The National Entertainment State The Digital Music Revolution
Artists: Tools of the Illuminati Celebrity marriages of convenience
Top five up and coming Christians in Hollywood
The Power 50
Black Actors in Love scenes: no need to apply Kate Winslet on her provocative and controversial roles
Forbes list of Celebrity Billionaires Age fabrication
HD video vs. 35mm film
Henson and Henson Publishing
Articles inside this issue 3 The Entertainment State - Where do Americans get their news and who controls what they consume? 5 Digital Music Revolution 8 Celebrity marriages of “convenience” and Artists: tools of the Illuminati? 9 HD video vs. 35mm Aspiring filmmakers are quite lucky compared to years ago. 12 Kate Winslet interview - defends her choice to appear nude in some of her movies. 13 Is this the end for Toni Braxton and Keri Lewis?
14 Black Actors in love scenes: no need to apply 18 Age fabrication, or more simply put, lying about one's age, is usually practiced with the intent to garner privileges or status that would not otherwise be available to the individual. 19 Amazon.com music download service 21 Five Up-andComing Hollywood Christians 22 Forbes list of Celebrity Billionaires 24 The Power 50: The Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America
25 Hearst Corporation: one of the nation’s largest diversified media companies 27 Robert L. Johnson and “The Billion Dollar BET” 33 Church Gone Wild… Inclusion, Homosexuality, Drugs, Adultery, Divorce, Abuse and Vanity in the Church? 35 Honey, They Shrunk My Value 36 The Ulmer Scale's Top 10 Lists 37 Celebrity marriages of “convenience” PT. 2
The Entertainment State
Illustration by Peter Ahlberg. Research: Emily Biuso, Sarah Goldstein.
Where do Americans get their news and who controls what they consume? Ten years ago, when The Nation first charted a map of the National Entertainment State, four colossal conglomerates spread across the media landscape. Today, that map has significantly changed, because of the rise of new media and a vigorous reform movement, but the old corporate giants still hold most of the cards. Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft are quickly rising, but are not included in this chart because they do not own--not yet, anyway--the major television networks, which remain Americans' #1 source of news. Ten years ago, just after the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nation published a special issue on the National Entertainment State. The issue featured a centerfold chart depicting the tentacles of four colossal conglomerates that were increasingly responsible for determining how Americans got their news--Time Warner, General Electric, Disney/Cap Cities and Westinghouse. And essays by Norman Lear, Walter Cronkite and Mark Crispin Miller, among others, looked ahead to a period of no-holds-barred consolidation green-lighted by the new legislation. Today, after a decade of strategic mergers, impulsive couplings and messy divorces--not to mention the birth of "new media" as well as a vigorous media reform movement--the landscape is considerably more complex, though it still bears the oversized footprints of a few giants. This is reflected not only in that appears in this issue but in the range of contributions to this year's forum.
The centerfold is an invitation to step back from the outrage of the moment--be it over Rush Limbaugh's addled ranting, Bill O'Reilly's spin or the White House press corps's inability to distinguish between journalism and stenography--and see the big picture in gruesome detail. It reminds us that while we might hate the rigid recitation of conservative talking points on Fox News programs and love the Internet frontier reached via MySpace.com, both Fox and MySpace are owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. It tells us that when we are wondering whether we should trust an NBC Nightly News report on the greening of nuclear power, it is important to keep in mind that NBC's owner, General Electric, has a more than passing interest in the development and operation of nuclear power plants. And the chart also reminds us that GE owns Universal Pictures and Universal Studios, making it a major player in the creation of the culture--the TV shows and movies--that goes so far to define what Americans think and do. It is the power that a handful of corporations continue to wield over the media we consume-even the new media of a supposedly liberating Internet--that ought to concern us as citizens. It is not enough to hope that the Internet will set us free. Yes, the World Wide Web is evolving in ways that few anticipated a decade ago, and yes, as the optimism of Markos Moulitsas ZĂşniga and the skepticism of Mark Crispin Miller illustrate, there are differing views among progressives of what that evolution is likely to mean. It is a good bet, however, that another forum participant, Rebecca MacKinnon, is right when she argues that new-media companies such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft will in relatively short order either displace some of the old-media companies on the chart or acquire or merge with them. (Those entities do not appear on this year's chart simply because they do not own major television networks--not yet, anyway--and the Internet has yet to surpass television as Americans' number-one source for news.) But the vast frontiers of new media 4
are being colonized by big players of old media, which just won round one in the fight over "net neutrality" with the House's passage of the COPE Act, legislation that would allow commercial sites to dominate the net. With the FCC preparing another attempt to strike down rules that guard against local media monopolies, we are entering a period of intense struggle over the fundamental questions for both old and new media: Who will own what, and will the rules regulating ownership be written to benefit the owners or the rest of us? The powerhouses of today's National Entertainment State stand ready to answer those questions as they always have, by using all their might to make sure that the new boss is the same as the old boss. But the past need not be prologue. As Robert W. McChesney, Jeffrey Chester and others explain in this issue, the media reform movement that has taken shape over the past decade can do far more than merely police the margins of this Big Media map. It can, and must, chart a course of activism that makes real the promise of new media, that confronts the problems of old media and that recognizes the necessity of creating genuine diversity of media ownership and communicative opportunity, anchored by civic rather than commercial values. If this movement realizes its potential, the next chart of the National Entertainment State will be a map of our media, not theirs. This article appeared in the July 3, 2006 edition of The Nation.
Cover design by Peter Ahlberg Photograph by Mic Burns
Digital Music Revolution by Paul D. Miller
Ten years ago, when we first focused national attention on the dangers of the US media cartel, the situation was already grim, although in retrospect it may seem better than it really was. In the spring of 1996 Fox News was only a conspiracy (which broke a few months later). CNN belonged to Turner Broadcasting, which hadn't yet been gobbled by Time Warner (although it would be just a few months later); Viacom had not yet bought CBS News (although it would in 1999, before they later parted ways); and, as the Telecommunications Act had been passed only months earlier, local radio had not yet largely disappeared from the United States (although it was obviously vanishing). One could still somewhat plausibly assert, as many did, that warnings of a major civic crisis were unfounded, overblown or premature, as there was little evidence of widespread corporate censorship, and so we were a long way from the sort of journalistic meltdown that The Nation had predicted. Paul D. Miller: The music industry lives in fear of downloadable media, but artists have the vision to re-engineer our collective psyche. Thus was the growing threat of media concentration treated much like global warming, which, back then, was also slighted as a "controversial" issue ("the experts" being allegedly at odds about it), and one whose consequences, at their worst, were surely centuries away-- a catastrophic blunder, as the past decade has made entirely clear to every sane American. Now, as the oceans rise and simmer
and the polar bears go under, only theocratic nuts keep quibbling with the inconvenient truth of global warming. And now, likewise, few journalists are quite so willing to defend the Fourth Estate, which under Bush & Co. has fallen to new depths. Although its history is far from glorious, the US press has never been as bad as it is now; and so we rarely hear, from any serious reporters, those blithe claims that all is well (or no worse than it ever was). Contrary to the counterclaims in 1996, there was, as The Nation noted then, copious hard evidence of corporate meddling with the news, and also, even more important, lots of subtler evidence of reportorial self-censorship throughout the media cartel. And yet what stood out as egregious back then seems pretty tame today, now that the press consistently tunes out or plays down the biggest news, while hyping trivialities, or, if it covers a disaster, does so only fleetingly and without "pointing fingers." (New Orleans is now forgotten.) The press that went hoarse over Monica Lewinsky's dress is largely silent on the Bush regime's subversion of the Constitution; its open violation of the laws here and abroad; its global use of torture; its vast surveillance program(s); its covert propaganda foreign and domestic; its flagrant cronyism; its suicidal military, economic and environmental policies; and its careful placement of the federal establishment into the hands of Christianist extremists. Whether it's such tawdry fare as Jeffrey Gannon's many overnights at Bush's house, or graver matters like the Patriot Act, or the persistent questions about 9/11, or the President's imperial "signing statements" or--most staggering of all--the ever-growing evidence of coast-to-coast election fraud by Bush & Co., the press has failed in its constitutional obligation to keep us well informed about the doings of our government. In short, our very lives and liberty are at unprecedented risk because our press has long since disappeared into "the media"--a mammoth antidemocratic oligopoly that is far more responsive to its owners, big shareholders and good buddies in the government than it is to the rest of us, the people of this country. Surely other factors too have helped wipe out the news: an institutional overreliance on official sources; the reportorial star system, with its corruptive salaries and honoraria, and all those opportunities to hobnob with important criminals; the propaganda drive against "the liberal media"; the stupefying influence of TV, which has dragged much of the print world into its too-speedy orbit; etc. The fundamental reason for the disappearance of the news, however, is the media cartel itself. Fixated on the bottom line, it cuts the costs of real reporting while overplaying cheap crapola; and in its endless drive for more, it is an ally of the very junta whose high crimes and misdemeanors it should be exposing to the rest of us. It is past time, therefore, to go beyond the charting and analysis of media ownership, to boycotts, strikes and protests of the media cartel itself. A new media era is here. The head of NBC says he is selling to sponsors "on the air, online and onthe-go." "Cross platform" is the term of the day. For progressives and independents, the old hurdles 6
of distribution--erected by the powerful media conglomerates--are giving way to new opportunities. We don't need a billion dollars to buy a network. We don't need hundreds of millions to take over this or that media entity. We have at our disposal a rapidly proliferating array of tools available at low cost to get our messages out--from the Internet to iPods to cell phones and whatever comes next.
Media Corporate Robert Greenwald: We don't need to buy a network to get our message out--just creatively use an array of low-cost tools from the Internet to iPods, cell phones and whatever comes next.
we have committed At ourselves to using the new distribution methods to reach untapped audiences. Wal-Mart spends more than $4 million a day on ads. Brave New Films spent relative pennies on our satirical ad promoting Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price; and it was a viral hit, becoming the number-two trailer on iFilm. We used our online expertise (developed in short order over the past four films) and our amazing 150 organizational partners (recruited by our in-house organizer in advance) to solicit and publicize screenings of the DVD in schools, churches, homes, union halls, pizza parlors--any place there was a TV set and a DVD player. We reached 700,000 people in one week with the Wal-Mart film. Likewise, through similar methods, our film Outfoxed hit number one on Amazon with zero money spent on traditional ads. Was it easy? No. Can progressives use this model and continue to reach our audience? Absolutely. Jim Gilliam of Brave New Films has developed a software program, available at BraveNew Theaters.com, that anyone can use to host a screening--a political or indie filmmaker, a politician wanting to show a film--anyone who wants to recruit participants for a screening. And it is free! We also need to put time, energy and resources into how we tell stories. The form, the length, the size of the image, will affect whether or not our stories are heard. We all need to begin experimenting and figuring out how to tell a story for the cell phone. One thing I know: It's not the same as telling a story for a full-length DVD or theatrical screening. With our next film, Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, we will use all the latest techniques to reach different audiences, to tell the story in film, in viral pieces, for iPods and for cell phones. It's a newmedia era, for sure. And those who are quickest, smartest and most creative--not those who have the most money or own the most media outlets--are the ones who are going to get their messages out. This article appeared in the July 3, 2006 edition of The Nation.
EXCLUSIVE: CELEBRITY MARRIAGES OF "CONVENIENCE"
Artists: tools of the Illuminati? by Nikitainthesection
There's always been speculation that some Hollywood couples are less likely lovers than they are well-matched business conglomerates. Well, finally those in-the-know are talking. In an exclusive expose', TNU delves into the secrets of many black Hollywood relationships, investigating "Which black Hollywood loves are real?" and then asking "What denotes "real" love to begin with?"
How artists are used by the Illuminati?
We've got the info that no one else has or is brave enough to reveal. Let's hope this one doesn't get us into trouble. "Tracy [Edmonds] is good friends with Benny [Medina], and Benny has been doing this for years. He's been the broker behind a lot of these alternative Hollywood love interests.â€? This is basically how it always has been done starting from the 1940's, 50 and 60's. Only then it was on instigation from the film studios and sometimes even written in the contracts. -continued on page 37
"Have you ever asked yourself why some artists have reached the Top and stayed there, although their music or acting is way under the average? How can someone who does not know anything about music become a famous rock star? And how come some people with lots of talent and ideas never stand a chance? Bad luck? Hardly. The "BIG" rock stars and actors are heavily used by the Illuminati. Some of them are programmed from the day they were born to become puppets for the Elite, and some of them are picked up later in life because they have "the right attitude" and can be worked with. Those young people are introduced into the Occult; into secret orders like the Freemasons, the OTO, the Rosicrucians, Scientology and others. Within those cults they are taught how to think and (re)act in order to enhance the Agenda.
HD FILMS HD VIDEO vs. 35mm FILM
Aspiring filmmakers are quite lucky compared to years ago. Today, you can make a movie in just about any format and still be taken seriously, assuming that you have a great story and reasonably good production values. As mentioned, The Blair Witch Project is one of the most successful independent features ever made, yet it was shot with a consumer video camera (non-digital). Prior to the digital revolution of the 1990s, things were a lot different. If the movie was shot on a format other than 35mm, it did not stand a chance of being distributed. 16mm was not taken seriously and video was a joke. These standards were so ingrained in the industry, that even actors were reluctant to work on non-35mm shoots. All that has changed now. Affordable, high-quality digital cameras have democratized the industry. Still, 35mm film is the standard by which all video formats are judged. Has video reached the same quality level as 35mm? Old school filmmakers say "no" because the image capturing ability of 35mm is a "gazillion" times greater than video. Is this really the case? Let's take a closer look. The truth may surprise you.
Note: the study below is based on classic HD with 1080 lines of horizontal resolution. In 2007, the first ultra HD camera was introduced featuring an amazing 4,520 lines. Keep that in mind while reading! Comparison There are two factors that can be compared: color and resolution. Most casual observers will agree that, assuming a quality TV monitor, HD color is truly superb. To avoid a longwinded mathematical argument, let's accept this at face value and focus on comparing resolution, which is the real spoiler. Resolution is the visible detail in an image. Since pixels are the smallest point of information in the digital world, it would seem that comparing pixel count is a good way to compare relative resolution. Film is analog so there are no real "pixels." However, based on converted measures, a 35mm frame has 3 to 12 million pixels, depending on the stock, lens, and shooting conditions. An HD frame has 2 million pixels, measured using 1920 x 1080 scan lines. With this difference, 35mm appears vastly superior to HD. This is the argument most film purists use. The truth is, pixels are not the way to compare resolution. The human eye cannot see individual pixels beyond a short distance. What we can see are lines. Consequently, manufacturers measure the sharpness of photographic images and components using a parameter called Modulation Transfer Function (MTF). This process uses lines (not pixels) as a basis for comparison. Notice the lines in this resolution chart:
Part of a Standard Resolution Chart
Since MTF is an industry standard, we will maintain this standard for comparing HD with 35mm film. In other words, we will make the comparison using lines rather than pixels. Scan lines are the way video images are compared, so it makes sense from this viewpoint, as well. HD Resolution As discussed previously, standard definition and high definition refer to the amount of scan lines in the video image. Standard definition is 525 horizontal lines for NTSC and 625 lines for PAL.
Technically, anything that breaks the PAL barrier of 625 lines could be called high definition. The most common HD resolutions are 720p and 1080i lines. 35mm Resolution There is an international study on this issue, called Image Resolution of 35mm Film in Theatrical Presentation. It was conducted by Hank Mahler (CBS, United States), Vittorio Baroncini (Fondazione Ugo Bordoni, Italy), and Mattieu Sintas (CST, France). In the study, MTF measurements were used to determine the typical resolution of theatrical release prints and answer prints in normal operation, utilizing existing state-of-the-art 35mm film, processing, printing, and projection. The prints were projected in six movie theaters in various countries, and a panel of experts made the assessments of the projected images using a well defined formula. The results are as follows: 35mm RESOLUTION Measurement
Answer Print MTF
Release Print MTF
Theater Highest Assessment
Theater Average Assessment
Conclusion As the study indicates, perceived differences between HD and 35mm film are quickly disappearing. Notice I use the word "perceived." This is important because we are not shooting a movie for laboratory study, but rather for audiences. At this point, the typical audience cannot see the difference between HD and 35mm. Even professionals have a hard time telling them apart. We go through this all the time at NYU ("Was this shot on film or video?"). Again, the study was based on standard HD with 1080 lines of horizontal resolution. We now have ultra HD with 4,520 lines. Based on this, the debate is moot. 16mm, 35mm, DV, and HD are all tools of the filmmaker. The question is not which format is best, but rather, which format is best for your project? The answer, of course, is based on a balance between aesthetic and budgetary considerations.
defends her choice to appear nude in some of her moviesâ€Ś Kate Winslet the British actress - who is married to 'Revolutionary Road' director Sam Mendes - has defended her choice to appear nude in some of her movies, insisting Sam doesn't mind her stripping off if it "enhances" the film. Kate Winslet says she is "not a porn star". The British actress - who is married to 'Revolutionary Road' director Sam Mendes - has defended her choice to appear nude in some of her movies, insisting Sam doesn't mind her stripping off if it "enhances" the film. She said: "Of course Sam doesn't get jealous. I'm not a porn star. I'm not walking out there and actually having sex with other people for my job. He doesn't get jealous at all, not in the slightest. It's really not a big deal. "I feel that any level of nudity in films that I have been a part of has been absolutely relevant and actually enhanced the story." Kate recently revealed she struggled with her nude scenes in new post-war drama 'The Reader'. She said: "It really took me to the brink in many ways. To bring my character Hanna Schmitz to life was an absolutely enormous challenge and a huge responsibility as well, because it's a much-loved piece of German literature. Many people have differing opinions of Hanna Schmitz - they love her, they loathe her."
Toni Braxton and Husband Separate… Was it That Kiss?
Toni Braxton and husband, Keri Lewis
Toni Braxton’s controversial kiss with Trey Songz
All we can say is whaaat? Essence.com is reporting that Grammy Award winner Toni Braxton and her husband, Keri Lewis, formerly of Mint Condition, have suddenly separated after eight years of marriage. The couple has two sons. We have no idea what prompted the split, but we do know that Ms. Braxton, 43, had tongues waggin' over the, tonguing that she and singer Trey Songz, 25, gave each other on stage in front the whole world including her husband at the taping of the recent Soul Train Awards. Toni Braxton and Trey Songz recently shared a controversial kiss at the Soul Train Awards that was taped on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
Toni Braxton, Keri Lewis and sons, Denim and Diezel in happier times.
Toni announced that she is getting a divorce from Mint condition’s Terri Lewis after 8 years of marriage. They have two sons together. Toni’s husband was in the audience on Tuesday night at the Soul Train Awards when the sensual kiss occurred. There weren’t any known issues with the couple prior to the kiss, but there is definitely something brewing now.
Black Actors in Love Scenes:
No Need to Apply
If you go to IMDB.com, the Internet Movie Data Base, you'll find a disturbing statistical blip. Of the roughly 350 films that have earned more than $100 million, about 50 of them have love scenes. You know the drill: Boy kisses girl, they sink together onto a bed, more kissing and touching, fade to black. From PG through R, from Bond through Basic Instinct, you'll find such scenes in about 15 percent of the most popular films ever made. And every single one features a white guy. If you scan the same list for American films with non-white leads (again, there are about 50), you'll find love scenes in zero percent. That's right, zero. No blacks. No Latinos. No Asians. Hollywood makes such films; you can find them further down on the list. But America won't watch them. About 15 years ago, I sat in a movie theater in Westwood, Calif., watching the trailer for the new Spike Lee movie Mo Better Blues. A slow, sensuous love scene began between Denzel Washington and a black woman. Instead of watching the screen, I turned around and examined the audience. All of the other moviegoers were white, and I saw something fascinating: All of the women in the theater leaned forward, toward the screen. All of the men pressed away, back in their seats as if utterly repulsed.
In the late 1970s, I saw a science-fiction movie called Damnation Alley. In it, George Peppard, Jan-Michael Vincent and Paul Winfield travel across an atomic wasteland in a nuclearpowered Winnebago. They approach the ruins of a shattered city, and out walks the last woman in the world. And she's white. I leaned across to my buddy and said, "They're going to kill Paul Winfield." Startled, he asked, "Why would you say that?” She’s the last woman in the world," I replied. "They're not going to pretend he's not interested, and they're not going to let him compete for her. All they can do is kill him.” My friend looked at me with pity. "You are too young to be so cynical," he said. Five minutes later, Winfield got eaten by giant cockroaches. I'm convinced that the problem is not just "Hollywood executives." They're no better or worse than the rest of us. They simply try to keep track of what the audience wants and rejects, as measured by box office receipts. And I don't believe there's something especially twisted or limited about the white majority. I think this little statistical blip has to do with human perception itself -- and most specifically, male territorial behavior. When confronted with this statistic, some people ask why I don't count movies such as Will Smith's delightful Hitch. Simple: There are no love scenes. Hugs and kisses don't make babies. I suspect that it's the depiction of specific reproductive behavior, even at a genteel When Harry Met Sally level, that triggers the most powerful negative response, especially in male alpha-warrior types. Whose antipathy, by the way, doesn't necessarily extend to the females of said out-group. After all, America loves watching Halle Berry or Lucy Liu get busy -as long as it's with Pierce Brosnan, Billy Bob Thornton or Josh Hartnett. You won't see
Denzel Washington or Jackie Chan dropping trou onscreen anytime soon. The only Latino to crack the coveted $100million mark, Antonio Banderas, did it in a family film, Spy Kids 2. Unless you're white, you aren't doing the nasty: Not with a black woman, not with Asian women, not with anyone -- unless you want your movie to bomb. Once upon a time, non-white males had a hard time surviving action movies. Now, they can survive and even succeed, as long as they stay clothed. Brad Pitt can have saucy love scenes with Angelina Jolie and still earn almost $200 million. But when they remake Shaft for a wide audience, poor "sex machine" Sam Jackson gets only one kiss in the entire film, upright and clothed. Of course, that's better than Morgan Freeman, who has had only one screen kiss in his entire career. But I suppose I should be grateful, should consider the black male's cinematic promotion from corpse to eunuch to represent progress. In the long run, some say, the passage of time, and the cultural and genetic intermingling of the American melting pot are more likely to cure these ills than any amount of activism or finger-pointing. It is difficult for us to change our basic natures, or the social programming established in childhood -- especially if one was born before the civil rights movements of the 1950s and '60s. I can live with that. In fact, my guess is that this issue will have resolved itself by the time, say, 75 percent of the white males born before 1950 have gone to that great multiplex in the sky. And personally? I think it's worth the wait. Steven Barnes is a science-fiction novelist, screenwriter and blogger based in Covina, Calif. His 20th novel, Great Sky Woman, is published by Random House/One World.
Films such as “The Reader” with Kate Winslet, “Short Bus”, and Monster’s Ball” are rejected by most black actresses. Halle Berry is half white! Does that give her an open mind? Most black actresses consider themselves artist but, refuse to accept the fact that art contains nudity in sculpture, paintings and film. It appears that black actresses are in the business for business…. For money and vain glory. Could that be why so few have won an Oscar? Can white actors and actresses that vote during the Oscar’s see through the fear of true art in the black actors and actresses? Black actors are seldom seen making love on screen, having babies, nude or having functional conversations. We are seen selling drugs, killing, arguing and clowning. It is ironic that when we see a love scene with a black woman, it is with a white man (Monster’s Ball, Soaps) or with another woman. (The Color Purple). Spike Lee is the only film director that attempted to change this image. Look at this list: Kate Winslet - The Reader Chloe Sevigny - Brown Bunny Tiffany Limos - Ken Park Rosario Dawson - Alexander Halle Berry - Monster's Ball Angelina Jolie - IN ANYTHING Eva Green - The Dreamers Asia Argento - Scarlet Diva Salyma Hayek - Frida Elizabeth Berkeley - Showgirls (I love this movie...It's Vercas) Diane Lane - Unfaithful Charlize Theron - I'm pretty sure she shows some skin in Devil Advocate...can't Katie Holmes - The Gift Selma Blair - Storytelling (great movie as well) Amanda Peete - she's been nude a few times but def in Whole Nine Yards Naomi Watts - Muholland Drive Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler Natalie Portman in "Hotel Chevalier" - The acclaimed actress gets cheeky when she drops her drawers for this short film that's a companion piece to "The Darjeeling Limited."
Christina Ricci in "Black Snake Moan" - Her skimpy top can't contain her talent in this Southern gothic potboiler, even if she is chained to a radiator. Sienna Miller in "Factory Girl" - Twenty-one minutes into the film about Andy Warhol's muse, Miller soaks naked in a tub. Roselyn Sanchez in "Yellow" -The actress' character just wants to be a Broadway dancer, but of course, must strip in order to get there. Malin Ackerman in "The Heartbreak Kid" - An acrobatic sex act opposite Ben Stiller allows this actress to show off more than just her flexibility. Eva Mendes in "We Own the Night" - Very early into the film, the starlet shows one reason why she deserves to be on this list. Yep, just one, but it's a compelling one. Lena Headey in "300" - Sure, the men got to show off their abs, but Headey shows she's no slouch in the skin department during a poetic love scene. Stormy Daniels and Nautica Thorne in "Knocked Up" -Lap dancers in Vegas give the main character and his pal an eyeful up close and personal. Alexa Davalos in "Feast of Love" - Selma Blair and Radha Mitchell also get naked, but it's Davalos' full frontal that makes her stand out. Chelan Simmons in "Good Luck Chuck" - Seven different women take off their tops for the camera, including the "Kyle XY" cutie. Wei Tang in "Lust, Caution" - This Ang Lee follow-up to "Brokeback Mountain" takes a while to build up, and then watch out. The Chinese starlet engages in lots and lots of sex to take down a political figure, and her dedication is on display fully from the front and back. Ashley Judd in "Bug" - Mental illness, gasoline and frontal and dorsal nudity. Olivia Wilde in "Alpha Dog" - Three other actresses show skin, including Amanda Seyfried ("Mean Girls") for a skinny-dipping adventure, but Wilde got the mention for her motel tryst. Ana Claudia Talancon in "Alone with Her" - A peeping Tom's use of high-tech spying gadgetry pays off many, many times, including once with a steamy shower. Danielle Harris in "Halloween" - More skin than the original. Heather Matarazzo in "Hostel: Part II" - If you like your nudity disturbing, bloody and hung upside down, this is the movie for you. Amber Valetta in "The Last Time" - This supermodel isn't wearing haute couture or doing runway. Lucy Liu in "Blood Hunter" - Nudity in a vampire flick? Bloody likely! Cameron Richardson and Samaire Armstrong take it off, but it's Liu's topless turn in a lesbian tussle with Carla Gugino.
â€œThe secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your ageâ€? Lucille Ball Age fabrication, or more simply put, lying about one's age, is usually practiced with the intent to garner privileges or status that would not otherwise be available to the individual. The phenomenon has achieved particular notoriety among actresses seeking to retain the marketability that comes with their association with youth. Age fabrication occurs when an individual deliberately misrepresents his or her true age. This is usually done with the intent to garner privileges or status that would not otherwise be available to the individual. It may be done through the use of oral or written statements or by falsifying official documents (such as altering the archives of vital records or doctoring (or even creating) a birth certificate). Although uncommon in modern Western society, it is still possible for an individual not to know his or her exact date of birth. Such an individual may arbitrarily choose a date of birth which after later research is found to be false. This situation should not be considered age fabrication, however, as there is no obvious intent to deceive on the part of the individual. Age fabrication was once common in the entertainment industry. For example, until the early 1950s in Hollywood it was extremely common for actresses to subtract at least one year from their actual age so that producers and casting directors would be more likely to hire them for roles. On some occasions, age is increased so as to make cutoffs for minimum legal or employable age in show business or professional sports. There are many stories of men lying about their age to join the armed forces, for example to fight in World War I. Sometimes it is not the people themselves who lower their public age, but others around them such as publicists, parents, and other handlers. Using original source material such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, the census, Social Security applications, identity documents and death certificates usually provides the correct date and year. Most cases involve taking or adding one or two years to their age. However, in more extreme cases such as with Al Lewis and Charo, a decade has been added or subtracted. Subtracting time from one's age is often known in English as "shaving", while adding time to one's age may be referred to as "padding". From Wikipedia accessed November 23, 2009
Amazon launched music download service Amazon.com Inc. launched its much-anticipated digital music store in 2007; a move analysts said represented the first hint of real competition for Apple Inc.'s market-leading iTunes. Amazon MP3, as the new section of the web retailer's site is called, currently stocks nearly 2.3 million songs, all without copy-protection technology. Shoppers can buy and download individual songs or entire albums. The tracks can be copied to multiple computers, burned onto CDs and played on most types of PCs and portable devices, including the iPod and Microsoft Corp.'s Zune. Songs cost 89 cents to 99 cents US each and albums sell for $5.99 to $9.99 US. 19
Major music labels Universal Music Group and EMI Music have signed on to sell their tracks on Amazon, as have thousands of independent labels. The company said several labels are selling their artists' music without copy protection for the first time on the Amazon store, including Alison Krauss on Rounder Records and Ani Difranco on Righteous Babe Records. Amazon's store competes with Apple's market-leading iTunes, which is also offering some songs without so-called digital rights management technology, which prevents unauthorized copies from playing. Although DRM helps stem illegal copying, it can frustrate consumers by limiting the type of device or number of computers on which they can listen to music. Copyprotected songs sold through iTunes generally won't play on devices other than the iPod, and iPods won't play DRMenabled songs bought at rival music stores. EMusic.com Inc., another popular download site, also sells tracks in the DRM-free MP3 format but, like Amazon's store, doesn't offer music from some major labels that still require anti-piracy locks. Digital watermark added Bill Carr, Amazon's vice-president for digital music, said it will be up to customers to use the music they buy legally. To help stop music piracy, Carr said some record labels add a digital watermark to MP3 files that indicate what company sold the song, and Amazon adds its own name and the item number of the song, for customer service purposes. He
added that no details about the buyer or the transaction are added to the downloaded music file. "By and large, most customers just want a great, legitimate way to buy the music they want," Carr said in an interview Tuesday morning. "What the vast majority of labels believe is that they will sell more music by giving customers what they want â€Ś by enabling DRM-free MP3, than by continuing to confuse customers or force them to choose methods that are not legal, because the legitimate alternatives are not good." Carr characterized the number of record labels that still insist on copy-protection technology as "a handful." 'Their catalogue is going to suffer' But David Card, an analyst at Jupiter Research, said in an interview that "having two out of four labels doesn't cut it." Warner Music Group Corp. and Sony BMG Music Entertainment, which is owned by Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG, have not agreed to sell music on Amazon MP3, and Card pointed out that Universal and EMI have made only parts of their catalogs available without copy protection. "Their catalogue is going to suffer for a while," he said, referring to Amazon. Card said Amazon's entrance into the market represents serious competition for Apple, which can no longer rely solely on the bond between the iPod and iTunes. But, Card said: "In and of itself, [Amazon MP3] isn't enough to change any market share. They have to do a good job at building their store."
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. King James Version
Five Up-and-Coming Hollywood Christians 1. Sherri Shepherd: A longtime fixture in stand-up comedy, Shepherd is finally getting national recognition with her new gig on "The View." 2. Tony Hale: Who knew Buster from "Arrested Development" was Christian? Well, he may not have been, but the actor who played him is. 3. Miley Cyrus: The star of her own wildly successful Disney Channel show, "Hannah Montana," and daughter of Billy Ray may seem like a well-established star, but any 15-year-old is an up-andcomer in our book. 4. Jim Caviezel: Jesus himself an up-and-comer? Though starring in "The Passion of the Christ" made him tops in many Christians' hearts, Hollywood is just waking up to his talents. 5. Zachary Levi: He was in the forgettable sitcom "Less Than Perfect" (interestingly, alongside fellow up-and comer Sherri Shepherd) and now stars in the new series "Chuck."
Forbes' listings including their Top 100 Celebrities for 2008, the 20 Richest Women in Entertainment for 2007 and the Celebrity Billionaires list for 2008. We discovered that, although Oprah comes in last on this list, she is head and shoulders above any other celebrity other than J.K. Rowling, who comes in at $1 billion current net worth for her work as the Harry Potter author. 1. Bill Gates: Bill Gates' story is well known, even among folks who don't use computers or Microsoft products. He began building computers in a garage, and went on to create an empire when he founded Microsoft with Paul Allen. Gates ushered in the era of the computer celebrity, and his wealth has earned him the "richest person in the world" title for fifteen consecutive years. Time magazine named Gates as one of the 100 people who most influenced the twentieth century, and Gates has gone on to become an influential philanthropist as well. Although Gates no longer holds the title of the wealthiest person in the world, his current net worth equals $58 billion. 2. Michael Bloomberg: Michael Bloomberg managed to get much richer during 2008. In March 2008, Bloomberg's net worth was listed as $11.5 billion by Forbes in their Celebrity Billionaires list. However, by September 2008, this man's net worth was listed as $20 billion and rising in Forbes' 400 Richest Americans list. At the same time, Bloomberg campaigned for an amendment to New York City's term limits law, allowing him to run for a third term in 2009. But, his wealth also provides room for his philanthropic efforts, including the donation of over $300 million to Johns Hopkins University, where he served as the chairman of the board from 1996 to 2002. 3. Steve Jobs: Jobs is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. and the former CEO of Pixar Animation Studios. Like Gates, Jobs is a computer celebrity, but his Apple career always remained a step or two behind the Microsoft strategy. Jobs currently faces a tax issue, where he accumulated a taxable income of $20,000,000 that he did not report in 2001. And, on July 1, 2008 a $7 billion class action suit was filed against several members of the Apple Board of Directors for revenue lost due to the alleged securities fraud. Finally, Apple shares continue to fluctuate with news about Jobs' health issues. He currently is worth $5.4 billion. 4. Giorgio Armani: This Italian fashion designer has been noted for his menswear designs. Today, his popularity is based upon his clean, tailored lines. He is an acclaimed celebrity, and celebrities love his clothing. Ironically, Armani enjoyed a jump in popularity when PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) pressured Armani to discontinue the use of animal fur in his designs in 2007. However, his 2008 lines included clothing with even more fur, including rabbit-fur coats for babies and children. Despite flaunting his designs in PETA's face, Armani enjoys an annual turnover of over $1 billion and his personal fortune is worth $5 billion. 5. Sir Richard Branson: This industrialist billionaire celebrity began his career at age 16 when he published a magazine called Student. In 1972, he started a chain of record stores named Virgin Records and the rest is history. Branson formed Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984, launched Virgin
Mobile in 1999, Virgin Blue in Australia in 2000 and Virgin Galactic in 2004. The latter business is designed to take the public into space if they desire a trip among the stars and can pay the price of a $200,000 ticket. Branson's flamboyant lifestyle and extravagant assets have earned his celebrity status and his wealth. is estimated at $4.4 billion. 6. Ralph Lauren: Born Ralph Rueben Lifshitz to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants, Lauren began his fashion career by selling ties to his classmates. His vision was to become a millionaire, and - to help his fate - his brother, Jerry, changed the surname to Lauren when the boys were teenagers. Lauren stumbled into fashion design when he began to design neckties for men with the "Polo" label. He purchased the name from his backer, Norman Hilton, and grew that name and his designs into a billion-dollar business. Lauren lives like a celebrity, including a piece of life that remains hidden from the press. His net worth for his efforts equals, currently, $4.2 billion. 7. George Lucas: Lucas is the celebrity who has created celebrities through his films such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Lucas originally was attracted to cars and motor racing, but a near-fatal accident just before high school graduation pushed him into a community college environment where he became enamored with film. Later, he would combine his love for cars and film into the Oscar nominated low-budget American Graffiti. In 200, Forbes estimated the lifetime revenue generated by the Star Wars franchise at nearly $20 billion. Lucas and his films have become so popular that he remains independent with an estimated worth of about $3.9 billion. 8. Steven Spielberg: Spielberg is one of the most powerful and influential figures in the motion picture industry. As a film director, screenwriter and producer, Spielberg has created a legacy that influenced Time to list him as one of the 100 Most Important People of the [20th] Century and Life named him the most influential person of his generation. His movies, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park all broke box office records. Unadjusted gross receipts for all Spielberg-directed films exceed $8.5 billion worldwide. Known as a celebrity among Hollywood celebrities, Spielberg currently is worth approximately $3 billion. 9. Donald Trump: Not content with his role as a business magnate and real-estate developer, Trump expanded his empire as he infiltrated society in his roles as a television personality and an author. Although economic downturns have affected Trump's fortunes in the past, he is not past using junk bonds to turn that fortune around. His business sense seems innate, and his popularity as a television personality on his show, The Apprentice. Additionally, Trump is a two-time Emmy-Award nominee for his roles in various films. Although serious about his empire, he seems to enjoy his role as the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. Why should he mind? His net worth currently equals $3 billion. 10. Oprah Winfrey: Born to a poor family in rural Mississippi, Oprah began her career as a coanchor for a local evening news program. Now, she's far and away the richest female celebrity in the world. Her television talk show, her magazine and business deals such as Harpo productions have shot her to the top. She also signed a deal for the Oprah Winfrey Network in partnership with Discovery Communications in January 2008, and that project is slated to debut this year. However, her $55 million deal with XM Satellite Radio may have seen better days. Despite these downturns, it is estimated that her net worth equals $2.5 billion. Who are the worlds Billionaires? They influence policy in the world and you should know them.
The Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America featured on OUT.com
The Power 50 23 Tom Ford Illustrations by Noma Bar
1. David Geffen 2. Anderson Cooper 3. Ellen DeGeneres 4. Tim Gill 5. Barney Frank 6. Rosie Oâ€™Donnell 7. The Gay Mafia: Richard Berke, Ben Brantley, Frank Bruni, Stuart Elliot, Adam Nagourney, Stefano Tonchi, and Eric Wilson 8. Marc Jacobs 9. Andrew Tobias 10. Brian Graden 11. Jann Wenner 12. Andrew Sullivan 13. Suze Orman 14. Joe Solmonese
15. Fred Hochberg 16. Christine Quinn 17. Perez Hilton 18. Scott Rudin 19. John Aravosis 20. Sheila Kuehl 21. James B. Stewart 22. Nick Denton 23. Tom Ford 24. Nate Berkus 25. Adam Moss 26. Jim Nelson 27. Lorri L. Jean 28. Adam Rose 29. Annie Leibovitz 30. Simon Halls and Stephen Huvane 31. Bryan Lourd 32. Bryan Singer
33. Jonathan Burnham 34. Brian Swardstrom 35. Robert Greenblatt 36. Chi Chi LaRue 37. Dan Mathews 38. Neil Meron and Craig Zadan 39. Ingrid Sischy 40. Marc Cherry 41. Carolyn Strauss 42. Irshad Manji 43. Jodie Foster 44. Christine Vachon 45. AndrĂŠ Leon Talley 46. Hilary Rosen 47. Matthew Marks 48. Benny Medina 49. Mitchell Gold 50. David Kuhn
Hearst Corporation is one of the nation's largest diversified media companies. Its major interests include magazine, newspaper and business publishing, cable networks, television and radio broadcasting, internet businesses, TV production and distribution, newspaper features distribution and real estate. HEARST CORPORATION THE OWNERS OF â€œOâ€? MAGAZINE is the Hearst Corporation. In total the own Cosmopolitan, Cosmo GIRL! ,Country Living, Country Living, Gardener, Esquire, Good Housekeeping Harper's BAZAAR, House Beautiful, Lifetime, Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Seventeen, Smart Money, Town & Country, Teen, and Veranda. Hearst Communications, Inc. is a privately-held American-based media conglomerate based in the Hearst Tower in New York City, USA. Founded by William Randolph Hearst as an owner of newspapers, the company's holdings now include a wide variety of media. The Hearst family is involved in the ownership and management of the company. Hearst is one of the largest diversified communications companies in the world. Its major interests include 15 daily and 49 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle and Albany Times Union; as well as interests in an additional 43 daily and 72 non-daily newspapers owned by MediaNews Group, which include the Denver Post and Salt Lake Tribune; nearly 200 magazines around the world, including Cosmopolitan and O, The Oprah Magazine; 28 television stations through Hearst Television Inc. which reach a combined 18% of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E Television Networks, and ESPN; as well as business publishing, Internet businesses, television production, newspaper features distribution and real estate. Oxygen Media Oprah is co-founder of Oxygen Media, a 24-hour cable television network for women (and the men who love them). Oxygen airs more original series and specials than any other women's network. Founded in 1998, the network is independently owned and is currently available in over 56 million cable households. Oxygen Media also owns and operates www.oxygen.com. Editor-in-Chief: Amy Gross Publisher: Jill Seelig In April 2000, Oprah and Hearst Magazines introduced O, The Oprah Magazine, a monthly magazine that has become one of today's leading women's lifestyle publications. It is credited as being the most successful magazine launch in recent history. In five years of publication, the magazine has a subscription base of more than 2.6 million. In April 2002, the magazine expanded to include the first international edition of O, The Oprah Magazine in South Africa.
In 2004, Oprah launched O at Home, a newsstand-only quarterly shelter magazine designed to help readers create a home that reflects their personal style. Harpo Films In 1990, she founded Harpo Films to work on projects based on contemporary and classic literature, such as 1998's Beloved, based on Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and co-starring Oprah and Danny Glover. Harpo has a long-term deal with ABC to produce the "Oprah Winfrey Presents" telefilms. Oprah.com Oprah.com is a premiere women's lifestyle website, offering advice on everything from the mind, body and spirit to food, home and relationships. It provides comprehensive resources related to The Oprah Winfrey Show and exclusive interactive content based on O, The Oprah Magazine. In addition, the website has unique original content, including Oprah's Book Club, which offers free indepth reading guides for each book selection, online discussion groups and Q&A sessions with literary experts. Oprah.com averages 64 million page views and more than three million users per month and receives approximately 12,000-15,000 emails each week. Harpo Productions, Inc. Harpo Productions, Inc. is the producer of the Oprah Show and Dr. Phil, a syndicated daytime talk show produced by Paramount Domestic Television. Dr. Phil, which had the highest-rated talk show launch since The Oprah Winfrey Show, consistently ranks second among all U.S. talk shows. The Oprah Show generates more than $300 million in annual revenues.
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Robert L. Johnson , the black billionaire, is ringside at a charity boxing match here, awash in a sea of white businessmen. A low-key deal maker, he prefers intimate dinners with the likes of Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein or John Malone. But tonight he has joined members of the South’s ultraelite for a quasi-frat party, a swaggering, testosterone-fueled evening featuring hundreds of tuxedo-clad honchos feted with steak and martinis and greeted by scantily-clad hostesses. Mr. Johnson takes to the slugfest as the night wears on, rolling his shoulders to dodge imaginary blows, as if he himself were up against the ropes. Which, perhaps, he is. Mr. Johnson, who founded and then sold the Black Entertainment Television network to Viacom for $3 billion in 2000, is working hard these days to appear as more than just an outsider in Charlotte, where he also happens to own the beleaguered local National Basketball Association franchise, the Bobcats. So far, though, that is pretty much how the locals view him. There may be many reasons why the label of outsider clings to Mr. Johnson, but one easy explanation is that he rarely gives the Bobcats hands-on treatment. As Mr. Johnson tries to recast himself as a mainstream business mogul, his calendar has become very crowded, thanks to a high-powered push to start and buy several companies. That spree has produced a sprawling portfolio of properties, including a hedge fund, a private equity firm, a chain of more than 100 high-end hotels, several commercial banks and savings institutions, a film company and several gambling ventures. And however loudly each of those businesses may clamor for his attention, however boisterously the communities they serve may want more face time with the boss, Mr. Johnson is in no rush to soothe their nerves. “I am not an operational executive anymore,” he says, impatience creeping into his voice. “I run a holding company, and my role is that of a rancher, running herd over a field of cattle. “It’s not just one ball in the air for me now, but lots of them,” he adds. “This is my second act.” As Mr. Johnson zips across the business landscape, trying to defy the aphorism that there are no second acts in American life, his handling of the Bobcats, which he bought in 2003 for $300 million, may provide a crucial litmus test. Mr. Johnson, the first African-American owner in a league populated by African-American stars, is intent on using his wealth and celebrity to break down economic and cultural walls that have historically marginalized black entrepreneurs, and to give
black executives corner offices in a broad range of industries. So he sees a successful run as the head of a professional sports franchise as an emblematic challenge. For all of that noble sense of purpose, though, Mr. Johnson is a famously flinty loner. His go-it-alone attitude has done little to soften his image among some here as a person simply looking to milk a Southern boomtown. That image, along with a reluctance to pour more money into the Bobcats, has not endeared him to local fans — helping to undermine his fledgling hoops franchise. The basketball legend Michael Jordan, who joined the Bobcats last summer as a minority partner and manager of operations, attributes Mr. Johnson’s strains to the rigors of the learning curve. “Bob is one of the most sophisticated businessmen that I know, but being that he didn’t have any experience in this business, he may have been more tight with the dollars than he should have been,” he says. “But Bob knows now that he’s got to spend, that being successful in professional sports requires a whole different approach. Like me, he’s very competitive and knows how to win.” Mr. Johnson’s attendance at the charity boxing match last month was a good-will gesture toward a city that has rebuffed him by considering him an absentee owner, a carpetbagger of sorts, and labeling the Bobcats as scrubs. Ever indefatigable, he says he has plenty of time to change all that. “We’re still early in this process,” says Mr. Johnson, whose team has a record and attendance that rank near the bottom of the league. “Nobody loses money on an N.B.A. franchise, and I will certainly not be the first.” Bob Johnson has spent at least half his 60 years as a pre-eminent force in African-American pop culture, a shrewd backstage operator who tied a bow around black celebrity and converted urban music, fashion and comedy into the cash cow called BET. While running BET, which he founded in 1980, Mr. Johnson found himself routinely criticized by blacks for showing racy music videos day and night instead of creating original programs with socially uplifting themes. In Mr. Johnson’s pragmatic view, though, music videos were a television executive’s dream: they drew huge audiences and were cheap to put on the air. He reminded naysayers that the “E” in BET stood for “entertainment,” not “education” or “enlightenment.” “My tombstone will read: ‘This is the guy who aired rap videos,’ ” Mr. Johnson says. “But you know how I deal with that? I put it where it belongs, which is in the pretty-much-irrelevant category.” Many blacks lashed out at Mr. Johnson again when he sold BET to Viacom, a mainstream corporate buyer. Mr. Johnson, who has blended a surgeon’s emotional detachment with an accountant’s fixation on the bottom line throughout his career, seems unaffected by those barbs as well. He says he is aware that some consider him miserly and emotionally disengaged, but he shrugs that off as the price of success. “I never saw myself as running a family business for family benefit; I always wanted to create businesses that were built on maximizing shareholder value,” Mr. Johnson says. “And my philosophy has always been predicated on the fact that talented African-Americans ought to be given an
opportunity to create real wealth in this country, and that white Americans have to allow us to get onto the starting blocks.” For Mr. Johnson, born in Mississippi in 1946 as the ninth of 10 children, the starting block was a grimy factory basement in Freeport, Ill. His mother and father had jobs at the Burgess Battery plant in Freeport, and Mr. Johnson worked there as a maintenance worker one summer while attending the University of Illinois at Champaign. According to “The Billion Dollar BET,” an unauthorized account of Mr. Johnson’s career by the journalist Brett Pulley, Mr. Johnson clashed often with his superiors and was fired. The boot, though, came with some advice. “If you’re going to get a job, you better work for yourself,” his supervisor told him, according to the book. “Working for other people just doesn’t seem to be your cup of tea because you’ve got a unique way of how you want to do things.” After graduation from the University of Illinois, where he met his wife, Sheila Crump (they divorced in 2002), Mr. Johnson studied public administration at Princeton. The couple moved to Washington in the early 1970s, a time when the civil rights movement was opening the door to more black voices in the media. Mr. Johnson worked in various public affairs posts before becoming a lobbyist in 1976 for a cable television trade group. One of the group’s board members was John C. Malone, who was in the early stages of turning his company, Tele-Communications Inc., into one of the nation’s largest cable companies. Mr. Malone and other cable operators were scrambling for programming that would give them an edge over traditional network television giants. Mr. Johnson approached Mr. Malone with the idea of creating a cable channel that catered to audiences in cities with large black populations. “I was like Johnny Appleseed back then, buying up lots of things that fit our model because we needed programming,” Mr. Malone says. “It was great that Bob’s idea had a positive social element to it, but it also fit my model.” Mr. Malone jumped at the idea, and in 1979 invested $500,000 for a 20 percent stake in the newly formed BET. Over the next decade, BET slowly gained traction with black audiences, gradually expanding its air time from a few hours a day to a full weekly schedule, recruiting major advertisers and lining up other strategic partners like the HBO unit of Time Inc. BET’s gospel programs, black college sports, and black news and music gave the channel a solid niche. “We were the unicorn,” Mr. Johnson says. “People were surprised we existed.” In 1991, Mr. Johnson took BET public, making the network the first black-owned company on the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Johnson retained 56 percent of the voting power in a company with a market value of $472 million, according to Mr. Pulley’s book. Despite that success, BET had doubters. “I think the public was very cynical about a black-run and -controlled business,” Mr. Malone says. “There were a lot of bodies in the cable industry on the side of the road. The attitude was, ‘Let’s give it a shot, but I don’t expect it to be successful.’ ” To continue attracting larger black audiences without huge investments in content, Mr. Johnson began to rely more heavily on music videos. After all, with ad rates substantially lower than those of rivals like MTV or VH1, the notion of creating high-minded original programming was not
financially feasible, Mr. Johnson says. But by the early 1990s, gangsta rap music was gaining cultural prominence and its messages were edgier — and more rife with images of sex and violence — than the R&B music that BET had offered earlier. Many adults were offended, but young viewers loved the stuff. “Bob took a cold view in responding to the market, and the fact was he just didn’t have the financial muscle of an MTV,” says the media consultant Willis Smith, whose firm in Durham, N.C., specializes in black television programming. “He could not afford to offer what many viewers wanted from him. But in the end, he kept BET profitable regardless of what people have said about the quality of his programming.” Mr. Johnson’s most vocal critic was the young black syndicated cartoonist Aaron McGruder, whose “Boondocks” comic strip ran in 250 newspapers nationwide and focused on a couple of brothers transplanted to the suburbs from their inner-city neighborhood. He routinely lampooned BET. One of his most controversial strips featured a woman’s round, nearly nude backside, with text that, among other things, said: “In order to follow the fine example set by Mr. Johnson, we present to you, the reader, in the spirit of black uplift — a black woman’s gyrating rear end.” Some newspapers dropped the strip, and it ignited a public spat between Mr. McGruder and Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson declines to discuss the matter, and Mr. McGruder, who no longer writes the strip, was unavailable for comment. By the late 1990s, having regained complete control of BET for himself and Mr. Malone through a stock buyback, Mr. Johnson was ready to move on. The opportunity came when Sumner M. Redstone, the Viacom chairman, offered to buy him out for $3 billion in 2000. “A lot of black people were hurt when he sold BET because we have this history where our entrepreneurs are expected to be emotionally attached to their companies,” says Alfred Edmond Jr., editor in chief of Black Enterprise magazine. “But Bob Johnson has never been one to personalize his relationship to his companies. They are just assets to him, and he prides himself on being able to drive up their value.” However much Mr. Johnson has sought to burnish and enlarge his reputation, his ownership of the Bobcats has resurrected some old criticisms. Like television, the basketball business is driven by ratings, advertisers and talent — and so far Mr. Johnson has stumbled, in large part over issues that have haunted him before: customer complaints about product quality, and accusations of a lack of commitment to the community. “There has been a feeling here that Bob — and he is trying to do better — is this rich dude from Washington, D.C., and comes down and buys a franchise and doesn’t even show up here much, not even for games,” says Felix Sabates, a Charlotte businessman and minority shareholder in the Bobcats. But he expects Mr. Johnson will be successful. Mark Packer, a local radio host, says: “In a city like Charlotte, it is important for fans to see the owner, and we don’t see much of Bob Johnson. But even more than that, the product that he is
putting on the floor is an inferior product. Over the two and half years he has had this team, he simply hasn’t spent enough money to put a winner on the floor.” The criticism does not end there. Scott Fowler, a columnist at The Charlotte Observer, wrote recently that “thousands of people in our area view the Bobcats with resentment or indifference.” “These folks wouldn’t go to uptown Charlotte to watch a Bobcats game if someone handed them free tickets and pointed to a limousine to take them there,” he added. That’s a hard knock in a sports town where Mr. Johnson’s polar opposite, Jerry Richardson, the white founder of the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, ferries his fans around in a golf cart. The owner-as-average-guy touch and the Panthers’ success on the field have endeared Mr. Richardson and his team to locals. On the afternoon before the charity boxing match, Mr. Johnson sits in a Charlotte eatery, a few blocks from the Bobcats’ yet-to-be-named coliseum, reflecting on the history of black capitalists in America — a past, he says, that is painfully slight. “The fact is, black people do not have much of a history in creating wealth in this country. As a result, we are not trusted to handle other people’s money,” he says. “We are valued mostly for our physical talent, our artistic talent and maybe our ability to sell to other blacks. But when it comes to building value in companies, or managing the money of whites, overseeing investments, there has always been this discrimination.” He shrugs and stabs his crab cake. “But let’s face it, on the other hand, race discrimination gives me a natural public relations advantage. Because of race discrimination, I can get a pat on the back just for being first,” he says. “That’s how I get the visibility, the first-mover advantage. That’s what I like — to enter the arena first.” Mr. Johnson has just returned from Utah, where he attended the Sundance Film Festival in search of opportunities for Our Stories, a Los Angeles-based film company he started late last year. The trip was bittersweet. While the dearth of black-oriented films at the festival disappointed him, it also solidified his faith in the prospects for his new venture. His partner is the indie-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose own new enterprise, the Weinstein Company, will serve as his distributor. JPMorgan Chase has sunk $175 million into Our Stories. “What I like about Bob is that he dreams over the horizon when most people can’t,” Mr. Weinstein says. “This is about an African-American entrepreneur who is starting a black-owned movie studio because he stepped forward and had the expertise to pull it together.” In a sense, the financial model for Our Stories — tapping the resources of mainstream white investors as a means of gaining the economic efficiencies afforded by scale — is how Mr. Johnson has built most of his companies, and it distinguishes him from most of his African-American counterparts. His private equity fund, for instance, is financed partly by the Washington-based Carlyle Group, while his hedge fund has backing from Deutsche Bank. “Look, the social activist mold that was poured for Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or Vernon Jordan was not poured for me; the artistic mold that was poured for Oprah Winfrey and Jay-Z was not
poured for me, either — that is not the DNA that I got,” Mr. Johnson says. “The mold that was poured for me is the same one that was poured for Ken Chenault, Richard Parsons, Stanley O’Neal. I create wealth and value. That’s what I do, and I’m good at it.” Mr. Malone concurs and says that blacks have been unfair to Mr. Johnson. “It’s a real challenge in the black race to be successful and not be regarded as having sold out,” he says. “It’s a terrible shame that the entire black community doesn’t embrace people like Bob, honor him.” In Charlotte, at least, Mr. Johnson has his share of white critics. So while it might be convenient to attribute Mr. Johnson’s struggles with the Bobcats as partly a function of the color of his skin, there is a strong possibility that a more involved, hands-on black owner might be enjoying a smoother honeymoon than Mr. Johnson. In the three years since he took over the Bobcats, Mr. Johnson has — largely from a distance — initiated a series of senior management shakeups and cuts, a move from an old arena to a new one and, for season ticket holders, a price increase followed by a price reduction. As the N.B.A. showcases its top athletes today at its annual all-star game in Las Vegas, no Bobcats players will be featured. The Bobcats reside at the bottom of the Southeast Division of the league’s Eastern Conference with 19 wins and 33 losses. And in a brand new arena that the city built for the Bobcats despite local opposition, the team’s home attendance ranks 27th among the N.B.A.’s 30 teams. “I don’t know of a professional sports franchise that can fill up an arena when they’re in last place; you have to win games,” says Mayor Patrick McCrory of Charlotte. “It’s just that simple.” It doesn’t help that Charlotte fans still nurse a grudge over the last pro team that rolled into town. Back in the late 1980s, the businessman George Shinn started the Charlotte Hornets but relocated to New Orleans after his unsuccessful bid for a new basketball arena. Mr. Jordan, the former Chicago Bulls star, says: “There has been a wedge that’s been created here. There was trust and respect that had been earned and then the team leaves. People are still upset about that.” For his part, Mr. Johnson says he is ready to mend those wounds. Yet even as he tries to demonstrate passion for Charlotte and the Bobcats, he sounds the notes of a brass-tacks, no-nonsense entrepreneur. “I like this city,” he says. “It’s business-oriented. It’s got the big banks; the government is profit-oriented; it’s a transportation hub. It’s non-union.” It is that approach that leaves some observers wondering whether Mr. Johnson has what it takes to lift the value of a sports franchise that, in the end, is linked to team loyalty and winning. As Mr. Edmond of Black Enterprise observes: “What makes him a great entrepreneur may end up handicapping him as the owner of a sports franchise where fans expect owners to love the team as much as they do.”
Church Gone Wildâ€Ś
Inclusion, Homosexuality, Drugs, Adultery, Divorce, Abuse and Vanity in the Church? Carlton Pearson now believes hell does not exist and boasts a stain glass image of Hitler in his church, gospel singer Tonex has come out of the closet as a gay man, T.D. Jakes son was caught masturbating to a under cover police officer, Ted Haggard was a meth addict and homosexual, Pastor
Paulk was having sex with multiple women, Juanita Bynum failed to keep her vows in marriage and her husband Bishop Weeks allegedly hit her, Jamal Bryant and Pastor Bloomer co-sign on inclusion with Carlton Pearson, Lexi has now become the gospel version of Oprah Winfrey, gospel Hip Hop Rapper Da Truth commits adultery with Ty Tribett’s wife and Ty Tribett returns the favor with his wife. Bebe Winans hits his wife and is arrested. Both Randy and Paula White have been linked to other people (Paula White has been linked to Rick Hawkins and Randy White has been linked to his ex-porn star female personal trainer, which of course is an innocent relationship). I understand that both Randy and Paula White are high profile superstar ministers, but for the sake of the believers who trusted their leadership, it would have been best if neither had been linked to anyone. If Paula White was divorcing Randy White for biblical grounds of adultery, why not say it? Jermaine Jakes, son of The Potter's House pastor T.D. Jakes, was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. According to a Dallas Police Department arrest warrant affidavit obtained by CBS 11 News, Jakes exposed himself to two undercover vice detectives at Keist Park on January 3, 2009. The affidavit says Jakes walked up to one of the detectives at the park with his pants unzipped. Jakes then began to masturbate while making eye contact with the detective, according to the affidavit. The detectives arrested Jakes on a charge of indecent exposure. Jamal Bryant is the affable 38-year-old pastor of Empowerment Temple A.M.E in Baltimore, Maryland. Many view him as a burgeoning voice in the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) denomination as his influence has extended nationally and internationally. Known for articulating relatable sermons, the former 11th grade drop-out who entered the prestigious Morehouse College with a GED, has not released a statement about the situation, of alleged affairs and divorcing his wife, likely under his attorney’s advisement. “This is a private matter between Dr. Bryant and his wife, and we’d like to keep this matter private,” attorney Jimmy A. Bell told the paper. The copious blog and chat entries on the troubled marriage suggest this may be a personal matter, but it is far from private. Scandalous rumors of alleged affairs with several women have been rampant since the couple’s engagement. His supposed womanizing went overboard when he impregnated a church member said to be 17 at the time of the time of copulation. When accusations of this affair surfaced in the Summer of 2007, church leaders asked him to step down while they initiated an investigation and awaited paternity test results. Months after the investigation, Jamal Bryant remains the pastor of Empowerment Temple. I have attended these ministries and found them to be very talented people but, I would always feel that something was missing. I believe that these people have become full fledged entertainers and could not abide in the same word they preached because it was an ambition and not a calling. We should not condemn them but, if they allow, we should pray for them and assist in the healing process. God is cleansing the house so that we all can finally get saved and not leave these services high on hope as with dope. After the high comes down, we are still hurting because the show ends when the curtain closes. They take offerings but, you will not see them give an offering or return your call when in need. These mega churches have become a franchise of a prototype that made millions for many preachers. They took Rev. Ike to a new level and we fell for it. Let’s embrace truth without anger and we will not be deceived again.
The Ulmer Scale's Top 10 Lists (Actor Bankability in Studio-Level Movies) Top Black Stars
1. Will Smith 96 2. Denzel Washington 78 3. Jamie Foxx 63 4. Morgan Freeman 57 5. Halle Berry 56 6. Beyonce Knowles 55 7. Eddie Murphy 53 8. Samuel L. Jackson 50 9. Forest Whitaker 46 10.Chris Tucker 43 Top Asian Stars
1. Jackie Chan 65 2. Jet Li 50 3. Lucy Liu 43 4. Michelle Yeoh 40 5. Stephen Chow 39 6. Yun Fat Chow 35 7. Ziyi Zhang 33 8. Ken Watanabe 33 9. Li Gong 31 10.Tony Leung 30
Top Hispanic Stars
1. Cameron Diaz 76 2. Penelope Cruz 69 3. Salma Hayek 59 4. Antonio Banderas 56 5. Jenni Lopez 56 6. Benicio Del Toro 53 7. Javier Bardem 53 8. Diego Luna 36 9. Andy Garcia 35 10.Marisa Tomei 35 Top South Asian Stars
1. Dev Patel 30 2. Kal Penn 25 3. Freida Pinto 16 4. Naveen Andrews 15 5. Om Puri 11 6. Aishwarya Rai 10 7. Shabana Azmi 9 8. Sarita Choudhury 6 9. Akshay Kumar 4 10.Kareena Kapoor 4
Honey, They Shrunk My Value by James Ulmer
If you think the global economy has hit the skids recently, take a look at the world's most bankable movie actors. It's a recession out there. In nearly every market sector, Hollywood's blue-chip star stock has fallen. The ability of an actor's name alone to attract full funding for a movie has significantly weakened since our last major global survey in 2007. For most years since the mid-90s, at least a half-dozen familiar faces - Cruise, Hanks, Pitt and Roberts among them -- have been tucking themselves onto the A+ list as handily as sea lions flopping onto a warm beach rock. But that rock continues to shrink as the cold waters of financial risk and uncertainty, and a rapidly fragmenting entertainment marketplace, inexorably rise.
Today, traditional movie stars must compete for eyeballs with all kinds of screens beyond the silver one, and most of those are shrinking, too: TV, the Internet, Blackberries, iPhones, wrist watches - you get the picture. There are doubtless trade shows being conjured up at this moment to promote 10 new ways of downloading the next Johnny Depp franchise in 1.2 seconds onto your fingernail. Nail salons may find entirely new revenue streams selling popcorn. In the meantime, Depp is sitting comfortably on that small sunny rock, sharing it with Will Smith - the only two left on the A+ list. As usual, they ride the advantage of a global marketplace that consistently rewards stars of action-adventure franchises, the genre that travels best worldwide and which is still overwhelmingly a boy's club. They're also among the precious few of the top-echelon stars who saw their bankability scores rise in the past two years instead of ebbing southwards. Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep were two of the lucky ones in this regard, too. Top-drawer female talent seems to have borne the brunt of the current star recession. Former #1 female star Julia Roberts slipped 11 points to 12th place overall (a big dip for such a solid marquee name), moving off the A+ list for the first time in more than 15 years. That's due in large part to her lowered output of films. And the one-time #2 actress Nicole Kidman slipped down to 9th place among women, sliding off the A list altogether (as did Jodie Foster) by shedding a whopping 17 bankability points the largest drop of any of the ladies. (Part 2 of this article will be continued in the next issue of H Magazine).
EXCLUSIVE: CELEBRITY MARRIAGES OF "CONVENIENCE" PT. 2 There's always been speculation that some Hollywood couples are less likely lovers than they are well-matched business conglomerates. Well, finally those in-the-know are talking. In an exclusive expose', we discover that this may have taken place with P. Diddy and J. Lo, Mark Anthony and J, Lo, Tracy Edmonds and Eddie Murphy and all done by power broker Benny Medina. Benny has been doing this for years. He's been the broker behind a lot of these alternative Hollywood love interests. This has been going on in Hollywood since the days of Rock Hudson and Doris Day, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The latest of this type of power brokering may have been none other than Tiger Woods. Each person is a corporation and image is everything in the media. These marriages occur for different reasons. Some because the couples are gay or bi-sexual and others are simply a merger of two business brands in to a mega giant.
The Grand Illusionâ€Ś The illusion is to give the public what it wants to see and read about. Some couples rarely see each other and seldom like each other. The entertainment business way of life is to do as you are told or get out. Open marriages, group sex, bisexual relationships and even mentoring are considered valid reasons for these tabloid relationships.
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