Hip hop, sagging pants, strippers and parenting

23beamon lomax-600While the Heal The Hood Foundation-sponsored concert at American Way Middle School (April 20) was what urban youth would call "off the chains," there were multiple panel discussions that were just as "cool" – particularly the one about hip hop and its following.

The words Hot 107.1 FM'S DJ Lomax spoke were not a remix, nor were they commercialized. Every child and adult in the room knew that this was an original perception because there was far too much knowledge in the message for it to have been recycled or sampled.

Dressed in army fatigues, his words carried the weight of a drill sergeant.


‘Power List’ of books written or read by African Americans

Power-List-Spring-2013-400Three leading African-American literature web sites have launched the Power List, a quarterly compilation of best-selling books written or read by African Americans.

The Power List is a joint project of, and The founders of the companies see a need for a comprehensive list of best-selling African-American books.

"Currently, the data is dispersed over a wide variety of sources," said Gwen Richardson, co-founder of "We wanted to compile and analyze the data across the board and present those findings to the public."


Top ten DVD Iist - April 23, 2013

CentralPark5-400Top Ten DVDs set for release on April 23.

"The Central Park Five"

"The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg"

"Jurassic Park 3D"

"Gangster Squad"


A Memphis Original! Designs and Punchlines: A New Concept in Entertainment



 This week TSD had an opportunity to sit down with the visionary producers of the upcoming April 20th Designs and Punchlines (D/P) Comedy and Fashion Show.  Comedian Eugene “Spankie” Broyls (ESB) and entrepreneur and event promoter extraordinaire, Niki Smith-Brown (NSB) have teamed up to bring a unique concept in entertainment to the Memphis community.  This week they shared the background and a few inside thoughts about D/P with the New Tri-State Defender.


TSD:  So how did Designs and Punchlines (D/P) come to be?  Whose vision was it?


Ken Burns: ‘The Central Park Five’ interview

Kenburns-600Ken Burns has been making films for more than 30 years, with 10 Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations to his credit. Here he talks about his latest film, "The Central Park Five," which premiered on PBS on Tuesday.

Kam Williams: Children's book author Irene Smalls asks: "What interested you in this story? Was there a personal connection?"

Ken Burns: The personal connection, simply, was my daughter, Sarah. She was too young to have heard about the actual crime, but learned about it in the summer of 2003. She then just began obsessing about the case to the point that she had to write a book about it. And she had two people around her, her husband, David, and her father who were saying, "Hey, it's also a film." And that's how it got made.


Kam’s Kapsules: Weekly previews - 04/18/2013

oblivion-poster-400For movies opening April 19, 2013


"Oblivion" (PG-13 for violence, nudity, sexuality and brief profanity) Post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about an ex-Marine (Tom Cruise) with the fate of humanity in his hands in the wake of a war with extraterrestrials which devastated the planet. Cast includes Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Melissa Leo.


"Ain't in It for My Health" (Unrated) Reverential rockumentary about Levon Helm, the late drummer, lead singer and founding member of The Band. Featuring appearances by Billy Bob Thornton, Libby Titus and Larry Campbell.


Why do black women still support Tyrese?

tyresebookcoverimage-500I have a friend who looks similar to Tyrese. He has the same complexion and chiseled features, and a fondness for wearing plaid shirts, which Ty wore in a pivotal scene as Jody in John Singleton's "Baby Boy."

Last year, that friend and I were standing backstage at a music festival when a group of "mature" black women approached us to ask my friend for an autograph. He laughed, explained that he was not Tyrese and apologized for the confusion. One woman responded, "We should have known it wasn't him as soon as you were polite. Tyrese is an a--hole."

I wondered, "So why did you want his autograph, then?" But I didn't say that, of course, because who in their younger right mind talks slick to a "mature" black woman?


Kevin Hart, T.I., publicity and the long arm of the law

Myron-Mays-160WHAT'S HAPPENING MYRON!: Doesn't it seem that the most popular entertainers have been in some type of trouble with the law at some point in their careers? Whether it's tax trouble, driving while under the influence or just plain ole silly shenanigans, it seems that somebody famous is always getting caught by the long arm of the law.

Well, the latest celebrity is funnyman Kevin Hart, who just a few days ago was arrested for drunken driving/DUI and resisting arrest. The California Highway Patrol reportedly observed Hart speeding down the freeway doing about 90 miles an hour in his black Mercedes, weaving across lanes and nearly hitting a gas tanker truck. He was booked and held on a $5,000 bond.

After he was released, he posted a statement on Twitter saying that being busted early Sunday in Los Angeles was "a wake-up call" and that he needs "to be smarter." And that is very true in his case. He has a lot going for himself these days and it doesn't take much to make it all go away.


Top ten DVD Iist - April 16, 2013

django-500Top Ten DVDs set for release April 16, 2013

"Django Unchained"

"Not Suitable for Children"

"Future Weather"



Don’t go for the hype about show’s demise, says Judge Joe Brown

JudgeJoe Brown-600CBS Television Distribution issued a press release at the end of March announcing that the "Judge Joe Brown" court reality program was being terminated because of a salary dispute with the show's namesake and star, former Memphis attorney and judge, Joe Brown.

"Judge Joe Brown" has been the consistent No. 2 program in the syndication market for more than a decade, with "Judge Judy" the top-slot holder.

According to CBS, the ratings for "Judge Joe Brown" began to dip last year, down 17 percent over the previous year, and dipping 15 percent in the key 25-54 female demographic.


Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant goes to Danielle Jones

pageant-1-600Danielle Jones took what she described as a "creative risk" during the talent portion of "The Ascension to the Throne" – the 2013 Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant hosted by the Nu Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

With violin comfortably in place, Jones played a violin dubstep (a genre of electronic dance music) piece by Lindsey Sterling.

"It pushed me out of my comfort zone to first play a solo, and then to memorize the music," said Jones of Rhodes College.

The gamble paid off, helping Jones emerge from five "Nubian Princesses" to secure the title of Miss Black and Gold Scholarship at the pageant held in Christian Brothers' University Theatre last Sunday (April 7).


Cancer survivor Tracy Randall sings ‘It Feels Good (To Be Alive)’

TracyRandallPhoto-300Lavish Records artist Tracy Randall isn't supposed to be here.

In 2006, Randall – a graduate of The LeMoyne-Owen College – was diagnosed with acute blastic leukemia. After aggressive rounds of chemo and radiation therapy, his doctors gave up and in February 2007 told him to go home and prepare to die.

"The doctor told me to get my affairs in order because he didn't know if I had 3 months or 6 months to live," Randall recalls. He left the office that cold, rainy afternoon and started walking.


Kam’s Kapsules: Weekly previews - 04/10/2013

scaryMovie5-600For movies opening April 12, 2013


"42" (PG-13 for epithets, ethnic slurs and mature themes) Civil rights drama chronicling Jackie Robinson's (Chad Boseman) historic breaking of baseball's color barrier in 1947 upon being signed to a major league contract by the Brooklyn Dodgers' general manager, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford). With Nicole Beharie, John C. McGinley and Lucas Black.

"Scary Movie 5" (PG-13 for profanity, drug use, cartoon violence and crude humor) Latest installment of the horror spoof franchise revolves around a happily-married couple (Ashley Tisdale and Simon Rex) with a newborn who suddenly find themselves stalked by a diabolical demon. Ensemble cast includes Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Mike Tyson, Terry Crews, Bow Wow, Katt Williams, Heather Locklear, Darrell Hammond and Jasmine Guy.