There’s a RESPECT battle brewing…….sort of. Jennifer Hudson’s big screen biopic on the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is called Respect. Before she died, Franklin gave Hudson the nod to play her on the big screen. The title of the movie comes from Franklin’s biggest hit and signature song Respect. Meanwhile, a miniseries called Genius stars two time Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin. Erivo teamed up with Clive Davis, currently of Sony Music and the former head of Arista Records where Franklin made her 80’s and 90’s comebacks. Genius is a mini-series that will air on the National Geographic Channel. Both of these productions have been pushed back because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Expect to hear a lot more about these two projects as time goes on, and producers try and navigate release/airdates around the coronavirus and each others’ projects. By the way, Erivo will be in town for a Fourth of July performance from the Met. She’ll be with Jason Durulo but no live audience because of COVID-19. The performances will be streamed and on NBC 10 TV this Saturday.
Pro Football Player and Activist Colin Kaepernick is teaming up with Filmmaker Ava DuVernay. These two woke social justice advocates are teaming up for a miniseries. The series is based on Kaepernick’s life as a teenager. Colin: Black & White follows his experiences as a bi-racial child adopted by a white family, and how those experiences shaped the man he is today. By the way the NFL, in this new climate of apologies for being wrong about protesting, may see a team finally pick up Kaepernick. At press time, no streaming date for the Colin: Black & White miniseries.
The Doctor Is Out! After 24 years of marriage, Rapper/Producer/Entrepreneur Andre Young, a.k.a. Dr. Dre and his wife Nicole Threatt are calling it quits. Threatt and Dre have two adult children from their 1996 marriage. Dre is in striking distance of the billionaires club because he and partner Jimmy Iovine founded Beats Electronics and Beats Music streaming service. In 2014, the two sold Beats to Apple for a reported $3 Billion. Threatt filed for divorce and cited irreconcilable differences in court papers. According to published reports, when the 55-year old former member of the legendary west coast rap group N.W.A. married Threatt in 1996, they did it without a prenup. Could Threatt walk away with 60%? Why 60%? That’s because Dr. Dre continues to have the potential to make money, i.e. residuals from films, TV, reissues of N.W.A. and other music he’s written and produced. There’s also word about a possible health crisis for Dr. Dre, and now his wife is leaving. Hmmmmmm!
Essence magazine is having a challenging time for their 50th anniversary. Despite now being black owned again, workers within the company are citing all kinds of shenanigans ruling the roost at the workplace. Is the company that’s supposed to be in the best interest of black women mistreating black women, or are these sources disgruntled women? The allegations include the boss sleeping with female staff members, workplace bullying, sexual intimidation and unfair wages. Essence hasn’t been the same since longtime Editor-In-Chief Susan Taylor left the building. Taylor became so synonymous with the Essence brand she became a target of critics despite the huge success Taylor guided the magazine to. Since that parting of the ways, Essence got sold to Time Warner but recently became black-owned. The struggles of the magazine business have left Essence only publishing 6 times a year. The Emmy winning star of Pose, Billy Porter is on the cover at a cost of $8. Yes, Essence is $8 now. Will the top brass talk about these accusations and what’s going on with the legendary magazine?
Prince is coming to TikTok. The estate of the late great singer/songwriter/music mogul has made a deal with the global short form video app to bring the entire Prince catalog to the platform. It’s all done in the year that marks the 36th anniversary of the Prince film and soundtrack masterpieces, Purple Rain. The Prince estate is also offering a full week of special programming to kick off the venture, and you can now follow Prince on TikTok: prince.4.ever
TV Host and Lawyer Sunny Hostin has a new book coming out. The Bronx native of Afro-Latina heritage chronicles her journey growing up in different worlds traveling through the law, journalism and hosting professions in the book I Am These Truths. Lately, Sunny made headlines for allegedly being a target of an ABC News executive now put on leave. Publish reports accuse ABC News Senior VP of Talent & Business Affairs Barbara Fedida of targeting Robin Roberts by saying it’s not like we’re asking her to pick cotton, and Fedida also allegedly called Hostin low rent talent. ABC released a statement that said it part the allegations don’t represent the values and culture at ABC News. On a brighter note, Hostin’s book covers identity, justice and everything in between in I Am These Truths coming out September 27th.
The NBA players will not be wearing their names on their jerseys when they return. The players will have social justice statements on them. This all part of a new awareness sports in general is trying to embrace even as they navigate returning in the coronavirus era. The abbreviated NBA season is scheduled to begin Friday, July 31st with all games taking place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The season will feature 22 teams and no fans. 13 teams on the western conference and 9 on the eastern conference and the season will end October 12th.
We remember the TV/Film/Recording legend known as Carl Reiner. Reiner first came to prominence in the 1950’s as a writer and supporting actor to Comedian Sid Caesar’s two legendary NBC programs Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour. Among the all-star writing staff between both shows were Selma Diamond, Aaron Reuben, Neil Simon, Woody Allen and Reiner’s best friend of 70 years Mel Brooks. Brooks and Reiner would create the popular sketch comedy The 2000-Year Old Man. Reiner played interviewer/straight man to Brooks’ off beat observations and comedic recollections of his “2000” years of existence. The sketch became a series of performances on variety shows, animated programming and Grammy winning records. Reiner then created the legendary Dick Van Dyke Show in the 1960’s from his experience on the Caesar shows after teaming up with Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard. From that show came comebacks for Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie and the introduction of America’s Sweetheart Mary Tyler Moore. Reiner won Emmys for the show and introduced Bill Cosby to Sheldon Leonard while attempting to cast Cosby on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Leonard would later put Cosby on I Spy, launching his career. Later, Reiner moved into films acting, writing and/or directing The Thrill of It All with Doris Day & James Garner, Oh God! starring George Burns, The Jerk & All of Me with Steve Martin and the Ocean’s Eleven franchise with George Clooney & Brad Pitt. Reiner was also the father of Author Annie Reiner, Artist Lucas Reiner and Oscar nominated Actor/Director Rob Reiner, a.k.a. “Meathead” from TV’s All In The Family. Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks were even posting on social media as late as this week on politics, the coronavirus and their support of Black Lives Matter. Carl Reiner was 98-years old.
Tony winner Audra McDonald will give voice to legendary civil rights icon Ida B. Wells. PBS is presenting a two-part documentary in July called The Vote. Wells dedicated her journalism career to focusing on the cruel and brutal treatment of African Americans in the south during the late 1800’s. She later became a leading voice in the women’s suffrage movement. McDonald will join Actresses Laura Linney, Mae Whitman, Patricia Clarkson and Kate Burton in The Vote airing on PBS July 6th and 7th.
The Wawa Welcome America Fourth of July celebration is going to be a televised and virtual event. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, NBC 10 will air this year’s performers from The Met. There’ll be no live audience but Singer (and internet breaker) Jason Durulo and two time Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo are headlining on July 4th. There’ll also be traditional performances by The Philly POPS, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the U.S. Army’s Field Band, among others, stretched out throughout that week, but without a live audience. The entire celebration takes place through July 4th and is being billed as 100% virtual to allow people to enjoy the festivities from the safety of home.
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.