Nearly every DJ from nearly every radio station and the club scene in Memphis came out to the Hard Rock Café on Beale Street Monday night to pay homage to the late Cool DJ Soni D, who died in a traffic accident in California on July 1. It was kind of a "who's who" of Memphis radio.
From past to present, almost every station had a presence in the room. People meters weren't important and neither was competition.
In what had the feel of a historic night, more than music set the tone. Heartfelt sentiments filled the room as some of Soni's closest friends and colleagues shared stories of how they met, of how he gave them their names and how he influenced their careers. I looked at all of the legends in attendance and thought to myself, "This was Memphis."
"Where is he? Where is he?" The question bounced around the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss., as Maxwell seekers could hardly contain their desire to see the multi-talented singer-songwriter, record producer and instrumentalist in concert last week (July 3).
Thirty-minutes after a crowd-pleasing performance by Marsha Ambrosius, music blasted and then the lights dimmed as Maxell's slender silhouette pierced through a cloud of smoke. The crowd screamed.
Marsha Ambrosius – formerly of Floetry – has been a consistent figure at the top of the charts since she went solo. As the opening act for Maxwell (July 3), she stepped right into a warm welcome at the Landers Center in Southaven, Miss.
The image? Stilettos and a black short-set suit, with her natural hair pinned up in a bun unlike her normal over-the-top big hair frizzy look.
In full control of her falsetto skills, she crooned hits from her latest album, "Late Nights and Early Mornings." Halfway through her 45-minute live-band set, Ambrosis belted out high notes from her chart busters, the "Late Nights & Early Mornings" title track, "Say Yes" and "Hope She Cheats on You (With A Basketball Player," which drew cheers from a mostly-female audience.
The parking lots around Minglewood Hall in Midtown were packed Friday (July 5) night for a show that got underway about 9 p.m., two hours after the doors opened. This was a highly-anticipated evening – a hometown performance by The Bar-Kays – and funk fans turned out in droves despite the rain.
Comedian and Memphis funnyman Prescott warmed up the sold-old crowd. Laughs bounced across the room as he spoke of real-life experiences while tying in other funny relatable topics. "Hilarious," said one fan, Denise Parker, who declared that she wouldn't have missed the concert for anything.
Parker grew up listening to the Bar-Kays on the radio but had never seen them in concert. Other concertgoers said jamming with The Bar-Kays was like attending a family reunion. It seemed that Minglewood had transformed into just that, a playground for old friends and neighbors, with dignitaries such as former Judge D'Army Bailey and record executive Al Bell sprinkled throughout the crowd.
Oscar Grant (Michael B. Jordan) and his girlfriend, Sophina (Melonie Diaz), were returning to Oakland in the wee hours of the morning after attending a New Year's Eve 2009 celebration when their crowded train was stopped by police in response to a report of a disturbance. Oscar was among a number of male passengers ordered onto the platform at Fruitvale Station, where he was initially allowed to sit quietly with his back against the wall.
However, he was subsequently ordered to lie on his stomach so that he could be handcuffed and placed under arrest. When he resisted, a struggle ensued during which Oscar could be heard begging not to be Tasered as a cop yelling "bitch-ass (n-word)" forced him to the ground.
Apparently BET figured that between Paula Deen and Serena Williams, we haven't had enough unapologetic apologies this year and decided to issue one of its own.
Internet personality B. Scott recently spoke out about being forced to change his preapproved look minutes before he was scheduled to host the BET Awards preshow, having him essentially wear something less feminine. The Internet joined in speaking out, demanding an apology from BET for its gender policing.
BET released a statement bearing something that was supposed to be an apology and an insistence that some of its best friends are LGBT. They blamed it on a "misunderstanding" between BET and B. Scott, which he vehemently denies, saying, "I want a real apology from BET. This was not a mutual misunderstanding or miscommunication." He also added on his Twitter page: "BET's non-apology statement has added more insult to injury ... what they did to me was intentional."