Jussie Smollett has gone from victim to alleged perpetrator to civil defendant and plaintiff.The Empire actor was arrested and charged with felony disorderly conduct. Chicago police says that Smollett paid two men, Olabinjo Osundairo and Abimbola Osundairo, to help orchestrate a fake attack and then he reported it to police because he was dissatisfied with his salary. Last January,Smollett reported to authorities being the victim of a racial and homophobic attack, including having a noose put on his neck and bleach poured on him, in Chicago during a 2am food run he made. Among other claims, Smollett says the perpetrators yelled this is MAGA (Make America Great Again) Country N**ger. But, police say the actor paid two brothers who are black and of Nigerian descent, to purchase masks, the bleach and appear on the street with him in a phony hate crime attack. It was discovered that the brothers, who took a round trip to Nigeria and back shortly after the incident, were seen on video at a retail store buying the items Smollett described to police as part of the attack.The Osundairo brothers are reportedly cooperating with authorities. The charges were eventually dropped by prosecutors and Smollett was written out of Empire …..for now. The faced 1 to 3 years in prison if he was convicted. Now A judge has ordered a special prosecutor to re-examine the Jussie Smollett case and why charges were dropped. The City Of Chicago is currently suing Smollett for the cost of the man-hours police put into the case. Smollett maintains his innocence.Jussie Smollett is fighting back andhas filed legal documents to get the case against him dismissed. Meanwhile the Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson who chastised Smollett at a press conference was himself fired by the Mayor following an incident where he was allegedly found drunk and asleep behind the wheel of a car.
Activists are calling for the “cancellation of” Oprah Winfrey because she made herself a part of the documentary in which accusers say the late Michael Jackson was an abusive pedophile. Now, there a new one being produced about an accuser of Russell Simmons, and Oprah Winfrey is one of the executive producers.Simmons is one of Hip Hop’s pioneering entrepreneurs, executives and he’s co-founder of Def Jam, but he’s come under fire over the past two years after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape, surfaced from at least 18 accusers. As a result, Simmons denied all wrongdoing but stepped down from his positions with his companies. Winfrey was blasted by Rapper 50 Cent and Russell Simmons, himself. 50 took to social media and asked why white suspects (Jeffrey Epstein; Harvey Weinstein) are getting a pass from Winfrey while she targets black men (Michael Jackson; Russell Simmons). On another note, Oprah quit 60 Minutes after being told she’s being too emotional, but may return to the talk show format with Apple Streaming.
Meanwhile, many believe the highly rated docuseries,Surviving R Kelly, that premiered last January on the Lifetime channel, is the reason why Kelly is facing charges today. The docuseries showcased family, friends and other associates. The majority had negative things to say, and some of those people accused Kelly directly of criminal wrongdoing. Now, Surviving R Kelly Part II: The Reckoning begins this week on Lifetime.
R Kelly was arrested in mid-2019, while walking his dog, on federal sex trafficking charges. Kelly pleaded not guilty at his Chicago arraignment, and the judge denied him bond. That means he’s to stay in custody until the trial. The young woman who was at the center of Kelly’s past child pornography trial, who was alleged was on the infamous sex tape and is Singer Sparkle’s niece, is reportedly cooperating with the feds and is now talking. The Feds reportedly have at least 20 tapes thanks to former associates who don’t want to go to jail themselves. At this point, R Kelly is out of solitary confinement. The embattled singer songwriter is facing a host of charges, including sex trafficking, kidnapping and sexual abuse of minors in New York and Illinois. Kelly, who was remanded to custody until trial, has now been moved to general population. According to his lawyer Steve Greenberg, he expects Kelly to have no problems with other prisoners and says they will probably even miss Kelly when he leaves. Kelly’s legal team argued having Kelly, who hasn’t been convicted of anything, in solitary was detrimental to his well-being particularly because he’s illiterate and can’t even keep his mind occupied by reading. Kelly trial date for the 13 federal charges in Illinois has now been set for April 27, 2020.
Comedian Paul Mooney’s twin sons took to social media to clear up what’s going on with their father. Recently, Richard Pryor’s former bodyguard, Rashon Khan, who has a tell-all book coming out, claimed Paul Mooney,78, had sex with Pryor’s then underage son Richard, Jr. Pryor’s ex-wife Jennifer Lee, who remarried him before the comedian died in 2005, confirmedthis. Well, Daryl and Dwayne Mooney say first their father isn’t in hiding, but he’s not well. The Mooney brothers claim their dad at this point doesn’t even know who they are let alone who Richard Pryor is. Rumors of Paul Mooney having dementia have been out for some time.
TV Journalist Tanika Ray was a long time staffer on air for the magazine show Extra, but now she’s out and she says her jaw hit the floor when Billy Bush joined the show. Bush was fired from NBC’s Today Show after the infamous tape went public of his conversation with now President Donald Trump using coarse language about women, including language categorized as sexual assault. Bush made his return to the revamped Extra after former host Mario Lopez departed for Bush’s old show Access Hollywood. So what about Tanika Ray? She says producers knew for months they’d drop her from the show, but waited to the last minute to confirm. Ray says she kept Extra’s connection to Black Hollywood and maintenance it to the advantage of the show only to be dumped. Ray is also not pleased with the fact that AJ Calloway who was accused of sexual assault isn’t back on the show yet Bush is the new Extra lead. Ray says Only In America because Calloway will probably never work again despite unproven accusations, but Bush is given a second chance.
Former 106 & Park Co-Host AJ Calloway departed Extra after a slew of accusations. This was after Calloway was suspended (taken off the air) with pay in February after accusations of sexual misconduct. Before that, Warner Brother Studios, which produced Extra, investigated Calloway after initial accusations to learn if there was any misconduct at the workplace. Initially, the studio released a statement it found none. Then, they expanded their investigation and suspended Calloway during the process after more accusers spoke to the press and authorities. Finally, the studio released a new statement that Calloway and Extra have mutually decided to part ways. Calloway had been with Extra since 2008.
Who’s the lady that can turn side-jawn accusations to a skin care launch in one week? It’s Nicole Murphy that’s who. The former wife of Comedian Eddie Murphy was caught last week with Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day; The Magnificent Seven; The Equalizer) at a hotel pool in Italy kissing in multiple pictures. At first Fuqua, who’s been married to Actress Lela Rochon (Waiting To Exhale; Boomerang; The Cosby Show) for 20 years and share two children, said nothing. Nicole Murphy at first said she was kissing a family friend. Then more pictures came out causing Nicole to later apologize and say she wouldn’t be so disrespectful toward marriage. Then came Actress LisaRaye confirming she’s been in Lela Rochon’s shoes as a wife because LisaRaye said Murphy messed around with her ex-husband, former Turks & Caicos Islands Chief Minister Michael Messick. Remember, this is all on the back of Nicole dating Michael Strahan for five years, but broke up shortly after he put a tracking device in her car and caught her cheating. Meanwhile, Antoine Fuqua reportedly had a baby with a woman while dating Rochon, and then two more with other women while married to Rochon. WOW! Well a new week has Murphy rebounding with a skincare line called Zobela. I’ve only seen a foaming cleanser for the face so far. Unfortunately, she’s still getting the home wrecker dragging on social media. As for Rochon and Fuqua, they’re reportedly going to counseling and he’s promising to change, but these two aren’t splitting up.
Nicole Murphy said she’s sorry in 2019. Murphy dropped by Wendy Williams’ show to offer an explanation for the photo that went super viral. The photo was of Murphy kissing a very married Antoine Fuqua (Training Day; The Equalizer). Murphy says she didn’t know he was married. Fuqua is married to Actress Lela Rochon (Waiting To Exhale). Murphy was also called out by Actress Lisa Raye who claims Murphy did the same thing with her husband, former Turks & Caicos Islands Chief Minister Michael Messick. Murphy offered her apologies and noted that social media, the vehicle that busted her with Fuqua, is mean.
Actress Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) pled guilty and served her time, but Actress Lori Loughlin (Full House) didn’t and now faces more charges. That the latest in the college cheating scandal where 50 people, including the two actresses, were indicted on charges related to allegations of cheating and/or bribes to get their children into school. With substantial jail time that a guilty verdict could bring, Huffman joined about a dozen other defendants and pleaded guilty, and she released a statement accepting full responsibility and expressing deep regret but declaring her guilt as well. Huffman got a 14 day prison sentence, 250 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine. She’s now out of custody. Meanwhile, Loughlin who didn’t take a deal found herself indicted on an additional charge of money laundering. Now, she and the others who didn’t take a deal face additional time in jail if found guilty. Loughlin and her husband, Designer Mossimo Giannulli, both face up to 40 years in prison with the additional indictment.
Can you believe what the highest grossing film in Philly’s own Will Smith’s career is? It’s not Independence Day, Bad Boys, I Robot, Hitch or even Men In Black? It’s none of those. The movie that put Smith over was his 2019 hit Aladdin. The live action reboot of the 1992 animated film, that previously had a voice cast led by the late Oscar winning Comedian/Actor Robin Williams, has grossed over $879 million and counting at the box office. The 2019 Aladdin film was directed and co-written by Guy Ritchie, the ex-husband of Madonna.
Tyler Perry is living his best life. He hosted a grand reopening of his $250 million film studio in Atlanta over the past weekend. From Iyanla to Whoopi and Ludacris to Usher, Perry hosted practically all of Black Hollywood in a red carpet extravaganza. Perry also used the occasion to dedicate each soundstage to legendary members of the arts who influenced his career: Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis,Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry, Della Reese, Spike Lee, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Smith and Diahann Carroll (more about her later). The unveiling was witnessed by many of the honorees and Samuel L. Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Bishop TD Jakes, Nicole Ari Parker & Boris Kodjoe, T.I. & Tiny, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z & Beyoncé. Turns out Perry’s studio sits on a confederate army base. Now he, an African American, owns the land out right meant to preserve slavery in America. The Tyler Perry Studios have accommodated the filming of independent projects like Black Panther and AMC’s The Walking Dead to events such as The Fifth Democratic Presidential Debate.
Idris Elba says it was Tyler Perry who boosted his career. Writer/Producer/Director/Actor/Studio Owner Perry was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame this week and his many close friends/superstars took part in the tribute. Elba told the crowd that because of his role as Stringer Bell in The Wire, it was difficult for him to be seen in any other roles. Elba said Perry casting him as a dedicated father in Daddy’s Little Girls changed not only his career, but how black men are cast in movies to this day. Actress Kerry Washington (For Colored Girls) told the crowd Perry blazed his own fierce and faithful path.Actress Crystal Fox (The Haves And Have Nots) led fans in thunderous applause for Perry’s star unveiling. It’s a great time for Perry. He has a deal with BET that gives him co-ownership of BET Plus. He has new shows The Oval and Sistas and both dramas currently air Wednesdays on BET beginning at 9pm. Plus, he still has programming on OWN (If Loving You Is Wrong & The Haves And Have Nots). Plus, Perry is working on a new show called Bruh.
Singer Peabo Bryson is back. Despite suffering a heart attack, the 68-year old If Ever You’re In My Arms Again singer has bounced back in 2019. The singer/songwriter’s other hits include Tonight (I Celebrate My Love For You), A Whole New World, Let The Feeling Flow, Beauty & The Beast and Feel The Fire. Bryson says he didn’t even know he suffered what’s called the widow maker because there’s no warning. He says he thought he went to bed, to sleep and simply woke up five days later, this despite flat-lining for nearly a half hour. Bryson says he’s back at 100% and back on tour. He’s been appearing with such fellow legends as Deniece Williams and Dionne Warwick. Bryson has his latest album, Stand For Love, with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
Julia Roberts can play Harriet Tubman because it was so long ago no one will know the difference?!!!!!! That’s the story Screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard recalled when he first pitched the movie Harriet to the studios 25 years ago. Julia Roberts was at the top of her game at the box office back then. Howard says the studio executive was completely unfazed by how racially disrespectful his suggestion was. While people have saying Hollywood was a very different place 25 years ago, keep in mind the legendary Cicely Tyson played Tubman in the 1978 TV movie A Woman Called Moses. Tubman earned the name Moses as she led American slaves to freedom just as Moses led slaves out of bondage in Egypt. Meanwhile, fast forward to 2019 and Cynthia Erivo, though controversial for her online remarks, is the Black British actress playing Tubman in the film Gregory Allen Howard wrote called Harriet. Harriet is currently in theaters now and has taken in $47 million at the box office. As of press time no one has identified the studio executive nor confirmed of Roberts was ever approached. Meanwhile, Erivo is being surrounded by Oscar buzz.
2019 saw some big name breakups. After 22 years, Oscar Winner Forest Whitaker, 58, filed for divorce from wifeKeisha Nash, 47. After 25 years Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, 54, the world’s richest man divorced his wife MacKenzie, and published reports say she got more than $36 billion leaving him with a reported $114 billion. 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. NBA Legend Alonzo Mourning and Social Activist Tracy Mourning officially separated after 22 years. Never married but always undercover Actors Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes are done. Tiffany Haddish and Common hooked up after he broke up with Angela Rye, who’s now reportedly with L.A. based Businessman Karim Webb. Solange Knowles and her second husband, Music Video Director Alan Ferguson.
Then came the reported on again off again Is Lori Harvey, Steve Harvey’s stepdaughter, and Sean Puffy Combs? Lori is 22, and Puffy turned 50 in 2019. Lori was reportedly been linked to Rapper Future, Singer Trey Songz and Puffy’s son Justin. Puffy got called out on social media for not marrying the late Kim Porter, and he actually copped to that being a mistake on his part. Then, his girlfriend of 10 years, Singer/Actress Cassie, has not only moved on with a new man, Personal Trainer Alex Fine, but the couple got married and had a baby. Meanwhile Puff and Lori seemed to fizzle out and she’s reportedly back with Future.
Wendy Williams: what a difference 2019 makes. The Queen Of All Media served her husband of almost 22 years, Kevin Hunter, with divorce papers on the set of The Wendy Williams Show. Then he was dismissed from the show. Williams returned to her show after two long absences and guest host coverage, and her husband Kevin offered a public statement of a kinda sorta apology. Williams says she’s carving out a new life for her and her son. Williams talked about how being in the sober house opened her eyes to other things, and her baby days were over. A swipe at estranged husband Kevin perhaps and the sidechick who, allegedly, gave birth to a love child in a Philly hospital and the press found out in 2019. Now, Kevin is still in the picture because of co-owning so much of Wendy’s business ventures.
In 2019, Entrepreneur/Restaurateur/Former Model B. Smith was revealed to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and her husband of 26-years, Dan Gasby, has been by her side, but things then went left.It seems that Gasby has gotten a new girlfriend, a blonde socialite named Alex Lerner. Gasby has put Alex and himself on social media. In response, social media lit up and questioned Gasby’s thinking and what this could be doing to Smith. At last check, published reports say Lerner has now moved into the home with the couple.
Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas gave the singer/songwriter a great way to close out 2019. The song is her 19th number one and she moves past her tie with Diana Ross and is now second only to The Beatles.
Tiger Woods made a 2019 comeback in Augusta and The White House. This past year, the world’s most famous golfer won at the sport’s most prestigious competition, The Masters. Woods got his fifth green jacket and inched another step closer to the record books with this victory, and then he was awarded the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Donald Trump.
Simone Biles became the most decorated female gymnast in history in 2019. The Olympic darling won her 21st world championship. The honors came about while she was competing in Germany. This just heightens all anticipation for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
Oscar winners in 2019, including Spike Lee turning his back on The Green Book, made another ceremony for the history books. First, our favorite, who we’ve been with since she was Brenda Jenkins in 227 with Marla Gibbs, Hal Williams and Jackee’ Harry, is Actress and Director Regina King. She won her first Oscar for Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk as Best Supporting Actress. Then Mahershala Ali made Oscar history by taking the Best Supporting Actor trophy twice and this time for Green Book, which also won Best Picture. Now here’s where the controversy comes in because Ali played Dr. Shirley whose real family claims the movie is fiction. Ouch! Then Spike Lee turned his back when the movie won Best Picture. Lee had been careful not to say anything publicly about The Green Book until that night. Lee’s BlacKkKlansman did give the filmmaking legend his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, but Lee’s film was also up for Best Picture and lost out to Green Book. As happy as he was for his Oscar, backstage Lee said the ref made the wrong call and every time someone’s driving in a movie, he loses. Thirty years before, Lee’s Do The Right Thing was shutout in favor of Driving Miss Daisy. Lee was able to give an onstage rallying cry to get out and vote in 2020, which President Donald Trump tweeted was racist. Meanwhile Black Panther, also losing out on Best Picture, did pick up three awards including history making Best Production Design for Hannah Beachler and Ruth E. Carter for Best Costume Design. It’s the first time African American women have won in those categories. Plus, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-verse delivered Co-Producer/Director Peter Ramsey, the first African American director nominated for animated feature, an Oscar.
Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, was one of 2019’s best-selling titles by passing ten million copies in sales.
2019 saw the titles of Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss World all held by sistahs, namely Kaleigh Garris, Nia Franklin, Chelsie Kryst, Zozibini Tunzi and Toni-Ann Singh, respectively. Black women in one calendar year were awarded or held these titles. Some of the women have even gotten together for several photos shoots, interviews and social media shout outs. Congratulations ladies.
We experience powerful loss in 2019:We remember Entrepreneur/Philadelphia Legend/Social Activist Audrey Johnson-Thornton acting Pioneer Charles Weldon(the Negro Ensemble Company (NEC),); Daryl Dragon (The Captain and Tennille); Comedian/Writer/Actor Bob Einstein(Super Dave Osborne); Pro Wrestling Announcer Mean Gene Okerlund; Larry Cunningham of The Floaters; Broadway Icon Carol Channing; Former Pennsylvania Senator & Howard University Alum Harris Wofford; Musician/Songwriter/Producer/Philly Int’l Artist Edwin Birdsong; Comedienne/Singer/Actress Kaye Ballard; Comedian/Actor/Writer Kevin Barnett; Singer Clydie King; Grammy-winning Singer/Songwriter James Ingram; Actor Nathaniel Taylor (Rollo Lawson of the TV hit Sanford & Son (1972-1977)); Actor Luke Perry (Beverly Hills 90210); Singer /Songwriter Peter Tork of The Monkees; Actress Katherine Helmond (Soap; Who’s The Boss); Jan-Michael Vincent (TV’s Airwolf); Freda George Foreman (daughter of Boxer George Foreman); Rapper Nipsey Hussle; Actress/Singer Peggy Lipton (The Mod Squad); Actress/Singer Doris Day; Emmy Winner Tim Conway (McHale’s Navy; The Carol Burnett Show);Emmy Winner Kristoff St. John (The Young & The Restless); Singer Chuck Barksdale (founding member of The Dells) and Oscar nominated Writer/Producer/Director John Singleton; Melvin Edmonds (founding member of After 7); Willie Ford (founding member of The Dramatics); ESPN Journalist Ed Aschoff; Rapper Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys); Fashion and Business Icon Gloria Vanderbilt; Comedian/Actor Arte Johnson; (Laugh-In); Emmy Winner Rip Torn (The Larry Sanders Show; Men In Black); legendary Photojournalist Robert Mendelsohn (Phila. Sunday Sun; Phila. Tribune; The New Observer); Author Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye; Beloved); Actor John Wesley (The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air; The Wood; 227; The Jamie Foxx Show; Martin); Emmy winning Actress Valerie Harper (Rhoda; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Valerie); Singer Eddie Money (Take Me Home Tonight w/ Ronnie Spector); Singer Rick Ocasek (The Cars); Opera Legend Jessye Norman; Trailblazing Oscar & Emmy Nominated Actress/Singer Diahann Carroll (Julia; Dynasty; Claudine; A Different World); U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings; Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (the longest serving African American in the House of Representatives); Comedian/Actor John Witherspoon; Sesame Street Performer/Puppeteer Carroll Spinney; former Child Actor Phillip McKeon (Alice); Benson and Star Trek Actor Rene Auberjonois; real life Remember The Titans High School Football coach Herman T. Boone; trailblazing Blogger/Model/Activist Mama Cax; Oscar nominated Actor Danny Aiello (Do The Right Thing; Harlem Nights; Moonstruck) and legendary Power 99 Personality Don Juan Banks.
Quite a year for Kevin Hart. When decade oldhomophobic tweets Hart sent out resurfaced, he apologized (several times at this point) but stepped down as the 2019 Oscars host. Hart said he’d be a distraction, so the Oscars went without a host in 2019.
Then came that September car crash which required intense back surgery for Hart, who now says he’s 65 to 75% recovered. My Nephew told that to Ellen DeGeneres and in the theaters reunited with Dwayne The Rock Johnson for Jumanji: The Next Level, the sequel to their record-breaking 2017 film which took in over $962 million worldwide. The car accident, in which Hart’s car was driven by his friend Jared Black who lost control and crashed, saw Hart hospitalized and put in rehab. That was followed by three months at home to continue recovering. Hart says he feels like God sat him down, and now he appreciates life more. When he had to rebuild, Hart said goal number one was wiping his a$$. Hart had to learn how to stretch, dress himself and felt a huge victory when he could finally put on his own socks. He credits his wife and children for seeing him through this ongoing recovery period. Meanwhile, Jumanji: The Next Level, co-starring Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Karen Gillan, Awkwafina and newcomers Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, is in theaters now.
2019 saw Cuba Gooding, Jr. accused, arrested and indicted for sexual misconduct with a total to 22 women accusing the Oscar winner. In October, Gooding pleaded not guilty to charges of forcible touching and sex abuse involving three accusers from 2018 and 2019. So what about these other accusers? Some of those allegations go back as far as 2003 and include nonconsensual licking, kissing, groping and grabbing. Some accusations also include threats to the accusers’ professional careers by Gooding. The prosecutors in Gooding’s New York criminal case want at least seven witnesses and 12 accusers to testify at trial to show a pattern. Gooding’s defense team says whenever a celebrity is publicly charged by a prosecutor false accusations are a result. Lawyers for the actor deny all charges of wrongdoing. Now unfortunately, I’ve called out Cuba’s drinking problem which seems to have led to these problems. It’s certainly possible that people are allowing Gooding to be the life of the party on purpose. Then watch the mix of alcohol and partying set him up. On top of imprisonment, this could be a career killer, so Gooding has a lot of work to do to defend himself.
Flava Flav you are the daddy!!! The clock carrying member of Public Enemy became a dad for the eighth time in 2019 with his fourth babymomma. The 60-year old rapper and reality star had the baby boy with Kate Gammell, the lady who was managing Flav’s career.
2019 would have been just another cast change for America’s Got Talent on NBC, but this time Actress Gabrielle Union spoke up and didn’t leave quietly. This goes back a ways. Previously, Tyra Banks, who replaced Nick Cannon, had already been replaced as host by Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine). Now Union and Julianne Hough are both leaving this season after they replaced Heidi Klum and Mel B. So what’s with all the changes, and why just the women? The stories have been leaking like crazy, including one involving Jay Leno. Apparently, the former Tonight Show host taped an appearance and allegedly joked Simon Cowell’s many dogs looked like a Korean restaurant menu. Reportedly, staffers were offended and were encouraged by Union to file a complaint with human resources. Next, reports are both Hough and Union were heavily critiqued about their looks and style, particularly Union whose variety of hairstyles were considered too black. Hough still had a deal for holiday specials with NBC, and Union’s Bad Boys TV spinoff LA’s Finest has been renewed for a new season on the Spectrum cable network. Did Union’s real life activism make it to the set of America’s Got Talent and get rebuffed? Union has since released a statement, NBC says there’s an ongoing investigation into allegations of a toxic work environment on America’s Got Talent.Union went back to NBC and she tweeted she and the network had a five hour meeting. Union called it productive, said she expressed her unfiltered truth and that she hoped for real change to come from transparency. Union didn’t detail the topics and has yet to confirm any of the allegations floating around the media. This has created a media firestorm and additional accusations about how Simon Cowell, whose company co-owns the show, runs his business.Ex-Judge Sharon Osborne called America’s Got Talent a boys club and Ex-Judge Howard Stern reportedly says that Simon and America’s Got Talent employ sexist double standards. When asked about the controversy, Julianne Hough, whose also out as a judge, says she gives both NBC and Union credit to be willing to sit down and make change happen.
Side note, ex-America’s Got Talent Host, Tyra Banks, made a 2019 comeback of her own. 22 years ago was when the actress/producer/talk show host/supermodel last appeared on the cover of a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition (1997). Well, in 2019, her fans and even her critics gave Banks high praise when she returned to the Sports Illustrated cover for their annual swimsuit issue.
Van Lathan as fired then hired in 2019! The TV personality/journalist who made headlines as a TMZ regular by challenging Kanye West’s beliefs about slavery has a new gig. Lathan was fired after a separate workplace confrontation with fellow TMZ’er Michael Babcock that allegedly turned into a threat and alleged assault. Lathan returned to TV in 2019 and is teaming up with Uber Film and TV Producer Will Packer (Girls Trip; Think Like A Man; Ambitions) for Central Ave. TV. Central Ave. TV is a multicultural entertainment magazine show with BET veteran Julissa Bermudez and Gold Medal Olympic Track star Sanya Richards-Ross, which makes it the first and only time such a show has been co-hosted by two women of color. Lathan joins the team with his man on the street correspondence. Central Ave. TV has begun airing on some FOX stations and we’re awaiting word on a Philly launch.
Journalist and WDAS Alum Tamron Hall made her 2019 return to daytime TV. Hall left The Today Show after her 9am (Third Hour) edition of show was canceled and handed over to Megyn Kelly, which failed. Hall then worked out a deal with ABC, and her Tamron Hall Show, that airs at 10am on 6abc, has been renewed for a second season.
Meek Mill has been outspoken on the criminal justice system after serving five months of a two to four year prison sentence for parole violations. The Philly rapper has teamed up with Jay-Z in 2019 along with members of the sports, entertainment and investment communities created the REFORM Alliance. Its goal is to reduce the number of people serving unjust parole and probation sentences. 76ers’ Co-owner Michael Rubin is a founding partner, and the group has hired Political Commentator Van Jones to act as CEO.
Jay-Z caught flak in 2019 for his deal with the NFL, and his critics include Colin Kaepernick’s one time teammate and current Carolina Panther Safety Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s lawyer Mark Geragos and maybe even Jay-Z’s long time protégée……Rihanna?!! Jay-Z’s deal with the NFL has critics charging that the billionaire rapper/record exec/entrepreneur just made the deal for a check. Lawyer Geragos called the deal cold blooded, and said it essentially crosses the picket line. Rihanna liked the social media post of Activist Shaun King, whose post blasted the deal. Rihanna later unliked the post, but not before it made the rounds. Jay-Z’s NFL deal is supposed to be structured as a music/social justice campaign with him as the NFL’s live music entertainment strategist. Can Jay make this deal work and still be down with the cause? Time will tell.
I wanted to take time to thank the Broadcaster Pioneers Hall Of Fame because they inducted me in 2019. 2019 marked 37 years for me in this business and I thank you the listeners for that.
Check out who’s coming to town:
This Friday, January 3rd – The Femme It Forward Tour starring Monica, Ashanti, Amerie, Lil Mo & Keri Hilson at the Met Philly, Broad & Poplar Streets. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Saturday, January 18th - Coolio, Tone Loc and Young MC in concert at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. For tickets and information log onto keswicktheater.com
Sunday, January 19th –The 10th Anniversary of The All-Stars of Hip Hop starring KRS-1, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, Sugar Hill Gang & The Furious Five, Chubb Rock, Special Ed, Dana Dane, Monie Love, Kwame, Three Times Dope, Tuff Crew, Tracey Lee and Schoolly D at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Friday, February 14th – Boyz II Men’s Valentine’s Day Concert at the Met Philly, Broad & Poplar Streets. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Saturday, February 15th –Valentine’s Day Concert starring Johnny Gill, Next, KeKe Wyatt and Stokley from Mint Condition at The Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Sunday, February 16th – Valentine’s Soul Jam starring The Stylistics, Enchantment, Bloodstone, The Intruders and Peaches & Herb at Ovation Hall at The Ocean Casino & Resort in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto ticketmaster.com
Friday, February 28th – Tiffany Haddish comedy show at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.com
Saturday, March 7th– The Millennium Tour starring Omarion, Bow Wow, Ashanti, Pretty Ricky, Soulja Boy, Lloyd, Ying Yang Twins and Sammie at The Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University on Broad Street between Montgomery and Cecil B. Moore Avenues. For tickets and information log onto liacourascenter.com.
Saturday, March 28th – Charlie Wilson in concert at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.com
Saturday, April 4th –Martin Lawrence hosts The Lit AF 2020 Comedy Tour starring Michael Blackson, Donnell Rawlings, Benji Brownand more at The Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University on Broad Street between Montgomery and Cecil B. Moore Avenues. For tickets and information log onto liacourascenter.com.
Saturday, April 18th – Marlon Wayans comedy show at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.com
Saturday, May 16th – Sinbad comedy show at The Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. For tickets and information log onto theborgata.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.