Volume 3 Issue 15 Dec 7 â€“ Dec 14, 2008
Debuting His 1st Ever CD, DVD & New Film Roberts Is Truly About To Be On Top Of The World
Staff Founder / Publisher Frank Holder Chief Operations Officer Pookie Wigington Chief Financial Officer Kevin Layne Editor-At- Large Sacre Wills Layout, Design & Graphic Art Editor Bernadette Holder PresidentTelevision Division Ray Murphy, Jr. TV Segment Producer Harlan Endelman Sr. Fashion Editor Melinda Brown Columnists Tony Spires David Arnold Jackie Fabulous Rodney Perry Joey Wells Publicist Jackie Thomas Movie Reviews Aarona Browning PhotographersThis Issue Tim Alexander Allen Zaki Patrick Mckenzie Frank Holder Kevin Campbell Head ShotsWire Image Photos
The content of this Magazine is copy written (2007-â€™08) by The Humor Mill Magazine, DBA Holder Publishing, LLC. and may not be reprinted or retransmitted or reproduced without proper credit given to its origin.
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Special Thanks This Issue Tony Roberts Tim Alexander Allen Zaki Donnivin Jordan Crystal Jonelle Monique Scott Zsanaé Davis Rodney Perry Pookie Wigington Marc Alexander
Melanie Comarcho Janell Barrett Eric Benét House Of Blues-Hollywood
Tony Roberts Photo Shoot
Photographer – Tim Alexander
Donnivin Jordan Photo Shoot Photographer- Allen Zaki Make Up& Stylist- Crystal Jonelle Groomer- Monique Scott
Magazine Digitized By Digipageit.com
Singer Eric Benét performing at The House Of Blues In Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
This issue we examine all of the drama behind the Katt Williams incidents from the BET Hip Hop Awards to his recent arrest and fatigue, plus we go behind the scenes at The 2008 Comedy Festival by TBS. Also we have the latest news about Chris Rock and his new film, and Cedric The Entertainer’s run on Broadway. We even have the real news about Eddie Murphy and new The Nutty Professor upcoming film.
Will Smith is the King of Hollywood with all of his groundbreaking news the past couple of weeks and we have all of that here, plus the latest news from Ice Cube, Oprah Winfrey, Mario Van Peebles. Plus we have all of the moves that Don Cheadle is making with his new production company and his new films.
Tony Roberts My Grandma Got My Back!
We get a chance to catch up with the comedian Tony Roberts -who EXPLODED on the scene after his first performance on Def Comedy Jam in its debut, and we see what has happened since then. From his tours overseas to his new DVD, his new CD, his new films and his new comedy gospel play that he is penning there is a lot to talk about. Check out one of the funniest interviews we have had to date as Roberts opens up, and he tells us in his own words “My Grandma got my back!” After all, we couldn’t have said it better than that.
Departments Humor Mail
As usual, here are some of the letters and emails we have gotten from you in the last couple of weeks. Take a look at some of the reader’s thoughts and see if some of them mirror your own.
NEW!* Music Spotlight Eric Benét
By Bernadette Holder
Our Editor catches up with Eric Benét in the middle of his new tour from his new album titled Love & Life. Benét discusses the meaning of every song written on the album and where his thoughts were at the time. An eye opening interview for sure.
Star Spotlight~ Telma Hopkins
By Jackie Fabulous
Comedians Clayton Thomas and Cocoa Brown backstage at The Laugh Factory during The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show in Hollywood. Photo: Kevin Campbell.
We have a chance to discuss the fabulous career with actress Telma Hopkins who has persevered in the industry for years, from her days in the group Tony Orlando and Dawn to her hit show Half & Half, to her film The Love Guru. Now in a new play, we discuss her journey.
Departments Comedian Of The Week~ One On One With… Evan Lionel
We got a chance to catch up with another one of Chicago’s finest comedians, Evan Lionel. We discuss with Lionel his journey in the comedy game, and how he came to land in Los Angeles. We also discuss with him why he feels the “torch” has been passed to him since the passing of the late, great Bernie Mac.
Style With… Donnivin Jordan
This week’s new aspiring comedian/model has a familiar face if you follow BET programming; he’s comedian Donnivin Jordan. From his show on Hell Date to much more on his plate, we give you a look at his career from the past to what the future may bring. Comedian Donnivin Jordan and model Crystal Jonell featured in our Style With… section. All Photos: Allen Zaki
Columns The Tyler Perry Strike; Q&A With Writer Lamont Ferrell By Marc Alexander
The news the past couple of months from the Tyler Perry camp has been very disturbing, especially when we heard it was about Tyler Perry firing all of his writers. We wanted to know the scoop, so we had a Q&A session with our writer -who also is a writer with Tyler Perry- to get an idea on what really is going on behind the scenes of the Tyler Perry fiasco.
My Obama, Your Obama, Our Obama, By ZsanaĂŠ Davis
Our newest writer takes a look at the most historical election in African American Historyâ€ŚNo wait, in History, PERIOD! The election of President Elect-Barak Obama! Our writer gathers her thoughts at not only the election, but the time leading up to that historical date, and expresses her thoughts on that night, plus the days that lead up to that now infamous day in our history. Comedian Rodney Perry celebrating his birthday party at a local night spot in Hollywood.
Photo: Kevin Campbell.
Departments Stepping Up Our Collective Game By Tony Spires The Comedy Doctor
Our featured columnist the Comedy Doctor lends his voice to the continued theme of this issue; the election of Barak Obama. But the question remains, what does he think about the new changes about to happen in the country?
By Aarona Browning
This week we review the films Quantum Of Solace, (the latest from Ian Fleming’s 007), and Zack and Miri Make A Porno. You know what we always say, is it worth its weight in your pocket? After all that’s what its all about.
A Fraction Of The Rock
By Vanessa Fraction
Our former columnist Tony Rock steps aside and now there is a new writer in town! As we said before, there is Dear Abby and now there is our very own writer, Vanessa Fraction- who dishes out advice- with her very own comedic style. Ready for so in-yourface advice? Here it is, but its not for the weak hearted or for folks who are not ready for a comedian’s point of view.
Comedian G-Thang backstage at The Laugh Factory during The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show in Hollywood. Photo: Kevin Campbell.
Departments Now That Barack Is In Charge
By Darryl Littleton
This week we added a new article from book author, comedian Darryl Littleton. The article is from his upcoming book titled Now That Barack Is In Charge, a very insightful look into the next couple of years.
I Am Going To Celebrate It All! By Jackie Fabolous
In keeping up with the Barak Obama theme, and with the most historic night ever in history, another point of view from a comedianâ€™s perspective of President Elect Barak Obama.
Introducing Our First Lady By Nacole Williams
With everyone taking a look at our historical night with PresidentElect Barak Obama, our writer takes a look at another perspectivethe first lady in the White House, and being the first Black woman to ever hold that honor. Our writer gives us a look at her elegance and being a comedian takes a look at a couple of other things in that might have gone unnoticed.
Actress Elise Neal on the red carpet of The Interscope After Party fat the American Music Awards in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
Editor’s Page To All Of Our Readers, Usually at this time of year many people are in a festive mood, while a very many more people are not. But this year there is a big difference than many of the years past, an electric buzz has sprung in the air, and it represents something new; change. The change that was made was not a change of weather, or of loved ones who never call and finally deciding to pick up the phone to call, or bumping into a long lost love and starting right from where you left off. As a matter of fact it’s not a feeling of any of the warm tingling feelings you feel inside when something happens that slightly moves you, and makes you have a “pep” in your step for that day. No, this change is bigger than all of the above. What was that change? Well, by now you already know. A black man was elected into the White House, and his name is Barak Obama. It’s pretty simple; something has happened that has motivated the entire country to a degree never seen before. After all, before Obama have you EVER seen anyone wearing a shirt with any President’s name on it? Have you ever seen so many people in our nation of all nationalities come together for a common cause? Never. So with this new change, we celebrate the holidays, and we continue to hope that this is the beginning of a new thing that will continue to bless many in ways never before seen. Happy Holidays! Frank Holder Publisher Humor Mill Magazine
Actor Tristan Wilds at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder.
Mail To The Humor Mill Magazine; I love reading your magazine, and I loved the article you had on my favorite comedian Sommore. She has always put it down, and I love her work. I was surprised to find out she was a teacher! I guess you never really know about a person just because you see them on television. Tell her to keep up the good work, and I look forward to seeing her new DVD. Migdalia Ronashy Houston, TX Ed. NOTE: Thanks for the compliments, and I am sure Sommore will say the same thing. Humor Mill: All I can say is about time Sommore put out a DVD! Personally I always thought she was the best comedian on the Queens Of Comedy Tour and show. But I guess everyone else was not in agreement because they all jumped on that Mo’Nique bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, Mo’Nique is funny, but funnier than Sommore? Hell to the NO! Her performances on Def Comedy Jam, her DVD (which I just purchased) and her performances I saw on BET’s Comic View sets her above all of the rest! Eddie Grant Anaheim, CA.
Comedian Tommy Davidson outside the Comedy Store right before his performance in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder.
The Humor Mill: Sommore is BIG PIMPIN’! Tell her I said to keep doin her thang! That’s my gurl right there! Cool Clyde Strong Island, NY Humor Mill: You know, I never even realized that Sommore had never put out a DVD until I came across your magazine, and it stated that. Wow! I guess all I can say is it’s about time! After reading your article, I can’t help but think she might have ‘missed the boat’ on that one. But I guess only sales and time will tell. I personally think she was hotter a couple of years ago and her management should have capitalized on that then. I do think that since she sounds like a business woman I am sure she probably took the best deal that presented itself, and it was what she agreed on. No one will ever say she sold out, especially after reading her story in The Humor Mill. Frank Harcourt Atlanta, GA
Comedian Dannon Green upstairs at The Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Photo: Kevin Campbell.
Ed. NOTE: After interviewing Sommore, she is the ultimate business woman, writer and film maker you will ever meet. I think every thing she does is well planned, whether you agree with it or not. There are no hasty decisions coming out of her camp. All that being said, her interview says it all, she plans to continue to be the best she can be in comedy- and in entertainment.
Mail The Humor Mill: When I was flipping thru my channels one night and I came across Sommore on Celebrity Fit Club, I remember thinking, “boy is she washed up now” but after reading your article I see exactly what she was doing; planning a comeback but doing it to the mass audience. I don’t think there is anyone in the ‘hood who doesn’t know who she is, but if you stop and ask anyone outside of the ‘hood who she is, they won’t have a clue. What she is doing is brilliant! Launching a DVD and getting on these main stream shows is going raise her awareness to the general public. AND she is doing her own films? Sounds like she has big plans, and I want to go along for the ride! Christianne Abdennour Boston, MA
Comedian Lunell at Rodney Perry’s Birthday Bash in Hollywood. Photo: Kevin Campbell.
Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco behind the scenes at the Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Photo: Kevin Campbell.
Mail The Humor Mill Magazine; The Sommore issue came in my email and I couldn’t wait to read it. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Sommore is not as “ghetto” as she portrays herself to be, especially with a bachelor’s degree and by being a teacher- that says a lot. Sommore really needs to let her entire audience know that she is plotting her career as strategically as possible, because I am sure there are some fools out there who will follow her every move and more. What a lady… No, what a Queen! UNKNOWN To The Humor Mill; The Bernie Mac tribute issue was a great issue and I did not think you could top that issue. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was wrong, especially after reading the Sommore issue. My only complaint with your editorial staff is when you did a fashion spread with that female comedian, why couldn’t she have some eye candy on her arm? You do that for all of the men! Well, keep up the good work! Betty Kagan Mission Hills, CA Director Gina Prince-Bythewood at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
Mail The Humor Mill Magazine; I just wanted to drop a quick email to say I love your latest issue. It was great, keep up the good work and keep the news coming! The comedians in the industry get NO love from Hollywood. Robin Russert New Mexico Ed. NOTE: Thanks for the compliments. The Humor Mill Magazine; Your magazine is a very interesting Mag, and I had to write to say that I love reading it. It’s a quick and easy read, and it seems you guys are ahead of everybody. Plus there is no slamming of the starts in your issues. (By the way, I don’t know how long you are gonna keep that up because I don’t think there is any money in that.) The Humor Mill and the reading style of it is the wave of the future, and I look forward to every issue. Please let me know if you guys decide to do anything more than what you are planning, as I am a fan no matter what you decide to do in the future. Keep it up! Dominique Reynolds Stanford, CN Ed. NOTE: Thanks for the compliments on the magazine. As we have stated we are working hard to bring to the audience a printed version. We are also going to try our hands in a couple of other projects, so stay tuned and please tell a friend! Forward to everyone!
Actor Tyrese Gibson on the red carpet of The Interscope After Party for the AMAs in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
I loved reading your issue on Sommore and on Roz. I think Sommore and Roz are the funniest women on the planet! If I am not mistaken, aren’t they both from New Jersey? If so, that worked out well for your publication. Oh yeah, I think Roz was robbed on Last Comic Standing, and I don’t think too many people who are from the ‘hood will disagree. UNKNOWN Ed NOTE: First, we think Sommore and Roz G are from Jersey and yes, we do think she was robbed but that’s politics, Hollywood style. To The Humor Mill; Hey, I just wanted to write and say that your writer who is doing the throw back to yesteryear with the shows is doing good. Many shows I forgot where even around, and many of them are not on TV anywhere anymore. UNKNOWN Ed. NOTE: Thanks to syndication, the networks will only televise the shows that they think will make them money, and you know what those shows are.
Comedians Rob Stapleton and Bobo Lamb outside Rodney Perry’s Birthday Bash in Hollywood
Photo: Kevin Campbell.
Mail The Humor Mill Magazine; I read your responses to some of the other women and I loved your honesty. I need your honest opinion; I think my boyfriend is gay, but I am not sure. How do you find out if a black man is gay? I live in Atlanta and there are a lot of men on the “DL” and I don’t want that to happen to me. Signed, Not the Next Terry McMillan Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA Ed. NOTE: See the response to this question in A Fraction Of The Rock Column. The Humor Mill Magazine; I have to say I think Tony Rock’s column in your magazine is almost a sheer genius move on your editorial’s staff’ part. Getting the women to write in to Tony is a good move and I am sure it will create a lot more women to write in with their real problems because of his honest answers. Not to mention he is funnier than his brother, but who knows when the rest of the country will find that out. Anyway, keep up the great work Humor Mill! UNKNOWN CORRECTIONS FROM LAST ISSUE! There were too many to name, but thanks to your letter we know about all of them! Besides the minor typos we had, there we really too many to name. ☺ Hey, what can we say? We are doing the best that we can, especially without a full time Editor! Anyway, If you want to send us an email about the articles or your thoughts, all you have to do is send us an email to email@example.com for all of your comments. Some of these emails and other correspondence may be printed right here in these pages!
Comedian Melanie Comarcho performing on stage during a taping of her new DVD in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
If you were one of the many people who headed down to Las Vegas to the 2008 Comedy Festival last week to see a performance of Katt Williams, and found out that the show was cancelled there has been an official statement and reason for his cancellation; "fatigue". Yes, we know there have been many rumors, but the fact remains that the cancellation comes on the heels of several weeks' worth of his strange behavior, including a missed Conan O'Brien appearance and, most recently, a visit by police and hospitalization. Williams' representatives have stated that the comedian's health issues are the result of a very brutal touring schedule- that we can confirm consisted of 300 shows and an 18 month touring schedule. We can’t forget the most important thing on Williams’ plate right now- he was arrested on weapons charges hours before he was scheduled to appear at a Carnegie Hall concert performance in New York a couple of weeks ago just hours before show time. It seems the police pulled him over in midtown Manhattan for driving a car without license plates. He was hauled off to jail after a search of the vehicle turned up a handgun, authorities said. Williams was released on bail just in time to make his show as part of the annual New York Comedy Festival. Whatever's going on, Katt Williams is scheduled to be in Detroit at the end of December and to back in the comedy saddle. Earthquake
Speaking of The 2008 Comedy Festival, presented by TBS (A Co-Production with AEG Live) in Las Vegas, this year’s event featured comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Dane Cook, Tracy Morgan & Jeff Dunham just to name a few of the super stars who performed. One of the highlights featured the very popular Laffapalooza night, which was originally founded By Jamie Foxx and used to be in Atlanta, but now part of the Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. The Laffapalooza night was hosted by comedian Tracy Morgan and featured performances by comedians Corey Holcomb, Earthquake, and Lavell Crawford. The other events during the Festival featured a Celebrity Roast of Cheech and Chong which featured the Rev. Al Sharpton, Steve Carell, Andy Dick, Tom Arnold, Geraldo Rivera, Penn & Teller, Wilmer Valderrama and Greg Giraldo and the TBS LOL Lounge, plus lots of other performances. The other names who came out during the Festival were comedians Mike Epps, David Alan Grier, The Kids in the Hall, Russell Peters, Jim Breuer, Andrew Dice Clay, Jim Norton and John Oliver. In addition, Caliente Comedy featured comedians Gabriel Iglesias, Pablo Francisco and Anjelah Johnson. TBS will televise several programs from The Comedy Festival, including the variety special Ellen’s Even Bigger Really Big Show, which was presented by DeGeneres, and should be on TBS this week, so check your local listings.
Actors Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
Looks like comedic actor Chris Rock is putting his weight behind a new film and trying to give it a new look, as he is re-imagining of the 2007 comedy film Death at a Funeral from Screen Gems and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Rock will team with co-writer Aeysha Carr to write the script, which is based on the SKE-produced original penned by Dean Craig and directed by Frank Oz. The story follows a funeral ceremony that leads to the digging up of shocking family secrets, as well as misplaced cadavers and indecent exposure. While the original was set in Britain, the new film will take place in an urban American setting. Screen Gems and SKE are currently seeking directors and plan to begin production next spring. Chris Rock
Cedric the Entertainer
Word has just dropped to us that Cedric The Entertainer’s Broadway Play has ended. In case you didn’t know, Cedric starred in David Mamet's American Buffalo, along with comedic actor John Leguizamo, and closed its Broadway run on Sunday after just eight performances. The production opened Nov. 17th to largely negative reviews, and we hear that the reviews might have been because people we not ready to see two well known comedians on a Broadway stage Play.
One of the biggest news stories we received in the past week was that we heard there will be a Munsters remake from the Wayans Brothers, and that they are almost close to finalizing the deal. Word is that Shawn Wayans and the team behind Scary Movie and Little Man are currently finalizing work on their third draft of the script. The Wayans first announced their involvement in the project four years ago, but Shawn says the film's basic format hasn’t really changed all that much in the four years since: they are still placing the family in modern times and they still don’t have any plans to star. “If we do anything, maybe we’ll do a cameo, but we’re not gonna make The Munsters black all of a sudden,” Wayans laughed. “They’re gonna be green, white people just like they were in the TV show. Their characters are still who they were in the ‘50s. It’s just in modern day.” Speaking of the Wayans, we reported several months back that they were completing a dance movie spoof titled Snow Flake, but we can report that the film’s title has been changed to Dance Flick and is still scheduled to be released early next year.
Actress/Singer Jennifer Hudson at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
You may have heard from several internet sites that a third film in the Nutty Professor franchise, which starred Eddie Murphy as a scientist who turns obnoxious after trying one of his own cures, is reportedly being planned by Universal and Imagine Entertainment. The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, that an open call is out to writers for their take on a potential third installment based on the 1963 original starring Jerry Lewis. Well we have discovered that not only is Murphy NOT attached to the film, but he would not even consider doing the film. The Hollywood Reporter and other sites have stated that his involvement would be contingent on the writer, director and other elements. Eddie Murphy We recently heard that actor Jaleel White, best known for playing Steve Urkel on the 1990s sitcom Family Matters, has written a screenplay that will be turned into a film for producers Matthew Cooke and Bert Marcus. The script is titled Did You Get My Text, which is about a young man who starts a relationship with a girl on his friend's phone, turning their courtship into a comedy of technological errors. No word yet if White plans on starring in the film. Jaleel White
Still on his comeback trail, comedian Arsenio Hall is jumping back into animation as he has joined actress Rosie Perez, comedian and TV host Craig Ferguson and actress Christina Ricci for the CGanimated feature The Hero of Color City, which will be directed by Becky Bristow. The actors will lend voices as a group of crayons battling to save their multihued city. The film's producer, Exodus Film Group, has also made a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish a series of children's books based on the film. In case you didnâ€™t know, Hall previously voiced characters in the animated The Proud Family Movie, Igor and Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! You can also see Hall on TV ONE as he most recently taped The Black List; 100 Greatest Power Moves on where he was the host of the show.
Actress Dakota Fanning at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
On a sad note we know that you have heard by now that after an extended illness, seminal comedian Rudy Ray Moore, better known as Dolemite, has died in Akron, Ohio. He was 81. Moore, whose actual name was Rudolph Frank Moore, passed away from complications of diabetes. Moore is perhaps best known as Dolemite, the uniquely articulate pimp from the 1975 film Dolemite, and its sequel, The Human Tornado. The persona was developed during his earlier stand-up comedy records. Rudy Ray Moore was also known as the "king of the party records" and released many comedy records throughout the 1960s and 1970s, developing a style even more rude and explicit than contemporaries like Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor. This kept him off of television and major films, but cultivated an enduring fan base. Moore starred in Big Money Hustlas, a movie created by and starring the Insane Clown Posse, in which he played Dolemite for the first time in over 20 years. In 2008 Rudy Ray Moore reprised the character Petey Wheatstraw for the song I Live for the Funk Featuring Blowfly and Daniel Jordan. This marked the first time Blowfly and Rudy have collaborated on the same record together, and the 30 year anniversary since the movie was filmed. Moore began his entertainment career as an R&B singer and continued singing through his comedy career. He developed an interest in comedy in the Army after expanding on a singing performance for other servicemen. Moore also leaves behind his 98 year-old mother Lucille and a daughter.
Rudy Ray Moore March 17, 1927 October 19, 2008
Speaking of TV ONE, we are sure you know by now that Bill Bellamy’s Who’s Got Jokes?" returned its third season with host Bill Bellamy. The show is now currently trying to crown a winner. This past year, TV One, Bellamy and producer FarCor Studios hit the road in search of the hottest rising comics in the U.S., who are competing to be crowned champion. The show went overseas for the first time for the semi-finals. Working in conjunction with the USO, the cast headed to Germany to tape the show in front of soldiers and their families stationed at the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, home of the largest military community outside the U.S. Check your local listings for show times.
Not having the expected success like the Rickey Smiley Show has been having in syndication (Smiley is on in
over 30 markets) several stations are dropping the comedian Mo’Nique from their station. One station dropping the show is Los Angeles urban station KDAY (93.5 The Beat), which has dropped The Mo'Nique Show, a program from Syndication One, which had been airing in their extended midday time slot from 1PM to 4PM.
Model/Actress Eva Marcille at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
L-R: Gerard Butler, Kanye West, T.I. and Timbaland
Actor comedian Jamie Foxx about to jump head first into an action film as he is in final negotiations to star opposite Gerard Butler (of 300 fame) in Law Abiding Citizen, a psychological thriller that Frank Darabont is directing. The film is written by Kurt Wimmer and Darabont, as it follows a successful assistant D.A. (Butler) who finds himself at the center of a vigilante plot hatched by a traumatized victim of the legal system (played by Foxx). Foxx's character is devastated to learn that, because of a plea bargain, one of his wife and daughter's murderers will be set free. So he unleashes revenge on the killers and those who made the deal. Foxx, represented by CAA and King Management, next stars opposite Robert Downey Jr. in The Soloist, directed by Joe Wright (of Atonement fame). Jamie is also dropping a new album titled Intuition which drops on December 16th, features Kanye West, T.I., along with contributions from Timbaland, Ne-Yo, Sean Garrett, and Salaam Remi.
After it's premiere, it first looked like CNN had a winner in its new comedy show, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, the show that starred DL Hughley. Hughley, known for an engaging and non-conventional take on American life looked like he finally found his stride on a network not known for taking those kind of chances, and that network was CNN. But is the honey moon over? After many complaints to the network and the drastic drop in ratings, one has to wonder if CNN will stick it out with Hughley or will they pull out the rug from under him before the show hits its stride. Our sources have told us that a decision will be made in the following weeks about the show if the network will decide to stay with Hughley, but as of this writing our sources say they are leaning towards giving the show the ax.
Actress Sanaa Lathan at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
The latest news out of Hollywood is Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, who wrote Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and wrote and directed Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, will write and direct 'Til Beth Do Us Part, a comedy that has been set up at Warner Bros. The film will focus on two twenty¬something males whose friendship is put to the test when one of them becomes engaged. The movie will share some elements with the stoner franchise for which the writer-directors are known -- most notably, the comedic bond between two young males -- but will be more grounded and contain fewer of its zany flourishes. The project, which is casting its two male leads, is aiming to begin shooting early next year.
Congratulations to comedienne Daugne "Dawnie" Keith, who recently played Jackie “Moms” Mabley, the first female stand up comedian in the NAACP award winning play What Ya Peepin At, which is the Moms Mabley biography. The play to this day holds the record at the Apollo Theatre for the most stand up performances ever performed, as she was the first female comic to ever play the at the Apollo. The cast of What Ya Peepin At has been nominated to receive the NAACP theatre award, as it has been nominated for the Best Cast in its short two week LA run. The play will be in NYC and South Africa in the early part of the new year.
L-R: Daugn Keith & Moms Mabley
Recording artist Kanye West has jumped into the comedy world as has teamed up with Comedy Central to develop Alligator Boots, a new show described as "hip-hop meets the Muppets." The pilot episode has been shot and features new music from West, and he hosts the pilot episode. But, if picked up, a different celebrity host will be featured each week in a format similar to that of The Muppet Show. The show is produced by Jimmy Kimmel's Jackhole Productions which is from the same team behind Comedy Central's puppet show Crank Yankers. Kanye West Jay Lamont We want to also send out a very big GET WELL wished to comedian Jammin’ Jay Lamont who recently suffered a heart attack, BUT he is doing well. Here’s hoping you get well soon, and get back to doing comedy!
Actress/Singer Queen Latifah at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
L-R: Evan Lionel, Tony Roberts, Corey, Holcomb, Don “D.C.” Curry & Melanie Comarcho This just in: We hear that there is about to be a new comedy tour taking over the country titled the Too Real For Y’all Comedy Tour that will feature comedians Evan Lionel, Tony Roberts, Corey Holcomb, and Melanie Comarcho. The tour will be hosted by comedian Don “D.C. Curry and looks to kick off on January 17th in Nashville.
We hear this past week that actor Will Smith plans to star in Columbia Pictures new film titled The Last Pharaoh, which is the story of Taharqa, the pharaoh who battled Assyrian invaders starting around 677 B.C. in ancient Egypt. Author Randall Wallace (of Braveheart fame) is penning the script. Word is Smith, who has long wanted to play the pharaoh, took Wallace the story. Smith next stars in Columbia's Seven Pounds, a reteam with Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino that Overbrook Entertainment produced with Escape Artists. In other Hollywood news regarding Smith, Warner Bros. has set in motion a follow up to the film I Am Legend that was originally planned as a pre-quel, but now looks like a sequel. No word yet on how that will play out since Smith’s character dies at the end of the film. In that film the plan is for Smith to reprise his role as scientist Robert Neville, with Francis Lawrence returning to direct. Originally, the prequel will chronicle the final days of humanity in New York before a man-made virus caused a plague that left Smith’s character the lone survivor among a mutated mob in the city. Hot on the heels of this news, is the news that Smith may also join director Steven Spielberg in the 2003 Korean drama, a film titled Oldboy. In Chan Wook-Park's Korean-language original, a man gets kidnapped and held in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. Suddenly, he's released and given money, a cell phone and clothes and is set on a path to discover who destroyed his life so he can take revenge. Smith would play the kidnapped man if a deal between all parties can be hammered out.
Actor/Singer Leon at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
Thereâ€™s even more news from the Will Smith household; Columbia Pictures has announced that Jaden Smith, the son of Smith, will star in an allnew version of The Karate Kid, based on the 1984 hit film led by Ralph Macchio. The movie will be produced by Jerry Weintraub (who launched the original franchise) and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment, along with his partners James Lassiter and Ken Stovitz. The project will begin shooting next year in Beijing and other cities. While the new film will be set in that exotic locale, it will borrow elements of the original plot, wherein a bullied youth learns to stand up for himself with the help of an eccentric mentor. Should be an interesting film as Jaden Smith, (who next stars in The Day the Earth Stood Still) practices martial arts as a hobby.
Speaking of Will Smith news, word from our sources say that actor producer Tyrese Gibson is about to team up with Smith for an upcoming project with Overbrook Entertainment. Despite Tyrese's name being tossed around several projects mentioned with his friend and mentor, Director John Singleton, especially for the film The A-Team the film that Singleton just bowed out of, Tyrese's star is still on the climb. The singer/actor has nailed some projects down that is sure to catapult him to super stardom, films such as Transformers 2; Revenge Of The Fallen, and Marvel Comics new Black super hero Luke Cage. Now Tyrese can add Smith's production company to his list of upcoming projects, and most assuredly the film will get done. With his long standing friendship with Smith, it looks like they have finally found a project that they can work on together. No word yet on the film but check back here soon for details.
We are sure you heard this news, but we are going to report it anyway; it was announced that talk show queen Oprah Winfrey will lend her voice as the mother of the princess in hand-drawn animated cartoon-not the new CGI stuff- in the new The Princess and the Frog, set in New Orleans. The film also lends the voices of veteran actors Keith David, John Goodman, Jenifer Lewis and Anika Noni Rose (of Dreamgirls fame) as the Princess.
Actress Ali Landry at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
Always looking to expand his empire it looks like actor/producer/rapper Ice Cube is looking to crack the TV series business. We hear that Cube is set to write and exec produce an hour long buddy cop comedy for NBC Entertainment. Cube was aggressively pursued to create an action comedy for the Peacock and is not attached to star in the project, but NBC execs are keeping their fingers crossed that the hip-hop star, actor and writer will make some appearances, perhaps even in the pilot. Also, there’s always the possibility he’ll lend his music skills to the show’s opening credits. Cube was still known mostly for his hip-hop career and his acting turns in movies such as Boyz N the Hood when he wrote the 1995 hit feature Friday. He also wrote the film’s two sequels, and wrote and directed The Player’s Club. More recently, he produced and starred in Are We There Yet? and its sequel, Are We Done Yet? and The Longshots. In TV, Cube exec produced Showtime’s TV version of the feature Barbershop, as well as FX’s Black. White. and MTV’s animated version of Friday. Cube also provided a voice on that show.
We are not sure if Tyler Perry is bowing down to the powers-that-be by this next move, but Perry has made a move of in Los Angeles. We hear Perry has formed 34th Street Films, an L.A.-based a production arm of his Atlanta-based Tyler Perry Studios that will focus on projects written and directed by outside talent. Matt Moore, former exec VP of production at Jinks/Cohen, will head the division; Poppy Hanks and Amber Rasberry will join him. The trio will work from a Los Angeles office and report to Perry's Headquarters in Atlanta. In July, Perry signed a three-year, first-look pact with Lionsgate Films, the studio that has released every Perry film. The deal requires Perry to deliver at least three films over the life of the contract. Lionsgate will retain a first-look position with 34th Street films as well.
After laying low for about two years, veteran actor/director Mario Van Peebles is back in the saddle and will next direct the action thriller titled Kerosene Cowboys for Svarog-Afterburner Films. We hear that actors Cam Gigandet, Shane West N'Sync member JC Chasez, and Rachael Leigh Cook are in negotiations to star in the film that is based on a novel by Randy Arrington. The story focuses on the hard-living, harder-fighting pilots of an elite US Navy attack squadron. Gigandet will star as a hot-shot pilot, West plays his one-time best friend-turned-nemesis, while Cook will play an investigative journalist and Gigandet's love interest. Chasez plays a pilot in the squadron. We hear that the filming has already begun and should wrap in the next week.
Mario Van Peebles
Rachael Leigh Cook
Actor Tyler James Williams at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
Get ready for one of the hottest action crime dramas to come along in years. We hear that actors Michael Ealy, Steve Harris, Jay Hernandez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Zoe Saldana and Johnathon Schaech have joined the ensemble cast of the crime drama titled Bone Deep. They join the previously announced Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Chris Brown and T.I. in the John Luessenhop-directed film. The story revolves around bank robbers who, after pulling off a daring heist, are dragged into one last job by a freshly paroled cohort. Luessenhop (of Lock Down fame) wrote the script with Gabriel Casseus, Avery Duff and Peter Allen.
Idris Elba Chris Brown
Believe it or not, they are reviving the Lethal Weapon franchise and it looks like they are bringing other talented actors along for the ride. As with actor comedian Chris Rock who joined the franchise, it looks like actor Columbus Short is reportedly in talks to join the fifth installment of the franchise. Short says he may be signing on to play the son of Danny Glover's character Captain Murtaugh. It was reported in August that screenwriter Shane Black and producer Joel Silver were working on Lethal Weapon 5, which will see Mel Gibson's character Riggs, on the verge of retirement when he pulls Murtaugh back into active duty for one final case.
Gary Oldman is back to his villainous ways as he will costar with Denzel Washington in the film titled Book of Eli, which is a post-apocalyptic action film to be directed by Allen and Albert Hughes. The film revolves around a lone warrior (Washington) who must fight to bring society the knowledge that could be the key to its redemption. Oldman has been set to portray the despot of a small makeshift town who's determined to take possession of the book Eli's guarding. Filming begins in February in New Mexico, with the pic set for a U.S. release on Jan. 15, 2010. Oldman most recently starred in The Dark Knight, as Commissioner Gordon.
Singer Ne-Yo at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
V, the 1980s miniseries about alien lizards visiting Earth, will invade
primetime once again. ABC is developing a new adaptation of the franchise — which spawned a second mini and TV spinoff — written by The 4400 co-creator/exec producer Scott Peters. Warner Bros. TV, which was behind the original, is once again producing the project, which was sold as a spec script. The original V served as an allegory for the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. Peters said he won’t duplicate that concept, except that the new V will still focus on what happens when the masses have blind faith in their leaders. In this case, the new V will center on Erica Evans, a Homeland Security agent with an aimless son who’s got problems. When the aliens arrive, her son gloms on to them — causing tension within the family. As in the original V, several storylines will unfold simultaneously. But even without the same storyline, the original V’s bones will remain: As in the ’80s version, the show will open with an enormous army of spaceships hovering over the world’s major cities. The visitors say they’ve come to help Earth, but their motives are nefarious (in the original, they wanted to steal the world’s water supply). That success spawned a sequel and a weekly series, which aired in the 1984-85 season.
L-R: Don Cheadle, Antoine Fuqua, Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke & Wesley Snipes News has just reached us that actor Don Cheadle has just wrapped up filming Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest with Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes. Also, as we are sure you know by now, Cheadle is stepping in to replace Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2, Marvel Studios' sequel to its summer blockbuster. In the movie, Howard played Jim Rhodes, Tony Stark/Iron Man's best friend and future armor-clad hero War Machine. In other news we also hear that Cheadle's Crescendo Productions has signed a two-year first-look deal with Overture Films, noting that the pact reunites him with the producers of Overture's Traitor, which stars Cheadle. Crescendo's projects include the documentary Darfur Now and a Miles Davis biopic that's in development. Next up for Cheadle; He will next be seen in DreamWorks' Hotel for Dogs with Erma Roberts and Kevin Dillon.
Comedians Ron G and Justin Hires behind the scenes at Chocolate Sundaes comedy show at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder.
Eric ManiĂŠr Photography by Allen Zaki
Python Messenger Bag
R&B Artist Sir Lance
A couple of years ago I was thinking about writing and publishing a comedy magazine but I was a little undecided, unsure about in what direction to take the magazine. There were some unforeseen circumstances that led me to think seriously about comedy, but I was unsure about how and if there was enough talent in the comedy genre to keep up a consistent pace of a magazine. Uncertain of that, I started to make weekly trips to the New York area, where I felt was the Mecca of comedy. And what a couple of trips they were. Anyway, this one particular weekend I found myself at Caroline’s in Times Square (after I decided that there were many comedians with talent and not enough exposure) watching a performance of Tony Roberts. For those of you who have never seen him, his energy is something to truly be seen. Now many people talk about energy on stage, but until you have seen Roberts perform, you have never really seen energy on stage before. In two words, after seeing his performance; unbelievably gifted. Don’t take my word for it, let’s fast forward to today, where Roberts has become a household name, which all started from ONE JOKE! That’s right, ONE JOKE. That’s the stuff true genius is made of. If you don’t know what we are talking about and you have been away at war in Iraq for the last three years then I am sure you don’t know what we are talking about so, here it is, the reference; the infamous H-A joke that Roberts stated during his performance at The Def Comedy Jam taping a couple of years ago during their re-launch. Roberts, like his usual self, witnessed a man sitting in the front row not laughing and lit into him, and now that man is on a high light reel for Def Comedy Jam for the rest of his life. Now Roberts has many jokes, so don’t be fooled. When he’s on stage many times his performance is at the spur of the moment, unplanned jokes, unlike many comedians in the game today who have their entire performance written well in advance. Roberts has made several appearances on many shows, several films are in the works, he has recorded his own CD, infamously titled My Grandma Got My Back. Plus he has a DVD of his performance about to drop and he is in the lab writing his very own comedy gospel play that will surely bring tears to your eyes titled These Are Not My Sandals, a reference to Jesus at the Last Supper. We don’t want to give too much away, read a portion of our interview here, and listen to the complete interview. It’s definitely one of the funniest we have ever conducted. Humor Mill: I have to ask you what makes you so funny? How did you turn out that way? Tony Roberts: Cause I’m hungry. I stay hungry, that’s what makes you funny. When you first start your career you stay hungry because you don’t have nothing to eat literally. Jokes are the only thing to get you food, you get funny fast. When you stay hungry, you stay thinking about the people. You stay different. you stay writing new jokes…A lot of people get a lot of movies under their belt and they get the TV shows, they stay away from the stage awhile and they get relaxed. And then they feel like
â€œWhen you are in front of a crowd and you are just hopping around stage, you laughing, and they are laughing, and you are laughing at yourself, anything can come out of your head. You feel that comfortable. You feel so at home, that you treat them like family..â€?
“okay, I’m at the top, or I’m near the top and let me ‘lax’ up now, I’m somebody. People know me everywhere I go, and I’m still hungry, I still put in all my energy like I’m a new jack. HM: I got to ask you, did you come up with the joke (off the top of your head) on Def Comedy Jam, the “H-A” joke? It just set you apart from a whole lot of other cats… TR: You know what? The thing about that is I never did that before! It just…I knew I was on television, I’m thinking, ‘I’m funny’, and I just saw one guy in the front row and I think God put him there to test my talent or something. He put him in the front row, he wasn’t smiling, and I told him to laugh and spell it…I don’t know where that came from dude, but I’m telling you some things happen on a spur of the moment, and I can’t tell you where that came from. I just know I felt good when I said it, so I just stayed with it for a little while. You will notice in my set I went right back to it. HM: Oh I noticed, I mean you are known for it…That’s the one joke that people remember. All you got to do is say “H-A, H-A” and everybody knows… TR: Everybody knows, but its so hard to make it a T-Shirt! I tried it. I drew it up in all different sizes, and all types of different ways and everything and it kept saying “HA HA”. (Laughs!) Then, the thing about it, I tried to put the clip of me from Def Comedy Jam and spelling out the word “H-A” , and you know what? It was a moment where you either have to be there or you gotta know me from Def Comedy Jam to even catch that. HM: What I’ve noticed is that is when you are doing a set a lot of times and it seems that you come off the top a lot of the time with a lot of your jokes that you don’t even planit just comes. Is that how it always happens of what? TR: You know what? It only happens (and not just to me- to a lot of comics), when you are really enjoying your self, and enjoying the crowd, you feel so apart, like you are not even working. You are out there really just on recreational time, just enjoying yourself. It doesn’t even feel like a job. Sometimes when you go in concert and somebody puts a lot of pressure on you, and the crowd is not that easy, you are on the job. So you gotta go with all of your jokes that’s in your head and that you have been doing for the longest…When you are in front of a crowd and you are just hopping around stage, you laughing, and they are laughing, and you are laughing at yourself, anything can come out of your head. You feel that comfortable. You feel so at home, that you treat them (the audience) like family. And you are not afraid to say what’s on your mind. Lot of comics have a lot of stuff stored in them, when they are on stage, and they want to say it at that moment but they don’t because they don’t think it will work. But when you are having such a good time you will say anything, and throw anything on stage, and you don’t know where you are gonna go with it, but you feel that comfortable that you say “forget it let me say it”, and stuff just comes out. To Listen to this entire interview, click o this link http://humormill.podhoster.com/
“ Lots of comics have a lot of stuff stored in them, when they are on stage and they want to say it at that moment, but they don’t, because they don’t think it will work. But when you are having such a good time you will say anything, and throw anything on stage, and you don’t know where you are gonna go with it, but you feel that comfortable that you say ‘forget it let me say it’, and stuff just comes out. ”
Photographer: Patrick McKenzie
Porscha Coleman Singer, Actress, & Dancer a multi-talented up and coming true triple threat, has amazed audiences with her ability as a singer, dancer, and actor. She’s shared the spotlight with 50 Cent, Nelly, Gym Class Heroes, Three 6 Mafia, Tyga, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Jim Jones, Snoop, and more. Porscha was cast on Nick Cannon’s Wild “N” Out’s Season 4. Porscha also worked in Ice Cube’s new movie Janky Promoters and performed as a singer in 2008, with rap artist Tyga on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Actor Nate Parker at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
The city of Chicago has done it again; it has spawned another comedian that is going to make his mark in the industry, comedian Evan Lionel. We got a chance to talk to this comedian, who is normally known to keep his projects close to the vest, as he expresses to us his journey in the comedy game, from the days when he was starting out and getting tips from the late great Bernie Mac, to his first show in High School, to his first real comedy show where the lines were going down the street and around the corner. We discuss all of that in the following interview with Lionel, so here is a portion of the interview; Humor Mill: Coming out of Chicago, do you feel that there is a lot of pressure put on your shoulders as you are from Chicago- to being one of the finest comics in the industry? Evan Lionel: Not really. I’m one of the guys that’s actually one of the Kings coming out of Chicago. So it wasn’t pressure on me, because I was used to “carrying the torch”. Bernie Mac was my mentor and when he left Chicago the torch was passed to me to keep comedy going in Chicago, and blow the spots up and run comedy shows and the ‘whole nine”...So that’s what I did. HM: Okay, let’s go back to the beginning. What made Mr. Lionel jump into the comedy game? What made you decide that this was what you wanted to do? EL: Actually, I was doing comedy in High School. People would be crowding around my desk and I would be doing a little show for them in class until the teacher would break it up, and then after school they would wait to get on the bus that I was riding home on to get the comedy show on the way back home. More and more, the crowd got bigger and bigger from my bus to hearing me talk what went on through out the day, to hearing me do impressions of the teachers and the principle. SO that’s basically how I got started. To hear more of the interview, and hear about Lionel’s jump into films and meeting- and working with Robert DeNiro click here; http://humormill.podhoster.com/
Zack and Miri Make A Porno Directed By: Kevin Smith Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are two lifelong platonic friends who are flat broke and decide to make an adult film to solve their money problems. In the process, they realize they may have more chemistry than they thought. This movie was the funniest film I watched this year. I didn't plan on being disappointed, Kevin Smith's films (Clerks, Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob) are usually filled with sharp, sarcastic wit. When I saw Smith teamed up with Seth Rogen, I knew I was in for a rewarding movie-watching experience. This was a hysterical film designed for the enjoyment of comedy lovers...Mike Myers take notes, you got alot of work to do after The Love Guru. I give it 5 reels. Quantum of Solace Directed By Marc Forster I usually stay away from titles I cannot pronounce, but since it was James Bond, I gave it a whirl. Daniel Craig plays 007 this time as he engages in his usual mission of espionage. This time the mission is to stop the villian from taking over the water supply in London. It always takes me an hour to get into the film because there's always a consistent stream of action sequences and somewhere in the middle of the film the mission becomes clear. All of the James Bond movies are the same. The film always opens with a chase scene...followed by a shootout...followed by a meeting with the lady who give out spy missions...followed by a sexy scene with a bond girl...back to a shootout and action sequence. In fact, that's why they always rotate the Bond actors after 3 films...so 007 fans have a reason to check out the new bond. For now on all Bond movies should be called "Ain't The Same James". But it is still true to the Bond franchise, so all 007 fans will love it. I give it 4 reels. So many movies...So little time...other recommended movie picks 1. Role Model - Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott are hilarious in this film. Check it out. 2. Madagascar 2 - All-star cast Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith back in the jungle again. Fun for everyone 3. Milk - Sean Penn in a controversial role as a gay activist. Penn as always has great range as an actor and should be checked out. Until next time...check me out on myspace www.myspace.com/divapersona
Actress /Comedian Kym Whitley behind the scenes at the taping of Melanie Comarchoâ€™s DVD taping in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
The Humor Mill is pleased to introduce our newest segment called "Music Spotlight!" In our endeavor to bring nothing but the best, we were fortunate to speak with Mr. Eric Benét during his tedious tour schedule promoting his latest CD "Love & Life." The fist single released "You're the Only One," shot straight to number one on the Urban Adult Contemporary chart. It is not surprising that Benét has given another splendid rendition of sexy, chart topping grooves. Since his debut in 1996 with True to Myself, Benét has been just that, with his strong R&B roots and musical influences from many of the greats such as Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone and Al Green. I still recall the day a friend said "you love good R&B? You have to check out Eric Benét." Because we shared similar tastes in music, I went to the store and made my purchase the very same day. I remember tearing off the plastic and anticipating hearing Femininity in its entirety, after hearing only snippets of it earlier that day. With his 2008 release Love & Life, I can honestly say, the same feeling of enjoying being in love and loving the one your with rang clear after hearing the soulful tracks and vintage remnants influenced by Blue Magic, S.O.S. and Switch. Whether you're a longtime EB fan or just getting to hear Eric for the first time, you will no doubt enjoy the sultry mix from beginning to end. Benét shares the joy of going back to his roots in Milwaukee and playing with band members from his hometown. Look for Love & Life, from You're the Only One, The Hunger, to Chocolate Legs, there is certainly something there for everyone. We got a chance to interview Eric, and here is a portion of our interview; Humor Mill: .How are you today? Eric Benét: Eric Benét is doing great! HM: Congratulations for going straight to number 1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. How does that feel? EB: That feels very, very, good. I’m just really grateful to have that kind of reception, especially on a album like this where it was definitely the most creative control I’ve ever had on any project I’ve ever worked on… So that make it feel even better. HM: I notice this is a different tone than your last album (Hurricane album) 2005. It’s still sexy of course. But it seems to be a little more liveliness and high energy, would you say? EB: Yeah, Absolutely. I think when you listen to my music, I’m the kind of song writer that I will write based upon where I’m at in my life, you know. In Hurricane… I feel like it was a beautiful record. Some parts of it was slightly sad. And that was kind of how I was feeling at the time. You listen to this record Love & Life you can just feel, like you said, it feels fun. It feels like there’s this energy. It feels like it’s this optimizes. Seems of positivity. That’s kind of where I was and am, still.
Singer Eric Benét performing Live at The House Of Blues in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
“Going where people know you the best, and love you the most, and it was a very conductive environment (making the album)… To making something that was really strong.”
Singer Eric BenĂŠt with his daughter India backstage after his concert performance at The House Of Blues In Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
W E N
HM: You put a lot of time and effort in this particular project. I hear you went home to work with some of your old band members. How was that? EB: Yeah. That was great, it just felt like homecoming. Going where people know you the best, and love you the most, and it was a very conductive environment… To making something that was really strong. HM: I really enjoy this particular CD. You have some influences from vintage R&B. Definitely, The Stylistics, and The S.O.S Band. I could of swore I heard something in the lines of Switch. EB: I know you did! (laughs) HM: Who would you say was some of your influences? ER: So many of the artists you just said. Plus, I would listen to stuff like Steve Band along with Earth Wind & Fire, Switch with Debarge, but would also listen to The Beatles, The Eagles, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor… So I would like to think my interpretations of R&B is layered with other genres that you wouldn’t think of. HM: Can we talk about some to the songs on the CD? It’s titled The Hunger, and it’s very gritty, but a great track. What was your thoughts behind that song? EB: The Hunger is basically... We first came up with that groove… It just felt so insatiably’ kind of sexy. HM: Good word for it! EB: (Laughs) it seems, never… Never getting enough. It just kind of swirled around in my head. Kind of made me think about of my experiences (Laugh) with one particular person who I just never, never, got enough of. HM: What about Weekend Girl? EB: Weekend Girl, the vibe all over Weekend Girl is that I want to say mid to late 70’s fun when they really put horns in, and make a bigger deal out the arrangements. As opposed to today… where ,I mean, I’m not knocking today…(yeah, I kinda am) Today you have a producer who will make a dope groove. That groove will stay there. And somebody will sing a melody on top of it where back in the day, they made a big deal out of an arrangement. You get horns, you gonna have a bridge, but your also gonna have a break down sections. Weekend Girl was a just very retro R&B, a fun vibe. Hear the complete interview with Eric Benét here: http://humormill.podhoster.com/
To The Humor Mill: I read your responses to some of the other women and I loved your honesty. I need your honest opinion; I think my boyfriend is gay, but I am not sure. How do you find out if a black man is gay? I live in Atlanta and there are a lot of men on the “DL” and I don’t want that to happen to me. Signed, Not the Next Terry McMillan Atlanta, GA I do understand it can be difficult to tell at times if a man is gay. Especially with the “DL” factor. Well there are a few ways to approach this situation; you could try the finger test … More than one finger shows there’s been recent activity… Check around his home. If skittles aren’t the only rainbow in his house, if there are bite marks in his pillows and you didn’t put them there these may be clues of a “Down Low” Brother. Or check his family history, he may have been raised by women and is just extra feminine. My real advice: Just ask him… If this man is someone you’re considering spending the rest of your life with. You should become comfortable with coming to your partner with any & all concerns and he should love you enough to tell the truth. Or to break the ice you could ask him about his feelings on homosexuality that may open the door to a true discussion about his. To The Humor Mill: I have a younger brother who loves to ask me for advice about women but he uses his knowledge to be a playa instead of treating the women like the way they should be treated. Do you think I should stop giving him advice? Cherrelle Beacon Aliso Viejo, CA Yes, still give him advice! I’m sure my sister’s and I have helped my lil brother get plenty of good, good, over the years. That‘s the beauty of having older siblings, in the end if your brother wants to be on BS he will be. People take information and do what they want with it. You’re not responsible for his player-istic endeavors. As his sister I believe you should continue to give him sound advice and hopefully one day he’ll mature to use his powers for good. To The Humor Mill: My girlfriend and her man look happy together, and she brags about him all the time at the salon. She says soooo much about him about how faithful he is, one day it just got on my nerves. So one day I wanted to see if he was really that faithful, and we had sex. Now I want to throw it back in her face so bad when she brags about him, but I don’t want to lose the friendship, so what should I do? Taylor Martin Baltimore, MD Wow!! That’s Wild Style right there! Well first of all was the sex good? Because that will let me know if the friendship is worth saving … Second I would analyze my reasons for wanting to "throw it in her face“. If it's to save the friendship - then Honey, please just tell her because you don't sound like much of a friend to her anyway. I'm not trying to go hard. I hear you … she was getting on your nerves what else could you do, screw her man. But, the fact that you want to tell her in the shop just to embarrass her, isn’t very friendly. If you want to tell her, tell her. Go head, burst her bubble but don’t mask the bullsh*t with friendship. I think you’ve been deceitful enough.
Actor Michael Ealy at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
The following article is a chapter submission from book author Darrly Littleton from his upcoming book titled Now That Barack Is In Charge. The chapter submitted is titled Touchy, Touchy, Touchy.
Based on the overwhelming victory for Barack, the perception of American society has changed; causing blacks to re-evaluate the system that we have rightfully mistrusted since making its acquaintance. It’s going to be hard to get mad at ‘whitey’ when it’s ‘blackie’ who’s running things. The notion of “The Man” is no longer connected to a freckled face, combed over hair and the absence of an upper lip. So black complaining should be reserved to true dilemmas. Let’s not squander a good gripe on something we know has nothing to do with racism. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed pulling the race card as much as the next black man. You find yourself in a majority race environment and you’re not getting your way as quickly as you’d prefer – make the patented black face and look like you’re about to go off. Sales clerks and tellers know that look and the smart ones respond appropriately so nobody gets hurt. The others simply feel the wrath. Seriously, how long did we think we could get away with that one? I know we’ve got slavery and reparations in our bag of guilt, but the Indians got a helluva psychological bill to be paid by the land of the free too. And of course as more races experience the American dream, they’ll chalk up a list of grievances as well. This country can’t pay their financial debts. Do we really expect it to cover fairness costs? So like a bad relationship you’ve resigned yourself to continued participation, let all the old shit go. It’s the only way the relationship can thrive. Otherwise we’ll be complaining to less and less receptive ears. Trust me, white people are sick and tired of hearing it and now that Barack is in charge the old excuses are a far cry from solid. Thanks to this overachiever the perception is that we can all be successful. Currently that’s just not true. The vast majority of people are no smarter than they were when they broke that chad. However, we could make our overall success a reality, if we really want it. First off black people, please, no more excuses. I’ve grown weary of brothas making excuses for their failures. If it’s not the white man or the system, it’s the fact their fathers weren’t part of their upbringing. I always hear these guys saying, “I ain’t shit because my daddy wasn’t around. My daddy wasn’t around”. Well I just read an article where a father killed his whole family, so maybe you’re lucky you’re goddamn daddy wasn’t around. Barack’s daddy wasn’t around either so chill on that shit. We’ve got to pick and choose our battles carefully. There’s a lot of pigmentally challenged people that are mad about this election. As far I’m concerned they can stay mad, but we don’t need to throw a stack of Duraflames on the inferno. We can’t interpret all slights as an effrontery to our skin tone. Not everything is race based. Maybe the store really doesn’t have chocolate ice cream. Another thing – we no longer need to support something black just because it’s black. Let’s not allow ourselves to be so touchy about things when it appears the gates are widening. So to throw full support behind something less than representative of our goals is to battle for bullshit. For instance, Barack Obama is qualified to be president. A black man who was at the top of his class at Harvard Law School and served as its president isn’t too shabby. He’s got good judgment and a nimble mind. He deserved our support. O. J. Simpson did not; which is why it was withheld a second time. Let’s examine the O. J. phenomenon. In 1996 many of us questioned his true innocence, but we
never questioned that we wanted to see a black man, apparently any black man, beat the system that had for so long railroaded the average man of pigment with the speed of the Autobahn. So yes, I cheered when I heard the verdict of “free that nigga” and Orenthal Juicehead Simpson walked. Then I lamented that this luckiest of murder suspects couldn’t keep his goddamn mouth shut or his face out of a camera lens. He continued to date women of alabaster skin blatantly, tried to rip off his personal shit personally and ultimately caused his own demise and likely final incarceration due to his hubris as well as his make-you-wanna-whoop-his-ass stupidity. So I don’t expect any black person with an ounce of common sense to defend O. J. to white people or any other pigment. An imbecile is an imbecile and we should not ever condone that personage no matter who it is. As a people – time to raise our collective bar and shoot for dreams previously unimagined, including a leadership position in this society. I’m not talking about entertainment and athletics. We’ve dominated those fields since we were allowed to plow them. I’m referring to business, science and government. The next generation ought to read WIRED, FORTUNE and NEWSWEEK along with VIBE, SOURCE and THE HUMOR MILL. I’m aware that all this potential leveling is new territory for us black people. I don’t know of any brother or sister who trusts the government or its ilk. Ever hear an old black man say, “I remember the good old days?” Get real - we all tense up when the police are riding behind us. Hell my grandmamma starts trembling and she’s blind; can’t see ‘em, but she can sense ‘em. But for the moment let’s give King’s dream a cautious, conscious chance. For the moment, let’s pull back on complaining about the government we now spearhead. Now I don’t mean that literally. Keep in mind, Barack is the president – not you. You’re not president, VP or Secretary of State. You’re not even the mayor of your block. So don’t go confusing empowerment with actual power. By all means seek a larger role in the upgrading of your community, but you may want to chill on the citizen’s arrest; that is if you don’t want your patriotism to be met with a good shanking. You also don’t actually know Barack personally. I know, it seems like we all do; he’s such an affable and accessible guy. Comes right out of your TV at ya, but no – he’s not a personal friend. You can’t evoke his name and expect instant results. The White House switchboard is not going to allow you tie it up with frequent request to talk to “B.O.”. Get it – there will be no government intervention if you omit paying your parking tickets. The best we can do for our president, history and ourselves is check yourself before your strangle somebody. If they didn’t call you N***er then maybe you’re an asshole and not a black asshole. Besides, if they do call you N***er, instead of committing assault and possibly winding up behind bars with a newly acquired boyfriend, your retort can simply be, “You mean like the president?”
Talk about history!! Telma Hopkins has been on our televisions since Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie and Bosom Buddies. She has been singing since I was just a thought in my parents heads and has solidified her spot on some of the longest running sitcoms in television history. If there was a sassy neighbor, girlfriend or smart talking diva needed for a show, Ms. Hopkins filled the shoes. As a singer from Detroit that never thought her quirky, quick sense of humor qualified her for acting roles, Telma Hopkins and her family soon realized after that first paycheck that humor can keep the bills paid and that episodic television has been a blessing in allowing her to work as a single mom-soon to be sitcom super star! In our star spotlight, Telma Hopkins talks about her foray into television history with just the gift of laughter God gave her. Her ability to be welcomed in the homes of millions weekly bringing relief from the day to day struggles is her greatest accomplishment. Ms. Hopkins talks about her attempt at stand up comedy and why dramatic roles proved to be her biggest challenge while in the entertainment business and her new role that brings her back to her acting roots. Read to learn about a beautiful talented actress whose resume dates back to the days of aluminum foil covered hangers for antennas and how she has kept us laughing for so many heart warming years. We got a chance to catch up with Telma and we discussed her career from singing, to her television stint to her recent films. Plus we discovered she has a new play on tap! All of that and more! Here is a portion of the interview: Humor Mill: The Humor Mill is here with Ms. Telma Hopkins, the beautiful and wonderful actress who is probably best known for her roles in Half and Half and The Love Guru but that’s just our favorites. Ms. Hopkins how are you doing today? Telma Hopkins: I am doing wonderful, and you would be remiss not to mention Family Matters- its almost a law to watch it every day. It’s so funny, no matter where I go somebody has seen Family Matters that day. Humor Mill: When you got started in the entertainment industry was it something you thought it would be looking back at it now? Honestly, I never thought about the entertainment industry. I grew up in Detroit (which was all about singing) so that was really as far as my vision went initially. I always had a rather bent sense of humor that used to erk people a lot, but I never thought I would actually be able to make money using that part of my personality and that I found out- once I became a member of Tony Orlando and Dawn and when we got the TV Show – and all of a sudden by bent sense of humor worked. HM: Did you ever try you hand at stand- up comedy? TH: Oooooo, I tried it once… For more of the complete interview please click here to listen: http://humormill.podhoster.com/
Comedian David Arnold behind the scenes at the Chocolate Sundaes Comedy Show at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
I am about to bust!!! No not because I am two sizes bigger after my mom's thanksgiving pork roast and ham (really? did she need to bake both?), but because I have so much inside me to be thankful about, joke about and just feel happy about. First the holidays are coming and that is always a reason to see the important things in life. The reason I am happy is 2009 is the beginning. The beginning of alot of change for more reasons then one. This last election was a pivotal moment in our history and is the sole reason why I think I lost all my white friends. Not because they were not Obama supporters but because I turned into SuperNegro at an election party when it went to Obama. I yelled and screamed, called everyone the Nword, put up fake Obama gang signs and demanded Patron and fried chicken. I was so happy when Obama finally put Mcain in his right place, at the bingo table instead of the Oval Office that I acted a fool, offended everyone at an all white election party and conducted myself like I forgot we were in a recession and did not need white friends. In a recession, in case one is jobless, hungry and broke, a caucasion confidant is a requirement. I was just so happy over what just happened. We "all" became an Obamanation. Obamanation took over the country. I went home to spend Thanksgiving with my family and noticed all of New York had changed. New Yorkers had abandoned their uniform of all black, everyone was wearing pastels, skipping through the streets, kissing and hugging, hot dogs were free, subways were not charging for rides, cabs stopped for me and cab drivers got out and opened the door for me, my college sweetheart called me and told me I was the one he wanted and that he wanted get married, my family got along and I found a hundred dollar bill in the street Thanksgiving night. In other words, Obamanation is a sign that a black man is in charge but nothing has really changed. I am probably diabetic now and have high blood pressure after eating an entire swine,for thanksgiving (did I mention I will need therapy now because my mom did not make a turkey?) Obama's election into office has not changed the disposition of New Yorkers, I will need to write a formal apology to my white friends for my behavior, and I did get laid off from my job, but yet I still want to celebrate. So you may ask then what the hell do I have to be happy about? Well. I am happy about the possibilities. This color change in a house that used to only have blacks dust and do laundry now have a black man at the helm. Although I am sure the White House staff will be handing Michelle Obama a broom for the first two weeks before they realize she is the President's wife and not just a maid that loves to wear J.Crew. This issue of the Humor Mill feels like a launch into a world of endless possibilities. I am lucky enough to write for a magazine that celebrates progress in entertainment, showing news about people that look like me and exposes all of us to what it means to laugh and celebrate and look to the fun part of life. Our new president is giving comedians alot of material. Material that will be exhausted for about the next 8 years. I ask that we as a nation be patient and allow this obnoxious behavior. I also ask that we do not lose our minds in thinking that any of our jobs are done. Life has changed and is harder for millions as joblessness is spreading faster then crabs did when I was in high-school (personal genitals not included). Everything is the same and everything has changed. This holiday season brings joy and heartache for so many but yet I am excited about it all. I am hopeful about this administration doing so much. I know this economic virus will be cured, I know Obama will do his best and I know those that are suffering right now will come out ahead and prosper. I am happy about finding my own Obama in 09, I am going to act as if I don't really want an Iphone this holiday season and I am going to work to be a better person, friend, worker, daughter, comedian and sexy ass woman. So happy in a nutshell, happy Obamagivingxmasnewyear!!!!! Don't waste any time in 09!!!!
Actress Jill Marie Jones at the Red Carpet Premiere of The Secret Life Of Bees in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
Lamont Ferrell is one of four writers fired from the House of Payne TV show on Monday September 29, 2008. Lamont, who's been a TV writer/producer for over a decade, on shows like The Parenthood, Moesha, and Girlfriends, sat down to explain why he thinks he was fired, and what he, the other three fired House of Payne writers and The Writers Guild of America, are doing about it.
Q. How did you come to work at The House of Payne?
A. I ran into Ruben Cannon, Tyler's second-in-command, at a social event and he told me that they were looking for writers at The House of Payne. So, I had my agent submit a couple of my scripts to him. They liked the scripts and then offered me a job on the show.
Q. What was your first impression of the writing process on the show?
A. It was a lot different than any show I ever worked on because the room was split. I was one of four writers that worked in Los Angeles and we had an all day conference call with three writers in Atlanta. We broke stories, created characters, and wrote outlines all without being able to physically see or hardly hear the other writers. It was challenging. Also, Tyler Perry Studios worked on a different time schedule than any other show on TV. Traditionally a show would do a little over twenty shows in a year while we were doing a hundred. Which means, that instead of one show a week, we were doing three shows a week. We were always under the gun.
Q. Walk me through how a script goes from a story idea to a finished script.
A. Typically, you come up with a story idea and ones you like are put on a board. Then the ideas are matched up as far as A & B stories for an episode. Then we write an outline and send it to the network for approval and they sing off on it or not. Once the outline is approved the writer goes off and writes it and then turns it in. The script is then punched up and then table read. It may be punched up some more if necessary before it is shot. At Tyler Perry Studios, because so many scripts were shot at one time, that process didn't happen. We would get a brief idea in an area that Tyler might want and then we would outline and write the story. But there was no studio, Tyler Perry was the studio and a lot of time he wouldn't see or hear the script until we got to the table read. It made it difficult because if he had notes or changes it had to be done quickly. The actors would have to read the script in the morning and by afternoon we were shooting.
Q: When did you meet Tyler Perry?
A: I met him at a movie screening for one of his movies in LA. The head writer of House of Payne, Kellie Griffin introduced me to him. He was cool and over the two years I worked for him we developed a studio head/writer relationship. I can say we used to laugh and joke about things some times.
Q: Did he ever make a statement about how he felt about writers?
A: Yes, he said that he's a writer and he loved writers. He said that he had a respect for writers.
Q: Did he ever say anything specifically about Black writers?
A: No, Tyler didn't but Ruben Cannon did. Ruben said "How many Black writers do you know working in Hollywood?? So you should feel appreciative of the opportunity that Tyler is given you," Basically, he was saying we didn't have anywhere else to go if we wanted to get paid to write. It was said that Tyler was using the Black card against Black writers.
Q: What does it mean when a show is covered by a WGA Union Contract?
A: It means that writers are guaranteed certain wage minimums, weeks of works, health benefits, residual incomes, script fees, and a pension while working on a show.
Q: How many writers on The House of Payne were members of the Writer's Guild? A: There were seven writers on staff and four were in the guild.
Q: Was there talk amongst the writers about the show being under a guild contract?
A: We took the job knowing that the show wasn't under a guild contract. But we did feel that the show should be a union show because ninety-five percent of the people who worked for Tyler Perry Studios were in a union. Only the writers weren't in a union. As the show became more and more successful we felt that we needed to be treated fairly as everyone else who worked for Tyler.
Q: As far as union wages, without going into specifics, what was the comparison between what you made and what you would have gotten had the show been under a union contract? A: We were making a fourth of what we would have been making on a show operating under a Writer's Guild contract.
Q: Over the course of the first one hundred episodes, how serious did the union talks get?
A: Actually, not at all. We shot all one hundred episodes and the series was over. Then the show got picked up for another twenty six episodes and Tyler Perry Studios brought us back and told us that they were in negotiations with the guild for a contract. We never learned what those negotiations were because we were told that they were private.
Q: So that deal would cover all twenty six episodes if and when it was reached between Tyler Perry Studios and the guild?
A: We had started writing the episodes when we heard from Tyler that if a deal was done it would be retroactive.
Q: How long did these talks go on before you received an answer about the negotiations?
A: The talks went on for several months and we had several meetings with the studio and they said they were still negotiating. We felt like they were stalling. Then Tyler finally said that he talked to his lawyer and he decided that he wasn't going to go with the guild contract because it would cost him too much money. He said that some other profit sharing deal could be worked out but he would get back to us with the details. He never did.
Q: Tyler Perry made how much money on the House of Payne?
A: Initially he got two hundred million dollars for the House of Payne for one hundred episodes from TBS. Then he sold the show into syndication with Fox and got another one hundred million, so that's three hundred million dollars total for the show not including anything he made on DVDs or anything else. He also sold ten episodes of Meet the Browns, another TV show that we wrote, to TBS as well.
Q: So you wrote for another Tyler Perry series as well? A: It was all thrown in together
Q: Why would guild writers knowingly accept a quarter of the guild standard wage to write for a show?
A: Unfortunately for writers of color there is a lack of opportunities to write in Hollywood. Because of the writer's strike, reality shows, and other things, if I wanted to write for a living this was my best option.
Q: Why do you think Tyler was so resistant to letting the show be covered by a WGA contract?
A: I think because he doesn't have to and because he has a Hollywood outsider mentality, having built business by producing his plays himself. He wants to continue doing things his way. It's also about greed and power too. If he wasn't going to let us be in the union, he shouldn't have anybody working for him be in a union. He's in the Screen Actor's Guild and the Director's Guild but he's not in the Writer's Guild so I guess he feels that his writers shouldn't be either.
Q: What happened on September Twenty ninth, Two Thousand and Eight?
A: I got a message on my cell phone from Kellie Griffin, the head writer, who said to give her a call, she had something important to tell me. I called her and she said that I, along with her, Chris Moore, and Terry Brown, the other LA based, WGA members of the writing staff had been fired. She told me the powers-that-be said it wasn't personal but that they wanted to take the show in a different creative direction.
Q: What was your reaction?
A: I was shocked and flabbergasted. I couldn't believe it. Only a week and a-half before, we had a table reading in Atlanta where we got a standing ovation for a script. Tyler said he loved the new scripts we wrote, he said they were "Golden". The show is the highest rated show on TBS and I have my doubts about why they said we were fired.
Q: Why do you think you were fired?
A: I felt like we were fired because Tyler Perry found out that we were in talks with the Writers Guild of America about getting fair wages and health benefits, which we were working without.
Q: How did you feel when you were fired?
A: First, I got fired on my son's birthday so that was bad. But, it was like getting hit in the head by a bat. For one thing we are in a recession in this country. It was difficult to maintain our lifestyle anyway. I have bills, mortgages, my son is in private school, my wife only works part time. I knew right away without finding some other employment it would be impossible to survive. It was unfair, he fired four writers all of whom were in the guild. That's why I think he fired us because we wanted to unionize the show.
Q: After you were fired what did the WGA do?
A: They informed us that Tyler had broken anti-union laws by firing workers who were trying to unionize. They contacted Tyler Perry and informed him that he was in violation of the law but if he reinstated all four writers under a union contract or gave us a fair severance package, then they wouldn't take action against him. Because taxes were never taken out of our checks, we weren't even eligible for unemployment payments. Tyler's response was he wasn't giving us "shit" and that he doesn't respond to threats. He said if we wanted a fight, to bring it on.
Q: What exactly had the writers done with the guild?
A: Nothing really we had a few phone conversations and one meeting with the guild to discuss why we should go union. They also told us how much money we were losing not being covered by a guild contract. We had lost between two hundred and fifty and five hundred thousand dollars a-piece. Tyler Perry pocketed all that money.
Q: What have the writers and WGA done since the firings?
A: Tyler said to bring it on and that's what we did. He had a grand opening party for his new state of the art, thirty five acre, two hundred thousand square foot studio and we decided that we would fly to Atlanta and picket to let him know that even though he does a lot of good and even though he's admired for going from homelessness to creating a half billion empire, we weren't going to take our firing laying down. He told us that firing us was just business, well we showed him that us picketing his party was just business to.
Q: You then picketed something else didn't you?
A: The next day Tyler had a gospel brunch at his house for the people who went to the party. We stood near his house on public property and picketed while all the vans, shuttle buses, and limos went through the gate and up the long private road to his house. The crazy thing is, he spent probably one to two million dollars on the weekend and that could have paid our benefits ten times over.
Q: Since the firings, who are some of the people you have received support from?
A: We received a lot of support from the public at first. People came by where we were picketing and gave us cash and water. Some private citizens even joined the picket line. We have received the total support of the Writer's Guild, show runners such as Tina Fey (30 Rock), Greg Garcia (My Name is Earl) have chimed in and said that they are behind us. Spike Lee sent an open letter to Tyler through the media asking him to do the right thing.
Q: So what's next for the LA Four?
A: We are going to continue bringing the fight to Tyler Perry and continue to let the public know through radio, television, and the Internet that he exploits writers. The national news is on the story, I've heard from BET, The New York Times, and Black Enterprise. Tyler Perry is an icon in the Black community, he's a media mogul but he's built part of his empire on our writing. Out of the one hundred twenty episodes of The House of Payne, he's written exactly none. We want what's fair for us, Tyler will realize the Writer's Guild won't give up and neither will we.
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Oooohhhhhhh my GOD!!!!! This is so real. It felt like I was dreaming last night, but when I woke up this morning and saw that Barack Obama was STILL President (with no drama, no scandal and no chance in hell that they could steal it away from him)- my dream became my reality!!! The world as we know it is forever changed. [That’s what I said on November 5th.] Never before has a presidential candidate moved the world in such a manner as this. Never before has the United States of America actually united under one common vision; President-elect Barack Obama has done just that. Obama is the first Global President. Countries all over the world rejoiced with us on that historic November 4 night; places like Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Greece, Israel, France, India and Senegal – to name a few. Obama has inspired this country to go outside of its comfort zone in efforts to bring about the change so desperately needed; change that would unite all social economic classes, ethnic groups, communities, genders and ages; change that our ancestors only dreamed about - but now that dream has indeed become an unadulterated truth. When I first heard of Barack Obama, I was unfamiliar yet intrigued to learn more about him. After hearing him speak at a rally on a makeshift platform on the grounds of Dorsey High School in 2007, I knew that Obama was not only what I needed but also what my country needed. But how would a country founded on slavery, where blacks were considered three-fifths of a person, and only earned the mere right to vote within the last 50 years, elect its first black president? Just like millions of others, I have never been involved in a political campaign. Nonetheless, Obama provoked me to contribute towards the daunting task ahead; from registering voters, rallying, phone banking, and just getting the word out; I knew that my efforts matched with others nationwide would be the difference to get Obama elected. There were many days I was tired and felt like staying at home but knew that Obama was working hard nonstop, so I had to do the same. Throughout my campaigning journey I was privileged to meet some amazing people - that largely resembled the world. It was remarkable to experience first hand those affected by Obama. It allowed me to deem that not all non-blacks were against black people, a misconception widely accepted in the black community. It also opened my eyes to see that this country was undeniably ready for change. However (true story), there was one person I encountered that wasn’t an Obama fan to say the least. While speaking to a North Carolina woman, she expressed boldly, “We ain’t voting for that damn nigger!” I was stunned and in disbelief that those people still existed. Her ignorance just added more fuel to my mission for Obama. I believed so much in the Obama campaign that I even bought my ticket to the inauguration in early October! Even though the road ahead will be extremely difficult for Obama, I am confident that he will succeed with flying colors merely by the efforts demonstrated during his campaign. Needless to say, I am excited about things to come in the next eight years with Mr. Obama as my president! I have a renewed hope and faith in this country. I can honestly say I am proud to be an American; a land where equal opportunity and democracy are alive and well, ummm maybe not "well" but getting better, finally! This is Zsanae' Davis and I approve this message.
Hip Hop & R&B Singer T-Pain on the Red Carpet of The Interscope After Party fat the American Music Awards in Hollywood. Photo: Frank Holder
I was asked to write an article about Michelle Obama. The funny side of me immediately went into full gear stirring up jokes. For example, why did she wear that now infamous black and red “Star Trek-looking” dress to her husband Barack Obama’s acceptance speech? Black women got hips, honey and anything going horizontal is going to accentuate that. Why is she letting a hair stylist from Frederic Fekkai’s hair salon do her hair? Everybody knows with naps like that you need Shaniqua from the “hood” to press those edges. Why does her brother make a better looking woman than her? Okay, I don’t have all the answers but I do have a soft spot in my heart for our next First Lady! Michelle represents the person most women strive to be. She's articulate, confident, independent, and one classy woman. In many ways, Michelle is the perfect package. She can hold her own in the business sector, a protective mother, and loving wife. For us who believed true love was a thing of the past we are reminded that love still exist. Letting our man shine does not make us weak, but a reflective of a healthy self-esteem. She could’ve been selfish and refused to share her husband with the world and with one “No” our hopes and dreams of a black president would’ve been shattered. Colin Powell’s wife refused to give her husband the go ahead to pursue the presidential cadency. Life under a microscope isn’t easy and for a black man aspiring to be president it could be fatal. So Michelle Obama we salute you. We salute you for your display of powerfulness with a touch of humility. We salute you for showing us that beauty comes in all shades. We salute you for raising daughters to respect themselves and well as others. We salute you for being a supportive wife but not losing a sense of self. We salute you for being YOU! Nacole Williams the Comedian. Standing up for the Ladies!
Comedian Donnivin Jordan Model - Crystal Jonelle Wardrobe: Monique Scott Hair & Make-Up: Crystal Jonelle All Photos: Photographer Allen Zaki
If you recognize his face, then you already know who Donnivin Jordan already is. Yep, that’s him, the frequent man on BET’s Hell Date, and stand-up comedian. Born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, this young comedian is already building up a serious following in the comedy community, and on television. Jordan’s quick wit has gotten him on many stages in and around the Los Angeles area, and he has taken his talents to put him in the right place at the right time.
After a brief stint in the military, and realizing that his career needed to be in comedy, Jordan has been taking no prisoners with a list of performances already at The Improv in Los Angeles, The Laugh Factory, The Laff Stop and infamous Uptown Comedy CLub in Atlanta. Already rubbing elbows and gracing the stages with comedy greats such as Rickey Smiley, Bruce Bruce, Monique, Mike Epps, and Tony Rock just to name a few the future is certainly bright for this comedian who has gone from BETâ€™s Hell Date to a new television series and a new film on the horizon. Not bad for a young comedian from Mississippi.
This is the first thing I’ve written since the November 4th election. Actually, I’ve just kind of been taking it all in. I don’t know about you, but to me, it’s just starting to seem real. It’s kind of like… well, in truth, there’s nothing I can readily pull-up from my “mental hard drive” that compares to what President-Elect Barack Obama did-what we did-and what, I must say, America did-to change the course of history. Please don’t get me twisted. I’m in no way discounting or slighting what other Black heroes have done throughout our American sojourn. All that has happened on our behalf since the advent of the Civil Rights Movement (and even before) created an environment that was conducive to the Obama story. Many of us have been waiting on an opening like this. As an O.G. friend of mine put it, “If it was ever going to be on, it’s on now!” So tell me, what are we going to do with all this projected opportunitythis new synergy? For starters, whatever it is we do, we need to do it like never before. For those of us in show business, you already know. We need to step up our (individual but mostly) collective game. Everyone on the planet knows Barack Obama is the first Black (well, the only admittedly Black) person ever elected President of the United States. Winning the Democratic Presidential Nomination last summer forever changed the game. The message of hope that emanated from his victory resounded around the world with so much power that disenfranchised souls and their stifled imaginations were in effect, reborn. When the smoke cleared from the presidential primaries, the world, as we knew it, would already not ever be the same-whether he won the general election or not. Being sworn-in as the President and assuming the helm of the most powerful nation on earth will literally change the future. Prior to winning the presidential election and vacating his Illinois Senate seat, Obama was the only African American serving in the U.S. Senate. He was the sole senator of color (out of 100 senate seats), period. (His replacement may or may not be a minority). What I’d like to know is, in this, the decade of the 21st century, does Barack have to do everything? I mean, he’s provided stellar examples of courage, commitment, a winning attitude and a great work ethic for all of us to emulate. He’s supplied unlimited amounts of inspiration to billions of children and adults around the world. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Barack may’ve set the bar a tad too high for some of the rest of us. I mean, I’ve done pretty well for myself, I guess. Bills get paid. I stay fairly well motivated. I keep it movin’ at a pretty decent pace. But I don’t think I’ll ever become President. I’m just keepin’ it real. And I’m not alone. Most of you won’t
be moving into the White House any time soon either. But that’s all good, though. Am I right? Like the President-Elect himself has said on several occasions lately, “There can be only one president at a time.” So take heart. Don’t trip. There are a lot more important things that need accomplishing-not that I’m trying to put any undue pressure on anybody or anything like that. In the world of entertainment, we know we need to step up our collective game. Even before the election, it was as plain as inflation. Sure, there’s Will and Eddie and Denzel and Tyler and maybe a few others I can’t think of right now. In Showbiz, just like in professional sports, you’re always going to have superstars-your Kobes and your LeBrons, your Randy Mosses and your T.O.s and that’s a beautiful thing. They are showing us what is truly possible in America. Unfortunately, the superstar phenomenon and the big money they make aren’t putting any money in the rest of our pockets. That’s still on us. I know, I know. It sucks, right? Somehow it just doesn’t seem quite fair. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change anything. We still have to go and get it. We have to decide on somehow being special, on making a difference and then making it happen. We have to make our own opportunities, strategize our own master plans, build our own all-star teams and make our own money. So I put this question to all of us, when are we going to step-up our games and start breaking down barriers, touching lives and changing the course of history in our own little way? President-elect Obama, as great as he and his achievements are, he is just as human as the rest of us and we are potentially just as amazing as Barack. We need to apply his success, his tenacity, his intelligence and his calmness under fire to our own lives and win in this game called life. Like the man said, “What one man can do, another man can do. That goes for women, as well. Like I said, I’m not trying to apply too much pressure on anybody but a little pressure is good for us, right? As a tribute to our 44th President, let’s step it up like he did and let’s get it! -#Tony Spires is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker, event producer, personal manager, poet, musician, award-winning playwright, critically acclaimed director and co-writer of the 2007 NAACP Award nominated, “Ali: The Man, The Myth, The Peoples’ Champion and columnist for The Humor Mill Magazine. He is also co-founder of the newly formed youth arts organization Full Vision Arts Foundation. Known as The Comedy Doctor in comedy circles, he is perhaps best known as the founder of the nationally reputed Bay Area Black Comedy Competition & Festival and as writer/director/producer of the acclaimed feature film, “Tears Of A Clown” now available on DVD. Email Tony at: Visit his youth Arts Organization at: ComedyDoctor@BlackComedyCompetition.com. http://www.FullVisionArts.org.