The Third Annual Women Of Excellence Awards luncheon will take place Saturday, April 1st 11am at the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia, 201 North 17th Street. Our honorees will be First Lady Of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church Dr. Ellyn Jo Waller; City Councilwoman Janie Blackwell; FOX29 Reporter and Weather Anchor Sue Serio; President & CEO of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau Julie Coker Graham; Vice President & Assistant GM, Harrah’s Philadelphia Jacqueline Grace and our Trailblazer Award Recipient is Author/Motivational Speaker/Educator and former Essence Magazine Editor-In-Chief Susan Taylor. Our musical performers will be Joe, Leela James, Yuna and Eric Benet. Tickets are available right now from our homepage at WDASFM.com.
Nick Cannon is a dad again, but is he alright? Cannon’s girlfriend, Brittany Bell, welcomed their first child together, and his third, son Golden “Sagon” Cannon. The 36-year old host/actor/comedian took to social media to show off his little bundle of joy. This happy time is a much needed distraction for Cannon. The TV host is facing a $1.7 million lawsuit involving his app N’credible, which is a talent search app. Also, Cannon’s recent Showtime standup comedy special found Nick using the N word to describe how NBC’ treats him as host of the NBC summer show America’s Got Talent. Cannon has hinted that he was going to step down before the network removes him. No official word yet. Now, Cannon is fighting another tabloid story that reports he had a nervous breakdown, and that Mariah Carey will seek custody of the couples twins Monroe and Moroccan. What is going on with Cannon? He has been seen in public wearing different styles of …… turbans? Yes, Cannon rocks turbans. But, he’s also claiming to be a minister too! What’s going on here?
At the movies this week, Comedian/Writer/Actor Jordan Peele makes his directorial debut with a thriller called Get Out. An interracial couple comes home from college to meet her parents, but his being uncomfortable has less to do with race and more to do with the mysterious, unexplained disappearances of black young men in the area. Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford star. Emmy Winner Jordan Peele, best known from Mad TV and Key & Peele, also wrote the script. Get Out opens this Friday in theaters.
The Songwriters Hall Of Fame inductees have been announced. Motown Founder Berry Gordy, Hip Hop Mogul Jay-Z, New Jack/Minneapolis Soul Pioneers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Chicago’s Robert Lamm/James Pankow/Peter Cetera, Max Martin and Singer/Songwriter/Entrepreneur Kenny Babyface Edmonds all made this year’s cut. New York City will host the official festivities Thursday June 15th, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.
An Oscar winner is racially harassed in Croatia! Croatian police filed charges against two men who were harassing Jamie Foxx. That’s right Jamie! Foxx is filming a new movie that retells the story of Robin Hood. Foxx plays “Little John.” Robin Hood: Origins is shooting on location in the European country. Foxx went into a restaurant during some down time, and that’s when a couple of locals use verbal attacks against the actor/comedian. After the police were called and disorderly conduct charges were leveled at the men, Foxx took to his social media to call out the men and shine a light on racism.
Bill Cosby has returned to social media and had to check his "old friends." Cosby, who is facing numerous sexual misconduct accusations, several lawsuits, problems with his health and a criminal trial on sexual assault in Pennsylvania, has decided to go on the offensive. Beginning with the 2017 MLK holiday, Cosby’s twitter feed began to post trailblazing African American figures in history. This happened almost a month after the African American owned digital channel Bounce TV put his 1980’s hit sitcom, The Cosby Show, back on the air for an hour. Now, Bounce has doubled its Cosby airings, and the comedian’s twitter feed and lawyers’ statements are back in full effect. A Cosby accuser, Actress and self described former Sammy Davis, Jr. girlfriend Katherine McKee had her defamation lawsuit tossed by a judge over the past week. McKee claimed she was defamed and branded a liar when Cosby’s lawyers denied her rape charges. The judge found McKee didn’t prove she was legally damaged by liable and that Cosby has some right to declare himself innocent. Cosby posted the judge’s decision on his social media pages. Then he and his lawyers shamed his long-time TV network home. NBC’s 90th anniversary special saw no mention of Cosby’s 60’s drama I SPY, his 50 years of Tonight Show appearances or is award-winning prime time comedy specials. The only scene from The Cosby Show shown only featured Castmembers Phylicia Rashad and Geoffrey Owens speaking. Cosby’s lawyers then checked NBC and Cosby’s social media used the hashtags #NoBillCosby (NBC), #LegacyCantBeAbolished and #TheWorldSeesTheTruth. Cosby’s criminal trial in Montgomery County begins this summer.
The Oprah Winfrey Network has cancelled the two Tyler Perry sitcoms Love Thy Neighbor and For Better Or For Worse (with Camden’s own Tasha Smith). Saturday, March 4th will be the farewell season premiere for Love Thy Neighbor at 9pm with a special back to back episode presentation. For Better Or For Worse will debut with a special back to back episode presentation but on Saturday, June 10th at 9pm. OWN has given Perry another commitment to a second spinoff from The House Of Payne series that starred LaVan Davis, Cassie Davis and Allen Payne. I’m hearing LaVan and Cassie may join up with Jackee Harry from 227 for the new Payne spinoff, which is scheduled to debut in 2018.
Oprah Winfrey herself is joining her BFF Gayle King over at CBS. King just signed a lucrative renewal with the Tiffany network to continue to co-anchor The CBS Morning News and to stay with CBS News. Her pal Winfrey is joining 60 Minutes as a special correspondent. Winfrey says she was motivated by the prestige of the legendary news magazine show and by the opportunity to present viewers with a little insight in this atmosphere of the very divided political times. The Mighty O will make her 60 Minutes debut this fall.
Singer/Actor and former Teen Heartthrob David Cassidy is suffering from dementia. The former Partridge Family TV star revealed his condition and that it’s been in his family for several generations. After his massive success as a recording artist, TV star and concert attraction, Cassidy faced drug addiction, arrests and a D.U.I. conviction. The 66-year old singer is also $200,000 in debt and has been touring to erase it. When he announced his dementia diagnosis to his audience, he also said he would soon retire and focus on his health. Cassidy still must go through his creditors and possibly the courts. He still owes money and retiring before he has an approved plan to pay off those debts will be a legal problem for him.
Get well wishes go out to Philly’s own Singer/Songwriter/Producer Bunny Sigler. Sigler hit the charts when he was signed to Cameo-Parkway Records in the 1960’s with Let The Good Times Roll, There’s No Love Left and For Crying Out Loud. In the 70’s he signed onto Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records and recorded Picture Us, Love Train and That’s How Long I’ll Be Loving You. Plus, Sigler wrote and produced for other Sound Of Philadelphia artists like Patti LaBelle (Somebody Loves You Baby; Love, Need & Want You); The O’Jays (Let Me Make Love To You; Sunshine; You Got Your Hooks In Me; Your Body’s Here With Me), Lou Rawls (From Now On), Shirley Jones (Do You Get Enough Love) and Instant Funk (Got My Mind Made Up). Wishing a speedy recovery for Bunny!
Get well wishes go out to James Ingram as well. Ingram is best known as a singer/songwriter that Quincy Jones insisted his voice be used on recordings “The Q” was producing. Jones instigation lead to Ingram’s duel career as songwriter (Michael Jackson: PYT; The Pointer Sisters: Baby Come And Get It) and performer: I Don’t Have The Heart; Baby Come To Me; One Hundred Ways; Just Once; Yah Mo B There; How Do You Keep The Music Playing; Somewhere Out There, just to name a few. Ingram has stepped out of the spotlight for the moment and we wish him a speedy recovery and return to performing.
Queen Latifah and Benjamin Bratt’s hit drama will return for a second season on FOX. Philly’s own Lee Daniels produces the drama Star, which airs Wednesdays at 9pm, and the FOX Network is very pleased and released a statement confirming renewing the show. Star’s season finale will air March 15th, and the countdown is on with guest stars including Rickey Smiley, Big Boi, Missy Elliot, Paris Jackson and Naomi Campbell.
Speaking of Lee Daniels’ productions, Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson will return to their number one rated TV drama Empire on FOX Wednesday, March 22nd. They’ll have plenty of company as Actress Demi Moore makes her debut on the series. Moore will play a nurse with a mysterious past at the end of this season and will return in season four as well. Moore’s daughter, with ex-husband Bruce Willis, Rumer Willis had already been cast as well as Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) Taye Diggs (The Best Man); Nia Long (Love Jones) and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show). Empire returns to FOX on Wednesday, March 22nd at 9pm.
Congrats to The Today Show’s Hoda Kotb. At age 52, she’s become a first time mom by adopting her infant daughter Haley Jo Kotb. Hoda called into the Today Show with the news, and her shocked colleagues congratulated her. Kotb joins Savannah Guthrie and Dylan Dreyer who also have new babies they welcomed over the past 12 months. Kotb was previously married to Tennis Coach Burzis Kanga before divorcing him two years later. Kotb just moved in with her new man Financier Joel Schiffman, and baby Haley Jo makes the picture complete.
Philly’s own Kevin Hart has turned author. The hometown comedian/actor is the king of the hill at the box office, and now he’s penning his book called I Can’t Make This Up. This is an inspirational and funny memoir of the journey Hart has taken in life and his career. Meanwhile, Hart is filming the new movie Untouchables in Philly with Actor Bryan Cranston. Both men have been seen out and about in the city of brotherly love for Sixers' games, working out at the local gym and, of course, on location filming. The Untouchables is scheduled for a 2018 release. Meanwhile, I Can’t Make This Up will be available on line and in bookstores everywhere beginning June 6th.
Actress and Brand new Mom Tika Sumpter (Southside With You; The Haves And The Have Nots; Ride Along) is on the cover of Upscale magazine.
Oscar nominated Filmmaker Ava DuVernay is on the cover of Essence magazine’s March 2017 issue.
Actress Jurnee Smollett will be on Ebony’s March 2017 issue.
President Barack Obama is featured on a separate special collector’s edition of Ebony magazine themed Hail To The Chief: Saluting Eight Years Of Excellence.
Essence Magazine has released a commemorative collector’s book on the former First Family. The Obamas: The White House Years is available now.
Serena Williams will appear in the 2017 Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated. The soon to be wife of Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian did her shoot in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Williams is joined in the S.I. Swimsuit issue by Danielle Herrington, Chrissy Teigen, Lisa Marie Jaetha, Sumba, Kelly Gale, Las Ribeiro, and Gymnastic Gold Medalist Simone Biles. Plus, 63-year old Christie Brinkley and her daughters Sailor and Alexa Ray are also featured. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is on stands now.
Larenz Tate (Love Jones; Why Do Fools Fall In Love) and Comedian Charlie Murphy are taking on 50 Cent and Crew. That’s because the actors have joined the cast of the 50 Cent produced Starz drama Power. Still no premiere date announced and details on the casting are pretty quiet, but I hear Tate will play a city councilman with ties to the hood. Power stars Omari Harwick, Naturi Naughton, Lela Loren and 50 Cent and will return to Starz this summer.
Warmdaddy’s is presenting their R&B Rewind Series beginning in February. Upcoming shows will include Alexander O’ Neal & Cherelle, Miki Howard, Deniece Williams and El DeBarge. It all kicks off with Howard Hewett and Alyson Williams with special guest Janee Latrice on this Sunday, February 26th at 7pm. For reservations and information call 215-462-2000 or log onto warmdaddys.com
The sleeper hit film Dear White People is now coming to Netflix as a series. The movie, which co-starred Tessa Thompson, James Tyler Williams, Teyonah Parris and Dennis Haysbert, was a send up of the racial tensions being experienced at a prestigious Ivy League college from the perspective of its black students. The independent film was a surprise hit and critically acclaimed. Now Writer-Director Justin Simien has adapted his movie for television and even wrote the first ten episodes. The show will star Logan Browning (VH1’s Hit The Floor), Brandon P. Bell and be co-executive produced by Yvette Lee Bowser (A Different World; Living Single). Dear White People will debut on Netflix Friday, April 28th.
This year’s Academy Award nominees are: Denzel Washington and Viola Davis for Fences; Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures; Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Writer/Director Barry Jenkins for Moonlight; and Ruth Negga for Loving. Fences, Moonlight and Hidden Figures are all also up for Best Picture; and history was made with the first African American woman nominated in the editing category, Joi McMillon for Moonlight. Jimmy Kimmel will host The Oscars this Sunday, February 26th on ABC.
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 this Saturday, February 25th at 8pm on TV One.
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.
Check out who’s coming to town:
Now – Sunday, February 26th – The Bodyguard Starring Deborah Cox, based on the film and featuring the music of Whitney Houston’s entire career, at The Academy Of Music, 240 Broad Street on The Avenue Of The Arts. For Tickets and information log onto kimmelcenter.org.
This Sunday, February 26th – The R&B Rewind Series starring Howard Hewett and Alyson Williams with special guest Janee Latrice 7pm at Warmdaddy’s, Columbus Blvd and Reed. For Reservations and information call 215-462-2000 or log onto warmdaddys.com
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, Johnny Gill and Solero 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.
Saturday, May 13th – Mothers Day Weekend concert starring Brian McKnight at The Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. Tickets are on sale now and for more information log onto keswicktheatre.com.