tuned!!!!!!
New Edition is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame this Monday, January 23rd. Congratulations to Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill. The ceremony will take place the day before the huge premiere of their much anticipated BET mini-series The New Edition Story.I loved it when we previewed Part 1 at our WDAS screening. It has everything: fame, fortune, drama and the work it takes to get to that level. The cast includes Empire star and Philly’s own Yazz the Greatest (Bryshere Y. Gray), Luke James, Elijah Kelly, Keith Powers, Algee Smith and Woody McClain. Plus, some of our favorite actresses will be playing the group’s mothers. LaLa Anthony, Yvette Nicole Brown (The Odd Couple), Lisa Nicole Carson (Ally McBeal; E.R.), Sandi McCree and Monica Calhoun (The Best Man) will all be a part of the cast. Look for Wood Harris (The Wire), Faizon Love (Do The Right Thing) and Duane Martin (Real Husbands Of Hollywood), just to name a few, who are also starring. The New Edition Story has the original group members serving as producers. Meanwhile, check out my interview with Bell Biv DeVoe, who have a new single Run, on the wdasfm.com Patty TV page. The New Edition Story will air January 24th, 25th and 26th as a three part mini-series on BET.
Once again, the number one movie in the country is Hidden Figures. The film, about the unsung African American female mathematicians who helped NASA crack the numerical codes to insure John Glenn and crew’s trip to the moon, has now taken in almost $65 million and is headed to blockbuster status. The three stars, Taraji P. Henson, Actress/Singer Janelle Monae and Oscar Winner Octavia Spencer are also on the cover of Essence magazine. This gives Taraji a pair of number ones: the number one rated TV drama (Empire) and the number one film (Hidden Figures). Empire returns to FOX on Wednesday, March 22nd.
A Real Housewife Of Atlanta is in trouble with Uncle Sam. Sheree’ Whitfield is reported owe nearly $300,000 in tax liens, and the government does not play! Apparently, officials are saying these liens accumulated starting back in 2009, but nothing was done. Then more liens as the years went by. What will Whitfield do? Will she address this and set the record straight, or will she have to tango with the I.R.S.?
Janet Jackson is finally having her family over to see the baby…..well two members anyway. The family hasn’t been able to see Janet’s newborn son, Eissa, which means Jesus in Arabic. The Jackson family hadn’t been invited to see Janet, hubby Al Wissam Mana and baby Eissa until now. Jackson family matriarch Katherine Jackson and brother Jermaine are preparing to meet the new baby. Speculation was building if either Janet or her hubby’s new rules or faith was keeping her family away. Janet is now Muslin like her husband, but the Jacksons are not. Well, once mom Katherine makes her visit that should set the stage for the rest of the family…….perhaps.
Two-time Emmy winning Actress/Director Regina King (227; Poetic Justice; American Crime; Boondocks; Ray; This Christmas) has signed a huge deal. King has entered into a two-year development deal with the ABC Network. She has been directing (Being Mary Jane; Scandal; Pitch) and producing, and the deal has her developing programming for ABC. King joins Viola Davis and her production company JuVee, Comedian/Writer Larry Wilmore (Black-ish; The Nightly Show; The Bernie Mac Show) and Kerry Washington. They are all working with ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, the first African American woman to hold that title and run a network.
John Legend and Usher are confirmed as performers on The 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Beyoncé, Rihanna, Drake, Kanye West and Adele are leading the nominations. Queen Bey now becomes the most nominated woman in Grammy history with a total of 62. She goes head to head with Adele for Record, Song and Album of The Year, and the two are rumored to be performers on the show. Solange, Fantasia, Barbara Streisand, Ro James and Philly’s own Musiq Soulchild are also up for awards. The Grammy Awards will air from L.A. with first time host The Late Late Show’s James Corden on Sunday, February 12th at 8pm on CBS.
Gabrielle Union and her BET drama Being Mary Jane are back with a vengeance. Mary Jane has moved from Atlanta to New York. Actor Michael Ealy (ABC’s Secrets And Lies Sundays at 9pm) has joined the cast shaking up Mary Jane’s work and possibly love life. But, Actress Valarie Pettiford (Half & Half; Jumping The Broom) is killing it as the veteran anchor who may or may not be the friend Mary Jane needs in her career.
Bishop Eddie Long has passed away over the weekend. Long, who loss a dramatic amount of weight toward the end, was the subject of much speculations these past few months. Earlier, the Bishop put a video on the internet and said he was a vegan to explain his weight loss. Later, he said he had a health challenged he overcame. Finally, he said he went through what he did to become a better preacher. His Atlanta church released statement that he died from an aggressive form of cancer that he waged a private battle with. Meanwhile, before he became ill, Bishop Long was the target of a host of allegations by young men who claimed years before he sexually abused them when they were underage. Long settle a suit brought by multiple men and claimed the settlement prohibited him from addressing it publicly. Since Long’s passing two of his accusers have released a statement that they will not comment until the book they are now working on is released. Long’s death may give new fuel to those allegations. Bishop Eddie Long was 63 years old.
Looks Kim Burrell caught a break when her controversy got knocked off the headlines by Steve Harvey, Zoe Saldana and Chrisette Michele.
First, Steve Harvey went to visit President Elect Donald Trump. Most people found out as the two exited the Trump Tower Hotel elevator for a photo op. Harvey said they had a good talk, including about golf. The WDAS Morning Man also said Trump got his candidate for Housing Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, on the phone and they all talked about the housing crisis in the inner city. Harvey met with Trump on a Friday, and the internet has been dragging him ever since. Steve attempted to explain further he was following President Obama’s lead and the request of the transition teams. So he got from behind his mic and met with Trump. That explanation didn’t end the disapproval. Plus, Steve was already facing criticism and had to issue an apology for saying black and white women didn’t want to date Asian men. Can Steve battle back from the back to back backlash? Meanwhile, he returns as host of The Miss Universe Pageant 7pm Sunday, January 29th on FOX.
Next is controversial Actress Zoe Saldana. She says Hollywood’s bullying of Trump lead to his victory. The Columbiana and Avatar star says that Hollywood focused on what was wrong with Trump so much it made people feel empathy for him. That, in part, helped him beat Hillary Clinton. Really Zoe?!!! Saldana is no stranger to controversy. Her views on race, including declaring her own, have brought her a lot of criticism. Not to mention her universally panned attempt to portray The High Priestess Of Soul Nina Symone on the big screen was a total bust. Her latest attempt to address political and social issues isn’t helping.
Finally, there’s singer Chrisette Michele who confirmed only a few days ago that she will perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration. Unlike President Obama’s two inaugurations, where they actually had an overflow of offers, the Trump team has been scrambling to get performers. Broadway Star and Singing Legend Jennifer Holliday (Dreamgirls; And I’m Telling You) was slated to perform, but backed out after she says she received protest from the black and gay communities. Holliday says she even got death threats. She took to TV to apologize, claim a lapse in judgment, and confirmed she will not be performing at the inauguration. Meanwhile, Chrisette Michele kept her performance on the down-low knowing what happened to Steve Harvey and Jennifer Holliday. Once her performance plans became public, Michele released a statement. She said, in part, although her heart is broken for the country, she’s willing to be a bridge because this is what matters and she’s representing us. Michele also says she doesn’t mind theses stones if they allow her to be a voice for the voiceless. I wonder if the $750,000 she getting to perform fits in here some place. Hmmmmmmmmm! Michele was supposed to perform a gospel song, Intentional, with Ty Tribbett, Travis Greene and Jonathan McReynolds, but reportedly Tribbett and McReynolds refused to perform. Organizers allowed Michele to change to an R&B set, so the show goes on!
Jamie Foxx will be hosting a musical game show called Beat Shazam, which is based on the popular song identifying app. Contestants take on the app after they advance from a few rounds of naming songs against each other. Beat Shazam will debut on FOX this summer. Meanwhile, Foxx’s movie, Sleepless, about a crooked undercover cop who’ll use any means to rescue his kidnapped son, did not do well at the box office. Foxx is usually able to rebound from setbacks, so let’s hope Beat Shazam is a hit.
UnSung, the original, is back. In the spotlight this season is SWV, Fat Joe, Jon B., Lenny Williams, Case, Dave Hollister, After 7 and the finale will be a tribute to The Godfather Of Soul, James Brown. UnSung airs Wednesdays at 8pm on TV One.
The Quad is BET’s brand new drama set on the campus of a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls; Power; For Colored Girls) heads up the cast as the no nonsense college president. Also starring Philly’s own Kevin Savage, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Sean Blakemore and, returning to her TV HBCU roots, Jasmine Guy (A Different World). Look for my Kevin Savage interview as we give him a hometown welcome back to Philly on my Patty TV page on wdasfm.com and the WDAS Facebook. The Quad debuts on Tuesday, January 31st on BET.
Essence Magazine is gearing up for its 23rd Annual Essence Fest and The Hip Hop Queen Of Soul, A Legend and The Boss will be in the house! Yes! Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Motown Legend Miss Diana Ross will headline the now legendary festival. Chaka Khan, Philly’s own Jazmine Sullivan, India.Arie, Solange, Shirley Jones of The Jones Girls, Ro James, Tweet, Shaggy, Michel’le, Yuna and Lalah Hathaway will also be performing with more acts to come. The 2017 Essence Fest will be June 29th through July 2nd in New Orleans.
The NAACP Award nominations are being led by the Nat Turner-slave revolt motion picture Birth Of A Nation. The controversial film became even more controversial when rape charges resurfaced about its Producer/Writer/Director/Actor Nate Parker then disappeared even faster when the film’s box office wasn’t strong due to the negative publicity. Birth Of A Nation has six nominations as does new Oscar frontrunner Moonlight, the coming of age story of a Miami youth in a dysfunctional home during the war on drugs. Four nominations came down for Hidden Figures, including Best Picture and Actress for Taraji P. Henson. Three nominations for the Denzel Washington-Viola Davis film Fences. Beyonce leads music with seven nominations followed closely by sister Solange with five of her own. Chance The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar and Donald Glover are all multi-nominees. Black-ish leads TV with 12 nominations, the reboot of the miniseries Roots scored nine nominations and six each for Insecure, Empire and The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Viola Davis, Beyonce, Chance The Rapper, Regina King and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are all up for Entertainer Of The Year. The 48th Annual NAACP Image Awards with Host Anthony Anderson will air live at 9pm Saturday, February 11th on TV One.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards have announced their nominations as well. Hidden Figures, Moonlight and Fences, three films with predominately African American casts, are up for Best Picture. Viola Davis (Fences), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) are all nominated in the supporting category. Sterling K. Brown was a double nominee for his hit NBC drama This Is Us, which just got an unusual two-season renewal from NBC, and The People vs. O.J. Simpson. O.J. Simpson Co-star Courtney B. Vance is also nominated, and Uzo Aduba is nominated for her role in Orange Is The New Black. Anthony Anderson and the series Black-ish are nominees as is Thandie Newton for Westworld. The SAG Awards will air on both TBS and TNT Sunday, January 29th.
Nia Long and Idina Menzel are starring in the remake of Beaches. The TV movie is based on the feature film, originally starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey, chronicling the enduring friendship of two women from childhood to adults. Long and Menzel’s remake of Beaches will air on Lifetime Saturday January 21st at 8pm.
In more Nia Long news, she’s joining the cast of FOX’s Empire and Netflix’s Dear White People. She and Empire leading man Terrence Howard go back to their movie days on The Best Man movie franchise. Long will play a rough and tumble Vegas Club runner named “Giusi” who uses her mob connections to secure a deal with Empire. Look for her and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) to go toe to toe. Empire returns to FOX on Wednesday, March 22nd. Long is also set to join the Netflix series Dear White People, which is adapted from the independent movie of the same name. Long will have a recurring role, and the cast will include Brandon P. Bell (Dear White People, the movie), Logan Browning (Hit The Floor), Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) and Dennis Haysbert (24). Dear White People is a look at social politics through a campus radio show a student runs called Dear White People. The show will debut in 2017 on Netflix.
Meagan Good, Kelly Rowland, Keri Hilson, Soul Man’s Kellee Stewart and Brandon T. Jackson are starring in Love By The 10th Date. The Lifetime movie follows four career women as they balance their careers at an upscale digital magazine with their not so successful dating lives. Love By The 10th Date airs Saturday, January 28th at 8pm on Lifetime.
Media is an original TV drama airing on TV One. The TV movie starring Penny Johnson Jerald (The Larry Sanders Show; 24), Brian White (Scandal; Mistresses; I Can Do Bad All By Myself), Gary Dourdan (CSI; Jump The Broom), Pooch Hall (The Game), Stephen Bishop (Being Mary Jane) and Blue Kimble (Devious Maids; The Game) revolves around the double dealing and double crossing within The Jones Family who happen to be powerful media moguls. You know I’m a big night time soap opera fan, so I’ll be checking this out. Media airs Saturday, February 25th at 8pm on TV One.
The Academy Awards will have Jimmy Kimmel as host in 2017. ABC’s late night host of Jimmy Kimmel Live last hosted The Emmys, and this will be his first turn at Oscar. Previous late night hosts of the Oscars include Johnny Carson and David Letterman. The nominations will be announced January 24th and The Oscars will air February 26th on ABC.
The Black History Month/February issue of Ebony Magazine is Yes We Still Can, a look at the state of African Americans post-Obama.
Alicia Keys is on the cover of Allure magazine.
Issa Rae, the breakout star of HBO’s Insecure, has a hot photo shoot in the latest edition of Elle magazine.
President Barack Obama is featured on a special collector’s edition of Ebony magazine themed Hail To The Chief: Saluting Eight Years Of Excellence.
Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder and Grey’s Anatomy will return but not until January 26th. ABC has decided to air a special on President Obama and wanted the entire Shonda Rhimes trilogy to return the same night. The TGIT dramas will all return Thursday, January 26th beginning at 8pm on ABC.
Check out who’s coming to town:
Sunday, January 15th - The All-Stars Of Hip Hop starring Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Trina and Freeway at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Tickets on sale now and for more information log onto boardwalkhall.com.
Friday, February 10th – Jeffrey Osborne in concert at The Sugar House Casino. For tickets and information log onto surgarhouseentertainemnt.com.
Saturday, February 11th - Valentine’s Weekend Concert starring Erykah Badu and Tyrese at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Tickets are on sale now and for more information log onto boardwalkhall.com.
Saturday, February 11th – 70’s Soul Jam starring The Stylistics, The Dramatics, The Intruders, and Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes at The Tropicana in Atlantic City. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
Sunday, February 12th – Babyface in concert at The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. Tix go on sale this Friday through
Valentine’s Day Tuesday, February 14th – NuSoul Revival Tour starring Musiq Soulchild, Kindred The Family Soul, Avery Sunshine, Lyfe Jennings and Dwele at The Liacouras Center, Broad and Montgomery. For tickets and information 1-800-298-4200.
Saturday, March 18th – The All The Hits Tour Starring Lionel Richie & Special Guest Star Mariah Carey at The Wells Fargo Center. Tickets and information at wellsfargocenterphilly.com.
Friday, March 31st – The In It To Win It Tour starring Charlie Wilson, Fantasia and Johnny at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Tickets are on sale now and for more information log onto boardwalkhall.com.
Friday, March 31st – Back To The Eighties Show starring Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Al B. Sure, Jalil & Ecstasy of Whodini, Force MD’s, Cherelle, Hi-Five and More at The Liacouras Center, Broad and Montgomery. For tickets and information 1-800-298-4200.
Saturday, April 15th – The Philly Spring Jam starring Guy featuring Teddy Riley, Ginuwine, Jagged Edge, Dru Hill and Next at The Liacouras Center, Broad and Montgomery. Tickets go on sale January 17th and for information 1-800-298-4200.
Saturday, May 13th – Mothers Day Weekend concert starring Frankie Beverly & Maze, Gladys Knight and Kem at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Tickets are on sale now and for more information log onto boardwalkhall.com.