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Entertainment

A ‘star spangled’ search for a music career

SerenityDSC 0245_600Hitting all the right notes to the "Star Spangled Banner" may be a little difficult for some singers, especially if it's a capella, but not for 14-year-old Serenity Holloway. The gifted singer, songwriter and keyboardist hopes the Memphis Grizzlies will select her to sing the country's national anthem before the tip-off of one of its basketball games.

Performing the patriotic song before thousands is a cinch for Serenity, and practicing the song will only make her better, said Rena Clay, Serenity's mother, during a recent recording session at Hot City Entertainment in Millington.

Clay has been working with Serenity to make sure that her "gift" is polished and that she puts her best foot forward while singing a song – like annunciating her words, getting the pitch and timing correct, and remembering the lyrics.

  • Written by Wiley Henry

‘12 Years A Slave’ a talker, if you let go of your fear

12years-pg1-600I am no stranger to slavery. I literally stumbled into it while doing genealogy research in the early 1980's, finding a matriarch who showed up in the 1870 census, which listed her as 61 years old and having been born in Africa.

Much meandering later, and with some hard-learned lessons – many of which I did not want to learn – I decided to embrace what I considered a healthier attitude about slavery, changing my name, clothes, language, etc.

This commentary, however, is not about covering the finer aspects of my journey. I share that opening simply as a reference point for the attitude that I took with me to New Orleans for the Red-Carpet premiere there earlier this month of "12 Years A Slave." The movie debuts in Memphis Friday (Nov. 1) after an advance screening Wednesday at the Malco Majestic.

  • Written by Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku

C’mon Chris, get it together

Myron-Mays-160WHAT'S HAPPENING MYRON: I was on the air this past Sunday deciding on an entertainment news story to talk about when I stumbled across an article I couldn't believe I was reading. The caption read, "Chris Brown Arrested for Assault." I'm thinking to myself, "really?"

As I read the story, I couldn't believe the details of what led to his arrest.

Brown and his bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, had been arrested and released without bail early Sunday morning following an altercation with another man outside the W Hotel in Washington D.C. The man was treated at the hospital and released.

India! India! India!

IMG-India-Arie-5383-600Four-time Grammy winner India Arie returned to Memphis and the Orpheum Theatre on Sunday night, treating fans to old favorites and new vibes from her latest album "SongVersation."

No stranger to Memphis, Arie has graced Bluff-City stages previously in her decade-long career. I've had the pleasure of working her shows and the consistency of satisfaction again was on display.

The "Soulbird Presents: A SongVersation with India.Arie" tour kicked off Sept. 21st in Seattle! Fresh off the Memphis stop, Arie was off on a string of back-to-back-to-back-to-back shows that will roll her through Durham, N.C., Washington, D.C., Northampton, Mass., New York City and Westbury, N.Y.

 

  • Written by Warren Roseborough

Ashe to Amen curator paints an inviting picture of special exhibit

Dixon-600When word gets out that Leslie King-Hammond is going to be in a city and is going to speak, lovers of art usually show up in ample numbers. They know that in the world of art history experts, she is a curator who knows her stuff.

King-Hammond, whose many accomplishments include having taught art history for 35 years at the Maryland Institute College of Art, was center stage over the weekend as the Dixon Gallery and Gardens opened its Winegardner Auditorium doors to dozens who came to see and hear her lectured on African Americans and Bible imagery.

From now through Jan. 5, the Dixon is home to the exhibit Ashe to Amen – African Americans and Biblical Imagery. It features the wealth and breadth of African-American artists' interpretations of Biblical stories and traditions in historic and contemporary art.

  • Written by Kelly Martin/Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Trentin Hardrick, aka Trigga-Trigga

Trentin Hardrick, aka Trigga-TriggaWe were on our way to Live Tone Studios in Whitehaven. I was driving 23-year-old New Orleans native Trentin Hardrick to meet Memphis producers Sleepy and Taz, two people I knew could turn water into wine when it comes to making music.

I noticed that Trentin, aka Trigga-Trigga, didn't have any notepads or anything to write with. Watching an artist write verses and hooks on the spot in a studio is a norm in the management business. I asked Trentin, who was referred to me for management by his father, where was his song-filled note pad.

By way of his New Orleans drawl, Trentin said he had five albums written down in his head. I wondered whether I was wasting time and gas bringing this "unprepared" young man to the studio. I dropped that thought as soon as they put the music on. Right away I knew that I was witnessing someone with a gift.

  • Written by Kelvin Cowans

Hey ‘SNL,’ where’s the diversity?

darmirra-brunson-600I've been watching "Saturday Night Live" since way back to the days when the star of the show was pretty much Eddie Murphy. Of course comedian Garrett Morris came way before Murphy did. But I was born in 1973 and my memory only takes me back so far.

Murphy's Buckwheat, Gumby and Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood skits were classic. Post-Eddie there hasn't been much "diversity" on the show. He left in 1984, and to my viewing eyes there seems to have been a void ever since.

For years, I could not understand why there were rarely any African-American hosts on the show. The first I can remember was actually Eddie Murphy...and he was still a cast member at the time. This was back in 1982 when Nick Nolte was scheduled to host the show but became ill. Eddie had starred with Nolte in "48 Hours," so he was tapped to host the show as a last minute replacement.