Sexual Misconduct has allegations have now reached to Journalist/Activist Tavis Smiley and Former Eagle/TV Analyst Donovan McNabb and have come back again against Rap Mogul Russell Simmons. First, PBS has suspended Tavis Smiley. The network released a statement they uncovered multiple, credible allegations of conduct inconsistent with PBS standards. Smiley took to Facebook and fired back. He says PBS’ investigation was sloppy and has tarnished his reputation. Smiley contends in the Facebook video if having a consensual relationship with a colleague years ago leads to such humiliation and destruction, heaven help us all! He also states he’s never groped, coerced or exposed himself in the workplace in his entire career. Smiley says he’ll fight back and at press time no word on how long the suspension is to last.
Now back to Russell Simmons as three new women accuse him of rape. Over the past few weeks, two women, former Actress and Screenwriter Jenny Lumet and former Model Keri Claussen Khalighi, accused the hip hop impresario of sexual assault. Russell apologized for the insensitivity he displayed in their encounters but says they were consensual. Simmons nevertheless stepped down from his companies as not to be a distraction and HBO took his name off the Def Comedy Jam reboot. Now three more women, a former Def Jam executive, a journalist and a singer Simmons once manage are accusing him of rape. The three women who spoke to the New York Times say they’re coming forward after being inspired by the Harvey Weinstein accusers. Simmons released a new statement that the allegations are shocking and horrific, but all of his relations have been consensual.
Finally, there’s Donovan McNabb. McNabb was suspended from ESPN after a former wardrobe stylist from his previous job at the NFL Network accused him and several other personalities of sexual harassment. The former stylist says McNabb sent her text messages asking her about a specific sex act. McNabb co-hosted an ESPN radio show and appeared on the network’s First Take on TV before his suspension. ESPN released a statement that while the network is investigating these allegations, McNabb and fellow former NFL Player and ESPN Personality Eric Davis will not appear on ESPN. Besides McNabb and Davis, the stylist’s lawsuit also names current NFL Analysts Marshall Faulk, Heath Evans and Ike Taylor. The NFL Network suspended all three men from appearing on the network. Warren Sapp and former Executive Eric Weinberger have also been named in the stylist’s lawsuit.
The legendary Smokey Robinson’s life story is coming to the big screen. The man known as The Mayor Of Motown confirmed that a bio-pic is in the works from the producers of Ray, which saw Jamie Foxx win an Oscar portraying Ray Charles. But who’ll play “Smokey,” Jessie Williams, Michael Ealy, or a new face on the scene? The story will cover Robinson’s massive success in the 60’s with The Miracles, his solo 70’s and 80’s career comebacks, his addiction to crack and the many artists whose careers he’s impacted. Robinson, once a Motown Vice President for over 25 years, has written over 4,000 songs. He wrote not only for his own group and solo career, but for Mary Wells, The Intruders, Marvin Gaye, Kim Carnes, The Temptations, Linda Ronstadt, The Four Tops, The Supremes, The Jackson 5, The Captain and Tennille, The Marvelettes, Luther Vandross, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Contours, A Taste Of Honey, Stevie Wonder and Martha & The Vandellas, just to name a few.
In more Smokey news, Christmas Everyday is Robinson's new holiday album. There's a mix of originals like The Night The Baby Was Born and classic songs such as Donny Hathaway's This Christmas. Christmas Everyday is available in stores and online now. Robinson also joins Yolanda Adams and Patti LaBelle for Gladys Knight’s TV special Christmas Under The Stars airing on this Friday, December 15th and Friday, December 22nd on the BYU TV Channel.
Wesley Snipes is coming back to the big screen, and he’s got Terrence Howard and Rapper/Actor T.I. along for the ride. The three will star in a heist picture set in a post-Katrina New Orleans called Cut Throat City. Childhood friends return to the New Orleans Lower Ninth Ward after the Hurricane Katrina to damage and destruction. When they take employment from a local gangster, they soon find themselves in the middle of a casino robbery. The film will be directed by Rapper and member of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, Rza. Cut Throat City is still in development with no release date confirmed as of yet.
Singer and one-time Reality Star Chante Moore is being accused of financing her music with dirty money. A lawsuit says she illegally obtained over $3 million in stolen money to use for the marketing and production of her new album The Rise Of The Phoenix. The two men who brought the suit against Moore claim their money was taken by a criminal enterprise then given to Moore. The suit accuses Moore of then using the money to inflate her album sales with iTunes purchases, plane tickets for promotional appearances and other marketing material. Moore has denied all allegations and has moved to have a judge throw out the suit.
Omarosa Manigault-Newman: did she leave the White House on her own, or was she kicked out? That’s the million dollar question this week after the White House confirmed the one-time reality star was leaving her position as director of communication for The White House Office of Public Liaison officially on January 20th, 2018. Here’s where the story gets wild. Published reports say she was fired and Chief Of Staff General John Kelly made the call. This is supposedly because of Alabama flipping to the Democrats as controversial and much accused Republican Candidate Roy Moore lost the senate race on the strength of African American women voting that Omarosa couldn’t keep Republican. Omarosa told Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan that she couldn’t say much at this point other than she wasn’t fired but quit. Omarosa did tell Strahan there were things she saw and heard that as the administration’s leading African American communicator made her uncomfortable. The former Apprentice contestant also disputed rumors she was escorted off the property and made a scene of cussing and fussing in the process. She referenced the earlier denial of that rumor by Secret Service and noted The White House is the most secure place in the country. Omarosa still says the White House and Trump are good for the country and are on their way to success. She also says she has a profound story to tell and when she can the world will want to hear it. Meanwhile, Robin Roberts, who didn’t interview Omarosa, said She said she has a story to tell? I'm sure she'll be selling that story. Then Roberts used Ice Cube's old diss from the movie Friday, Bye Felicia. Roberts went viral shortly after that. OUCH!
Mickey Mouse just bought Bart Simpson! The Walt Disney Company just reached a deal with 86-year old Australian Mogul Rupert Murdoch to buy his 21st Century FOX for a reported $52.4 billion. Disney will get the movie studio (Hidden Figures; X-Men; Kung Fu Panda; Night At The Museum) and TV (The Simpsons; Modern Family; It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia). The deal includes FOX’s ownership in Hulu and the F/X and National Geographic channels. The deal doesn’t include FOX Sports or News. Those assets, much plagued with workplace sexual misconduct charges, will form a new independent company.
The Mighty O continues her reign. Oprah Winfrey just sold a huge percentage of her OWN cable station to her partner, The Discovery Channel. Discover already owned 50%, and with this purchase from Winfrey, Discovery is the majority owner of OWN. Winfrey will continue as CEO, and will also retain a significant partial ownership in OWN. Winfrey has signed an exclusivity commitment to OWN until 2025.
In more Oprah news, she will be the first African American woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards. The DeMille, named after the co-founder of Paramount Pictures and the famed director of The Ten Commandments, is given to an incredibly impactful talent in the world of entertainment. Meanwhile, The Golden Globe nominations are out. In film there’s Get Out (Best Picture), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Mary J. Blige (Netflix’s Mudbound) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape Of Water). For TV there’s Black-ish (Best Comedy), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Aziz Ansari (Master Of None) and Issa Rae (Insecure). There were some big snubs. In film, the blockbuster thriller Get Out’s nominations are for comedy. What?!!! The summer blockbuster Girls Trip and its entire cast (Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish, were overlooked. In TV, last year’s Best Actress Tracee Ellis Ross was not nominated and the entire cast and series Empire was overlooked. The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards air Sunday, January 7th at 8pm on NBC.
Speaking of Get Out, after bringing in over $245 million at the worldwide box office, its Writer/Director Jordan Peele is in heavy demand. Peele has accepted an offer from CBS to be one of three producers to reboot The Twilight Zone. The original series ran from 1959 to 1964 and was hosted by Creator and Head Writer Rod Serling. The show had two comebacks in 1985 and 2002 on TV. It was also a feature film in 1983. Peele’s reboot will air on CBS All Access, but as of press time, no premiere date has been announced.
Roland Martin’s News One Now has been cancelled. In a stunning move, the network, TV One, released a statement that despite all the talent the telecast had going for it, it struggled to find a large enough audience to sustain airing it daily. The show began in 2013, and became a staple as the only news oriented program geared toward the African American Audience and covering Black American issues. TV One says they will continue to fill that void in some other format, and Roland Martin is to be a part of it. News One Now will continue to air live Monday through Friday 7am to 9am on TV One until December 21st.
The critically acclaimed ABC sitcom Black-ish has a spinoff coming in January called Grown-ish. It was 30 years ago when Bill Cosby spun TV daughter Lisa Bonet into her own show A Different World by sending her off to college. Now TV dad Anthony Anderson is doing the same with TV daughter Yara Shahidi. Grown-ish will follow Shahidi’s character, “Zoey Johnson,” in college and how she adjusts to life on her own. Grown-ish will air on ABC’s cable network Free Form and will premiere Wednesday, January 3rd at 8pm.
My “Nephew” Kevin Hart takes his third stint as host of SNL this Saturday. The Philly born comedian and actor is promoting his new movie Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. Hart and his wife Eniko Parrish just welcomed their son Kenzo to the family. Hart’s also addressing his recent cheating scandal. He says call him what you want, but leave his wife Eniko out of it because none of the blame is hers. Hart didn’t name names, but says throwing out karma and home wrecker toward Eniko got under his skin since it’s not true. Hart hosts Saturday Night Live with The Foo Fighters this Saturday, December 16th at 11:30pm on NBC. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle opens Wednesday, December 20th co-starring Dwyane The Rock” Johnson.
Speaking of Dwayne Johnson, The Rock and his girlfriend of 10 years, Lauren Hashian, are expecting their second daughter together. The couple have a two-year old, Jasmine Lia, and Johnson has a 16-year old daughter, Simone, by his ex-wife Dany Garcia. It’s a good time for Johnson. This month alone he’s on the cover of Ebony magazine. It’s the power issue for December/January, and Johnson talks fame, fortune and fatherhood. He’s also on the cover of InStyle magazine. And of course, he and Kevin Hart in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle opens Wednesday, December 20th.
Actress/Comedienne Tiffany Haddish has a new book called The Last Black Unicorn. She details her abusive childhood because of her schizophrenic mom who had more problems after a car accident. Haddish talks about her abusive ex-husband who even attacked her at a comedy festival. Haddish also talks about her journey through the world of comedy. The Last Black Unicorn is available now online and in bookstores.
Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o returns to the cover of Vogue for the January issue. For her cover and photo shoot, Nyong’o talks about her fashion prowess, her exercise regiment and becoming the next great superhero. That’s because her next feature is the big screen adaption of Marvel Comics’ Black Panther. Co-starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya and Forest Whitaker, Marvel Comics’ Black Panther hits the big screen February 16th, 2018. Nyong’o appearance on Vogue’s January cover is available now.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Actor Kofi Siriboe (Girls Trip; Queen Sugar) are sharing the December/January cover of Essence magazine’s Year in Review: Everyone Who Gave Us Life.
Mrs. Russell Wilson will co-host the 46th Annual Dick Clark New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Singer Ciara will take the Los Angeles portion of the show while Ryan Seacrest and Jenny McCarthy will be live from Times Square in New York City. As of press time, Ciara will also be performing, but her fellow performers haven’t been announced yet.
WDAS Morning Man Steve Harvey will ring in 2018 on TV. Harvey will host FOX’s New Year’s Eve broadcast. Harvey will be in Times Square, but FOX hasn’t announced his lineup of guest and performers yet.
Oscar winner Angela Bassett, Peter Krause (Sports Night; Parenthood) and Connie Britton (Spin City; Friday Night Lights) will head up the show 911. The new medical drama will revolve around ambulance driving rescue workers. 911 is scheduled for Wednesday, January 3rd premiere on FOX. Meanwhile, look for Bassett in Marvel Comics big screen adaption of Black Panther, with Chadwick Boseman, to be released February 16th.
Although Tyler Perry has signed a new deal with Viacom, he still has programming for Oprah’s OWN coming in 2018. Perry is rebooting The House Of Payne into The Paynes. This new reboot won’t have Allen Payne, Demetria McKinney, Lance Gross or Keshia Knight Pulliam as regulars. No word yet on whether they’ll be guest stars. Emmy Winner Jackee Harry will join original castmembers LaVan Davis and Cassie Davis. The Paynes premieres Tuesday, January 16th with back to back episodes at 10pm. Perry’s nighttime dramas The Haves & The Have Nots, premiering Tuesday, January 9th at 9pm, and If Loving You Is Wrong, premiering Wednesday, January 10th at 10pm, will also be back on the OWN schedule for 2018.
Idris Elba returns to the big screen! He co-stars with Jessica Chastain and Kevin Costner in Molly’s Game. It’s the true story of the Olympic class skier who ran one of the most notorious high stakes poker games for nearly a decade. The games included top sports stars, business leaders and entertainment’s top elite performers and executives before it was taken down by the F.B.I. Molly’s Game opens on Christmas Day.
Zendaya hits the circus by way of the big screen. The actress/social activist goes on the adventure side with her new movie The Greatest Showman. Co-starring Hugh Jackman, Zach Efron, Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson, the bio pic is the story of how Barnum & Bailey Circus was begun by P.T. Barnum. The Greatest Showman opens Wednesday, December 20th.
The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards will air on The Martin Luther King Day holiday. The two-hour show will air live and be a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. Among the leading nominees are Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z with five nominations. Issa Rae (Insecure), Bruno Mars and Sza have four. Charlie Wilson, Ledisi and Idris Elba have three nominations. Netflix and OWN lead in the TV categories. The NAACP Image Awards with Host and Nominee Anthony Anderson air 9pm, Monday, January 15th on TV One.
The 2018 Grammy nominations have been announced. Sza is among the standouts with nominations for her songs The Weekend and Love Galore and for herself as Best New Artist. Other nominees include Jay-Z with eight, Kendrick Lamar with seven nominations, Bruno Mars with six and Khalid (Location) with five nominations. The Grammys air Sunday, January 28th on CBS.
ABC’s reboot of American Idol with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie Luke Bryan and Host Ryan Seacrest airs Sunday, March 11th on ABC.
FOX’s self-proclaimed successor to American Idol, The Four: Battle For Stardom premieres in January. What’s the difference between this and the other singing reality shows? The Four won’t just be making competition winners, but making stars. The judges are Fergie, DJ Khaled, Meghan Trainor, Record Executive Charlie Walk and P Diddy. The Four: Battle For Stardom premieres 8pm, Thursday, January 4th on FOX.
Taraji P. Henson will star in the action-thriller Proud Mary, which will reunite Color Purple Co-stars Danny Glover and Margaret Avery, and opens January 12th. Then there's the Tyler Perry psychological thriller Acrimony, co-starring Tika Sumpter (The Haves & Have Nots; Ride Along), opening March 30th.
Larenz Tate (Love Jones; Dead Presidents) and Erica Ash (The Real Husbands Of Hollywood) will host The 2018 Trumpet Awards, the celebration of African American achievement and history in society, airing Sunday, February 11th at 9pm on Bounce TV.
Check out who’s coming to town:
This Sunday, December 17th – Damien Escobar in concert at The Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pa. and for more information log onto keswicktheatre.com
Tuesday, December 19th – The Great Xscape Tour starring Xscape, Monica and Tamar Braxton at The Liacouras Center, Broad & Montgomery. Tix are on sale Friday, October 13th 2017 and for more information log onto Liacourascenter.com/events.
Thursday, December 30th – Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly in concert at The Tower Theater, Upper Darby, Pa. For tickets and information venue.thetowerphilly.com.
Saturday, January 13th – Babyface at The Tropicana in Atlantic City. For tickets or for more information log onto Tropicana.net
Sunday, January 14th – The All-Stars Of Hip Hop starring Nelly, Ja Rule, KRS1, Redman & Method Man, Fatman Scoop and Three Times Dope at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ppshows.com.
Saturday, January 27th – The O’Jays at The Sugar House Casino, 1001 Delaware Avenue. For tickets or for more information log onto sugarhousecasino.com
Friday, February 2nd – Tavis Smiley Presents Death Of A King: A Theatrical Experience. A live multi-media presentation based on Smiley’s best seller Death of A King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year at the Merriam Theater, 250 South Broad Street, between Locust and Manning Streets. For tickets and information log onto kimmelcenter.org
February, Friday, the 16th and Saturday, 17th – Mary J. Blige in concert at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Tickets and more information at WWW.THEBORGATA.COM!
Saturday, February 10th – Chris Tucker comedy show at The Sugar House Casino, 1001 Delaware Avenue. For tickets or for more information log onto sugarhousecasino.com
Saturday, February 17th – Kem and Avant in concert at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Sunday, February 18th – The Soul Jam The Stylistics, The Delfonics, Blue Magic and Bloodstone At The Tropicana in Atlantic City. Tickets and more information log onto Tropicana.net
Saturday, February 24th – Katt Williams in concert at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto boardwalkhall.com/events.
Friday, March 9th – Keith Sweat in concert at The Liacouras Center, Broad & Montgomery. Tix are on sale Friday, October 13th 2017 and for more information log onto Liacourascenter.com/events.
Thursday, April 5th – Patti LaBelle in concert at The Academy Of Music, 240 South Broad Street, between Locust and Manning Streets. For tickets and information log onto kimmelcenter.org
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.