You are here
Home > Media/Entertainment

OWN’s “Checked Inn” tells a story of black excellence that is long overdue!

Checked Inn

Black excellence is a phrase that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.  It is the summation of a centuries-old thesis on survival.  Simply put, regardless of the obstacles of injustice and stacked odds, we always find a way to come through the fire unscathed and stronger than before.  I Hear That Girl! is a huge proponent of positive and empowering content for black women and the community as a whole.  That is why I was so eager and excited to hear about Mrs. Monique Greenwood and her new reality show on OWN, "Checked Inn". Monique Greenwood is the owner of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns.  I say inns with an "s" because sister-girl has four of them!  I'm a southern girl, Carolina Girl in fact... born and bred.  From the country fields of Edgefield County.  So, I know the prestige of a bed and breakfast establishment that some others may not understand.  A bed and breakfast deliver an intimate and thoughtful experience that you cannot receive from a hotel.  It's like being welcomed into someone's home. I watched the premiere episode and I fell in love with Mrs. Monique (that's what I call her).  This lady is an accomplished entrepreneur, but not only in the hospitality industry.  She was the editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine following Susan Taylor.  She speaks her mind and knows the importance of representation, which she attempts to share with her daughter.  Monique's daughter has her own pursuits in life outside of the Akwaaba and Monique will find it difficult to help her understand the responsibility of their legacy and generational wealth in the black community. You have to check out this show which gives us a perspective on black life that until now, has never been shown on a major network!  Thanks to Mother O, we have this type of programming in which our young people can see that there are sooooo many opportunities for them to excel in outside of the typical (athletics/entertainment).  Here's a first look at the premiere: You can tune in to view Checked Inn Tuesday, November 21 at 10pm ET/PT on OWN.

Yass Mother! Cicely Tyson continues her royal reign on the cover of ELLE Magazine

Cicely Tyson

I Hear That Girl! was created to provide a platform for the positive and uplifting black perspectives.  Growing up, I was blessed with classy, sophisticated and respected women of color as role models.  One of those women is the iconic Cicely Tyson. At 92 years young, this Queen is showing us all the vigor and vitality that a purposeful life has to offer!  Gracing the cover of ELLE Magazine's Women in Hollywood, November issue, she is absolutely stunning.  Seeing that beautiful smile made me gush with pride and run to Amazon to order more coconut oil soap, so I can continue the "black don't crack" legacy. In the issue, Cicely Tyson speaks about her influences in the industry and drops some major keys we can all be inspired by: “At the very beginning of my career, I had a teacher whose name was Vinnette Carroll,” the iconic actress explained. “She directed a number of Broadway shows. She kept saying to me, ‘You know the problem with beautiful women? They tend to rely on their beauty.’ And I said, How wrong she is! I never think of myself as being beautiful. I thought, What are you talking about? I work so hard. And I did. But I learned from her how important it is to learn your craft. When all else fails, you will land on that, and that alone.” Elle’s Women in Hollywood issue hits newsstands October 17.

Laila Ali takes on DIY as the new host of “Home Made Simple” on OWN

Laila Ali OWN

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and Procter & Gamble announced today that Laila Ali, undefeated four-time boxing world champion, cookbook author, lifestyle brand creator, inspirational speaker and youngest daughter of Muhammad Ali, will join Daytime Emmy award-winning DIY series "Home Made Simple" as the new host for season seven. "Home Made Simple," which recently earned its fourth consecutive Daytime Emmy nomination as Outstanding Lifestyle Program, will return with an all-new hour-long format on Saturday, November 4 at 9 a.m. ET/PT. Home Made Simple's easy-to-follow DIY projects, delicious recipes and dramatic home makeovers are featured on P&G's popular website www.homemadesimple.com. "I am thrilled to join the OWN family as the new host of 'Home Made Simple,'" said Laila Ali. "Being able to merge my passion for cooking with my longtime love of interior design and the desire I have to help families, all on a network created by Oprah Winfrey, a woman I have always admired, is truly an honor." Creating homes that deserving families love to live in is at the core of "Home Made Simple."  The show pairs inspiring families, a team of professional designers, carpenters and special guest artists, who work together with the families to create simple solutions to everyday home challenges and design dilemmas.   Host Laila Ali will be working alongside families as they transform their living, work and play spaces, revealing the compelling and inspiring stories of the families behind the makeovers. Laila, who describes herself as a "home cook," will also teach the families delicious, easy recipes from her upcoming cookbook "Food For Life," which will be published in January 2018.

TV One shines a light on the horrors of domestic violence in When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story

Falicia Blakely

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.  When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story tells the tragic story of Falicia Blakely, a teen mom from Atlanta who grows up in the fast-lane. When she becomes an exotic dancer, she attracts the attention of local pimp and predator, Dino. His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games; and she's forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives. TV One's latest original film, When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story, will premiere tonight, Monday, August 28 at 9 pm EST. The film marks the feature-length directorial debut for Tasha Smith and stars Niatia "Lil' Mama" Kirkland, Lance Gross, and Tami Roman, with special appearances from Big Freedia, Lil Zane, and Floyd Mayweather. The project is the network's first original movie inspired by an episode of TV One's original true crime series, "For My Man." "I totally did not see myself playing an exotic dancer, but it was so much more to the story," says Niatia "Lil' Mama" Kirkland of taking on the role. "I pulled from the truth of women all around the world who have been victims and not known that they were victims of society. This is what's so amazing about acting - allowing myself to be as vulnerable as I would be in that moment, just to actually live through the character and become Falicia. I want to do her justice, and so I tapped into truth to tell her story." In playing Dino, a modern day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde who uses Falicia's desire to be loved for his gain, Gross says he had to "dive all the way in."  "This is a role nobody's ever seen me in - they're used to me being the nice guy," says the actor, who is known for his roles in Tyler Perry's House of Pain and Temptation. "I want the audience to know that you really have to be conscious of the decisions that you make, because there's consequences that come along with it." Additionally, TV One partnered with Saving Our Daughters, an organization whose mission is to empower teenage girls from multicultural backgrounds through theater, music, film and television, to help overcome many obstacles such as bullying (cyber, gossip, face-to-face), dating abuse, domestic violence and other esteem slayers. Young ladies attended the When Love Kills premieres held in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles to walk the red carpet with the cast and have a dialogue about real love and self-esteem.   If you need help starting the conversation, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit www.thehotline.org."

An Evening With Ledisi: Let Love Rule

I had the opportunity to attend the private listening event for Ledisi's newest album "Let Love Rule" and I was completely in awe of her artistry and spirit. During the Q&A portion of the evening Ledisi was completely transparent with the audience, answering questions about her upbringing, loving the skin that she is in, of course the album, and her growth as an artist. She let us know that she took a different approach with this album and is really tapping into her songwriter talents-singing songs and telling storie,s that may have not actually happened to her, but she definitely connects with. She also stated that this album has lots of reggae influences, as she recorded the majority of project in Jamaica. Ledisi graced us with 3 songs off of the new album "Add To Me", "High", and "Let Love Rule". If you ever have the chance to see her perform, I strongly suggest you do so(thank me later)! The room was filled with the who's who of the industry and I even had the opportunity to meet THE TY HUNTER-you can't think of Beyonce's style and not think Ty Hunter! "Let Love Rule" is the ninth solo effort from the Grammy-Award winning singer and is slated to touch down on September 22nd. Check out her new single- High

Why Xscape reunited is great for Black Feminism

Xscape

Last night, live on the BET Awards, Xscape gave us a trip down memory lane.  For those who remember the SoSoDef R&B group with all the hip-hop edge we southern girls needed; it was a flashback to an earlier time in our youth.  I'm sure I'm not alone when I say, I was out of my seat! Tiny, Tamika, Kandi, and Tocha gave their first live performance reunited in well over a decade  It was such a statement of girl power to see these grown ass women together again!  The new generation were able to see that Tiny & Kandi (obviously the most familiar of the group to them) were "bosses" well before T.I. or The Real Housewives.  On top of that, they showed that they can STILL hold their own. With the recent split between Tiny and T.I., I could feel the rest of the world pulling for her to show up and deliver.  That, she did.  It's sad, but even in 2017, when a woman goes through a divorce at any level, she is expected to fold under the trauma.  To see Tiny on that stage, looking as good as she did, and singing her little butt off... Girl, I was like, "Girl Power!!"  She was singing for divorced sisters all over the country in that moment.  Tiny is relevant without Tip!  She was someone before and she will be after.   Dear Children, Once upon a time, Tiny was more famous than TI. We were wondering why SHE was dating HIM. #Xscape #BETAwards — Echo (@EchoDoesRadio) June 26, 2017   The music industry was reminded of just how many hits this group had in the short medley:  Who Can I Run To, Understanding, Just Kickin' It.  I cannot wait to see them live at Essence Fest!!  So many statements were made last night with their appearance.  The group is probably unaware of it, but let me point out what it meant to me: The ladies of Xscape have always represented the strength, vulnerability, tough skin, and softness of being a woman.  We're tough, but we desire to be loved as well.  All we need is a little understanding (pun intended). Coming together again after turbulent times is always good.  Reuniting with your sisters and showing the world that TOGETHER we are a force, well... you get it. This Xscape is a GROWN ASS WOMAN group!  Yes, for those grown ass bodies on stage! I know some were nipped, tucked, and body magic'd the hell out, but there is no denying that those were adult bodies on that stage.  They were beautiful, thick, and lovely! And finally, these women who were once young girls from Atlanta, Georgia.  Have grown to be leaders in their own right.  With or without successful husbands on their arms; these ladies are the captains of their destiny.  They are in control and if they didn't know before last night, they have a legacy. Check out their performance on the BET Awards here and let me know what this reunion means to you:  

Not Just Another Dope Boy Story: SnowFall Premiere’s July 5th on FX

SnowFall

I had the pleasure of viewing the advanced screening of John Singleton’s new drama, Snowfall, which premieres on FX, July 5th.   The show is set in Los Angeles during the early 80's and focuses on the lives of three main characters. Franklin Saint, played by the gorgeous Damson Idris, is a young man fresh out of high school who is involved in the drug game on a low scale.   Teddy McDonald is played by Carter Hudson, who becomes involved in the movement of cocaine from South America into the United States.  The third main character is Gustavo Zapata, who is played by Sergio Peris- Mencheta.  From what I understand about his character; he is a professional wrestler who becomes involved with a crime family. The show immediately grabs your attention, as soon as it begins. It is a tad on the graphic side, definitely not anything you will want to watch with the kids. The first episode follows all three characters through situations they are each experiencing.  Each of the main characters is from a different background. Franklin is a young black man living in an inner city neighborhood with his mother.   He also sells drugs with his uncle.   From what I saw, it looked to be marijuana. Teddy is a CIA agent who has fallen from grace. They haven’t revealed yet what he’s done to piss off his superiors but he is given the opportunity to lead the operation that will begin the widespread distribution of cocaine into the United States. I didn’t really get much of Gustavo’s story, except that he is trying to impress, who I believe, are his sister and brother, by completing a mission where things get a little out of hand. What I like most about this show is the representation of different social groups and how they are affected by the cocaine epidemic. I’m excited to see how each story will play out.  I appreciate the importance of this story.  It is important for the American people to know and understand how the “War on drugs” originated. Snowfall is airing at a pivotal time in our country.  I’m excited to see how it will be received. #SnowfallFX  premieres Wednesday, July 5th at 10/9c on FX. Photos by James Pray for FX Networks

Sixth Season of Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class returns featuring Kevin Hart

Master Class

The sixth season of Oprah Winfrey's Master Class returns, June 10th at 10pm EST!  She has an amazing line up of inspiring celebrity stories.  I'm such a fan of this series as I am a strong believer that through our transparency, we contribute the best of our lives to others.  We all have dreams and aspirations to become great leaders, pioneers, and successes.  More often than not, the end of the journey is sensationalized, but the story of the obstacles they've overcome are left in the shadows.  It is in these stories in which others can learn valuable lessons on our individual journey.  Lessons of resilience, persistence, and faith. "Oprah's Master Class" featuring an unprecedented first-person insight into the brilliant minds of the entertainers and public figures we love, respect and admire, returns with a special sneak preview with world-famous actor/comedian Kevin Hart on Saturday, June 10 on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. One of the longest-running OWN series, "Oprah's Master Class" has featured in-depth interviews with over 50 masters. From award-winning musicians and box-office busting actors to groundbreaking leaders, this all-new season includes such luminaries as world-famous actor/comedian Kevin Hart, Original King of Comedy and television personality Steve Harvey, civil-rights hero Congressman John Lewis, hip-hop pioneer LL Cool J, R&B legend and the "Empress of Soul" Gladys Knight, NBA champion and Hall of Famer,  Shaquille O'Neal, film and TV mogul Tyler Perry, multi-platinum singer-songwriter Usher, and Emmy-winning actress Lynn Whitfield. I will definitely be tuned in to get a weekly dose of fresh inspiration and encouragement.  This journey is not always roses, but inspirational stories like those featured on Oprah's Master Class, are the sure fire jolt you need to keep pressing forward.  Will you be watching?

Women That Rock: Ray BLK

Over the weekend, I surrounded myself around music. I know some of you may be wondering what does that mean. Well, I'll tell you. So often we as music lovers just put on a piece of music to just have sound filling up the room. Often times you don't literally listen to the words or the structure of the track, to really appreciate what is being played. Well, this week I did just that. I literally listened to the lyrics of a familiar tune and I studied the concept of the record, the placement, structure of the song, and also the attitude and passion that was used to project the track. And, I must say it made me take notice to what and who I was listening to. This week's artist spotlight, was found while watching a show on Netflix. “Rita Ekwere”, is better known to most as “Ray Blk”. This British singer and songwriter is a Nigerian born artist who grew up in London. You may ask how the BLK portion of her name came about. Well, it stands for Building, Living and Knowing, which she describes as her three main values. So, right away she has caught my attention with such a profound message. So let’s talk about the music. Ray can be referred to as an artist who isn't afraid of being totally honest and giving her listeners a glimpse into her very own life. Her single, entitled " My Hood" demonstrates this practice effortlessly. Ray's vocal tone is a clear display of complete control and direction of her vocal capabilities. Ray currently has an EP entitled "Durt".Which takes her listeners on a cosmic ride into her world. With her melodic vocals flowing over heavy synthesized beats. At times, her style reminds you of the 90's rapper Bahamadia. For all those real hip hop headz the track I would say is my favorite joint is entitled "Chill Out". This track has good placement and structure. She definitely gives us a clear idea of her musical influences on this track. From artist like Lauryn Hill to Bahamadia, I advice you to check out a fresh artist whose style and sound is remincing the days of good thought provoking music. Remember, to support real musicians and their crafts. Cause, if we don't show them that we support what they do. They won't continue bearing nothing but their souls. Spread the word when you find those artist that are getting the attention like the major artist. Remember, if you don't like what's on the airways then change it.

Cynthia Bailey Featured in “Freedom From Fibroids” Documentary

Esteemed female professionals recently convened for the official Premiere of the documentary Freedom from Fibroids, featuring Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey, Former TV Anchor and current Radio & TV host Monica Pearson, and John C. Lipman, MD, FSIR, Medical Director of the Atlanta Fibroid Center (http://AtlantaFibroidCenter.com). Guests enjoyed red carpet arrivals, an intimate reception with trumpeter Melvin M. Miller, catering by Akoma Events, special giveaways and a post-screening meet-and-greet with Cynthia Bailey. Atlanta Mayoral candidate Kwanza Hall and Atlanta City Council candidate Erika Y. Mitchell attended to support Fibroid Awareness as well. The Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Millard J. Collier kept the show lively with his dynamic style.  Peter Morrison, theatre manager and magician extraordinaire, provided production support for the event.  Cast members in attendance included Wayne & Gwen Tyler, Constance Barnett, Carmen McKever, Cie Cie, Wilson-McGhee, Robie West and Lauren Hawkins. Presented by the Atlanta Fibroid Center and narrated by Monica Pearson, the documentary explored the journey of Cynthia Bailey and other patients that suffered with fibroids and did not want surgery. Surgery was the only option given to these women until they found Dr. Lipman and the Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) procedure. As a community awareness effort, Dr. Lipman created the documentary to educate women on the non-surgical treatment for fibroids. UFE treats the symptoms of fibroids, for example, heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain and increased urinary frequency. UFE avoids all of the surgical risks and long recovery, and allows women to keep their uterus. Immediately following the screening, Dr. Lipman moderated a Q&A segment with the audience to further discuss fibroids and their treatment.

Women That Rock: Dawn Richard

We are experiencing a great moment in music. I think with what is going on in our country and our everyday lives as a people, we can surely say that our music is speaking loud and clear to the many diversities, that are plaguing our cultural society. Many of our very talented artists are indeed using their voices to speak on many of these pressing issues surrounding our communities. One artist I would like to shine a spotlight on this week is “Dawn Richard”. Dawn Richard graced the music scene a few years ago, after auditioning for a little show called “Making the Band”. Dawn's roots begin in New Orleans. She has always had deep ties with father Frank Richard, being the former lead singer and percussionist of the group Chocolate Milk. So, this means she always has been surrounded by music in some form or another. Now prior to Dawn attending that audition, which eventually landed her a spot in the very successful group, she had already landed a deal with “Octarve Anderson, Jr.” and his Atlanta Independent record label. “Yeah! Brother Records” and she had already recorded a solo album called “Been a While” that featured a single entitled “So What”, which was co-produced by “Ne-Yo”. So now fast forward, enters “Sean (Diddy) Combs” of “Bad Boy records”. Diddy along with her previous New Orleans Management Company began negotiations to postpone the release of that Album and the immediate release of the artist from her contract. Now, we could say that the rest is history, or we could continue the narrative and outline this artist's achievements. Dawn shared great success being apart of the group “Danity Kane”. But, what many of you may not know is how the group got its name. Dawn created a drawing of an Anime character. The drawing caught the eye of Sean Combs, when asked does the character have a name. Dawn responded with her name is Danity Kane. Now, you can say that the rest is history. Following her success with the Danity Kane, Richard also had the pleasure of being a member of the eclectic group Diddy's “Dirty Money”. Dawn is back with yet another amazing project. The Album is entitled “Infrared Deluxe”. This album is jammed pack with deep downtempo vibes and infectious melodies along with catchy choruses. Production on this album is carefully mastered. While watching an episode of this season's “Being Mary Jane” featured the track “Paint It Blue” in the background. The tracks soothing sounds filled the scene with so much passion as if it was the official video release of her song. Dawn's voice almost hypnotizes you with her smooth transitions. I will be surely putting this fire track into heavy rotation at several events this spring. This season is starting off to an awesome start.

Women That Rock: Ari Lennox

ari lennox

Discovery of viable artists seems to be sprouting up everywhere you look. And this week’s selection is a welcome addition to that growing list.  This week’s “Women That Rock” selection hails from our nation’s capitol, Washington, DC. I present to many and introduce to some the ever talented singer songwriter Ari Lennox. So, let’s jump right into it. Ari Lennox is simply put, a musical force to be reckoned with. Back on October 22, 2013, Ari put out an EP entitled “Ariography”. This album was an introduction to her steadily growing career in the music industry. This album was more of a precursor to what was yet to come from this young lady. Fast forward to a couple of years later then in July 21, 2015, while celebrating the success with appearing on “Omen's” album “Elephant Eyes” on a track entitled “Sweat it Out”, that year also gave way to a record deal with J.Cole's recording label Dreamville Records. Ari's creative style is a combination of a sassy soul singer meets a slick rapper, this might explain her signing with J.Cole. Listening to her tracks you can definitely hear rap influences as well as many other genres. In 2016, she released an EP entitled “Pho”. Now, this EP left me yearning for more. Her musical style is a combination of a sassy 90's R&B singer meets a slick charismatic rapper. I absolutely love her vocal delivery on each and every track. But, the track that absolutely caught my ear and made me pay close attention to what this artist had to say is entitled “Backseat” featuring “Cozz”, the vocal arrangement and placement displayed on every track, speaks volumes to her extensive works. I'm sure we're going to be hearing lots more from this very gifted young lady, cause remember guys with our support we can demand that artist such as Ari Lennox and other get their just due.

Video: Greenleaf cast talks about the importance of representation of black women on television

greenleaf representation

Representation matters.  I remember coming up, I had Claire Huxtable and Rudy (Cosby Show), Freddie and Kimberly Reese (A Different World), and Laura Wilson (Family Matters) as representations of young black women.  They looked like me, they dressed like me, and they were into the same things I was.  They had lives like mine and they were positive black women. Black women are diverse.  So, there is good and bad, sophisticated and ratchet in us all.  However, it seems that recently, mass media has only been broadcasting the negative portrayal of black women.  When I see these "reality" portrayals, I call foul.  That's not my reality.  My sisters love each other, lift each other up, everything opposite of what is portrayed. However, when you see the various characters recently played by black women on television, it gives me hope that there will be more than one story told about who black women can be.  Those diverse characters are seeing more and more roles as leading actresses in prime time shows such as Greenleaf on OWN.  This amazing show gives us a plot filled with diverse black women.  For each character, I truly feel I know someone just like that!  The characters are so realistic.  I fell in love with season one and this week, we prepare for season two. READ MORE ABOUT GREENLEAF HERE. I had the opportunity to speak with the cast of this amazing show and talk to the ladies about how representation really matters in the black community.  Hear what Kim Hawthorne and Deborah Joy Winans had to say on the subject:

Women That Rock- K. Avett

K avett

Now, that the Grammy Award event is over and all the lavish parties have ended, maybe you found that your favorite artist claimed the most prestigious accolade in the music industry that night, or maybe, not. Then there is the infamous day when all the morning shows are buzzing about the shows winners and performers, and in the mist, of the chattering talk surrounding Beyoncé's Grammy snub, Adele's unofficial announcement that she doesn't deserve the album of the year award, and that the better woman should have won the covenant award. I actually watched this year’s celebration of the one language that can truly unify us all. I told myself that I was going to participate in the spectacle to really see if at last the music will have the last say. Well, let's just say things were a little better than they have been in the past airings. I mean they did get it right in some categories of the night. I was still looking for that one performer that I could say they've got that jenassaiquoi... that umph. So, I took to the internet searching the many music sites on my quest to locate those amazingly gifted artist that the mainstream continues to overlook. Music lovers, I have an awesome treat for you guys this week. This week's “Women that Rock” spotlight artist goes by the name of “K. Avett”.  K. Avett is a singer songwriter with a sound that's reminiscent of days gone by, when artist actually sung what they wrote. Her sound is familiar yet new at the same time.  Her unique blending of exploring different genres throughout her music only adds to her overall musical talent. K.Avett is gearing up for her sophomore album slated for release Spring 2017. She is currently finding success with her debut single entitled “The Matter (What are we here for)”. Her vocal projection is felt throughout the very silky smooth track. It's as if her voice is floating over the melodic sounds and beats of the track. If you guys are big fans of artist such as Algebra Bassett, Anthony David, and Conya Doss, well then you catch my drift. You'll sure to appreciate this very gifted and inspiring talent. Let me conclude with this. See, I watched the Grammy awards to get confirmation that we control who should be recognized as great, and it is not some old ass men on some board of an academy, we the connoisseurs of great music have this say. With your continued level support we can show these artist that their works are greatly appreciated throughout our community.  Leslie Thomas is a DJ, traveler, blogger and lover of all things music.  Follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005 and visit my blog, The Sophisticate.  

One to Watch: A United Kingdom

"A United Kingdom" is a ravishing film that expresses to the world courageousness and love by taking a stance for unity in a nation of segregation. The true love story of Seretse Khama, an African King and Ruth Williams, a white woman and London native; looked beyond color, tradition, notoriety, and defied all rules for companionship. The challenge was not two races unifying but for a country to become independent. The story shares of trials and division between the hearts of man. Prideful-ness was infectious and became viral within the governance of The British and the people of Africa. This caused a gruesome form of hatred in the souls of their citizens in each country. "No man is free who is not master of himself" –David Oyelowo. Serete Khama was a noble man, honest leader, loving husband, and caring King. His duty was to his people. His love was for his country. His passion was liberated through his progression of bringing promising change that would enhance the welfare of his people. With Ruth Williams by his side; they were able to change the sight in how "the new normal" is supposed to be gleamed upon. "Race has no bearing on equality and justice," –David Oyelowo. Ruth was a woman who teaches us a lesson through her grace. She was a force to be reckon with. She didn't say much, yet when she spoke she said enough. Ruth, was a wife of a King and a mother of a nation. She always showed love, generosity, and concern for a country that once rejected her. Nonetheless, grew to love and respect her. To change a perception, actions must be taken by love. Love is the healer for brokenness. The people of Africa lived in darkness for ages, having little resources to survive, and were abused by a white government. Nevertheless, their lights never dimmed within... "Don't allow the ugliness of this world, to take our joy away from us."- David Oyelowo The ending of A United Kingdom expresses the worth of waiting. This concludes us to acknowledge hope even in a moment of despair. The release of this movie was right on time. The well-known screenwriter, Guy Hibbert and childhood actress, now director Amma Asante told a story that aligns us with common world issues in which we are presently confronted with. The sensitivity of the matters of the heart are always relevant but at times exile.  Many common circumstances are seemingly overshadowed by fear of uncertainty.  A United Kingdom answers the uncertainties of life to its audience by using a simple tool and international language called love. Check out the trailer below and let us know if this is "one to watch"!  Camille Snow is an entertainment journalist.  Follow her on Instagram @iamcamilleelise.

Women That Rock- Terri Walker

Like most of you by now, I have seen the most inspiring made for TV movie of all time, the “New Edition Story”. This movie was the equivalent to an R&B Roots. Three jammed packed nights of shear excellence. Once again we got a up close and personal look into the glamorous, but sometimes ugly, life of the music business. Like the old saying goes, this business can either make or break you. And this movie clearly showed that very theme. Again, the industry doesn't know what the people really want, as it was clearly displayed throughout this movie. Dear Music Industry, Please let the artist do its thing. That's why you signed the artist in the first place. Let's be real, the artist already possesses some type of star quality, hence the reason why they signed them in first place. So, for this week’s “ Women That Rock” series selection, it is yet another young lady from a growing list of Artists that need to be heard by the masses. Hailing from across the pond, London born”Terri Walker” has a voice and sound that needs to be heard, not just on a national but global level as well. This gifted young artist not only studied classical training at a young age, but it can be heard throughout most of her music. Ms. Walker recorded her demos in LA then shopped them to several labels located both in the UK and the US., which eventually ended up with a recording deal with “Def Soul” UK division. Now, I know most of you would say that's a good look for this talented artist. But, let me show you how they, (meaning the music industry) do nothing for the artist. She records her debut album entitled “Untitled”, the debut single is entitled “Guess you didn't love me” featuring “Mos Def” which is a very nice track, but guess what, it doesn't stand a chance to reach the masses due to the fact that there is no media outlets that will play the track. This is the first mistake and then if we fast forward several albums and years later after dealing with several labels not knowing what to do with yet another amazing talent. Terri tries her hand at putting out yet another album entitled “Untitled to Entitled” a nod to her first debut album. This album is definitely a well balanced project. I absolutely love the track “Lose Twice”, its one of my extreme favorites on this great album. Terri delivers a stellar performance on this great body of work. If only the record companies would stop controlling what's being played on the airwaves, maybe only then would great artists have a clear and fair shot at dominating the market. After researching Terri's work and story, I found myself feeling overwhelmed at the fact that her music and musical stories need to be heard by all that value true soulful music. There are hundreds even thousands of great talents that are going undiscovered each and

Happy New Year! Women That Rock- Ella Mai

Well, we've made it through another year. In the midst of creating new resolutions for the New Year, I'm always on the quest to discover timeless artists, that are attempting to prove to everyone that they are indeed the next biggest star status or accolade. I'm very optimistic that 2017 will provide us true lovers of pure authentic music, a quenching for that incredible thirst.  To kick off the 2017 series of “Women that Rock” artist profile, I present to some and introduce to others. Ella Mai (pronounced Ella Mae). A native of the U.K. Ella moved to New York at the tender age of 12, and then in 2014, while residing back in London for the second time of her life, she competed on the popular TV show X factor. She performed along side a group called Arize, and even though they didn't make it through the competition, the exposure did provide the opportunity for Ella Mai to try her hand at becoming a solo artist. Ella's impressive writing style comes through strongly in her music. She managed to accumulate a rather large fan base after uploading a four track EP to Soundcloud, which ultimately gained attention of DJ Mustard who signed her as a young artist on DJ Mustard's 10 Summers label. So this proves that sometimes things and events happen for a definite reason. Ella Mai's well controlled voice is heard loud and clear on every track. She clearly possesses the talent of a poised artist.  She is celebrating the release of her EP entitled “Change”, this six track EP produced the debut single entitled “She Don't”, that features “Ty Dolla $ign” one of the most underrated new school artists.   Just to let you know this guy is very talented also.  But, back to the track, this song shows off Ella's excellent singing and writing skills. I was absolutely in aw of this track.  Actually, every track is filled with so much passion and heart that they truly speak to the soul in each an every one of us. Whenever you need to hear that special song to really express how you're really feeling or if you are going through something in a relationship, this amazing EP has it for you. To my hardcore music lovers of great R&B music. Here's your first awesome CD for the year to add to your collection. Get ready guys, I think that 2017 is going to provide us with some amazingly talented artist.  Leslie A. Thomas is a music blogger and lover of all this sophisticated.  Check out my blog, The Sophisticate, and follow me on Twitter:  @LBoogie252005.

NEW MUSIC: Missy Elliot drops “I’m Better” Music Video

If this is your first time to IHEARTHATGIRL.COM, then let me warn you...WE LOVE Missy Elliot!!!! Yes, she is such an inspiration to me.  I saw the emergence of this female artist.  I watched as her gift cultivated and evolved year by year into the legend she is today.  When she put the game down, flipped it, and reversed it.  It wasn't just a song lyric.  She was telling you her plan. 20 years later, Missy Elliot is still killing the music game.  It doesn't matter how many times music styles change, she will always be ahead of the game (oh, she told ya'll that too). "Ain't no shame ladies do yo' thang.  Just make sure you're ahead of the game." -  Missy Elliot, "Work It" She's always ahead, because she's always been ahead.  She never created music on trend, she set the trend.  And with this latest offering, "I'm Better", I see how she's even taken the current music style and evolved it in true Missy fashion. As a hardcore Missy fan, I will always be thankful for her artistry.  I love an artist that I can count on.  An artist who's style changes, but still remains true to who they are.  An artist that can be influenced by what goes on around them, but reflect it in THEIR own special way. Missy is also working on a documentary and we can not wait to see it!!  Check out the video below of her latest release, "I'm Better", and let me know your thoughts.  

Women That Rock- Melody Angel [A Changing of the Guards]

Melody

As we embark on a changing of the guards, I've asked myself a serious question. Will our artists provide a deep understanding of the changes that our country will be experiencing in the days, months and years to come?   I wonder will they speak out on issues involving Americans in this country just as our greats did in the late sixties and seventies. Or will they just sit back and remain silent. Either way they choose to look at it, is solely their choice. The young lady I'm about to introduce to you guys this week clearly has been lending her voice to the voiceless. I first discovered this amazing singer, songwriter on a reality show. Yes, I said it. P. Diddy's Starmaker. This show aired on MTV in 2009. That young performers name was “Melody Angel”. The Chicago native impressed her judges and fans alike, with night after night stellar performances. It just wasn't enough to clinch the winners title. But, the exposure did help this amazingly gifted singer, songwriter with a boost in her music. Melody's raspy, soulfully charge voice leaves you absolutely speechless. She shows complete control over her voice. Careful placement of her vocals can be heard on every track with conviction and accuracy. And, I wouldn't doubt that growing up in Chicago helped to shape her into whom she has become. Sometimes, seeing the day to day injustice and turmoil growing has a way of molding you. And in many cases, music acts as elixir, to smooth the pain. Melody has a project out entitled “In This America”. The title track speaks loud to the injustice that has been plaguing the country lately. Accounts of Police brutality and senseless killing are addressed boldly and prophetically on this track, accompanied by beautiful guitar riffs that fill the room as they are being strummed. This is a powerful song that should be spread everywhere throughout the communities stricken by gun violence and senseless killings. Melody not only sings about injustice in the community, but she also shows her support by becoming active in the community, by showing her solidarity with the marchers of injustice and equality for all. This young talent is clearly channeling the spirits of the greats like Nina Simone. I would love to see this amazing artist perform the Afro Punk festival 2017. It's just an idea! If you guys are in need of some musical therapy to get you thru the weeks to come, try Melody Angel on for size. I think she may have just what the doctor ordered. Remember everyone, now more than ever; we as a people have to stick and stand together to make it through these next few years. Support you indie artists and their craft. It’s more valuable than you think. Leslie Thomas is a festival addict , travel enthusiast, lover of all things music.  Follow me on twitter @lboogie25!

Angela Bassett brings better skincare for dark-skinned women

Angela Bassett

Black don't crack.  We've heard the saying, said it, and believe it.  Most of the older black women and men that I know, hardly show any signs of aging.  And for those that do, they age so gracefully.  Angela Bassett is one of those women.  I swear this woman looks as if she froze time. As flawless as she looks, Angela Bassett has had issues with her skin.  She used treatments to deal with skin irritations and breakouts, but found that much was missing in the area of hyperpigmentation for black women.  The actress has teamed up with Dr. Barbara Sturm, her friend and a well-known skincare expert, to launch a skin-care line that addresses the specific needs of women with darker complexions.  Hyperpigmentation is characterized by a darkening of an area of skin caused by the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. The skincare line, "Darker Skin Tones by Dr. Barbara Sturm", is now a reality.  Bassett said that she wants to bring more awareness to skin care and for people, “to see what is good for it and ingredients that are helpful — not invasive or irritating. I like them to be pleased when they look in the mirror, to feel good about themselves and the condition of their complexion.” The line is available exclusively at Harrods in store and online.

Women That Rock: Break Out Artist, Tish Hyman

break out artist

With the holidays fast approaching, it's always been a great opportunity to discover fresh new talent to show off to friends and family. I always seem to love this time of year, all of my family together under one roof, and at my family home we always seem to get into a deep long conversation on the topic of music. Man, when I say we go heavy on this subject it is an understatement. My family's life revolves around music. I'm always on the look out for that break out artist. We have yet to feature a rapper for the “Women that Rock” series, but guys do I have a special treat for you. This piece is truly dedicated to all my Hip Hop heads.  This amazing artist isn't only a rapper, but also a gifted singer songwriter. She goes by “Tish Hyman”.  This Bronx native began her plight as a battle rapper, that's right she could flow with best of them. Then in 2010, Tish moved to Los Angels, Ca. This is also where she forged several artist relationships that would soon land her with the opportunity of a lifetime. You guys may be familiar with some of the many mainstream artists she's lent a creative pen to. She’s written for the likes of  Alicia Keys, Ty Dolla Sign, Diddy and Kelly Rowland just to name a few. In 2015, she released her first single, entitled “Subway Art”. This track really expresses the deep struggles of many New Yorkers that frequent the New York subway system on a daily basis. On this track her infectious vocals are compared to the great Lauryn Hill. Celebrating her July 12, 2016 release of her debut EP, entitled, “Dedicated To”, this project is jammed packed with hits. Tish gives us a brief uncovered look into her life and experience as an MC, she's clearly bringing back true Lyricism to the art of rapping. My favorite track on the album is entitled “All That I can Do”.  Tish delivers an astonishing performance on this very heartfelt track. We have to support these creative artists and their craft. Buy good music go to great concerts. Show your support for truly good music. And those great artists, like Tish Hyman will keep supplying the demand. https://youtu.be/aJhaMy7IG-4  Leslie Thomas is a music blogger, lover of travel and music festival enthusiastic.  Follow me on Twitter: @lboogie25.

Rickey Smiley For Real Season 3 Screening ATL

Known for his comedic style, Mother Bernice, the hilarious Rickey Smiley Radio Morning Show, Joe Willie and the Deuteronomaires, and for playing the keyboard, one of America’s favorite Que Dawgs, Rickey Smiley and the cast of   Rickey Smiley For Real hosted a live viewing party at The Gathering Spot in Atlanta, Ga Tuesday November 15, 2016. The red carpet was lit with stars who came to support such as: Rapper Scrappy, singers Bobby Valentino, former Destiny’s Child member Latavia Roberson, from Love and Hip Hop-Atlanta Benzino, from Have and Have Nots (Zena)Portia Furgueson, from Braxton Family Values sisters Trina and Traci Braxton,  and the show’s Executive Producer Rodger Bobb just to name a few superstars. It was the cast of the show that everybody was excited to see! Gary With Da Tea, Ms. Juicey (she came to slay), The Smiley children D’Essence, Aaryn, Brandon, Craig!! Co-host HeadCrack, Spirit, and Shanta Paige all on the carpet. There were door prizes, Que Dawg line step from a fellow Omega Psi Phi Que Dawg in the audience. Also making an appearance mother of sangin powerhouse Keke Wyatt, Ms. Lorna Wyatt!! From Married to Medicine, Dr. Heavenly, Lisa Nicole Cloud, and so many others. However, it was the entrance of the man of the hour Rickey Smiley that sent everyone into a frenzy! Smiley came in showing his snapchat followers all of the love and support the he and castmates were receiving!! It was a great night full of love, support, and pure comedy!! Rickey Smiley For Real airs at 8/7C on Tuesdays on TV ONE! I Hear That Girl salutes Mr. Rickey Smiley and the cast of Rickey Smiley For Real! We hear That!!  Media is a gift God bestowed on me to do as my career and ministry. If I can help show the world positive media, then I’ve done my job. Follow me on Instagram @tamrontobiassho

I Hear That Girl! on set of The Rap Game Season 3

Family, friends, school, faith, and the environment you live in can help shape the future of a child. Imagine being that child. You’re a dreamer with dreams bigger than you, but you have no idea how you’re going to get to your destiny, nor who to talk to other than your family. Well, somehow these five young aspiring artists heard that a big name producer was looking for new talent to introduce to the world help take their artistry to a new level. Young rappers Nova, Deesta Nada, Flau’jae (daughter of late rapper Camoflauge) Latin Rapper Tally, and King Rosco decided to audition and have Grammy Award Winning Producer Jermaine Dupri as their mentor as he guides them to their destiny. Jermaine Dupri and the Queen herself, that’s right QUEEN LATIFAH are executive producers for the The Rap Game. “The Rap Game” is currently in production and I HEAR THAT GIRL WILL BE REPRESENTED!! Yes, I represented as one of the round table media panelist interviewing these young artists on their political views and musical inspirations. YES! YOU HEARD RIGHT, GIRL! I HEAR THAT GIRL WILL SHINE ON NATIONAL TELEVISION!! Just know the media did not take it easy on these aspiring artists, they were asked the tough questions! The show will air on Lifetime Television and we will keep you posted on air dates!!! I Hear That Girl! wishes the best to all contestants, Jermaine Dupri, Queen Latifah, and all those involved with the show!! We also thank you for allowing I Hear That Girl! to be a part of the show! I Hear That Girl hears you!!! Media is a gift God bestowed on me to do as my career and ministry. If I can help show the world positive media, then I’ve done my job.   Follow me on Instagram/Twitter @tamrontobiassho.    

STAR: Atlanta Screening

STAR

Ahh, the joys of a young actress who auditions for the role of a lifetime. She stands in line and waits her turn. She's feeling confident as she stands with thousands of hopefuls knowing that she has what it takes. She's the total package, she can sing, dance, & act making her a triple threat. Finally it's her turn, she auditions...SHE NAILS IT!! The producers/directors all excited to work with this new talent as they feel a sense of "We've found gold!" Just as she is walking out of the door, she hears executives say, "Honey, we are gonna make you a #STAR! That's what what happened for the cast of Lee Daniels new hit STAR. The show is about a girl group with big dreams of making it big in the Atlanta music scene. Main *Stars* playing lead character Star (Axiom) Jude Domorest, Alexandra (A Girl Like Grace) Ryan Destiny, Simone (Trophy Wife) Brittany O'Grady, & the shows first transgender (Cotton) Amiyah Scott. The cast also includes Actress/Rapper (Living Single) Queen Latifah, (Miss Congeniality) Benjamin Bratt, with legendary rocker & guest cast member, THE LENNY KRAVITZ!! And might I say Lenny is some kind of fiinne chile (wink). The night was not only the screening and concert held at the Park Tavern-Atlanta, it was definitely a party! Some of your favorite stars came out & walked the red carpet such as Actress Vanessa Bell-Calloway (Coming to America, Tina Turner Story), (House of Payne) Actress/Singer Demetria McKinney, (Next Friday, Ray) Actor Clifton Powell (It's Pinky), (Braxton Family Values) Actress/Singer Trina Braxton (Yaaaazuh)! (Fighting Temptations)Actor/Rapper Lil Zane, (Black Nativity) Jacob Latimore, & (Madea Goes to Jail, The Man in Room 3B) Actor/Singer Christian Keyes just to name a few. The carpet however, was all about the cast of Star, these ladies were very graceful and beautiful! You can tell the excitement and eagerness for the guest to view the show! During the screening, you could hear the crowd clapping and cheering for the cast. You could see the excitement on everyone's face as familiar faces appeared on the scenes. I dare not tell you who they are, but I will say this, there's a particular character we were introduced to from the #RHOA (Real Housewives of Atlanta),  and "bebe`" (in my nola accent) this person is serving and is quite hilarious (popslips and bats eyes)!! Oh my! The setup and the drama will leave you gasping and wanting more! Lee Daniels is on it for this show! The after party was nothing short of fantastic performing & giving us vocal life was thee Sandy Redd! When I tell you she gave everything she had, this woman is phenomenal! Get to know her! Houston's own Dondria, and Atlanta's own Tasha Scott of XScape, just to name a few of the performers. Star is set to premier Wednesday December 14, 2016 right after the season finale of hit show Lee Daniels' "Empire" only on Fox. I Hear That Girl Congratulates Mr. Lee Daniels, & the cast of STAR! WE

Women That Rock- The mysterious HER

HER

Fall is officially upon us, and with each season, I would have to say brings about a different type of attitude, mood and state of mind.  Let me explain, for instance Spring & Summer are both seasons that share a sense of urgency to get out and roam about with friends and it also gives the urge to attend outdoor concerts and festivals, for example. It may also be like going off for spring break on some exotic sexy beach and even spending a long steamy summer night on the hottest rooftops of your favorite city hotel.  But I betcha, you've never payed much attention to the soundtrack that's playing for those type of events. It's those electric, bass driven, pulsating dance grooves followed by a catchy hook. Now, let’s explore the Fall & Winter seasons. These months as I like to mention provide a more calming relaxed demeanor. You're drawn more to attending intimate house parties or your feeling gravitate to a sort of closed off feel, from the rest of the world. You're more likely to engage in rich deep conversations, while a very smooth laid back track spins in the background. So with that said, I have yet another emerging artist to add to that growing collection. The artist I would like to introduce too many of you, has been making quite a name for herself, despite the fact no one actually knows the identity of this new talent.  This week's Women That Rock artist spotlight goes by the acronym “H.E.R.” That's pretty much all we know of the artist. Oh yeah, and let's not forget that she's a genius and has put out an incredible body of work. H.E.R. currently holds the number one spot on iTunes. The project is entitled H.E.R. Volume 1. I'm eagerly awaiting volume 2. One thing that can be said for this artist is they've brought back being different and creative with introducing the world to your sound, your art form, and presentation. The album brings a vision of a woman sitting down to her desk and writing in her diary for the night. Providing a very detailed recap of past and present love experiences. I absolutely love how each song appears to float into the next, almost like one continuous thought. The beats are very sexy and artist's voice appears to melt on the track. There's a clear presence of influences from the best that have done it. Influences, like the late great “Aaliyah” and “Marsha Ambrosia” just to name a few. Tracks entitled “Loving and U”, shows that whomever this artist turns out being, she clearly has excellent writing skills. The mastermind behind this album banger provided listeners with a brief 22 min. glimpse into the soul and passion of a spirited artist. So, may I make a suggestion for your next home gathering? Press play and groove out to something that will surely leave your guest begging to know more about H.E.R. Leslie A. Thomas is a lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @lboogie25.

Women That Rock- Jamila Woods

Jamila Woods

Guys, I have a confession. Lately, each week it's becoming more and more difficult searching for great music to showcase. There's so much garbage out there these days; that the real artists are being smothered. This is why I've set out on a quest to only provide my readers with quality musicians who truly are making a difference of providing excellent music and musicianship.  This week’s artist hails from Chicago, Illinois. Currently Chicago has been producing some of the hottest artist in the game. So, you know I am most intrigued by this gifted artist.  Her name is Jamila Woods; the Brown University graduate is a singer songwriter as well as a phenomenal poet. Her writings have been said to explore a deep sense of blackness and a celebration of womanhood. The nature of her music has a pro dominantly center around soul and hip hop influencers. Her music and poetry speaks volumes to the celebration of being proud of her heritage. We are surely in need of changing the culture of our music. I believe that music should speak as a voice to the voiceless and tame the savage beast. But, with artists like Jamila and others it appears that we may have a fighting chance after all. With Jamila's latest track entitled “Black Girl Solider”. This track is surely to become the black woman's anthem. The track speaks loud and proud to strong and empowering black females all over. It's filled with emotion and prideful melodies. I can't wait for the completion of the album. This track is surely going to leave you wanting more. Seriously guys, we can change the narrative when it comes to the music that's being played on the air waves. The time is now to take a serious look at what's going on with and in our communities and taking back our music should be first on the list. So, until next week. Remember it's all about the music. Support your favorite indie artist and their craft. Leslie A. Thomas is a lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @lboogie25.

Women That Rock: Solange

It's been four years since this gifted young talent's last album. And I've been eagerly anticipating her triumphant come back. The Women that Rock artist I speak of is none other than Solange.  Okay, let me give some of you guys a little background on this underrated artist. This American singer songwriter hails from the Texas City called Houston. Now she may be Beyoncé's little sister, but, she's surely made a huge name for herself in the Industry as well. Solange is no stranger to the music business, at the tender age of sixteen the young star was signed to her father Matthew Knowles's label Music World Entertainment. She also recorded her very first studio recorded album at this time entitled “Solo Star”. She has always expressed a very strong interest in music. thus, developing her creative writing style that encompasses all genres of music. Her music even transcends between different eras as well. Her very grown up sound, could be felt very strongly on her second debut album entitled “Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams”. This album celebrated the music of the Motown Sound of 60's and 70's. Do you guys remember “T.O.N.Y.”? That was my absolute favorite cut off that album. Then we come to the third studio album following that entitled “True”, this album I believe, wholeheartedly was completely slept on by the masses. True explored more with one of my favorite genres of music down-tempo and electronica sounds. Now I must tell you she's back, with what I've clearly deemed as her best work to date. The album is entitled “A Seat at the Table”. The album features several excerpts from the legendary “Master P”.  P. Tells of the journey of how he first got his deal in the music Industry and how that was unprecedented for a young black man being from the South. I absolute salute this young lady for paying homage to the ones that paved the way. She also expresses her love for wanting to express and celebrate her blackness. This is clearly what speaks to the climate of the country right now. This is so needed right now. There are several tracks I absolutely love on this album, but I would say the one I'm feeling the most is entitled “Don't Touch My Hair”. This track is an expression of all of us embracing our hair. So guys, if you are known for loving an album with substance then this is the one. The album gets my strong stamp of approval. But, don't take my word for it. Give it a listen and tell me what you think. I look forward to the conversation. Remember to support indie artist and their craft. Cause, without the music what type of life would this be. Until next time, remember to play your music loud and often.  Leslie A. Thomas is Music Blogger and lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @lboogie252005  

Kontrol Mag Women of Style Dinner for Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas

How do you celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of a Queen? You can start by honoring her and Kontrol Magazine did just that! Honoring music legend Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of hit 90's group TLC as this years Woman of Style Award recipient! The 5'0ft petite music legend graced the red carpet in a simple black two piece ensemble. Though she maybe small in size, her work is that of a giant. Attending the event were many friends, but some notable friends, R&B singer Dondria, former Destiny's Child singer Latavia Roberson, LeAnne "Lele" Lyons of SWV, R&B singer/ActressTiffany Evans, and her charity group Saving Our Daughters just to name a few! The invite only event took place in the VIP Lounge at the Suite Lounge in downtown Atlanta. The elegant setting fit for a Queen gave a relaxing vibe for great food, great music, and an all around great celebratory vibe. Towards the end of the night Editor-in-Chief and owner of Kontrol Magazine Julian Lark and Award Winning Enchanted PR owner Christal Jordan presented Chilli with the Woman of Style award. As she graciously accepted, the soft spoken beauty declined to have any remarks but you could tell she really felt honored. CONGRATULATIONS MS ROZONDA "CHILLI" THOMAS on your award! I Hear That Girl Salutes you! We hear ya girl!!  Check out pics from the celebration below!  

Tracee Ellis Ross’ Historic Emmy Win…

Tracee Ellis Ross

Ok, THAT's what should have happened!  After 30 years, Tracee Ellis Ross became the first black actress to receive an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Dr. Rainbow "Bow" Johnson, the matriarch on black-ish.  I know, I know... it's 2016 and we're still dealing with "firsts".  It's a poor state of affairs that are best left addressed in another article. However, a fact that came to life upon her nomination, was the unsettling truth that she was a realization of the lack of diversity in Hollywood.  This same topic has come up time and time again, as recently as this past Oscar's, and yet, here we are again... The last nomination for a Black woman in this category belongs to Phylicia Rashad in 1986 nomination for her role as Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show. Only five black actresses have ever been nominated in the category, including Diahann Carroll for Julia, Isabel Sanford for The Jeffersons, and Nell Carter for Gimme a Break!). In 1981, Isabel Sanford was the first Black actress to win the award for this category. “At this age, at this point in my career, to be a first-time nominee is extraordinary. To be nominated on behalf of a show that I am so proud of,” Ross told ABC. “I have not yet gotten married or had a baby, and this is pretty up there on the list.” Adding an even bigger boost to the major award show, Forbes reports that 18 out of 73, of the acting nominees in major categories are people of color. This is up from 21.9% last year. While Tracee is never one to shy away from her accomplishments, she always reminds us of the importance of staying humble throughout her career.  “My goal is not necessarily to be an inspiration. I think if anything, I want to continue to be inspired and to continue to grow as a person,” Ross told EBONY. “You can’t know what you don’t know.” What I know, is that Tracee deserved this, and she didn't get it.  Hollywood, needs to do better.  Really guys, do better.  

Tichina Arnold Wows at Triumph Awards 2016

Sunday, I Hear That Girl! covered the red carpet for the 2016 Triumph Awards.  Hosted by actress and philanthropist Tichina Arnold, the Triumph Awards recognizes distinguished individuals and corporations in civil rights, the arts, entertainment, education, business and sports. The show was taped in front of a live audience and will air Sunday, October 2 at 7PM and 9PM ET on TV One. Tichina was gorgeous on the red carpet and of course brought along her funny, girl next door, personality.  There were tons of other fashion forward celebs to grace the carpet as well.  We've got pics below.  Be sure to check out the show when it airs on TV One.  Here's a rundown of the honorees: Attorney Benjamin Crump was presented the “Chairman’s Award for Historic and Transformative Service” by Clifton Powell (Saints and Sinners); Larenz Tate (House of Lies) presented the “Triumphant Man of the Year” award to Jermaine Dupri; The “Triumphant Woman of the Year” went to FedEx executive Gina F. Adams, who was introduced by legendary singer Dionne Warwick; actor and recording artist Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins was on hand to present the “President’s Award for Service and Humanitarian Efforts” to Sean “Diddy” Combs (who was not in attendance); Tim Murphy of Mastercard accepted the honor of “Corporate Partner of the Year Award;” and the final award of the evening was the “Activism in the Arts Award” presented to Spike Lee by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vietta Johnson, President of Spelman College Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell and actress Teyonah Parris. Performers included gospel artist Jekalyn Carr, V. Bozeman, Nick Cannon, BJ the Chicago Kid, the James Brown Academy of Music Pupils, Joe, Eric Benet, Juan and Deborah Joy Winans, and Fantasia. Tichina Arnold, JB Smoove, Carl Payne, Erica Ash and Teyonah Parris also joined forces to perform a “Spike Lee Joint Medley,” a hilarious musical tribute. Additional appearances by Marc Lamont Hill, Dondre Whitfield, Kandi Burruss, Terri J. Vaughn, Pooch Hall, Denise Boutte, Ebony Steele, Angel McCoughtry; the “Mothers of the Movement;” Gwen Carr (mother of Eric Garner), Lesley McSpadden (mother of Mike Brown) and Sybrina Fulton (mother of Trayvon Martin); and Georgia State House Representative Erica Thomas.

Solange on Angry Black Women

Solange Knowles didn't have a very pleasant experience when she attended a Kraftwerk concert on Friday night. Knowles went to the concert in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband, 11-year-old son and a friend of his. After standing up to dance to Kraftwerk's hit Machine, Knowles claims a group of white women told her to sit down. When she didn't, they threw a lime wedge at her back. The 30-year-old singer took to Twitter to express her rage about the whole experience, starting her series of tweets with "Let me tell you about why black girls/women are so angry". She had been enjoying a chance to "dance and enjoy a band I love." Statistically New Orleans has one of the largest African-American populations of US cities but Knowles said "we are four of about 20 black concert goers out 1500 here. Four out of maaaaybe 20 out of 1500." 4 older white women yell to me from behind, "Sit down now" . I tell them I'm dancing at a concert. They yell, "u need to sit down now"... — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) September 10, 2016 We are at an ELECTRONIC and DANCE music concert and you are telling...not asking me...to sit down. In front of my child. — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) September 10, 2016 The younger sister of Beyonce said she shared her experience "so that maybe someone will understand, why many of us don't feel safe in many white spaces ... we don't 'bring the drama' ... fix yourself." She became even angrier after people on Twitter questioned if it was really about race and more about the drama. Nobody goes to the Kraftwerk show with their kid "looking for "drama" But that's how u guys like to spin this. — solange knowles (@solangeknowles) September 10, 2016 Despite being subject to such a deplorable act, Knowles continued having a good time posting a video of herself and her husband dancing and captioned it "Bye haters."

Hidden Figures is the #BlackGirlMagic We’ve Been Waiting For

Hidden Figures

January 13, 2017, will be an awe inspiring day.  Personally, I will have a group of women joining me as we head to the theaters to see the film, Hidden Figures.  It is the anticipated retelling of the true story of the black women behind the NASA program's historic launch. Hidden Figures tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three black women who played crucial roles in one of NASA's finest hours: launching an American into orbit for the first time. As the film's first trailer shows, their story is not only important, it's long overdue. In the film, Johnson is portrayed by Taraji P. Henson; Vaughan is played by Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae makes her acting debut in her role as Jackson.  I'm super excited for this film.  Films like these are needed because they show the diverse make-up of black women.  We come from all walks of life, with various gifts and talents to share.  I'm going to see this film, will you?

Ain’t This a Bihh?!! Leslie Jones Goes Head To Head With Twitter Racists

Comedienne, Leslie Jones, should have been celebrating her amazing success story.  Jones' Ghostbusters opened at U.S. box offices with $46M and ended up coming in at the number 2 position. Instead of focusing on that, Jones was fighting the sea Twitter Racists who hurled slurs and epithets at her on social media.  For over 24 hours Leslie Jones took time away from what should have been one of the high points of her life to strike back against racism on Twitter.     When the abuse became too much, Leslie removed herself from the platform.       I leave Twitter tonight with tears and a very sad heart.All this cause I did a movie.You can hate the movie but the shit I got today...wrong — Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) July 19, 2016 This world has many demons that it must face, and RACISM is at the top of the list.  It burns me that this sister had to endure the hateful, lascivious oral lashings from so many in 2016.  And yet, we are still be asked to explain or defend #BLACKLIVESMATTER. GTFOH! I ask that if you have a twitter account, shower our sister @Lesdoggg in loving and supportive tweets.  Also, support her film, Ghostbusters.      

Kelis Starts New Venture With Pop-Up Restaurant

Singer Kelis Rogers, is steadily spreading her wings!  The singer has always been a foodie, hence the latest album title, "FOOD".  This time, she is venturing into the restaurant industry with Pop-Up restaurants in the UK.  When I heard about her new endeavor I was shocked, but was reminded that Kelis is a  Cordon Bleu- trained Chef. Pregnancy and divorce put a pause on her culinary endeavors after graduating in 2009.  Soon, she resubmerged herself into the food world and wrote a cookbook titled "My Life on a Plate: Recipes From Around the World," which was released last year. Now her kitchen skills are being tested on a much more public space: her own restaurant. Rogers will be collaborating with the cooking duo behind the London restaurant Le Bun to open a pop-up eatery that will run though July. Then, she'll be taking her menu on the road to a variety of U.K. based festivals. We're excited for her ever evolving greatness and wish her the best!  She's a beautiful example of how women can be and do so many amazing things when we grow stronger from our trials.

Toni Braxton, Wendy Raquel Robinson Honored at 365Black Awards 2016

A number of notable celebrities, community leaders and entertainers descended on the city of New Orleans once again to attend the 13th Annual McDonald's 365Black Awards, held today at the New Orleans Theater in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. They were joined by spectators who converged to salute this year's recipients of the distinguished awards, including Grammy Award-winning artist Toni Braxton; football cornerback Charles Tillman; award-winning actress Wendy Raquel Robinson; educator and historian Lonnie Bunch; and McDonald's owner/operator Larry Triplett. Additionally, teen philanthropist Lauren Seroyer and teen social-entrepreneur Donovan Smith were recognized alongside this lineup with the third McDonald's 365Black Community Choice Youth Award, facilitated by Thurgood Marshall College Fund. McDonald's 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community. The program launched in 2003 as an extension of the company's 365Black platform, created to celebrate the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round. Held in conjunction with ESSENCE Festival™presented by Coca-Cola®, the event was hosted by actor Lance Gross and actress/singer Amber Riley. Singing siblings and reality television co-stars The Braxton Sisters performed a show-stopping tribute to their sister, Lifetime Achievement honoree, Toni Braxton. Vocal powerhouse Kelly Price, along with recording artists Kenny Lattimore, V. Bozeman and Eric Benet joined the sisters in the esteemed accolade to Toni. Anthony Hamilton and the Hamiltones, Chrisette Michele, Ro James and Canton Jones led the other crowd-moving performances at the awards. Actresses Sheryl Lee Ralph, Ta'Rhonda Jones, Erica Ash and Gabrielle Dennis, along with actors Cornelius Smith Jr., Ronreaco Lee and Jay Ellis, were among this year's presenters. Other celebrities in attendance included recording artists Jordin Sparks, Avery Wilson and Guordan Banks, as well as music producer Sean Garrett and comedian/philanthropist Ricky Smith. Actor, comedian and popular internet personality King Bach brought his large social media following along to the event, posting photos from the signature gold carpet prior to the ceremony. "We salute this year's honorees for all of their achievements and for positively contributing to their communities," said William Rhodes, McDonald's U.S. marketing director. "It is important to acknowledge people who are making a real difference. We at McDonald's are proud to be able to honor this group with this form of recognition. We hope it inspires them and others to continue to make positive impact." Those who missed the live awards ceremony can share in the experience by watching the broadcast on BET® Networks and CENTRIC later this summer. Additionally, consumers can follow @365Black on Twitter for commentary on the awards and join the conversation using #365BlackAwards.

“QUEEN SUGAR” MAKES SPLASH AT 2016 ESSENCE FESTIVAL

Queen Sugar, the new original series from filmmaker Ava DuVernay and executive producer Oprah Winfrey,  gave festival-goers a sneak peek of the highly-anticipated drama premiering September 6-7 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN. On Saturday night, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network completed day two of its "Queen Sugar" Essence Festival promo run with a Q&A on the "Empowerment" mainstage, moderated by Essence entertainment director Cori Murray -- featuring the cast and show creator Ava DuVernay; an inspiring keynote speech by "Queen Sugar" executive producer Oprah Winfrey; and a culminating cocktail reception at Legacy Kitchen, where over 200 industry insiders and tv personalities celebrated the new series. "Queen Sugar" cast members Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Kofi Siriboe, Omar Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dondre Whitfield, Nicholas Ashe and Bianca Lawson graced the red carpet at the reception, followed by DuVernay, Gayle King and Ms. Winfrey herself. Additional attendees included: Lynn Whitfield ("Greenleaf"), Tina Knowles Lawson, Richard Lawson, "The Real" hosts Adrienne Bailon, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai; singer Lalah Hathaway; "Love Thy Neighbor" cast Patrice Lovely and Darmirra Brunson; "Survivor's Remorse" cast Tichina Arnold, Jessie T. Usher, Erica Ash and Allen Maldonado; "POWER" cast Lela Loren and Joseph Sikora; "Real Housewives of Atlanta" cast Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker; broadcast journalist/producer Soledad O'Brien, Bozoma Saint John (Head of Global Consumer Marketing, Apple Music & iTunes); Mona Scott-Young (Monami Entertainment); Stevie J ("Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta"); "Married to Medicine" cast Dr. Heavenly, Mariah Huq and Lisa Nicole Cloud; Gocha Hawkins ("LA Hair"), Tameka Foster, American Idol's La'Porsha Renae and so many more. "Queen Sugar" will debut as a two-night event on Tuesday, September 6 and Wednesday, September 7 at 10PM ET/PT on OWN. The series will regularly air Wednesday nights at 10PM ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season.

Women That Rock- Syleena Johnson

Well guys, it’s officially the beginning of a new season. I absolutely love summer. Here's your chance to catch all the latest festivals and concerts of year. Just this past weekend, I've had the pleasure to catch the ATL “Soul Life Festival” hosted in the great city of Atlanta Georgia. It's a two-day festival featuring some of the best Neo-soul artists in the game. I had the pleasure of seeing a very talented female. Some of you may know her from the reality TV show “R&B Divas Atlanta”. I'm speaking of none other than “Syleena Johnson”. Now guys, I've been following this young ladies career since the very beginning. Syleena is the daughter of legendary R&B singer Syl Johnson, so she's no stranger to singing the rhythm and blues music. Syleena took to music very early idealizing such artists like Aretha; Chaka and Whitney to name a few. Now, let's talk bodies’ of works. Before they were the Chapters of her life. There was an album that she recorded with her legendary father entitled “This time together by father and daughter”. Then there was the album entitled “Love Hangover”. These albums were the precursors to the Chapters of her life that literally follow into her career. Syleena's music embodies pure life lessons on being in love and all of loves hang ups. The richness and pure soulfulness in her voice gives the listener a sense of how traumatizing the pain she's feeling being broken by her lover. From the very first song I’ve ever heard from this amazingly talent woman. “I'm your Woman”, is my favorite track from this artist. Written by R.Kelly. Syleena clearly delivers a very heartfelt plea for her man to treat her with some respect. Syleena sung several of her hits at the festival. She also sung some cuts from her latest project entitled “Chapter 6 Couples Therapy”.   The First single is entitled “Harmony” featuring Dave Hollister.  Check it out here: Let's also mention that she also has a new book out entitled “The Weight is Over”. Coming to a bookstore near you. What's great way to start off the summer season with the sound of music and a great book. Can't wait to read it this one. So, if you guys are looking for nice summer album to groove to feel free and check this artist latest. And if you're looking for a book to read on that much needed summer beach vacation, then why check out this one. Then, tell me what you think. Remember, it’s important to support your favorite indie artist and their craft. So guys get out this summer and check out the many summer festivals and concerts taking place across the nation.  Leslie A.Thomas is a lover of all things music. Follow me on Twitter @lboogie25.

On The Scene: Rickey Smiley Foundation Celebrity Bowling Tournament

Last night, Rickey Smiley's, "Rickey Smiley Foundation," hosted a celebrity bowling tournament at Slingshot Entertainment in Atlanta, GA. Atlanta's top VIP's battled each other in a fun game of bowling led by Rickey Smiley and ED Lover. Special guests in attendance included: Karlie Redd (VH1 "Love & Hip Hop), Porsha Williams ("DISH NATION"), Da Brat ("DISH NATION"), Gary With the T ("DISH NATION"), Meelah Williams ("702"), Bonecrusher (rapper), Demetria McKinney ("Tyler Perry's House of Payne"), Cocoa Brown (OWN "For Better or Worse"), Diallo Thompson ("Barbershop 3"), Brandi Williams ("Blaque"), Bobby V (singer), Tameka Foster (VH1 "Atlanta Exes"), Mishon (singer/ABC "Lincoln Heights"), Sammie Bush (singer), Melissa Knowles ("HLN"), Lisa Wu (TV One "Hollywood DIVAS"), Monie Love (Reach Media "ED Lover Show"), Micah Stampley (singer), Y'Aanna Crawley (BET "Sunday Best"), Gwen Boyd Moss (WE tv "Selling It: in the ATL"), Gary Lavard (Youtube "About Him") and more! Guests enjoyed complimentary food and drinks; and were encouraged to donate to the foundation while in attendance. The bowling tournament was taped for TV One's hit doc-series "Rickey Smiley For Real." Rickey Smiley's docu-series "Rickey Smiley For Real," airs Tuesday nights at 8pm ET on TV One.   For more information on the "Rickey Smiley Foundation" visit: http://www.therickeysmileyfoundation.org.

Tracee Ellis-Ross Flawless in French Braids at White House Dinner

One of our Sister Loves, Tracee Ellis-Ross, is forever giving us life, be it as the host of Black Girls Rock, as Bo on the hit sitcom, 'Blackish', T-Murda on social media.  We love love love this woman and she recently gave us even more to gab about with her stylish look at the White House State Dinner. At this past weekend’s White House State Dinner, Tracee was breathtaking in a floor-length white gown. While she could have just opted for a curly updo, she paired it with two long loosely cornrowed braids on either side of her head that stole the night. Still obsessing over the braids I wore last night! You will be seeing them again! Thank u @YeneDamtew! #NordicVisit @VitaFede earrings Make up by me with my latest obsession @ColouredRaine #truffleraine lip A video posted by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on May 14, 2016 at 12:14pm PDT I love french braids as well, its such a simple, sexy, cool hairstyle.  My niece is a beast with it, and I have yet to try the long french braids (I always do them tucked into a goddess crown).  This will definitely be one of my summer styles.  What do you think about this style?  Are you loving it as much as we are?

Denzel & Pauletta Washington Raise $17M for Smithsonian

courtesy of The Rickey Smiley Show Oscar winner Denzel Washington used his influence, likability & talent recently to raise millions in a fundraising event held at his LA home. The multi award-winning actor, filmmaker, and philanthropist co-hosted the event with his wife, Pauletta, which set out to raise funds in support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). With some of the biggest names in Hollywood in attendance, the event raised an incredible $17 million toward the cause, which included a $10 million pledge from Shonda Rhimes. “There is such a historical significance to this project,’’ Washington told Variety. “It means so much for our community, our country and to future generations." According to the NMAAHC website, the museum "will be a place where all Americans can learn about the richness and diversity of the African American experience, what it means to their lives and how it helped us shape this nation. A place that transcends the boundaries of race and culture that divide us, and becomes a lens into a story that unites us all." The total cost of the museum will amount to $540 million, and so far the US government has contributed half that amount. The remainder relies on private donations and events such as the one hosted by Denzel & Pauletta Washington. “In this climate where so much money is being raised for the Presidency and The White House, it is incredible to have the support we received,’’ said Pauletta Washington. “It’s good knowing that even with so much going on, people are committed to making sure that this museum is successful.’’ Big thanks to the Washington family! Your efforts will go on to help educate, honor and empower millions for years to come! The museum will open on September 24, 2016. Until then, you can check out their gallery, located on the second floor of the National Museum of American History, in Washington, DC. Read more

Big Sis Kandi Burruss shares Money Advice: Girl… Get Your Money Right!

Singer. Songwriter. Hit maker. Producer. Playwright. Host…The list goes on. Reality star Kandi Burruss wears so many hats at once, it’s tough to list them all. The Real Housewives of Atlanta star, 39, made a name for herself as a musical artist, but throughout her career she branded her success and turned it into wealth by extending her reach well beyond her music. Related Stories:  BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS OWNER GIVES TIPS Proving she’s an unbelievably savvy businesswoman, today mom-to-be Burruss owns two trendy clothing boutiques in her hometown of Atlanta, an award-winning intimate toy line, a marketing service and a production company—each of which was a dream she brought to life. Burruss’ biggest secret to success is smart planning and realistic money management. “I try to invest in things that people can use or things they would enjoy,” she shares. “Something that’s easy to market or promote. Also, things that are in a great price point that will sell quickly so that you can make your initial investment back fast.” Dreaming is easy, but stacking the funds to set your dreams in motion can prove to be the biggest challenge you face. Start by curbing your lifestyle and spending habits, Burruss suggests: “I meet people all the time who say they want to do this or that but say they don’t have the money. A lot times they are living to the full extent of their income and they’ll have nice bags and shoes but haven’t even invested in quality business cards or nice website for their brand. Who will want to gamble or invest in you if your not taking the first step to invest in yourself?” Burruss’ best advice for 2016 is to start off the year living below your means, “The money you’re going to save instantly can go toward your dreams,” she adds. But don’t stop there. For Burruss, having multiple sources of income coming in has proved invaluable for making her big ideas a reality. “I never want to depend on one thing,” she says. “I invest in property because you can always leverage your equity to purchase other things.” Although Burruss can offer advice for days on how to build up your bank account and brand, she knows when to take advice too. The best financial advice she ever received came from rap star LL Cool J when Burruss was just 19. “I had just bought my first house while Xscape was on tour with him,” she recalls. “He told me that I should try to pay off my loan as soon as I could because the entertainment business is so up and down you never know how long you’ll be able to afford those expensive notes. He told me to put extra money toward the principle of my loan every time I got a check no matter how big or small because it would knock years off of my loan. He was so right.” She stuck to the plan and when she went back to look at her loan statement, the

Kerry Washington & Viola Davis Creating Production Companies

courtesy of BYP So far, 2016 has been a wonderful year for Black woman seizing their own opportunities. Early this spring, Kelly Rowland announced that she plans on starting a makeup line for dark-skinned women. Shea Moisture is taking a stand against the racism in the beauty industry. Recently, it was announced that Kerry Washington and Viola Davis are launching independent production companies. Take a moment to embrace all this Black girl magic. Having two powerful Black actresses who are launching their own production companies is definite proof that Black women are taking control of their narratives. When we let shows that do not have Black characters or other characters of color interest at heart, it results in our characters being killed like in Sleepy Hollow or ignoring the importance of representing characters of color like what happened with The Mindy Project. The television and the film industry continue to be uninterested in diversity in their shows. Programs like The Brady Bunch, Full House, or Friends were not made with Black audiences in mind. For the producers, we were not an audience worth marketing toward. People of color were a forgotten and avoided viewers. Still as Black women are winning major acting and producing awards, people still rather whitewash their movies and television shows rather than allow diversity to thrive. I know that am tired of watching the blatant racism and mistreatment of characters of color in the media, and I am done waiting for other people to tell our stories. Maybe these new moves from Washington and Davis are signals that a change cometh. As a Black writer and viewer, I am overjoyed to learn that women who look like me and my friends are controlling our stories. From my writing classes, the television shows that I watch, and the movies that I see, I have learned that people both do not understand how to create diversity in their shows, and are not willing to listen or attempt to understand how to make their characters more realistic. Now, Davis and Washington are creating the opportunities that have been denied for decades, and we are all here for it.

Women That Rock- Tarica June

I have a question for all my music enthusiasts out there. Is there a viable movement being pushed for pure conscious music to return by the people, or is it all hype? Well, I'd like to believe that idea of socially conscious music is coming back and with a vengeance. I believe that I have a young lady, making a loud noise for change. “Tarica” a DC rapper, has been pleading her case of speaking out on issues that are affecting our communities for quite some time now. She's spoken out on everything from political and social charged issues plaguing the nation, and her very own city. To the constant presence of gentrification running rampant in every urban dense population in the country, this female rapper isn't a virgin storyteller. While starting out delivering her powerful words as poetry, then getting known for dropping knowledge, she eventually turned those poems into conscious rhymes set to beats. In 2010, the mixtape entitled “Moonlight Revolution” gained critical acclaim of being the first modern day outfit albums to address issues of empowerment and misogyny, that has a heavily presence in the rap and hip hop community. This also led to Tarica, traveling and performing at events centered around uplifting and empowering young women. Tarica has also raised awareness regarding other socially and conscious issues organizations. She is now promoting a new project entitled “Streams of Consciousness” and it’s hot. This mixtape is filled with jaw dropping lyrics and fresh beats. The first single to drop from the project is entitled “But Anyway”. The track features a sample from “Susan Vega's” “Tom's Diner” and “PM Dawns” “Set A Drift On Memory Bliss”. Tarica shows off her lyrical styles on this one to times past, of “Marion Barry” running the city and giving a damn about the people. The song also addresses the fact that the record labels really don't want music to feed your intellect to resonate over the airwaves. This is just one of the many voices out there speaking on behalf of the voiceless. We as the consumers must stand with this artist and many others to change what is being played on the radio and what the record label believes to be what the masses want to hear. Supporters of pure impactful music and artists like the one I've introduced to you today, need to know that you stand with them, because they cannot change it by themselves. It takes all of us a collective force to impact change. Until next time, attend those concerts and festivals and discover a few new artists. https://youtu.be/EMZIK3dAOR8 Leslie A. Thomas is a lover of all things music follow on Twitter @Lboogie252005    

Jennifer Hudson to Star in Hairspray Live!

Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG and Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson will headline the cast of NBC’s “Hairspray Live!,” the network’s next live Broadway musical holiday event following the phenomenal success of “The Wiz Live!” “We are beyond thrilled with this incredible talent of stars for ‘Hairspray Live!,’” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.  "We’re also so grateful that the incomparable Jennifer Hudson will play Motormouth Maybelle and we know her rendition of ‘I Know Where I’ve Been’ will literally stop the show.” Based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Hairspray Live!” takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on “The Corny Collins Show,” a local TV program. When, against all odds, Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight and meets a colorful array of characters, including the resident dreamboat, Link; the ambitious mean girl, Amber; an African-American boy she meets in detention, Seaweed; and his mother, Motormouth Maybelle, the owner of a local record store. Tracy’s mother is the indomitable Edna Turnblad, and she eventually encourages Tracy on her campaign to integrate the all-white “Corny Collins Show.” Harvey Fierstein, who is also writing the teleplay, will play Edna Turnblad, a role he created and won a Tony Award for in the stage version of “Hairspray.” The quintessential Edna, Fierstein portrayed the character for the show’s first two years of its seven-year run at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway. Hudson, who will play Motormouth Maybelle, is currently completing a triumphant run in the acclaimed revival of "The Color Purple" — performing the role of Shug Avery in her Broadway debut. She won an Oscar and Golden Globe in 2007 for her iconic performance as Effie White in the hit film “Dreamgirls.” Her sensational rendition of the song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” was greeted with instant acclaim by film critics and moviegoers alike and made Hudson the person to beat as best supporting actress for the Academy Awards. Hudson’s incredible vocal talents were first recognized with her appearance on the third season of “American Idol” in 2004, where she impressed both the show’s judges and a national TV audience. Soon after, she released her first album, “Jennifer Hudson,” which debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 Chart and sold more than 500,000 copies in the U.S. through the first six weeks. The album was nominated for four Grammys and won for best R&B album. Hudson continued on the bigscreen following “Dreamgirls” and has since co-starred in such films as “Sex and the City,” “The Secret Life of Bees” and Spike Lee’s latest film, “Chi-Raq.” Her TV credits include NBC’s “Smash,” Fox’s “Empire” and HBO’s newest telepic, “Confirmation.” “Hairspray Live!” reunites Hudson with executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who worked with her previously on NBC’s “Smash” and the 85th and 87th Oscar telecasts, which they also produced. Television director Alex Rudzinski will join stage director Kenny Leon (“The Wiz Live!”). Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (the upcoming “A Few Good Men Live!”) serve as executive producers of “Hairspray Live!” Harvey

Ciara Is Spring Gorgeous on Essence Cover

Ciara looks so happy on the cover of ESSENCE's May issue.  We can't help but to share in her joy.  The recently engaged singer gushes about Russell Wilson, her son, and much more. “Marriage is something I look forward to. I believe in family, and the beauty of two people committing to spend their lives together. We talk about everything. To me, to both of us, that’s the foundation you need for love to flourish and reach its highest place. I want to live with as much lightness as possible, so I can stay focused on my love of God, and being the best mom, and the best person, I can be…”—Ciara, ESSENCE Magazine Single motherhood wasn’t on Ciara’s to-do list. As the singer shares in ESSENCE's May issue article, Secret Garden, when Baby Future came into her life, so did a new focus on what matters most: her son and her faith. And now that she’s found a new love, everything’s coming up roses. With a clear vision, a focus on family and a life firmly rooted in faith, singer Ciara promises that there are even more “goodies” in store for her, her fans and the future. ESSENCE’s May anniversary issue hits newsstands on Friday. For more on this story, click here.  

A New Perspective on the Paranormal

Yesterday, I was invited to a private media screening of the all-new series, "Ghost Brothers".  I'm a huge fan of the horror genre and the paranormal.  I'm geeky like that.  Yes, I'm the girl that rushed to literature class whenever we were covering Edgar Allen Poe.  I LOVE it! So you can imagine my delight upon hearing that there was finally going to be an African-American Paranormal team on national television?!  I was ecstatic for a couple of reasons.  One, as I already stated, I am a huge fan of the genre.  In all my time watching these shows, one thing was missing...US!  We react differently in ghostly situations.  We're funny when we're not even trying to be.  That's what I love about this series.  It shows a different perspective of paranormal investigations, but more importantly, it gives viewers a different perspective of black men.  I was especially impressed with how Marcus Harvey sported a "Never Sold Dope" t-shirt in the first episode.  That tee spoke volumes!! Destination America hosted an exclusive press screening at Graveyard Tavern (great food BTW) for their latest show "Ghost Brothers," a six-part docu-series featuring TV's first African-American paranormal investigation team. Cast members Juwan Mass, Dalen Spratt and Marcus Harvey were on hand for a brief Q&A and one-on-one interviews following the sneak peek of the first episode ("Magnolia Plantation"). "Ghost Brothers" follows three best friends- all raised in religious households - who take their healthy curiosity and passion for the paranormal to the next level. The trio tour a series of haunted houses throughout the U.S. to uncover the history and the truth behind the local tales. #GhostBrothers premieres Friday, April 15 at 10/9c on Destination America (@DestAmerica). I implore you to support these brothers and Destination America for showcasing the diversity within our community!  Let me know if you'll be watching!

Women That Rock- Nik West

After spending an awesome weekend with my siblings talking about, well you've guessed it, Music. I discovered that the conversation the industry should be having is, what it takes for an artist to become a superstar or to even be heard from the sea of individuals that are all competing for their shot of stardom. I read an article earlier this week in regards to artists using online streaming sites as a tool to gain a ford for fan base of support I like to think that this is a viable tool to use to let everyone know who you are, but it just doesn't stop there you have to develop a brand. We discovered that there are a lot of awesome artists that are out there, but without a true defined brand you're just that, out of there. So, I went out on Twitter and other social media sites to see what was fresh and new on the music scene. I uncovered a very gifted young singer, bassist. Her name is “Nik West”. She hails from Phoenix Arizona; it's also where she began her musical journey. Her father, an accomplished guitarist, taught Nik to play the rhythm guitar at the tender age of 13 years old. Nik has always been surrounded by musically creativity. The left handed bassist has a unique style of her own. From her colorful Mohawk styled hair piece in the shape of a bass clef, to her high impact stage presence. West has truly made a name for herself; she has worked with some amazing artist. The likes of Eurythmics, Prince, John Mayer and my favorite Marcus Miller. Now, the last time we were excited about a female bass player was when the world was introduced to Meshell Ndegeocello. I strongly believe that we maybe on the cusp of a paradigm shift in the industry when it comes to female musicians gaining media attention and exposure. I began this conversation on the importance of artist branding themselves and becoming more visible in the industry. Nik has done an awesome job of branding herself. Whether it's following her Video blogs on YouTube renditions of some of your favorite artists. Nick also managed to become the new face of a new line of basses called Dimension Bass by Fender. This amazing artist spearheaded the Queen of Strings Competition which is a tool to discover and develop young women self-esteem and discipline for the instrument. By providing this and many other platforms she's managed to formulate a huge following. From her high energy packed performances to her valued work ethic from fellow musicians in the business. One of her most notable branding traits is the colored hair piece in the shape of a bass clef. The other is definitely her amazing voice. Not only does she play well, she can sing. Nick has an amazing voice that sort of matches the funkiest bass strumming note for note. Some have referred to her as the female version of Lenny Kravitz. I

Lupita Nyong’o Gives Sneak Peek at Jungle Book

Here at I Hear That Girl!, we love all things Lupita!  She is an example of grace, poise, and beauty that defies stereotypes of black women.  I love seeing this beauty on magazines, commercials, and film.  Now, you can hear her voice as Raksha, the mother of Mowgli in Disney's new film, Jungle Book.  Lupita posted a film trailer on her Facebook page and it really has me itching to see this film!  It's a great family movie as it's a classic for me and possibly a new classic for my 6 year old nephew.  The film will hit theaters April 15th.  Will you be supporting this film? Check out the trailer HERE:  

Oprah’s “Greenleaf” Teaser Released & We’re Excited!

Oprah Winfrey Network unveiled today a first look at its new original drama series "Greenleaf" from Lionsgate TV and Emmy-nominated writer/producer Craig Wright ("Lost," "Six Feet Under," "Brothers and Sisters"). Featuring Oprah Winfrey's first recurring scripted television role in two decades, the family drama set against the backdrop of a sprawling Memphis megachurch will launch with a two-night premiere on Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT and Wednesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN. The series will regularly air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT for the remainder of its 13-episode first season. "Greenleaf" centers on the journey of estranged daughter and disillusioned preacher Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge, "The Night Shift") who has returned home after 20 years on the occasion of the mysterious death of her sister, Faith. As she reenters the world of Calvary Fellowship World Ministries, the Memphis megachurch run by her powerful parents Bishop James Greenleaf (Keith David, "Enlisted" and "Community") and Lady Mae Greenleaf (Lynn Whitfield, "The Josephine Baker Story"), it becomes evident that things are not as virtuous as they seem and that the family's outward display of faith hides sin and misdeeds. In the season premiere, directed by executive producer Clement Virgo ("The Book of Negroes"), Grace and her teenage daughter Sophia (Desiree Ross, "Falling Skies") are warmly welcomed home by Grace's father, Bishop Greenleaf. Sparked by Grace's return to Memphis, tensions quickly rise. At a family dinner in the Greenleaf mansion, Grace's mother is cold and hostile. Her sister-in-law Kerissa (Kim Hawthorne, "Rake") questions her about her faith and sister Charity (Deborah Joy Winans, "Whitney") erupts with jealousy at the suggestion that Grace might start preaching at Calvary. Later, Grace's Aunt Mavis (Oprah Winfrey, "Selma") discusses with her the circumstances of Faith's death and reveals some shocking information about Grace's Uncle "Mac" (Gregory Alan Williams, "Terminator Genisys"). Mavis is still estranged from the Greenleaf family and it becomes evident that she intends to use Grace to sow the seeds of its destruction. Check out the teaser below and let us know if you LOVE it as much as we do! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVIgWhOrWes&feature=youtu.be  

Women That Rock- Tweet

As we embark on yet another season change, I'm often eagerly anticipating which artist is going to have the biggest spring and summer hit. Warmer months also bring the start of outdoor concerts,festivals and backyard barbecues. So, I'm officially suggesting the hot new spring and summer album to listen to is by a young lady that's no stranger to the R&B scene. Her name is "Tweet", and she brings some much needed music therapy this season. Charlene Keys, a.k.a. Tweet is a profound American Soul and Neosoul Grammy nominated singer songwriter. Tweet got her start like so many other accomplished singers, by singing in church with her family. Now, this young lady has a long string of hits throughout her musical career. Then in the early nineties, she joined a female group Sugah. She also gave birth to a daughter for whom she left with her parents, while in pursuit of musical stardom. The group consisted of Tweet, Susan Weems and Rolita White. The ladies were apart of Devante Swing's Swing Mob collection. This also gave way to Tweet meeting and developing a relationship with Timbaland, Magoo and Missy Elliot. Tweet has landed her vocals to some of the defining music albums in the music industry. In 2002, she debuted her own solo project entitled Southern Hummingbird. This album can be deemed a true expression of that Southern Soul vocals mixed with hardcore hip hop flared beats. Oops (Oh My) and Smoking Cigarettes were my extreme favorites off this a timeless album. The album debuted at number three on the billboard 200 chart. Then in 2004, Tweet released her second studio album It's Me again. The album featured a host of producers. This album also featured vocals from her then 15 year old daughter Tashawna, on Two of Us. In 2013, Tweet gave us what I'd like to call the best musical appetizer I've have ever had. This five track EP. literally left you salivating for more. Now, the Southern Hummingbird is back with her long awaited album entitled Charlene. Let me begin by saying it's been a long time since I could just press play and let the album sail through. This is the best project by any artist this year. Her voice is like fine silk gliding over the infectious guitar strings and soulful melodies of each and every tune. I absolutely loved the artists musical direction taken on this project. From the instrumentation choices used on every track to songwriting and the professional arrangements and song placement. This album was carefully constructed and crafted. The debut single Magic has been burning up the charts. I think that this project shows the growth of this artist emotionally, spiritually and musically. Something that's clearly lacking in this genre called R&B Soul music. Here are just a few of favorites off the album. Magic, Neva Shouda Left Ya, I Was Made for This, The Hardest Thing,  and I Didn't Know, just to name a few. So for all my fans of good ole soul music, then this is surely

Women That Rock- Candice Nelson

Well guys I know there has been a lot of things happening in the news and the entertainment world in past several months, addressing our issues as a black people. From Stacy Dash's stupendous comments, regarding whether or not to get rid of black history month to Jada Pinkett Smith's heart felt plea to the black community to lift every voice and shut out this year’s Oscars. Everyone seems to have something to say regarding the state of all things black. The state of black music was also up for grabs. I was able to catch a video on “YouTube” showcasing a young female singer in a nightclub giving an interview on the state of R&B music. The artist provided a very heartfelt and passionate response to the question. The artist explained to a packed audience that songs like “Hello” performed by UK artist “Adele” wouldn't be allowed to get much Airplay, if recorded by a black artist. She then goes to say, that it's the record companies who dictate what artist can and cannot record. Now, this artist is saying something I deemed as very interesting. She also states if a black artist recorded a song on the same caliber as Hello, their fans wouldn't buy it and it wouldn't get played on the radio. And I must say she's absolutely correct. She continues stating, that when you have a person who isn't African American sing a powerful song such as Hello, the masses call that blue eyed soul. She firmly exclaimed that's not soul music. Now, I could go on to back up this artist's statement. But I said to myself I need to find the answer in the music. So I took to the Internet in search of that fresh new artist with that great songwriting and composition background. This is where I discovered a very talented young lady. Her is Candice Nelson, some of you may have never heard of this artist, but then again you have heard of the multi-talented artists that she's penned their greatest hits. Candice got her start by singing backup for the boy band “Immature” in 1996. Throughout the next several years, Candice was developing her signature writing style. While writing for artist like “Beyoncé” and “Mary J. Bilge” she seemed to focus on songs about love and being in love. And now, she's stepped out on her own. Her latest project is entitled "Moments”. A collective body of work focusing on lessons learned from past relationships. The project includes Classic R&B and soulful folk elements. The titled track Moments is telling the story of a young girl reminiscing of her first love and later relationships throughout her life. This track reminds you of a simpler time, when dealing with life issues seemed so cut and dry. After my discovery of yet another extremely talented artist, it sums of the fact that everything the young artist in the nightclub interview was indeed true. But, I truly believe that we as the consumers and lovers of

Women’s Powerful Impact in Gospel Music Shine at Stellar Awards

With eight and six nominations respectively, Erica Campbell and Tasha Cobbs demonstrate the powerful impact of women in gospel music, recognized for Artist of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, CD of the Year, Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year and Contemporary CD of the Year. Campbell also receives a nod for Urban/Inspirational Single or Performance of the Year while Cobb garners one for Praise and Worship CD of the Year. "I am pleased that God has blessed us with celebrating 31 years as the most respected awards brand in gospel music and in the faith-based community," says Don Jackson, founder and executive producer of the Stellar Awards. "We will honor those who have contributed to the growth and success of gospel music as a genre, as well as demonstrate why this art form remains critical to the legacy of American music." TV and radio personality Rickey Smiley (Dish Nation, Rickey Smiley For Real) and actress and TV personality Sherri Shepherd (Ride Along 2, The View) will return as co-hosts of the 31st Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards. Hailed as the "biggest night in gospel music," this year's Stellar Awards will be held at the Las Vegas Orleans Arena on Saturday, February 20, 2016. The telecast will premiere on TV One during the week of March 6.

Women That Rock: PJ

Every now and then music will change course right in front of your very own eyes. This week I'll be introducing you guys to a very special up incoming talent. She goes by the name of PJ and this singer songwriter has a lot to say. Her musical approach is somewhat refreshing. This fresh hot talent has been on her grind for quite some time now. The list of artist she's written for is pretty lengthy. Artists like Chris Brown, Meek Mills, Wiz Khalifia, Tyga just to name a few. But, this year appears to be a tad bit different for this fresh new talent. With receiving a Grammy nod for the Wiz's album. PJ, seems to have finally found her voice in the industry. PJ has been riding high off her new EP entitled “Walking around Pools”. In keeping with the new theme of self-worth, self-motivation. This young lady clearly delivered with several tracks off this album. The track entitled “I Mean It”, really speaks to me as a bona fide declaration of self-worth and going for what you know. Now, there are other tracks like “Own” and “Nickels and Dimes”. You're sure to find your very own motivational anthem. But, don't just take my word for it. give a listen and I'm sure that you guys would agree that there's clearly something genuine and rare regarding this gifted young artist. PJ has been grinding and doing her thing for quite some time and like so many others their sound and style is still yet to be heard by the masses. Well, it appears now that too may be changing. I cannot stress enough, to all my fellow lovers of the art form music. We the consumers, set the tone for what should be played on the airways. We have the power to change what's streaming on the radio stations. And don't believe for a minute that the record labels aren't paying attention. They most certainly are, that's why we are now seeing more old school 90's music stations springing up on the airways. So check out this latest artist and her body of works. I'm sure you'll come to want to hear more and more from this talent as I did.  Leslie A. Thomas is a lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005.

I Hear That Girl!: Egypt Sherrod receives NAACP Award Nomination

With the current outrage at the lack of diversity of the Oscars, many African-American actors, actresses, and writers are looking forward to a platform in which they will be, always have been, acknowledged for their talents and effort.  This award platform is the 47th Annual NAACP Image Awards. Egypt Sherrod, HGTV host and author, has received an NAACP Image Award nomination for the release of her first book, "Keep Calm...It's Just Real Estate: Your No Stress Guide To Buying A Home."   Egypt can be seen every week as host of HGTV's highly-rated show, "Property Virgins." Recently, HGTV green-lit her original spin off show "Flipping Virgins." The show consists of three parts: she helps the investors find a property to flip, she then helps them renovate it - then, they sell it. Sherrod is also the founder of her own non-profit, the Egypt Cares Family Foundation, whose mission is to enrich the family structure as a whole: At Egypt Cares Family Foundation, Family IS the foundation. A stronger family leads to a stronger village and community for all. On Friday, February 26th, Egypt will serve as honorary host of the annual Chairish the Future gala and auction. All proceeds will benefit The Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta, whose mission is to recycle gently-used household furniture by giving it to individuals and families in the metro area who are moving out of homelessness and fleeing domestic violence as well as countless others facing hardships and struggling to make ends meet. We wish her the best of luck at the NAACP Image Awards which will air live on TV One, February 5th at 9pm ET.

Women That Rock- B.O.Y. (Be Only You)

Well guys, it's officially 2016 and now that the New Year is here, and everyone is currently making New Year’s resolutions on self- preservation, I thought why not give my music fans a motivational soundtrack to help keep you encouraged as you go on your journey in becoming a better you. This week’s choice is a four member all girl group “B.O.Y.”, coming straight out of Atlanta, Ga. That's right I said a girl group. This is very rare in this day and age, but these girls may be what is needed to bring back this dynamic of R&B music. The group consists of Myiah (Hot Boy), Meisha (B Boy), Summer (Rude Boy) and Gianni (Wild Boy) known widely among the Atlanta area. I love how these young ladies sense of style and fashion sets them apart from the norm. It appears that the ladies don't feel the need to blend in with others. This group certainly is promoting individual creativity expression, along with unprecedented self- confidence and esteem that is greatly missing from artist development these days. It appears that by the girls developing this ongoing reputation of positive attitude and behavior, has garnered a huge fan base and following. Which is so needed help the younger generation to love and accept who God created them to be. The ladies are currently in the studio working on their debut EP. I just want to give the ladies a nod on bringing forth a greatly crafted body of work. My favorite track off the EP is entitled “1996”. The song tells of a young woman who has realized that she's falling in love with the one. This track embodies those melodies of those awesome tracks from the 90's. The rest of the EP tells of tales of being in and falling out of love. I sure we'll be seeing and hearing more from this awesome girl group. I hope their success will spark an explosion of R&B groups back in the mainstream population. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLWTL7d7nd4  Leslie A. Thomas is music blogger and lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @ lboogie252005.

Lupita Speaks Out on Oscars’ Lack Of Diversity

Lupita Nyong'o is the latest star to speak out about the stunning lack of diversity at this year's Oscars. In a thoughtful Instagram post, the actress -- an Academy Award winner herself -- addressed the issue and expressed her disappointment. "I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year's Academy Award nominations," she wrote. "It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture." The star continued by adding that she stands with her fellow peers, such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, who have already come forward to call for change. Along with her statement, Nyong'o added an equally thoughtful quote as her caption: "'Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.' - James Baldwin #manystoriesmanyvoices," she wrote.

Listen: Erykah Badu Has Some “Trill Friends”

Badu is at it again!  She loves remixing songs and we love it even more!  Kanye West dropped this single last Friday and already, Badu is giving us her version.  Yes, we can relate!  We all know someone that fits into this role.  I'm thankful for my Trill Friends!!  Do you have some "Trill Friends"?  Check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Video: Taraji P. Henson Has Cookies at Golden Globes

courtesy of Rolling Out One for you and one for me! In a memorable move following her big win at the 2016 Golden Globes, Taraji P. Henson handed out some sweet treats on her way up to the stage, to accept her award for Best Actress in a Drama TV series, thanks to her sassy role as Cookie on FOX’s hit“Empire.” “Cookies for everyone tonight, my treat!” Henson began, after commanding, “Get off my train!” to a man helping her up the stairs. “Who knew that playing an ex-convict would take me all around the globe? … So the world loves real. Thank you,” she continued. During her speech, Henson revealed that fans had been lobbying for her to wrap, but “You’re going to have to wait for that,” she said. After doling out her thank yous, she concluded, “I’m taking this one for the entire Empire.” In case you missed it, Henson faced some stiff competition in her category for Best Actress in a Drama TV series, including “Outlander‘s” Caitriona Balfe, “How to Get Away With Murder‘s” Viola Davis, “Penny Dreadful‘s” Eva Greenand, and “House of Cards‘” Robin Wright. But in true Cookie fashion, she came out on top! Congrats Cookie! Show her some love in the comment section below!

Women That Rock- Ashley Dubose

I want to ask you guys a question. With shows like the Voice and American Idol, which will be celebrating their farewell season in 2016, can we say that shows of this caliber have provided the stepping stones to launching the musical careers of some of the most talented singers in the country? I pose this question due to my recent discovery of yet another "Women That Rock" feature. Her name is Ashley DuBose, and this incredibly talented artist has a lot to say. I uncovered her, after listening to Spotify's discover new talent play list. Hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota, this single mother of a three year old, also has a bachelors in mathematics plus holds down a full time job as a programmer analyst. Now, those are major accomplishments in itself. and she still found time to record an EP. DuBose made her debut on season 5 of the hit NBC reality singing competition "The Voice", she wowed the audience and judges with an amazing rendition of "Diamonds" by Rihanna after which all four of the judges turned their chairs around. Resulting with Ashley's decision to work with Adam Levine as her on air coach. Now let's talk about her new EP. "Be You" is latest project that I must say is a breath of fresh air. This album embodies a variety of musical tastes and forms that capture several musical expressions. Ashley's style is reminiscent to those artists from the nineties. One track that I currently keep on repeat is the title track entitled Be You. This track is full of empowerment and a self proclaimed woman's anthem. It's a track that truly deserve coverage and needs to played constantly on today's air waves. So as many of you set your New Years resolutions to better yourself and become an inspiration to others, play this album to provide a great soundtrack during your transformation. Remember we as the masses can change what is streaming on the air waves. Just simply support your favorite indie artists. Go to shows buy CDs or download their latest projects. Remember whatever and whenever you contribute to the success of others goes a long way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72kEZh_uYVM  Leslie A. Thomas is a music blogger and lover of all things music follow on Twitter @LBoogie252005.

Video: Lifetime releases extended trailer for Toni Braxton’s ‘Unbreak My Heart’

courtesy of The Radio Revival Lifetime’s Original Movie, “Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart,” starring newcomer Lex Scott Davis (“The Exes”) as the seven-time Grammy® Award-winning R&B icon, premieres Saturday, January 23 at 8pm ET/PT. Toni Braxton executive produces the two-hour film, which is based on her popular memoir Unbreak My Heart. Immediately following the movie, Lifetime premieres the special, “Beyond The Headlines: Toni Braxton” at 10pm ET/PT. “Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart” also stars Debbi Morgan (“Power,” “All My Children”) as Braxton’s mother Evelyn; Gavin Houston (“Guiding Light”) as Babyface, Cortney Scott Wright as Traci Braxton, Skye P. Marshall (“Public Morals”) as Towanda Braxton, LaToya Franklyn (“Subways”) as Trina Braxton and Tiffany Hines (“Devious Maids”) as Tamar Braxton. The movie follows the singer’s journey from her discovery by mega producers L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, to her battle with Lupus. The movie also delves into how she made it through her public divorce all while navigating her son’s autism and family struggles. “Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart” chronicles the untold measures the wildly talented artist took to make herself and her family whole again, becoming a global inspiration. “Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart” is produced by Link Entertainment. Braxton, Craig Baumgarten (“Twist of Faith”), Erik Kritzer (“The Runaround”) and Marcus Grant serve as executive producers. Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds produces.Vondie Curtis Hall (“Abducted: The Carlina White Story”) directs from a script written by Susan McMartin (“Mom,” “Two and a Half Men”). “Beyond The Headlines: Toni Braxton” features interviews with Toni and her family, L.A. Reid, Babyface, record producer David Foster and songwriter Diane Warren, to tell the story of her childhood, meteoric rise to fame, financial and health struggles and ultimate triumph over adversity. Check out the trailer below: https://youtu.be/Tx0kr6DFnkc

“PATTI!!!” Singer Releasing New Cakes…Will She Reach Out to Bloggers?

Ms. Patti is back at it and hoping for more sweet success in 2016!  She's announced that she will release two new cakes available at Wal-Mart this month. With the help of James Wright Chanel, Patti was able to sell out in stores nationwide!  The big question now is, will she have the same success?  Will she call on James Chanel Wright?  or will she reach out to a new influencer?  Read more below... Patti LaBelle is making it a sweet 2016. After the sold-out success of her seasonal sweet potato pie, the soulful songstress has made it available year-round, and added two cakes to her decadent dessert line at Walmart. “Who’s ready for #PattiCake? My new vanilla pound cake is making its way to stores!” LaBelle tweeted to her 227,000 followers Monday. The glazed goodness, which is formed in a bundt pan and iced in velvety vanilla glaze, is now in stores for $6.98. There’s also a three-layered yellow cake with caramel icing available on Jan. 18 for $13.94. The Grammy-winning singer and cookbook author’s career in food crescendo-ed in November when fan James Wright Chanel sang the praises of her sweet potato pie in a viral YouTube Video that received 4.5 million views. More than $1 million of the $3.98 pies were sold in one weekend. LaBelle hasn’t reached her sugar high just yet — more desserts are in the works at Walmart. Who’s ready for #PattiCake? My new vanilla pound cake is making its way to stores! https://t.co/GsvUT5VteC @Walmart pic.twitter.com/H2vmfhJqo5 — Patti LaBelle (@MsPattiPatti) January 4, 2016

Good God Almighty!! New Music From Brandy!

Brandy dropped a bomb last night!  Yes, her new tv series, Zoe Ever After debuted on BET to great responses and she gave her fans an extra treat with new music!  Fans have been salivating to hear new music from the "vocal bible" and she was ready to deliver!  This song is HOT!  It's called "Begging & Pleading" and she has us begging for MORE!  Check it out here and let me know what you guys think in the comments below!  

BEYONCÉ IS WORKING ON A SARAH BAARTMAN PROJECT; SOUTH AFRICAN CHIEF SAYS ‘SHE’S NOT WORTHY’

Beyoncé is a lot of things, worthy of portraying Sarah Baartman is not one of them. That’s if you ask Chief Jean Burgess of the Ghonaqua, the First Indigenous Peoples of South Africa. See there’s a rumor going around that the singer is plotting to win an Oscar and plans to write and star in her own movie based on Sarah Baartman to do it. While that seems like a far-fetched plan in our minds for the woman of many talents, whether it’s true or not Chief Burgess let his opinion of Bey be known. He told News 24 in South Africa when asked about the rumored project: “She lacks the basic human dignity to be worthy of writing Sarah’s story, let alone playing the part. “Ignoring the fact that the KhoiKhoi is alive and that Sarah’s story would have an impact on how we are portrayed, is a mistake of great magnitude.” “Why Sarah Baartman? Why not a story about an Indigenous American woman? I can only see arrogance in her attempt to tell a story that is not her’s to tell.” KhoiKhoi is the tribe which Baartman, known for being put on display in freak shows because of her large posterior, was born into in 1789 in the Gamtoos River Valley. For years people paid money to see Baartman, dubbed “Hottentot Venus,” in display in cages in London, and even after her death her brain and genitals were placed in jars in an exhibition at the Musée del’Homme (Museum of Man) in Paris until 1974. It wasn’t until 2002 that Baartman’s remains were returned to her birthplace at the request of former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. It’s for those reasons above that Burgess explained consultation, respect, and acknowledgment of the existence of the Peoples were fundamental to any narrative on Baartman. While Gamtkwa Khoisan Council member Kobus Reichert said he didn’t have a problem with the rumored movie or Beyoncé acting in it as long as the community in the Eastern Cape wasn’t ignored, he did note the project needed to be done respectfully and with the right “cultural understanding.” We’re hoping Bey decides not to touch this project at all — if she ever did to begin with...

BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards: Atlanta, GA Sunday, January 16, 2016

courtesy of The Radio Revival BMI will salute gospel siblings duos, BeBe & CeCe Winans and Mary Mary at its 17th Annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards being held at the Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta, GA. Hosted by gospel music legend, Yolanda Adams, the invitation-only event will host gospel music’s premier songwriters, recording artists and music industry executives, as well as the genre’s legends. BMI will also announce the Most Performed Gospel Song of the Year at the ceremony. Interviews from last years BMI Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards: https://youtu.be/aLAjaoMX__w    

Chris Rock Stands Up For Black Women in Hollywood

Comedian Chris Rock sheds light on the entertainment industry’s hypocrisy when it comes to actors pay. “Black women have the hardest gig in show business,” he told the New Yorker. “You hear Jennifer Lawrence complaining about getting paid less because she’s a woman — if she was black, she’d really have something to complain about.” Back in October, The Hunger Games star penned a letter about getting paid less than her male counterparts. “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.” Lawrence is in her mid 20s and has won a Oscar. In addition, she is the star of a very successful franchise that rakes in millions at the box office. While her complaints about women deserving the same pay as their male peers is legitimate, Black actresses have far less opportunities and make less money than white women. Rock points out that Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and many other Black actresses have had to grind it out in supporting roles for decades in order to get a starring role on their current TV shows. As progressive as Hollywood claims to be, audiences have seen the truth—Black women are still not given the opportunity to be the face of a major franchise. A prime example is the recent mega-blockbuster, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  The words from Viola Davis’ Emmy speech ring true. Hollywood has to be willing to create roles for Black actresses. To that end, Rock praises the work of actress and comedienne, Leslie Jones, in the New Yorker. “I mentioned her to several managers and agents over the years. Everybody passed. Lorne, because he’s the best at what he does, is the one who saw it. I don’t think he’d hired a cast member her age in a long time,” Rock said of Jones’ hiring at Saturday Night Live. If Lawrence were a Black woman, there’s no doubt that her path would’ve been more difficult, and audiences may not have even had the opportunity to witness her talent. Hence, the disparity of opportunities for Black women and white women remains, and must be addressed.

Women That Rock- Jaime Woods

Well guys it's that time of year again, Christmas time. And if you're anything like me you're probably waiting to the last to start your Christmas shopping. Well, as always I do believe that music is the best gift to receive at Christmas. I don't know maybe it's the thought of turning on that special piece of music at holidays to get either get you in the spirit of the season or to help you cope through the season. Whichever way you prefer, I have something very special for you guys this week. Her name is Jaime Woods and she's this weeks' Women that Rock feature. Now, I first discovered this talent listening to my trusted streaming music service Spotify. The track that was playing was entitled "Talk to Me". The song is about a young woman passionately expressing to a love how they will be able to weather any storm that may arise as long as they communicate with one another. You can definitely hear Jaime's gospel roots in the presentation and delivery of this great track. Not, only is she an amazing songwriter but, I guess you can describe her sound to be similar to Tweet. Another awesome singer. You can check out this track and others on Jaime's EP that was released summer of 2015. Woods development of her craft can be contributed to her engagement with the gospel scene in Chicago. Where after she moved to the east coast playing in various clubs. She had the honor of either opening or performing duets with some of the most influential artists of modern time. Artists like Bilal, Emily King, Roy Hargrove and Lalah Hathaway just to name a few. I do believe that we'll be hearing lots more from this artist. So, remember if you're not sure what to give someone this season, don't forget that a really good cd would make a great gift idea. As we embark on a new year let us not forget to support indie artist and their musical craft. Remember we can change what the mainstream media dubs as popular music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pWxIq_x_rA  Leslie A. Thomas is a music blogger and lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005

A Black Woman Has Been Cast to Play Hermione in New Harry Potter Play

Harry Potter fans got a treat Sunday when the cast was announced for the upcoming play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. A photo was released of who would play Harry, Hermione and Ron. We’re thrilled to confirm Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni & Paul Thornley will play Harry, Hermione & Ron #CursedChild pic.twitter.com/s1rsDbrXMO — Harry Potter Play (@HPPlayLDN) December 21, 2015 If you're not a follower of the Potter movies, you might not realize that Hermione Granger, who will be played by Swaziland-born actress Noma Dumezweni, was originally played by Emma Watson in the movies. Needless to say, some people felt some type of way about this. They can't make Hermione black.It would make this fictional story about a school for child wizards totally unrealistic. #HermioneIsBlack — Mitch (@mitchprax) December 21, 2015 But, of course, there were also those who thought it was the greatest thing to ever happen, and they were quick to shut down any naysayers. just think of all the kids who grew up with Harry Potter who saw only 3 black minor characters now will be seeing HERMIONE GRANGER as black! — nic (@communistcorn) December 20, 2015 I love how Hermione being black is somehow more implausible to some people than a universe where the entire postal system depends on owls — Snukes (@QueerDiscOx) December 20, 2015 Interesting that some people find a black Hermione Granger harder to believe in than, you know, magic spells... — Mr HoHoHoldfield (@MrLROldfield) December 20, 2015 DEAR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO ARGUE ABOUT A BLACK HERMIONE GRANGER, just don't. — Katherine Locke (@Bibliogato) December 20, 2015 Some wondered what Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling thought about the casting—and she's all for it: Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione 😘 https://t.co/5fKX4InjTH — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 21, 2015 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is being called "the eighth story 19 years later." It's set 19 years after the seventh book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. According to a press release about the play, Cursed Child will focus on Harry as an "overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children."

The Color Purple is 30 Years Old Today!

courtesy of ABC.COM Thirty years ago, the movie "The Color Purple" brought to the big screen a world audiences had scarcely seen before -- that of poor African-American women facing domestic abuse, incest and racism in the rural South in the early 1900s. Based on Alice Walker's 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the movie, like the book, was not without controversy. Despite that, it went on to success at the box office, grossing more than $142 million worldwide, earning 11 Academy Award nominations, and making stars Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover household names. The film has since become a cultural touchstone, particularly for black women, and helped inspire the 2005 Broadway musical, which earned 11 Tony Awards, and its current revival starring Jennifer Hudson. In honor of the film's 30th anniversary, we've made a list of 30 things you may not know about "The Color Purple." 1. Though it was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture, best director for Steven Spielberg and acting nods for Goldberg, Winfrey and Margaret Avery, it it didn't take home a single one -- tying 1977's "The Turning Point" for the most Oscar nominations without a single win. 2. Spielberg called "The Color Purple" his first "grown-up" film. His eighth movie, it was a departure from the summer blockbusters, like "E.T." and "Jaws," that made him famous. 3. The film earned Spielberg his first Directors Guild Award. 4. Winfrey, then a relatively unknown local Chicago talk host, was obsessed with Walker's novel and determined to play a role in the film when she heard a movie was in the works. After auditioning for the role of Sofia and waiting months for a response, she retreated to a "fat farm" in Wisconsin. "I wanted to let it go," she told the audience at the Santa Barbara film festival in 2014. While there, she got a call from Spielberg who told her if she lost one pound, she could lose the role. "Honey, I packed my bags in seven minutes, stopped at the Dairy Queen and went to audition," she said, adding that she "learned the principle of surrender" from that experience. 5. Goldberg, on the other hand, told Winfrey during a "Color Purple" reunion on her national talk show in 2010 that she didn't want the role of Celie at first. "I never made a movie before," said the comedian, who was known then for her one-woman show. "I didn't know how this thing worked, and if I messed it up, I didn't want to get in trouble." Goldberg originally read for the role of Sofia in front of Spielberg, executive producer Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and several others who happened to be at Amblin that day. But instead of reading lines from the script, she performed a bit from her comedy act in which a stoned E.T. gets arrested for possession of an illegal substance. Goldberg won over Spielberg, who then asked her to play Celie instead. 6. Roger Ebert said Goldberg gave "one of the most amazing debut performances

College Credit for Studying Beyonce…Maybe Not?!

courtesy of Refinery29 Apparently, Rutgers University administrators are not a fan of Sasha Fierce. The New Jersey-based university has canceled a class on Black feminism called “Politicizing Beyoncé.” Women’s Studies professor Kevin Allred, who taught the class, was told that it would not be offered for the spring semester because the school is “rotating” its options. But he finds the cancellation confusing: “The class has been intensely popular — [it] always fills up and brings a lot of attention to the Women’s and Gender Studies department,” he told Refinery29 by email. He finds the decision not to offer it “illogical.” This class was not just an easy A and sessions spent surfing YouTube. “None of the readings have anything to do with Beyoncé — they're about politics, history, the lives of Black women, sexuality, etc. We put those readings into conversation with Beyoncé in the analysis,” Allred explained. "[Studying Black feminism] helps decenter the whiteness that is always default at the center of education, politics, activism, etc. We live in an intersectional world." The class, which was taught since 2010, was immensely popular. It studied intersections of race, gender, and sexuality by focusing on Beyoncé as an icon and an artist. The syllabus paired writings by notable Black feminists with Beyoncé videos, using the former to analyze the latter's layers of cultural, political, and historical context. From a cultural standpoint, canceling the class means that students looking for a change from the standard fare — philosophy according to white men — have one less option. “There are other courses on Black feminism at Rutgers and in the Women's and Gender Studies department, but it may be the only class at Rutgers overall with a Black woman's name in the title,” Allred said. The pop culture element also plays a significant role, engaging students through analysis of the media they consume every day. The inclusion of Beyoncé as a focal point keeps the material accessible and relatable, an advantage that other classes on the subject of Black feminism may not have. But for those who are already bemoaning their missed opportunities to examine the cultural meaning of the "Single Ladies" dance, all hope is not yet lost. Allred says he's moving the class to the American Studies department at Rutgers, where it will be available in Fall 2016. How soon does enrollment start?

Women That Rock- Caretta Bell

With great appreciation, I was granted the opportunity to DJ this weekend in Houston TX, at the Nzuri Natural hair expo. While attending this amazing event I also had the chance to uncover a brand new “Women that Rocks” artist for you guys. Her name is “Caretta Bell”, she hails from Houston TX. With an amazingly, soulful, silky voice she also blessed the “I Hear That Girl” stage with an awesome performance, as the women that rock live musical act for the weekends event. Caretta has been nominated 7 times by the Houston Press Music Awards. Not only is she a great singer, but she's also a gifted songwriter as well. I'm always stressing the need for more songwriters in the business. Those singer songwriters that make you feel the emotions and the experiences that all come together to provide the perfect soundtrack to one’s life. Bell provides a complete and in depth look into her soul. Just check out her latest project entitled “Love's Eye View” released in 2008. Her latest single and video is entitled “Growing Painz” and it is produced by Swedish producer “Red Astaire”. This track features soulful melodies, richly involved around an infectious voice. Caretta has also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some of today's major artists in the game. Artists like “Ledisi”, “Keith Sweat”, and “Bilal”, just to name a few. She is no stranger to working with some of the best in business. But, don't just take my word for it. Research this awesomely talented artist for yourself. I'm sure she will keep you wanting more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzTvMwXzvJs Leslie A. Thomas is a music blogger and lover of all things music.  Follow me on Twitter:  @LBoogie252005

Kennedy Center Honors Cicely Tyson’s 60 Year Acting Career

courtesy of Atlanta Black Star Cicely Tyson, along with singer/songwriter Carole King, filmmaker George Lucas, actress Rita Moreno, and conductor Seiji Ozawa, were honored last night at the Kennedy Center for their creative careers. In addition to the award, the 90-year-old actress is starring in The Gin Game, which is currently on Broadway. The production reunites her with long time colleague and friend, James Earl Jones. The two have been working with one another for 50-plus years on the stage. One of the first times they worked together was during the 1961 off-Broadway play, The Blacks. For 60 years, Tyson has wowed American audiences with her beauty and talent. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, and a Golden Globe for her role as Rebecca Morgan in 1972’s Sounder. Tyson also has 12 Emmy nominations under her belt and a Tony for the Broadway play, The Trip to Bountiful in 2013. In all, she has nearly a hundred acting credits in film, TV, and stage. As of late, her career has seen new light and more opportunities on shows like How to Get Away with Murder and House of Cards. “I’m turning around,” Tyson said. “Maybe the reason why I’ve been given this second time around is that it will allow me to be an actress.”

Queen Latifah to Lead Cast in ‘Empire’ Spinoff

*Lee Daniels has chosen Queen Latifah to lead his long-rumored spinoff of “Empire.” The series, known tentatively as “The Untitled Lee Daniels Project,” will follow three women played by newcomers Jude Demorest, Ryan Destiny and Brittany O’Grady – all with hopes of making it big. The drama will showcase the allure and heartache of the cut-throat music scene, while also exploring cultural themes from a new perspective.   Demorest will play Star, the tough 18-year-old who spent her childhood in and out of foster homes after the death of her mother, and who will do anything to become the star she was named to be. Latifah will play “Carlotta,” the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon with an amazing voice who becomes a surrogate mother to Star and the other girls — even though she doesn’t approve of their musical dreams. Rounding out the singing trio are Alexandra (Destiny), a wealthy 20-year-old who grew up on New York’s Upper East Side, but who, for years, has tried to put her privileged world behind her, so she can make real, authentic music; and Simone (O’Grady), Star’s younger sister who dreams of the day Star will return to rescue her from the abusive foster home in which she was placed five years before. Production on the pilot begins this month in Atlanta.   As previously reported, transgender actress Amiyah Scott will play “Cotton,” a friend of the girls who harbors dreams of becoming a star herself. “The Untitled Lee Daniels Project,” previously known as “Star,” is the first project to emerge from Daniels’ multi-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. He serves as writer, director and executive producer on “Star.” Tom Donaghy (“The Whole Truth”) is also a writer and executive producer on the pilot. Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2015/12/queen-latifah-leads-cast-of-newcomers-in-empire-spinoff/#fXZredfmWVPbJxom.99

Sisters of Comedy Is Proof That Black Women Need Entertainment That Truly Represents Us

Laughter has healing power. And with the violent climate plaguing not only our own country but the entire world, it’s obvious that we need healing right now. That’s where activist, writer and filmmaker Agunda Okeyo comes in. She understands that joy battles pain, and so she’s married her love of activism with dynamic black comediennes to create Sisters of Comedy. “We are in a very dark time as a nation, given the numerous church burnings, school closures, police shootings, sexual assault, domestic violence, mass incarceration and all manner of violence that black folks must contend with,” says Okeyo. “We have to find an outlet because self-care is important when we’re constantly consuming headline after news report after violent viral video.” Comedy is Okeyo’s outlet, and her show Sisters of Comedy is on a mission to heal the world, one laugh at a time. Okeyo invited The Root to the show at the legendary Carolines comedy club in New York City, and after laughing till we cried (no, really, there were tears), we chatted with her about the show and its impact on the comedy scene and our culture. “The mission of the showcase is to celebrate the diversity of black funny women in stand-up. In doing so, we liberate ourselves as artists, expose biases in the industry and also alert people to the diversity of talented, working black women in stand-up,” Okeyo told us as audience members buzzed around her and two members of her cast, Chloe Hilliard and Hadiyah Robinson. “I just loved it!” I heard a woman coo to Okeyo as she grabbed her hands. “It was perfect,” said the woman as she smiled at Okeyo one last time before walking away. It’s comments like these that the world should hear. While Okeyo is doing her part by shining light on black women in comedy, the industry doesn’t seem to mimic her sentiments. Working black women in stand-up, as Okeyo has said, are plenty, but they don’t always get the opportunities they deserve. A couple of years ago, before Saturday Night Live welcomed its first black female cast member since 2007, Sasheer Zamata (who joined in 2014), black cast member Kenan Thompson said that SNLnever found black women who were “ready” to be a part of their cast. If that’s what our own people think of black women in comedy, can you imagine what the powers that be think? Okeyo says, “Comedy is one the most powerful, transgressive and inspiring forms of public speaking. Laughter is revolutionary in transforming and translating the experience of being human.” Okeyo’s cast of comediennes does just that. From jokes about men catcalling us with names we could never live up to, like, “empress,” to asking the audience to help them get through swiping left and right on an app to go on dates, these women make light of the discrimination, sexualization and all other “-tions” we face. Okeyo says, “Comedy is about recognizing the power of free, smart speech that empowers both the performer and her audience.” This is comedy with a purpose. If one person leaves Okeyo’s show feeling

RACE- The Jessie Owens Story

The movie”RACE”, focused on the career of Jesse Owens who penetrated the sport of track and field and left his mark. It was overall a good movie. It had the same feel as the movie “42” (2013) which centered on the Jackie Robinson biography. Coincidently, both Jesse and Jackie both reigned in their specific sport in the same era. Furthermore, Jackie’s brother, Matthew MacKenzie “Mack” Robinson participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and won a silver medal, while Jesse participated in the Olympics the same year winning four gold medals! Makes you wonder if they both met each other. Anyway, most of the movie was centered on Jesse participating in the 1936 Summer Olympics. However, the film showed the struggle of being the best while African American at the time. We all know that segregation was alive and well at that time. But the movie captures much of what Jesse had to go through as an African American athlete who was both loved and hated at the same time. They loved him because of was arguably the fastest man in the world, however, they gave him difficulty because the color of his skin. Based on the movie, you can tell Jesse and his coach at Ohio State University had a close relationship. The relationship seems to be built off the coaches missed opportunity at participating in the Olympic himself, but sees an opportunity to help Jesse make his mark on the world in the 1936 Olympics. If you know anything about history, you’ll realize that this was the time where Hitler was rounding up Jews and shipping them off into concentration camps along with the pre-season of WWII. This part of history was inevitable and could not be left out of the film. Why? Well the 1936 Summer Olympics was held in Berlin! That’s right, in the midst of all the hell breaking out in the world and Germany. In fact, American politicians and businessmen had to pull major strings so Jews and Blacks could participate in the Olympics without any harm. So you already know that when Jesse was leaving all those white Germans in the dust on the track, those Nazi politicians were not happy. It was upsetting to see a “Negro” outrun and jump the supposed “superior race” at the time. Matter of fact, while in Berlin, Jesse bonded with a German who thought Germany’s racial problems were better than America’s. Jesse expressed that their problems were no different than what was happening to blacks back home. But I don’t want to spoil the whole film for you! However, the end of the movie catches a very important and sad fact. Though Jesse thought such achievements would help with acceptance of blacks, when he returned home, he realized that even as the “Great Jesses Owens” who represented the USA outstandingly in Berlin, they still would not recognize his unmatchable achievements (at the time) because of his skin color. Something to take away from the movie is Jesse’s ability to

Oprah & Shonda Rhimes Discuss Freedom in ‘Not Wanting to Marry’

BY NAJA RAYNE Shonda Rhimes and Oprah Winfrey have something in common – their reluctance to get married. "I was able to finally stand up and say, 'I don't want to get married.' At all," Rhimes, 45, told Winfery during an episode of SuperSoul Sunday. "I said that out loud. I said it to my family. I said it to my friends. I said it to anybody who asked. It's never been a dream of mine. " From there, the two prolific women continue to discuss the pressure put on women of a certain age to walk down the aisle. The Scandal creator explains to Winfrey that the expectation for women to get married is very similar to the expectation to have children. "It's a lot like the desire to want to have children in our society," she said. "You're supposed to want it, and if you don't want it, what's wrong with you?" While she makes the comparison, Rhimes also points out that she's always known she wanted children, but never felt that way about getting married. "I'm one of those people, since I was 5, I could tell you I was going to have kids. I could tell you I was going to have three. I could tell you they were going to be girls," she added. "But I have never wanted to get married. I never played bride. I was never interested. I don't know what it is; I never wanted to get married." Not so surprisingly, Winfrey, 61, shared the same sentiments as the mother-of-three. The media mogul explained that she felt like she always wanted someone to want to marry her, but when the opportunity presented itself, and longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham proposed, Winfrey realized she didn't necessarily want marriage. "The moment he asked me to marry him, I was like 'Oh, God! Now I actually have to get married?'" Oprah said about the wedding that she and Graham agreed to postpone, but never spoke about again. "But what I realized is, I don't want to be married. "Because I could not have the life that I created for myself. I couldn't do it." Rhimes agreed with Winfrey, adding that admitting their lack of desire for marriage out loud provides some sort of freedom from what she felt was "a dirty little secret." "It was really freeing to say it out loud," Rhimes said. Read more on Oprah.com.

5 Reasons We’re Loving Missy Elliott’s Return!

You guys know I am a HUGE fan of Missy Elliott!  When she started making appearances this year and the rumor mill began rumbling that she was working on new music, I was elated.  FINALLY!  Innovative, creative, fun, dance music is what she is known for and she did not disappoint!  Check out her new single, "WTF" (Where They From).  There are so many reasons I love this song, but let me give you 5 here:    This is an official dance track!  You cannot listen to this without moving your body.  Even if you can't dance...you will officially be a dancing machine with this one. Missy brings sexy, hip-hop glam to her video without having to show ANY skin!  Can we get an amen on that?  And the girl looks AMAZING!  So glad she is back! Hip-Hop's essence is fun and dance.  The marionettes take me out every time!  LOL.  You definitely get that here. This song sounds like NOTHING that is currently on the radio.  YES!  Can we say innovative?  Always.  Classic Missy. Missy made sure to give 2015 Hip-Hop fans, MISSY!  She brought the originality that is Missy to 2015.  She didn't have to assimilate to what is trending right now to make a hit.  This is Missy and it is a straight BANGER!! Check out the video for yourself below and let me know what you think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KO_3Qgib6RQ

David Banner Stands Up For Black Women In New Song ‘Marry Me’: They ‘Don’t Feel Protected’

David Banner has had enough of black women being treated poorly by men. The ‘Play’ rapper defends and celebrates black women across the world in his new song, ‘Marry Me,’ promising to ‘protect’ and keep them ‘safe for eternity!’ Click to hear! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xduCVtXvIkE Crunk has grown up as David Banner, 41, one of the rappers who helped popularized the dirty south-style of rap has stepped up his game. Though he’s known for club hits like “Like a Pimp” and “Play,” David has changed his tune. His new song, “Marry Me,” is part of David’s efforts to stand up for black women, saying they’ve been mistreated for far too long! David released his new song on Oct. 23 and followed it up with a lyric video that clearly stated his mission with the new track. “I’ll wrap my soul around this ring girl / if I could / that’s what you mean to me / Give me your hand and your heart girl / I swear It’s safe for eternity,” David raps in between the smooth R&B chorus sung by Rudy Currence.  “This song is for [all] Black women,” David told XO NeCole, “but it’s especially for the dark-skinned black women. If you look at our culture, our women don’t feel protected. They don’t feel wanted.” It seems David is looking to set an example for other rappers or his fans to follow, and to start treating women right. “You look at most of who ‘so-called’ people of success cater to – nine times out of 10, it may not be a Black woman at all,” David added. “And if it is, it’s definitely not ones that look like our great grandmothers. And I said man, if nobody in the world says that they love them and that they respect them and that they want them, it’ll be me.” Well, David certainly showed respect for women, promising to cherish them and treat them like “a queen.” He also wants to prove that black men wanting to get married is not an “urban myth.” This song is a complete 180-degree turn around from his sexual hits “Like a Pimp,” “Play” and “Get Like Me.” But David said that those old days of trashing women as sexual objects are over. “It is very important for me to say that I’ve done enough degrading of our women myself,” he said. “So, in no way is this downgrading any other rappers or saying what any other black man should do, this is for me. I have some making up to do.”

Women That Rock- Sheena Player

Is R&B music dead? This is the question I have to ask you guys this week.  I recently asked myself the same question.  After doing my weekly research to find the next “Women that Rocks” feature, by searching several online music magazines, I discovered there's a growing shortage of what I would classify as true musicians.  Wait, let me explain my thought process. First of all, I'm pretty sure that there are qualified R&B artists, but I'm just saying sometimes it's like you have to move heaven and earth before you can even scratch the surface, If you don't believe me just try to google R&B Indie women and the results show our white sisters singing over hardcore funky, hip hop driven beats. I guess it's safe to say that this is just another result from the tanning of America. There's nothing wrong with this picture, I'm just a little worried that we may be losing ground in my beloved genre of music. Well despite all of my concerns, I was able to uncover yet another special treat for you guys. Her name is “Sheena Player”, the Inglewood, Ca. native is best known as a great songwriter as well as performer.  I discovered this gifted artist from a song that was featured on Bet's hit tv show” Being Mary Jane”.  The song is entitled ” You can go”.  Instantly, I was moved to uncover more from this fresh new artist, that's also when I discovered that the artist has been on her grind for quite some time now. Once again, this is what I believe is some wrong with the current state of  radio. A talent like Sheena, can get a break using radio like you once could back in the day. Why, you ask. It's because for one thing, there's not a viable media outlet for these artists. Let's take a closer look into the issue. Currently mainstream media markets are geared solely to hiphop artists and what they classify as Hiphop is better much the same five artists being spun throughout the day.  Lately, I've noticed a shift in the music that is being incorporated and the shows like Being Mary Jane and others are indeed looking outside of the box to gather untapped artists. This makes my heart sing. Sheena's artistry can be compared to some of the elders that have paved the way. You can truly hear the creativity and passion that eludes from her works. Her vocal ability is very rich and soulful in her delivery of the song. After listening to that one song I was hooked. I immediately wanted more from this amazing artist. I found that she has an EP entitled “As heard on Tv”. The album is a combination of carefully written stories and experiences set to smoothed out sexy vibes, by far a real nice body of work from the fresh talent. So, if you guys are in need of a break from what's being played constantly on the airways. Then, have I

WETV’s “Selling It In The ATL” Premiere

Last night, WE tv hosted a festive premiere for their new docu-series “Selling It: In the ATL.” Over 400 guests arrived at the Woodruff Arts Center to preview the much talked about show based on the thriving Atlanta real estate market. Cast members Chrishena Stanley, A’lana Banks, Sarah Lowe, Okevia Wilson, Tahlia Brown, Gwen Moss and Jae Christian shined on the gold carpet along with WE tv president and general manager Marc Juris and “Selling It” executive producers for WE tv Lauren Gellert, Kate Farrell and David Stefanou, Kingdom Reign executive producer Carlos King and World of Wonder executive producer Sheree Whitfield. Attendees included Egypt Sherrod (radio/tv personality, author) Claudia Jordan (Bravo/Real Housewives of Atlanta), Cynthia Bailey (Bravo/Real Housewives of Atlanta), Kandi Burruss (Bravo/Real Housewives of Atlanta), Mimi Faust (VH1/Love & Hip Hop Atlanta), Dr. Heavenly (BRAVO/Married to the Medicine), Demetria McKinney (Bravo/Real Housewives of Atlanta), Phaedra Parks (Bravo/Real Housewives of Atlanta), Gocha Hawkins (WE tv/L.A. Hair); “Cutting It: In the ATL cast members Maja Sly, Beautii J, Lakenya Morris, Dedra Allen and Mushiya Tshikuka; Momma Dee (VH1/Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta); Crystal Fox (OWN/The Haves and the Have Nots); Drea Kelly (VH1/Hollywood Exes), Tameka Raymond (VH1/Atlanta Exes), DJ Fadelf (author Single Man, Married Man), T.C. Carson (“Living Single”), rapper K Camp, actor/writer/producer Carl Payne; and Bravo’s “Mother Funders” Robin Dyke and Amber Bryant. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception followed by the screening and a lively Q&A moderated by Egypt Sherrod. Selling: In the ATL premieres Thursday, November 5 at 10PM ET/PT on WE tv. Check out pics below:

Black Women Search for Love in New ‘Black Love’ Reality Show

courtesy of Essence A new reality show follows five Black women as they navigate through a tough dating pool in New York City. #BlackLove premieres on December 8 on FYI and features five dynamic career women who are also looking for success in love. Newly-single Married At First Sight star Monet Bell (in yellow)—who ended her marriage to Vaughn Copeland last year—is one of the five women featured on the show. She is joined by Laree “LA” Thomas (in white), a 35-year old travel consultant, Tennesha Wood (in blue), a 30-year old regional sales manager, Cynthia Branch (in black), a 38-year old licensed social worker and life coach, and Jahmil “Jae” Eady (in pink), a 26-year old web developer. On each episode, the women will attend workshops "on provocative themes related to love" and consult with relationships experts Damona Hoffman and Jack A. Daniels, ESSENCE has learned. The women each come with their own unique perspective: Branch is a divorced mom of two looking to get back on the dating scene, Eady dates both men and women, and some of the women are learning to navigate interracial relationships. Will you be tuning in to #BlackLove on December 8?

Syleena Johnson Continues to Make Moves With New Management Deal

Grammy Nominated singer, songwriter, actress and soon-to-be published author Syleena Johnson joins the Primary Wave talent management roster as she wraps her multi-city tour in support of her current chart-topping album, “Chapter 6: Couple’s Therapy” on Blackbyrd and eOne Music.  Johnson, had a hand in the creation of each song. “Chapter 6: Couple’s Therapy” is Syleena’s 8th studio album and with it’s peak position at #15 on the BILLBOARD R&B charts, it is a solid addition to her steady R&B discography that spans over a decade of hits.  Johnson’s forthcoming book, The Weight Is Over”, chronicles her journey to loving her body from the outside in and it is scheduled for release in 2016. " I am super excited to work with Primary wave on all levels. My sister and I are very fortunate and happy to be able to turn over the Syleena Johnson Brand to them and watch it flourish even further," says Johnson. By signing with Primary Wave, Syleena Johnson will join the talent management roster, which currently includes CeeLo Green, Melissa Etheridge, Eric Benét, Cypress Hill, Kenny Lattimore, Goodie Mob, Natalie Imbruglia, Isac Elliot, Calvin Richardson, among many others. Johnson launched her solo career with the release of, “Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness”, in 2001 on Jive records. The album received much praise and went all the way to the No. 1 position on Billboard's Heatseekers chart on the week of its release. “Chapter 2: The Voice,” was released November 2002 and included her first top 40 hit in the UK, "Tonight I'm Gonna Let Go" featuring Busta Rhymes and the Flipmode squad. In 2004 Johnson collaborated with Kanye West on “It All Falls Down.” The record was a top 10 hit worldwide and earned her a performance slot at the MTV VMA’s and 4 VMA Nominations that year. 2005 saw the return of Syleena Johnson with her album “Chapter 3: The Flesh.” The album featured production and appearances from some of the most respected talents in the industry, including hit-makers such as R. Kelly, KayGee, & Terence "Tramp Baby" Abney & the Platinum Brothers as well as Kanye West who produced the heavenly "Suddenly (Bulls-eye)”, which featured fellow Chicagoan Common. Further artists to make appearances on the album included Jermaine Dupri, Twista and Anthony Hamilton. “Chapter 4: Labor Pains” was released physically in 2008 and is Syleena's first release on her own record label 'Aneelys Records'. The two singles to be released from the album were "It Is True", produced by fellow Chicagoan 'Toxic', and “Shoo Fly,” both records were extremely well received by fans and critics alike. In 2011, Johnson released, “Chapter 5: Underrated” which features Toxic (Keyshia Cole, Monica, Twista) and a number of other high-profile producers and artists. Syleena Johnson is also a popular television personality. She’s one of the original cast members on the TV One hit reality series R&B Divas: Atlanta and recently wrapped up season 3 with co-stars Keke Wyatt, Angie Stone, Monifah Carter, LaTavia Roberson and former 702 lead singer Kameelah

Women That Rock- Melanie Fiona

What happens if a well known artist happens to use their musical platform to raise awareness around social issues that plague this nation. Well, let's see. Marvin Gaye gave us one of the most prolific albums to date. Then there was Stevie Wonder's  "Songs in the Key of Life"  masterpiece. This is just to name a few, every now and then life will imitate art.  This week's Women that Rock artist is embarking on yet what may perhaps be the soundtrack to this years most important election cycles we've ever witnessed. "Melanie Fiona", is no stranger to the musical world, yet I  feel this powerful soulful artist has yet to get her just do. The Canadian Born R&B artist started her musical career in a girl band X-Quisite and she also recorded a few reggae joints under an alias Syren Hall. Melanie, also was in a group called, The Renaissance along side the rapper Drake. In 2009, she released her debut album entitle "The Bridge".  This great album featured the breakout single "It Kills Me" which topped the Top 50, HipHop and R&B charts. This also later, earned her a grammy nod for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. In 2011, she released "The MF Life", which provided such hits as "4am", "Gone"and "Never Coming Back". Melanie's artistry can be measured as a very soulful and powerful vocalist as well as a songwriter. She can be compared as one of the best vocalist in the game if not better. I've had the chance to witness the passion and tonality from this artist first hand at one of her concerts. It's like she pulls you into the song making you feel the hurt and the pain or the passion in the music. And now with her latest single, she's doing again just that. This track is entitled "I Tried", which provides a deep look into several social issues like police brutally, teen rape, domestic abuse and human trafficking and also mass shootings.  These are some of the most troubling issues that have plagued the nation recently, but mainly in the black community. It's a clear message that the artist is writing in regards to what she feels strongly in protest of and what she believes everyone should be concerned with. Because these are issues that have affected every black life in America one way or another. The depth from this powerful track can also be seen as well as heard with the video that was released for the song. She paints a clear and vivid portrayal of an abused woman in need to have her voice be heard, this surely is a must see.  Melanie is gearing up for her third album release entitled  "Awaken" and  tracks like I Tried and more. Let's hope it awakens our mind and heart to conversations and solutions to the never ending issues that we face daily in the world we live. So remember, support your Indie favorite artist and their craft. So their voice can be heard. Leslie A. Thomas is a music blogger

Gocha Makes BOSS Moves on Finale & Shows Love Throughout the Community

On the season finale of "L.A. Hair," Gocha unveils her "Plan B" to the Kimble stylists. Click image for a preview of how it all goes down.  Not only is she making waves in the salon, she's doing what real bosses do and sharing her gift to help and motivate others throughout the Atlanta community.  I'm all for an sista that is pouring herself into the community.   October 6, 2015, the Atlanta Children's Shelter (ACS) hosted its 13th Annual Achievers' Celebration at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta to honor the remarkable success of their previously homeless families who persevered and maintained employment and permanent housing for at least one year with the help of ACS' programs.  Gocha Salon, along with the Paul Mitchell School of Atlanta provided makeovers to the honorees and program participants. Gocha also gifted the honorees with over $4,000 of free styling services for the rest of the year.  For information on the Atlanta Children's Shelter, visit http://www.acsatl.org/.   Saturday, Sept. 19, Gocha participated in Atlanta Children's Shelter's celebrity kickball game fundraiser.  The high-energy event took place  at Hammond Park.   The DECA Club students at Newton High School in Covington, GA enjoyed a dose of "real talk" from the successful celeb stylist and salon owner.  Gocha inspired the students with words of wisdom on business and hard work. Check out the trailer for the season finale of L.A. Hair below: Tune in to #LAHair TONIGHT at 10pm ET/PT on WE tv. //

Women That Rock- Lianne La Havas

After catching up on reading several music blogs this weekend, I stumbled across a fresh new voice. Her name is “Lianne La Havas”. By now, you guys should know that I absolutely love all types of music. This young lady's music embodies several different types of genres. La Havas began singing at the tender age of seven, and credits her musical diversity from her parents. Her father, an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, taught Lianne guitar and piano which helped develop her gift for producing and arranging music. I must say I haven't come across an artist like this since discovering “Amel Larrieux” or “Corrine Bailey Rae”. This London born British folk and soul singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began her career as a backup singer. In 2010, she signed with Warner Bros. developing and honing in on her songwriting skills. Then in 2012, she released her debut album, “Is Your Love Big Enough”? By the end of 2012 the album was named iTunes album of the year. She's gone on to perform at several musical festivals both in the states and abroad. Now, she's back with yet another great masterpiece. This album was inspired by her reconnecting with her Greek and Jamaican heritage. The first single entitled Unstoppable, was co-written with “Paul Epworth”. She also has a track on the album which is one of my favorites entitled “Tokyo” where you can surely hear her finesse her skills on her hollowed bodied 1964, Harmony Alden Stratotone guitar. Her sound is a little like Amel Larrieux, Solange and Corrine Bailey Rae. She truly brings a sense of live instrumentation to her sets; this is highly missed from quality music these days. It's awful refreshing to see it being done on Lianne's projects. So, when you're looking for that refreshing album to just simply unwind to after a long day from work, slip this one on and grab a nice glass of wine and slip away to a long winding highway somewhere in the beautiful London countryside.   Leslie A. Thomas is a music blogger and lover of all things music follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005

The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira Slays in Vibrant Photoshoot

You guys know I LOVE 'The Walking Dead', right?!  And you should also know how much I adore Michonne...or should I say the character Michonne.  Danai Gurira, the actress that plays my beloved Michonne, stole my heart once more with her most recent photo shoot for DuJour magazine!  I'm in love with this blue ensemble!!  Ok, I will leave you all to gawk at the photos yourself.  Enjoy! courtesy of Huffington Post Danai Gurira is not only the sword-swinging, ass-kicking Michonne on "The Walking Dead" -- she's also a playwright. In an interview with DuJour magazine, the 37-year-old actress talks about her second off-Broadway screenplay "Eclipsed." Starring actresses Lupita Nyong'o, Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, Zainab Jah and Saycon Sengbloh, the play highlights five Liberian wives of a warlord and a Liberian peacemaker during the country's civil war trying to define their identities among the widespread violence. Gurira, who was born in America but raised in Zimbabwe, told the magazine that she was fascinated by an image she saw of women in the Liberia Civil War in 2003 and vowed to tell the story on stage one day.   View more pics here!

Taraji P. Henson Slays on Essence’s November “Life Goals” Cover

Taraji P. Henson’s firecracker role as “Cookie Lyon” on Empire has brought her a legion of new fans. As she moves through her newfound fame, the Emmy-nominated actress reflects on her stop-and-go moments in Hollywood, how she takes it all in stride, and why her current TV reign is right on time. ESSENCE’s November #LifeGoals Guide issue hits newsstands on Friday, 10/16. “Even though people are just now finding me as Cookie, thank God for Netflix because people are so moved by my performance they’re like, ‘Where has she been?’ I’ve always said I want to do the type of work that people study…” –Taraji P. Henson

Melanie Fiona’s “I Tried” Video Touches on Domestic Violence/Police Brutality

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melanie Fiona is using the release of the video to her latest single, “I Tried,” to help forward the discussion about domestic violence and police brutality. "It is important for me to channel the ideas and concepts I am passionate about into my music and my art. As an artist with a social platform, I feel it is my responsibility to do so,” she said in a statement to Complex. “The video for ‘I Tried’ is a tribute to the fight in which we all witness and experience both internally and externally in the world daily.” Fiona is shown performing in a glass box with various news headlines --including those about the Charleston church shooting and questions surrounding Sandra Bland’s death -- interspersed throughout the video. “The conversation of important issues should not end when we turn the TV off,” Fiona added in the statement. “I hope this visual sparks emotion, thought, dialogue, reflection, and ultimately, positive change.” Fiona also posted the following message -- "I Tried" -- to her 660,000 Twitter followers: "For those who have fallen victim to the darkness, we will rise to a new dawn". 🙏🏽 Here is "I Tried". http://t.co/VK7riZ4t7B 💜 #NewMusic — Melanie Fiona ✌ (@MelanieFiona) October 9, 2015   "I Tried" is the second single off of Fiona's upcoming album, “Awake,” which is set for an early 2016 release. Check out the video above.

Tweet Releases New Video “Won’t Hurt Me”

The Southern Hummingbird is back after a long hiatus from the music scene with her latest single, "Won't Hurt Me".  The song dropped a few weeks ago, and now Tweet has followed up the well received single with the video.  Check it out here:   Get More: Tweet, Won't Hurt Me, Music, More Music Videos

Women That Rock- Erin Stevenson

Hey guys, I have a question: does it pay off being in an all-girl group vs. becoming a solo artist?  Well, I'm guessing everyone wants to go solo. Cause, you can't even name one mainstream R&B group today. Another question for you, do you guys believe that there's a need for the girl group in today's music industry?  The 90's gave way to some awesome girl groups, like SVW, En Vogue, Jade, Blackgirl, Mokenstef, The Good Girls, Brownstone and Destiny's Child and so many more. Some of those girl groups have also given birth to some great solo career for some those ladies. This week's Women That Rock feature got her start from one of these great girl groups. Her name is Erin Stevenson, and at the tender age of ten she was once a member of the all-girl group called "Girls Tyme" who later became Destiny's Child. This Houston Native is taking us back to time when artists actually sang well written songs. And you literally feel the singer’s passion in the delivery of the songs they sing. This is becoming  a dying art form.  Erin has a very sultry voice that is also met with some electric dance moves and the ability to command a stage in her live performances, this is yet another quality that is so missed from today's so call artists. And it's with those attributes that has led her to open for some of the popular artists in the mainstream music industry.  Artist like, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Pharrell Williams, Nicki Minaj, John Legend,Yolanda Adams, Ciara, just to name a few. Erin's sound is said to be a fusion of 80's soul and current pop. Her current project celebrates her embrace of different musical genres. She has just released a new video for her single entitled “The One That Got Away” for her new EP entitled “Hot Damn” released on September 8th. The song is about a guy that's spending regular time with a woman that could be considered a great helpmate. Then she's passed over for the video girl, when she's ready to consider marrying this young man. You know that girl that's always so superficial. And how later  the guy realizes that the woman with substance was the woman that got away. On the track, Erin displays her strong vocal ability and flexibility on the song. She really delivers a powerful and emotional  performance on this track. Erin is truly an amazing rising star to keep on your radar. I'm very sure that we'll hear great things from this artist. So, to all my lovers of great untapped music, please check out the artistry from this talented young lady.  Until next time, remember to support your favorite Indie Artist and their craft. Leslie  A. Thomas is a music blogger and lover of all things music. Follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005

Janet Jackson is truly UNBREAKABLE

I'm still on an extreme high from attending the “Janet Jackson” concert over the weekend.  I witnessed a true legend at her best. This lady still got it y'all.  I mean at 50 yrs. young, she entertained a crowd of goers from all walks of life, like never before. I mean everyone from the young and old, to black and white and everything in between.  It was like anything I've ever seen. There were not any wardrobe changes or intermissions. Janet sung for one hour and eighty minutes straight. Before the concert we were entertained by the DJ, who was spinning nothing but Janet's music. That's when I undoubtable realized that this artist has truly blessed us with an abundance of great hits over her long career. You know you're considered the ultimate star when the DJ can spin your music from an extremely large catalog all night long.   The night was clear not a cloud in the sky for this epic event. Janet hit the stage a little after 8 pm. Not bad to say, since she didn't have an opening act. Ms. Jackson hit the stage with a smoking hot single from her new album entitled “Burnitup!” featuring none other than producer and singer rapper extraordinaire “Missy Elliot”. I'm really digging this track. This up tempo track provides a nice backdrop to the end of a long hot summer. Jackson also entertained us with other tracks from the long awaited album as well as lots of old favorites. But, the best performances of the night would have to go to the song “Alright” and “Scream” as a tribute to her late brother Michael Jackson. Janet has always given us a complete dance party. When I tell you guys this lady danced her ass off. She did just that. It was amazing to see her still be able to execute those complex dance steps with that overall Jackson precision that her family is known all over the world for. Let's give it to this family they've set the tone for having the most creative dance moves in musical history. That's what I so loved about this concert the way she kept the entire show interactive and engaging throughout the entire show. That's what I call true showmanship. She has truly learned from the best that is “Michael Jackson”.  I know he was smiling down on her as he watched his little sister captivate audiences from all walks of life. So, I hope all my true Janet Jackson fans will either get the opportunity to check out her concert for yourselves or either pick up her latest project.  In Stores October 2nd. And let me know which song is your favorite off the album.   Leslie Thomas is a Music Blogger and lover of music follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005.

Hip-Hop Female Duo, Porsha & Mercedes Flip Double Standard with “Dealership”

Last week during our "Love & Relationships" Periscope broadcast, we discussed the double standard, asking viewers if sex was just for men.  The women in the scope were quick to tell our male guests, that women enjoy sex just as much.  They didn't deny that there is a double standard that society has placed on women and they even admitted that some women perpetuate the double standard by how they judge women who are sexually liberated.  The lively conversation was spurred after viewing the new debut video, "Dealership", by hip-hop female duo, Porsha & Mercedes. As a hip-hop female duo, Porsha & Mercedes use their music to empower women to be comfortable in their own skin.  Monday, September 28th, Porsha & Mercedes released their new single and music video “The Dealership”, which is off of their upcoming EP also entitled “The Dealership”. The concept behind the song and music video is Porsha & Mercedes has a dealership full of all types of men where women can browse and purchase for their own personal pleasure. This perspective is one rarely seen or talked about in mainstream media.  I believe it to be one that deserves discussion.  View the video for yourself and let me know what YOU think in the comments. Definition of The Dealership (noun): A place where one can go to inspect, test drive and purchase the man of their choice. Watch “The Dealership” here *explicit lyrics* : https://youtu.be/fjLP4lmfBGU  

Tisha Campbell Wears Rapists’ Apology in “Steel Here”

Tisha Campbell is back...or should I say, she's STEEL HERE?!  Either way, we're happy she is!  This beauty has been doing her thing, consistently, for almost 30 years!  Can you believe this diva is 46?  Black surely don't crack she looks confident, strong, and fearless in her new music video!  Yes!  Tisha Campbell is back and not just '...sangin' in the background!' She is sharing her voice with the world in her music video, "Steel Here". This video is made even more powerful by the fact that she wears the words from an apology letter by her rapist on her body in the video. This song is so powerful, these lyrics spoke to me: "Up and down like a roller-coaster I've seen them come and go and I've been rich and poor man But I'm still resilient I'm always gonna be here 'Cause I'm supposed to be here Then do it, I'm owning my existence It's a system of survival 'Cause I'm my only rival"

Women That Rock- Alice Smith

Recently, I've noticed a certain trend developing with some of our favorite TV shows. Judging by the huge success of some of the most popular shows on network television, many of these shows can credit their huge following by the music that's being played. For instance, everyone is so infatuated with the very diverse musical soundtrack from the hit TV show “Empire”. The music seems to set the tone of the show. Other shows like “Scandal” and “Being Mary Jane” have also followed suit. My hat goes off to the ones in charge of the musical content added to these shows. I know it's not an easy process to actually determine what track needs to be placed where, in order to provide that climax to that dramatic scene yet alone finding that perfect piece of music to get the writers point across. So, after catching the season premiere of Being Mary Jane, last night it got me listening to music showcased on the show, which also seemed to tell a story within a story. I took to the internet immediately and began researching the awesome music used on the show. I found an artist that has lent her talents too many musical projects. Her name is “Alice Smith”. The song that is entitled “The One” off her debut album entitled “She” was featured on the show. Placement of the song in context with the episode was definitely on point. The song makes reference to a woman that is being told by a suitor that she's the one. When he and she both know different, this brother is trying to run game on her. But, that wasn't the first time the artist music has been featured on a series. The song “Dream” was featured on an episode of “Entourage” (season four). This amazingly talented woman was raised in Washington, D.C., as well as on a farm in Georgia. She released her first album back in 2006; Rolling Stones compared the artist to “Norah Jones” and “Alicia Keys”. Her style has a more complex variety of genres; she enlists musical tones from country, to rock, to funk. In 2011, Alice collaborated with “Aloe Blacc” to contribute the track Baby towards the Red Hot organization's most recent charitable album entitled Red Hot + Rio 2. Alice's current project is entitled She, which was released in 2013. This album consists of eleven powerful tracks, centered around falling in and out of love. It brings an eclectic feel of emotions, backed by elements of rock and funky beats. So I advise you guys to check out this artist on Spotify, Itunes and all other media outlets where music is sold. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQv-EZD0kro Leslie is a music blogger, traveler, festival enthusiast, and lover of all things music!  Follow me on Twitter @LBoogie252005.

Uzo Aduba Picks Up Emmy Number Two!

Uzo Aduba won her second straight Emmy for her work as Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren on Netflix's Orange Is the New Black at tonight's awards. (She won last year as a guest actress; she was upgraded to a supporting actress this year.) Her victory will be hard to forget: she delivered an incredible acceptance speech, one colored by jubilance, gratefulness, and raw emotion. Aduba thanked her fellow cast members and crew, the show's corporate parents at Netflix, her personal team, and her family. She was racing to get through all of the names on her list, but it didn't sound like she was worried about playing off; instead, it was as if she was trying to get off the stage before being completely overcome. When she spoke to her sister watching from the crowd and thanked her for her friendship, it was a moment that resonated with anyone who's ever felt overwhelming love and pride in a sibling. If Aduba keeps giving speeches like this, viewers will be happy if she dominates this category for years to come.

Regina King Wins An Emmy & the World Sees #BlackSistersLove

As if Taraji P. Henson could be any better, we can now add Most Supportive Friend to her list of superlatives. Exhibit A? Tonight's Emmy Awards.The Empire actress had the pleasure of presenting the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie award to her close friend Regina King and she just couldn't help but let her bias show. As soon as she announced King's win, for her role as Aliyah Shadeed in American Crime, Henson let out a huge scream alongside fellow presenter Terrence Howard.The fun continued as King took the stage, as she got a huge Taraji hug worthy of all the jealousy, as well as another scream. We feel you, Taraji, we feel you.  It was great seeing two black women, in the same industry, supporting and celebrating one another.  You know that this is a regular occurrence, but mainstream media fails to portray this perspective causing many to believe that all black women do is curse, fight, and despise each other.   Tonight, the world saw #blacksisterslove each other and it was GREAT! Of course once the award was passed over Henson let her friend do all the talking, and Regina launched into an impassioned and emotional acceptance speech. "That Taraji and Terrence presented me with this is pretty special," she began. "But I should have brought one of those comedy people had!"She then launched into her list of thank you's, giving shoutouts to her family, friends and coworkers. But she saved the best for last, naturally. "My amazing mother and grandmother who have taught me the power and the blessing of being a woman," she gushed. "This is just absolutely amazing. My son, Ian, the fact that I get to share this night with you, the best date in the house. You make being a mother my greatest accomplishment. Cheers." Cheers indeed, Regina.

Viola Davis Makes History As Black Actresses Dominate

In a historic win tonight, the law professor in firmly in charge of the TV class. For her role in ABC’s freshman How To Get Away With Murder, Viola Davis has become the first African-American to win the Emmy for Outstanding lead actress in a drama. Having already won a SAG Award for her performance as defense lawyer and university law prof Annalise Keating on the Shonda Rhimes EP’d series created by Peter Nowalk, Davis had previously been nominated for a Golden Globe for the role. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity,” said an emotional Davis as she thanked Shonda Rhimes, Oscar winner Halle Berry plus fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson. Tonight’s telecast already saw wins by Orange Is The New Black‘s Udo Aduba and American Crime‘s Regina King. In a category that also saw Henson a racial barrier-breaking contender for her Empire role, the win for the two-time Oscar nominated Davis comes just days before HTGAWM begins its second season on ABC on Thursday nights along with fellow Shondaland shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.  Among the other nominees in the category in the 67th Emmys were multiple past winner Claire Danes of Homeland and two-time before nominee Robin Wright of House of Cards. Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss and Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany, who won the Critic’s Choice award in 2013 and finally got an Emmy nomination this year, were also in the category.

Ms.Lauryn Hill Stuns & ONE Musicfest Day Proclaimed

Over the weekend, thousands of people flocked to Atlanta to witness the 6th annual ONE Musicfest that took place at Aaron's Amphitheater in Lakewood on September 12, 2015. Gracing the stage were the talented Ms.Lauryn Hill, The Roots, A$AP Rocky, Wale, Janelle Monae & Wondaland, Raekwon, Ghostface, The Internet, Raury, SZA, Scarface, 8Ball & MJG, Big KRIT and Bun B. In honor of ONE Musicfest's impressive economical impact on Atlanta, Atlanta's Councilman member Andre Dickens, presented an official documentation proclaiming September 12th as "ONE Musicfest Day". One Musicfest was the only place to see this roster of incredible acts join together for One purpose  - which was to witness a wide variety of sounds, from rock to hip-hop, electro, reggae, funk, disco, house, alternative and soul while having your musical senses stimulated. ONE Musicfest's main focus was to create a roster of performers that would be enjoyable for multiple generations. "There is a lack of representation for soul, progressive hip-hop, alternative and rock, represented under one roof, in the format of music festivals in Atlanta", states J Carter, ONE Musicfest Producer.  "We have noticed that while there are many pockets of individuals that share taste in the same music, rarely do you see them share in this together. ONE Musicfest was created with the idea of 'music as the universal language'. Over time we aim to grow this fest into a phenomenon and bring together different sectors of individuals through a unique music platform." Founded by Jason Carter, ONE Musicfest has been one of Southeast's largest home-grown, musical arts festival to date including over 10,000 plus attendees. Carter has brought Atlanta music lovers the best and the brightest urban alternative acts performing in a welcoming, hospitable setting, creating an atmosphere where everyone can enjoy and discover music. ONE Musicfest is known for its interactive block party experience, where guests enjoyed nationally and internationally renown DJs, a food-truck village, vending from local businesses, VIP tents and more.

Top