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The New IAE SPORTS 30 | ‘BEHIND THE BENCH’ THE NBA’s LEADING LADIES. In this series of exclusive interviews we get to know the REAL wives of the National Basketball Association and their .



Fear is not

something I subscribe to.

I don’t worrry

about whether or not the stories I tell will destroy my acting career...”


Isaiah Washington

i Am Entertainment





The Multiplatinum and 2x Gold selling songstress, shares how she went from getting coffee for a record label CEO, to becoming a chart topping international pop/dance star who is signed to Univeral Music Group; all in a matter of months.





From teen mom to ‘The Price Is Right’ model and actress, this Hollywood mom shares her journey.

When entertainers and athletes begin earning money, 5-star wealth manager, Ethel Davis, helps them invest and grow their networth for the longhaul.



Seven must see indie dvd’s you should watch or add to your personal collection.


13 | LANEYA WILES One of the stars from the new film, Gimme Shelter, talks about working with stars like Vanessa Hudgems and Rosario Dawson.

15 | WARREN DRUMMOND The storyboard artist shares insights on his work on the new television series “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

45 | ON DVD IN JAN/FEB A look at what’s coming to Redbox, Hulu, and Netflix. From box office hits to indie flicks, you’ll find the perfect DVD for your movie night.


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14


This film composing duo has worked on music for some of the industry’s top movies.

7 CHARLENE AMOIA What A Film & TV Career Looks Like With nearly 60 film and television credits to her name so far, this young actress/producer is a living example of what it means to be a working actor in Hollywood.

25 | TECH TALK Four things every gutarist can can use.

26 | BARRY ROBERTS Veteran record label executive enters the world of reality TV, with his new cooking show.

47 | SECONDHAND HABIT It’s not easy being indie, but this band is cutting through the noise with Anaphylactic Rock.

48 | ALBUM REVIEWS Introducing some of 2014’s hottest recording artists and their music.

i am Entertainent

The Entertainer’s Handbook


Editor’s Word

PUBLISHER: I Am Entertainment Media


Are You Building a Bridge to Nowhere?


Building a legacy that lives beyond the New Year



n the minds of many, the New Year is a time of excitement and renewal; a chance to hit the “reset button” and go after their dreams. As they step into their rejuvenated outlook on life there’s a passion that exists, unlike that of the previous months, which propels them forward with almost no fear. Then, three months into their journey, the bridge they’re endeavoring to cross becomes backed up due to unforseen roadblocks and before they know it they’re going nowhere.

One of the primary reasons this happens is because, people set unrealistic goals that they don’t fully evaluate the big picture of. They blindly set overtly ambitious plans that are either in an area beyond their own realm of expertise, or in conflict with the rest of their life’s pre-exisitng circumstances. Many of these plans are also not things that the individual is prepared to stick with no matter what. In essence it’s not a conviction; it’s not something they will continue to do year-round because it’s in their character and they can’t help it. So, as you embark upon your New Year’s “resolution(s)”, consider this; if you were in the last year of your life, are your resolutions something you want others to remember you by? Is it something that requires the assistance of others? If so, who; and how do you plan to impact them in a positive way? We are all here to help one another, and no one person is more important than the next. Life is not just about you or me, it’s about all of us. In this issue, you’ll find that giving back and building a legacy is the common thread between many of those featured. While their careers are of great importance to them, helping others through their work is equally important.

Our cover person, Isaiah Washington, is not only focused on creating stories that affect change, he has also established himself as someone who is committed to creating opportunities for up-and-coming filmmakers. In addition, we are joined by the ladies of the ‘Behind the Bench’ National Basketball Wives Association. This group of extraordinary women is all about philanthropy; using their time, social status, and wealth to give back to those in need. Each party mentioned operates in their convictions, so each year their goals are the same. This is why they continue to succeed and will undoubtedly leave an awesome legacy. In the end, our legacy will likely be a reflection of what our convictions are/were. Going into 2014, I encourage you to operate in your convictions instead of setting resolutions that build a bridge to nowhere. Your convictions will help you establish a legacy that goes far beyond the beginning of 2014, and you won’t have to make New Year’s resolutions again. I’d love to hear what you’d like your legacy to be so, please feel free to write me at Ready, set, go…


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Candy Freeman, Leslie White, Shaine Freeman, Senseitional CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Cover: Frank Ishman All others, see interviews/articles. ADVERTISING: Print Subscriptions (US): $24 for 1 year, $32 for 2 years I Am Entertainment Media PO Box 263 Kennesaw, GA 30152 Tel: 818-813-9365 Article Submissions & General Info: I Am Entertainment Magazine is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November by I Am Entertainment Media, LLC (IAE). The opinions expressed by our contributors falls under their constitutional rights of free speech. While we have made extensive efforts to ensure that the content herein has been obtained through reliable sources, IAE is not liable for any errors or omissions, typographical errors, or misprints. IAE reserves the right to refuse any advertising which it deems unsuitable. All advertisers agree to hold the publisher harmless and indemnify any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs, and expenses (including attorney’s fees) made against or incurred by the publisher, including but not limited to the sole negligence and/or fault of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for any claims, losses, or damages of any kind, arising from the wording, text, graphics, or representations of any ads published herein, or of the condition of the articles sold through the paper, or performance of service advertised in this publication. All advertisements and submissions are wholly the property of IAE and cannot be copied in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. We reserve the right to edit or refuse any ad and reprint any ad or photo for promotional use. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2014. All issues of I Am Entertainment Magazine are wholly the property of IAE and shall not be printed, copied, duplicated, or distributed without expressed written consent from the publisher. I Am Entertainment is a trademark of IAE. ISSN 2161-9093 (print) ISSN 2161-3109 (digital)


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14




Kicking off 2014 with 5 films in the works, Charlene Amoia, is establishing herself as one of Hollywood’s actors to watch. Fresh off recent roles on top shows like “Switched at Birth” (ABC Family) and “Drop Dead Diva” (Lifetime), this rising star talks with I Am Entertainment about the business of acting.

During the first years of your career, did you ever question yourself on whether or not you should continue acting? Yes, I did. The thing is, I loved it! So, even just being in an acting class or a small play created a sense of satisfaction for me. I didn’t want to not be an actor, even if I wasn’t able to do it on a larger scale. There were times where I wasn’t auditioning, or I didn’t have an agent, that I began to question if I should try something else. But, I just kept myself busy with acting classes, workshops with casting directors, and submitting myself for things. I didn’t notice that I wasn’t booking things in the beginning because, I didn’t have anything to compare it to. It was when I started working a lot and then the slow periods kicked in, that’s when it got a lot harder for me.


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

What advice or tips on auditioning could you offer to actors who may be considering a move to LA? I think you should go into an audition expecting the casting director, or whoever is reading with you in the room, to be a bad actor. When you’re in a scene there’s a give and take between the actors, and you trust that the other actor is going to give you something in return. But, in many auditions the person reading with you may not be very good at acting, and you still have to deliver the scene. I prepare for the audition like I prepare for one-night shows in theater. No matter how big my audience is I’m going to put on a show so, in the audition the casting director (or reader) is my audience. If I’m not getting a good read from them (casting director) I just use that to do more. You have to create room in your head to be able to respond when they aren’t giving you much in return in the scene. Don’t be so rehearsed that you don’t have room to improvise. This way you’re not relying on the person who is reading with you. Most people know you from ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ How in the world were you able to take that one episode and transition it into a recurring/multi-episode role? I was fortunate that my role (Wendy) was in a position to recur. The characters frequented

this bar that (Wendy) worked at so, it was wide open. The second part of it stems from me coming onto the set prepared, so I was able to leave a good impression. I didn’t come in and want more than what they were giving me, and I didn’t bother anybody. I was prepared. Once you go from being a “one-off” character to a recurring role, your pay changes too. Was it tough to convince them to pay you more? It was a little bit more each time. My manager, at the time, was very kind and he was a “yes man.” He wasn’t one to give a huff when it came time for negotiation. Which, I think it was the right idea to have because, my character on the show took a while to develop and it was a few episodes before (Wendy) had much of a storyline. So, it could have easily been a situation where they replaced me and hired someone else to do that role on the other episodes. Over the years, Wendy’s role grew and the pay got better but, we didn’t go in there pushing for that in particular. What are you working on now? I recently wrapped a film called, “Vitale.” It’s an independent thriller. This is a role I’ve never played before so, it’s pretty exciting. It’s a very heavy and emotional role. It’s an independent iae vibe and people had a good time on set.


Tell us where you’re from and what inspired you to pursue a career in acting and modeling? I’m originally from Buffalo, New York and that’s where most of my family is. My dad and I moved to Las Vegas when I was 15, and I started modeling locally. discovered auditioning for acting roles while I was auditioning as a model for commercials. I really enjoyed it and developed a love for acting, so I decided to explore it further. When I finished high school, I moved out to LA and started working.

WISDOM ON FEAR: Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins. - Dr. Charles Stanley


FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE Overcoming The Fear of Rejection In Showbusiness & Life By: Shaine L. Freeman


A closed mouth never gets fed, at least that’s what “they” say. Usually, I would disagree with “they,” but in this case, I’d have to agree because it’s true. When you don’t communicate what you want or need, you miss the opportunity to acheive whatever it is that you’ve set out to accomplish. So, I’d like to share a few insights that might help you overcome your fear of rejection.

1) Believe In Yourself. It should go without saying that if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t really expect for anyone else to believe in you either. Unfortunately, tons of people ignore this and get hung up on their fear of being told “no,” which ultimately leads to failure. When you don’t believe in your talents, ideas, and abilities you give up before you even try. It’s virtually impossible to be a success when you’re always afraid of what might be. So, since you can’t predict the future, stop telling yourself that you’ll hear “no” in response to your requests. Instead, start telling yourself what you can do, and resolve to communicate that as you move forward in your pursuit of success. This is the foundation of believing in yourself; replacing the fear of “no”, with confidence in what you know you are capable of doing.

2) Don’t Be A People Pleaser. Most people care far too much about what other people think, so they spend all of their time trying to live up to everybody’s unrealistic expectaions. When I quit worrying about what other people thought of me, I think I cut my stress levels by 60%. This is not an invitation to become a jerk; it simply means you should focus on honing your skills and putting your best foot forward in everthing you do without being overly concerned with what other people might think or say. 3) Don’t Be Too Proud To Speak. Finally, don’t muzzle yourself if you need help. Pride is a cancer that can kill an opportunity. Don’t sell out, but don’t be silent either; you’re a lot smarter than you think. Put together a plan of attack, prepare to execute it, and speak louder than your pride. iae




n Os bourn RIG HT M e-Sm ODE L/A ith CTR ESS


“Don’t let the barriers you face keep you from your dreams. Have confidence in yourself and never give up...”

Gwendolyn Osborne-Smith


This is Gwendolyn OsborneSmith, “The Price is Right” model, actress and singer. But, that’s just what she does, it’s not who she is. She’s the mother of 5 kids, and the wife of 2x NBA champion and TNT analyst, Kenny Smith. Here, we reconnect with Mrs. Smith to share her inspiring journey and learn what she’s been up to lately. Welcome back friend! So, what’s the latest with your career and home life? This is such an exciting time for me. I recently celebrated 9 years at ‘The Price is Right’; I started the first week of February in 2005. I am also on the ‘Real Husbands of Hollywood’ episode called, “Don’t Vote for Nick (Cannon),” where I play Wayne Brady’s date for the evening. I really enjoyed working with the great comedian/ actor, Kevin Hart, as well. That was a super funny work day! I am also a lead on the a new TBS pilot with my family called, “The Smith’s”. I’m also back in the studio recording and writing songs. Outside of entertainment, I am regularly visiting teen mothers and talking to them about being one myself, and how you can still be as successful as you ever wanted to be with your new child, or children. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to speak to young women about setting goals and timelines for yourself and being determined and consisten. That’s a beautiful thing you’re doing. Kudos to you for giving back. So, for those who don’t know, please share where you’re from

and what led you to pursue a career in the entertainment business? I’m from Bath, England and it was my older sister who influenced my interest in entertainment. She attended Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts; the same school that Naomi Campbell went to. My sister was always singing and dancing, and she loved the show Fame, so we would imitate what we saw on that show. She would dress me up and come up with stories, and that’s how it all started for me. When you moved to the U.S., what was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome when trying to break into show-business? I came to the states as a teenager and went to school at the New World School of the Arts in Miami for one year. The challenges I faced were more cultural because, people would immediately ask where I was from, and they’d put more focus on that. But, I wanted to be taken seriously, and once I proved that I was serious about my art; that’s when the challenge went away. When you moved to LA; did you find it to be any different from Miami? Yes, it was totally different. I moved to LA in 2001, and at the time I was a single mother. I became a SAG member after working on the film, ‘Any Given Sunday.’ After that, I started working with LA Models, and those modeling gigs helped me pay the bills while I continued to go out on auditions. Then, I booked ‘The Price is Right’ (in 2005). Speaking of The Price is Right; what is the audition process like for a game show? Well, I auditioned for them in 2004 and didn’t get the job at first. But, I continued going out on other auditions and wound up working on ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ as a model. That set is right next door to ‘The Price is Right’. One day, a stagehand from ‘The Price Is Right’ was working on ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ and he

suggested to the producer of ‘The Price is Right’ that he should ee me. So, I went over and they were like, “Thank you for coming back in! We would love for you to work here.’ With your work keeping you in LA, and Kenny traveling to cover the NBA season, how have you guys been able to make it work? It’s not much different than most other married couples who work and are trying to raise a family. I hear from other married people who are in similar situations, and they talk to their spouse every couple of days. Kenny and I call each other as much as we can, and there are no rules to it. We both work in television, so it makes it easy for us to understand that when you’re on set it’s hard to get to the phone. If it’s been a long day and he was unsuccessful at reaching me; he knows that I was tied up with work, or I had a long day; and vice-versa. But, we make it a priority to not go a week without seeing each other. Sometimes that means he’ll fly home for one day and then fly back out. It’s a lot of sacrifice, but anything worth having in life requires a lot of sacrifice. We just focus on the positives and keep at it. Together, we have 5 children; he has two from a previous relationship, and I came in with one (child). We now have 3 teenagers and they all have their own things going on too, so we have to balance their stuff as well. We’ve heard that there’s not a lot of work for black women in Hollywood. What advice would you give to women who might be running into racial or image barriers in TV? I would say, just work on your craft and be the best that you can be at what you do. Don’t let the barriers you face keep you from your dreams. Have confidence in yourself and never give up on yourself, because if you do, then other people will give up on you. If the women of color who came before us had given up on their dreams, we wouldn’t have the opportunities that we have today. So stay with it and keep fighting. JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment


ROBERT REDFORD ONCE SAID...“Whereas money is a means to an end for a filmmaker, to the corporate mind money is the end. Right now, I think independent film is very confused, because there’s excess pressure in the marketplace for entertainment to pay off.”



3 Instructions Not Included

1 From Above (Fox/Vertical)

January 30 – February 9 Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival

Genre: Comedy | Rated: PG-13 | Released: Jan. 21st Cast: Eugenio Derbez, Karla Souza, Jessica Lindsey Description: Valentin (Derbez) is Acapulco’s resident playboy until a former fling leaves a baby on his doorstep and disappears. Valentin leaves Mexico for Los Angeles to find the baby’s mother, but instead ends up living there with his new daughter, Maggie (Peralta). Valentin establishes himself as one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen, with Maggie acting as his on-set coach. As Valentin raises Maggie, she forces him to grow up too, until Maggie’s mom shows up.

4 In Love w/a Church Girl Genre: Inspirational | Rated: NR | Release Date: Feb. 4th Cast: Danny Glover, Tantoo Cardinal, Clarence Gilyard, Jr., Graham Greene, Ashley Bell Description: The power of love’s eternal connection is proven in this Romeo and Juliet-inspired tale. From the side of her deathbed, he reflects on his past with the Native American beauty – who descended from the mystical Lightning Clan. Though society, cultural circumstances and family pressures conspired to keep them apart, the young lovers devised a way to be together, further strengthening the bond between them.

2 Enough Said (20th Cent. Fox)


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

Athena Film Festival

February 6-9 Athena Film Festival New York, NY

Victoria Film Festival

February 7-16 Victoria Film Festival Victoria, Canada

Sedona Film Festival Genre: Drama | Rated: PG | Release: Jan 14th Cast: Jeff “Ja Rule” Atkins, Adrienne Bailon, Michael Madsen, Stephen Baldwin, Vincent Pastore Description: Miles Montego (Atkins) is a retired high-level drug trafficker gone legit who is struggling to do right. He meets, Vanessa (Bailon), whose faith in God forces Miles to make some hard decisions. After a string of hardships Miles must make some decisions.

5 Freedom Force

Genre: Comedy | Rated: PG-13 | Release Date: Jan. 14th Cast: James Gandolfini (the late actor’s last film), Julie Louis Dreyfus, Toni Collette, Catherine Kenner Description: A divorced single mom, Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter’s impending departure for college. She meets Albert (Gandolfini) - a funny, like-minded man also facing an empty nest. As their romance blooms, Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), a new client whose hatred toward her ex-husband causes Eva to doubt her relationship with Albert. It’s a humorous exploration of the mess that often comes with getting involved again.

Here are some of the film festivals in the U.S. that you may want to check out in in

Santa Barbara Int’l

*Source: worldwide user rating.

It’s the most, wonderful tiiiiime of the yeeeear! Yep, it’s time to break out the egg nog and Swiss Miss, light the fireplace, bring out the lights and other ridiculous yard decorations, pull the fake Christmas tree out of the garage, and go broke buying gifts for people you don’t see all year. Yes friends, it’s holiday season in America. But here are a few movies to get you in “the spirit”.


February 22-March 2 Sedona Int’l Film Fest Sedona, AZ

Miami Int’l Film Fest

March 7-16 Miami Int’l Film Fest Miami, FL

SXSW Film Festival Genre: Animated | Rated: PG | Release: Dec 31, 2013 Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Christopher Lloyd Description: Four unlikely, pint-sized heroes set out to save the world from chaos in this animated adventure for the entire family. A devious plot is under way to change the writings of an author, which could change the course of history, so the Freedom Force is sent back in time to restore the beloved stories and secure their rightful place in history.

March 7-16 South X SouthWest Austin, TX

Images are the property of their respective owners.


FILM & TV RESUME GIMME SHELTER ROLE: Jasmine Director/Writer: Ron Krauss Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser, Rosario Dawson, and James Earl Jones In Theaters January 24, 2014 Source:

What do Oscar winner, James Earl Jones, Brendan Fraser, Vanessa Hudgens, & Rosario Dawson all have in common? They all star in the film, “Gimme Shelter” with Laneya Wiles. Here, Laneya shares some insight on her big screen debut. Tell us where you’re from and what got you interested in being in entertainment? I actually started acting professionally when I was 4 years old. I used to love performing for my family and we would read Shakespeare together. I used to do fashion shows and dance for them. (laughs) I had a teacher in Kindergarten who recommended me for acting and turned me onto a manager. So, my entire life I have known that this is what I wanted to do. What got you into the stand-up comedy side of the


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

business? My family has always known how to make light of a bad situation. I feel like that was a big influencer for me. I didn’t think I was capable of doing stand up comedy, or being funny like that until I started creating my own projects that were comedic and people started saying I was funny. So, I was like, “Maybe I can do this!” This was something that I wanted to do but I didn’t think I was capable of doing it. I ended up taking a class for it just to learn the techniques. For those who don’t know, you have this upcoming film called, GIMME SHELTER. Talk a little bit about your role in that movie and how that whole thing came about? Basically, I went on the audition for the role of, Jasmine, a pregnant teenaged runaway. Jasmine is also half African-American and Puerto-Rican, and she is also a rape victim. When I went in for the audition I did a latina accent, and that got me the call back, which took place at the actual shelter where we shot the film. When I was there on the call back, I still used that accent for the audition, and the producers were shooting behind-the-scenes footage.






“Knowing what it’s like to direct and edit helps you get a full perspective when you’re acting.” - LANEYA WILES on being multi-talented in showbusiness. It was a very exciting and confusing moment for me because, after I booked it I thought, “Oh my gosh, if I actually book this role and people see the behind-the-scenes footage, people are going to wonder why I have this accent.” [laughs] I didn’t know who was going to be in the film initially, but at the call back they let us know that Vanessa Hudgens, James Earl Jones, Brendan Fraser and Rosario Dawson would be starring in it. Actually, Ron Krauss (the direc-

tor of the film), showed us some photos of what they had just shot, because they were already filming the movie before they made the decision to choose the remaining cast members. I saw the picture of Rosario and she looked so scary because, she plays a crack addict. They did a great job with her makeup. My character, Jasmine, becomes a part of the family at the shelter with Vanessa Hudgens’ character, Apple. When does the movie come out, and why should people go see it? The movie comes out the weekend of my birthday, on January 24th. I’m really excited! Everyone should go out and see it because I’m in it! (laughs) No, seriously though, there isn’t another story out there that I can think of that’s like this. Also, Vanessa transformed into this role and I can’t wait to see it myself. You’ve also done quite a bit with modeling and commercials. So, your talents span comedy, acting, commercials, and modeling. Talk a little bit about what it’s like to wear so many different hats.

I love it! Honestly, I feel like I was always that way. Even when I was a child, I wanted to be everything. (laughs) But with acting, you can do just that. It’s great to be able to be switch things up and be versatile; touching and using different parts of your brain. I’m also involved in the behind-the-scenes stuff so, I write, direct and edit as well. I went to school to learn that. I feel all of that helps you become a more wellrounded performer. Acting is just one side of it so, it’s good to know and understand where you’re supposed to be when you’re in front of the camera. Knowing what it’s like to direct and edit helps you get a full perspective when you’re acting. It’s funny how you said it like this is so easy to do it. (laughs) But, most people are so one dimensional and I applaud you for getting educated on the full scope of filmmaking. (laughs) Thank you! Early on, I refused to put myself in a box. I’m always trying to create some other radius or dimension to arsenal of talents. I avoid “the box” at all times. (laughs) iae

HOLLYWOOD DEALMAKING (2nd Edition) Negotiating Talent Agreements For Film, TV, & New Media Dina Appleton and Daniel Yankelevits (Attorneys-At-Law) || 313 pages || Allworth Press ($24.95) By: Shaine Freeman

This book is a must have for every film and television professional whose primary goal is to make a living in the motion picture industry. Whether you’re a screenwriter, producer, director, manager, agent, or talent...this book will help you understand the terminology and what to look for in a production contract. In my earlier years as a talent manager, I used the first edition of Hollywood Dealmaking to navigate my way through a number of negotiations for the actors I represented. Whether it was for a major studio production, or an indie feature film, this book (and some phone calls to industry mentors) gave me the confidence to negotiate on-behalf-of my clients. In some cases, I was able to use this book to establish clarity and credibility, but more importantly, gain the confidence of those I represented. The authors, Dina Appleton and Daniel Yankelevits, both well respected attorneys in Los Angeles (CA), have done an excellent job of creating a blueprint for understable the dealmaking process. Film and television professionals will learn and gain an understanding of the following key elements:

1. Who The Players Are (managers, agents, entertainment attorneys, studio execs, and unions) 2. Studios vs. Indie Productions 3. Negotiation Tips From Industry Players 4. Rights Acquisitions Agreemnts 5. Feature Writer Employment Deals 6. TV Writer/Producer Agreements 7. Feature Film & TV Director Agreements 8. Film Producer Agreements 9. Feature Film & TV Actor Deals 10. Crew Agreements 11. Reality TV 12. Digital Content Deals 13. Sample Contracts/Forms Hollywood Dealmaking is one of the most comprehensive guides on film and television deal negotiations. It has been a go to resource for me and I recommend it to film and TV professionals all the time. This book is available in paperback and on Kindle via, as well as Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and a host of other stores. You can also get a copy at

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment







arren Drummond has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most dependable storyboard artists; not to mention, an all around nice guy. The New York native is one of the most honest and genuine people we’ve ever met in Tinsel Town; a quality that has to exist when talent alone isn’t enough. Here, Drummond talks to us about his most recent gig on the new hit TV series, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Congratulations on your appointment on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series. What’s your responsibility on that show? I am the series storyboard artist and I meet with the new director for each episode to go over any scenes with action or special effects that they want to have drawn out to fully flesh out camera moves or figure out expenses. I can work anywhere from a couple of days to about five.


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

It all depends on what’s needed. As I do entire scenes, it’s about storytelling.

pressing issue, you become invaluable because, time is money in this business.

Is storyboarding for TV different than in film? For television, your layouts need to be on the same page with the director’s vision from the start. They don’t have as much time to play with in TV. Technically speaking, you also have a wider aspect ratio in film for the frames so that they match the feature film screen proportion. After that, it’s just storyboards.

How can someone get a job as a storyboard artist for projects this size? Some jobs come through an agent, while most others come via referrals or reputation, like any other job. A good track record makes things a lot easier because, I was in the mix with other storyboard artists looking to book the Marvel show. The way I got it was through the recommendation of a colleague of mine, Robin Richesson, who got the initial call but couldn’t do it because she was on another long-term gig. Maurissa Tancharoen, one of the head writers and executive producers of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is a friend of mine, as is her equally talented brother Kevin Tancharoen (director of the online MORTAL KOMBAT series). Maurissa knew I could do the job. So, going back to what I said earlier; if people know you can deliver, you may have a better shot. Relationships are an important part of any business, just as they are in one’s personal life. There are no absolutes (in showbusiness) because, in the past I’ve known “the right” people and still didn’t get certain jobs. Your style needs to connect with the people who are doing the hiring. Bruce Lee was turned down for the lead in the TV series “KUNG FU”! (laughs) Imagine that! So, it happens. (laughs) Also, when you’re a storyboard artist, being known for your speed and ability to work well with other people is huge. It’s something you’ll benefit from. iae

What kind of preparation goes into storyboarding an episode of this particular show? In television, they only (story)board what they have to. The money and time is tighter in TV, so you won’t do shots that take a long time, for example, a long dolly shot or long sweeping pans. TV has fewer lens changes as well for me to approximate with my drawing style. For the most part, what I do is draw coverage for a scene as it will look when it is edited. I have to be a storyteller, but the storyboards and shot selection have to be what the director and the production (company) might need. What would you say is the key to working with any production as a storyboard artist? Be accessible and listen to instructions. I can’t make things up when it is not what a director, cinematographer or stunt coordinator needs. Tell the story of the scene in an interesting manner; dynamically if possible. Also, get the work done on time and without excuses. Every so often, if you come up with an artistic solution to a




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IT’S YOUR DREAM...WHAT ARE YOU WAITIN’ FOR? Quit sitting in a coffee shop all day writing down ideas and daydreaming about your big break...GET UP & DO SOMETHING. We know you want to make it and we want to help you succeed. That’s why we’re inviting you to never miss another issue of the award-winning I Am Entertainment Magazine, or another episode of the new I Am Entertainment: The Podcast on iTunes.

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The Millennium Triumph Man



BEFORE YOU READ THIS, get your mind right and cue up LL Cool J’s song, “Mama Said Knock You Out.” Why? Because, the lyrics describe the kind of beat down Isaiah Washington is preparing to serve everyone who made an assassination attempt on his professional career seven years ago. Letting his actions do the talking, Washington is set to take 2014 by storm with a host of leading TV and film roles, and a host of other game changing projects he has under development. So, don’t call it a comeback because, The Millennium Triumph Man never left; you just haven’t been paying attention.

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment



“I don’t worry about whether

or not the stories I tell will destroy my acting career because, you can’t take away something that doesn’t exist.

They killed the actor (in me) on June 7, 2007.”


Strictly Business ‘Hustler’ 1994 1991

Crooklyn ‘Vic’

Love Jones ‘Savon Garrison’ 1996


Get on the Bus ‘Kyle’

Congrats on the new show, ‘THE 100’ that’s coming out on CW Network this year; I’ve been hearing some great things about both you and the show. What insights can you give us? Thank you. Yes, the CW does a good job of getting the word out and finding an audience for its shows. We’re doing a lot of social media campaigning through Twitter and Facebook too. That said, ‘The 100’ (pronounced as The Hundred) is a show that’s set 97 years into the future, and I play Chancellor Thelonious Jaha. He’s a wartime President whose goal is to keep the over 2,000 surviving members of the human race together after a nuclear holocaust wiped out the entire Earth and forced them to live on space stations. They form a nation of 12 space stations called the “ARK,” which is run by me (Chancellor Jaha), and their hope is to survive long enough to return to Earth. But, when they discover that the ARK is becoming too populated and they’re running out of time and resources, Chancellor Jaha comes up with a plan that involves sending 100 delinquents to Earth to determine if it is inhabitable. I’ll stop there because I don’t want to give away too much, but this is where the show starts. It’s unlike anything The CW has ever released, and they’re putting a lot behind it. I was asked to be a part of this very risky and innovative endeavor, but it’s no pressure on me because it’s well written. There’s a lot of green screen, a lot of special effects, and tons of great acting. We air March 19, 2014 on the CW Network. This should be a game changer. You also have a web series called, ‘FOR COLORED BOYS: Redemption,’ that you’re Executive Producing. Can you talk a little about that? Yes! I’d like everyone to go to YouTube (or and watch the episodes from Season 1. We have Dr. Marc Lamont Hill as an Executive Producer as well. The show is written and produced by Stacey Muhammad, whose voice, I believe, is just as powerful as Shonda Rhimes’ and Mara Brock Akil’s voices, but in a different way. We know that many brothers struggle with conforming to their freedom when they exit prison so, Stacey explores that in a very loving and familiar way on, For Colored Boys. You’ll see how their families are impacted by their return, and how these guys struggling to be the sons, fathers, brothers,


Welcome To Collinwood Bionic Woman The 100 ‘Leon’ ‘Antonio Pope’ ‘Chancellor Jaha’ 2000 2005-07 2013

Romeo Must Die ‘Mac’


Grey’s Anatomy ‘Dr. Preston Burke’

and uncles they were before their incarceration. So, those reading this, please do me a favor and go to YouTube and watch the first 8 episodes. The more hits we get, the bigger message we can send to investors and show them there is an audience out there. This will also help us when it’s time to approach the networks about distribution.

“I’ve had a great career as an actor, but as a producer I want to challenge myself to take on the hard stories that make people think...” We called you ‘The Millennium Triumph Man’ because you have overcome so much adversity since 2007. Not many people would’ve made it through all of that. I’m looking at this list of projects you’re doing, and…WOW! February should be a good month for me and the other producers on the various projects that I’m involved with. We’re still looking for an international distributor for Blue Caprice to be shown in South Africa, Brazil and other markets. The outdoors show that I’m doing with Candice (Price) and Wayne (Hubbard), Urban American Adventures, is going to be a serious game changer and we have a lot of great things in the works for that show. Another film project that I’m working on is called, “Game Time Decision“, where I play a former NFL Football player who suffers from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). NFL Hall of Famer, Tony Dorsett, recently came out and told the world that he’s suffering from the early stages of dementia, as a result of CTE. We’re not doing a morality tale to put pressures on the NFL. I love football! I’m negotiating with (the NFL) to let them know that this film will not only be a heartfelt one, but it will help the world feel good about the sport. Those are the kinds of stories that I want to take on. I’ve had a great career as an actor,


Blue Caprice ‘John’


but as a producer I want to challenge myself to take on the hard stories that make people think, no matter what their opinions and feelings are about the subject matter. Life can get ugly and I want to put out stories that force us to look for the beauty behind the beast. I don’t need $100 million to do this either; all I need is a great story inside a great script, coupled with the right personnel and then I can do what I like to call a “strategic sacrifice.” I feel this way about Blue Caprice, The 100, For Colored Boys, Game Time Decision, Urban American Adventures, and all the other projects I’m involved with. Another project that I have been working on is called, ‘Blackbird’, which stars Oscar-winning actress, Mo’Nique, and myself. It’s a very complex story that was written and directed by Patrik-Ian Polk. I play the father of a teenage boy growing up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; a place where many things are considered taboo. The film deals with sexual orientation, abortion, interracial relationships, teen pregnancy, and child abduction. We’re doing it in 95 minutes without making the film a dark drag. It’s very light and has a Steven Spielberg feel. You’ve got a lot of very powerful stuff going on. I respect the fact that you’re not afraid to tell real stories that most people won’t touch. That’s pretty much my journey. I have some wonderful funding supporters who believe in the same things I do, and they’re very good at what they do. I’m attracting great people like Whoopi Goldberg and Mo’Nique to help me tell these great stories. Fear is not something I subscribe to. I don’t worry about whether or not the stories I tell will destroy my acting career because, you can’t take away something that doesn’t exist. They killed the actor (in me) on June 7, 2007. It took a lot of money for them to kill off that side of me so, you’re not talking to an actor anymore. When you see me show up now, you’re seeing an artist; someone who creates things. There was a time in Africa when a young man turned 13 that he had to go out and hunt his first lion, and he couldn’t come back to the village until he did it. The fear wasn’t of the lion, but of not being able to return to his village and his family. Somewhere along the line we’ve been taught to have more fear of our families than of the actual thing that’s trying to eat us. As for me, I’m no longer afraid of what, or who is hunting me. That’s my message in my work as a producer. iae

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment




“... our sound is the product of years of experimentation and exploration that would have been impossible 20yrs ago” Patrick Savage


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

Please tell us where you’re from and what it was like growing up there? Patrick Savage: Holeg and I are from dramatically different backgrounds; I’m from a big family in Bendigo (Victoria, Australia). Since I was practically a baby, I studied the violin like a child possessed; eventually moving on to the Royal College of Music in London. Growing up in my hometown, I always felt like a fish out of water; largely because of my (passion for) music, and the fact that all the truly important things (in music) were happening far away. This influenced my decision to chase the bright lights around the world. Actually, Bendigo was a pretty idyllic place for a child in many ways. It’s the kind of place where you could walk around all summer with no shoes on. Holeg Spies: I was raised in Paris, France. In the mid 1980’s, this urban surrounding led me to the birthing electronic music world. My favorite toys were vintage keyboards, and I quickly started to program music with ATARI computers. I also had a strong interest in nature, so it has been very educational for me to merge this passion for wildlife with all these binary tools (I loved).

What was your first job as a composer and how did you land the gig? Savage: As the Savage & Spies duo, our first feature came the same way our duo originated; via MySpace for an American vampire project called, “Shadowland.” The whole process was a huge pleasure. We had both previously worked on various short films, independently. My first short (film) came as a result of me mailing out tons of CD’s of my showreel to various places around London. Most (of my CD’s) probably ended up as coasters. Spies: Besides film music, I started my carrer as a composer in the early 1990’s with various music projects released on BMG, Polygram and Universal Japan. From the beginning, I was really into merging various musical styles, and that’s probably why I ended up (doing) film music. I suppose my first gig in the film industry was for the theatrical trailer of Michael Bay’s movie “The Hitcher”. At that time, I was sending out hundreds of emails each week, and one day a trailer house contacted me. What or who inspired you to pursue a career in composing music?



rom producing music for top record labels, to creating emotionally charged soundscapes for both major and indie films, Savage & Spies have spent more than two decades building their track record in showbusiness. In this exclusive interview, the duo shares how they got started and what they’ve learned over the course of their 20+ years making music.

Pictured (L-R): Patrick Savage and Holeg Spies


Spies: Well, I suppose I would not be able to do anything except compose music! More than a career, composing music is a need that I have, and obviously it’s my medium. But, Dead Can Dance (Lisa Gerard and Brendan Perry) and Angelo Badalamenti both moved me a lot. Savage: There are many titans of film music that have been inspiring and influential for me, including John Williams, Korngold, Rosza, Hans Zimmer. But technological development has really been a key catalyst too. The Savage & Spies duo just couldn’t have existed before global social networks, and our sound is the product of years of experimentation and exploration that would have been impossible 20 years ago, without the powerful tools now placed at the hands of composers. As a duo, we were inspired to work together by our differences. My background in classical music versus Holeg Spies as a guru of indie music, his extraordinary work existing in an almost totally electronic realm - it seemed like a recipe for something interesting. How much time is allotted to complete a film or video game score; and how many hours a day do you typically work? Spies: When we are working on a project, we kind of live with it night and day until we de-

liver the score. Savage: Often, we have between 4 and 8 weeks from receiving the final cut (of the movie) but whenever we can, we try and work with filmmakers in advance of the shoot, and sometimes when a film is still in its script stage. On the recent thriller, The Outsider, it was closer to 4 weeks, though much of the temp music was actually our own back catalog. So, our sound was somehow always weaved into the film, and we weren’t starting from zero with the final cut. Directors who are open to ideas and trusting in their creatives, like Brian A. Miller on that project, help ideas flow quickly. On the Playstation game, Invizimals: The Lost Kingdom, Holeg’s commitments meant that he couldn’t join me on (The Outsider). This wasn’t our customary workflow, but in the end it worked out to be around 5 weeks. What are some of the software programs and equipment you use to score for film? Savage: Right now, we use CUBASE because it makes life easy, and everything from SPECTRASONICS is great. The Vienna Symphonic Library is also an indispensable work-horse. Spies: Creative Chemistry from Savage & Spies is clearly my favorite tool!

What advice do you have for those who are interested in composing music for film? Savage: Firstly, it’s about teamwork and there is no room for divas. I think Holeg and I both feel a great sense of privilege to be invited by a filmmaker to join them on their journey with a project. Secondly, it takes real perseverance to weather whatever comes. Thirdly, don’t take too much advice because, there’s never just one way to progress. Spies: Everyone will say it’s a struggle, but take it as a game and go out there to meet people face to face. In the meantime, write music for other projects instead of waiting behind your phone for a producer to call back. Great things may happen! It’s exactly what we are doing with Patrick on our side-project, Kore Kosmou, involving singer/song writer Ariel Electron, East Bay Ray (of The Dead Kennedys), and Jon Klein (of Siouxsie and the Banshees). In the end, what is important is to write and share your music. If you could change anything about the business side of film, what would it be and why? Savage: Whatever we may wish to change, circumstances will change quickly regardless. So it’s more productive to understand filmmakers’ changing needs in the real world and stay flexible. iae

DOWN THE RHODES The Fender Rhodes Story

Gerald McCauley & Benjamin Bove || 258 pages + Blu-ray DVD Documentary || Hal Leonard Books ($44.99) By: Shaine Freeman I enjoyed this book and the Blu-ray DVD documentary. As a keyboardist and record producer, I am a huge fan of the Fender Rhodes piano and many of the people featured in this book & DVD set. Down The Rhodes: The Fender Rhodes Story is a great history lesson on one of the best pianos ever made. Authors, Gerald McCauley and Benjamin Bove take us through the creation and evolution of the Fender Rhodes; a staple sound in both the jazz and the rhythm and blues genres. Heavily illustrated by some of the most amazing photography and interviews documenting the history of Harold Rhodes and his invention, the Fender Rhodes piano, Down The Rhodes is a great coffee table book that should be in every recording studio on the planet.

As I read the history of how Harold Rhodes came up with his amazing piano by piecing together scrap metal and wood from disabled B-17 planes while he was serving in the Air Force during WWII, I couldn’t help but wonder what the world of music would have been like without jazz greats like Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, who were avid Fender Rhodes users. I instantly gained a newfound respect for this classic piano and all the hit songs that were created using it’s signature sound. Whether you’re a musician, a collector, or just someone who is interested in keyboards, pianos, and music history in general, this book and its DVD documentary are a must have. Stop by Amazon or Barnes & Noble and pick up your copy.

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment




4 Things Every Guitarist Can Use by SHAINE FREEMAN



Roland Micro Cube GX

plus mentoring from top record label execs at

Eddie Kramer F-Pedals

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface

including judges such as


MTD Fretwraps

In summer 2013, Roland released the MICRO CUBE GX which is a revised edition of it’s successful MICRO CUBE. Some of the improvements that the MICRO GX bring to Roland’s mini-amp include the company’s hugely successful COSM amps, a number of new effects, a built-in chromatic tuner, and internal memory capabilities. The MICRO CUBE GX also allows Apple users the opportunity to record ideas directly on their mobile devices, thanks to the GX’s, i-CUBE LINK function. The MICRO CUBE has always been a great compact amp that packs tons of power, but Roland’s GX model has enhanced the unit’s sound and expanded its tonal limitations. It retails for right around $149.

Eddie Kramer is a legendary record producer whose name carries a great deal of weight when it comes to crafting the rock n’ roll music. In 2013, F-Pedals launched their Eddie Kramer Signature Series of their compact guitar pedals. The coolest thing is...they’re wireless! Small enough to hold between your index finger and thumb (3.5”x1.25”), F-Pedals’ Eddie Kramer Signature Series pedals are perfect for both stationary and on-the-go use. If you’d like to know more about F-Pedals, visit their website at The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface is workhorse for recording in both portable and stationary environments. It offers 24-bit 96kHz recording quality with 2 Ins and 4 Outs, and Focusrite’s amazing micpres built into the unit. This is an inexpensive, compact way to record guitars and vocals on your portable laptop-based workstation. It comes with a dedicated headphone jack, 2 XLR-1/4” inputs for easy recording, 4 outputs, and compatible with both Mac and Windows. I actually use this unit for both music and podcast recording so, I can vouch for its durability. If you’ve been looking for a portable usb audio interface that can do some heavy lifting, this is a good one to consider at just $199. If you play a 4,5,6, or 7-string instrument, and you want to a simple and effective way to mute the strings, then MTD Fretwraps are what you need. These professional string dampeners allow you to enjoy the muted sound from your electric or acoustic guitar the same way you’d enjoy it on your bass. It retails for right around $29.99, so you can afford it. You can pick these up at just about any instrument store online.


BARRY ROBERTS From Record Exec To TV Chef



hether he’s making music at Roberts Music Group, or cooking up his favorite dishes for his industry friends, veteran music exec, Barry Roberts, knows a thing or two about entertaining. In this exclusive interview, Barry talks music, food, and television.

How did you get involved with the major record labels back in the day? When I was running the fast food restaurant in the Bronx and the snack bar at Corvetts I would go up to the record department on my breaks and sell music. Mike Holtzman left Corvetts and went to work for WEA. Mike had noticed that I had an ear for music and told me when I leave the restaurant business to come over to the record business because he had a job for me. I started out in Marketing and Merchandising, putting displays up in stores and I covered all the stores in New York and New Jersey. I would put up maybe 40 displays in a day, running from store to store. With most of the stores I would cover the store with all the of the label’s product with posters and displays. Most of the stores would tell the other people from the record label, if they wanted to take something down they would have to call Barry Roberts to see what he wants taken down. I had a good rapport with my retailers. From there I went into sales and then into promotion for Elektra Records and I was the Northeast Regional Marketing Promotion Manager. I covered Boston to New York and everything in between. I covered all the radio stations and I would take the artists around doing interviews at these stations as well. I would cover all their shows, which was a lot of fun. One of my favorite artists that I covered and really had a lot of fun with was, Anita Baker. She was like my little sister and we would go around to all the venues. She showed up in Hartford, Connecticut and we gave her the keys to the city. We had a great time. Anita was a sweetheart. When everyone

else said she was difficult, I had no problems with Anita. Another good friend of mine was Howard Hewitt and Keith Sweat. I used to have barbecues over my house and I would have my artists come over for it. Keith Sweat would often stop by for barbeque and every Friday I would make fish for Shinehead. Terri Rossi, who used to work for Billboard would come over with an empty plate for leftovers. I always liked cooking and people liked what I cooked. Lets talk about think a lot of people have gotten the misconception that a major distribution company is obsolete now because now they can self-distribute. Can you talk a little bit about that and why distribution isn’t obsolete? You still need distribution to get the word out there. Yes, people can self-distribute your own music like Beyonce’s just did. First of all to do those types of things you need money and I’m talking about big money. If you have Beyonce type of money you can do that but for the new artist to try to distribute their own music, it’s going to be very difficult and it’s a hard road to travel unless you’re really exceptionally good. There are a lot of people out here who think they can rap, and a lot of people out there who think they can sing but everybody can’t sing and everybody can’t rap. A lot of people waste a lot of money. The one thing about me is I will listen to everybody’s music and I will give you my honest music. If it’s not good I will tell you and I will say, “Don’t quit your day job.” If it’s good, it’s good. A lot of people think because they did it, they’ve got JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment



The Multiplatinum



I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

I know that you started out as an intern at CP Records. How did you muster up the courage to walk into the CEO’s office and tell him you wanted to be a singer? It was the most terrifying and exciting moment (for me) because, I was like...“Oh my gosh! I’m either going to get shut down so bad, or he’s going to love it.” It’s really about believing in yourself and taking the risk. You also have to constantly work on your craft and rehearse. It’s like a sport; you have to practice. It has to become part of your daily routine. If you really want to be successful at something you’ve got to do it every day. Your first single was a Billboard Chart topping, multiplatinum and gold selling hit! How did you end up being this international superstar? Stereo Love came about from Ultra Records. They wanted Jennifer Lopez but she wasn’t recording at the time. So, Tony Sal (CP Records’ CEO) was like, “I’ve got the perfect girl for you, but she’s still a new artist who hasn’t done anything yet.” At the time, I had no Facebook and I was still working on my project, trying to find my sound. So, (Ultra) sent the record over and I recorded the demo. They loved it and literally 2 weeks later it was everywhere. It exploded! That’s literally

how Stereo Love came about and I’ve been touring constantly ever since. That’s what I love about your story. The internship shows that you can’t always start at the top; you have to start at the bottom. You don’t always have to know somebody in the industry to get an opportunity, either. All you have to do is gain access; get a foot in the door. You know, I feel like in everything that you do you have to start at the bottom. You can’t skip a step, no matter what you do. You really do have to lay the ground work and do the work. I think hard work always pays off in the end. To become a better songwriter, singer, or performer, you have to learn all these little things like how to present yourself and how to speak. There’s a lot of things that come into play. Being an intern really helped a lot because, I’ve seen the other artists and I’ve seen them being built from scratch into really big Pop stars. It was the best learning experience for me. Seeing that process makes you want it even more, because it’s such an organic process. Mia appeared on I Am Entertainment The Podcast, Episode #6 at: Connect with Mia at



ia Martina took her job as an intern seriously; so much that she was able to use it as the launchpad for her singing career. Now singed to CP Records/Universal, Mia has gone from getting coffee for the label’s CEO to touring the world and topping the dance music charts.

(cont’d from page 26)

Pictured: Barry Roberts on the set of his show,“What’s Cooking With Barry” the best thing since sliced bread. Guess what? It’s not happening. Now, lets talk about food! What made you fall in love with cooking? The main thing about cooking is I like to eat and I like good food and I like to experiment with different foods. When I make something good I like to share it with different people and get their opinion. You now have a cooking TV show you’re working on. Talk a little bit about what you guys are working on? Right now, Urban American Productions and I are putting together a show called, What’s Cooking with Barry. I’m from New York and I have an opportunity to go to a lot of different restaurants since I was in music business and I was able to sample a whole lot of foods. I first started cooking when I cooked with my mother. I remember when I was 5 years old I was making donuts and she always told me if I wanted to eat good food that I better learn how to cook. I took it to heart because I liked to eat good food and I like different foods with all kinds of variety. I make Italian, Chinese, Soul Food, Irish, Spanish foods, I make everything. My palette is very refined and I like the taste of a lot of different foods. With that I would like to bring my experience of cooking to the mass public. A lot of people just make one kind of food but I like to make everything. For instance, on Sunday, I made a glazed duck stuff with oranges and apples. Today, I’m making duck soup because I had left over duck and I had stock so I decided to make some this great soup. I don’t believe in wasting food. I also do a lot of baking as well. One of the things that I like the most about that show concept is that you’re able to bring together both your music background with your love for cooking. Talk a little bit about how you plan to use your relationships in conjunction with the show. When I was in the music business because of the relationships that I made in this industry with people like Morris Landy, Cathy Moore and Richard Nash; I’ve already reached out to a couple of those people and they are ready and will help out in regards to getting artists on the show. Do you have a pilot for your show? Yes, we shot a pilot for the show last year. Now we’re going to do a series of more cooking episodes. What I would like to do is incorporate the music aspect into my show. I would like to have artists and record execs come on and talk about their music and experiences while they sit down and have a meal. A lot of these guys are my friends who I have known for a while and I know what they like to eat. Visit for more information.

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment




5-Star Wealth Manager, Ethel J. Davis, Explains How Successful People Manage Their Money What exactly do you do? I am the CEO and Portfolio Manager of VZD Capital Management, a fee-based, Registered Investment Advisory firm located in the greater Kansas City area. When it comes to investing money, I refer to myself as a “financial physician”. Many of my clients arrive with a variety of symptoms related to investing their money, so my first priority is to extract adequate information to determine whether or not VZD is the right fit for them, based on their financial habits. Collectively, we identify and prioritize objectives to determine the appropriate asset allocation and investment policy. I work tirelessly to understand each client’s current standard of living, and the impact inflation will have on their wealth in the near future. Once, we agree on the growth and income needs, I begin the implementation and execution of their plan. I utilize individual stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents to create a portfolio that embraces the client’s goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. Each client is also given the opportunity to advise if there are certain companies or sectors of the market they would not like to invest in. With a disciplined in-house screening process, I strive to find companies and fixed income instruments that will provide solid performance results. What advice do you typically give new clients? My first piece of advice is to pay yourself first, no matter how much money you make. Many investors begin by investing in mutual funds because they offer the opportunity to start with a minimum amount, and experience the stock market. So, my clients hire me to be their personal, independent mutual fund manager. I have discretionary authority to make “buy and sell” decisions based on the client’s financial roadmap. I don’t offer predetermined investment models, or employ a one size fit all approach, nor any other cookie cutter recipe. Each and every client has a different story, therefore, the portfolio is tailored to the specific objectives of the client. By putting the needs, goals, and objectives of our clients first, we oftentimes invest contrary to the conventional


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

“buy and hope” approach. While we keep our focus on the long-term, we’re always on the lookout for near-term opportunities. As a client’s wealth grows, it’s imperative to closely monitor, rebalance and make changes to ensure the portfolio will deliver a rate of return that is consistent with their life. In addition, we cultivate and form strategic alliances with the client’s CPAs, and Estate and Business Attorneys to ensure that our collaborative efforts are in the client’s best interests. When should a potential client contact you? VZD Capital Management provides exclusive services for clients with a minimum of $200,000 to invest. This affords us the opportunity to deliver a premium level of investment management and develop close, personal and long-term relationships with every client we serve. Life happens, and I enjoy being available to address their concerns about retirement planning, unexpected inheritances, divorces, and lawsuit settlements. We reserve a select number of spaces for potential clients. I desire to spend time with each and every client and give them the very best of VZD – no matter how many zeros are at the bottom of their statement. I also offer workshops, seminars and retreats designed to give clarity regarding the client’s financial realities and how markets work. I’m so passionate about the investment industry that I stand available to assist investors, even if they are not a good fit for VZD. The investment community has been tarnished by ponzi schemes and greedy, dishonest people. I want to help investors find the right professional to meet their needs, even if that’s not me. What would you say is the biggest myth about money and wealth that most people have? I think many people possess a negative perspective about being “wealthy” which blocks their mindset in achieving their financial goals. Most of my clients could be deemed as the “millionaire next door” for they live a comfortable life without being flamboyant or boisterous about their wealth. I have one client that worked in a factory with an annual income

range of $60k a year but retired as a multimillionaire by investing in her company’s stock and investing in other companies and her exceptional saving behavior. When she died, she left a significant amount of her assets to form an Educational Trust to benefit her children, grandchildren and family members in their educational pursuits. Then I have seen the opposite where individuals have blown through their inheritances because they had a misguided relationship with money and didn’t adhere to the principles or values that would have increased their wealth. I have seen high wage earners who didn’t have any savings to speak of and due to the downturn in the economy forced them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. However, on the surface they seem to be wealthy because they lived in affluent neighborhoods and drove prestigious cars but were living paycheck to paycheck.

“My first piece of advice is to pay yourself first, no matter how much money you make.” My perspective comes from the biblical concept about money, which basically says that having an abundance of money is not evil; but the love of money is what causes people to make poor choices. Plus, many household don’t educate their children about money which can lead to financial ruins at an early age. In fact, my lack of financial knowledge is what led me to this field. What’s your motto? I believe everyone is worthy of financial empowerment and success. My mission is to help clients achieve a high level of financial freedom through education and knowledge. iae


Behind the Bench


At I Am Entertainment®, we love to share the truth about good people who have been misrepresented in the public eye. So, in this issue, we’d like to introduce you to the

ReaL NBa Wives

Not the women from reality TV! This group of extraordinary ladies are loving wives, moms, entrepreneurs, and have collectively DONATED MILLIONS to charities! Interviews: Candy Freeman | Additional Editing: Shaine Freeman Photos Courtesy of: Members of ‘BEHIND THE BENCH’ (except where noted)

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment



Behind the Bench


Dr. Deborah Williams Founder of ‘Behind the Bench’, CEO of Her Game 2 Apparel, & 2013 NAACP Honoree Shares Why She Formed This Amazing Group of Sports Wives, and Offers Advice On Building Longterm Business Relationships

Were you already a Clinical Psychologist prior to launching the ‘Behind the Bench’ organization, or did your philanthropic works inspire your career path? I was already a psychologist when I started Behind the Bench. I worked at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis when Herb (Williams) was playing with the Indiana Pacers. My specialty there was working with troubled youth; young girls in particular. So, my background and com-


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

mitment to helping the youth played a big part in me forming Behind the Bench. Awesome! Now, let’s talk about Her Game 2; your women’s apparel line. You negotiated the licensing agreement with the NBA, right? Herb played for several teams and I noticed that women’s merchandising was always underrepresented in the arena stores. Then, in what I believe was my 16th year as the President of ‘Behind the Bench’, I saw that the NBA was actually doing research on the women’s market and that’s when the “light bulb” went off in my head. I thought, “If almost 50% of the individuals attending and watching these NBA games are females, then why can’t I find anything for me at the stores?” That was the start of my journey with Her Game 2 and the idea that, “It was his game, but its Her Game 2.” I went to Dave Checketts who was the President of Madison Square Garden, at the time, and I asked him for the opportunity to do some women’s merchandising at Madison Square Garden. He gave me the opportunity and I started from scratch with no fashion background. From that local license with the New York Knicks, I was able to secure a national license to do product for all of the teams, and I’ve had that license for 10 years now. This year (2014), we have some really cute and fashionable tops and leggings that we’re doing for the NBA All-Star Weekend. We’re also meeting with different teams at the NBA Expo in January. In 2008 we launched the Her Game 2 brand

in Macy’s with the focus on denim and casual wear, but now we’re moving into active wear. I think the curvy, metropolitan customer is missing something in terms of active wear and how it fits, so I am plugging that gap and launching our EPIC wear collection on February 11th in NYC during Fashion Week. A lot of the NBA wives, and various celebrities, are already wearing our clothing and I’m looking to make a lot of noise in 2014 for Her Game 2’s active wear collection. You’ve clearly done a great job utilizing your network; which is something very few people seem to do well with. What are your thoughts on networking, in general? There’s a difference between networking and really connecting with people. I don’t think networking should be anyone’s goal. Oftentimes, people will go to a networking event and pass out their business cards, but they never make a real connection with anyone. It’s not about exchanging cards and shaking hands, it’s about looking people in the eye and having


What motivated you to establish the National Basketball Wives Association (aka ‘Behind the Bench’)? Being a part of the NBA lifestyle on various teams, I knew that there was a need for this organization. (The NBA) is a very unique lifestyle that is difficult (a) to explain to people who don’t live it, and (b) for them to truly understand it. So, here is this group of women that I didn’t have to explain anything to because, they too were living it and could relate to you. Initially, it started as a support group or sisterhood, and then it evolved into a philanthropic group of women who were able to combine their individual resources and talents to give back to the community. Through our philanthropic work, we’ve found that most of the people in these local communities only want to know that someone truly cares about them. Through the money we raise, we are able to provide mentors and programs for kids who need it. We also invest our time into young women; especially during their most impressionable stage in life, because they are looking for direction and validation. I think we have a unique opportunity to touch people and make a difference in their lives; and I feel so blessed and grateful that we have the opportunity to do so.



“It’s not about exchanging cards and shaking hands, it’s about looking people in the eye and having them remember you.” - Dr. Deborah Williams on networking

them remember you. If you do that with just one person, you’re going to come out way ahead of the person who’s just passing out business cards to random people they didn’t even bother to connect with. That kind of networker gets lost in my directory on contacts. The most beneficial connections are the ones where you’re able to meet with the person face to face and find a mutually beneficial relationship that propels each person forward. For example, at Her Game 2, we do a lot of fashion show production in New York. We’re part of the Harlem Week Fashion Show for WBLS radio and we produce their big fashion show each year. These opportunities came about because I worked on my relationship with them so, it’s not about me coming in and signing my contract, executing the show, and then leaving. It’s about going in and connecting with them, time after time, and year after year. I’m there when they need me and vice versa, and I’m willing to go above and beyond to build up that trust. Many people have come in and tried to disrupt my position as Fashion Director, but they don’t understand that my relationship with these organizations is rock solid. They aren’t going to allow someone to come in with a proposal and just move me out of place because, our relationship is deeper than that. When you go into a relationship thinking about just networking with them, to me, that’s superficial and it never lasts. When you connect with someone, those are the relationships that make a difference. One thing I can guarantee is that, if you’re a business owner, you will face some tough times. In many cases, it will be those relationships you’ve built that get you through. If you treat your supplier like they matter, then later on you may be able to go to them and say, “It’s tough over here right now and I need you to work with me.” At the end of the day, it’s about the relationship that you cultivate, not just handing out business cards and walking away.

THE HISTORY OF ‘BEHIND THE BENCH’ Behind the Bench, The National Basketball Wives Association (BTB) formerly known as Women of the NBA was established in 1993, as a national non-profit organization by founder Deborah A. Williams, Ph.D. Its membership is composed of current and retired NBA players’ wives and life partners. As the first national player-wives organization, Behind the Bench’s agenda addresses the challenges that face our families, especially women and children. In June of 1995, the organization’s Charitable Trust was established and is the cornerstone of Behind the Bench. Members volunteer to administer the Charitable Trust, thereby allowing a percentage of all charitable funds to directly benefit targeted charities. Beneficiaries of Charitable Trust funds have included: The Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, The Children’s Assessment Center Houston, Ralph Lauren Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Circle of Promise and The Academy of Autism Orlando. To date, Behind the Bench has donated nearly two million dollars to both national and local non-profit organizations. Info provided by:

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment


Behind the Bench



CleRenda McGrady The CEO of ‘Parenting To Win’

Shares Her Life As A Sports Wife/Mom TV Show Host, Minister & Philanthropist from a financial or lifestyle standpoint. Thryv 360 focuses on those who are giving back and making a difference and transforming lives in the community. It’s a very positive show. The last show we did featured the Covenant House, which is a youth homeless shelter. I covered a nationwide sleep out, where business leaders in 14 cities slept outside in their local communities to raise money. The sleep out raised over $4.2 million. As part of my coverage of the event, I was one of the “sleepers” and it was very humbling. One of the sleepers I covered at the event was a resident of the Covenant House a few years ago, but now she owns her own PR firm. So, my show focuses on stories like this that you may not hear about in the community. It is my belief that people are thirsty for more positive programming.

How did you find out about ‘Behind the Bench’ and how long have you been a member? I have only been a member for two years, and this is such an awesome group of women. I found out about ‘Behind The Bench’ through my friend, Jenine. I wish I knew about it sooner, but I’m really excited about this movement. Right now, people may get the impression that we’re just a group of basketball wives who get together for cocktails, but I think once people see what this organization is doing their views will change about us. We raise money for awesome causes and we’re active in our local communities. It’s an amazing group that I’m so proud to be part of. You have so much going on. You just recently launched your own TV show in Houston called, Thryv 360, right? Yes. That show was an answer to prayer because, I do not have a background in TV. It features and highlights those in the Houston community who are thriving, and not necessarily


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

We totally agree! We’ve seen how certain reality TV shows have given the public a distorted reality of who you all are so, we wanted to show them what the ladies of Behind the Bench are really doing. Thank you! You’re so right! “Basketball Wives” carries such a negative connotation now that people automatically think we’re uneducated, and all we do is shop all day. Someone recently told me that I must sit around and eat Bon Bons all day, and all this crazy stuff that couldn’t have been any further from the truth about me. Unfortunately, people believe what they see or hear with no knowledge of who you really are, and once they make up their minds it’s hard to change that. Well, let’s change that (laughs). Talk about your upbringing and how that led to your brand, ‘Parenting To Win’. I think the seed for ‘Parenting To Win’ was planted well before I knew it. My mother gave me a Bible as a gift when I was around high school/college age. Of course, it wasn’t until later on that I decided to open it. (laughs) The

only verse that was highlighted was Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I found it interesting that this was the only verse she highlighted. Not to sound like a “Negative Nancy” but, when I look at our society today I feel like there is an aggressive attack on our families; especially our kids. They’re being exposed to so much inappropriate content at such a young age. As a mom of four, I’m very concerned about what the future looks like for my kids. It’s just a different day in age; which is why I came up with Parenting to Win. Parenting is not something you will be perfect at; it’s not like a science project where you can start all over if you mess up. So, you have to do the best you can with what you have. I don’t claim to be a parenting expert by any means and about 90% of what I put out there is something that I struggle with personally. I always glean from people who can lead and help me ensure that I train up my kids the best way I can. Do you feel that NBA kids are at greater risk of being exposed to inappropriate content, since they may be able to afford to access it faster than most kids their age? Yes, that could be the case in some instances. My kids have a very fortunate lifestyle in regards to “stuff” but, I think (American) kids in general, have way too much access to excess. It just gets compounded when you’re dealing with the child of a NBA star so, I try to instill into my kids some of the things from my upbringing, because I come from a very humble background. It is hard sometimes to not over indulge when it comes to my kids but, I try to assign various tasks and chores to remind them every single day that they are not entitled to anything. I remind them that everything they have is a blessing. The NBA lifestyle is fast (paced) and I think some parents in this



lifestyle try to over compensate by giving their kids more stuff, trying to make up for lost time. Whether it is from guilt, or simply trying to give their children more than they (parents) had growing up, in the end it really does hurt our kids.

“Parenting is not something you will be perfect have to do the best you can with what you have.” - CleRenda McGrady

Talk a little about the scholarship fund you created in your mother’s name. My mom spent 42 years in (Christian) ministry, and she worked at the same seminary school for the same amount of time. She passed several years ago and I wanted to do something to honor her life. One of the memories that I have from my childhood was that, on Friday’s when everyone else’s parents were getting their paychecks, my mom would go several Fridays without a paycheck. She only got paid when there were outside donations; she depended heavily on the donations from that private Bible College. So, while the other kids could go out and get the latest and greatest stuff, I wasn’t able to do that. I would always say, “Mom, can you get a real job?” I was so resentful of the fact that my mom was very educated and there were companies in my hometown recruiting her, but she would never go because she felt her calling was to be at the Bible College. I didn’t understand that as a child but, as an adult I see how priceless her sacrifice was. It’s for that reason that the scholarship was created. There’s not much money in that line of work so, this scholarship is to help women who have a heart for ministry. It can be used to go back to school, or whatever they feel called to do that deals with the ministry of the Gospel. I started out funding it on my own each year, then I paired up with a large Houston-based organization called, Inspire Women, who was doing the same thing. I partnered with them because I wanted to work with an established well organized ministry. We give out scholarships three times per year. The legacy that my mom left, and the seeds of faith she planted in me is really important. ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF CLERENDA MCGRADY

The McGrady Family

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment



Behind the Bench


y n e l o s n e n ha W S

ng i go n n O dre r l He Chi es of ith r ha ives a W S y st he L en tion i p K ro er T to nda h nt ett ans ou a F il B e Ph To Orl sley e s e Th fort Newd W Ef om avi Fr e D Tell us about Behind the Bench and what I can’t wait to go back to Africa again this summer to assist Feed The Th

Speaking of your husband’s foundation; talk a little bit about what the David Wesley Foundation is. At the David Wesley Foundation we are all about the kids! David does a free basketball camp that includes about 100 kids in his hometown of Longview, TX every summer. We also work very closely with the Feed The Children Foundation, doing events like shoe drives for Kenya, where we collected shoes, socks and money to be donated for shoes. We got to personally deliver the shoes to the children in the slums of Kenya and help put them on the children’s feet! We also got to hand out food, actually fed the children! They were so thankful, it was a very humbling experience and


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Children with another project, we are thinking of doing some kind of build a school project and we are looking to get many friends and family involved also! That was such an eye opening experience! We are looking forward to taking our kids with us on this trip to Africa since; a few years ago they were too young to make the trip. David and I want them to see how truly blessed they are to live the way they do. We all take so many things for granted and we feel like serving others in need is something everyone should do to bring us all back down to reality. Everyone should take time out to volunteer in some capacity. The David Wesley Foundation has also done food drives in Houston, TX and New Orleans, LA where we provide the trucks for several locations, and hand out food and toys to families in need. There are misconceptions about sports players wives due to the reality TV shows. What would you like people to know about you and some of the other wives? We’re nothing like what you see on TV. We don’t go everywhere with full makeup and hair. We’re usually in our gym gear running errands and just being normal people. It’s not anything like the TV show. There were four of us (wives) actually taping for the first season of “Basketball Wives” in Houston. But once we got into taping the show, the producers started trying to play us against each other to create the drama, so the four of us made a group decision to quit the show at the same time. I can’t even describe how thankful I am that we stopped when we did, because I would never want to be portrayed as the person they (Basketball Wives producers) were trying to make us out to be. We’re just normal people who do normal things. A lot of people think that what they see on reality TV shows is real, but they fail to realize that majority of the women on the shows aren’t wives; most of them are just “baby’s mothers”. We (wives) don’t throw glasses across the table at each other or hit people over the head with bottles. That show is a strike against us because, it makes us seem like


is your role? Behind the Bench, The National Basketball Wives Association, was established as a non-profit organization in 1993 by founder Deborah A. Williams, Ph.D. Behind the Bench’s mission is to “Empower, Inspire and Positively Impact the lives of children and families” and has morphed into an organization that raises money, awareness and devotes heartfelt love and time to many different charities. I’ve only been an official member with the organization for about a year, but I have been doing work with my sisters of the organization for many years. I didn’t become an official member of Behind the Bench until last year because I have had my hands full with my husband and three children; they are only two years apart and a lot of work! I didn’t feel as though I could commit myself 100% to the organization and make all of the meetings with my husband traveling so much. Now that my children are older and my husband’s work load is considerably less, I am happy to say I am very committed to helping my sisters make a difference! I am a relatively new member but have known many of these ladies for a long time and enjoy all the great things we do together as a team.


“I can’t wait to go back to Africa again this summer to assist Feed The Children... My heart is in charity work.” - Shannon Wesley

we’re divided and unhappy. Most of us have been married for years, and we have very strong family units. We (wives) also stick together, unlike the way they portray the women on the show. It’s really sad, which is why we want to show people who the real NBA wives are. What’s your primary focus? My heart is in charity work. I do a lot of work with Peach Neet Feet, a nonprofit organization that hand paints personally customized, canvas shoes to lift the “soles” of children fighting cancer and other life threatening illnesses and lifelong disabilities. I love working with this organization, it has truly captured my heart. My nine year old son, David, has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy called Spastic Dyplegia. David is such a little trooper and has had several major surgeries on both his spine and legs. Fortunately, he’s not in a wheelchair, and honestly he has no idea that he is any different from any other child until others ask questions. He walks with a slight “swag” but is confident he can do everything any other child can do. I spend the majority of my time trying to keep up with all three of our children’s extracurricular activities, and I have come to realize they have a better social life then both David and I do! I would love to eventually start my own foundation, but for now I am truly satisfied with having a part in so many other organizations.

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment



Behind the Bench


Dee Dee Abdur-Rahim The Attorney & 1st Vice President of the ‘Behind The Bench’ Organization Talks Family, Law, and Why Giving Back Matters To Her


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elected 1st Vice President of the organization, prior to that I served as the Recording Secretary from 2009-2011. What made you decide to pursue an education and career in law? I love to learn, and I’ve always been interested in law. Growing up in the inner city, you see and hear about a lot of things that involve the law, so I just gravitated toward (law). It wasn’t until my junior year at UC Berkeley that it clicked and I knew I wanted to go to law school. It’s one of the best things I could’ve done. I tell people that a legal class should be required for everyone, because you not only learn about your particular legal practice, you also learn about law as it pertains to everyday life. You get a general understanding of things like property laws, wills & trusts, and contract laws. These are basic things that you get exposed to that can be used in your everyday life. As a result, I can now understand what a contract is saying when I look at one. I just feel that every college should require a basic legal class with each degree program. I’m happy that I am an attorney; I absolutely love what I do. While I’m unable to practice fulltime, due to my fam-

ily and various (charity) foundations, I do stay active enough in (law) that when my kids reach college age and leave home, I won’t be searching for something to do. What are some of the charitable foundations you’re working on? My husband (Shareef Abdur-Rahim) had a vision of what he wanted to see in the area of Atlanta that he grew up in. He understood the dynamics of what was lacking there, and he wanted to make sure that the kids got the help they needed in order to achieve good grades. Therefore, we started the Future Foundation. Initially, the local (Atlanta) schools didn’t know who we were, despite the fact that we were offering all these free programs, they (schools) were hesitant to give us access to the kids who needed help. However, once Future Foundation started (which included showing up with buses to pick the kids up after school and taking them to our facility), and teachers saw the difference in the kids’ grades, the hesitation went away. Now, there are tons of kids eager to get into the program. Education is a game changer and I love it! The impact that Future Foundation has in


What is your role with “Behind the Bench”, and when did you first join? I joined ‘Behind the Bench’ after graduating Law School during the 2003 NBA-All Star Weekend in Atlanta. I was helping my friend, Kristina, who is now the President of Behind the Bench; back then, she was the Recording Secretary. I didn’t know much about Behind the Bench, but I was willing to help. As I became more involved, I started to learn more about the organization and its philanthropic work. The work these ladies were doing was near and dear to my heart. I discovered that Behind the Bench serves women and children, and families in need. We get behind charities that are making an impact in their communities, and I love the idea of being able to help bring attention to deserving local charities. I enjoy supporting Behind the Bench in its ability to write a check by raising money to support various charities. Nowadays, creating exposure with your charity is a must. If you have the best charity, but no one knows what you’re doing and how you’re impacting others, it doesn’t help your cause. I’ve been a member of Behind the Bench for 10 years and I love working with the ladies who are involved. In September (2013) I was



Atlanta is what led to Oakland Natives Gives Back. My friend, Dr. Nyeisha DeWitt (PhD), who attended the same high school as me in Oakland (California), is also very passionate about the education process. Nyeisha brought up the fact that she, Tameka Raymond (my other friend from Oakland who lived in Atlanta), and I needed to do something for the kids in Oakland. So, we got together and formed the organization, Oakland Natives Gives Back. Each year we host a back to school rally. We give out backpacks with school supplies and have workshops for teens and parents. It’s an overall fun filled day in which we rally everyone together and make sure the youth of Oakland are prepared for school and ready to learn. Each year, we’ve been fortunate to have the Mayor partner with us. Charity is very important to me because I was that kid who didn’t have a lot, and all I needed was someone to say, “Hey, I’m going to help you out.” So, I grabbed whatever hand that was willing to reach out and help me achieve whatever I was trying to accomplish. What I love about your story is that you didn’t let your upbringing in the inner-city of Oakland control your future. When did you meet Shareef? I remember when I got accepted into UC Berkeley, I cried and cried. I was the first person in my family to go to a 4-year university. Therefore, when I got to college, my primary focus

“Education is a game changer...” - Dee Dee Abdur-Rahim was to get an education. I met Shareef during my second year of school, and he was only there for one year. In my junior year, he was in the NBA and a lot of students were looking at me and saying, “You’re still here?! Why?” I remember replying, “I came to school to get educated; not meet Shareef.” Now, I do thank God for my husband, but I didn’t go to college to meet him. At another point while Shareef was in the NBA (even being selected to play on the Olympic team and on the NBA All-Star team), I was in Law school watching people, including myself, stress out over final exams. Again, students would ask “Why are you here? Why are you putting yourself through this?” My response was always that this is for myself. My husband was out fulfilling his dreams, hopes, and aspirations; I couldn’t live through him. I wanted to see how far I could get, coming from the inner city of Oakland. I wondered if I could really make it through, especially since during my last year of law school I was pregnant with my son and I was sick. I believed that I could achieve success for myself and through the grace of God, I delivered my baby right before finals and graduation. Wow! That’s amazing. Most women would’ve said, “forget this, I’m pregnant.” (laughs) Yes, I know. (laughs) That’s another reason why Behind the Bench (BTB) is so important. We want to get out and meet with the women,

children and families in various communities to show them that we’re regular people, just like them. We came from the same environments they’re in, we have families like them, we help our kids with their homework and go to doctor’s visits like they do, we cook, and we’re also compensating for our husbands being away from home a lot. Most (BTB members) lived in some of the areas we’re servicing and we want the people in these communities to know that we understand what they’re going through. We want to help them because we go through, or have been through, some of the same things they’re dealing with. If you ask me something, I’ll answer it. I pray that God is pleased with what it is that I’m doing. How does Behind the Bench determine which charities to assist? Various charities will contact us. Also, our members are heavily involved in community service and that brings a lot of knowledge about what is going on in each city. As a result, we already know a lot about the local charities before we host an event in a particular city. So, it’s either from a charity contacting us, or from us already having a prior relationship with them based on one of our members. I pray that Behind the Bench can grow even more than what it was. It has been in existence for over 20 years and we have been able to donate over $2 million to various charities. We hope to surpass that and continue it for another 20+ years. JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment



Behind the Bench


Tomi Rose

Congrats on all of your success! Let’s start out by sharing what your connection to the NBA is. My connection with the NBA is Mark Strickland. Mark and I met when I was 19 and he was 23, and we’ve been through a lot together. While we have had our ups and downs over the years, we’re back together and recently engaged. We have a son who is 12 years old, but I was a single mom for most of those years. While Mark was present in our son’s life, he was still gone a lot; working in different states and sometimes other countries. So, when he wasn’t around, I learned to move forward and develop my own self. I wasn’t one of those women going around telling everybody I had a kid by an NBA player because, that’s not who I am. What are some of the things you’ve done to develop your own identity? Well, I went from living with Mark as his fiancé, to being a single mom who had to work. When Mark and I separated, he only paid child support for two years, and I didn’t sit around waiting for a check. I wasn’t taking him to court over it, either. I just said, “You know what? This is the situation I’m in and I have to figure it out on my own.” That’s what sparked the businesswoman in me. I’ve always had it in me because my dad was a businessman, and I was always around him watching. But, I see my split with Mark as a blessing, and I believe God had to put that in our paths for us to both grow up. Without that, I would have not had


I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

the push to follow my dreams. Instead, I’m making some huge transitions in business. I crossed a milestone in 2012 when I closed over $25 million in real estate in a single year, which made me the first African-American Residential Realtor in Miami to ever do that. In 2013, I became the first African-American woman to be cast on a network reality show about real estate (“Hot Listings Miami”), and in late December I became the VP of Sports and Entertainment at Opulence International Realty in Miami. I’m heading the department and I’m planning on building the brand Nationwide. One of the things I’m doing is, I’m developing a sports realtor certification program that will properly train Realtors whom desire to represent professional athletes and their families. I thank the Lord that I get to spend time with my son and nurture his talents and dreams, while at the same time doing what I love. It’s great that you took the “bull by the horns” and established yourself in business. You also have a book coming out, right? Yes, it comes out on Mother’s Day 2014. It’s about my life and what my rules of engagement for moving forward are, as it relates to climbing the ladders of success as a woman. There are tons of single and married women out there who have men in their lives who travel and aren’t at home fulltime because of work, or for whatever other reasons. My book gives those both single and married women some insight on how to move forward and think about what

they can do to get their own identity within their relationship; even if they’re a fulltime mom. If you always have that little voice in the back of your mind saying “I’m not happy in my marriage or relationship,” then it’s probably because you didn’t pursue your dreams. Nine times out of 10, we (women) give up our dreams to make sure that the men in our lives are successful in what they’re doing. I want to encourage women to do what I’ve done and pursue their own dreams, and develop your own identity. What are some of the other business ventures you have going on? I’m the President/CEO of Rose’s Sauce, which is a barbeque sauce recipe that has been in the family for many years. My dad used to own restaurants in both Gary and Indianapolis, Indiana. I’m also working on the labeling for it, to make it more modernized so I can put it on the shelves in various stores. I also have a clothing line with my son called “Kbolo,” which stands for “Kid Ballers Only Live Once”. My son owns it, but Mark and I help him run the business. Our son came up with the logo, the designs, and he attends the meetings. It’s his own business; we’re just making sure he learns every aspect of it, including the history of those who paved the way for him to be able to do it. Mark and I want to make sure that, by the time our son graduates high school and enters college, he will already be a successful business owner. While our son has dreams of being a basketball player, if that

PHOTO COURTESY OF GERALDINE PAVAN (Miami Heat background - sports), DION (main article image)

Luxury Realtor/Entrepreneur/Author, and TV Personality Talks Family, Success, and TV Production



“I closed over $25 million in real estate in (2012), which made me the first African-American Residential Realtor in Miami to ever do that.” - Tomi Rose

doesn’t work out for him he will at least have a business going already in place. If he does go on to play in the NBA, he’ll still be prepared for life after basketball, instead of scrambling to find his place in the world. Due to some of the reality TV shows out there, the many people have the wrong idea about sports wives. What do you want them to know? Once the “Basketball Wives” show came out people would ask me all the time, “Is that what really goes on with sports players’ wives?” They would ask if we are always catty and throwing water on each other. But, I have to remind them that it’s TV and it’s not real. That’s just to make you watch it. I’ve been asked to do many reality shows that I kindly declined. Then I went on Hot Listings Miami, thinking it was going to be about my business; I didn’t want it to be catty, but things where beyond my control. By the time we got going good, it was too late so, I just made the most of it so I could move on and get my business off the ground. I’m now in the process of doing a contract for a reality show of my own. It’s based around my son and his friends, and some other NBA players’ kids. It’s a really good show and I want to make it positive. We’re trying to finalize everything in the contract to make sure that we protect the kids and their images. I’ve also been shopping another show that I’ve created and it’s a non-scripted show. So I’m on my way to be a little Shondra Rhimes. (laughs)

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment


Behind the Bench



Michelle Mashburn

Certified Personal Trainer, Serial Entrepreneur, & Philanthropist Talks Business and Fitness Tips For 2014 How did you find out about the ‘Behind the Bench’ organization, and how long have you been a member? Back in 1998 or ’99, one of the wives invited me to join (Behind the Bench) and I joined for only a year. Then, in 2012 I started receiving emails about the organization’s 20th Anniversary and they were looking for new members to join and also attend the annual conference in Atlanta. So, I guess you can say that I officially joined in 2012. I’m so glad that I joined and attended the conference in Atlanta because it gave me the opportunity to see and speak to so many of the other wives that I hadn’t seen since our husbands were teammates. It was nice to rereconnect with them, and also meet some of the other amazing wives who are a part of this organization. One of the many things that I like about the ‘Behind the Bench’ organization is that, most of the women seem to be doing quite well as entrepreneurs. Can you share some insight on your business endeavors as well? My husband (Jamal Mashburn) and I own over 71 businesses. I’m not involved in the day-today operations of those businesses but, my husband is. What I’m doing right now is investing in products and/or companies that are fitness focused, since I am a Certified Personal Trainer and also certified in Zumba, Spinning, CardioBoxing, and TurboKick. I have been in the fitness industry for over 15 years, and much of that time has been spent teaching fitness classes. Recently, I decided to take a break from the


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teaching side and just substitute every now and then, because I want to focus more on investing in businesses. For example, I’m investing in a company that has created a fitness app for mobile devices with an online component. Another potential investment is a new workout program that’s along the lines of P90x and Shaun T’s program, where you can purchase the workout for at home use, but it’s also a workout program that gyms can buy and create classes with. I’m also looking into a new concept for a gym. In addition, Jamal and I have an ownership stake in a beverage company and I also have an ownership stake in a juice bar in Lexington, KY. Wow! That’s a lot. (laughs) But, another thing I love about the women in the ‘Behind the Bench’ organization is that everyone seems to be heavily involved in charity work. Talk about some of your charitable works? My husband and I have our own foundation that we’ve run since 2007 called, The Mashburn Family Foundation. We work as advocates for at-risk youth, and we search out opportunities to try and engage, educate, and empower their hopes and dreams. Our foundation is fully run by Jamal and I, with no assistance from a staff of employees. We’ve also endowed the foundation ourselves for the most part, except for a few third-party donations over the years. The donations we have given out are centered on children and those organizations that exist to help children. We’ve been able to provide uniforms for middle schools and AAU programs, and send kids to camp. Under the foundation,

we’re preparing to implement various workshops and camps geared toward mentoring kids, as well as health and fitness workshops for them and their parents. I will also be hosting fitness fundraising events, which we hope to have ready by summer. We also have the Mashburn Scholarship Fund that my husband established in 1993 at the University of Kentucky. He donated $500,000 as an initial endowment for the fund and since then, we’ve had over 2 dozen kids go through our scholarship program. How it works is, we choose 7 students in Fayette County, Kentucky where I’m from (and Jamal attended college). We tag them at 9th grade and monitor them until they graduate (high school). Once they graduate and have met all of the necessary criteria, they receive a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky through our scholarship fund. The Mashburn Scholarship Fund program is very special to me because, we don’t require the kids to have a 4.0 GPA to receive the scholarship. With our program, a student who doesn’t have the means to go to college, but stays out of trouble and gives their best academically, even if they’re a “C” student; that’s who we’re looking for. That’s awesome! When it comes to sports and fitness, what advice would you give to those women whose new year’s resolution is to lose weight? The bottom line is, you need to eat less and move more. You have to set a realistic weight loss goal and give yourself time to lose it. Then you have to look at your diet to see what you’re



putting into your body. Add more fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods to your meal plan. I will not tell you to cut out sugar and carbs from your diet, because if you feel like you are depriving yourself from certain foods, you tend to eat more of them. I love those kinds of foods too, and if I were to tell myself that I can’t have them, I’d just want them even more and once I got my hands on them it would not be pretty. (laughs) Just remember to do everything in moderation. If your thing is sweets or carbs, eat those foods in moderation. Give yourself one special meal every week where you eat whatever you like, even if you know it’s not good for you. This will help keep you from going overboard once you hit your targeted weight loss goal. I also tell people to be mindful of the portion sizes in each meal. If you eat 4 to 5 small meals each day, that will help keep your metabolism burning. Find a high intensity exercise that you enjoy doing, like spinning, boxing, running, basketball, or dancing. Whatever it is, find that activity that you won’t dread doing for an hour, 4 to 5 times per week. Be sure to add weight training also, because the more muscle you have the more fat you’re going to burn. If you combine the weights and cardio, you will shed those unwanted pounds. The last thing I’d advise people to do is be patient. Weight loss takes time, so you have to allow your body the time to adjust to all the changes you’re making. You will lose the weight, but you have to be patient so that you don’t give up prematurely.

“ need to eat less and move more. You have to set a realistic weight loss goal and give yourself time to lose it.” - Michelle Mashburn


Michelle Mashburn

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment


JAN/FEB 2014




Production Budget N/A Worldwide Gross $83 Million

ABOUT TIME (Universal)



remember when you couldn’t attend a movie theater or rent a DVD from Blockbuster (remember those guys?) without seeing a life sized cardboard display of the latest “chick flick”. Then, it’s like it all just went away? These days, it seems like we’re all so serious. We don’t have time for a lighthearted movie that makes us laugh because that would be corny, right? As a society, we’ve grown way too accustomed to watching horror thrillers and $200 million superhero movies; so much that our tolerance for a not-so-overt comedy has all but evaporated. For this reason, I decided to kick off our list of recommended DVD releases with the romantic comedy, About Time. The film stars one of my favorite actresses, Rachel McAdams, and is set around New Year’s Day so, the timing of this DVD release is


right. The story is about a guy who sets out to get a girlfriend but finds it’s not that easy. Directed by Richard Curtis, a titan of the romantic comedy genre whose most notable films include Love Actually and Notting Hill, About Time is an entertaining movie that did well at the box office and received a fan rating of 7.9 stars out of 10 on To me, these facts make it clear that there’s still an audience for romantic comedies. Yes, I do feel that most of the films in this genre are very predictable and cliche, but so are movies like Thor and Iron Man. I don’t watch horror films much but, based on what I have seen, they’re pretty cliche too. So, before you prejudge and dismiss ‘About Time’, stop by Redbox and rent it on February 4th. If you like it, tell me; if you don’t like it...don’t tell me LOL.

I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14

5 MUST SEE Blue Caprices (IFC)

Rated ‘R’ Genre: Drama/Thriller Runtime: 1hr 33min Gross: N/A Releasing: January 14th Cast: Isaiah Washington (cover this issue), Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson, Leo Fitzpatrick

The Butler (Lee Daniels Entert./Weinstein Company)

Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: History/Drama Runtime: 2hrs 12min Gross: $167.5M (Worldwide) Releasing: January 14th Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrane Howard, Lenny Kravitz

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (Sony/Columbia)

Rated ‘PG’ Genre: Animation Runtime: 1hr 35min Gross: $251.9M (Worldwide) Releasing: January 28th Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Terry Crews, Neil Patrick Harris, Kristen Brewster

Enders Game (Lionsgate)

Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Action/Sci-Fi Runtime: 1hr 54min Gross: $88.9M Releasing: February 11th Cast: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis

DVD Release Source:, Box Office Gross Numbers:

Rated ‘R’ Genre: Comedy Runtime: 2hrs 03min Releasing: February 4, 2014 Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy

Indie Music Spotlight


Cuts Through The Noise With Anaphylactic Rock throw back to classic rock

How did you guys come together, and where did you get the name Secondhand Habit? Secondhand Habit was formed in the Fall of 2010 after the metal band Caddik fell apart. Both Jon (Guitarist) and Kenny (Drummer) weren’t quite done with their musical endeavours and decided to press on. After finding members and arguing about the name for months we decided on Secondhand Habit. The meaning behind the name is that all habits be they good or bad come from somewhere, you wouldn’t just go out and start smoking, you’d do it because you want to fit in or you saw someone “cool” do it once etc. The line-up has gone through a few changes over the years but things started to gain steam when Cody

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Vandal (singer) joined the band in the Summer of 2012 after their original singer moved away. Tell us about your latest release. What can we expect to hear? The new EP is titled Anaphylactic Rock and listeners can expect a journey through different genres as they listen. The first track Father Time is a modern rock anthem about how time is fleeting and how we have to make the best of the time we have here, Love Letter follows as a reggae inspired west coast song about the end of a relationship, Fire dance comes third as a metal inspired song with a funky breakdown, and the EP finishes strong with Wrong Way Street as a

What’s the most important thing you’d like talent buyers and booking agents to know about you guys? We’re not in it for the fame or the fortune, at the end of the day as long as we’ve touched someone with our songs then it’s mission accomplished, music is such an important yet often overlooked part of life, the fact that hearing a song can invoke strong emotional reactions or can make a horrid day just a little better proves this, because of that we like to strive to keep our music original and not use the same cookie cutter formula for each song. We do this by throwing ideas back and forth and trying new things with our song writing, we’ve found that this yields more passionate songs as every member of the band has some sort of tie in to each track rather then having one person write the song and tell everyone else what to play. Where can people buy your music? All of our past releases are available on iTunes, excluding, Anaphylactic Rock. Everything is available on our Bandcamp site though. iae


What are some of your band’s struggles with getting heard as an indie band? There are just so many bands in the modern scene that everyone is fighting each other over what little spot light there is available, since everything is easier for artists to distribute their own music most companies want the artists to already be strongly established before they will even consider them. This causes a lot of amazing acts to simply die because they didn’t get the support they needed early on thus robbing the world of their music. It also allows many artists who do not deserve or even want the spotlight to be propelled to stardom simply because they have a funny or strange video. After every show we play we get countless people coming up to us saying things like “You guys were actually good” or “I really liked this part” which is a compliment to us but also shows how most people hold local acts in their minds (a bunch of guys making noise with no talent)

Music Reviews All Reviews By Senseitional, Reviews Editor (I Am Entertainment)


Decibals Genre: Hip-Hop/R&B/Soul Album: Let Love Location: Rockford, IL (by way of Houston, TX) Hip-Hop/R&B newcomer, Ashleye, is one of the top reasons why the forgotten genre of rhythm and blues still deserves to be heard and appreciated. Singers like Ashleye are a truly refreshing gift to the ears, and a reminder of why R&B music should be brought back to the forefront of the industry. On her song, “Let Love”, Ashleye puts her vocal talents on full display, and the thumping beat backing her up is like an instant tribute to great producers like R Kelly. Very reminiscent of Aaliyah when she first started, Ashleye has a great deal of potential to become the next big thing to hit Hip-Hop/R&B music. I also liked the fact that her lyrics weren’t rated ‘X’ like most of today’s R&B songs being released. Instead, Ashleye sings “let love be why you like me,” asking a guy to not just like her because of her body and face...basically, stating that she’s not an object, but rather a young woman. Overall, Let Love is very comparable to the R&B music we were getting in the early 00’s. In-terms of the overall feel/vibe of the song, I’d compare it to Aaliyah’s song “Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number”, but with a more Lil Jon kind of sound. I’d definitely recommend anyone who appreciates artists like Mary J. Blige, Aaliyah, and/or Ciara. Don’t miss Ashleye on I Am Entertainment The Podcast: THE MIEWS SHOW in January 2014.

Ashleye’s Website:

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment


Music Reviews

All Reviews By Senseitional, Reviews Editor (I Am Entertainment)


Decibals Genre: Pop, Soul, Blues Album: The Best I Can Be Location: Philadelphia, PA Breathe before you listen to Bobbie Morrone’s new 2014 album release. The EP is titled “The Best I Can Be”, but I think it should be renamed to “The Best Release By An Indie Artist”. So what I got to hear if for free; I’m still going to buy it and show support for what I feel is one of the best releases I’ve heard in the past 12 months. This guys voice is very clear, controlled, and void of audio software assistance (i.e. no Autotune), which is why I think this guy deserves a record deal and put on tour with Jack Johnson and John Mayer. The Best I Can Be is such a good project that I don’t have a favorite song. I like all 3 tracks so much I played the full EP literally 5x before moving on to the next review I had to write. I was actually upset that Bobbie didn’t extend this release to an LP because the music is so freaking good! The band members - Bobbie Morrone (Vocals/Guitar), Paul Machette (Bass), and Alex Machette (Drums) are perfectly in-sync with one another; each possessing a superior level of musical talent that is rarely heard on most of the 500+ indie releases I’ve reviewed in the past 3 years at I Am Entertainment. There’s really not much more I can say about Bobbie Morrone’s new EP, other than “Go buy it, and send Bobbie a message to let him know you did!” It’s a much better buy than 95% of the music you’ve added to your playlists in the past year.



I AM Entertainment | JAN-FEB ‘14


Decibals Genre: Rock/Alternative Album: Namaste Location: Smithtown, NY Hailing from the great state of New York is one of the most exciting bands in the underground rock scene, and their name is Echo Hill. The female fronted eclectic rockers have released their latest project, Namaste, a gem of a project that should be enjoyed by everyone who has an affinity for truly alternative rock music. Not to over exaggerate the band’s prowess, if I were a booking agent, I would totally sign Echo Hill and put them out on the road! After doing a little reading up on the band’s history, I have to be frank and say... the smartest thing the guys in Echo Hill did was choose to let a female lead their band. Monique Teichert’s voice is the perfect compliment to the play of original band members: Alex Laudani (guitar), Dylan Coates (bass), and Keith Miller (drums). As a guy, I’m often times amazed at how blahzay we can be when it comes to the possibilities of a female taking the helm of what we’ve worked to build. But, as in Echo Hill’s case, adding Monique has proven to be the solution to their front-person issues. Of the four tracks on Namaste, my favorite song is “Hey Love” because it fuses together both pop-rock and modern rock sounds without becoming too much of either. The lead vocals are very strong, clear, and amazingly controlled, while the band’s cohesiveness shines. The songwriting is pretty good, nothing too outside the box, but very relatable. This is a great song that really stood out to me; one that I sat and listened to over and over again. Overall, Echo Hill’s EP, Namaste, is a great body of musical work that should be respected and enjoyed by fans of Flyleaf and Paramore. The only drawback to Namaste is that it’s too short a release. Featured on I Am Entertainment The Podcast show (12-21-13). Band Website:

JAN-FEB ‘14 | I AM Entertainment


Music Reviews

All Reviews By Senseitional, Reviews Editor (I Am Entertainment)



Decibals Genre: Pop/Rock Album: I Should’ve Known Location: Philadelphia, PA Rising young alternative pop artist, Amelia Scalies’ latest 12 track release, “I Should’ve Known,” is a powerful new release. Hailing from “The City of Brotherly Love”, the songstress is out to prove she is Philly’s newest gift to Top 40 since the world witnessed the rise of pop-rock star, Pink. Armed with her talents as a songwriter/guitarist/violinist, Amelia is poised to make her presence felt in the music industry, having already opened for a number of top artists and showcasing her goods before thousands. “I Should’ve Known” is a 12 track LP that embodies the essence of girl power and moxy. On songs like “Small Talk Friends”, “More Than Words” and “I Should’ve Known”, Scalies addresses some peer-to-peer issues she’s obviously experienced; expressing her disdain for lying boys and fake friends. In addition to these issues, Amelia gives a few heartfelt and self-empowering songs like “Phoenix”, “Rise”, and “Don’t Let Them Win”. Overall, Amelia Scalies’ release is definitely worth supporting. She has a nice voice, a great deal of writing talent, and the musicianship to match it all; making her a potential superstar in the making. The only advice I could offer to Amelia from my 20+ years working with multi-Grammy winning artists, and as a former Philly resident is, keep up the great work developing your sound and your art because it’s likely to pay off in a major way for you.


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I Am Entertainment NBA All-Star 2014 Edition  

Our 2014 NBA All-Star edition featuring Hollywood superstar, Isaiah Washington (cover), the ladies of Behind the Bench (NBA Wives Associatio...

I Am Entertainment NBA All-Star 2014 Edition  

Our 2014 NBA All-Star edition featuring Hollywood superstar, Isaiah Washington (cover), the ladies of Behind the Bench (NBA Wives Associatio...