The Pam Grier story is coming to the big screen. The Queen Of The Blaxploitation Films will see her life story told in the movie Pam. Former Saturday Night Live Castmember/Comedian/Actor Jay Pharoah is attached to the movie to play Grier’s ex, Richard Pryor. Pharoah calls the movie honest, raw, heartbreaking and beautiful all rolled up in one testimony. Much of the film is to be based on Grier’s 2010 autobiography Foxy: My Life In Three Acts. The film will cover her incredible career, her childhood trauma of rape, her successful triumph over cancer and her romances with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Freddie Prinze and Richard Pryor. Grier even recalled when Stir Crazy Director Sidney Poitier had to call her to come to the set and steady the drug addicted Pryor in order to finish the film, which would eventually gross over $100 million at the box office. Grier’s own movie career included a string of low budget but big box office smashes like Coffy; Foxy Brown; Sheba, Baby; Friday Foster and her huge comeback film Jackie Brown. The 68-year old Emmy nominee hasn’t confirmed a planned release date or who’ll play her in the film as of yet.
DC Comics’ Black Lightning is a hit on the CW’s Tuesday night lineup. The premiere brought the network its biggest debut numbers in two years. Black Lightning was developed and produced by Girlfriends/The Game/Jumping The Broom husband & wife producing team Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil along with Supergirl and The Flash’s Greg Berlanti. This African American family happens to have a retired superhero as its patriarch, a.k.a. Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning. After he sees what retirement has done to his family and the negative effect on his city, Pierce jumps back into action and brings his superheroes in training daughters along for the ride. Starring Cress Williams (Living Single; Heart Of Dixie), Christie Adams, China Anne McClain and West Philly’s own Nafessa Williams (who gave me a social media shout out), Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9pm after The Flash on the CW.
Oprah Winfrey, Writer/Director Ava DuVernay and Actress Storm Reid are on the cover of the newly black-owned Essence magazine talking about their new movie A Wrinkle In Time. Oprah calls the movie the new Wizard Of Oz. A Wrinkle In Time hits theaters March 9th, and the February issue of Essence hits newsstands Friday, January 19th.
Ann Curry is on the cover of People. She’s making the media rounds talking about her new PBS series We’ll Meet Again. However, talk turns to Matt Lauer and her very awkward and very public removal from The Today Show back in 2015. Curry had been silent but confirmed there was an atmosphere of verbal sexual harassment. Curry claims it was pervasive. She declined to go into specifics other than she’d be surprised if anyone claimed they didn’t know that much. Earlier, Katie Couric said she had no knowledge of Lauer’s alleged behavior. Curry’s new PBS show, We’ll Meet Again, airs Tuesday, January 23rd.
Gabrielle Union in a mother’s day thriller from Will Packer and she has a Bad Boys spin-off for NBC in the works. Mrs. Dwyane Wade appeared in 2003’s Bad Boys II as "Syd Burnett," an undercover detective, Martin Lawrence’s on screen little sister and Will Smith’s onscreen love interest. Now Union is slated to take that same character to the small screen teamed with another female cop from the producers of the NBC hit The Blacklist. Smith and Lawrence don’t have any involvement in the project as of yet. Meanwhile, Union reunites with Producer Will Packer for the thriller Breaking In. Union plays a woman whose father passes and when she brings her two children to his highly secured home, the horror begins. When a group of criminals break into the home, hold the kids hostage and try to extort Union’s character, her race against time becomes rescuing her children. Breaking In opens Mother’s Day, May 13th.
The 49th Annual NAACP Image Awards were a big hit this week. Among the winners Power as Best TV Drama and Power’s Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton both getting awards. TV Comedy Black-ish and Black-ish Acting Awards for Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Marsai Martin. For film Girls Trip was Best Picture and Tiffany Haddish Best Supporting Actress. Haddish also won for her voiceover work in Legends Of Chamberlain Heights on Comedy Central. Best Actress Octavia Spencer for Gifted, Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya for Actor and Get Out’s Jordan Peele for Directing and Writing. Mary J. Blige, Bruno Mars, Sza, Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna took music honors. Jay Ellis took honors for Insecure as did Joe Morton for Scandal. Ava DuVernay took Entertainer Of The Year. The show was highlighted with talk of the #metoo #timesup movements, Donald Trump, The MLK holiday and two lighter notes Halle Berry’s super daring low and high cut dress and the Blackish cast accidentally dropping their Best Comedy Award (but they recovered nicely SMILE).
Comedienne/Actress Tiffany Haddish fresh from her Supporting Actress NAACP Award for Girls Trip, will team up with Groupon for a Superbowl ad. Haddish went on Jimmy Kimmel Live and told a hilarious story about using Groupon for a swamp tour with Will and Jada Smith. The story went viral and the team up seemed totally natural. Haddish says she should have already been with Groupon since she’s been talking about them publicly for years. Her ad will air in the fourth quarter of the Superbowl. Meanwhile, This Is Us, the hot TV drama with Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson and Ron Cephas Jones, will air a special episode after the Superbowl. Also, Justin Timberlake is back for the halftime show, and Doylestown’s own Pink will do the National Anthem. The Superbowl airs on NBC Sunday, February 4th.
BET and TV One are presenting a slew of original programming. Including projects that hit at the criticism of a lack of news programming:
First on BET:
Mancave is from executive producer and WDAS Morning Man Steve Harvey. Starring Jeff Johnson, the host and moderator, Comedian/Actor Gerald Slink Johnson, Grammy nominated Songwriter/Producer Marcos “Kosine” Palacios and Singer/Songwriter Tank. The show is billed as a safe haven for black men to express themselves free and unapologetically. Mancave airs Thursdays at 10:30pm on BET.
Comedian/Actor Tony Rock hosts Black Card Revoked. It’s a game show with celebrities and contestants who battle it out on their community knowledge without losing their black card. Black Card Revoked airs Thursdays at 10pm on BET.
Attorney/Political Pundit/TV Personality and Activist Angela Rye will host and executive produce Angela Rye’s State Of The Union. The show will cover all issues affecting the African American community through the political lens. Angela Rye’s State Of The Union will debut on Wednesday, January 31st on BET, following Donald Trump’s State Of The Union.
On TV One:
Oscar/Emmy Winner Viola Davis narrates and produces Two Sides. This four-part docuseries examines the fatal police encounters that involved Sandra Bland, John Crawford, Ezell Ford and Eric Garner from two different sides of the story. Two Sides premieres Monday, January 22nd at 10pm on TV One.
Uncensored is coming to TV One in February. The series explores the intimate lives and past experiences of some of today’s hottest talent from various media. Tiffany Haddish, Tamar Braxton, Rick Ross, NeNe Leakes and Nia Long are a few of the featured subjects. The biography series Uncensored debuts Sunday, February 18th at 10pm on TV One.
We remember Gospel Great Edwin Hawkins. While many in gospel music eventually crossover to secular music and bigger hits, Hawkins did exactly the opposite. When DJ’s began playing a particular cut from his 1968 album Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord by The Hawkins Singers, which included Lady Tremaine Hawkins. Edwin’s arrangement and rewrite of a song on that album made the difference. Oh Happy Day was a totally unexpected hit that went top five in several countries. The song went gold and to date has sold over 7 million copies. I last saw Hawkins while he was appearing at The Kimmel Center and honoring WDAS Legend Rev. Louise Williams Bishop. Hawkins released successful gospel music into the late 1990’s and won four Grammys. Edwin Hawkins died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 74.
We also remember Broadcasting Great Keith Jackson. With a career spanning over 60 years in sports broadcasting, it was at ABC Sports where Jackson reached his zenith. Though he did stints on Monday Night Football with Howard Cossell and Don Meredith and NBA coverage with Bill Russell, it was college football and Jackson’s phrase Whoa Nellie that turned him into a legend. Jackson would call college games, like the Sugar Bowl and Gator Bowl, over five different decades. He actually retired twice (1998 and 2006) because the first time ABC asked him to come right back when they eased his schedule. Keith Jackson died this month following surgery and was 89 years old.
Chadwick Boseman heads up the big screen adaption of Marvel Comics’ Black Panther. Boseman appeared previously as the African superhero in Marvel Comics’ Captain America franchise. The all-star cast includes Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, Phylicia Rashad and Sterling K. Brown, and is directed by Ryan Coogler. The movie opens in theatres February 16th 2018, and has already set a new record in advanced tickets sales through Fandango. If you can’t wait until February, check out the trailer on my Patty TV page on WDASFM.com.
Taraji P. Henson is currently starring in the action-thriller Proud Mary, which will reunite Color Purple Co-stars Danny Glover and Margaret Avery. Soon will be Henson’s Tyler Perry-psychological-thriller Acrimony, co-starring Tika Sumpter (The Haves & Have Nots; Ride Along), opening March 30th.
Singer/Songwriter/Actor John Legend is coming to TV as…..Jesus Christ. The Oscar winner will star in NBC’s revival of the legendary Broadway smash Jesus Christ Superstar. Legend is no stranger to Broadway works as he won a Tony for producing the revival of August Wilson’s Jitney. This project is the latest in the live revivals of movies and plays by network television. Rock Legend Alice Cooper will also be in the cast. Jesus Christ Superstar will air live on NBC Easter Sunday, April 1st.
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.
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:
Now through Saturday, January 20th – Comedian Finesse Mitchell in concert at The Punchline, 33 East Laurel Street. For tickets or for more information log onto punchlinephilly.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
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
Sunday, February 11th – The Juice Crew Reunion starring Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan, Marley Marl, Tuff Crew, Kool G. Rap and MC Lyte at The Electric Factory on 7th Street between Willow and Spring Garden. Tickets and more information log onto Ticketmaster.com
Saturday, February 17th – Kem/Fantasia/Avant in concert at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Sunday, February 18th – The Soul Jam starring 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 now 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
Friday, April 13th – The Philly Spring Jam starring Ginuwine, Tank, Brandy, Teddy Riley & Guy and 112 at the Liacouras Center and for more information log onto Liacourascenter.com/events.
Friday, May 11th – The 10th Anniversary Of Platinum Shows’ Mother’s Day Music Festival begins with the Friday concert starring Singers Joe and Stokley (from Mint Condition) kick things off Friday, May 11th at Caesar’s Palace in Atlantic City. For Ticket information log onto ppshows.com.
Saturday, May 12th – The 10th Anniversary Of Platinum Shows’ Mother’s Day Music Festival with the Saturday concert starring Maxwell, Gladys Knight and Vivian Green at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For Ticket information log onto ppshows.com.
Saturday, May 12th – The 10th Anniversary Of Platinum Shows’ Mother’s Day Music Festival concludes with the Sunday concert starring The Whispers and L.J. Reynolds & The Dramatics at The Tropicana in Atlantic City. For Ticket information log onto ppshows.com.
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.