Cover Photo Credit: Ebony Magazine
Mary J. Blige’s divorce is finalized. The 47-year old Queen Of Hip Hop Soul and her now ex-husband and former manager Kendu Isaacs have come to an agreement less than a week ahead of when their trial was to begin. After 13-years of marriage Blige filed for divorce in July of 2016 and the process was not pretty. Accusations of reported infidelity on his part, false accusations against Isaacs in songs on her part and the temporary $30,000 monthly spousal support Blige had to pay along with the $100,000 legal bill complicated this case. The terms of the settlement haven’t been disclosed yet. Blige was radiant at the Oscars. Though she lost her two historic nominations (Supporting Actress for Mudbound and Best Song for Mighty River), her performance was one the show’s highlights and a resulted in a more than 300 percent streaming increase for Blige. With this behind her, the actress/singer/songwriter is ready for her next chapter. Blige is currently slaying on the cover of the new March issue of Ebony magazine as the cover story Hail Queen saluting her history making career, new projects and reclaiming her power.
Usher, 39, and his wife Grace Miguel, 48, have announced their separation. After two years of marriage, the multiplatinum singer and his one-time manager released a statement that they remain deeply connected. The soon to be exes also say they remain supportive of each other and loving friends. Usher and Grace had no children together. He has two young sons from his previous marriage, and she has a grown daughter and grown son from a previous relationship. The separation announcement comes after months of multiple people accusing the Let It Burn singer of having the STD herpes and either exposing or transmitting the disease. The surfacing of a reported million dollar settlement from a 2012 accuser ignited more accusations. Speculation is that situation may have been the last straw for Usher’s second marriage.
History was made at the Oscars this past Sunday. There were two pioneering wins, a new duo emerged and an arrest was made.
First, Get Out’s Writer/Producer/Director Jordan Peele became the first African American to win for Best Original Screenplay. Previously, Tarell Alvin McCraney & Barry Jenkins won in 2017 for Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight but it was based on McCraney’s play. John Ridley won in 2014 for Twelve Years A Slave which was based on the autobiography of Simon Northup. Peele revealed in his inspiring acceptance speech that he started and stopped writing Get Out more than a dozen times, but in the end knew he had to get this work done and on the screen.
Philly’s own Kobe Bryant, the recently retired NBA Legend, took home the Oscar for Best Animated Short for his film Dear Basketball. Bryant wrote and narrated the feature which was based on an article he wrote to The Player’s Tribune back in 2016. Bryant’s producing partner, Glen Keane, also directed. This award has been won by legendary animation figures such as Chuck Jones (The Dot And The Line), Friz Freleng (Bugs Bunny; Pink Panther), Fred Quimby (Hanna-Barbera’s Tom & Jerry and Walt Disney (15 awards and eight times straight). Bryant says winning the Oscar was better than his NBA championship wins because he once again had to work at something from scratch and he achieved a top honor in another field. The former L.A. Laker did face some backlash as the #metoo social media called him out. His 15-year old Colorado sexual assault arrest from an encounter he called consensual had some wondering if there was a double standard considering accused 2017 Best Actor Casey Affleck and accused Oscar Red Carpet Host Ryan Seacrest were called out earlier. Bryant’s rape trial ended quickly when the charges were dropped. He settled out of court after the witness refused to cooperate with police and prosecutors following the reporting of unflattering and unconfirmed accusations against her. Meanwhile, Bryant didn’t face any backlash from the Oscar audience and partied with his wife and fellow Oscar winners and nominees after the ceremony.
Next, another Bryant, not Kobe, was arrested for stealing Frances McDormand’s Best Actress Oscar. Terry Bryant’s social media shows him at several different past awards shows in some cases holding an award. This time, he recorded himself at the famous post-Oscar party, The Governor’s Ball. Bryant kissed the Oscar then asked people to congratulate him and said the Oscar was his and he won. Bryant was also captured on film walking into the Ball with Frances McDormand’s party and appearing to leave with the Oscar in his hand. In reality the Oscar in his hand was stolen from McDormand’s table. Security had Bryant arrested. Even though McDormand says she didn’t want to press charges since the Oscar was returned to her, the award, technically, still belongs to the Academy. So, Bryant faces a felony charge of theft. He’s due back in court later this month after pleading not guilty and being released after his arraignment this week.
Meanwhile, Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph presented at The Oscars together and broke the internet. They walked out barefoot tired of their shoes, assured the audience they don’t have to worry about #OscarsSoWhite and Tiffany told Meryl Streep she wants to play her daughter. Social media went crazy and called for Oscar to have Haddish and Rudolph host in 2019. Some said they should have been hosting this year. WOW! Oscars 2018 style!
Speaking of Tiffany Haddish, she’s set to team up with Tyler Perry in the movie The List. Tika Sumpter (The Haves & The Have Nots) and Omari Hardwick (Power) also star. Haddish will play a woman recently released from prison and reentering normal life but whose online boyfriend may be a scam according to her sister played by Sumpter. Perry is writer/director and The List is set for a November 8th release.
Finally, did Brad Pitt just shoot his Oscar shot with Ms. Tiffany? Haddish told Kelly Ripa that she met Pitt in an elevator. According to the Girls Trip star, he told her in a year if they’re both single…it’s on!!! Keep in mind being down with the swirl isn’t new for Pitt. Back in the day, before all his drama with Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, Pitt used to date Actress Robin Givens. That didn’t work out as she was fresh off her divorce with Mike Tyson, who apparently was still lurking around Givens. Anywho, let’s see what happens in one year with the twice divorced Haddish and the on the way to being twice divorced Pitt.
In more Tiffany Haddish news, she 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.
Trey Songz is accused of assault at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, and the alleged victim obtains a restraining order. The woman is claiming that the singer choked and punched here when they were together during the NBA All-Star Game last month. Former Harvey Weinstein Attorney Lisa Bloom represents the accuser. Bloom says her client went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion and multiple contusions. Bloom’s client also says Songz took two of her phones and threw them away when she tried to call for help. The courts granted the woman’s temporary restraining order and the accuser also claims Songz has a history of this type of behavior. Songz’s lawyer says there are witnesses to refute the woman’s claims.
The Roxanne Shante’ Story is coming to Netflix. The pioneering female rap star and charter member of the Juice Crew burst upon the scene starting in 1984 with the cuts Hanging Out and Roxanne, Roxanne. Her other hits include Sparky’s Turn; Roxanne You’re Through; Have A Nice Day; and Go On Girl. Now the story of the rap legend is coming to the small screen. Chante Adams, Oscar Winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Nia Long (Best Man; Love Jones; Big Momma’s House) bring the life and career of Roxanne Shante’ to the screen. Roxanne Roxanne begins streaming on Netflix Friday, March 23rd.
This Saturday, Emmy/Golden Globe/NAACP Winner Sterling K. Brown of NBC’s This Is Us will host Saturday Night Live for the first time with musical guest James Bay.
This Sunday, members of the Philly Soul family will be spotlighted on UnSung. With the hits Spell, Three Ring Circus, Stop To Start, What’s Come Over Me, Look Me Up, Welcome To The Club, Teach Me (It’s Something About Love) and the million-selling classic Sideshow, Blue Magic and their career story will air this Sunday. A quick fact: our very own, the late great legendary WDAS Program Director Butterball managed Blue Magic for a time. UnSung airs this Sunday at 9pm on TV One.
Teyana Taylor & Iman Shumpert are bringing their life to the small screen in the new reality show Teyana & Iman. The singer and actress and her NBA baller husband chronicle their everyday life as they maneuver their busy careers and their parenthood duties for their young daughter Junie. Teyana and Iman premieres Monday, March 26th at 9pm on VH1!
This fall Gabrielle Union is planning to return to TV and her co-star is also a film star returning to TV, Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four; Honey; Sin City; Dark Angel). The two will co-star in the small screen spin-off of the big screen’s Bad Boys II, which starred Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. Union will reprise her role as “Syd Burnett,” and Alba will play her cop partner. Alba is also listed as an executive producer. Let’s see how the ladies get treated by the studio and network because Union originated the character in the film and is fresh from starring and producing Being Mary Jane. Meanwhile, 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 rescuing her children. Breaking In opens Mother’s Day, May 13th.
Actor Terry Crews, who became the male face of the #metoo movement, got some news about his own case. Adam Venit is the talent agent who allegedly groped Crews’ privates at a Hollywood party. Crews, inspired by the women of the #metoo movement, came forward with his story and subsequently filed a criminal complaint and sued Venit. The L.A. District Attorney rejected the felony criminal charge then sent the case to the L.A. City Attorney. The City Attorney determined the case isn’t a felony but a misdemeanor and is past the one-year statute of limitations. Venit was suspended by his employer, the William Morris Agency, but is now reportedly back at work. Despite the apparent end of the criminal pursuit, this Crews’ civil suit is still pending. Meanwhile, Crews has agreed to submit to a mental health exam. As Crew’s lawsuit also includes Venit’s employer, the William Morris Agency, the agency filed a stipulation that Crews must undergo a mental and psychological evaluation, which he’s agreed to do.
Creed II is filming in Philadelphia and Michael Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren (Rocky 4) and Sylvester Stallone are all back. Stallone wrote the script and is co-producer. Stallone decided not to direct when Ryan Coogler decided not to return for the sequel. Coogler, riding high off his Black Panther success, noted to the media that time wasn’t the issue, but the subject matter is so personal. Coogler says Creed is very much about him and his own father, and it’s a difficult to watch for him. Meanwhile, don’t be surprised if you see the cast and crew out and about in Philly.
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.
At the movies this week, it’s the Disney epic A Wrinkle In Time, directed by Ava DuVernay and starring Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine, Storm Reid and Oprah Winfrey. On the TV front for The Mighty O, her Oprah At The Apollo has become limited series and airs Tuesdays at 10pm on OWN.
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.
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.
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 $920 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).
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, this 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:
Sunday, March 18th – Jeffrey Osborne in concert & celebrating the May 25th release of his new album Worth It All. The concert will be at The Keswick Theater in Glenside, Pa and for tickets and information log onto keswicktheatre.com/events/all
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.
Saturday, August 25th – Smokey Robinson in concert at the Mann Center For The Performing Arts, 52nd Street & Parkside Avenue. For more information log on to manncenter.org
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.