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Entertainment

A UniverSoul Big Top Party

Circus-1-600The circus with a purpose – UniverSoul Circus – was back in Memphis on Tuesday, with some new acts and the same agenda.

The only African-American Circus in the world, UniverSoul Circus always makes a point to tell the children to tell their parents that they love them and that they thank them for bringing them to the circus.

Tuesday's opening-night performance started with a local flavor, featuring The Millennium Madness Fancy Trick Drill Team that many have seen do their thing at the Southern Heritage Classic, area high schools and other Memphis venues.

  • Written by Warren Roseborough

Home Grown Funk – Family Reunion

home-Grown-Funk-600One of the most fun things in life is reminiscing, and this Friday (Aug. 30) the New Daisy Theatre, 330 Beale Street, will feel like the inside of a way-back machine, with a special musical performance by Home Grown Funk.

Quite a few Memphians have connection to the band that became a household name but never made it over the national hump.

"I've met so many people over the years who have come up to me and told me how they will never forget Home Grown Funk," said Jerry "Big Jerry" Jones, who formed the band in 1972, along with John Harris and Alvin Potts (keyboards). The trio then expanded to include Lee Chastain (bass) and James Lewis (guitar).

  • Written by Tony Jones

What’s happening? UniverSoul Circus, Delta Fair & Stone Soul

Myron-Mays-160If you haven't gotten out with the family in a while here's your chance to turn that around!

It's BIG family fun under the big top as the UniverSoul Circus returns Memphis, next Tuesday (Aug. 27) through Monday (Sept. 2) at the Hickory Ridge Mall. If you haven't gotten a chance to check out this circus, you have missed a really fun experience. Put it on your calendar and make plans to take the family. Tickets are available through all Ticketmaster outlets and online at Ticketmaster.com.

Family fun continues with the Delta Fair Friday Aug. 30 through Sept. 8. Fun games, rides and a lot of fair food, that's always good, right? They even have special discount rates for students as well as wristbands. It's taking place at the Agricenter located at 7777 Walnut Grove. For more information, visit www.deltafest.com.

Valerie June’s star lights up Letterman & ‘The Late Show’

23valeriejune-500She did it – and well!

Valerie June made her network television debut as a solo act on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday (Aug. 21). She nailed "Workin' Woman Blues" from her breakthrough album – "Pushin' Against A Stone."

After the set up by Letterman – "...And I think she used to be married to Johnnie Cash," Letterman said, joking with his sidekick. – the former Memphis singer-songwriter flashed her signature smile and let it rip.

  • Written by Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku

Valerie June: From Memphis to ‘Letterman’ and beyond

Valerie June-in-2011-600Before she was Valerie June set to perform on "The Late Show with David Letterman she was Valerie June subject to be seen honing her talent in the Bluff City.

June, who is fresh off the release of her debut album – "Pushin' Against a Stone" (Concord Records) – takes to the stage on "The Late Show" on Wednesday (Aug. 21). The show airs at 10:35 p.m. on WREG-TV Channel 3.

For the Humboldt, Tenn. native, who now calls The Big Apple home, "The Late Show" will serve as her debut as a solo act on network television in the U.S.

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom

Chef Coolio? It could happen

Coolio-600In the grand scheme of music, it's pretty safe to say that the average rapper has the career span of a housefly. That's not very long by the way.

Musical history screams out that anyone looking to get into the game of music in general should have a "Plan B" to fall back on. Those who are looking to get into the rap game should already be involved in their Plan B before they even get started. While some have a Plan B already in effect, others have sort of discovered their back-up plan in the process of carving out a career. And then there are those for whom it takes a little longer to bounce back.

Rapper Coolio has decided to take a different career route these days. He has chosen to auction off of the royalties of his music catalog to fund his new career. He released a cookbook in 2009 called "Cookin' With Coolio" and was featured on the Food Network series "Celebrity Chefs."

365 Black Awards to air on BET

gladysknight.jpg

HONOREES GLADYS KNIGHT and BEVERLY JOHNSON

McDonald’s, a sponsor of the Essence Festival in New Orleans for the past 10 years, chose the site of the annual event that brought nearly 500,000 to the crescent city Fourth of July weekend for the 10th time to present its 365 Black Awards. Honoring luminaries like R&B singer Gladys Knight and Supe

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  • Written by The Michigan Chronicle

Soulsville instructor gains Grammy attention

Merrick-600It started with a couple of emails that Soulsville Music Academy instructor Justin Merrick thought were spam. Man, was he wrong!

The emails actually conveyed the news that Merrick had been named one of nine finalists for a Grammy Award as Music Educator of the Year. Soulsville's Chief Creative Officer Kirk Whalum – a multiple Grammy Award winner – stepped in to bridge the information gap.

"Much later a letter had come for me in my mailbox at the office," said Merrick, a Maryland native. "Mr. Whalum brought it to my attention during a meeting and that's when it all definitely became real."

  • Written by Tony Jones