Billy Dee Williams is FINALLY coming back to the Star Wars franchise. At age 81, he’ll return as Lando Calrissian, the galactic gambler. Williams debuted the character in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. This marks his first return to the role since Return Of The Jedi in 1983. Williams was notably absent when Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and the late Carrie Fischer reprised their Star Wars roles in recent years. Emmy Winner Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, appeared as a young Lando in the recent prequel Solo: A Star Wars Story. Talk of Williams’ return gained momentum as he made appearances at conventions and premieres. Production is to begin on the new installment this summer. Star Wars: Episode IX starring Williams, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Kerri Russell and Adam Driver is slated for release December 20, 2019.
At the movies this week, it’s The Rock in a throwback to the disaster movies. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars and produces Skyscraper, where he plays an F.B.I. agent who must rescue his family from terrorists in the tallest building in the world. Johnson says he was a fan of those disaster/action films like Die Hard and The Towering Inferno.
Speaking of movies for the Rock, his Fast and The Furious spinoff is a go and will co-star Idris Elba. Hobbs And Shaw will be the first spinoff from this franchise, and Elba will play a villain. Johnson confirmed all this at his recent movie premiere and that there’s no rivalry between he and Elba for the sexiest leading man. Johnson won the People magazine title back in 2016. Johnson says he and Elba are just two sexy guys who have to go on set and then kick the s**t out of each other. Hobbs And Shaw will hit theaters in July 2019.
Also playing in theaters now is The First Purge, which has grossed nearly $50 million in one week. The film is an action thriller set in the 21st century and finds America with new founding fathers who have overthrown the previous government. The new government allows a purge of behavior in which crimes are legal for a day. The cast features Lex Scott, Y’lan Noel, Mo McCrea, Steve Harris (Diary Of A Mad Black Woman; The Practice), Lauren Velez (New York Undercover) and Oscar Winner Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinnie; A Different World).
There’s a new comedy feud between two performers I really love…..Oh No!!! In this corner is hometown favorite and reigning box office champ Kevin Hart. He’s fresh off Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, which took in over $960 million at the box office. And, Hart just premiered TKO: Total Knock Out, an obstacle course challenge reality show he hosts and produces Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS. In the other corner is Mike Epps. Epps is currently appearing in the box office summer hit Uncle Drew, in theaters now, and he’ll be at the Boardwalk Hall for the Atlantic City Comedy Festival on Sunday, October 7th. Epps is also filming Dolemite Is My Name with Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes for Netflix. Production has already begun but no word on a streaming release date. Meanwhile, Epps’ role as Richard Pryor in the Lee Daniels bio pic is in limbo with production halted and the cast moving onto other projects for the time being. Recently, Mike Epps and Kevin Hart exchanged words on social media. Epps put on his Instagram page that Eddie Murphy is funnier than Kevin Hart….. Still. Then Epps followed up with the now deleted comment S**t Everybody Is. Hart, whose Irresponsible tour comes to the BB&T Pavilion in Camden this Saturday and Philly’s Wells Fargo November 24th, shot back It’s A Shame That Not Everybody Is Selling Tickets Like Me Tho. A social media comedy network heated things up when they shared the links to the comments. Epps said it wasn’t press worthy. At press time, Hart’s last comments, in part, were that Mike Epps was a sad individual and Hart tried to reach out to him man to man to resolve the feud. And, Hart posed the question when will Epps realize that Hart’s success has nothing to do with Epps’ journey. Epps responded by asking Hart to stop playing the Mr. Victim role, suggested Hart stop following Epps’ comments and stop taking things so personally when Epps talks about everybody. Finally, Epps wrote he congratulated Hart to his face and though he seems to be a great person, Epps still doesn’t think Hart’s funny. These men are comedy giants and the public loves their work as much as I do. Let’s hope they can move past this.
Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri were at the Essence Fest over the holiday. Can’t say that they’re a couple again though…. just good friends. Plus, Janet has still been seen around with her very close friend Johnny Gill. So why is Miss Jackson near Jermaine Dupri? And, as many have asked, what drew the two together anyway in the first place? Well people like to talk and apparently word got out about how……. extra adequate Dupri is as a partner. Hmmmmmmm!
Jada Pinkett Smith was a sex addict?!!!!! That’s what she revealed on Red Table Talk, her on line talk show/podcast. Before Will Smith, she confessed she was hooked. Pinkett Smith holds nothing back about child rearing, ex-wives, Hollywood Feuds and her appearance. This could be even too hot for cable.
Dionne Warwick and Cissy Houston release a statement in the new People magazine about accusations against Houston’s niece and Dionne’s sister Dee Dee Warwick. The allegations come from Houston’s former assistant Mary Jones and Houston’s brother Gary Garland Houston. They claim Singer Dee Dee Warwick molested Whitney and Gary as children. The documentary explores whether that trauma influenced the tragedies in Whitney’s adult life. Dee Dee Warwick, who died in 2008, was also a singer who most notably worked with Gamble and Huff on their original version of the Diana Ross & The Supremes & The Temptations’ hit I’m Gonna Make You Love Me. The Whitney Houston documentary entitled Whitney, which was approved by the late singer’s estate, is playing in theaters now. Whitney Houston is the cover story of the latest edition of People magazine.
Halle Berry stays looking so good because she drinks bone broth!! What?! Yes because it supposedly has a lot of collagen. Apparently, you check in with your butcher. You asked her or him not to throw away those bones but let you have them. You then boil them down and bon appetite when the broth goes down the hatch.
Black Panther’s Winston Duke is playing an MMA fighter in the film Backyard Legend. Fresh off his role as M’Baku in both the billion dollar Black Panther film and The Avengers franchise, Duke steps away from the comics to play a real life character. Kimbo Slice was known as the Backyard Brawler in the Mixed Martial Arts professional industry. Slice passed away in 2016 from heart failure and a liver mass. Slice battled high blood pressure as well. Duke, a co-executive producer on the project, says he looks forward to exploring not only Slice’s character, but the affects of the expectations society puts on special kinds of heroes like Slice. No release date has been announced yet, but Duke will also be appearing in Get Out Oscar Winner Jordan Peele’s next film Us.
Is Beyonce pregnant? Naww! Not this time. It was just the outfit. She and Jay-Z have an extensive tour. They still have to go to the continent of Africa beginning December 2nd. The On The Run Tour is due here in Philly Monday, July 30th at the Linc.
Niecy Nash got her star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame, and she celebrated with a TV legend after a gruff-first meeting decades ago. Nash, the star of TNT’s Claws and fresh from her panel appearance at Essence Fest, celebrated the star she said, as a child, she would earn as a professional in show business. Nash celebrated with her husband Jay Tucker and her celebrity friends TV Producer Ryan Murphy, Cedric The Entertainer and TV Legend Edward Asner (The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Lou Grant; Roots). Nash made public that she ran into Asner when she was a nine-year old, and told him she knew who he was and would be in the business like him. Asner, at the time, was a bit short and sent Nash along. Fast forward to 2018 and Nash’s star is announced. And she gets a congratulatory letter from none other than the now 88-year old Asner. He wrote he knew who she is now and that she was the nine-year old he encountered then. Asner’s letter said he’s glad she didn’t let a crotchy old man deter her dream, drew a star on the letter and attended her official star presentation ceremony. Nash says she broke into tears since the letter represented coming full circle. Nash’s TNT series Claws airs Sundays at 9pm.
Offset and Cardi B are now the parents of a brand new baby. Earlier this week, the Finesse rapper took to social media to confirm this week’s birth of daughter Kulture Kiari Cephus. Cardi’s husband Offset, who raps with The Migos, came up with the name. Mom, Dad and baby are all doing fine. Speaking of The Migos, they’ll be at the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday, September 15th with Drake. Cardi was on tour with Bruno Mars, and is still scheduled for the Wells Fargo Center September 19th and 20th. Meanwhile, Cardi B and her manager are suing each other. His claim: I bought you your teeth. In his $10 million lawsuit, Cardi’s ex-manager Klenord Raphael claims to have built the rapper’s career up from scratch and was then eased out. Raphael also claims that Cardi’s $15 million suit against him is lies and an effort to defame him. At press time no further comment from Cardi, whose lawsuit contends Raphael signed her to grossly unfair contracts and manipulated important people from her life.
The NFL’s Odell Beckham, Jr. splits a cover with NHL Royalty PK Subban and his girlfriend Olympic Gold Medal Skier Lindsey Vonn for Sports Illustrated’s Fashionable 50 issue. Also featured inside are Venus Williams, Lewis Hamilton, Russell Wilson, Marcedes Lewis and Russell Westbrook.
Janet Jackson is on the cover of Essence magazine’s Sizzling Summer Styles issue for the July/August edition.
Omari Hardwick, the Star of Power, is on the cover of Ebony magazine’s July/August issue. Power airs Sundays at 9pm on Starz, and Hardwick’s new Tyler Perry movie, Nobody’s Fool with Tiffany Haddish, opens November 2nd.
The ESPN Body issue is out. Among this year’s most notable models 54-year old NFL Legend Jerry Rice, who says he has more muscle now than when he was playing. Soccer Player Crystal Dunn, Sprinter and three-time Olympic Medalist Tori Bowie, NY Giants Saquon Barkley, Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns and the L.A. Dodgers Yasiel Puig are all featured.
Speaking of ESPN, Professional Race Car Driver Danica Patrick will be the first female host of ESPN’s ESPY Awards. The long running awards show has long spotlighted excellence in the world of sports. This year’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award will be shared by Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast Aly Raisman and the dozens of victims of the sexual abuse of U.S. Olympic Doctor Larry Nassar, who essentially received a life sentence for the extreme amount of criminal sexual assault accounts against him. Raisman is among the women leading the charge for reform in the sports world and protection against pedophiles and other sexual abusers. The 26th Annual ESPY Awards will air on Wednesday, July 18th at 8pm on ABC.
Creed II starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone will be in theaters this Thanksgiving.
Uncle Drew Co-star Tiffany Haddish has more on the horizon. Up next, Haddish co-stars with fellow Comedian Kevin Hart in Night School coming to theaters September 28th. After that, Haddish joins Tika Sumpter (The Haves & The Have Nots), Amber Riley (Glee), Omari Hardwick (Power) and Whoopi Goldberg for Nobody’s Fool, written and directed by Tyler Perry hitting theaters November 2nd.
The stars return to the Dell Music Center, 33rd and Ridge Avenue, this summer. Tickets are on sale now and check out the lineup:
Thurs., July 19th - Tamela Mann
Sun., July 22nd – Ne-Yo / Lyfe Jennings
Thurs., July 26th – Charlie Wilson / Avery Sunshine
Thurs., Aug 2nd – Erykah Badu & Talib Kweli
Thurs., Aug 9th – Monica/After 7/ Tony!Toni! Tone!
Thurs., Aug 16th - Keith Sweat, Johnny Gill & Ralph Tresvant with special guest Major
Sun., August 19th – The Basement Party starring Rakim, MC Lyte, Kurtis Blow, Stetsasonic, Tracey Lee, the Alumni featuring Chubb Rock, Special Ed, Dana Dane, Monie Love and Kwame
Thurs., Aug. 23rd - Patti LaBelle & Gregory Porter
Sunday, September 2nd - Patty Jackson’s Annual Party in the Park Celebrating my 35th anniversary starring Maze featuring Frankie Beverly & The Whispers and Blue Magic
For more information log onto mydelleast.org.
Spike Lee and Oscar Winner Jordan Peele have teamed up for the feature film BlacKkKlansman. The movie is based on the life experiences of African American Detective Ron Stallworth, who so successfully infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado that he became the head of the chapter. Fresh off his Oscar winning box office hit, Get Out Writer and Director Jordan Peele teams up with Spike Lee with Lee and Peele both serve as producers and Lee taking on directing and co-writing duties. The film stars John David Washington (son of Denzel and Pauletta Washington), Topher Grace (That 70’s Show), Adam Driver and the legendary Harry Belafonte. BlacKkKlansman opens in theaters August 10th.
Speaking of Acting Icon Denzel Washington, he is set to reprise his role as “Robert McCall” in The Equalizer II coming to the big screen July 20th.
Actress/Writer/Producer Issa Rae’s hit show Insecure returns to HBO Sunday, August 12th at 10:30pm right after the season premiere of Ballers with Dwayne The Rock Johnson at 10pm.
Check out who’s coming to town:
This Friday, July 13th – Lauryn Hill and the 20th anniversary of The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill tour at Penns Landing’s Festival Pier. Log on to ticketmaster.com for more information.
This Saturday, July 14th - The Irresponsible Tour starring Kevin Hart at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden NJ. For tickets and information log onto livenation.com.
Saturday, July 21st - Cedric The Entertainer comedy show at The Sugar House Casino. For tickets and information log onto sugarhouseentertainment.com.
Monday, July 30th – Jay-Z & Beyoncé: 2018 On The Run 2 Tour at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Sunday, August 12th – Gladys Knight and The O’Jays in concert at the Mann Center For The Performing Arts, 52nd Street & Parkside Avenue. For more information log on to manncenter.org.
Saturday, August 25th – Smokey Robinson in concert at the Mann Center For The Performing Arts, 52nd Street & Parkside Avenue. For more information log on to manncenter.org.
Saturday, August 25th & Sunday, August 26th – Stevie Wonder in concert at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For more information log on to theborgata.com.
Sunday, September 2nd – Earth, Wind & Fire in concert at the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For more information log on to theborgata.com.
Saturday, September 15th – The Aubrey and The Three Amigos Tour starring Drake and Migos at the Wells Fargo Center. Log onto wellsfargocenterphilly.com for ticket information.
Wednesday & Thursday, September 19th and 20th – Bruno Mars and Cardi B on Thee 24K Magic North American Concert Tour at the Wells Fargo Center. For tickets and information log onto wellsfargocenterphilly.com.
Saturday, November 24th - The Irresponsible Tour starring Kevin Hart at the Wells Fargo Center. For tickets and information log onto wellsfargocenterphilly.com.
If you would like more info please email me at PattyJackson@iHeartMedia.com or check me out with my midday reports at 10:30am, 12:30pm and 2:30pm during the day.