There are questions swirling around the alleged attack on Actor/Singer/Songwriter Jussie Smollett (Empire). Smollett has been released from the hospital after reportedly being the victim of a racial and homophobic attack in Chicago during a 2am food run he made. At press time, authorities have released an image of persons of interest they want to bring in for questioning. Smollett told police he was able to fight back and get himself to a hospital. Chicago police confirm Smollett reported that two men physically assaulted him, used racial and homophobic slurs, placed a noose around his neck and doused him with what may have been bleach. When they left, Smollett told cops the men yelled MAGA Country (Make America Great Again). Smollett previously received threats in the mail to FOX the studio that shoots Empire. The F.B.I. was already investigating the letters while Chicago police and the F.B.I. are now working the assault investigation. An outpouring of celebrity support has come for the 35-year old openly gay activist. Unfortunately, Comedian Kevin Hart had to defend himself again when critics came for him when he sent out love and support to Smollett. Empire co-stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson Empire Creators/Producers Lee Daniels, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, WDAS Morning Man Steve Harvey, Comedians Mike Epps and Loni Love, Ariana Grande, Ellen DeGeneres, Debbie Allen, Viola Davis and Presidential Candidate Senator Kamala Harris and possible Presidential Candidates Corey Booker and Joe Biden have all thrown support to the 35-year old Smollett. The investigation continues.
Duane Martin must remain 100 yards away from his estranged wife Tisha Campbell-Martin. The two actors are locked in a bitter divorce battle after twenty years of marriage, and now new allegations of abuse on Duane’s part. Tisha has been granted a restraining order. She claims the abuse began at the beginning of their marriage. Accusations include verbal and mental abuse such as Duane berating Tisha about her weight and her career. Allegations of physical violence include Duane punching Tisha in her chest. At press time, no comment from Duane, but Tisha’s released a statement that she can no longer live in fear and pressing criminal charges overshadows the embarrassment of coming forward and making her claims public.
BET is rolling out their winter TV season with American Soul and the TV reboot of Boomerang . American Soul is a mini-series based on TV’s iconic show Soul Train show. I caught a preview and there’s some sex, drama and rock & soul on the big train. BET, in the tradition of the New Edition and Bobby Brown miniseries, holds nothing back in this 10-episode series. The cast includes Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight, Kelly Price, Iantha Richardson, Christopher Jefferson, Katlyn Nichol, Jelani Winston and Sinqua Walls as Don Cornelius. Cornelius’ son Tony is one of the miniseries’ executive producers. American Soul debuts Tuesday, February 5 th at 9pm on BET.
Boomerang, the TV series, is based on the 1992 blockbuster that starred Eddie Murphy, who produced the film with House Party Filmmakers Reginald & Warrington Hudlin. Murphy’s co-stars were Halle Berry, Robin Givens, Grace Jones, Martin Lawrence, David Alan Grier, Geoffrey Holder and Eartha Kitt, and Boomerang grossed $131 million at the box office. Now, original film Co-star Halle Berry has teamed up with Emmy-winning Writer /Actress Lena Waithe (Master Of None) to produce an updated version for BET. Waithe says the TV version is a continuation of the storyline as opposed to a reboot starring Tetona Jackson, Tequan Richmond, Leland Martin, Lala Milan, RJ Walker, Brittany Inge, Paula Newsome, Joey Bada$$ and Dreezy.Boomerang has a ten episode order and premiers Tuesday, February 12 th , 2019 on BET.
Speaking of BET, The Superbowl Of Gospel airs on Superbowl eve. Performers include The Winans, Tamia, Tasha Cobbs, LeCrea, Myron Butler, Koryn Hawthorne, Kirk Franklin and Hezekiah Walker. The Superbowl Of Gospel airs on this Saturday, February 2 nd at 8pm on BET. The next day, the New England Patriots take on the Los Angeles Rams in the 2019 Superbowl. Atlanta Native Gladys Knight will be there to sing the National Anthem. Another Atlanta Native Big Boi of Outkast fame, Rapper Travis Scott, Beyonce’s Protégés Chloe and Halle and Maroon Five will all be performing at the big game. The 2019 Superbowl from Atlanta airs this Sunday, February 3 rd on CBS.
Nick Cannon will temporarily take over The Wendy Williams daytime talk show. Williams, who was recently spotted in Florida with a friend out shopping, is still out on leave due to the Graves disease complications and the shoulder fracture. But, the picture of Williams shows her with a bag in each hand. Meanwhile Cannon, who youngest child Williams called an oops baby on the show, is stepping in to cover. There’ll be a number of guest hosts with Cannon doing at least a couple days of guest hosting for Williams. The rumors of Wendy Williams’ husband’s alleged infidelity, an alleged love shack he has under a phony name and a possible pregnant mistress isn’t making for an easy return to her show. We’re now up to delay number three and, as of press time, no word yet on a new return date for Wendy.
Entrepreneur/Restaurateur/Former Model B. Smith is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her husband Dan Gasby had been by her side, but things have changed and people are reacting. It seems that Gasby has gotten a new girlfriend, a blonde socialite named Alex. Gasby has put Alex and himself on social media out at events on what seems to be date nights. Social media lit up and questioned Gasby’s thinking and what this could be doing to Smith. Folks have also noted the change in Smith’s appearance. While she’s not sloppy, she is quite a ways from her usual elegant appearance. Gasby has lately appeared to show himself, Smith and Alex all together as if the alleged relationship were approved by Smith. There’s no way to tell how aware Smith may be of this situation. B. Smith, 69, was the toast of the media as she made a smooth transition from the fashion industry as a popular model to an even more successful media personality as author/talk show host/celebrity chef/ businesswoman/television producer. Smith and Gasby have been married 26-years and people had admired their strength and courage as the two did a media tour together before Smith’s Alzheimer’s got too progressive. In response to the criticism, Gasby continues to display pictures of Alex and Smith together with himself on social media. The latest captioned And The Haters Can Keep On Hating But We Are Going To Keep On Loving! Gasby apparently told a newspaper in an interview Alex knew of B. Smith’s health battle and gave her number to Gasby after they met at a bar in the Hamptons.
We remember Singer/Songwriter James Ingram who died this week after a brave battle with brain cancer. Ingram was a multi-Grammy award winning performer whose career got a huge jump when submitting songs he wrote and co-wrote to Quincy Jones. Jones heard Ingram’s voice singing the demonstration (demo) recording and demanded he had to work with that singer. Jones and Ingram collaborated on songs like One Hundred Ways, The Dude and Just Once. That led to Jones signing Ingram to his Qwest label. Jones also paired his Goddaughter Patti Austin with Ingram for the chart toppers How Do You Keep The Music Playing and Baby Come To Me. In 1980, Motown’s legendary Songwriter/Producer Lamont Dozier produced the quartet called Zingara and their top 30 hit, Love’s Calling, featuring Ingram on lead vocals. The inspirational duet Ya Mo Be There with Michael McDonald led to another Grammy, and Ingram topped the charts with Philly Soul Producer Thom Bell and the song I Don’t Have The Heart. Ingram got his start playing keyboards for Ray Charles and both men were prominently featured in 1985’s all-star We Are The World song produced by their friend Quincy Jones. Teaming with Linda Ronstadt for the million selling Somewhere Out There brought Ronstadt and Ingram a Grammy and a gold certified top five hit. Ingram was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the song The Day I Fall In Love, which he performed with Dolly Parton, for the film Beethoven’s 2 nd . And, Ingram also co-wrote Michael Jackson’s platinum certified hit P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing). Leaving behind an incomparable musical legacy, James Ingram passed away at age 66.
Taraji P. Henson is celebrating her latest film What Men Want. The movie is a role reversal reboot of the 2000 Mel Gibson box office smash. What Men Want, co-starring Erykah Badu, Shaquille O’Neal, Tracy Morgan, Max Greenfield (CBS’ The Neighborhood) and Richard Roundtree, opens in theaters February 8 th .
The Oscars nominations are out and while it’s not exactly #OscarsSoWhite, there were still some big snubs. Congrats to Regina King (Supporting Actress: If Beale Street Could Talk), Mahershala Ali (Supporting Actor: Green Book), Barry Jenkins (Best Adapted Screenplay: If Beale Street Could Talk). Spike Lee has three nominations for BlacKkKlansman as co-writer, co-producer and directing, and Philly’s own Bradley Cooper has three for A Star Is Born for actor, co-writer and co-producer and Lady GaGa (A Star Is Born) has actress and best song nods. Back in 1977, Barbara Streisand won the Oscar for best song (Evergreen) for her remake of A Star Is Born. Black Panther made history as the first superhero Best Picture nominee and Hannah Beachler is the first African American to be a Best Production Design Oscar nominee. Black Panther’s Ruth E. Carter is a Best Costume nominee and Kendrick Lamar is up for Best Song for All The Stars. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse has Director Peter Ramsey as the first African American director nominated for animated feature.
Now for the Oscar snubs. There was nothing for the surprise box office smash Crazy Rich Asians. Despite six top nominations for BlacKkKlansman, John David Washington was passed over for lead actor. If Beale Street Could Talk was also passed over for best picture, director and Regina King was the only cast member nominated. And, despite a best picture nod, Black Panther has no acting nominations, writing nominations or a directing nod to Ryan Koogler, who also co-wrote the adapted screenplay.The 91 st Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 24 th at 8pm on ABC.
Canal Street is an uplifting new movie about faith and fatherhood. This film follows an African American dad’s unrelenting efforts to clear his son’s name for the murder of a white classmate. Directed by Rhyan LaMar and executive produced by Philly’s own Charlie Mack, the cast includes Mykelti Williamson, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Beach, Harry Lennix, Woody McClain and Yas The Great a.k.a. Bryshere Y. Gray. Canal Street is in AMC and Regal theaters now.
The Grammys will have its first female host in over a decade as 15-time Winner Alicia Keys has signed on for those duties. The last time a woman hosted was Queen Latifah in 2005, and there have only been five ladies in all of Grammy history to host. Kendrick Lamar’s work on the Black Panther soundtrack garnered eight nominations to lead the pack. One nomination he shares with Sza for their collaboration All The Stars. Meanwhile, five nominations each went to H.E.R., Cardi B, Lady Gaga and Childish Gambino. Plus when the Grammys air, there will be a special tribute to the 60 th anniversary of the creation of Motown Records. The Grammys air Sunday, February 10 th at 8pm on CBS.
Mary J. Blige is coming to Netflix. The Queen Of Hip Hop Soul is following up her Oscar nominated 2017 role in Mudbound by playing a hired killer. Blige will play an assassin in the Nextflix series The Umbrella Academy. This is a scary series. In fact, think American Horror Story type scary. Umbrella Academy begins streaming February 15 th .
A Grammy Celebration For The Queen Of Soul is aCBS tribute special hosted by Tyler Perry. They’ll be appearances by President Barack Obama, Celine Dion, Quincy Jones, John Legend, Barbara Streisand, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett and Smokey Robinson. Performances include Sza & Alicia Keys on Daydreaming; Patti LaBelle on Call Me; Andra Day & Fantasia on (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman; and Franklin’s silver screen portrayer Jennifer Hudson (Respect: The Aretha Franklin Story) with Think. Aretha! A Grammy Celebration For The Queen Of Soul airs on CBS Sunday, March 10 th .
Little is a movie coming out this spring, but it’s already going into the record books. A high powered but super mean business executive (Regina Hall from Girls’ Trip) is transformed back into her 13-year old self with her present day mind (Marsai Martin, “Diane” from Black-ish). Her assistant (Issa Rae of Insecure) is the only one who knows the truth, and must keep her boss’ business going until they can make her normal again. Will Packer, Hall and Martin are the executive producers and that makes Martin the youngest executive producer in movie history. Little, co-starring Tone Bell (CBS’ Fam) and Justin Hartley (NBC’s This Is Us) opens in theaters April 12 th .
Essence Magazine’s February issue is an homage to the Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon. A shared cover features the Luncheon’s 2019 honorees: Jenifer Lewis (Black-ish; Think Like A Man; What’s Love Got To Do With It), Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk; Captive City), Amandla Stenberg (The Hate You Give; The Hunger Games) and Regina Hall (Scary Movie; Girls’ Trip; Little).
Check out who’s coming to town:
This Friday, February 1 st – Mike Epps comedy show at the Parx Casino in Bensalem. For Tickets and information log onto parxcasino.com/xcitecenter.
This Saturday, February 2 nd – Sunday, February 10 th – The 2019 Philadelphia Auto Show at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For tickets and information log onto phillyautoshow.com
This Saturday, February 2 nd – Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle in concert at The Keswick Theater, Glenside, Pa. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheater.com/events/all.
Friday, February 8 th – Herbie Hancock in concert at the Parx Casino in Bensalem. For Tickets and information log onto parxcasino.com/xcitecenter.
Friday, February 15 th –Brian McKnight in concert at Ocean Resort Casino’s Ovation Hall in Atlantic City. For Tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, February 16 th – Erykah Badu and Busta Rhymes at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For Tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, February 16 th – The Isley Brothers 60 th Anniversary Tour at Ocean Resort Casino’s Ovation Hall in Atlantic City. For Tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, February 16 th – Boyz II Men celebrating the 25 th Anniversary of the album II at The Met Philly, Broad and Poplar. Log onto themetphilly.com/events for tickets and information.
Sunday, February 17 th – The Valentine’s Day Soul Jam starring The Stylistics, The Manhattans, Bloodstone and Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes at The Tropicana in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Sunday, February 17 th – Gladys Knight in concert at the Parx Casino in Bensalem. For tickets and information log onto parxcasino.com/xcitecenter
Saturday, March 9 th – Tony Toni Tone’ & Jody Watley in concert at The Keswick Theater, Glenside, Pa. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheater.com/events/all.
Saturday, March 16 th – Comedian JB Smoove at the Parx Casino in Bensalem. For tickets and information log onto parxcasino.com/xcitecenter.
Wednesday March 20 th – Sunday, March 24 th – Madea’s Farewell starring Tyler Perry at The Met Philly, Broad & Poplar Streets. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Friday, March 22 nd and Saturday, March 23 rd – Lionel Richie in concert at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Log onto ticketmaster.com for tickets and information.
Saturday, March 30 th – Mariah Carey in concert at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Log onto ticketmaster.com for tickets and information.
Friday, April 26 th – The New Stylistics featuring Russell Thompkins, Jr., The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston and The Delfonics featuring William Hart in concert at The Keswick Theater, Glenside, Pa. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheater.com/events/all.
Friday, May 3 rd – Wayne Brady at the Parx Casino in Bensalem. For Tickets and information log onto parxcasino.com/xcitecenter
Friday, May 10 th – The Mother’s Day Music Festival Weekend starring The Whispers & The Force MD’s at Caesar’s Circus Maximus Theater in Atlantic City. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 1 st . For more information log onto ppshows.com and for tickets log onto ticketmaster.com.
Saturday, May 11 th – The Mother’s Day Music Festival Weekend starring Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Kem, Al B. Sure and Christopher Williams at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 1 st . For more information log onto ppshows.com and for tickets log onto ticketmaster.com.
Sunday, May 12 th – The Mother’s Day Music Festival Weekend starring After 7 and Dru Hill at Tropicana Showroom Theater in Atlantic City. Tickets are on sale now. For more information log onto ppshows.com and for tickets log onto ticketmaster.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.