The Third Annual Women Of Excellence Awards luncheon will take place this 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 and Eric Benet. Tickets are available right now from our homepage at WDASFM.com.
Is the “family” at Good Morning America (GMA) taking sides and playing favorites, and is Michael Strahan again at the center of these whispers? Sources say the set of the top-rated morning news program is not a happy one, and that the tone of the ABC show has changed from a serious morning news program to one with too much fluff. Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos favors the harder news coverage that seems to be competing more and more with soft news. Meanwhile, long time Correspondent Lara Johnson’s time appears to be suffering as Michael Strahan’s role expands. Though they’ve faced animosity rumors in the past as well, Strahan’s consistent ally has been Co-anchor Robin Roberts. Things seemed to be settling into place after Strahan’s awkward promotion by ABC from Live with Kelly & Michael to GMA, but are ABC executives playing favorites? GMA has moved ahead of NBC’s Today Show. Can the egos stay in check and allow GMA to stay on top?
This August is when 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 beginning Wednesday, August 16th at 9pm on NBC.
Being Mary Jane returns to BET this summer. Part of what held up the show was the disagreement with Star Gabrielle Union and the network on how many shows to film and when they would air. The two sides settled their differences. Now Union, who is also an executive producer, will see her top-rated Being Mary Jane return to BET on July 18th for the second half of the fourth season.
Auntie Viv is not pleased following the latest reunion of her former TV family. The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air cast members Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Joseph Marcell and Daphne Maxwell Reid took a picture together that went super viral on social media. The cast members and friends were all together to support Karyn Parsons’ charity event. Only two cast members were missing. The late James Avery, who played “Uncle Phil,” died in 2013. And Janet Hubert, who played the original “Aunt Viv,” was let go from the NBC sitcom half-way through its run and replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid. Hubert took to social media and let loose. She declared she had no desire to reunite with the cast anyway. Hubert called her former TV son Alfonso Ribeiro, who posted the original picture, a Media Hoe and an A**wipe for Will Smith. Hubert, who blames Smith personally for her dismissal from the show, let it be known she’s shopping around her memoir Perfection Is Not A Sitcom Mom. She says it’s intended to tell the behind the scenes story before she leaves this earth.
The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame will take place next month. Lenny Kravitz will perform a special tribute to Prince, and Alicia Keys is also set to perform that night as well. Snoop Dogg will do the honors inducting his late friend and former Death Row label mate Tupac Shakur. Shakur would have been 46-years old this year. Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams will present Chic’s Nile Rodgers The Award for Musical Excellence. Rodgers will accept for himself and his musical partner and Chic Co-founder the late Bernard Edwards. Rodgers and Pharrell teamed up with Daft Punk for the Grammy-winning, Chic-styled hit Get Lucky in 2013. The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction ceremony will be held Friday, April 7th and then air on HBO Saturday, April 29th at 8pm.
Coming in April, The Grammys will air an all-star tribute to The Bee Gees. Stevie Wonder, Andra Day, Tori Kelly and John Legend will be among the performers. There’ll be an appearance by John Travolta and the last surviving Bee Gee, Barry Gibb will perform hits from the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack. Stayin’ Alive: A Grammy Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees airs Sunday, April 16th on CBS at 8pm.
Longtime BET Head Stephen Hill has left the building. The now ex-President Of Programming got a warm letter of appreciation from his boss, BET CEO Debra Lee, addressed to all BET employees. Hill’s own letter to staff says he’s looking forward to taking time off. That contradicts with the industry talk that BET owner Viacom is looking to shake up the brands of BET and it’s other cable and studio properties (MTV; Spike TV; Nickelodeon; Comedy Central, Paramount Pictures). Hill has been with BET 18 years and goes out on quite a high note: original programming (Being Mary Jane; The Quad; Real Husbands Of Hollywood), specials (BET Awards; Black Girls Rock; Hip Hop Awards; Soul Train Awards), miniseries (New Edition Story; Madiba) and BET Digital have all reached record highs under Hill’s watch.
Get ready for Kevin Hart Day this summer! Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, has declared the native home of the actor/comedian will have a day of appreciation. “My nephew” has been in town filming with Emmy Winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) 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’s also hit up local comedy clubs, donated $10,000 to the local Ronald McDonald House charity and has been attending local activities like the Sixers’ games. The man is on a roll. His movie Untouchables is due out in 2018. And, Kevin Hart Day in Philadelphia will happen this summer, Thursday, July 6th.
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. Misty Copeland will be at the Philadelphia Free Library on the Ben Franklin Parkway Thursday, April 13th.
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.
Paris Jackson is on the cover of the 150th anniversary issue of Harper's Bazaar.
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.
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.
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:
This 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.
This 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.
Friday, September 1st - The I Love The 90’s Tour: The Party Continues starring Blackstreet, TLC, Montell Jordan, Naughty By Nature, Biz Markie, Snap and C&C Music Factory at The BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ.