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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Dear Readers, Greetings, welcome to Hollywood Weekly’s 60th Grammys Special Edition issue. We feature Emmanuel Kelly a magnificent singer who has performed with Coldplay and was a star on the hit show “X-Factor” . Emmanuel Kelly’s story is rather remarkable as he has faced challenges being a child of war, from Iraq. Overcoming all his obstacles from a youth, Emmanuel comes face to face with Hollywood Weekly to shed light on his journey. His accomplishments are something we thought we share with you to inspire you as to why there is no reason to make any excuses about chasing your dreams If you’re looking forward for some Grammys coverage look no further as we worked up some artwork to compliment some of your favorite artist and showcase just what they won at the award ceremony. We also get behind the scenes of The Super Bowl. We highlight Minneapolis (the birthplace of Prince) and you are in for a treat for the surprises they have in that great city. We get an inside look at Damon Dash’s new movie “Honor Up” and speak with him 1 on 1, as he talks of Jay-z and Aaliyah as well. At Hollywood Weekly, we are always working and looking for new stories. If you would like to be featured on our cover or have a story you would like to share, feel free to contact us anytime. We are looking forward to hearing from you. Get ready for our March issue coming soon highlighting The Oscars.
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8.A Life Without Excuses Is One Worth Living by Nitara Lee Osbourne 14.60th Grammys Coverage by Christian Patrick Lopez 18.Remy Martin Dinner For Champions by Christian P Lopez 24.Hollywood Weeklys Grammy Viewing Event by Staff 27. Winds of Freedom by Barbara Burke 30.Through The Glass Darkly by Staff Writer 32.Mr. Dash’s “Honor Up” by Alison Kugel 38.Minneapolis Places To Eat See and Drink by Staff Writer 44. Saving Forever Taking The Pop World By Storm by Christian P Lopez
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 7
A LIFE WITHOUT EXCUSES IS ONE WORTH
LIVING by Nitara Lee Osbourne 8 â€¢ HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Emmanuel Kelly by Kourosh M. Khajavi @in.light.of.light
e all arrive in this world as a blank slate. A blank canvas. A blank page. As we live our lives, we paint and write our own stories. Sometimes other people add their own “hue” and “words” without our permission, but we integrate their strokes of color and limited vocabulary as part of who we are anyway. Why is that? The bully that has mocked what makes us unique. The failure in business that now defines the totality of who we are. The teacher that didn’t believe in us as much as she believed in “Sally” or “Martin.” We grant the bully, the failure, and the distracted teacher permission to paint and to write part of our life story. These stories become so real that it becomes challenging to separate the life that got created inadvertently from the one that is really happening before our eyes. No one promised that this life was going to be an easy one to live. No one promised that it would be hard either. No one promised anything, actually. What is true – what is real – is that we have an opportunity to create possibilities out of each day and down to even the smallest of moments, regardless of the circumstances that we are faced with. This is “easier” said and written than actually “lived,” but it’s possible. What if
this is how every human lived their life? If an inquiring mind sat down to speak with Emmanuel Kelly, they would believe that he would be justified in complaining or being angry that life has “written” and “painted” his story with the most unfair plot and heart-aching images of the obstacles he had to face as he grew up. However, this rising star is not a complainer, nor does he spend his days being angry. Emmanuel not only doesn’t know his own birthday because there isn’t a record for orphaned babies found in a box on a battlefield in war-torn Iraq, but he’s looked death in the eyes several times after witnessing executions and hearing explosions as part of his “normal.” And yet, he carried on. He met his now brother Ahmed in the orphanage where they spent a portion of their lives before being adopted by their incredible mother, humanitarian Moira Kelly. As wonderful as the life that Moira provided for her two adopted sons, Emmanuel still had to bear the burden of undergoing a total of eight surgeries in 16 years. This amazing human being found in a box on a battlefield years ago has drawn worldwide attention after his appearance on the televised program, The X-Factor, went viral.
Here is his story.
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 9
Emmanuel Kelly by Kourosh M. Khajavi @in.light.of.light
Once you believe in yourself, you start to create something. 10 â€¢ HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Hollywood Weekly: I know that you’re not certain of when you were born, but if you could estimate the age of when you first realized that you wanted to sing, what do you think that age was? Emmanuel Kelly: That’s a tough question. Honestly, when I first started to sing, I was in Iraq. In the orphanage. When bombs would go off, I would hear them. Music was my salvation. It’s the gift that I was given. When I was in Iraq, I didn’t know a lot of music. I didn’t know a lot of melodies. I was creating my own at the time. I didn’t even know songs like "Ba-Ba Black Sheep" or "Old MacDonald." However, the melodies that I created were used to take myself "away." HW: I like that. That’s honest. EK: The moment I started to learn how to communicate with people is when I started to sing. But to answer your question specifically about how old I estimate I was when I actually started singing… I’m thinking, two or three. HW: (smiling) No way. Wow. With this realization at such a young age, what actions did you take later on to materialize that dream of singing? EK: I chose to be simple about things. HW: What do you mean? EK: When I was two or three, I didn’t dream
about being a star. Or wanting to be a pop artist. Or wanting to be the first differently-abled pop success. All I knew at that time was that music was my safe-haven. Music was my escape from the dangers that the world had given me. I simply had to escape. HW: I can understand. Many artists experience this. Maybe not to the same degree that you have. EK: Yeah, so when I moved to Australia, that’s when I started to create and materialize my dream of singing. I was probably about eight years old when I arrived to the land down under. As I experienced the western culture – which was a huge cultural shock for me… I realized that when I sang, it didn’t just take me to a safehaven, but it made others smile. HW: That’s beautiful. EK: Thank you. My singing made others tear up. It made others feel inspired. It motivated and entertained. Took others to a different world. HW: When your music became about impacting others seems to be when you sought to pursue this as a passion. Is music about impacting other people’s lives, escaping, or both for you? EK: It used to be about escaping. In the entertainment industry and in the music industry some artists use the gifts
for themselves, while others abuse their gifts for personal gain, and as long as it’s not hurting someone or destroying lives, there’s nothing wrong with this. However, for me, I realized that’s a selfish way to live.
and having fun with them. Whilst at the same time, giving people an emotional roller coaster. Back when I was about seven or eight, I asked the woman, who I now call "Mom" today… "Why do people do that?"
HW: How so? Dig a little deeper into this point-of-view. EK: Well, the more you accept the struggles of life, the more you accept what’s happened to you, the more likely those struggles hurt, and when that happens, that’s when you know your life is shifting towards greater and awesome opportunities. Suddenly, you become inspired, which creates motivation. That translates into will power, which you can then relate to others. In turn, you use your gift not to escape, but instead, it’s used to do something that’s beyond yourself.
HW: You mean, cry? EK: Yeah. I asked her, "Why do people do that when I sing?" and she told me it’s because I have a gift. It’s a gift that "talks" many languages. and that gift – in places like Iraq – is unrecognizable. She went on to say, "You have the ability to touch lives worldwide." From that point on, I realized I wanted to sing, and sing for the world.
HW: Illustrate what this looks like in life. EK: The best way to do this is to first love yourself. You have to love who you are. Accept who you are. Once you accept who you are, you believe in yourself. Once you believe in yourself, you start to create something. HW: I’m present to everything that you are saying. Those are powerful words. You’re like a talking self-help and motivational book. EK: (laughing) Thank you. Impacting others means a lot to me. Motivating them. Inspiring. But most of all, entertaining
HW: What was your next step? EK: Well, honestly, I was a little bit lazy as a kid, but eventually I started rehearsing and practicing. Slowly I started to develop and envision what I really wanted. I think what ended up happening was that I was slowly manifesting that vision. You know, there’s that saying, "Where there’s a will, there’s a way." I felt the will and I was finding the way. By finding the way, I found opportunities. I performed with Mom at different events. More people started to think that I was good. I had "something" there. and Mom used to always say, "He’s not good. He’s just cute." (laughing) HW: (laughing) That’s funny. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 11
and guide me through this entertainment world, as well as help me develop as a writer. Out of nowhere, it felt as though my team of people came together, and we found the right answers.
Emmanuel Kelly by Kourosh M. Khajavi @in.light.of.light
EK: Eventually, as I got older, people started saying that he’s not just cute, he’s good. Then a professional vocal teacher approached Mom and said, "He’s actually really good." From there, I went on to perform on X factor, which was viewed over half a billion times on YouTube, performed with Coldplay, and David Foster.
and it’s still my passion now. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. Then eventually, I want to help others – young people like myself – to also do the same thing. and to encourage them to give back to the world by using their gifts.
HW: That’s an amazing journey. and your mom was right beside you the whole time. EK: Yeah. and back when I was younger, she sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do. She asked, "What is your passion?" I realized it was entertainment, music, singing… that was my passion then.
HW: You did. (smiling) Was there ever a time in the pursuit of your dream that you felt it was impossible to accomplish? If so, how did you overcome discouragement? EK: Yes. Plenty of times. I felt that way three times in 2017 alone. I think if you never have those moments, then there’s
12 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
HW: Amazing. EK: I hope I answered your question.
something wrong with your brain. (laughs) It’s important to have those periods where you just need to cry. To let yourself go. I was very fortunate to have good people around me. However, I still have those moments. One of those moments was just last year. Great things were happening. I was signed to a label. Amazing opportunities were coming my way. Suddenly, twenty-four hours later, I was on the street. I had to rebuild. I had to re-create. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? HW: (smiling) Exactly. EK: Six months later, I ended up producing my first album. I had the opportunity to have Chris Martin from Coldplay come on as my mentor,
HW: Your team is instrumental to your success, wouldn’t you say? EK: Absolutely. It comes down to us motivating each other. Staying positive – working hard. When sh#t goes down, we have to always remember that there is always someone worse off than us. Your problems – as bad as they may be – are not as bad as the people throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa. HW: That perspective is very humbling. EK: It totally is. I’m so fortunate to have the team that I do. These people are the ones who told me that sometimes you just have to "cry it out." So those discouraging moments are tough, but are also really important to grow as a human being. and when you have the family and the team like I have…you can make anything happen. HW: In the areas of business, finances, and within your personal life, what are your biggest priorities? EK: I want to achieve as much as I can regarding my business and personal/social life. The finances are part of my business, so they
are good to condense into one category, but if I had to put them in order of importance, I would have to say: personal, finances, and business. My personal life is my biggest priority because if you have your personal life in order, then achieving in the area of business, especially this business, becomes a little bit easier. HW: What would you like to use your platform – your position right now – to accomplish next? EK: My goal is to be the first differently-abled pop success. To inspire teens to love themselves, to be the first differently-abled person to perform at the Grammy’s, the AMAs, Teen Choice, MTV music awards, etc. To break history and show the world no matter what skin color, race, religion, or what you look like… that if you have a will, if you have a dream, and you work hard, anything is possible. HW: You mentioned "differentlyabled" at another point in our conversation. What do you mean by that? Is that a phrase that you coined yourself? EK: I believe I did coin that myself. My aim is to have the words "disability" and "handicapped" banned and never to be used. I want "differently-abled" to be used instead. Because I believe we are all differently-abled. It doesn’t just relate to the physical, but to the mental as well. Even those who are mentally differently-abled are somehow able to achieve their gift. That gift can be the fact that they inspire their family -- their mother, their father – those who take care of them every single day. As hard as it is to see it, their gift is there. I feel strongly about the phrase "differently-abled" so much so that it might be the name of my first album. HW: That’s very poignant and speaks volumes without even having to explain anything. What kind of an impact are you
looking to have on others at this point? EK: I want young people to see me on that stage and say, "If he can do it, so can I." Whether they want to be a teacher… a scientist… an astronaut… a singer… an artist… an actor… an American football player… whatever they want to do. My message to them… what I want them to get from me is, "If I can do it, so can they." Doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, yellow, or differently-abled. We’re all equal. We are all beautiful, unique, and special in our own way. HW: So what else do you see on the horizon for yourself? EK: Well, as I said before, my vision is to perform at the Grammy’s, the American Music Awards, the MTV Music Awards – that’s definitely where I want to be this year…. or at least between 2018 and 2019. But whatever other music awards that are out there, those are the ones that I aim to be at. I’m going to launch my album. Launch my single. I’m also going to be launching my reality docuseries as well so that people can experience my journey. I’m already starting to design my tour for 2019. My aim in early 2018 is to secure financing and distribution for my album and docuseries. HW: You are definitely taking this world by storm. Thank you so much for sharing so candidly with Hollywood Weekly, Emmanuel! Your presence alone is so inspiring! EK: Thank you. It’s been my pleasure. Emmanuel Kelly took his own proverbial paint brush and words and created the story that he wanted out of his life. His canvas and paper are constantly being recreated through his vision and passion for the gift that he’s been given that he shares so freely with the entire world.
Be Sure to check out Emmanuel Kelly’s New Single
"Hello" out now on iTunes, Spotify, GooglePlay, and more.
Check Emmanuel out on Instagram @ EmmanuelKellyOfficial and Facebook @ EmmanuelKellyOfficial for continued updates
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 13
Striking Gold-Winners List BRUNO MARS Album of the Year "24k Magic"
Record of the Year "24k Magic"
Song of the Year "That’s what I like"
Best RandB Song "That’s what I like"
Best RandB Album "24k Magic"
Best Pop Solo Performance "Shape of You"
Best Pop Vocal Album "÷ (Divide)"
14 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Kendrick Lamar Best Rap Performance "Humble"
Best Rap/Sung Performance "Loyalty" ft Rihanna
Best Rap Song "Humble"
Best Rap Album "Damn"
Best Country Solo Performance "Either Way"
Best Country Song
"Broken Halos" ft Mike Henderson
Best Country Album "From A Room Vol.1"
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY â€¢ 15
Honorable Mentions Childish Gambino
Best Traditional RandB Performance "Redbone"
Alessia Cara Best New Artist
Dave Chapelle Best Comedy Album
"The Age of Sping and Deep in The Heart of Texas" 16 â€¢ HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Dave Grohl Best Rock Song "Run"
Best Alternative Album "Sleep Well Beast"
Leonard Cohen Best Rock Performance "You Want It Darker"
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY â€¢ 17
Dinner For Champions n February 18, Rémy Martin presented Klutch Sports Group “The Game Is Everything” Dinner at Beauty and Essex in Los Angeles. Celebrities such as Lebron James, Tristan Thompson, Khloe Kardashian, Kevin Hart and Eniko Hart were in attendance. The guests enjoyed dinner as well as cocktails from Rémy Martin and a tasting of LOUIS XIII by Rémy Martin. Rémy Martin is excited to take part in basketball’s biggest weekend. The MVP Experience was created because it is important to spotlight all the people it takes to achieve greatness. This weekend is the epitome of this notion. It is the time taken out of the season to celebrate the players, their achievements, and the collective of people it takes to get them to the top of their game. Much like the MVPs of the league, Remy Martin’s 300-yearold brand was not built by one person, but by a family. From the wine growers, distillers and 4 generations of cellar masters, it takes a village of people to create each bottle of cognac. Without an incredible team and their support system, there could (left) Lebron James and(right) Kevin Hart be no “Most Valuable Player.” Getty Images for Rémy 18 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Martin // Jerritt Clark
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY â€¢ 19
20 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
(left) Tristian Thomphson (right) Khloe Kardashian Getty Images for Rémy Martin // Jerritt Clark
(left) Savannah James (right) Lebron James Getty Images for Rémy Martin // Jerritt Clark
(left) Eniko Hart (right) Kevin Hart Getty Images for Rémy Martin // Jerritt Clark
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 21
22 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
(left) Lenny. S (ROCNATION) (middle) Kevin Hart (right) Rich Paul Getty Images for Rémy Martin // Jerritt Clark
(left) Jesse Williams (right) Lebron James Getty Images for Rémy Martin // Jerritt Clark
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 23
Raleigh Studios Movie Theatre for Hollywood Weeklys Grammy Viewing
Hollywood Weekly Guest preparing for viewing
Hollywood Weekly Sponsors
Hollywood Weeklys 2018 Grammy Viewing Event
Hollywood Weekly Guest
Winds of Freedom Founders Alex Ayzin , Pete Allman , 24 â€¢ HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Pop-Singer Iyana Lee lights up the crowd at the Hollywood Weekly Grammy Event
Kavah Harris (Saving Forever) and friend
Hollywood Weekly Guest
Live band Pop-band "Saving Forever"
Hollywood Weekly Guest
Dr.Jai and Dr.E HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY â€¢ 25
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Winds Of freedom a world peace initiative by barbara burke
Winds of Freedom Founders (left) Alex Ayzin (right) Pete Allman cover by HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY â€¢ 27
midst festivities at a well-attended, wonderfully exciting pre-Grammy party held on January 28 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood that featured exciting performances in many genres by some of L.A.’s best emerging artists, attendees paused, pondered and attentively watched Winds of Freedom, a symphonic multi-media presentation and world peace initiative that inspires creative activism. Hollywood Weekly sat down with the founders of the Winds of Freedom Foundation, Alex Ayzin, a Ukraine-born composer and producer who fled from communism, and Pete Allman (Vatos Locos; Brando Unauthorized; Saving Little Italy), a veteran actor and Radio-TV producer. Ayzin shared his haunting journey escaping persecution with Hollywood Weekly, and how his experiences inspired him to create Winds of Freedom, a thoughtprovoking work that juxtaposes images recounting the past 100 years of mankind’s loftiest and most honorable achievements with images depicting the world in which those feats happened - a world that faced challenges engendered by natural and man-made disasters, oppression, persecution and war. "Getting out of a communistic state was very tenuous." He said. "The first time Winds of Freedom played was at Carnegie Hall in the 1990’s. “I felt compelled to develop this work which is so moving in part because it includes musical pieces by Emilian Sichkin, a 28 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
composer who, like me, emigrated from communism in order to be free fromn persecution". Allman, who partners with Ayzin to press the message of the motivational but admonitory presentation, has produced hundreds of radio and TV broadcasts, the Las Vegas Hollywood Report, and CMX Sports and Entertainment in Las Vegas. He put Winds of Freedom’s aspirations into context. "The vision of Winds of Freedom is to promote peace on a global basis through education." He said. "When I introduce the work, I often speak about methods regarding how people can diffuse anger by meditating, taking nature walks, or focusing and finding inner calm in whatever way works for them. People have to have inner peace themselves in order to achieve peace in society overall." The essence of Winds of Freedom is that the avarices of human nature sometimes upset the natural order, and it is only through an understanding of historical context of past atrocities, of manmade environmental disasters, and of sometimes violent and tenuous interactions between nations, that people everywhere can overcome evil and waste and achieve world harmony and environmental safety. Ayzin’s motivational film is both emotive and informative. It displays a panoramic montage of historical footage showing the beauty of Earth’s diverse environment, images of awe-inspiring natural wonders, animals in their native habitats and momentous acts and
accomplishments demonstrating mankind’s fundamental goodness and awe-inspiring potential. After this peaceful, harmonic montage, the film segues to showing various stark depictions of the reality of the human condition – images of war, violence, nature’s capriciousness, paralyzing storms, and, perhaps most telling, visuals of those unfortunate and avoidable disasters caused by man’s selfishness, myopia and avarice. In essence, the presentation convinces that every person and mankind on a macro level need to reboot, pause and go forward in a more principled and ponderous fashion."If we don’t have peace within ourselves, there will be no peace in society." Allman said. "Alex and I have concluded that people need to be educated about those elementary principles and that everyone needs something to guide their inner peace." The Winds of Peace effort has three initiatives: to take the film on a national tour in order to spread its message of unity Allman and Ayzin even hope to have a brick and mortar center to further the peace effort. However, Winds of Peace focuses first on the essential fundamentals of the work’s purpose, with due regard for the reality that if there is to be peace in this world, time is of the essence. Ayzin recounted how he served in the Russian navy and how he and his father, a former Russian naval commander, saw unspeakable atrocities. In his mind, mankind is currently in the most dangerous time since the cold war. "When I attended the Rotary’s Presidential Peace
Conference in Atlanta in 2017, I was the only person of Russian descent who gave a presentation." Ayzin said. "I had the opportunity to speak with Bernice King, Martin Luther King’s daughter, about our project. It piqued her interest because she recognizes our vision aligns with her late father’s aspirations to promote peace, and she senses the urgency of promoting peace and order." Attendees at the Pre-Grammy party were impressed by Winds of Peace, perceiving it to be a work that, in essence, embodies the late John Lennon’s admonition – we all need to give peace a chance. "Several people talked to me about the Winds of Freedom presentation." said Sy Richardson, Director and Actor (The God of Death; Can I Get a Witness Protection? Like Family). "They said that it was time to focus and prepare themselves to help promote peace around the world however they can." Ayzin and Allman were
delighted with how well received Winds of Freedom was at the Pre-Grammy Party. In their mind, it is imperative that the film’s message be shared far, wide and often, especially for the younger generation. Hence, Ayzin’s and Allman’s life-long, loving calling is to play the film whenever and wherever possible to help mankind work to achieve peace and harmony. "As the Dalai Lama recently said, we should make the 21st Century a century of dialogue, not wars." Ayzin said. Furthering the dialogue about global peace is what Winds of Freedom is all about. As President John F. Kennedy once said "Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process – a way of solving problems." Playing Winds of Freedom in a venue such as
the pre-Grammy party attended by emerging artists served as a catalyst to get the next generation of phenomenally talented performers to embrace Ayzin’s and Allman’s vision to promote world peace by playing Winds of Freedom and spread that message.
For More Information: Windsoffreedom.org Phone: (702) 265-9099 Email:celebrityscenenewsdesk@ gmail.com and Alex@WindsofFreedom.org
(left) Alex Ayzin (middle) Former Congressperson Diane Watson (right) Pete Allman HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 29
obyn Lively (The Karate Kid Part III, Teen Witch) and Shanola Hampton (Showtime’s Shameless, You Again) will star in Through the Glass Darkly, a psychological thriller written by Lauren Fash and Susan Graham and directed by newcomer Fash. Lively and Hampton play Charlie and Amy, an unlikely duo that team up to solve the recent kidnapping of a local girl, a crime which echoes the disappearance of Charlie’s own daughter. The script was featured in the Sundance/Women in Film financing intensive in 2017. Graham of However Productions is producing along with Autumn Bailey-Ford, of Autumn Bailey Entertainment, and Carmella Casinelli, of Bon Aire Productions. The film is executive produced by Stacey Davis and Jim Rine. "We are honored and thrilled to have Robyn and Shanola in this film. Their passion for this female-led project and their dedication to bringing these complex women to life is truly inspiring," said Graham. Set in 1997, Through the Glass Darkly follows Charlie, a 43-year-old woman recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, living in small town Georgia with her wife. When Elodie Carmichael, granddaughter of the town’s matriarch, goes missing, paranoia shakes the core of this sleepy community, reviving old ghosts and long-buried secrets. "Through the Glass Darkly, a film I’m dedicating to my grandmother, will delve into the mindset of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. The ﬁlm will be shot entirely from Charlie’s point of view. I want people to experience the dark tension of a mind torn between reality and delusion. and yet, how a person’s innate character can hold fast despite this insidious illness," said Fash. Through the Glass Darkly is scheduled to shoot in and around Jasper and Ellijay Georgia through early March 2018. The film is being repped by ICM. Lively is repped by Insurge Entertainment and Management 360; Hampton is repped by APA and Reel Talent Management. 30 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Shanola Hampton For Hollywood Weekly Magazine Photo Design by Christian Patrick Lopez
Robyn Lively For Hollywood Weekly Magazine Photo Design by Christian Patrick Lopez
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY â€¢ 31
MR. Dash’s "Honor
A Violent Soulful Rendition of Urb By Alison Kugel
32 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Stills From Damon Dash’s Movie "Honor Up" Edited by Christian Patrick Lopez
he life of Damon Dash appears to be an epic triumph to some, a Shakespearean tragedy to others. It depends on where you’re standing when you look at him. After speaking with the hip hop mogul turned entrepreneur and filmmaker, I can tell you Dame Dash’s story is more nuanced and complex; and is still being written. Dash hopes his new film, Honor Up, a semi-autobiographical story about the code of street honor, executive produced by Kanye West, and starring Dash, Nicholas Turturro, Michael Rispoli and Cam’ron; will give audiences an authentic portrait of who he is beyond the media’s checkered narrative. He tells me the unwavering code of honor depicted in the movie has informed every choice he’s made in his adult life. A kid from Harlem, New York, who lost his mother in his youth, Dash quickly took on a hustler’s mentality, adopting the OG street code which propelled him from promoting nightclubs and rap artists to
reaching the apex of the music industry with the success of he and Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella records label, and the urban lifestyle brand, RocA-Wear. It was Dash’s unwavering vision and tenacity, and his loyalty to artists he believed in, that launched the careers of Jay Z, Kevin Hart, Kanye West and his ex-wife, fashion designer, Rachel Roy. Since splitting from Jay Z and dissolving Roc-A-Fella records, he’s been painted by the entertainment industry as an incorrigible and unruly outsider; a man who wouldn’t drink the Kool-Aid or fall in line with Hollywood or music industry politics. As Dash made clear to me during out conversation, he refuses to ever bow down to corporate demands, and therefore chooses to self-fund his many projects, from film and art to fashion. After years of personal and professional heartbreaks, Dash found an unwavering ally in longtime love and business partner, Raquel Horn. Horn is Dash’s creative muse and collaborator, while Dash is Horn’s mentor and idea facilitator. Together, the two have launched Dame Dash Studios, Dash Diabetes Network, their Poppington fashion line, and the beginnings of an independent movie studio. DD is a man in his creative renaissance… and in love. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 33
Allison Kugel: Tell me about the most influential people in your life… birth to present day? Damon Dash: My mother was a big influence in my life. She passed away when I was fifteen. I would say Muhammad Ali was a big influence on my life, my OG Daniel (Dash’s childhood mentor, Daniel Jenkins, the inspiration behind Dash’s new film, "Honor Up") is one of the most influential people in my life from when I was younger. That was one of the reasons why I made the movie, Honor Up. AK: Your mom passing when you were fifteen, how did it impact who you became? DD: It made me fearless. The one thing I was afraid of up until I was fifteen was that my mother would die, and then she did. It made me very aware of my mind, in that, if you worry about something it usually realizes itself. I try not to worry about anything. Because my mother spoiled me, and she wasn’t there to spoil me anymore, it made me the business savage that I am. I wanted to maintain that lifestyle. At the time, my pops wasn’t going to be able to give me that, so I had to do it myself. I think in a strange way, if my mom was still here I wouldn’t have made the history that I’ve made, because nothing would have felt so urgent. Someone can teach you how to survive, but you really don’t get those skills until you have to. [Her passing] made it 34 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
where I had to, and she taught me well. AK: You refuse to take a paycheck. You’re someone who has to have ownership in everything you do. Speaking for myself, I can say there was a time in my life when I asked myself if I was for sale, or if I was not for sale. Can you recall a defining moment when you asked yourself that same question, and determined that you were not for sale? DD: I’ve been a street entrepreneur since I was very young, since my mother died, because I had no choice. I’ve never had a boss. I’m from Harlem and I think I’m cooler than everybody, so it would be hard for me to have someone telling me what to do. It’s not about working for somebody, because I always have equity. I have something, and then I may need to take it to another level, so there would be a business relationship or a partnership. But I would always walk away from certain partnerships, because I didn’t like the moral value of that person. I would probably end up having to strangle them because it’s very frustrating when people don’t have principals and morals. It’s offensive when someone that I don’t respect presents me with an opportunity to work for them and tries to control me. I don’t even know what that means, working for someone else. It’s not a mathematical equation that makes sense to me.
AK: How do you define God? DD: You can’t define God. That’s how I define it. It’s undefinable. I can’t fathom God; just one entity controlling everything. I have no idea, and the 90% of our brain that we can’t use or access, we can’t really fathom what that is. Maybe if I had access to more of my brain, I could begin to fathom that. AK: You don’t have a sense of knowing, or belief about it? DD: If there is a God, it’s a woman. AK: and why do you say that? DD: Why wouldn’t it be that way? Men are stupid. God could never be a man, because men are too insecure. There’s wars, we fight. It’s illogical and stupid. That’s all insecurity. I don’t think God would have those characteristics. AK: What did you learn about love from your time with Aaliyah? DD: I learned exactly how happy love can make a person. It was a feeling that I never knew existed before. What it did teach me is to recognize love, and to appreciate love. It also taught me never to mess with an artist, because they’re always on the road. You never see them. The more you love them, the more you miss them. It made me appreciate what I had in that moment, and it made me recognize love with my girl Raquel (Dash’s girlfriend and business
Stills From Damon Dash’s Movie "Honor Up" Edited by Christian Patrick Lopez
re is a God, it’s a woman. HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 35
Aaliyah, courtesy of Wikipedia
partner, Raquel Horn). I knew that feeling. It was familiar to me, because I felt that with Aaliyah. AK: Describe Aaliyah’s character; the person you knew her to be. DD: Aaliyah loved life. She loved to laugh. She was color blind, a great soul, a ridiculous amount of swag and great taste. and those were the same exact qualities I saw in Raquel. For me, the greatest thing about Aaliyah was that we were both from somewhat of an extreme circumstance, you know, urban, in the hood. and we both had such a desire for things that were so unhood. But in those environments that were unhood, we would still have that hood swagger and we could laugh at things. Aaliyah and I used to spend a lot of time laughing at the corniness of life. 36 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
She loved to laugh. She was color blind, a great soul We both found people’s insecurities very funny. AK: How many times in your life have you had that feeling? DD: Two. Aaliyah and Raquel. AK: Would you like to see a movie made about your beginnings, during the rise of Roc-A-Fella Records, and that time in your life? DD: That’s inevitable, whether I make it or somebody else does. I am very aware and clear of what I have done, and my impact on this world. They’ve already made Aaliyah’s story, and I was in that. Let’s say they don’t do my story, everyone else’s story that I’ve been a part of, I’ll be in there. At the end of the day, I like to control my likeness, so I’ve already started that process. This movie, Honor Up, is
about me and my ideals growing up. AK: We’re going to get to the movie, so don’t comment on it yet because we’re going to go in-depth with it. DD: I love when a woman tells me what to do. AK: (Laughs) What is your opinion about how the media has cast you over the past decade? What have they gotten right, and what have they gotten wrong? DD: I’ve been able to manipulate them exactly the way I’ve wanted to. I’m very aware that an independent person like me that does things on his own, that my success would mean other people’s failure. Everyone that’s getting robbed, and everyone that’s doing the robbing, would fail. I’m the guy that doesn’t rob and does everything honorably.
If I can show that I can do things honorably, that would make other people need to do things honorably. The way they were portraying me in the newspapers, it wasn’t very intelligent. AK: Do you think you’ve been caricaturized? DD: In the beginning, it was more brazen and arrogant, and about me pouring champagne on women, which was a character. That was Champagne Dame. They never showed DD the businessman; DD, the single father raising his son alone from the time he was eight years old; DD living with Type 1 Diabetes; or the man who’s running all these different companies. AK: Where did the negative portrayals of your character come in?
DD: I didn’t want to do Roc-A-Fella anymore. I wasn’t trying to just do music. I didn’t want to be typecast. I wanted to do fashion. I wanted to do things that were multicultural, and I wanted to run around the world. and I knew walking away from Jay Z, that all Jay Z fans were going to start with me and try to get at me. I know that controversy sells papers. At that point, I was like, "Yo, I’m about to Makaveli myself (a reference to the late Tupac Shakur). I’m out. I don’t really need to be here no more. I want ya’ll to leave me alone." I needed everybody to think I wasn’t doing well so nobody would ask me for nothing no more. But all those years, I was owning Rachel Roy, a $75 million company. I was running around the world, I had galleries and things like that. But Dame was under the radar. and they left me alone. I always thought it was funny that they made me the underdog. I could have been nice. I could have worked with these people that have no morals and no values and spent their money instead of having to keep re-investing my own money. AK: But you walked away. DD: I decided freedom was priceless, happiness is priceless. I needed to raise my daughters. It wasn’t conducive for my daughters in a hip hop environment, because you have a bunch of young, insecure, aggressive men. and I
didn’t want to have to go to jail for nothing. I realized that with the internet there is no buffer, and I can tell the truth whenever I want. No one can stop me. Whoever wants me will come find me, and they’ll see the truth. AK: Let’s talk about your new movie, Honor Up. You wrote and directed this movie, you play a central character, and you put up your own money to make it. How long has this story been in you, wanting to come out? DD: I always knew I would tell this story, but what made me want to tell it now, and in this way, was a moment when I was hearing a lot of things about people I was close to from my past, that contradicted all
our morals and values. It bugged me out, because these were the people I respected the most. I just couldn’t believe it, and it hurt. Then there were other things going on that were bringing me down. [Director] Lee Daniels (Precious, Lee Daniels’ The Butler) owes me $2 million. He’s doing well and he’s running around, and he’s not paying me. The shit is pissing me off. Where I’m from, he would have ended up in a trunk. You know what I’m saying? I can’t do those things, and I’m not going to do those things. So I made a movie about it. I want people to understand my morals and principals, why I don’t look the other way and who taught me. I also ran into my OG (a mentor of Dash’s named Daniel Jenkins),
who I hadn’t seen in about twenty-five years. He was a guy who was very influential in the neighborhood. Because he was cool with me, all the dangerous guys looked at me a certain way as well, so I never had to be scared. One day I saw him walking across one of the toughest blocks in Harlem and he had his kids with him. He was fresh, his kids had little motor cars and they were fresh, and I was like, "That’s the kind of dad I want to be." I want to be that guy as a dad. That was probably the most impactful lesson he ever taught me, because I’m a great dad and that’s more important than anything. When I finally got back with him, I knew I had to make a movie about our story.
[TO BE CONTINUED]
Stills From Damon Dash’s Movie "Honor Up" Edited by Christian Patrick Lopez HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 37
38 â€¢ HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
Cover Photo "Stone Arch Bridge" located in Minneapolis The Klement Gallery
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY â€¢ 39
inneapolis is a city of lakes, breweries, sports, great food, and frigid temps. It is also where the 52nd Superbowl was held in 2018. You can walk along the Mississippi, taste lots of craft beers, eat excellent modern Midwestern cuisine, and explore the history of the "Mill City" while you’re here. and now that you’ve learned your way around using the Skyway, the world is your oyster! (Speaking of, there are several oyster happy hour deals in the city too.) Here are some of the best places to see, eat, and drink:
Sights to See Picture 1 Saint Anthony Falls, located northeast of downtown Minneapolis, as seen from the Stone Arch Bridge. June of 2014. Courtesy of J. M. Pearson
40 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
To be honest, there’s not a ton in the way of Minneapolis tourist attractions. Sure they’ve got plenty of lakes to visit outside the city, but you won’t be braving the February weather for that. We’re gonna assume you’ll be staying at least reasonably close to downtown and the stadium while you’re here for the Super Bowl. So if you want to see the historic and beautiful sites of the city, we’ve got you covered
We’re not sure how crazy the weather will be, but the best way to see the most scenic side of the city is on foot via the River Parkway. It’s not hard to do a self-guided tour either, assuming it’s not blizzarding outside. Be sure to check out out the Stone Arch Bridge while you walk along the Mississippi River. It was built to bring wheat from the nearby valley into the Mill City back in the day. It’s also pedestrian and bicycle-friendly (no cars), so you can wander along and stop for viewpoints of the Falls of St. Anthony. Though it’s not an amazing waterfall, its power was previously harnessed to turn the stone mills of Minneapolis’s flour industry. Nearby you’ll also see the Guthrie Theater, a massive modern masterpiece of a building. If it’s your thing and you have time, you can even see a show there to appreciate its incredible facilities at great prices. Or you can just pop in to take photos from the lobby "bridge" which cantilevers out over the city (don’t worry, lots of visitors do this). Nearby you’ll also find Gold Medal Park with a few huge art installations stationed throughout. On the other side of the theater, you’ll find Mill Ruins Park – the site of an enormous fire which almost destroyed Washburn A Mill – and close by, you’ll find the Mill City Museum to tell you all about it. Yeah okay, it sounds boring, but
it’s actually very well done. The museum is a great place to learn how the Twin Cities came to be and hear about history of the flour mills. If you’re more into art, you can venture just south of downtown to the acclaimed Minneapolis Institute of Art, which houses everything from works by the European masters to contemporary art to an ancient mummy. Oh, and entry is free! The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is about a thirty-minute walk from there, where you can take photos with things giant modern sculptures (like a big blue rooster and huge spoon holding a cherry). For nature lovers not frightened off by the possibility of freezing temperatures and snow,
there’s Minnehaha Park. It’s a great spot right next to the city for hiking, sightseeing, and an excellent photo op of some waterfalls – hey, they look really cool when they freeze! Take the light rail or bike down to this sprawling, wellkept park. You can walk one of the many trails down to the Mississippi River or stop by the Sea Salt Eatery located within the park – it’s one of the best places in town to try some seafood. After you’ve checked out all the major "tourist" sites (or not), wander around the city’s Warehouse District and North Loop neighborhoods for a look at the "cool" area of the city. It’s been restored and now boasts a young startup vibe with lots of new hip restaurants, bars, and live music all over.
Picture 2 Jacopo de’ Barbari "The Guardian Angel" on display in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Arts, online collection
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 41
Places to Eat There are plenty of restaurants in this Midwestern metropolis, ranging from chic upscale kitchens to basic pub fare you devour with a draft beer while basking in neon lights. We’ll give you a few of the best from each category and in between: Starting with the hip, hard-to-get-a-reservation spots, book at table at Spoon and Stable in the trendy North Loop neighborhood. It’s got a James Beard Award-winning chef serving up Midwestern ingredients prepared with French techniques. The place is a former carriage house actually, and even if you can’t get a res, you can go have bar snacks and drinks in their lounge. In that same category, literally right across the street you’ll find The Bachelor Farmer. It’s got super seasonal food and Nordic inspiration served up in an always-busy, highly acclaimed restaurant. For something similarly refined, local, and "New American," check out Restaurant Alma on the other side of the river or the eclectic 112 Eatery just nearby. Don’t worry, Minneapolis hasn’t totally neglected its "meat and potatoes" roots either. So if you’re looking to treat yourself to a meal at an all-American steakhouse, there’s no shortage of those. Murray’s is a popular place known for their red meat and "butter knife steak." Plus it’s been around since 1946 and still retains its awesomely retro neon sign. Capital Grille has to be listed here because it’s #1 on TripAdvisor and serves fancy cuts of meat and seafood, like a 24-ounce Porterhouse and butter-poached lobster tails. For both steaks and locally-made sausages as well as a charcuterie board boasting things like boar and elk, visit Butcher and the Boar for their meat-centric menu, beer garden, and bourbon selection. For something a little different, hit Hell’s Kitchen, a highly recommended restaurant downtown that crowds flock to for "quirky" American food, like deviled eggs with candied bacon, a Walleye BLT, and something called the Hellburger. Plus they have a big brunch menu and an outrageous bloody mary bar. If you want to try a Midwestern classic, however, head to Matt’s Bar, theplace 42 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
for a Jucy Lucy, the iconic burger with molten cheese-filled meat patties. It’s cash-only, crowded, and a bit of a dive bar, but it serves up solid beer and burgers, so what more do you want? If you’re from a tiny town and this is your escape to the big city, maybe you’re looking for a bit of international flare. For unique thin-crust pizza, people rave about Pizzeria Lola, though it’s a bit out of downtown. Zen Box Izakayaserves Japanese comfort food in a small space, with choices like ramen, short ribs, fried chicken, and sashimi. For big city Italian food, check out Bar La Grassa for the classics and Zelo for contemporary. ￼
Where to Drink If you just read all those suggestions and thought "No, this is Super Bowl weekend. Do less!" We
got you. You can – and should! – eat and drink at bars all over the city. These are some of the most popular joints in town for hanging out, and their food ain’t bad either. The Local is a great Irish pub with a patio and TVs that serves beer and Jameson alongside classics like walleye sandwiches, cheddar soup, burgers, and poutine. Also popular with the party crowd – probably due to its cool rooftop lawn bowling setup – is Brit’s Pub. They’ve got an English-style menu with lots of meat pies, fish and chips, and mushy peas.You’ll find more pub fare at The 1029 Bar, a favorite neighborhood
spot across the river featuring a lot of seafood and karaoke every night. Nearby at Elsie’s, you can go bowling, drink beers, and have bloodies at brunch to feel better about the night before. If you’re really serious about watching more than just the Super Bowl while you’re here, head to Mac’s Industrial Sports Bar, a laid back place to watch any game. It’s got a good beer selection and an excellent Reuben. But if you need a HUGE selection of beers to be comfortable, bounce over to Republic, where they’ve got 104 tap lines. Completely unnecessary, but they weren’t named one of the best beer
bars in the nation for nothing. If you’re more hip than all these options and find you need a snazzy cocktail instead, then pop over to Marvel Bar in the North Loop for fancy drinks. It’s a busy speakeasy with a creative menu. and Don’t Forget the Breweries! You’re in a city filled with breweries and taprooms, so you’re pretty much required to check out a few while you’re here. If you can spare a day, you may want to take a brewery tour with Bitter Minnesota or Hoppy Trolley, companies that can hook you up with a driver and a guide. Or, because there are so damn many breweries in this town, you could actually DIY a tour of your own pretty easily. Just head over to the Warehouse District and you’ll be able to walk between four different breweries: Fulton Brewing Taproom, InBound Brew Co., Modist Brewing Co., and The Free House. If you’re closer to downtown, you can head to Clockwerks Brewing, Lakes and Legends Brewing, Sisyphus, FINNEGANS Headquarters, or Day Block Brewing Company, depending on where you’re located. You may want to get a ride though! Across the river to the north of downtown, you can visit the highly regarded Dangerous Man, Indeed Brewing Company, or Fair State. and one of the most popular breweries in town is the sprawling Surly Brewing out near the University of Minnesota. They’ve got great beers and amazing bar snacks. Picture 3 Juicy Lucy Cheese Burger From Matts Bar. Courtesy of FLICKR
HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 43
SA VING FOREVER TAKING THE POP WORLD BY STORM by Christian Lopez
Cover photo by Sean McElrath
Khadan, Kye, and Kavah Harris, these 3 brothers by blood together form the band called “Saving Forever” if you are not familiar with these names already, you surely will be soon. These rock stars are buzzing in the L.A area and they are the coolest kids in Los Angeles. Though only 14, 15 and 17 years old, Kavah being the oldest and Khadan being the youngest, their music knowledge is enough to put anybody who says they love music to shame. We got the chance to sit down and talk with these young men and were really impressed by their knowledge, music and story you will be too. 44 • HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY
”We were always surrounded by instruments growing up” says Kye, mentored by his father John Harris, he remembers him saying “Drums will come easy when you start learning everything else”. Their oldest brother Kavah was the first to be taught piano by his grandmother at the age of 5 and once his younger siblings saw what big bro was doing they all wanted to partake in the same practices. “I learned piano before I learned my ABC’s” Kye tells the Hollywood Weekly staff laughing, he continues “but my family made sure I learned my ABC’s quick when they saw all I wanted to do was play music”. Saving Forever
performing at Hollywood Weekly’s Grammy viewing event, was sensational! The way these young men played their instruments and sang you would only expect that from people who are much older and have been doing it their whole lives. With Kavah leading guitar, Khadan leading vocals (and guitar as well) and Kye playing bass, these boys get down like grown men. They truly took us by surprise and brought us to our feet. Inspired by “Queen” “Lenny Kravitz” “The Eagles” “Fall Out Boy” “Red Hot Chili Peppers” “Prince and The Revolution” we had to put them to the test so we gave them a question to see if they really knew anything about
these artist they say “Inspire them” and it turned out... they knew more than anyone about these artists. When asked “What’s your favorite Prince song?” Khadan the youngest one replies “Morning Papers” right away! Without any hesitation Kye replies “Computer Blue... no wait” he stops himself “I’m Yours”... “yeah that’s the one” Kavah then says, “Starfish and coffee” also “The ballad of Dorothy Parker” smooth choices I mean how many people in the “Generation Z” category do you know can name even
Saving Forevers "Kavah" 17 yrs old
one Prince song? These young men brought up exclusive songs, even die-hard Prince Fans wouldn’t know about. Speechless and overwhelmed by their knowledge... Kye very reluctantly says “Yeah my father tested all of us on Prince and The Revolution every day for years”. Ladies watch out these are some smooth fellas on the rise. Saving Forever, the name derives from the group wanting their music to last forever like MJ and Prince “we want to save the world with our music” says the three young men.
Saving Forevers "Khadan" 14 yrs old.
“Million Ways” is the groups new single and it is a hit, you can find it on YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify, and mostly any digital music outlet. Their new single “Memories” off their new Ep “Memories” comes out late March and is sure to be a smash, as they just finished shooting the music video for it. The newly Epic Records signee’s have a lot of talent and they are worth every minute of your time. Be sure to check out what’s going on with Saving Forever and stay updated on www.savingforever.com
Saving Forevers "Kye" 15 yrs old HOLLYWOOD WEEKLY • 45
What We Need & What You Get We need to show Hollywood Studios that our voices count and our stories deserved to be heard! Our goal is to raise a minimum of $5,000 to fund workshops for emerging filmmakers. One of the advantages of being the only Hollywood magazine situated on a major Hollywood studio lot, is the access to major producers. We plan to train filmmaker as journalist, in order to open doors to real film executives that can help their careers. In addition, the funds will be used to cover expenses for our next Film Festival that is scheduled for November 3rd in the exact building where our office is located at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Finally, we need funds to cover expenses for filmmakers who cannot afford to pay submission fees and to fund prizes and scholarships for winning submissions. Special Perks that We Offer
But most excitingly, we have wonderful perks. For starters, everyone who donates at least $10 will receive a Signed Copy of Hollywood Weekly Magazine, by our founder and publisher Prather Jackson. Plus you will receive a FREE copy of our collectible and best selling issue entitled “Barack Obama Becomes Our 44th President,” originally published in 2009. Donations of $25 will get a 6-month “print”subscription to Hollywood Weekly Magazine. $95 contributors will receive a special 2-person VIP Pass to our 5th Annual Hollywood Weekly Magazine Film Festival to be held November 3, 2018 in Hollywood, California. And other perks will be announced soon, so check back often.
Risk and Challenges
Like any business there are risk involved. As the executive producer of the Hollywood Weekly Film Festival,I have successfully held 4 consecutive film festivals which started in the Charles Aidikoff Screening Room in Beverly Hills in 2014 and has grown every successive year. I feel my experience coupled with your support will enable this campaign to be successful even if we fail to meet our goals of raising the entire amount of $5,000 that we are seeking. If you wish to support but are unable to make a financial contribution there are other ways to help. For starters, please share this ad and tell your friends to tell their friends about this wonderful campaign. Then send me an email, just to let me know that you are wishing for our success. My personal email is: HollywoodPublisher@gmail.com (click page if viewing from digital outlet to go to indiegogosite) https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/black-panther-s-call-for-diversity-in-hollywood#/
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