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, Kevin Ross, Leela James and Eric Benet. Tickets are available right now from our homepage at WDASFM.com.
Comedian Jay Anthony Brown has made it official. Beginning April 17th, Brown will join WDAS’ Steve Harvey Morning Show and will be featured everyday as a regular. It’s a reunion. Steve and Jay have been working together for more than 30 years on the stand-up comedy circuit, and Jay was a writer and frequent guest star on Steve’s first sitcom, ABC’s Me & The Boys. Anthony cut ties with Tom Joyner late last year, and wasn’t given a chance to say goodbye on Joyner’s show after 20 years on it. Jay’s hasn’t talked publicly about what went left, but word on the street was the comedian was looking for more opportunities. Well, Jay will certainly have that now because he also announced that on April 28th, he’ll get his own two-hour The Jay Anthony Brown Weekend (countdown) Show, which will be replacing the Best of Steve Harvey. Yeah Jay!
Queen Latifah is a businesswoman through and through. The Queen teamed with Ahold USA to launch a floral line called Queen Collection. The line began in the fall with limited availability, but is now distributed widely. Eight different floral bouquets and two orchids that have been personally named by Latifah make up the Queen Collection.
Comedian Kevin Hart loves being home. The Philly born funny man and box office king has returned to the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection to take care of the movie and the comedy fronts. First, he and Emmy Winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) have been filming their new movie here. The two star in the upcoming movie Untouchables, which follows the relationship of a paralyzed man and the caregiver he hires to help him adjust to his new reality and disability. Hart has also used the opportunity to hit his old haunts to work out some new material for an upcoming comedy tour. I took in “my nephew’s” show at Punchline, and he’s in top form. Check out the pictures on my Patty TV page on WDASFM.com. Hart is preparing for a full tour and developing another comedy special. Meanwhile, his movie Untouchables is due out in 2018.
Look out for the I Love The 90’s Tour: The Party Continues. You can call it a sequel to the very successful first run of this tour, which features some of the biggest artist from the decade of 1990. This newest installment will launch July 7th and feature Blackstreet, TLC, Montell Jordan, Naughty By Nature, Biz Markie, Snap and C&C Music Factory. I Love The 90’s Tour: The Party Continues comes to Camden’s BB&T Pavilion on Friday, September 1st.
Mechelle says I’m too old to work, so I’ll take $109,000 a month Mike Epps! Mechelle Epps says she was blindsided when her comedian/actor husband filed for divorce in 2016 after ten years of marriage and two daughters, ages 8 and 10. The divorce has been dragging on. Mechelle Epps says Mike never wanted her to work, so she handled the household and now she’s too old to work. Mechelle is 36….Yes, she’s 36! Mechelle’s legal docs breakdown expenses, including getting her daughters’ private school, vacations and hair care covered, what she pays her mother to be nanny to the two daughters and her mother’s Mercedes upkeep, just to name a few of the expenses. Mechelle claims Mike makes $3.5 million a year. No court dates have been released yet, but Mechelle is taking a hit on social media. Not for asking for the support, but for claiming to be too old to work at 36!
Bishop TD Jakes daytime talk show is coming to an end. The show did not emerge from its heavy competition of other daytime talk shows. TD Jakes’ show will end on both OWN and in syndication.
Congrats to Naturi Naughton! The actress, best known as “Tasha St. Patrick” from the hit Starz series Power, is expecting her first child with her long time boyfriend Ben. She tells People magazine being pregnant has made her stronger and more excited about life in general. Naughton is due this July.
Nia Long vs. Taraji P. Henson…on and off screen?!!!! Rumors are swirling around the set of the FOX hit drama Empire that the two actresses are at war. Reportedly, not only did they stop speaking, but they shoot the scenes they are to be in together separately. This season on Empire, the guest lineup is acting’s all-stars: Demi Moore, Rumer Willis (Bruce Willis & Demi’s daughter), Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) Taye Diggs (The Best Man), and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show). Nia Long goes a long ways back with her Best Man and now Empire co-stars Terrence Howard and Taye Diggs, which is probably what made her coming on the show a great get. But, is this a matter of where there’s smoke there’s fire, or could this Taraji vs. Nia talk be for publicity? Empire airs on FOX Wednesdays at 9pm.
In more Empire news, Oscar nominee and Empire Co-star Gabourey Sidibe is telling all. Sidibe is now adding author to her resume and has written the new book This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare. The woman who gave an iconic performance in the Academy Award winning Lee Daniels movie Precious details the struggles she deals with despite being a star. Sidibe talks about her very personal decision to have lap band surgery, her type 2 diabetes diagnosis and her teenage battle with bulimia and self-esteem issues. Despite these challenges, Sidibe is feeling pretty good these days. She reunited with Lee Daniels for the number one drama series Empire. Her weight is coming down quite a bit. The actress says she’s ready to receive her gentleman caller. This Is Just My Face: Try Not To Stare, will be available in May.
Tiger Woods commemorates the 20th anniversary of his Master’s win at Augusta with a new book. The 1997 Masters: My Story chronicles not just the moment he broke golf’s color barrier and changed the face of the game forever, but his journey to and since that trailblazing moment. Woods covers the racial harassment he received as a child being called slurs on the golf course and having lemons, limes and rocks thrown at his family’s house. He writes how his brothers, Kevin and Earl, Jr. kicked down the door of the perpetrators and after a little talk, the fruit and rocks were no longer thrown at the house. While he didn’t confirm the names or number of affairs, Woods did go into his regrets about the cheating scandal that nearly totally derailed his career. He says now he and his ex-wife Elin are in a good place as co-parents. The 1997 Masters: My Story by Tiger Woods is available now.
Premier Ballerina Misty Copeland completed her second book. Copeland made history when she became the first African American principal ballerina at American Ballet Theater. She shattered stereotypes and the naysayers’ negativity about weight, muscle and body type to achieve her goal. Now Copeland shares positive health and spirit tips for the mind and body for everyone in her new book, Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way To A Leaner, Stronger And More Graceful You. The dance phenom says the book was also an opportunity to show that dancers are in fact athletes and to show the regimen to stay at the top of their game. Copeland is currently on a nationwide promotional tour for Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way To A Leaner, Stronger And More Graceful You, which is currently available online and in bookstores.
Right after being named Nick Cannon’s America’s Got Talent replacement, Tyra Banks also announced she’s returning to America’s Next Top Model (ANTM). ANTM has been on for more than 23 seasons beginning on the then existing UPN network before switching to VH1. Rita Ora took the hosting duties beginning in 2016, and Tyra remained an executive producer. Now Banks is returning to her original duties in front of and behind the camera. America’s Next Top Model returns to VH1 this summer, and America’s Got Talent is scheduled to return to NBC also this summer.
Marlon Wayans returns to TV with his new show Marlon. The sitcom follows a divorced couple with two children who are trying to successfully co-parent when dad is a big kid himself. Essence Atkins (Half & Half; Smart Guy) co-stars as Wayans ex along with Bresha Webb (Meet The Blacks; People Are Talking), Notim Taylor and Amir O’Neil. Marlon will run for 10 episodes this summer on NBC.
We lost some ICONS who shook up Philly and the world:
Philadelphia Phillies Legendary Baseball Manager Dallas Green has died from complications of kidney disease. Green lead the Phillies to their very first World Series win in 1980. His tongue in cheek nickname was Whisper because of his loud booming voice and tough talk for his team. That legendary rooster included Pete Rose, Lonnie Smith, Mike Schmidt, Arnold Ray “Shake & Bake” McBride, Steve Carlton, Tug McGraw, Larry Bowa, Manny Trillo and Gary Maddox. Green had to give the team tough talk to round up the egos and experience to focus on winning, and it worked. Unfortunately, Green experienced his worst tragedy when his nine-year old granddaughter, Christina Taylor-Green, was killed in the 2011 shooting by a lone gunman that also critically injured Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in Arizona. Dallas Green died in Philadelphia at the age of 82.
TV Producer/Host/Reality TV Mogul/Game Show Creator, and possibly secret agent, Chuck Barris died of natural causes in New York this week. Barris is probably most popularly remembered for hosting 1970-80’s hit The Gong Show. Before American Idol, The Voice or America’s Got Talent, a panel of three celebrities would rate the performers introduced to them and TV viewers by Barris. Along with mostly amateurs looking for their big break, Barris’ regulars included Music Director Milton DeLugg, The Unknown Comic, Jayne P. Morgan and the immortal Gene Gene, The Dancing Machine. Besides The Gong Show, Barris created and produced The $1.98 Beauty Show with Rip Taylor, The Dating Game with Jim Lange and The Newlywed Game with Bob Eubanks, just to name a few. Barris took his showmanship to a new level when he claimed in a novel to be a secret agent. George Clooney found the story so interesting that he adapted the book into a movie. Both were called Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. Barris spent the rest of his life saying he couldn’t comment on whether or not his days as a spy were true or not. Barris was a Philly native and got his start by way of another Philly icon. He worked backstage for the late Dick Clark in the 1960’s on American Bandstand while it was filmed here in Philly. Barris went on to write songs for the show’s frequent guest Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon (Palisades Park). Chuck Barris was 87-years old.
Speaking of more Philly ties, Legendary Songwriter/Singer/Genius Instrumentalist Chuck Berry also passed of natural causes. Though Elvis is often credited, it’s Berry and Little Richard who in reality did the most to shape Rock & Roll. Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison and Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have repeatedly cited Berry as their most influential musical figure. Berry was a pianist as well as a guitarist and his hits, just to name a few, include: Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene, Rock And Roll Music, No Particular Place To Go, Come On and his comeback 1972 risqué hit My Ding A Ling, his first number one song despite many previous million sellers. Berry made so many appearances on American Bandstand and in road shows with Dick Clark, that Clark himself made a rare appearance on 1981’s American Music Awards to present Berry The Award Of Merit. Berry continued to tour as late as 2011, and on his last birthday announced his first new studio album since 1979’s Rock It. Berry’s new album, Chuck, will now be released June 16th of this year. Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer Chuck Berry was 90-years old.
Auntie Fee has passed away. The TV and online star, also known as Chef Sista Girl, suffered a massive heart attack last week and was on life support. Her family confirmed her passing shortly after. Fee, whose real name is Felicia O’Dell, had become an internet sensation when her “good a** chicken” and “sweet treats for the kids” recipes became viral gold, and she even appeared in the big screen’s Barbershop III. Auntie Fee was 59-years old.
Funeral arrangements have been announced for Singer Joni Sledge. The native Philadelphian died at her home in Arizona earlier this month at the age of 60. Joni is best remembered as a member, with her three sisters Kathy, Debbie and Kim, of the group Sister Sledge and their 1979 hit with Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, We Are Family. Joni Sledge’s funeral will take place this Saturday, 9 a.m. at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 W. Lehigh Ave. in Philadelphia followed by a burial at Ivy Hill Cemetery.
Unforgettable is a thriller set to hit theaters this spring. Rosario Dawson (Men In Black II; He Got Game; Luke Cage; Daredevil) stars as a woman whose new husband and stepdaughter are perfect for her life. But, Katherine Heigl (Grey’s Anatomy; Knocked Up) is the ex-wife and mom of Dawson’s new family whose jealousy turns into a nightmare for the new wife. Unforgettable, also starring Cheryl Ladd (Charlie’s Angels), hits theaters April 21st.
The blockbuster thriller Get Out has now grossed over $133 million at the box office. That’s marks the first time an African American writer-director’s debut film grossed over $100 million at the box office. Jordan Peele, best known from Mad TV and Key & Peele, wrote and directed this thriller. Get Out has also launched the viral #GETOUTCHALLENGE based on a running scene in the movie.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama covers a special Ebony magazine collector’s issue. Ladies First: 100 + Of The Most Powerful Women Of All Time is now available and was designed for Women’s History Month. Meanwhile, Former President Barack and the former FLOTUS have closed their first post White House book deal rumored to have a $65 million price tag. Penguin/Random House won the bidding war, but isn't confirming if the books are memoirs or not. As for the hefty pay, The Obamas are choosing to donate a great deal of that money to charity, including The Obama Foundation. Expect new books from both the former POTUS and FLOTUS in 2018.
Paris Jackson is on the cover of the 150th anniversary issue of Harper's Bazaar.
Congrats again to Actor Mahershala Ali. The actor is on a roll this year. First, he became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar for his supporting role in Oscar's Best Picture Moonlight. Now he and his wife, Amatus-Sami-Karim, welcomed their brand new baby daughter Bari Najma. All are doing well. Meanwhile, Ali and his Moonlight co-stars Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert have all made a big splash as underwear models. The cast members appear in the Calvin Klein Spring 2017 campaign in print ads everywhere.
Golden Globe award winning Actress Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) covers the April edition of Health magazine.
The cast of Underground (Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller, Amirah Vann and Aisha Hinds) cover the latest Upscale magazine. The TV series Underground, co-executive produced by Singer/Songwriter John Legend, is currently in its second season on WGN America and airs Wednesdays at 10pm.
Oprah Winfrey and Tony Award winning Actress Renee’ Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton) are both the cover of Essence magazine’s April issue. The ladies are starring together in The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks, the true story of the contribution made to science by an African American woman who never received credit for it until decades after her death. The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks airs on Saturday, April 22nd on HBO. The April edition of Essence hits newsstands Friday, March 24th.
Actress Jurnee Smollett (Underground) covers Ebony’s March 2017 issue.
Essence Magazine has released a commemorative collector’s book on the former First Family. The Obamas: The White House Years is available now.
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:
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 – Mother’s 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.