Are the Empress Of Soul And Uncle Sam trying to make the best of a bad situation?!! Published reports say Gladys Knight owes the state of Georgia over $90,000 from 2011. It was originally $40,000, but penalties and interest more than doubled it. Knight’s also shooing away those who are calling her youthful looks plastic surgery. She’s calling it good genes. Knight will be here for 10th Anniversary of The Mother’s Day Music Festival Weekend as she joins Maxwell and Philly’s own Vivian Green at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Saturday, May 12th.
Tavis Smiley has announced he’s suing PBS. The activist and long time TV personality has stated previously that all his legal options were on the table, and contended that PBS acted too hastily in their actions when they fired him following a sexual misconduct investigation. Smiley’s suit claims breach of contract and damage to his company, which produced his PBS show. Smiley’s suit also indicated he was not the type of team player African American host PBS wanted and used the sexual misconduct allegations as a pretext to get rid of him.
Since Oscar-winning Actress and Comedienne Mo’Nique went public with her battle against Netflix and her call for a boycott, much has happened. First, she had a very uncomfortable radio interview with The Breakfast Club trying to explain her charges of racism and sexism in the reported Netflix $500,000 offered to her for a comedy special versus the $13 million Amy Schumer made and the $20 million Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle got. She ended it by calling Co-Host Charlemagne The God one of the slave characters from Nate Parker’s Birth Of A Nation movie. Then Mo’Nique brought up Oprah Winfrey in other interviews and social media and their past falling out. When asked about Mo’Nique’s critiques, Winfrey, in the midst of promoting A Wrinkle In Time, said she would not stoop to meet any type of negativity. Meanwhile, Mo’Nique and her husband/manager, Sidney Hicks, continue to detail their dealings with Netflix, and Mo’Nique has said that incident could possibly help other comediennes, like Tiffany Haddish, in the future.
Speaking of Tiffany Haddish, she has signed a deal with Netflix. This deal will include Haddish starring in the animated series Tuca & Bertie. This is separate from the Girl’s Trip actress’ first look deal with HBO. No word yet on how much the deal was worth, but Mo’Nique posted on social media that she wanted Tiffany to keep shining because her success and deal make it better for those who follow. Haddish didn’t name names but confirmed she didn’t get legend money, but enough to care for her family. In more Tiffany Haddish news, she’s got another first on the horizon. Haddish will be the first African American woman to host The MTV Movie & TV Awards June 18th at 9pm. Haddish also joins Tracy Morgan for the series The Last OG, which debuts on TBS Tuesday, April 3rd at 10:30pm. Then she co-stars with fellow Comedian Kevin Hart in Night School coming to theaters in September.
Patti LaBelle joins Greenleaf. The Philly native and legendary singer will play a motivational speaker who is the CEO of a Christian based self-help empire. The night time drama series stars Lynn Whitfield, Keith David and Merle Dandridge. LaBelle’s role will be recurring and Greenleaf, from Executive Producer Oprah Winfrey, returns to OWN this summer.
Mel B has let it slip that she and her musical BFF’s will be down for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding. Mel was appearing on The Real when the ladies asked about how excited she was about the upcoming royal wedding. It didn’t take long for the rest to slip out. The Spice Girls, who are already set for a reunion tour, are all attending. When asked if they’ll perform at the reception Mel’s answer was… I Need To Go… I’m Going To Get Fired. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry on May 19th.
Oprah Winfrey is on the cover of People. Besides denying running for President herself and ignoring some jabs in the press from both Mo’Nique and President Donald Trump, it’s a good time for Winfrey. Her new movie is the Disney epic A Wrinkle In Time. Directed by Ava DuVernay and co-starring Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine and Storm Reid, A Wrinkle In Time hits theaters March 9th. Winfrey’s OWN special Oprah at the Apollo has also become limited series. Oprah At The Apollo airs Tuesdays at 10pm on OWN.
After 22 years, the Martins are calling it quits. Duane Martin (Real Husbands Of Hollywood) and Tisha Campbell-Martin (My Wife & Kids; Dr. Ken; Martin) are splitting up. The pair has a 16-year old and an 8 year old. The Martins have been through their 16-year old’s autism diagnosis, bankruptcy and other show biz ups and downs. Published reports say Tisha is asking for spousal support, but her career has been on an upswing. She’s been cast in an ABC drama pilot produced by Robin Roberts and Regina King, and there’s been heavy talk of a Martin reboot. At press time, the couple hasn’t commented on their divorce.
Tamar Braxton and Vince Herbert are in marriage counseling. Though Braxton filed for divorce just short of their ninth anniversary, the couple appears to be giving it another try. Rumors of Vince cheating and getting another woman pregnant were just that, rumors. No word on where things go from here yet. The couple has a four year old son and confirmed he is their top priority.
The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards 2018 is coming to OWN. For the 11th anniversary of the celebration of African American women in Hollywood, this year’s special honorees include Emmy winning Writer and Actress Lena Waithe; Playwright/Actress/Black Panther Co-star Danai Gurira; Actress/Activist Tessa Thompson (Creed; Selma; Dear White People) and Comedienne/Actress Tiffany Haddish. To further mark the occasion, Essence Collector’s Issue with Angela Bassett on the cover saluting the Oscar trailblazers is now available. For the first time, The Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards will come to television and will air this Saturday March 3rd at 10pm on OWN.
Iyanla Fix My Life season premiere airs on OWN this Saturday, March 3rd at 9pm.
Halle Berry and Daniel Craig will team up on the big screen for Kings. The movie is based on the L.A. riots of 1992 following the not guilty verdict for the officers caught on videotape beating the late motorist Rodney King. Berry will play a mom of eight children. Kings will be in theaters April 27th.
Will Get Out get its due at this Sunday’s Academy Awards? The unlikely box office blockbuster grossed over $250 million at the box office last year. It took nods for Best Picture (Jordan Peele and his producing partners), Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Screenplay and Directing (both for Peele, his debut in both positions). Also nominated Denzel Washington (Best Actor) for Roman J. Israel, Esq.; Supporting Actress nods for Mary J. Blige in Mudbound and Octavia Spencer in The Shape Of Water. Dee Rees and Virgil Williams are nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for Mudbound, and Dee is the first African American woman to ever be nominated in that category. NBA Legend Kobe Bryant has been nominated for Best Animated Short Film (Dear Basketball) as a producer. Mary J. Blige is actually up for two Oscars. She shares her second nomination with Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson for Best Original Song (Mighty River from Mudbound). Common is also nominated again this year and is sharing his nomination with Diane Warren for Stand Up For Something taken from the movie Marshall. Mary J. Bilge, Andra Day, Miguel and Common are all set to perform and Jimmy Kimmel will host The 90th Annual Academy Awards this Sunday at 8pm on ABC.
Michelle Obama speaks. The immensely popular former First Lady’s memoir is coming this fall. As this nation’s First African American First Lady, Mrs. Obama became internationally renowned though she’s faced down more than her share of critics, media bullies and social media trolls. As she stepped away from The White House and returning to her private citizen status, she finally has the last word to describe her experience. Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, is due out in November.
We remember Ensa Cosby, the daughter of Bill and Camille Cosby. Ensa, The Cosby’s fourth child, passed away last week from renal failure as confirmed by the family spokespeople. A service was reportedly held on the Cosby’s estate with Ensa being buried next to her brother Ennis, who was murdered in 1997 in a robbery. Ensa had a daughter whom she acknowledged as she released a statement with her sister Erinn proclaiming her father’s innocence. Bill Cosby is set to be retried on criminal sexual abuse this spring. Ensa Cosby went as far as to state not only her belief in her father’s innocence, but that racism was part of every aspect of this situation. Ensa actually appeared on her father’s top rated sitcom The Cosby Show in 1989 as the friend of Vanessa Huxtable played by Tempest Bledsoe. The character of Vanessa Huxtable was reportedly based on Ensa. Ensa Cosby was 44 years old.
Comedian/Actor Chris Tucker returns to his all time most popular role Detective James Carter in Rush Hour 4. The comedian confirmed he and Co-star Jackie Chan have been talking for years about returning to the buddy cop comedy/action franchise before they got too old. No word yet on a release date or who will be directing. The previous three films were all directed by Brett Ratner, who has been under fire after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct. Ratner was removed from projects and business associations as a result.
Lupita Nyong’o is bringing Comedian and Daily Show Host Trevor Noah’s real life story to the big screen. Noah authored the book Born A Crime in which he details growing up in Apartheid ruled South Africa. His mere existence he says was evidence of his parents’ crime of an interracial relationship, which produced an interracial child. His mother is black and father is white. Oscar Winner Nyong’o, hot off the box office success of Black Panther, says when she read Noah’s book she couldn’t put it down. Nyong’o will play Trevor’s mom Patricia Noah, whom Trevor credits for putting him on the path to independence. No release date for the biopic Born A Crime has been announced.
Where will you find Singers Will Downing, Philly’s own Vivian Green and Major (Honest; Why I Love You)? Performing at WDAS’ Fourth Annual Women Of Excellence Luncheon on Saturday, March 31st of course!!! This year’s honorees include Broadcast Legend Rev. Louise Williams Bishop, City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, TV Icon Lisa Thomas Laury, First Lady of Mother Bethel AME Church Leslie Patterson-Tyler, The Philadelphia Tribune’s own Shonda McClain and our Special Trailblazing Woman of Excellence honor to Hip Hop Legend and Oscar Nominee Queen Latifah! It all takes place Saturday, March 31st from 11am-4pm at The Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown, 17th and Race. All the details are at wdasfm.com.
Saturday Night Live returns with Sir Charles Barkley hosting. The former 76er and current NBA analyst is returning to host SNL this Saturday, March 3rd, for his fourth time, one away from The Five Timers Club. Barkley’s musical guest will be Migos. Also, Emmy/Golden Globe/NAACP Winner Sterling K. Brown of NBC’s This Is Us will host for the first time March 10th with musical guest James Bay.
Taraji P. Henson will be starring in Tyler Perry-psychological-thriller Acrimony, co-starring Tika Sumpter (The Haves & Have Nots; Ride Along), opening March 30th.
In more Black Panther box office news, the big screen Marvel Comics’ blockbuster continues to shatter records taking in over $756 million worldwide. It marked the biggest debut by an African American director in history (Director and Co-writer Ryan Coogler). Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Forest Whitaker, Phylicia Rashad and Sterling K. Brown lead the cast.
Black Panther keeps rolling as Chadwick Boseman covers Rolling Stone in a much talked about cover shot and Essence magazine’s March issue is also a salute to the movie. There are three Essence covers featuring Chadwick Boseman, the second with the men (Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya and Forest Whitaker) and the third with the ladies (Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Letitia Wright and Danai Gurira).
Ebony magazine’s Love Issue is on stands now. The cover features super couples Common & Angela Rye, Jay-Z & Beyonce and Ciara and Russell Wilson.
Gabrielle Union wants you and her Being Mary Jane co-stars to live your best lives. Union discusses this and more as she graces the cover of Redbook magazine. Mrs. Dwyane Wade also 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 recuing her children. Breaking In opens Mother’s Day, May 13th.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is out and 24-year old Danielle Herrington, becomes just the third black woman to grace the cover after Tyra Banks and Beyonce. Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue with cover model Danielle Herrington is on stands now.
American Idol, with Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry in the judges seats and Ryan Seacrest as host, returns to TV on its new network ABC, Sunday, March 11th at 8pm.
Lee Daniels’ dramas Empire and Star return to FOX Wednesday nights March 28th beginning at 8pm.
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.
NBA Champ Kyrie Irving is getting into movies with Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Chris Weber, Lisa Leslie, Erica Ash and Tiffany Haddish. Irving stars as elderly basketball playing Uncle Drew in a big screen adventure based on the character created for the Pepsi Max commercials. Philly’s own Charles Stone, III directs this big screen adaption. Uncle Drew hits theaters June 29th.
Essence magazine released the Essence Music Festival schedule and lineup for 2018. The festivities return to New Orleans July 5th through the 8th. Performers include Janet Jackson, Jilly from Philly Jill Scott, Philly’s own The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Experience (Wreckx-N-Effect, Blackstreet and Guy), Idris Elba, Fantasia, Miguel and Mary J. Blige with more acts to be announced. All the details are on Essence.com
Check out who’s coming to town:
Saturday, March 31st – Martin Lawrence, Adele Givens and DeRay Davis are all coming to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for a comedy concert. For tickets and information log onto boardwalkhall.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.
Sunday, May 13th – The 10th Anniversary Of Platinum Shows’ Mother’s Day Music Festival concludes with the Sunday concert starring The Whispers/ L.J. Reynolds & The Dramatics/ The Intruders at The Tropicana in Atlantic City. For Ticket information log onto ppshows.com.
Saturday, May 26th – The Irresponsible Tour starring Kevin Hart at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Saturday, June 2nd - The 11th Annual Roots Picnic with host Dave Chappelle. Scheduled to perform with The Roots are 2 Chainz, DVSN, Fabalous, Jadakiss, Rapsody and Brandy, just to name a few. It all takes place at Festival Pier in Philly. For passes and information log onto rootspicnic.com/philly.
Wednesday & Thursday, September 19th and 20th – Bruno Mars and Cardi B on Thee 24K Magic North American Concert Tour at the Wells Fargo Center. For tickets and information log onto wellsfargocenterphilly.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.