The First Annual Sista Strut Breast Cancer Walk will take place Saturday, June 17th at XFINITY Live! Philadelphia, 201 North 17th Street. All the registration info and details are on the wdasfm.com page.
Bill Cosby’s team, including his youngest daughter Evin, is jumping into defense mode. Instead of his traditional spot at the Penn Relays, the Philly born star of The Cosby Show, granted his first interview since being charged criminally with sexual assault. Cosby refused to talk about his legal issues, but confirmed to Black Press USA that he is legally blind saying he woke up one morning and had to call for his wife Camille. Doctors confirmed to the comedian, who turns 80 in July, he cannot have his sight repaired and the blindness is permanent. Cosby also spoke about resuming his career once his legal battles are done. Youngest daughter Evin Cosby penned a letter to the media stating her father loves and respects women. Evin confirms while her famous father did have affairs, that was between him and her mom/his wife Camille. Evin says her father is not a rapist or an abuser and the liberties people and the media have taken branding him that hurt her family, especially her, as a single mom, and her children. Cosby’s lawyer has also told the press their defense strategy is to change the optics after such a rush to judgment in the court of public opinion. Cosby’s spokespeople deny these interviews are all timed for the trial, but confirm more interviews are on the way. Cosby’s criminal trial for the alleged sexual assault of former Temple University Employer Andrea Constand begins in June.
In divorce news this week, everybody’s favorite “woke” Actor/Activist Jessie Williams, who plays “Jackson” on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and his wife of five years Aryn Drake-Lee are splitting. While Drake-Lee, a real estate broker, remained behind the scenes, Williams has been building years of public activism and protest, most notably his moving BET acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award, which became a viral sensation after calling out the harsh realities of racism in America. Last week, Williams filed for divorce. The couple has been together for more than decade, since he was a school teacher before he struck it big in modeling and acting. They have two children: daughter Sadie, 3, and son Maceo, 18 months. So what could have gone wrong? Some say Actress Minka Kelly is what. Photos of the two actors turned up on line, including Kelly’s instagram showing them and another person having dinner in Paris. Sources are saying the two are more than friends. When Williams was asked about whether he and Kelly are more than friends, he didn’t speak but flashed his jacket reading Don’t Believe The Hype.
Dionne versus Aretha, a battle of the Divas. Recently, Queen Of Soul Aretha Franklin took a shot at her one time 1980’s Arista labelmate Dionne Warwick. Franklin brought up how she was called Whitney Houston’s godmother five years ago at Houston’s funeral by Warwick. The context was that Franklin, who had a performance that night and was suffering from swollen feet that day, didn’t attend. Franklin says that Warwick falsely identified her as Houston’s godmother in a critical manner at the service and that as libelous. Auntie Dionne and Re Re…what?!!!!! Franklin says it’s all about libel and not an apology. Franklin also said Warwick never liked her, and they’ve never been friends. Warwick’s reps say she won’t dignify these statements by Franklin. Apparently, this all came to ahead again recently when both ladies attended Arista Founder and Label Chief Clive Davis’ documentary. Franklin rejected a hug and greeting from Warwick at the event. Ironically, Davis guided both ladies to platinum-Grammy winning comebacks in the 1980’s when he signed both of them to Arista. Franklin even said in her book that she signed with Davis because she like how he handled Warwick’s hits at the time (I’ll Never Love This Way Again; Déjà vu). The two ladies also shared million selling versions, separately, of 1968’s I Say A Little Prayer For You.
R Kelly is back on tour and coming to Camden, but he’s also facing the law on two counts: a civil suit and the I.R.S. The Chicago born singer/songwriter was hit with a $192,000 tax lien that stems from unpaid taxes from 2012. Kelly also has tax hits from the state of Illinois as well when they did a nearly $147,000 lien against taxes missed from 2009, 2011 and 2012. Plus, there’s a tax bill of $6.2 million to settle with the government that goes back as far as 2005. Kelly’s legal problems continue because now he’s being sued in civil court by a Mississippi Sheriff’s Deputy named Kenny Bryant. Bryant claims although his wife, Asia Childress, admitted a relationship in the past with Kelly, Kelly and Childress continued a long term adulterous affair after Childress married Bryant. Bryant claimed not to have known while the affair was happening. Childress filed for divorced, and Bryant claims that’s directly because of Kelly. Bryant is suing Kelly for mental and emotional stress and financial ruin for an undisclosed amount. R Kelly will be in concert at Camden’s BB&T Pavilion on Saturday, June 24th.
Speaking of the other woman, is Kendu’s alleged chick on the side a Mary J. Bilge protégée? Singer Starshell is signed to Mary and Kendu Isaacs’ Matriarch Entertainment and she has toured with Blige. Now Starshell is being called the mistress by some of the press. Starshell spoke with Mina SayWhat of our sister station Power 99 and denied all those rumors, and so did lawyers for Kendu. Blige has accused Kendu of spending over $420,000 on a girlfriend, who Blige has not named…. as of yet.
Steve Harvey is ending The Steve Harvey Show, his Chicago-based daytime TV talk show, this summer and this fall will begin Steve, an L.A. based celebrity talk show. Harvey is entering the realm of Ellen, Merv and Mike Douglas with his new fall show, which will air on NBC stations around the country. Meanwhile, Steve’s Showtime At The Apollo comeback specials on FOX was a huge hit. Now FOX has ordered it as a weekly series. Steve originally hosted the show for seven years from 1993-2000. This time around the creative team will include Writer/Producer/Director Reginald Hudlin (Boomerang; House Party; The Academy Awards).
Chris Rock and former Comedy Central Nightly Show Head Writer Robin Thede are teaming up for a BET late night show hosted by Thede. The Rundown will be BET’s entry into the nighttime comedy field. Thede made history becoming the first and only African American female head writer of a late night comedy show (The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore), and she was one of the writers for Chris Rock when he hosted The 2014 BET Awards. Rock and Thede will be among the executive producers of The Rundown, which will be a late night talk show premiering this fall on BET.
We remember Singer Cuba Gooding, Sr. Gooding took over the lead vocals for The Main Ingredient after original Lead Singer Don McPherson passed away from leukemia in 1971. With Gooding on lead, the group had their biggest hit ever with 1972’s gold selling Everybody Plays The Fool. Gooding remained on lead for another hit million-seller Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely, a Philly soul classic written by Bobby Eli, Vinnie Barrett and John Freeman. The Main Ingredient line up of Gooding, Luther Simmons and Tony Silvester enjoyed a good run here on WDAS and still today thanks to Butterball’s Oldies Dance Party with the hits Girl Blue, Rollin Down A Mountainside, Happiness Is Just Around The Bend and Let Me Prove My Love To You, which was sampled into Alicia Keys You Don’t Know My Name. Gooding was the father of Actors Cuba, Jr. and Omar Gooding. Gooding, Sr. continued to tour with a new line up of The Main Ingredient, and continued to be a popular attraction here in Philly. I had the pleasure of hosting many of those shows and he was always great to me, put on a fantastic show for his audience and was always in great spirits. Last week, Gooding was found in his car and police are still investigating though no foul play appears to be involved. Cuba Gooding, Sr. was 72-years old.
We also remember Actress Erin Moran. The former child star is best known for her role as Joanie Cunningham in the ABC sitcom Happy Days from 1974 to 1984. While never a favorite with the critics, Happy Days did top the ratings as part of ABC’s super Tuesday night lineup which would later include Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy and Three’s Company. Upon hearing of her death, Moran’s co-stars seem to allude to a troubled life and her now finding peace. Moran’s brother even had to check her former co-star and former on and off screen love interest Scott Baio, who played Chachi Arcola, for his remarks. Moran was critical of how producers of Happy Days treated her by wanting her to become a sex symbol at such a young age (15). Later, Moran would lead a successful lawsuit against CBS/Paramount resulting in a settlement for the use of Happy Days cast-members likenesses, though it didn’t result in the millions originally sought. Moran passed away in humble surroundings of cancer. She was 56-years old.
The pitter patter of little Tennis feet for Serena Williams was disclosed by accident. Williams was on snapchat talking about her pregnancy, but accidentally made it public instead of keeping it private amongst her circle. Now that the news is out, the multi-championship winning sports phenom had to go back to social media and check a Tennis official. The official made a racial joke about the unborn child Williams is having with her fiancé Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who is white. Williams, as always, took the high road and pointed out how far society still has to go on issues of race. The official was suspended from his current duties for his remarks.
Now that she and estranged husband Wissam Al Mana have split, is Janet Jackson hitting the road? I’m hearing the Pleasure Principle singer is working on losing the baby weight already and is eyeing tour stops here in Philly and Atlantic City.
While we wait for Gabrielle Union's BET drama Being Mary Jane to return in July, she is prepping her new book, We’re Going To Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, And True, plus new hair care and clothing lines. In the book, Mrs. Dwyane Wade presents a series of essays on race, sexuality, friendship, marriage, self-awareness and feminism. Union also speaks about growing up in Suburban California and spending times with relatives in Nebraska as well as her parents’ divorce and her own struggles with doubt, crushes and even puberty. We’re Going To Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, And True will be out this fall. For Union’s clothing line, she’s teaming up with New York & Company to create trendy but affordable pieces based on her Being Mary Jane character. The hair care line is called Flawless, and the products are what Union used to return to her natural, healthy hair. The themes of the clothing and hair lines are empowerment and affordability. Meanwhile, Being Mary Jane will return to BET Tuesday, July 18th.
Shemar Moore, who left the hit series Criminal Minds, will return to his old stomping grounds this season and then gear up for his own show this fall. Moore will reprise his role as Derek Morgan for the season finale of Criminal Minds. Then, Moore is doing the third reboot of the S.W.A.T. franchise. The 1975 ABC series starred Robert Urich. Then the 2003 film version starred Samuel L. Jackson. Now, it’s Moore turn as he plays S.W.A.T.’s unorthodox leader, Lt. Daniel “Hondo” Harrelson, who balances his loyalty to both the law and the streets. S.W.A.T. is slated for CBS this fall, and Moore returns for the Criminal Minds season finale Wednesday, May 10th at 9pm on CBS.
The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame airs in next week. 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 air on HBO this Saturday, April 29th at 8pm.
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.
The April/May issue of Ebony magazine features two-time NBA All-Star Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) on the cover. It’s the travel issue and also features catching up with En Vogue, who’ll be at the Mann Thursday June 1st, and the Vacations For Mom And Me article.
Essence Magazine’s May issue is themed 100 Woke Women. On the cover features over a dozen women in Stay Woke t-shirts and inside the magazine they speak of their activism and the importance of the work still to be done to reach equality. Among the women on the cover include TV Writer/Producer/Mogul Shonda Rhimes, MSNBC Journalist Joy-Ann Reid, Women’s March co-chairs Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour and Carmen Perez, Women’s March organizer Janaye Ingram, Political Commentator Angela Rye and Circle Of Mothers Founder and Mother of Trayvon Martin Sybrina Fulton, to name a few. The May issue of Essence, featuring 100 Woke Women, is out now.
Time magazine’s Most Influential People of 2017 was revealed this week. Multiple covers will include Viola Davis, Musician/Singer/Songwriter/Filmmaker John Legend and British Actor Riz Ahmed will be available. Also named inside are Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles, Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, NBA Champ Lebron James, Oscar Winning Writer/Director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight); Singer/Songwriter Alicia Keys; Saturday Night Live’s Leslie Jones, U.S. Congressman John Lewis, NFL Player Colin Kaepernick, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, just to name a few.
Check out Supermodels Maria Borges and Jasmine Tookes on the cover of Elle. It’s Elle’s celebration of top models issue.
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.
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 Sunday, April 30th – Tower Of Power at The Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pa. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheatrephilly.ticketoffices.com.
Thursday, May 4th – Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benet at The Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pa. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheatrephilly.ticketoffices.com.
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 –Brian McKnight at The Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. Tickets are on sale now and for more information log onto keswicktheatre.com.
Sunday, May 14th – Mother’s Day Concert starring Stephanie Mills and Troop at The Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Tickets are on sale now and for more information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, May 27th - HoagieNation Starring Hall & Oates, Tears For Fears, Philly’s own Vivian Green, Son Little and G. Love & Special Sauce, to name a few, at Penn Landing’s Festival Pier for Memorial Day Weekend. For tickets and information log on to HoagieNation.com.
Sunday, May 28th – Maxwell with Leela James and Ledisi in concert at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City and for tickets and information log onto theborgata.com.
Thursday, June 1st – Bell/Biv/DeVoe with special guests SWV and En Vogue at The Mann Center For The Performing Arts, 52nd & Parkside Avenue. Tickets go on sale April 21st and for more information log onto manncenter.org.
Saturday, June 24th – R Kelly in concert at Diana Ross’ In The Name Of Love Tour at The BB&T Pavilion in Camden, NJ. Tickets are on sale now and for more information log onto ticketmaster.com
Sunday, July 16th – Jill Scott in concert at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City and for tickets and information log onto theborgata.com.
Saturday, July 29th – Diana Ross’ In The Name Of Love Tour at The Mann Center For The Performing Arts, 52nd & Parkside Avenue and for tickets and information log onto manncenter.org.
Tuesday, August 1st – Earth, Wind & Fire and CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers at The Wells Fargo Center. Tickets go on sale 10am Saturday, April 29th and for more information log onto wellsfargocenterphilly.com.
Sunday, August 13th – Kool & The Gang and The Commodores in concert at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City and for tickets and information log onto theborgata.com.
Wednesday, August 16th – The All The Hits Tour Starring Lionel Richie & Special Guest Star Mariah Carey at The Wells Fargo Center. This is the new date from the cancelled March concert. Tickets and information at wellsfargocenterphilly.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.